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Gab Pappalardo – How to spend less and live more

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Spending less doesn’t have to mean deprivation. In this episode, Ryan and Terry chat with Gab Pappalardo. Gab has been a part of the program since day one and in this episode she talks about her transformation from ‘material girl’ to elite money manager and informed investor. 

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Hey guys, it’s Terry here. I hope this finds you happy and healthy, and you’re doing as well as you can amid the current coronavirus pandemic. Today, I’ve got another special episode for you. Today, Ryan and I are talking with Gab Pappalardo. Gab is one of our earliest members in the program and she jumped on board almost on day one. In this episode, we talk about Gabs transformation from in her own words, consumer to investor, actually in her own words, she said she was a material girl but what’s interesting about her stories that she has managed to save more than 41 grand since joining the program just over a year ago. She’s also got invested, started building our own passive income in that time, whilst traveling to Europe, traveling to Bali, having a few big nights out, which we talk about and basically spending the money in very different ways. And what I think is really interesting about her story and what I’ve learned from her personally is she is someone that has been able to figure out a way to spend less, but live more at the same time. She really makes her money work better than almost anyone I know so in this conversation, we talk about her story, where she came from, how she started out, all the fears, the things that you came up against as she came into the program, all of her doubts and insecurities, how she managed to overcome those and work through them. And get to a point where she can not only save very consistently, but you can also spend lavishly on those things she really cares about without any guilt. Actually in the episode we talk about one particular experience where she has a night out that costs more than most people make in a week and was able to do that without an ounce of guilt and still feels no guilt for that decision. We also talk about some of those early moments in the program where she thought, “Oh, this isn’t for me”. And how and why that has completely changed in terms of the way she looks at money, how she uses it in her life as well. Gab tells us a bit about how she thinks about using a project mentality to overcome limitations and work on different aspects and areas of your life. She also shares with us the left field non-money related book recommendation. We gave her that had the biggest impact on a transformation today. If you’ve ever believed that in order to save more, you have to live less. Then this episode could really challenge some of those assumptions in a really good way. And if you’ve never believed that you could get on top of your finances, because you’re just not a money person then Gabs story can give you a lot of confidence as well, because when she came to us, that is exactly how she saw herself. But when you talk to her today and you look at her in this area of her life, she’s absolutely mastered it. She is a fantastic example of how anyone can go from feeling completely unsure of what to do. What’s right them, to having a laser like focus on really specific objectives that bring lots of meaning. So I hope you really enjoy this conversation and take a lot away from it? Ryan and I waited until we could be in the same room as Gab, because her personality is so infectious and her story is so entertaining as well. So I hope you enjoy this and let us know what you think as well. We’re trying to bring in a few more different stories, mix things up a little bit more this season, talk to some people on the journey, just like us and start to bring in some experts as well. So if there’s somebody that you want us to interview, please let us know. If you liked or want to see more of these type interviews as well please let us know just Kay. Reach out to us. Those guys that have been reaching out to us on Instagram, on Facebook. Just reach out to us on So let’s get into it.

Ryan: Hi guys. Welcome back to the latest episode today. We’ve got a special guest Gab. Welcome, Gab, how are you?

Gab: Hi guys. I’m really good. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Ryan: That’s good. Hey, can you give us a bit of a background to you?

Gab: Ah, yes. So I am a twenty nine year old female almost got caught there. Time flies, I’m approaching 30 and I live by myself and I lead a team at the TAC that I absolutely love. Really passionate about that and basically thanks to you guys I’m living my best life.

Ryan: Living your best life. Nice. What makes you say best life what’s happening right now?

Gab: Best life. I feel like career is on track, we’ve got development plans in place, and I’m just really comfortable and in control of my finances and also what’s really important to me in the day to day. And what habits make me really healthy and happy overall.

Ryan: The one thing that I really noticed with you every time I see you is you’re full of energy. Is that something that’s just at a height right now? Lots of energy. A lot of motivation.

Gab: Yeh definitely. So always, I think my passion definitely comes across as an Energizer bunny and yeah, when I’m really thriving, I am like an Energizer bunny

Terry: And is it like a family trait as well as the rest of your family like you?

Gab: Definitely not. I definitely, am of course the best out of all my siblings. But, no, I think I’m definitely the most bouncy ball bubbly. They all have their strengths, but I’m probably the most energy focused person.

Ryan: Now this, it’s an Italian background, isn’t it?

Gab: It is. Yes. So that’s why I’m quite so loud. Apologies to your listeners, but yeah, so my dad is Italian and my mom is Australian. So a beautiful mix of culture and, and love.

Ryan: Yeah. Nice. Obviously there’s spending your money podcast. Has that Italian background had a big impact on, your ideas around money?

