Sunday, 22 October 2017

Mr and Mrs Home Maker's Weekend

Mr and Mrs HM out at a country fundraising pig race.

Hi Folks

Just a quick picture post on this rainy Sunday evening of a couple of things we got up to over the last couple of days - enjoy

Sometimes dinner is just a plate of great cheese.
Saves a whole lot of washing up and is pretty fabulous

Home made hot stewed apple

My lovely girls bought me an exquisite
pocket watch for my 50th birthday. I wear
it to work every day now connected by a chain
across my waistcoat.
 (I love 1940's men's clothes in case you wondered)

The piglets at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter fundraising
pig race at Denman NSW. They were super cute and ran real fast!

Our cute little red Suzuki petrol miser hanging out with the big
country petrol guzzler boys  at Merriwa NSW
 (....we were in the bakery!)

The wonderful B&B we stay at when we go to Merriwa.
Pam and Peter at B&BonBettington are the cheeriest folk I know
and the place is spotless, decorated in old world style and you
get a hearty cooked breakfast and a great chat before heading off.
We have our cuppa out on the balcony through those French doors.

Mrs HM doing the meat prep for the week. It all gets cut up
and packed....

.....into meal-sized portions before being popped into the
$50 freezer that just keeps on going (!)

I found myself a pair of good quality
plum coloured jeans reduced from $70
to $4.99 exactly my size. Frugal much!

A beautiful Italian quill pen and ink - a 50th birthday
present from my wonderful friends Kathy and David.
(p.s. Kathy is a avid crocheter  - her work is extraordinary)

Lovely chatting folks  - have a great rest-of-the-day.

Take care and stay nice too.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

When Can I Retire?

Hi when can we retire?

Well, I had this exact discussion with a work colleague yesterday. Here is a rough transcript of that conversation:


Phil:  Hey Sam

Sam: Hey, I wonder if I can ask you a question about retirement?

Phil:  Yeah sure Sam - but hey I'm not a qualified finance guy or anything  - you know that?

Sam: Yeah, that's alright. How do I figure out when I can retire? Like...the simple version (grins). Do you know how to do that math?

Phil:  Yep - so the simple answer is when you have enough invested to cover 25 times your yearly can retire.

Sam: (Chokes on his biscuit) What??!

Phil: So yeah, just say your yearly expenses are say $60 thousand dollars, then times that by 25 and you would need $1.5 million dollars invested to retire and live off that drawing down $60 thousand dollars a year.

Sam:  I will never be able to save up that much!!  (expletive). Well, OK then, what percentage of my wage will I need to save to retire in ....say... 9 years.

Phil: (raises eyebrow incredulously) To retire in 9 years at least 70% of your wage needs to be pure untouched savings Sam.

Sam: OK, OK (snorts) well what about if I wanted to retire in 15 years - just being a bit more realistic.....?

Phil: Then that would require pretty close to 50% savings mate.

Sam: Strewth! Well, what about retiring in 30 years, would that mean 25% savings?

Phil: Nope - only about 20% actually......and 10% savings would be needed if you were to retire in 45 years time.  Look, I'll jot it down for you on the back of this envelope (I scribble on the envelope)

(What I Scribbled Down For Sam)

25 x your yearly expenses (lump sum invested)

Years to retire / net pay savings rate:
45 years - 10% savings
30 years - 20% savings
15 yrs - 50% savings
9 yrs - 70% savings

Sam:  But hang on, work pays us 9.5% into Superannuation so.....(scratches head trying to do the mental arithmetic)

Phil: Yep.... so we'll see you retiring in about 49 years using that percentage alone. (pauses with spoon poised dramatically whilst giving Sam 'the look') (side note...Mr HM has conspiracy theories about Superannuation, but spares Sam that conversation)

Sam: Oh no!!  So if I just rely on my Super' I'm gonna have to work for a lifetime.

Phil: Yup (stirs coffee nonchalantly) pretty much.

Sam: Are....are....are you sure you are doing the math right?

Phil:  Yep. I'm sure.

(long pause as this all sinks in ....)

Phil: (quietly) So....what are you going to do about that Sam? (me now feeling I prying too much??  But I can't let this conversation finish unresolved like this)

Sam: Gee Phil -  all of of sudden reducing my expenses is really important - that way I will not need to save so much - Yeah?

Phil: Spot on Sir!

Sam: ...and, and, and earning some more but not increasing my spending also looks pretty important too ..... like, so I don't have to wait so long - Yeah? (looks at me hopefully)

Phil: Right again.

