Twenty years, ten months and twenty seven days ago I looked up into a star filled night sky and I was overcome by feelings of regret, fear, loss and embarrassment.
Eight years earlier I had graduated from one of the most prestigious and expensive schools in Australia “The Kings School”, won a National Swimming Title and was the “golden child” in the eyes of my family and friends. Aside from average academic ability had a choice of any career I wanted.
However by my twenty fifth birthday I’d dropped out... no failed university; burnt countless relationships, partied way to hard, had more casual jobs than I could remember and was living week to week, often borrowing from family and friends till my next pay.
I didn’t like where I was, what I had become and what the future would hold if I was to continue down the same path I was on. I also remember thinking massive change only comes from massive action.
I won’t bore you with the emotional details however on my twenty fifth birthday I decided to commit to a savings plan of $100 per month. I soon calculated that this would never be enough to be rich “financially free”. So I reassessed and upped my savings to my maximum possible commitment of $250 per week, which was about 60% of my income.
I also defined how much investment income I wanted to be “financially free”, back in 1996 this was $50,000 per year. In my projections I also estimated how much this would require in investments and long this would take. Using a 10% total return and then a 5% income I estimated needed $1,000,000 of investments, and this would require a commitment of twenty two years to achieve my “financial independence”.
At first saving 60% of all my income was horrible. I had to change my priorities and attitude. In hindsight my drive probably came from my desire to punish myself for my earlier failings, prove to myself I wasn't a failure and to feel some sense of worth when I was around others.
After three month's my motivation was less emotional. I'd learnt no trained myself to do more with less and at the same time started to relish this new commitment, in a similar way I had previously when training in the pool for my swimming. I also realised the only control I had was my savings amount and my regularity i.e. my goal will be achieved as long as I simply do the work.
With greater confidence came higher goals and I decided to set myself a stretch goal of $15,000, saved by the end of twelve months and the reward being any money saved above this I could spend however I wanted and with this as my reward I took on extra shifts and threw myself into learning more about investments and finances.
More than making a commitment, I found that it’s the doing that moves you forward. This "doing" gave me focus again in life and self confidence that had had gone M.I.A. between finishing school and my twenty fifth birthday. It also opened doors of opportunity for me, transitioning from casual bar worker, to bank teller, financial adviser to establishing my own boutique financial planning business, where I now have the privilege to help others also become financially independent for themselves too.
The following are some insights I have discovered on my journey to be “financially independent”
If you are stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. The following articles may also be of help.
7 Ways to be Instantly Free and Start Living Your Dreams (ideal life) Now!
From Little Things Big Things Grow
The Story of Four Horses: Excellent Ones. Good Ones. Poor Ones and Bad Ones
What's Important To You?
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.
“What’s important about money to you?” I asked a prospective client who came to me for some advice. To which they replied “Well I’d rather be rich and unhappy than poor and unhappy”.
On the surface this sounds a valid and reasonable response. It also reflects our modern day society’s appetite and drive for achievement, however rather than helping us it may be deceiving us of what maybe a better way.
Let’s use the following personal experience to put this in perspective.
My goal weight is 78kg. When I’m above this weight I feel unhappy and unsatisfied.
My desire to achieve my happy weight motivates me to over exercise, over diet, become overly tired, then give up.
Often I’d find myself with a spoon in one hand and a bowl of ice-cream in the other, accepting failure again and the entire experience negatively impacting not only my self-esteem but my work, my relationships, my health and finances too.
Furthermore the times when I achieved my goal weight, within the next six to twelve months my weight is back on or more and I’m left wondering how I got there. A feeling of exhaustion and defeated wash over me as I accept that this maybe simply be my lot in life i.e. constantly experiencing this painful process over and over again. So much for happiness!
The above example could also apply to savings goals, business goals, healthy eating goals and relationships.
“Insanity is doing the same thing 100 times and expecting a different outcome”. Albert Einstein
Is there an easier and better way?
In life I have learnt that “our thoughts are things”. We buy into our thoughts by internalising them and through our choices and efforts they become our reality. In the same light our money choices are a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves and also become our reality.
Often we approach the attainment of our ideal self with our negative thoughts self-perception of lack, unattractiveness and self-criticism (see above). Applying this approach often results in dramatic but unsustainable changes to our lives, like a crash diet.
However what if we were to simply accept who we are and start to embrace the activities of the person who we really want to be?
In a radical experiment to embrace wholeness in my life rather than happiness, so far I have experienced less stress, greater focus, a higher tolerance to say no, greater enjoyment and energy to do the activities of a person fulfilled.
How did I do it? Firstly I followed the money, tracking where I spent money, the reason why how I felt at the time.
Doing this for two weeks I began to see a patterns of purchases and emotions i.e. feeling flat=buying junk food, feeling exhausted=buying take away, weekend=alcohol. Going to the gym= feeling good, drinking water= feeling healthier, new home meal=fun& enjoyable.