Gab: Definitely, huge. And I definitely think not even just the background, but the way I was raised has a huge impact on my whole life, the way that I see money, the way that I feel about money and certainly probably stunted my growth a little bit, with money as well. I think, sorry, mom and dad.

Terry: What were the good things that your family instilled in you around money?

Gab: Yeah, so my parents ran a small business. So I think just vicariously learning around them, sitting down every night after dinner, looking at accounts, working out which invoices needed to be paid, what orders needed to be done. I think that gives you a good idea of incomings and outgoings. And I would say probably, the ability to show love with food, which costs money. My parents were very good at entertaining. And if you come over, there’s always heaps of food. There’s always that real welcome to my home. So, yeah, for me, I think that’s one of the best things

Ryan: And you’ve got a pizza oven at home.

Gab: My parents do. They do have a pizza oven Yes. Which we actually, during iso I have cranked out a few times.

Terry: It was funny cause I think one of the things I know myself personally, what I’ve learnt, from watching you and observing you in the program is you really know how to use your money well. You’ve got this really good balance between, thinking about the future and also thinking about the present and getting absolutely everything you can out of your dollar. And I think a part of that is probably because what you observed with your parents around using money to buy these experiences. Would that be fair?

Gab: Yeah, definitely. I think I was so lucky that my parents, towards my teenage years they took us overseas. They paid for me to go overseas with school. So really let me know that, that travel experience is priceless regardless of whether or not you might be able to afford it. You find the money for that stuff and I think as well, the ability to, still think about the future but because you’re saving for the future doesn’t mean you sacrifice living in the now. And I think my dad does that very well, so he might be tight on some things and say, well, I’m not paying that in the Italian accent, but, then we’ll also be very much like, Oh, it doesn’t matter, whatever it costs, it costs.

Ryan: Yeah. And that balance is one of the hardest things to get right. It’s always this friction that we have between am I enjoying life too much right now at the sacrifice of later on or the other way around. Am I scrimping too hard now? And what’s it all worth it? We’re thinking too far ahead, and we’re not enjoying life enough now. Like it’s, it’s, it’s always this tug of war that where we’re battling with.

Gab: yeah. You can liken it to like a starving binge cycle with, or, or diets with, food, people will be so strict and cut out food groups and all that stuff. Only to then binge and undo all of their hard work. But the people that do really well with maintaining weight are people who have a really healthy relationship with, well, it’s not good and bad or can, and can’t, it’s actually just part of my,

my week is some days I eat more. Sometimes I need a bit of comfort and other times I’m, I’m not interested in food, so I keep it pretty lean

Ryan: yeah, yeah. Hey, so let’s, let’s let’s go back a little bit, just gonna reflect on our journey together a little bit. So I guess it was probably 18 months ago now. I think Terry and I were just discussing, putting together a business and we’d cross paths a couple of times. And, I think I’d mentioned to you about it. And I think you were actually waiting for us to get ready to go so we could,

Gab: Yep I was. I’m pretty sure I remember hitting you up every time I’d had a few bevs somewhere

Ryan: What were the things you was thinking about back then, or, what was playing on your mind around, why you needed help?

Gab: Yeah, good question. I think for me that there’d been so much that had happened and I’d been really waiting for you guys to kick off, because I had been in this space for that six months before working with you guys where I knew that I was treading water, if not actually drowning in my finances and probably just in my life in general, I wasn’t in a great place. And I knew that for me, I thrive off achievement. So I need to be achieving to feel this energy that you spoke about and if I’m not, that’s really frustrating for me. And so I was going through this phase of what am I going to do? I’m, I’m living pay to pay, I’m borrowing money from my parents to get between the pay to pay. And I have actually no idea what’s going on. And it was, something that I didn’t want to deal with at all for a while. And then it was something that I thought actually, do you what I need to start fresh. So I made the decision to sell my house and clear my debts and basically start again. And that’s when I thought I can’t do this by myself and I need to start again with someone who can help me.

Terry: That’s a, quite a big decision

Gab: Huge

Terry: So the decision to sell a house, like focus through that one,

Gab: Yeah. So

Terry: Most people won’t do that.

Most people will go. I guess this is my lot in life and I just, I’m going to have to just deal with it.

Gab: Yeah. And that’s certainly what I, what I felt to start with because I, it was the first time I’d ever had a mortgage. First time I’d lived out of home and a lot of people were telling me “Oh, the first 12 months is always really hard”. And I’m not really the person that likes to think this is just it. But it’s very easy to get stuck in that cycle of, I just leave, pay to pay money is… Like, I don’t know how many people I know who are stressed about money. Or they’re, they’re like “Oh, I’ve run out until next payday” or whatever it is. And I was just like, I don’t want to live like this. but it takes a lot. It, I deliberated on it for a good six months around will I, won’t I. How else will I get ahead if I don’t sell my house? And certainly there are other ways, but for me, I knew that I needed a clean slate.