Sam: (sounding more hopeful now) ..... and I'll have to get a grip on how to invest and all that jazz so I get reasonable returns on my savings.

Phil:  Absolutely.....but learning how to invest is actually the easiest bit.

Sam: So in a nut shell (uses his fingers to tick off each item...) 1. Reduce my expenses ..... um, 2. Increase my earnings and, um..... 3. Invest wisely. Yeah?

Phil: ....... and do all three in equal measure. Each of those three is as important as the other. Like a triangle approach.

Sam: Got it. Good chat Boss

Phil: Y'welcome Sam. No more chatting but.... now go do it.

Sam: (smiles broadly) Yup.


Now can we see why the math is important folks?

Boring - but important.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

I'm 50 this week - NEW GOALS

Hi folks

I turn 50 on Wednesday and instead of moping, I have decided to set myself some goals.

My Goals:

1. Running - To go from Couch Potato Esq. to running for 30 mins daily within 30 days. This will start in the morning at 6:00 am - 6:30am every morning for the next 30 days. I intend to walk 29 mins and run 1 min on day one, walk 28 mins and run 2 mins on day 2 and so on and so forth till I run the full 30 mins on day 30.

2. Write an eBook on Debt Reduction - The consumer debt reduction journey has been my most significant personal journey over the last few years and I want to write about it and share it, not as a financial book, but as a normal bloke talking openly about it.  I will be devoting 30 minutes each evening to writing this until it is done....and then I'll have to figure out how to get it onto Amazon etc. This goal starts tomorrow evening and will continue daily till it is done. You all will be the first to know when it is done.

3. Resume losing weight - I have done so well and have now stalled, so need to keep going. I will resume my frugal weight-loss regime that was working very well and keep updates happening. Luckily I have only put on a very small amount which will be simple enough to shift and continue losing. I need to get to 80kg (176.5 pounds) in 40 weeks.

4. Become Financially Independent - it sounds like a bit of a  hype buzz-word, but I can now see that there is a large, quiet and sensible community of folks worldwide taking this very seriously. I will be 67 in 17 years and need to ensure that my income streams will be well in place before then. I simply will not be able to do the work I am currently doing into my 70's, nor can I wait till then to create new streams of income, so I need to start now. Total retirement is not a very big motivator for me, so I will need to create income streams that will keep me engaged well into old age. Step 4a is to devote 30 minutes each day to educating myself on multiple income streams and how to create them and keep them healthy. Step 4b will be to track my savings to ensure a nest-egg of sufficient size is invested by the age of 67 to cover all living expenses and be maintained to leave a legacy for my daughters when I eventually choof off.

5. I intend to live till I am 110.  I just decided this recently.  I believe with a combination of emerging medical technology and research, a commitment to excellent eating habits, a commitment to physical exercise, a commitment to loving relationships, an excellent GP, an interesting and brain-stimulating way to create income, a non-focus on retirement (in the classical sense) and an increased interest and commitment to contributing to my community/country/world should do the trick. I have just decided to live (really live...not nursing home live) till 110 - so there! I have wasted 40 of the last 50 years in so many ways and thus I intend to have those 40 years back  - I intend to have my time over again which means I'll have to live till I'm 110 and that's that. I'm determined to do it, and if I don't, then I'll die trying ;-)

Have a great week ahead folks

Take care and stay nice.

Mr HM (Phil)

Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest

Hi folks

My daughters have encouraged me to add my blog to Tumblr - so I have (very obediently) and I will figure out the world of Tumblr soon enough I guess!

In case you needed to know, Mr Home Maker is also on Pinterest and Facebook if that is your preferred point of entry.

Facebook - the link is HERE

Pinterest - the link is HERE

Tumblr - the link is HERE

Have a lovely Sunday evening folks - take care and stay nice.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Simplest Budget

Delicious meatloaf cooked from scratch

Hi Folks

I think this is the simplest budgeting model ever. We use it here at the HM household and it delivers excellent results. It simply is this:

Using your net income, allocate strictly in this order:

The Ideal Budget

1. 20% Invest
2. 60% All living expenses and commitments
3. 10% Saving for large purchases
4. 10% Spend on whatever you want

If you have consumer debt, then use this version of the budget:

The Debt Busters Budget

1. 20% Extra Debt Payments
2. 60% All living expenses and commitments 
3. 10% Emergency Fund
4. 10% Spend on whatever you want

Once debt has been cleared, revert immediately to the Ideal Budget.

