I recently returned from an outback 4WD adventure which included 360 kms crossing the Simpson desert, and the experience highlighted similarities in decision making between outback travelling and personal finance.
Lesson1 – Research leads to success. Most people would agree that attempting to travel around the outback for a couple of weeks and cross a desert without doing any research would be crazy, and they would be right. You need to know the good, the bad, what to prepare for, what can go wrong, what to do if it all goes wrong, and have a detailed plan to be followed. The same applies to your financial adventure. Whether it is investments, advice, debt, purchases, or planning for your future or retirement, failing to research or use resources available is a recipe for disaster.
Lesson 2 – Thinking ahead as early as possible makes all the difference. Not surprisingly, there are not any service stations in the middle of the desert, and its 540kms between fuel stops, which is a long way when you generally use 50-80% more fuel driving in the desert. The two options are to take more fuel with you (which is not always possible), or drive to conserve as much fuel as possible. By driving slowly and sensibly from the start, we were able to reach our destination with plenty of fuel to spare. Similarly, by making sensible decisions early about money and not needlessly wasting, you will still reach your destination, and still enjoy the same journey, but have plenty of reserve at the end.
Lesson 3 – Build your journey around your goals. Being someone who does not like to be in the same place for too long, I love a touring holiday, both around our country and overseas. I always use the same formula when planning our trips; pick the top five or ten things we really want to see and build a trip around that. Any thing else we see, and other little detours are a bonus, but the aim of our trip is to see those top things, so that is our goal. This is no different to planning your life, both financially and personally. Pick your goals and focus your life’s journey around achieving them. Sure, there will be some detours, some breakdowns, and some holdups, but if you continue to base your plans and decision making on achieving your ‘top ten’, then achieve it you will.
Lesson 4 – Fuel and food is expensive, but we knew that. When you are in the middle of the outback, some 600km’s from the next major city, you would expect that things will cost a little more, and they certainly do. Fuel is up to 70% more expensive, while you are looking at $8 for a loaf of frozen bread. We knew that, so we prepared; took additional supplies, drove sensibly, took long life foods from home etc. Over the course of your life, the cost of living will ebb and flow depending on where you are at in your life cycle, but much of this can be predicted, and planned for. If you want to start a family, plan and prepare for it, if you want to retire, plan and prepare for it, if you want to change careers, plan and prepare for it. You can even plan and prepare for unknown costs by living within your means, maintaining sensible levels of debt and have some savings tucked away.
Lesson 5 – Planning allows you to enjoy your adventure. Each morning when we rolled up our swags, we knew what we were doing that day, which direction we were heading, which goal we hoped to tick off. Because of this, we were able to enjoy each day and it challenges as they arose. We weren’t exactly sure where we would camp or what we would eat or what other great things we would see or do, but we had the basics on a plan, and that allowed us not to worry about the future and just simply enjoy each day (no phone or email for 8 days helps, its wonderful, try it sometime). If you have a plan for your life, your finances, and your future, then you don’t have to worry daily about it. You can simply enjoy life’s journey knowing that your heading in the right direction. Sure, you might not make that camp today, but your plan will get you there tomorrow. If you would help in planning your financial future, start a conversation today
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Steve May, Luke Styles and May Wealth Pty Ltd T/A Steve May Financial Services are Authorised Representatives / Corporate Authorised Representative of Futuro Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 30 085 870 015, Australian Financial Services Licensee, Licence number 238478. Please refer to our website at www.stevemayfs.com.au to reference our Financial Services Guide and business/adviser profiles.
May Wealth Pty Ltd ABN 71 612 234 518 trading as Steve May Financial Services is a Corporate Authorised representative of Futuro Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 30 085 870 015, Australian Financial Services Licensee, Licence number 238478.
Steve May and Luke Styles are Authorised Representative’s of Futuro Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 30 085 870 015, Australian Financial Services Licensee, Licence number 238478