29 March 2020
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Money madness is killing this country

Peter Switzer
14 January 2019

A Fairfax story over the weekend looked at a CBA study of 5,600 customers conducted by Professor David Ribar from the Melbourne Institute. Some 9% of these normal Aussies reported that they were “having trouble” managing their finances but the work done by the academic team found it was really 17% who were really struggling. So 8% didn’t know they were under pecuniary pressure.

How did the pointy-headed university-types know more about the 5,600 than the 5,600 themselves? Well, they had access to their banking data!

Low bank balances, payday loans and dishonoured cheques featured in the revelations from the banking info, which meant objective analysis contradicted the subjective view of the customers on themselves!

Looking at the results of the study, Professor Ribar offered some words of advice for those struggling with their money management.

“Behaviour can be changed through disciplined savings and spending habits,” he said.

CBA will be creating a tool to be accessed on their website so 10 questions answered will give you an idea of your financial wellbeing status, which is a good start for making us confront our money madness but more is needed.

I will soon release a book that will provoke as many Aussies as possible to confront the big money madness problem in their life — YOU!

It’s why I seized upon this story and while I think there are great books out there helping us get our money act together, many Aussies need to be prodded into action.

In that great book Legacy by James Kerr, which has a subtitle that goes “What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life”, the author talks about how important the vision thing is for this high-rate-winning team. But you can’t just have vision — you have to have action!

Many years ago I got tired of stimulating attendees to my speeches at conferences but then realised many of them, who were stimulated on the day, simply went back to their small businesses or jobs and resumed being the same people!

I created a contact process and would send them follow up stuff to ensure they remained committed to the actions of change. And this is what so many Aussies need — vision plus action and that’s what I want my book to deliver when it’s released in two months’ time.

I think three really important change-factors are needed to improve money management and wealth building.

First, you need to know what you want that is connected to money and that will shape your vision.

Second, you have to create a plan that will make your vision become a real-life thing.

And third, you have to get off your complacent butt and act!

Once you know what you want — the vision — and you quantify what has to happen to make it happen — the plan — things begin to happen, provided you stick to the plan and make changes.

The old saying, which I love, applies: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

As Prof Ribar advised, Most of us need to check our spending to create the savings to make the investments that will build our wealth, which in turn will make our money life bloody enjoyable to live.

The starting point is to get real about your money life ahead of creating the vision and then the plan. And finally, get the actions of change happening but you have to measure your progress because if you can’t measure something, you can’t effectively manage it.

As James Kerr learnt from analysing the All Blacks, if you have a vision without action, it’s only a dream, while action without a vision can end in a nightmare.

I never thought I’d ever say this but a hell of a lot of Aussies could learn a lot from Kiwis!

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