By identifying where I spent money then linking it my feelings at the time has shifted my perspective from seeking happiness to one of wholeness.
Wholeness simply means complete, lacking nothing, entire, undivided and uninjured. It evolves, gives and is regenerative. Wholeness “becomes” rather than "strives" and by default it naturally purges itself from impurities, through ones thoughts and actions.
In the past my pursuit for happiness was a roller coaster of emotions that left me exhausted, burnt out and depressed.
Today I am inspired to exercise daily because it make me feel more whole. The by-product of this is I drink more water, eat healthier and by default (not focus) my weight is reducing.
I am also inspired to write about my discoveries and journey because it also makes me feel more whole. The by-product is I feel more accountable to myself, I personally grow and have the opportunity to positively help others.
Thanks for reading and if you feel it resonated with you feel free to forward it or share it with a friend.
About Peter Horsfield
Well friends, 2016 is now dry cement.
However before we embark on our plans for 2017 I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2016 that was.
I do this at the start and end of each year to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life.
The past maybe dry cement, but I believe it’s also important to also celebrate how far we’ve come, reflect on where we could have done better and put myself out there publicly as a form of motivation to do the work I need to do in making my plans a reality.
I hope that you find my wins, stumbles, and insights help you on your own journey to getting the most in life.
Each year I ask and I answer three basic questions.
Feel free to apply a similar format for your own journal.
1. What went well in 2016?
As I like to begin on a positive let’s cover the wins of 2016. Here’s what went well in the year that was.
Finances: Our biggest win in 2016 would be our improved financial position. We rented our property in Milsons Point fully furnished which has added an additional $2,000 per week to our cash flow. With this additional income our savings have rocketed and our out of pocket holding costs (strata) has been slashed by over $20,000 a year.
We also purchased and moved into a fully furnished mortgagee sale unit in Paradise Palms that originally sold for in 2010 for $506,000 for $215,000.
Relationships: After a challenging 2015 which included moving to Cairns, buying a small financial planning business, adapting to the FNQ weather and what it does to my wife’s hair. Things settled down in 2016, including my wife’s hair. Once again we are team Horsfield, with the same values, goals and respect for each other (there was a time when…). It’s a fulfilling feeling being on the same page as your partner.
Owning a small business with your partner means 24/7 discussions, planning, actioning and accountability and you can’t escape or hide. So accepting this and getting on with the job at hand i.e. running a business by leveraging each our strengths and coming together in overcoming each of our lesser abilities has ensured nothing falls through the cracks and brought more peace and certainty to the relationship.
Spirituality: You can’t help but feel part of something bigger or a spiritual connection living inCairns. We are literally surrounded by nature. Living in Paradise Palms we back onto a rainforest with beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes and access to the Great Barrier Reef is on our doorstep.
On weekends we mountain bike and collect the fruits from Natures Pantry (as I like to call it), wild mango’s, coconuts, jackfruit, passionfruit, bananas and lychees are just a few of the fruits we freely collect. Also our home has fresh wild flowers, Bird of paradise, Ginger and Orchids, all free to cut bring home.
What resonates most with us is being spiritual beings having a human experience. We have many, many faults however forever depending relationship with Christ has lifted our burdens of guilt so that we can even more be enriched and blessed in our relationship with him.
Travel: 2016 was a big year for travel, both internationally (3 countries) January was spent skiing in Japan at Nozawa Onsen. May my wife was in Malaysia for a week long school reunion. September we travelled to the Hawaiian Islands for two weeks.
Domestically we travelled up and down the east coast of Australia for both business and pleasure (x 6). Our most memorable experience was climbing Mount Warning in the morning, swimming in Byron Bay in the afternoon followed by sunset cocktails on the balcony of our apartment on the Gold Coast. A great day!
Business: Albeit the frustrations of being new in town and a New South Welshman in Far North Queensland progress is grinding slowly forward.
In short we continue to exceed our client’s expectations as their investments grow, their debts reduce and they tell us they have greater confidence to achieve their goals and continue to meet their living expenses.
We also continue to grow our online presence with media contributions and blogs. A big thanks to our reader’s comments of appreciation. Knowing your thoughts resonate with you lifts our spirits and lets us know our publishing efforts are not in vein.
Here are some quick stats
The truth is, it doesn’t matter if I write for myself, friends or a huge audience. My modus operandi is the same, are my words authentic, relevant and add value. I promise to continue writing articles to help you achieve your goals sooner.
2. What didn’t go so well this year?
Look in the mirror. That’s your competition!
Motivation: What’s wrong with me? Here I am living in paradise, with a 25m competition pool 50 metres from my apartment. Next to my office is a 1000 sqm fully equipped gym with hourly classes and I can’t seem to get motivated to swim each morning or work out more than a day a week. I have no excuse, period.
