Sometimes meeting a financial goal can seem like a never-ending struggle. Whether it’s paying off your mortgage, starting your own business or saving for a holiday, it often takes massive lifestyle changes and outside advice to get there.
Here, we talk to three people who are living proof that pure commitment can go a long way.
“I became a millionaire by 35.”
Peter Horsfield was 25 when he made the decision that would drastically change his life trajectory. Following a blow-out world trip after graduating from university, he returned home with no money and no job.
“I thought, ‘Wow, I’m a quarter of a century old with no money to my name. This is scary,'” Mr Horsfield recalls.
Living rent-free with his pensioner grandmother, he decided to formulate a plan to become a millionaire.
“One part of my motivation was that I was s**t-scared I would retire with no money,” Mr Horsfield admits.
… I always knew I was a millionaire. It just hadn’t registered in my bank account yet.
He decided that, in order to feel positive about his retirement, he would need to have one million dollars in the bank by the time he hit old age.
From there he worked backwards, crunching numbers based on income and investment risk. He landed on the figure of $1,000 in savings a month, setting himself a strict $250-a-week target.
“I wasn’t that good with a calculator, but I knew all I needed to do was step up to the plate and save that money,” Mr Horsfield says.
To generate income, he picked up three jobs in hospitality and “drastically” changed his lifestyle.
“I wouldn’t buy bottles of wine, I’d buy a cask. I didn’t go out, I invited friends over for a BBQ. I borrowed newspapers and books from the library, rather than buying them. I used ATMs that had no fees.”
For Horsfield, meeting that $250 target was not a mere guideline but an absolute necessity. If he only earned $300 in a week, he would live on $50 to ensure his saving rate remained stable.
“I wanted to save $15,000 in that first year,” Mr Horsfield explains.
“As a reward, I promised myself that anything I saved above that figure I could spend, because I deserved it. I picked up some extra hours, got a tax refund and put $1,000 in my super, which the government matched at that time. By the end of the year, I’d saved $20,000. So I went over to Thailand for a month and had an awesome time.”
With $15,000 in the bank, Mr Horsfield went into the next year with even bigger goals. He soon realised his commitment and motivation could help others and started working as a financial advisor.
I wasn’t that good with a calculator, but I knew all I needed to do was step up to the plate and save that money
Today, 42 year-old Horsfield has his own financial advice business and is a multi-millionaire. He ended up making his first million at 35, only 10 years after his post-holiday panic.
“It all unfolded from saving that first $250 a week,” Mr Horsfield insists.
“My main piece of advice to people would be to turn up. If you don’t contribute, it doesn’t work.
“In a sense, I always knew I was a millionaire. It just hadn’t registered in my bank account yet.”
“I supported myself and two kids against all odds.”
Two years ago, 28 year-old budget expert and writer Kylie Ofiu was struggling. After her difficult marriage broke down, she and her two young daughters were homeless and sleeping on friends’ couches. Her ex-spouse had control of the house.
“I was paying for the mortgage, but couldn’t go home,” Ms Ofiu explains. “If it wasn’t for my friend’s couch we would have been sleeping in a car.”
As a single parent to a five and six year-old who require extra assistance, Ms Ofiu knew she had to sit down and figure out a way to get some income.
“Luckily, I started my financial advice business when I was with my ex-husband, because he was having job issues,” Ms Ofiu explains.
“I wasn’t able to go out and work, so I started blogging from home and that gave me lot of opportunities for public speaking and freelance writing.”
After her marriage imploded, Ms Ofiu let her network of contacts know she was keen to take on more work and avidly updated her website, 365 Ways to Make Money. She also sought advice from successful friends, who suggested that she buy ailing websites and turn them around using her skill for budgeting.
“I bought one from an owner who had no idea how to monetise it and by a week it was in profit,” Ms Ofiu says.
With newfound confidence, Ms Ofiu had her lawyer demand that her ex-husband sell their home, removing the burden of an expensive mortgage, and made the decision to move to Canberra.
“I was paying for four private speech therapy sessions a week and private psychology for my daughters, because they couldn’t get into the public system in Sydney,” says Ms Ofiu, who adds that Canberra’s public system had a much shorter waiting list.
I now know that whatever comes up I can provide for my daughters and never have to want or worry
“I increased my income and decreased my expenses – and two years later, I’m in a good position,” Ms Ofiu says.
Today, the young mother makes most of her money from several profitable websites and the occasional public speaking gig.
“I have multiple streams of income,” Ms Ofiu says.
“I now know that whatever comes up I can provide for my daughters and never have to want or worry.”
“I started my own successful business while studying full-time at university.”
Before she was even a third of the way through her three-year university degree, Perth-based student Jia Ni Teo was already craving freedom.
“I knew I wanted to do something that I could design my life around,” the 22 year-old says.
“I wanted a job that was customised and made me leap out of bed.”
While studying nutrition full-time, Ms Teo realised that she had a talent for coaching people. Advising her peer group on how best to meet their goals prompted her to recognise that she had a goal of her own: to become a full-time life coach.
I wanted a job that was customised and made me leap out of bed
“I said, ‘This is it. I’m going to 100 per cent commit to this,'” Ms Teo says.
Her experience combining full-time study and part-time work at a fast-food outlet encouraged Ms Teo to work even harder.
“Although I was grateful that my job was funding my hobby, I’d had enough. It motivated me to get my business up and running faster.”
Using the money she was making, she hired a web designer to develop her blog and a successful life coach to guide her through the process. All the while, Ms Teo was getting her name out there, talking to anyone who would listen about her passion for helping others to take control of their lives.
“I was establishing my presence online, talking about what I loved and writing articles, putting out a lot of content and heart out there,” Ms Teo says.
“Every second I had, I was learning.”
From there, people started contacting her to ask for her help and she acquired a solid client base. Using her savings, she took several trips overseas to industry conferences to increase her knowledge.
“I was a sponge!” Ms Teo laughs.
I said, ‘This is it. I’m going to 100 per cent commit to this’
Now in her final year of university, the committed student has a jam-packed schedule, a successful business and a flourishing website. She runs her business from home, seeing clients on her one day off a week.
“I have around eight to 10 regular clients for up to six-month periods and others for one-off sessions.”
When she graduates at the end of the year, she plans on expanding her business and hiring a full-time assistant. Ms Teo, who still loyally employs a life coach for herself to practice what she preaches, says that starting her own business has been “the best personal development course I could take.”
“You have to have the attitude that there’s more than enough clients and money for you out there,” Teo advises others.
“It’s all about your mindset.”