Terry: Was there one particular moment or a catalyst that made you like flick the switch and go, nope I’m doing this now I’m taking it from thinking about it to, I’m doing it.

Gab: Yeah. And estate agent called me and said that they, so I’d had him out to just value the house out of curiosity, and then I was going to Bali. So I said, look, I’ll go away. I’ll think about it. And I actually came home and was like, no, I’m going to stay. I’m going to create a Bali zen backyard. It’s going to be fine. And then that agent actually called me and said, look, I’ve got someone who was interested in a house like yours. Can I take them through? And I just went, Oh, okay. Yeah, this is happening. All right. So, so that was the catalyst that made me go. Actually, no, the universe has sent me the sign that it’s time to actually change it up.

Ryan: So you, you definitely felt within you that it was right decision. And then it was like, just needed some nudge, I guess to say, alright, let’s do that

Gab: I need a sign from the stars above to say, yeah, you should be doing that. And honestly, no regrets at all. Like I continually am so happy with that decision.

Ryan: So then obviously you sell a house, right? And you’ve got, you’ve got a bit of cash in the bank and sometimes that can actually come with its own its own problems, or fears cause then you’re forced to make the next decision. What did that look like for you?

Gab: So that looked like, ah, sitting on it for a period of time until I engaged with you guys, because I thought I’m going to do something wrong here. I don’t know what I’m doing. I obviously didn’t know what I was doing. That’s why I was in that situation with a mortgage. And I just thought I need to. Hold tight. I think I got a term deposit, but look, I’m not even gonna lie. I didn’t research rates or anything like that. I just went with my bank and just said, look, hold this money and make sure I don’t spend it basically, because at that point in time, leading into selling the house, I had a credit card that I was just tapping away. Like it was some magic money and someone else was going to come and pay it. Like I had no idea what was going on,

Terry: So it sounds like you were pretty aware that even though you had now cash, the money problem, wasn’t solved.

Gab: Oh no, no. And this is, wealth or, or, people say “Oh, I won tattslotto I’d do this and this”. And I’m like, no you wouldn’t, I’ve been there. I had a lot of money sitting in my bank account and all it did was terrified me that I was going to fuck it up.

Terry: Yeah. That’s so interesting because I think a lot of people would do the same as you. And when I, when that big cash influx comes in, they’d say “now my money problems are sorted”. So what, why do you think you’re different?

Gab: Because I’m very aware that it’s behavioral and that for me, it was habits. So I had no money habits. No healthy habits around money. And I had no control or clarity. And so for me, just because I’d cleared my debt and full transparency, I moved back in with my parents. So I wasn’t even then paying rent or I wasn’t purchasing anything else. But I knew that I had a long way to go before I understood what I was doing.

Ryan: Yeah talking about spending there, did you have much of a method in the way that you were handling money, within your accounts or anything like that?

Gab: No, couldn’t have even told you how much I got paid on a fortnightly basis. Yeah. It just came in and went out.

Terry: So you’re aware though that something was not right, so, I’m guessing you’ve probably tried a few things over before you come to see

Gab: Oh yeah. Even when I had the mortgage, I tried to even track, my monthly expenses, my direct debits I had, I even had a spreadsheet. So, I’m, I’m not completely like, naive about how, like I’m quite an organized person, but I just could not get that organization. And that habit into my finances for love nor money.

Terry: So it seems like you actually not clueless with this stuff, right? So you’d done some tracking, you have some spreadsheets, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t working. Could you put your finger on why that might’ve been?

Gab: I think because when you’re trying to do something out of fear, or avoidance, nothing is going to land, but because when I started working with you guys, it actually became a passion and it became this project of mine similar to, if you’re doing a course or something, it just became this project in, how do I get my personal finances into the best shape ever, basically. And, and I think what you guys do really well and have done the whole time, is. Getting us to understand the why. And so early on, before I even started with any of the daily habits, it was read this, read this blog, listened to this podcast or read this book so that you can understand more about financial literacy.

Terry: I’m glad you said what you said at the start there, which was, it turned into a project. And we discussed this before the podcast. I feel like that’s a big part of your success is the fact that you didn’t come in and say, okay, I’ve just got to get to here. I need to do this. You said I’m going to make this a project in my life. Is that something that you do in other areas or is this like the first time you’ve really thought about, okay, this area of my life, I’m going to consciously take this on and I’m going to take myself from a to b.