The obvious challenge about this Ideal Budget and its sister version the Debt Busters Budget is the necessity to live on 60% of whatever your income source is. Do not dismiss it as impossible. Many, many folk achieve this or better, even on very small incomes. This is where we must allow our minds to be inventive and seek solutions (this is what our minds do best actually). Living on 60% of our incomes is fully supported by the simple living community world wide who actively and practically share all their tips, tricks, support and encouragement with astounding generousity.

Actually, this simplistic post is probably THE single best practical money advice I can ever share.

Take care folks and stay nice.

Mr HM (Phil)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Jewish Wealth Wisdom - The Four Rivers

This beautiful fern is growing in a very small pot. I fear the roots may have
grown right through the pavers.

Hi folks

I have left this post for a while as it is the most profound piece of Jewish wisdom thus far. It is about the the analogy of rivers that flow into the garden of Eden based on one of the very early stories in the Torah. You will also find the story  in the Christian Bible in Genesis 2:10-14 (I'll leave you to read/Google it yourself). The story speaks of the river that flowed out from the idyllic garden of Eden and branched into four separate rivers which watered the whole land. Seeing as geologists are left scratching their heads about the physicality of such a place, it is clear that the main thrust of this story is spiritual. Now, remember in previous posts I have explained that Jewish folks see money and wealth as spiritual, not in the prosperity Gospel sense but simply because it is not physical....coupled with the fact that they believe the Torah holds all the basics of money and wealth management in its code and analogies.  This story is the  most profound piece of Jewish wealth wisdom.

Home made spinach and ricotta cannelloni 

Here  is the Jewish spiritual meaning of this ancient story:

The meanings of the names of the four rivers approximately mean: 
1. Increase
2. Bursting forth
3. Rapid
4. Fruitful
As well, the context of the placement of these rivers talks about gold, precious stones, precious commodities, reaching to many different lands and nations ..... clearly wealth and diversification.

A delightful caramel sponge cooked from scratch.

OK, so let's get practical here and talk plainly. Jewish folk whilst often specialising in a single area of expertise ALWAYS understand and practice the discipline of multiple income streams.  They have more than one river of wealth happening. What? Are we meant to go out and work four jobs? Nope. Just like the rivers that all flow at the same time, our income streams need to be simultaneously providing us with unique sources of income. Also like the four rivers our income streams need to come from the one source (go back and read the story)....that source is us!  Jewish folk believe that all of us are given many different abilities and talents to be able to generate diverse streams of income simultaneously  - and they do.

Those flour-coated snags again :-)

This Jewish wealth wisdom took a while to sink in for me, but then the penny eventually dropped - I needed to stop relying on just my job as a single source of income. 
Just like lack of diversification when investing is risky, so is lack of diversification in income. 
If you have ever lost your job you will know just how utterly risky and devastating having a single source of income is.

Make enough dinner for two nights. Eat one and freeze the other.

Normally I will only blog about things I am doing or have done - this post is an exception. I am right in the middle of unlearning a lifetime of beliefs that demand I have just one source of income and rewire my brain to seeing the huge risk and the utter exhaustion that comes with only having one source of income and expecting it to do everything we need and want it to do. Strangely, all through my life there has been many situations that have shown me that I have the capacity, skills and insight to be able to create other streams (rivers) of income but I always brushed these moments off as my 'crazy' thinking. I always dismissed these emerging opportunities and thoughts with "Oh, I could not make a living out of that".... gosh I'm a bit dim sometimes hey?!.  Anyway, 'spilled milk' I suppose - but the lesson is now in the process of being learnt! Training my brain to fully realise that my good job as my single source of income is actually a significant life risk, is taking its merry time - but it is happening.

I want to introduce some colour into this shady garden.
Any suggestions?

So now I am in the planning and discovery stage, looking at my skills, looking at things I can create and produce that can be marketed to realise a repetitive and diverse income stream. The challenge is to move away from the continually-swapping-my-time-for-money model of working and thinking deeply about what product I can create that will add significant and genuine value to others' lives and can be produced just once but on-sold numerous times.....hmmm.

Pie in the oven.......

Anyway, there are chapters and chapters I could write on this topic but there it is folks - another piece of Jewish wisdom that says that just having a job is the riskiest way to to bring income into our homes and families. Sensible, wise, low risk income must be created by several diverse income least four - just like those ancient rivers.

Take care folks and stay nice. 

Mr HM (Phil)

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Twelve Little Pictures

Ms HM Daughter number 4 decided to do a trial Halloween cake - she had some
fun by the looks. Inside was a rich, luscious chocolate cake.

Hi folks

Its still busy, busy, busy here at the new house with unpacking and all.  Here are some random pictures to share with you all of things and goings-on around our new place. Predictably, there are way too many food pictures....ah well.

