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SkilledSmart: Mum, 32, saves $100k and pays off 'half her mortgage' in just five years

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A mum who felt she has ‘no idea what she was doing with money’ or how to manage her finances has saved $100,000 and paid off half of her mortgage in just five years, describing the impact as ‘life-changing’.

Pharmacist Sandy Gokal, 32, from Sydney, said when she was growing up, money was not something that was ‘talked about openly’ at home with her parents, and so by the time she hit her 20s, she had little experience with managing her own money.

However, all of this changed after she completed an online financial education program after she got married and bought a house.

Now, five years later, Sandy and her husband have a six-figure investment portfolio, they have saved $100,000 and paid off half of their mortgage.

Sandy has also tripled the balance of her super fund.

A mum who felt she has'no idea what she was doing with money' or how to manage her finances has saved $100,000 and paid off half of her mortgage in just five years (Sandy Gokal pictured)

A mum who felt she has ‘no idea what she was doing with money’ or how to manage her finances has saved $100,000 and paid off half of her mortgage in just five years (Sandy Gokal pictured)

Sandy said she knew she needed to change her attitude towards her finances when she hit her late 20s and had financial responsibilities:

‘Growing up, money was not something my parents talked about openly,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘They said it was important to save money, but that was about it. Investing was a totally foreign world to me. I didn’t know it was something regular people like me could do.’

She added: ‘By the time I was in my late 20s, I had just got married and we had bought a property together.

‘While we weren’t bad at saving money, now I had this huge mortgage and I still had no idea what I was doing with my finances. It was nerve-wracking.’

Sandy (pictured) said she knew she needed to change her attitude towards her finances when she hit her late 20s and had financial responsibilities like a mortgage to pay off

Sandy (pictured) said she knew she needed to change her attitude towards her finances when she hit her late 20s and had financial responsibilities like a mortgage to pay off

Sandy stumbled upon SkilledSmart’s online financial education program, Mastering Money. 

SkilledSmart is a financial education platform for adults to learn about money and personal finances founded by Paridhi Jain, after she realised that most Australians couldn’t afford a financial advisor. 

The online program Mastering Money covers all foundational financial planning topics including budgeting, investing, superannuation and more. 

 ‘For the first time ever, I felt like I understood my money and that was so empowering and exciting

‘I needed something that was practical and suitable for beginners because I didn’t have any experience in finance,’ Sandy recalled.

‘I found the Mastering Money course and it looked perfect. Within a few weeks, I could already see that it would change my life.

‘For the first time ever, I felt like I understood my money and that was so empowering and exciting.’

She added: ‘It wasn’t just basic budgeting but it also went into topics like superannuation, investing and taxes and it broke everything down really simply, very step-by-step, and in a practical way so that I could apply it to my real life straight away’.

Sandy’s tips for women looking to save more money

1. Pay attention to the small things: It’s cliché, but the small things do add up over time. Once she started to care more about her financial future, she found that she started thinking twice about whether she really wanted to spend money on something or would she rather put that toward her future.

2. Create a streamlined system to manage your income and expenses: One thing Sandy got from the program was a clearer structure on how to set up her accounts in a way that made saving money much simpler. Otherwise, you can spend a lot of energy trying not to spend money but still not seeing your bank balance change, which can be frustrating.

3. Get clear on your goals and values: The program made Sandy get clear about what her goals and values really are, and once she had that clarity she was more motivated to save money for the things she cared about. It’s not as motivating if you’re just saving for the sake of saving, without knowing why.

 

Sandy (pictured) has thousands invested into exchanged traded funds (ETFs), and she also has tripled her superannuation and paid off half her mortgage

Sandy (pictured) has thousands invested into exchanged traded funds (ETFs), and she also has tripled her superannuation and paid off half her mortgage

Sandy said she saw results quickly from the course, and within a few months had already saved thousands.

Even better, she found the confidence to invest her first $10,000, ‘fixed up’ her superannuation by making voluntary contributions and started paying down her mortgage, quickly.

They now have thousands invested into into exchange traded funds (ETFs), which are listed on the Australian share market.

Sandy said she did this even though neither she or her husband are considered typical ‘high earners’.

Having just given birth, the mum said she wants to pass on the skills to her child:

‘I’m excited I have the skills to give my child the financial education I never got growing up,’ she said.

‘I’ll have open conversations about money, teach them how to start investing and role model good behaviour from a young age.’

Paridhi Jain (pictured) is the founder of SkilledSmart, an independent financial education platform helping adults learn to save and invest their money

Paridhi Jain (pictured) is the founder of SkilledSmart, an independent financial education platform helping adults learn to save and invest their money

Sandy shared the three tips she thinks helped her to achieve her big financial goals in just a few years.

Investing is key to building wealth 

The first is that investing is absolutely key to building wealth.

‘Before the program, I didn’t really understand how money is used to create wealth through investing, or what the purpose of investing was, or what role it played in my financial future,’ Sandy said. 

‘I found the idea of investing intimidating because it seemed complicated and risky.’

But during the program, the 32-year-old discovered how ‘important it is’ to invest your money in order to build real wealth, and ‘what a big impact that can have on my future’.

She said she now understands that investing is like ‘fast-tracking’ your ability to create wealth; otherwise, you’ll be working for a long time without ever feeling like you’re getting ahead.

Taking control of your retirement fund from a young age is important 

The second lesson she learned is how important it is to take control of your super.

‘Before the program, I hadn’t thought too much about my superannuation. It was just something that my employer made a contribution to, and it was mandatory,’ Sandy said.

‘But through it, I woke up to how big a role it can play in my financial future and how taking an active interest in it can make a big impact on the balance I end up with in retirement.’

Sandy said she learned that superannuation is a form of investing, and so she started making voluntary contributions. She has now tripled her balance. 

One of Paridhi's (pictured) courses aims to teach you that anyone can learn to be good with money - and you don't need a finance degree to get successful

One of Paridhi’s (pictured) courses aims to teach you that anyone can learn to be good with money – and you don’t need a finance degree to get successful

Anyone can learn to be good with money

Finally, she said she has learned that anyone can be good with money – you don’t need a finance degree.

‘Before, I would change the channel as soon as the finance news came on, or I’d have a conversation if people started talking about it. It was boring and complicated.’

But now, the mum said she feels in control of their household finances and manages them in a successful way. 

‘With a little effort and guidance, anyone can learn to be good with money.’ 

Paridhi Jain is the founder of SkilledSmart, an independent financial education platform helping adults learn to save and invest their money.

For more money tips, you can get a free e-book on Five Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands via their website, and follow them on Instagram.



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