Gab: I think I’d done it previously only with my own health and fitness, but definitely not ever with a learning journey or any yeah. Finance or, or even career, I think to make it a passion project, that means you get energy from it and you’re excited by it. And from early days I really. You have to sit with it. You have to sit with it, go through the motions, the sessions with you guys and, and dedicate time to it. And I think that’s where the true change comes from is taking what we do with you guys and actually going away and making it that personal life project to really get that success out of it.

Ryan: Did you think that before you started this, that you would actually enjoy learning about money and the things related to it?

Gab: 50 50, I think I was worried. About a few things. one of those being, these guys are going to have a look at what I’m spending my money on and be like, what the hell is this girl doing? So that was something that I was worried about, but I must say, have never actually had any judgment from you guys at all. It’s and it’s funny how we project that, and that can be one of the stories that we tell ourselves about why we shouldn’t do something. But then the other side of it is like a really enjoy understanding, like I’m all about being an independent female. And so the more you understand and learn, I would say that I’ve never actually been happier in my whole life. And that’s started really with you guys in the dojo journey.

Terry: It’s interesting from, for me, watching the journey when you came in, you were super engaged with the idea. But for me, it looked like you really gained momentum around your own view of yourself. You made the comment to me that your brother is an accountant. Can you tell us what he said to you at one point? Not that long ago.

Gab: Yeah. So recently we were having a conversation about the books that I’ve been reading and which are, and this is what I love about the program. It’s not just finances, it’s also philosophy and all sorts of things. But, we were talking about the books that I was reading about finance, and he actually said to me that my financial literacy probably exceeds him now because he’s siloed in accountancy. And I probably got a more broad view of personal finance than he does

Terry: I love that. I’m I just got, I’ve got to get this in the podcast.

Ryan: Hopefully this chartered accountant, brother of yours has to come to you for some investment advice.

Terry: I’d love to know as well though. Have you found it? Difficult at any point, was there any, a moment in this where you were like, geez, this is actually quite challenging for me.

Gab: Oh, definitely. So, I mean, I seen your guys’ praises, but there was definitely a session where I actually doubted whether or not this was for me. And I’ll tell you about that. So we were doing this session around thinking about, when you are spending money like a proforma or a decision making principle thing, as far as where you want your money to go. And I remember, some of that session really challenged me.

And I’ll give an example if you would like. So an example around that is actually legacy. So when you think about spending money, and this is not just your everyday money but your bigger spends, will that impact the future generations or, or will that leave behind a bit of a legacy? And I remember sitting in that session going that is fucking dumb. Like there is no way that I’m interested in a legacy. I don’t have kids so that is just dumb.

Terry: And I’m pretty sure you voiced that pretty quickly. You’re like, yeah, that’s

Gab: I just challenged that straightaway. I was not interested and I actually wrote down, so I’ve got my dojo journal, which has specific to all the sessions, all the rating and everything that we do. Yes. I’m OCD with that. Sorry, listeners. But I actually remember writing in that, that I was like, nah, this session challenged me. I actually don’t know if this is for me, which looking back now is ridiculous, but yeah some sessions do challenge you.

Ryan: I love your honesty I’m pretty sure it was the same day. You said something along the lines of “I thrive on the status that can come with having a nice car”.

Terry: But what I find really interesting is the discussion we just had about that fund. Can you tell us a little bit about how that funds changed?

Gab: Yeah. So, I was working toward having my adorable little Audi car, and been tracking towards that, but it’s hard to gain

Terry: Wait wait, it didn’t start as an Audi though did it?

Gab: No. So it actually started as a Porsche Cayenne

Terry: And then what we broke it down into how many minutes of your life you’d have to work for to own that car. And then quickly it changed to an Audi.

Gab: And I think, and the biggest thing for me is. So 18 months ago, I would have been very happy to get a car loan and be able to drive out of the dealership in my brand new Porsche Cayenne not giving two thoughts to just how much I would then owe, and have to pay that car off. And I think the difference now is there is no way I would do that.

So much so that I’ve actually realized that cars are worth no money and I’m changing that account to actually philanthropy, which is a very different approach to who I used to be.

Terry: That sounds a lot like legacy that’s.

Ryan: I think that’s huge. You’re going from funding, a status symbol to philanthropy legacy.

Gab: That’s that’s true. That is just how, how much can change in this period of time.

Ryan: You might have to go back to that journal and scribble out a couple of those lines. I think

Gab: No, I think they’re valid because they’re part of that journey. Okay. How I felt is valid.

Terry: I’m just wrapped that it’s changed that much, but I’m just curious how did get to here?

