Getting your act together

by Allan Sandilands

Having a plan is restricting isn’t it? Don’t tell me what I can do, when I can do it and how much I can spend. I’ll go where I want, when I want and I’ll spend it all if I want to. I don’t know about you, but my life is chaos. I have never planned a moment from the day I was born, or saved anything resembling a razoo and if someone asked me what I would do if I were down to my last ten dollars the answer would be easy, because I am down to my last ten dollars every week just before pay day.

If you are coming up 57 years of age and only have ten dollars at the end of the week, you are either having a ball of a time or you are a sad excuse for a human being.

I thought to myself, one day I want to be the one having a ball of a time. One day I want to be holidaying in the Bahamas and not caring if I am two weeks overdue getting home.

Last Thursday morning before my pay was automatically deposited into my “savings” account, I looked into the mirror and recited the following sentence word for word:

“You almost 57 year old sad excuse for a human being, why don’t you talk to someone who has their act together and see what they did to get ahead, it may give you some pointers”.

I thought, gee, I think of some good ideas. Who better to ask than a person who has their act together.

I phoned up “Mike” our National Sales Manager and asked if he’d be keen to cough up some key pointers on how he got ahead. Here’s how it panned out.

Hi Mike,

Thanks for joining me today!

  • What age were you when you started saving or changing?

Mike – I was lucky, my Dad had a good mate who was a financial advisor and when I started working I met up with him, so at 15 years old I started putting money into super. 

  • Was there one defining moment when you said gee whizz, I have to do something?

Mike – Yes, when our son was born (he’s the oldest of our three kids), I was 23 years old and we went from two wages to one and in those days, there was no such thing as maternity leave. We had to take a good hard look at our situation.

  • What was the first thing you did?

Mike – We wanted a place of our own so we began looking at where we could minimise then started saving for our own home. Even today we save on the basis of if you don’t have it, you don’t miss it.

Owning your own home is obviously very important to you, why is that?

Mike – Security. We’re in front of our mortgage so even if both myself and my wife couldn’t work for the next several months, we wouldn’t be too stressed. 

  • Do you have a plan today?

Mike – Yes, we have a 10 year plan of where we want to be.

  • Is that a written plan?

Mike – No, but we are focused and are tracking really well. If you asked me to delve into any part of our plan, I would have no difficulty in doing so.

Everyone is different, it’s not a silly idea to write down your plan but whatever works, you just need to think about where you want to be and what works for you then do it.  Being on top of your finances gives you a feeling like no other, it’s that Security.

  • If you could sum it up in one sentence what advice would you offer someone who is at the beginning of that journey.

Mike – Recognise the importance of putting something aside for a rainy day.  It doesn’t need to be a lot because even small amounts add up quickly and once it’s a “saving habit”, saving becomes easy.

And I guess there’s one more question that would really help me personally;

  • If you were down to your last ten dollars what would you do with it?

Mike – I’d put petrol in my Mustang haha, just kidding I’d probably save it.


I guess having a plan is not so restricting after all. From what you’ve mentioned Mike, it almost sounds like having a plan helps to set you free and spending it all is not the only option.