Discovering the FIRE Movement in Australia

FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early (or as some people like to call it, FIOR - Financial Independence, Optional Retirement).

It’s as much of a mindset as it is a way of life or an aspirational goal. Over the last year, I discovered this movement in Australia (which is already quite large in the US), and have dived deep into learning as much as I can.

FIRE is all about increasing your savings rate, consuming less, pursuing happiness and having the financial freedom and flexibility to choose if, how and when you work. FIRE is not necessarily about frugality (although some pursue it that way) and retiring to do nothing all day. The retirement part is optional, but by being financially independent you have more opportunities to direct your life and make decisions out from a position of strength.

When you achieve Financial Independence you gain the ability to live off of your personal finances, without the requirement of a salary to maintain your lifestyle. A common aim of the FIRE movement is to have 25x your annual cost of living invested in a diversified portfolio, with a safe annual withdrawal rate of 4%.

I guess the big attraction of financial independence for me, is the feeling of empowerment and self-sufficiency it can give you. For me, it’s not necessarily about early retirement (although I may choose that), but the ability to make choices from a position of strength and give back to the world.

My discovery of FIRE came from reading through copious amounts of online content and clicking from site to site. To get you started I have listed below some of my favourite FIRE resources from around the web (which I will add to regularly).

Here are some of the best FIRE resources from around the web:

And some more resources that are specifically Australian:

And of course some Podcasts (via iTunes):

And (coming soon) my top FI book recommendations…

As I continue on my FIRE journey I plan to share what I learn and discover here, as a record of my discoveries and growth. Please feel free to share your FI questions or stories with me, I’d love to hear from you!

And as I read in the April 2018 edition of Money Magazine Australia - ‘Don’t make your life about money. Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Don’t get lost along the way.’

Until next time,

Kate

 

March 2018 Letter

I’m writing this on the way home from a short Easter weekend trip to New Zealand to visit family. There’s just something about the rolling hills and valleys over there that fills you with peace and happiness - and it gave me a chance to reflect on the busy first quarter of 2018. This month I smashed through two university subjects, saw Ed Sheeran live, published an article about ETFs on How To Money with BetaShares and traveled to NZ to visit family - and next month is going to be just as busy!

One of my favourite Self-Directed Learning advocates is Blake Boles - and I highly recommend his latest post on the Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), titled Hail the Almighty Diploma. Blake highlights that ‘most formal education is about showing off—a.k.a. “signaling”—not building actual skills. After learning basic reading, writing, and arithmetic, the majority of schooling is functionally useless to the majority of students. You don’t go to school to gain skills, you do it to signal your intelligence, diligence, and conformity to future employers.’

There is a lot of truth in what Blake says in his article, and it always reminds me to truly consider why I’m studying my degree. Yes, it’s definitely a signal to society and opens up more pathways for me, but I’m also doing it to learn more about business and research in a practical way.

New Content on How To Money

Exploring ETFs with BetaShares

Risk, Return and Diversification

HTM Submission Guidelines

What is a Share?

Interesting Reads from Around the Web

5 Ways to Create Value Through a Blog Post - Praxis

Six ways to get fiscally fit without ever breaking a sweat - Money Magazine Australia

303 Life Lessons We All Learn But Keep Forgetting - Niklas Göke

How Students Can Build Their Personal Brand While in University - The Mission

Have a wonderful April!

Kate

 

Project Management: A Practical Exploration

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As part of my Business Management Degree, I recently finished a unit on the Fundamentals of Project Management. While I found this unit slightly challenging, I really enjoyed learning about the concepts and real-time application of the project management theory and frameworks.

The great thing about this degree is that the assignments can all be applied to your own workplace, which is useful because at a financial technology company there’s always a few projects on the go. So what exactly did I learn from all this? Well funny you asked because I’ve elaborated on some of my key takeaways below!

I discovered what exactly Project Management is and what the key components are.

Project management can be defined as the ‘application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements’ (Jeong and Bozkurt, 2014, p.183). Jeong and Bozkurt (2014) also highlight that project management can then be broken down into five process groups; initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing.

These components are important parts of the project lifecycle, which ‘consists of several stages during which deliverables are created and end with approval of the deliverables’ (Assudani and Kloppenborg, 2010, p.68).

I learnt about project charters, and why they’re important.

Project charters are the documents that spell ‘out the nature and scope of the work, and management’s expectations for results’ (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). The project charter also includes the project’s goals, which define the direction and destination of the project and provide the bigger picture to all involved stakeholders (Belicove, 2013).

Project charters are important because of the communication piece, as so often with teams there is a lack of communication between departments and management. Having a project charter means that someone has to sit down and nut out the details and expectations for the project, providing greater clarity for the entire team.

I had fun trawling through the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).

As part of the coursework, I planned my project using the Project Integration Management (PIM) framework. This framework is internationally recognised and is part of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

The key components of PIM are as follows:

  1. Initiating — Develop Project Charter
  2. Planning — Project Management Plan
  3. Execution — Direct and Manage Project
  4. Monitoring & Control — Monitor and Control Project and Perform Integrated Change Control
  5. Closure — Final Product

I learnt why stakeholder analysis is an important consideration in any project.