Gab: Yeah. How, so I think a couple of things. The minimalism documentary. So you guys recommended that I check that out and again, I remember sitting down to watch this and I was like, this bloke has one spoon in his house. Like what?! , I like to entertain, like, how is that going to work? But, and, and I think this is a really good call out as well, you have to find what’s gonna work for you and you have to find that “this is what I want to spend money on, and this is what I don’t want to spend money on”. And I went through and I just moved into a new apartment too. So the timing was perfect. All of my stuff had been in storage and I went from a three bedroom, two bathroom house to this two bedroom apartment and so it was perfectly timed, I think, for me to go through and go, actually, do you know what; stuff creates anxiety. Like it just creates this oppression almost in, in your spaces. And so, clearing that out really started to form, almost a metaphor for my own mental health journey as well at the same time.

Terry: Yeah. Awesome.

And tell us a little bit more about what that fund is for, because what I find interesting is that. You’d had this fun for the Audi for the last 12 months, right?

Gab: Yeah.

Terry: But you actually just weren’t funding it.

Gab: No, I think I’d constantly give it about $50. And then when my money maps ran short, it was the first account that I would take money from because my other accounts I guard like they’re a baby of mine, but that one, I just, I didn’t, I lost the meaning to put money towards that goal because the goal itself, which has taken me probably a lot longer than you guys were expecting for me to actually go, this goal is not meaningful to me anymore.

Terry: Yeah. That’s the insight that I’m really interested in because you just weren’t funding it. And then you said I’m actually going to change it. And now I’m actually pretty amped about putting money into it. So what job are you going to give those dollars now?

Gab: So this is ridiculously different to anyone I’ve ever been before. But, what I really want to do is actually I’ve reached out to my old high school and I really want to spend some money on, and I don’t even know if this is possible but just really investing in the next generation. I didn’t go to a high school that was prestigious or anything like that. And so what I’m passionate about is when you’ve got people in those kinds of high schools who have this idea of what they want to be, but they just have so many obstacles in front of them and they’re not sure how, or even if it would be possible for them. I want to be a person who gives them some grant or boost , for the newest books that they’ve never had before, or, or new uniforms that have not been able to ever wear before and just feel the crispness of a, of a new blazer. That’s never been worn, that to me is where I want that money to go. Now, I really want to help that next gen.

Ryan: What I absolutely love about that Gab is we, we talk about it from time to time. I think we’ve talked about in this podcast is. But giving your money away actually does to your relationship with money as well. Because you always feel good when you give away for a special cause or something like that.

And I think it almost tells yourself that there’s going to be more of it coming into your life as well. Have you found that?

Gab: Yeah. And I think, as we said, like, this has really only just happened in the last probably month. I’ve actually shifted and made that decision about the car account and made the decision to actually give back and what I wanted that to look like. And I think it’s because when you get this sense of control. And I get energy from where all the components of my life are sitting right now. And that’s when you start to think, well, what else can I do? Or how can I give back or provide some of this energy to youth of today or the next generation or whatever it is that you’re passionate about. And so for me, that was the real turning point is I’ve actually got space now to take this passion project to the next level.

Terry: So what really strikes me about that is that very few people will set goals to give money away. And it’s probably not very common because most people feel like they’re struggling enough just with the money side of things. Now I know that you’ve now gotten to a place where that’s not the case. So talk us through what has been the platform for that decision?

Gab: Yeah. So I think. Two main things that are really helpful and have helped me get to a point where that’s from, wow, that’s a joke to actually, I really want to spend my money on other people. Which is no doubt crazy for some people, it used to be me. And the first is, when we sit down and we constantly review our life by design and what that is for people who don’t know is basically what do I want to achieve? Or what life do I want to have? And that’s what we’re working toward in the dojo, is, is ticking those boxes and getting those things. And as we’ve spoken about those things have changed for me as I’ve gone through this journey. And the other thing is, the comfortability and the control that I have with my money. So I’m very clear on where I want my money to go, to get fulfilment from it. I’m very clear on what my expenses are, and those are kinds of things that, fund the basics are the must haves, if you will. And then it’s kinda like, well, you know what, I’m consistently saving and working towards those experiences or travel or, or living as I said, my best life. I actually still have leftover, so how could I create some altruistic fund?

Terry: Yeah. You sorta talked vaguely there about some of those things are savings and the fulfilling experiences. Let’s talk about a few of those, because I think what you’re saying is, and correct me if I’m wrong, once you’re ticking all those boxes and then you still see that there’s an affluence, it’s easy for you to then start to go, well, hang on, there is enough here. There is enough to give away. So let’s talk about, the savings side of things and one of the, some of the cool jobs that you’ve given your money over the last year or so.

Gab: Yes, all the jobs that my money has had. So I went to Europe. I also had a sneaky trip to Bali. I almost a bit of a foodie. So anyone in Victoria, there’s a restaurant that is quite sought after that costs quite a significant amount to go and eat there. And it’s called Brae and I did that. I also went to Heston’s for New Year’s Eve.

Terry: So you skipped over the Brae one

Gab: Yeah.

