“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”Mother Theresa
When I first started Mindful with Money, my best friend told me it was stupid and not worth people’s time.
He told me people didn’t want to read about personal finance on a blog. He told me saving $232 per month while unemployed doesn’t count if you’re only unemployed for 3 months. And he told me my lessons were obvious, because I had just been wasting a lot of my money in the first place.
He also told me, when I was an insurance consultant, that I was ‘just a salesperson’, and, when I told him how excited I was to be part of such a diverse team in my tax job, he said, ‘Yeah, sounds like anyone can get a job there.’
Looking back, I don’t know why I put up with this shit.
I have this theory that everyone has something they are super nerdy about, something not everyone else has to understand. We’re so wildly passionate about this thing, to the point where we may try to hide it, because we think we should be embarrassed about it.
We find ourselves wanting to do something, and we ask ourselves,
‘But what if people think it’s stupid?’
‘But what if I fail?’
‘But what if I make a fool of myself?’
‘But who am I to do that, when surely someone else could do it better?’
instead of asking ourselves,
‘Do I have knowledge, experience, or ideas that can help people?’
‘What do I want to do? What did I want to do before the but’s came in?’
‘What if I succeed? Or what if I do fail? What have I got to lose?’
So what if instead of trying to hide what we are most passionate about, we embrace it?
For me, I became a personal finance nerd because I needed to. I was anxious, unemployed, and didn’t know where my next pay was coming from. But I was proactive: I started booking photography sessions, selling candles, and reading a lot. When you’re unemployed, you lose one thing (money, a source of income, financial stability), but you gain another that can be used to your advantage: time. You have lots and lots of time.
So I filled mine with personal finance books. I’ve read Rich Dad, Poor Dad; The Four Hour Work Week; The Richest Man in Babylon; The Joyful Frugalista, The Year of Less, The No Spend Year; You are a Badass at Making Money; Rich Enough?; Love Your Life, Not Theirs; The Total Money Makeover; Smart Couples Finish Rich; The Barefoot Investor; and many more.
And honestly? I disliked most of them.
Not because they give terrible advice or are awfully dated (well, some are), but because they’re all so irrelevant to New Zealand millennials. I’d read a few interesting chapters on money mindset and saving, before the rest of the book became useless to a New Zealander because of our own tax rules, banks, home lending criteria, etc.
So, I wanted to do what I could. Am I a high level finance professional? No. Do I have degrees in finance? No.
But have I come across thousands of New Zealanders asking the same questions on a daily basis, and helped them with their money? Have I spoken directly to these thousands of New Zealanders and gained an insight into their real struggles? Even though there are tons of financial industry professionals who know more than me, do I know more about certain topics than the average. everyday New Zealander?
Yes. 100%. And it has always made me happy, and given me a sense of passion, purpose, and meaning.
And I think that’s all you need. In fact, it’s an advantage. So many personal finance books I have read are from people who know so much about the economy, about real estate and housing prices, about the stock market – but they don’t know what’s going on in the minds and wallets of everyday New Zealanders.
They know what’s happening in macro-economics, but not micro-economics – what everyday New Zealanders worry about, stress about, or are just plain confused about when it comes to money.
Of course, fancy degrees, work experience, and expert know-how will help, but your sense of passion, purpose, and meaning is what will guide you through even when things are tough, even when you lose your momentum, or even when you just want to give up.
I put Mindful with Money on my vision board in 2020 – with a faux book cover I made in Paint – and set the intention to write my blog into a book that year. I had no idea how I would do it, and was kind of lost in the beginning. One mistake I made was showing my best friend an early draft.
‘Wow, you take this really seriously!’, he said.
So I put it away and didn’t come back to it for months, until lockdown happened.
This time, something changed. I didn’t want to hide what I loved the most anymore. In my first draft, I’d jumped straight into the technical stuff – how to live within your means, 80/20 your income, save for your emergency fund, reduce your expenses, and pay off your debt – because I was writing it for other people. I wanted other people to read it, and feel like they found it helpful immediately.
But you know what I love the most, and find so, so important when it comes to personal finance? Money mindset and manifestation. I’ve said it before: transforming my subconscious limiting beliefs is the number one reason I am where I am today, instead of where I used to be.
So, I started writing about what I loved – unashamedly, unapologetically, from the heart. I love writing about how I’ve made vision boards for the last 10 years; how I realised constantly saying ‘I’m not good with money’ was holding me back; how changing the way you think and feel about money helps you attract abundance. I wrote it for myself.
Because I started off with what I loved the most, I had already written an introduction and entire first chapter – and that made keeping up the momentum so much easier. It felt like I was effortlessly transitioning onto the next chapter – then the next, then the next.
At the time, because of lockdown, I was working from home, too. So I’d switch from work to writing by logging out of my work system, having a relaxing hot shower, then coming back to the same desk, lighting a candle, and writing. I wrote for 2-3 hours every night for several months – from March to about June.
The months after that were a blur. I know a second lockdown happened, when my husband and I celebrated my birthday with cakes in the park. I know I went on anti-depressants due to a rough patch, then gradually off. I know I did a lot of soul-searching. In December 2020, I bought my new laptop after a year of researching, and the ease and speed of it motivated me to finish writing the last few chapters of my book. When 2021 arrived, my husband and I were on a romantic couples getaway at a sanctuary in Mangatarata. On New Year’s Eve, he was watching a movie while I wrote. I ‘celebrated’ the new year by hitting 30,000 words. 😛
From there, things happened pretty fast. I found an amazing local printing company, asked one of my childhood friends to bring my dream book cover to life, edited my book a thousand times, and finally, asked to print 100 copies!
In a nutshell, here’s what I would tell my younger self or anyone who wants to write a book:
- If you wait for others’ permission before following your dreams, you’ll never get started.
- If you write for others, and try to accommodate others while hiding what you love the most, your work won’t feel right because it won’t be authentic.
- Start with what you love. This will make things infinitely easier and more motivating! Write from the heart. Pour it all out. Write for yourself. (If you want a great book on doing things for yourself, I highly recommend The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha.)
- Feeling the fear of failure? This is normal. For me, I have discovered that it’s perfectly okay to feel this. I’ve just got to make sure my desire to succeed is greater than the fear. So it doesn’t matter how much fear I’m feeling, as long as my desire to succeed is even 1% more than that – it’s enough to pull me through.
- Hypothetical scenario: let’s say your book is shit. So what? You’ve still written a book. You’re an author! (I mean, do you like all of your favourite author’s books? There are bound to be some that are stronger than the others, but at the end of the day, they have still written an entire new book.) You can take any feedback you get and write another one that’s better, and another one, as many times as you need to. You won’t be starting from scratch; you’ll be starting from experience.
- Your book probably isn’t shit because it isn’t Barbarians: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants, and Islam Screwed My Generation by Lauren Southern or Western Values Defended by Olivia Pierson. You’re good.
Some lovely inspiration to leave you with – these have helped me immensely! 💖
And of course, if you would like to grab a copy of my new book, Mindful with Money, you can do so here!
I hope at least some of my musings have resonated with you and inspired you on your own journey. Stay tuned for a post on the technical self-publishing process soon!
I also have a new Instagram. For money tips & wins, follow me on @mindfulwithmoneynz.