In stakeholder analysis, it is important to consider ‘which functions or people might be affected by the project’s activities or outcomes, who will contribute resources (people, space, time, tools, and money), and who will use and benefit from the project’s output’ (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). This means understanding the needs of both clients and staff, in order to achieve a better outcome.

I also learnt about the importance of considering the requirements of the businesses investors and board members, who are heavily invested in the future success of the company (in my particular case).

And lastly, I tested around 10 project management softwares to discover my current favourite

And the winner is monday.com, formally known as Dapulse (they recently had a name change).

  Image sourced from  monday.com

Image sourced from monday.com

There are some great features within this software such as; task management tools, timeline visualisation, the ability to assign team members to tasks and communicate within the program. It’s definitely worth checking out as an option if you need some task/project management software for your business.

Project Management has definitely been an interesting unit and I’m looking forward to starting my next two units shortly.

Until next time,

Kate

Get in touch with me at hello@katecampbell.info 


References Used Above

Assudani, R. and Kloppenborg, T. (2010). Managing Stakeholders for Project Management Success: An Emergent Model of Stakeholders. Journal of General Management, 35(3), p.68.

Belicove, M. (2013). Understanding Goals, Strategy, Objectives And Tactics In The Age Of Social. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikalbelicove/2013/09/27/understanding-goals-strategies-objectives-and-tactics-in-the-age-of-social [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].

Project Management Institute. (2018). Learning: Featured Topics. [online] Available at: https://www.pmi.org [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

Harvard Business Review Staff (2016). The Four Phases of Project Management. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/the-four-phases-of-project-management [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

Harvard Business Review Staff (2016). Your Project Needs a Charter. Here’s What That Means. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/your-project-needs-a-charter-heres-what-that-means [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].

Jeong, K. and Bozkurt, I. (2014). Evaluating a Project Management Simulation Training Exercise. Simulation & Gaming, 45(2), pp.183–184.

January 2018 Letter

January had been a month filled with beach walks, catching up with friends and heading back to work. I’ve also been busy setting my goals and intentions for 2018, which has given me a clear and purposeful start to the year.

Portfolio_ 2018.png

Setting goals and intentions is a really great way to evaluate where you currently are, where you strive to be and how you can get there. For goals to be achievable they need to be broken into achievable and manageable action steps, otherwise you’ll make it to January 2019 without making progress towards your goals.

Portfolio_ 2018-3.png

Some of my 2018 goals and intentions are as follows:

  • Walk more regularly in the mornings + attend self-defence classes
  • Complete half of my Business Management Degree
  • Start planning for my 2020 overseas travel adventure year
  • Build on the How To Money podcast and website and bring in guests, in order to share personal finance concepts with more young Australians  
  • Learn to cook some basic dishes

My main focus this year is on making it through the first half of my Business Management Degree, and working on building the How To Money site. Studying while working full-time is a challenge, but it has definitely improved my time-management and organisational skills. I have found the content really engaging, and enjoy the practical aspect of the assignments.

As part of planning for my 2020 travel adventure I have also started 2018 with the plan to spend less on material items, and instead put that money towards travel. It’s always hard to get out of the materialistic mindset, so that’s going to be a big challenge for me this year.

'Too many people spend money they earned...to buy things they don’t want...to impress people that they don’t like'. – Will Rogers

Interesting Reads from Around the Web

16 Big Myths about College and Success in Your Early 20’s

‘Your freedom and your definition of what’s valuable is too important to subjugate to the perceived value of others.’ - Isaac Morehouse

Seven Ways School Has Imprisoned Your Mind

Hierarchy of Financial Needs (and the Meaning of Life)

10 Steps to Becoming a Manager

101 Stories of People with Day Jobs Creating Side Hustles

Until next time,

Kate

Portfolio_ 2018-2.png

December 2017 Letter

Wow, I cannot believe Christmas has come around again! So much has changed this year in my life, and this site has been a big part of recording my journey. I’m putting this up here now, as I’m just about to leave for a two week family holiday at the beach. I’m going to try and spend quite a few days tech free, which I anticipate to be quite challenging as I usually work on a computer all day and study on my laptop at night. I’ll definitely update on how it goes in my January letter.

I’ve done some interesting pieces on the How To Money Podcast and Blog this month, and will be spending some time this Summer planning where I want to take it in 2018. The most popular episode this far has been Episode 5: Developing a Savings Mindset. If you have any ideas for topics that you want us cover in 2018, please shoot me an email.

We also did our first collaboration piece with the GROW Super team about the importance of your superannuation - please give it a read!

Interesting Reads from Around the Web

The Crazy Back-Stories of 5 Famous Books

Five Things You Can Do Everyday to Upgrade Your Intellect

8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.

Why Life’s Biggest Limitation Will Make You Happier

10 Lies Every 20 Something Should Stop Believing

A Field Guide to Wandering in the Wilderness of the Soul

How to Make Rational Decisions

I’ll be back in January with a more in depth post about my big goals for 2018, and where I’m heading next year.

Until then, have a great NYE celebration and best wishes for 2018!

Kate