Terry: Let’s just dive into that one for a

Terry: So tell us how much did you spend on that dinner?

Gab: Yes. So we ended up, we thought, why not go the full experience? So we had a Degustation lunch, a picnic box dinner that they put together for you because we decided to stay at their accommodation as well. And it probably landed about a $1,500 for the weekend.

Terry: Yeah. The reason I wanted to dig into that is because you have no regrets over that right?

Gab: No way. And I had no guilt at the time. And if you want to, I can talk to how that came about. Like how do you drop 1500 on a weekend, really centered around food, and actually managed to feel no guilt. So how that happens is, through the dojo process, really, you get so

clear on, on what you want to spend your money on and there are things I don’t spend money on anymore, and those are the things that I found actually don’t bring in value. So we’ve talked about this term of fast fashion. So you won’t see me wearing the latest threats, unless it’s active wear. And that’s because I don’t believe in fashion like I used to. I would buy things and literally wear them three times that either get too small or, you just go, Oh, that was last year’s outfit and get rid of it thing. And that for me, Became really clear that it’s not a priority for me. It’s not something I get joy out of. What I get joy out of is, sharing a meal. Brunch is huge for me. So I’m always out for brunch or grabbing coffee on the weekends, and then really saving towards allocating money to these really cool and in-depth dining experiences. Because for me that, that just brings me a whole new joy in experiencing flavors and things like that.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s great. Have you found that that has changed for you over the last couple of years before? Doing something like this and, I guess. What creates that is actually having a lot of clarity about one way you’re heading to, awareness around, how you’re tracking towards your goals to comfortability, to, to know that you’re still making progress so that you can enjoy those experiences. Have you found that, that has changed in the last couple of years?

Gab: Oh, definitely. So I mentioned before, I had no idea where my money was coming or going. And I used to, if I wanted to do something outlandish like that, I would throw it on the credit card, which that has no sense of pride. When you’re throwing things on a credit card. That means you have to pay them off at some stage. And at that point in time, it was. Someone else anyone plays pay that off for me. Whether as now, when you can plan out your month ahead and go, yep. I’m going to Brae on this date. I’m allocating this much money for it. The sense of pride in being able to do that and still potentially save on top of that for your month is just, profound.

Ryan: Yeah, we actually, we did the math before so over the last, 14 months, I think it was maybe 15 months, we looked at how much you’ve saved in that period of time and probably should disclose here, like you’re, you’re in your late twenties, you’re earning okay money, but it’s not extravagant money. You’re doing well in your career but really what it has been is you being very intentional in the way that you use your money so that there’s no waste. So thinking about your spending, you’re happy to share how much you have saved in that 15 months?

Gab: Yeah. Yeah. Happy. Do you want to rip the band aid off?

Ryan: Do you want me to share?

Gab: Go for it

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. So, in those 15 months, you’ve been able to save 31,000 in cash. So money that you still have, I think 14,000 of that has gone into your investment portfolio. But as you were saying, you’ve just had all these cool experiences too. We worked out, to be about 10, 11,000 worth of experiences that you’ve actually funded, which is effectively saving as well. Right? So 41, $42,000 worth of savings. That’s it’s quite extraordinary. It’s great. It’s a great year.

Gab: It really is, it’s actually. I can’t stress enough how different that is to who I used to be. And just the fact that I feel like throughout this journey with you guys, I’ve really nailed, how do I prepare for the future and save for that legacy and that investment portfolio and buying a house again, but also still thrive in the now and allow myself to have those experiences or go and travel with the people that I love. Cause that’s very important to me.

Ryan: Yeah, nice. And obviously this is called the Passive Income Project and we’re always thinking and talking about investing. So you got invested about 12 months ago.

Gab: I did. Yes.

Ryan: How did that feel? Was that a big deal at the time and took us through that?

Gab: I think it was because I think for me, no one, I knew at that point in time and still, I probably only know like one or two people in my actual personal life who have invested because everybody went property. And I think, the great Australian dream is. Get a property. Once you get that, pay down, get another property. It doesn’t matter that you don’t actually own either of them, but get property. And for me, it’s been really big in, challenging that belief and often having conversations with people who don’t understand why I would put my money in the risky

investment portfolio. And so for me at the time, it was a huge decision because it was going against what a lot of people who I trust believe. But I don’t regret it at all

Ryan: Talk me through, going back, so you you’re going invested and obviously it’s been 12 months now, so there’s, there’s been a bit of passive income. There’s been a bit of income.

Gab: There has, yeah.

Ryan: That exciting getting the first one rolling?

