Stop Making Excuses – Just Do Something!

Matt Richardson

Because its finals time in the AFL I felt it was appropriate to paraphrase one of the great VFL/AFL coaches of all time in John Kennedy. Kennedy was an extremely tough player and a successful, but uncompromising coach for Hawthorn who is acknowledged as one of the finest orators in the game. In one famous speech to his chargers during the 1975 grand final he directed his booming voice to his players with the directive “DON’T THINK. DOOOOOOO.  DON’T HOPE JUST DOOOO SOMETHING!”

In other words, take action. Stop making excuses and leaving it up to someone else or blaming the world why you’ve got no money, no investments, no direction and no idea. Individuals can get frustrated with their lack of progress with their wealth building activities and the reason for this, consistently, in nearly every case, is a LACK of DISCIPLINE.

The idea of this article is to give you 2 ideas which you can use to try and get you started on the right track in getting your financial house in order. As another successful coach Leigh Matthews said about football success “It’s not rocket science!”

Idea 1 – the “NO BUDGET” BUDGET

A lot of financial counsellors will advise struggling clients that they need to prepare a budget for their household finances in order to know where their expenses are going. I agree with this idea 100%.  However – the facts are the majority of clients cannot be bothered doing a budget so the “NO BUDGET” BUDGET might be a pretty good alternative for starters.

It goes like this – 10% of your weekly income should go to paying off debt, 10% of your weekly income should go to savings, 10% of your income should go to protecting your assets via insurances for property, contents, vehicle, income protection (which is so so important). The remaining 70% you can spend however you like, but preferably on meeting all of your regular living expenses such as food, clothing, house running costs, school fees etc, etc.

There is nothing fancy about this strategy – it is all about discipline and nothing else. Ideally the 3 lots of 10% you set aside wouldn’t fall into your wallet or cheque account first. It is preferable that these amounts are automatically deducted from your pay packets into separate “untouchable” accounts for specific debt/savings/insurance purposes.

Another way you can help meet your ongoing expenses for rates, power, gas, phone is to have regular (weekly) payments deducted from your pay or bank account so when the quarterly bill arrives, hopefully most of the bill is already paid. DISCIPLINE, DISCIPLINE, DISCIPLINE.


Please ignore Kenny Roger’s instruction in The Gambler about “never count your money, when your sittin’ at the table” because one of the great problems with Australians and their savings is so many people continue to live in denial! If we never count our money, we then will never know how bad our position is!  So everything will be fine, won’t it? RUBBISH!!!!!

Count your money and take control and this is one way you can do it without a fancy budget or complex financial plan!

(Again – this is not rocket science) I encourage all my clients to start a simple Excel Spreadsheet which lists their individual investment assets (including shares, bank accounts, term deposits, investment property values, superannuation balances) in the top half of the spreadsheet and their liabilities (credit card balance, home loan balance, investment loan balance, margin loan balances, other debts etc) at the bottom of the schedule. Assets less Liabilities will give you your Net Position at the end of each month.

If you do this every month you will get an idea pretty quickly whether your finances are heading in the right direction. If your Net Position is decreasing each month then take action immediately – stop spending so much! If your Net Position is increasing over time then WELL DONE! Reward yourself and then think of ways you can increase your Net Position at a faster rate! PRETTY SIMPLE – IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!

Lastly – SET YOURSELF SOME TARGETS with savings, or debt repayment, or Net Position. The majority of successful people SET GOALS. How hard is it to set a goal?

Do yourself a favour and read “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S Clason. Then give it to your kids to read. (and Go Blues!)


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