This lack of motivation has cascaded across many other areas including health, marketing the business and diet. My sense is that I’m still processing past echoes of burnout and at the same time I’m afraid to put a step wrong moving forward. Unfortunately taking this approach has lead me to do nothing, resulting in stagnation and a general sense of apathy.
Health: Beer, wine, sugar, chips, cheese, ice-cream, bread and bacon 1 vs Me 0. As you can imagine even the once a week exercise I was kidding myself with had no chance to offset the calories I was consuming. Naturally I have added +10kg to my scales and made it even more difficult to enjoy exercising and feel good physically. Put down that lolly Peter!
Posts: My goal at the start of last year was to write a post per week. Whilst initially motivated my posts soon ran to a fortnight then month then every now and then. My downfall was that in writing personal and revealing posts about my experiences I begun to believe it was lessening others view of me. When my intent was to share the raw and real me having the courage and strength to talk and help others through my own experiences.
New Client Referrals: While the focus squarely on adding more value to our existing clients, improving business process efficiencies, the push for client referrals took a back seat.
In retrospect my enthusiasm for new clients was also battered by my fear of putting a step wrong, not losing clients, and a general public distrust of financial advisers being fuelled by industry scandals played out daily across the media. So instead of get out and promoting our value it was easier to avoid the rejection, surf the net for other ideas, industry news, the US election and snow reports in Japan.
I also believe that I lacked crystal clarity and vision, i.e. I was trying to be all things to all people. While I didn’t totally gave up on seeking new clients, my general malaise meant potential clients didn’t get to experience our point of difference, which is More Money, More Time and Improved Quality of Life.
3. What am I going to do better?
Habit over goal: Rather than setting myself a goal, failing, emotionally beating myself up, engraining with evidence that I am failure, which is never good for one’s self esteem.
The next 12 months will be about changing my habits. Letting go of the past and embracing habits that help me rather than hinder me in who I am. For example two large glasses of water before every meal, so I feel full and don’t over eat. Exercise daily accepting that this is just what I do as well as posting a great article every week of 2017.
I have already experienced the liberation of adjusting my habits by turning off my phone when I reach home and not turning it on until I’m next in my office.
Clarity: Knowing what we stand for is empowering and satisfying. It enhances efficiencies, adds value and attracts likeminded people who place a higher value on what we do versus our competition.
We give clients the evidence they are on track or can maintain their financial independence worry free is our calling and we can quantify this with their evidence of More Money, More Time and an improved Quality of Life, this is our point of difference.
New Experiences: I am heading back to Japan this January for my annual ski, however this time I plan to travel on the bullet train, a first for me. We have also decided to stay on in japan an bit and site see Shinjuku and Tokyo. Later in the year we will be travelling to Portugal, Spain & Morocco for a month. It’s been a lifelong dream to experience Morocco and “Rock the Casbah!”
And so draws the close on 2016. Thank you for reading my posts throughout the past year and I look forward to sharing more of what I have learnt along the way throughout 2017 with you. Have a fantastic year ahead.
Here’s an interesting thought. “Thoughts are things” and our thoughts directly impact our lives. They are the building blocks of our focus, feelings, validation and self-esteem.
So there is some truth in the saying “Choose one’s attitude and you choose one’s life”, however what if our attitude is one of worry & fear?
Studies have found about 86% of us classify ourselves as worriers. Maybe a better career choice would be to become a Fearessional (a person who fears professionally).On average people are worrying approximately 2hrs a day.
Source How much time do you spend worrying?
Paradoxically we are living in a time when we have better health, environment, communication, transparency, greater safety, financial security and less wars.
How do you deal with your worries and fears?
For many the above list is the purpose of life. For others and my prior self-belief, this list is how we tolerate the worry and fears we each face daily in our lives; helping, hurting and holding us back from our own peace, happiness and joy.
Here are some other interesting findings about worries and fears
Back to thoughts and things.
One of my realisations after moving to Cairns from Sydney is that I didn’t have to live in Sydney full time to access the benefits Sydney, or the benefits any big city had to offer.
When I wanted to visit I did and when I didn’t, well I didn’t and since making this move my happiness and quality of life has significantly improved.
The truth is we all have a choice and while all choices come with consequences, they also come with benefits i.e. the reason we follow through with our choices. However we don’t need to be immersed 24/7 in news and information to stay informed.
The following is how choose each day to break my worry and fear cycle, and put down that cookie…
Since choosing to embrace these daily habits my life has expanded. Decluttering the noise and distractions has lifted my spirits and increased my gratitude. My health has improved, as has my relationships, finances, client satisfaction and conversations with people. I have more confidence in my choices and I have more time for the things important to me.
Peace of mind is a choice. It requires commitment, guts and courage.
So while it’s not easy to say no it is immensely freeing, remember when you do start to worry there is a 85% chance what you are worrying about will never happen.
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