Gab: So exciting, but then looking back at the 12 months. So I did a whole 12 months and I think it landed at like four K and for me to earn 4k, just because my money is sitting in an investment platform is ridiculous. Like I don’t have to do anything. And this is where for me. The difference between going into property, you’ve got stress, you’ve got insurances to cover and all sorts of things. All I have to do is contribute a little bit of extra money into that investment platform. And it’s just going to tick away. And if, I think like $4,000, as I continue to build that portfolio, that is the passive income project. And that, that just inspires me for what I might do with freedom in the future.

Ryan: Yeah. Oh, that’s great. And we always talk about control of time, and buying back time with passive income. For you, now that’s, that’s a month and a half, six weeks probably of your living expenses they’re funded. So we always say you’ve bought back six weeks of your life


Terry: But what about so. Just recently we’ve, we’ve experienced the volatility side of, of investing too. So talk us through that. So yeah. Passive income dividends. We love that.

Gab: Yeah.

Terry: We’ve now seen the other side of it we’ve now seen why we get passive income and that’s because of volatility. How have you found watching the market drop and hearing what everyone is saying and the news and all that stuff. How have you gone with that?

Gab: It takes me back to one of our first, early on in our conversations around that challenge between people who think properties the way and people who think investment is a way. And I’ve read a lot of books that you guys have recommended and listened to podcasts and read blogs about this. And I think it’s all of that work to become really comfortable in your decision. And one of my favorite things is if someone came and valued your house every day, would it always be valued what you think it is? The answer to that is, is no. Whether as, I can always go in and look at what my portfolio is worth, is that healthy? No. And so, it’s, it’s just really taking that long term view and knowing that I am accumulating wealth over time. There is, there’s no rushing that there’s no buy today, sell tomorrow anything complex or, or trying to beat the game, because if you’re trying to win at the end of the day, you’re not making money. You just need to be patient and focus on habits is what I’ve learned.

Terry: Trying to win means you lose

Gab: Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent.

Terry: Has it been any one piece of content or any one book or, or blog or podcast or something that’s really struck for you and hit home where you’ve gone, “well, like that has fundamentally changed my thinking here”

Gab: Ah, so totally not finance related, but, Man’s Search For Meaning. So you guys recommended that. And as I said it was at a point in time where I was really looking for, how am I going to find that energetic and really passionate G again and what does that look like? And so reading a book that’s quite philosophical at a time that combines with when you’re trying to sort out your personal finances, which is really well timed, and it really talks about surviving really hard situations. And what is the difference between people who survive it and, and get through it and people who actually perish, and by no means, is it an extensive ‘how to survive trauma’, but it’s certainly, really helped me as far as what is my purpose and what do I really want to do with my life.

Terry: That’s interesting for me, cause we’re talking about dealing with volatility in the markets and your mind’s gone to “he who has a way to live for can bear almost any how” So, I’m

wondering whether there’s any link between the ability to really think forward about the purpose of your life and, and broaden that perspective and then handle the short term bullshit really,

Gab: Yeah. And I think if I can also draw a comparison to obviously, the COVID situation as a whole, we have got, people out there who are losing jobs or, or people who are realizing that living pay to pay is significantly traumatic in times like this. And one of the things that we set up early on in the program is your cash cushion, which basically means you can survive for a certain period of time you’ve got this just in case fund or safety net money. That is purely the purpose of that money is for me, comfort and reassurance that anytime if I lose my job or something happens, I have got, and for me, it’s three months, which is because I’m single and have no children. Three months worth of expenses up my sleeve. So if I lost my job today, I could leave for three months quite comfortably, even probably stretch it to four or five months. And that, that to me is, is that difference, is comfortability and reassurance.

Terry: Importantly, that’s not including your portfolio and all those other things we’re talking about funding.

That’s just the job of, that’s just a sit there.

Gab: It just sits there and is my safety net. That’s exactly right. So that is a separate account to my investment portfolio, my house savings account, my experiences fund, which is currently on pause because “Year of 30” has been significantly impacted by COVID

Ryan: You are quite career driven. You enjoy personal development and really getting the best out of yourself in most arenas. What has figuring out the money equation for you, how has that changed how much you can commit your time and energy and your focus to work?

Gab: It’s less stress. So you’re not worried. I mean, I used to be checking my bank account all the time, trying to make sure, am I going to get through or do I have to figure things out. Once that disappears, you can really start to focus on, being at work for work and for purpose and passion and it’s actually really interesting. So only recently have I decided that actually the team that I’ve got and the job that I have is amazing. I don’t actually need to earn more money. I don’t need to chase that next rung on the career ladder. I could actually look at a passion side project, or at the moment the focus is giving back rather than that constant driving towards what’s the next step cause I need an extra $10,000 cause I’ve already spent it. And that I think is, it’s probably where I would be, if it wasn’t for you guys. I’d be spending money that I didn’t have, so I’d be chasing that promotion to get more money, to pay for money that’s already gone, which sounds terribly confusing, I know.

Terry: What’s interesting, you’re not the only person to say that we’ve had that same comment from a couple of other members have said the same thing. I actually feel like I’m off the treadmill.

Gab: Yes. Yeah.

Terry: Cause what you just said there is the treadmill, which is why I need it now figuring out how to earn more money. I’ve got to do the, I need to do, I guess I’ve got to stay late because I got to be seen to be, putting myself up for this next promotion and you don’t have any of that.

Gab: Yeah. And for me, especially with that wellbeing side of things, it’s actually not worth it. I can now look at the next rung for me would be maybe an extra 15,000 a year. And I’m like, it’s not worth the stress or the challenge that you might get from other people as you start really striving toward that. And certainly I’ve already experienced it enough of that in my career to kind of last me a life time. And it’s not to say that I don’t care about my development because I really do, and I still will, but it’s just around. Maybe it’s actually something that’s more fulfilling outside of work as a passion project, rather than chasing that next rung on the career

Ryan: It’s actually quite stoic in nature. Instead of saying, I’m gonna earn more so that I can spend more, cause it’ll make me happier. You’ve said I’m going to spend less, but enjoy what I spend it on more and not worry about trying to earn more. I think that’s great. It’s a there’s a lesson in that for, I think for a lot of people.

Terry: For me, you’re actually living more, but you’re spending less.

Gab: Definitely, definitely because what I’m spending my money on provides me real validation or real experi

Terry: Hmm. What does it, how does it feel to know that you’re at this point where you’ve got the skill and the smarts and the habits to know that you’re probably going to be more than fine for the rest of your life. Right? You don’t need, at this point, you don’t need us,

Gab: But I love you guys.

Terry: I know, I know, but how does it feel to know that that, that part of your life is always going to be a lock from now on you’ve got the capability to deal with it.

Gab: I really look at life from a holistic approach around puzzle pieces. And for me, once I sold that house, the two main puzzle pieces where my mental health and my wellbeing and my personal finance, and I really feel like those puzzle pieces, I found them and they’ve landed. And now it’s actually just chiselling the sides to continually perfect them. I think. Evolution is huge and we have to keep evolving. You never master something it’s never perfect. And so the role of you guys and, and the role of the dojo is still profound in my monthly journey and understanding money and my decisions and behavior around money.

Ryan: Yeah. Do you find, the accountability side of it, helps you stay consistent with that? Is that right?

Gab: Yeah, I think so. And, and also just talking to people who really get it, it’s, it is hard we don’t talk about money. And so it’s, it’s amazing having people that you can reach out to and say, ‘Hey, I’ve tested this theory doesn’t land, or what else could I do?’

Ryan: So I guess now you’re in this place where you feel like you’ve solved those puzzle pieces, which is great. And we’re so, humbled that we’re actually able to play a bit of a part in that as well. If you were to, teleport back and have a conversation with yourself a couple of years ago, what would that conversation look like?

Gab: Yeah. And just side note, you guys have been a huge part of this journey. But if I could just say to myself, it would really be you don’t have to figure it out yourself. And it’s okay to be vulnerable and to open yourself up to say, do you know what? I can’t do this by myself. And that’s okay. I actually don’t know. But through hard work and consistency, mostly consistency in habits and development, you will get there and it’s so worth it. It’s worth those hard conversations, it’s worth the accountability check-ins because to get to that future point is, is amazing.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s just, it’s one step at a time. And eventually you look back and you say that you’ve walked a mile.

Gab: Definitely. If you had, have told me at that time that if I do this, I could save 30 K. That would have been ridiculous. Like it would have been so farfetched that I wouldn’t have believed it. And it would have sounded like a gimmick

Ryan: And you would’ve thought that you would have had to keep up all those experiences that you had to be able to do that.

Gab: Oh, absolutely. And I know I mentioned that I gave up clothes shopping, but I don’t miss it at all. Like, I kid you not. I don’t online shop on a walk past shops and looking in like, Oh, I miss you. Definitely not, definitely not.

Ryan: So would you say that you’re still a material girl?

Gab: I’m an “experience girl”

Terry: I would agree Gab, I think you are an “experience girl”, but you’re also an investor. You’re an owner in a lot of companies across Australia and it is a credit to you. So, is there anything that you want to say before we wrap it up?

Gab: I think we’ve covered everything. I just think if you’re worried, or you’re not sure how to change, reach out to these guys because they will break it down and help you like they have for me. And it’s not just about personal finance, it’s changed my whole life.

Terry: Thank you for that.

Gab: Thanks for having me

Terry: We’ll we’ll pay you for that little plug later on. Haha, thanks so much for coming Gab. It’s been a real pleasure.

Gab: Likewise.