Ms HM daughter number 3 is a fabulous cook. Here she is
filling cannelloni shells with a lovely Ricotta, spinach and
garlic filling.

We hung our red candle lantern on the trunk of the
Norfolk Island pine. It looks lovely at night when we
dine outside.

Mrs HM bought a pressure cleaner......nothing is safe!

Who knew that we had terracotta coloured pavers out the back!?

A simple meal. Always coat the sausages in flour for a
delightfully delicious outcome

Nothing beats a simple nourishing garden salad

Out the front of our new house. As you can see the gardens
need lots of work, as does the lawn. Can't wait till the
Frangipani and the two Camellias flower.

Caspar the ghost meringue.

Can you see it?  A water dragon. It is nearly a meter long.
Scared the living daylights out of me as I thought it was a
stick! It pranced off all offended.

Ooops - can't seems to rotate the pic of this delicious
apple and blueberry rough pie. It is straight
out of the oven and will be eaten with custard.

Fried chicken. Just makes you feel better about life.

Have a great weekend folks.  I'll be back into writing proper posts soon but hopefully sharing these pictures again today will keep us in touch.

Take care and stay nice.

Mr HM (Phil)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

A Quick Picture Post

Our first proper dinner at the new house.  The flowers in the background
are for Mrs HM's 50th birthday on Tuesday just gone.

Hi Folks

I'll just let the pictures do the talking this time.....enjoy.

The view off the back verandah down to the gully.
The jasmine on the arbor smells beautiful of an evening.

Chocolate cake baked from scratch hot out of the oven.
Smell it?

The cream was unnecessary .... but decedent.

Our block is terraced and steep - you can see the top of
bunny's hutch on the next level down.  There is a running creek
and gully separating us and the next door neighbour's place

Par-boiled potatoes slowly browning up in lamb fat - yummo

The chiminea and the lamp of an evening

Help yourself folks browned 'taties, carrots/corn/beans
baked pumpkin and baked sweet potatoes....there is little
twin candle burners under each white dish keeping it all hot.

Mixed pulled roast (steaming hot) ... two gravies and mint sauce

This folks, is what life is all about. It just does not get
better than this. (The Amish Kero' lamps survived the move)

Take care folks and stay nice won't you?!


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

I Walked Home From Work

Outside eating area under the Norfolk Island pine tree

Hi dear folk

Well we are all moved into our new house now (leased) and Monday was my first day back at work.  Mrs HM dropped me off at work - a three minute drive from our place - and in the afternoon I walked home. It was a lovely relaxing 25 min stroll and I loved it.  What a revelation living in a house so close to my office. Mr Money Mustache would be proud of me (I'm sure) ..... click HERE to read his thoughts on commuting. So, I will be polishing up the second car for sale and we will be once again back to being a one car family. To add to the charm there is a bus stop right outside our door which the girls use to get to university and college - I can use it to on rainy days as this bus also stops right outside my work too.

Shade gardening - I'm going to have to learn some new skills

Our new place has a creek running at the bottom of the garden and is very shady.  I will have to educate myself on gardening for shade. The current plantings are very subtropical and ornamental although there is a lovely back verandah that gets good sun most of the day as it faces north (we are southern hemisphere). I feel a long line of self-watering veggie boxes coming on. There is a lovely shady paved area up the top of the garden to put our outdoor setting on. It is set under a big Norfolk Island pine tree which will look splendid when we have all our lights draped through the branches.....all ready for big family nosh-ups.

Crispy skin salmon and salad

We are only a 10 min drive from an elderly relative now. We took her a home baked meal last night which she immediately ate with gusto. It got me to thinking about old folk with low mobility and how they often could not be bothered feeding themselves properly because it is just to difficult too get around and make the effort. We'll be keeping a quiet eye on that situation from now on. Old age is not a sin but it sure is no joke either. It is good to be living so much closer so we can be of practical use.

A little magpie awaiting some tid-bits

There are friendly Magpies who fly down and sit on the front porch railing. I fed them some little bits of scrap meat and they loved it.  The HM daughters have reported that they have come back every day now and have warbled their song on the porch until they are fed  - how sweet. Sure beats being swooped!  There are also water dragons living down in the creek which come up  to 'visit' regularly. I have not been able to get a good picture yet as they move so quickly. They look friendly but I'm no so sure.....time will tell. They easily jump off a two story roof line and onto the grass and run off - super agile. We can hear them running across the roof of an afternoon during twilight.

Dudley beach - just 7 minutes away

We also live just seven minutes from the beach.  The HM daughters have already frequented the beach a few times this week as the weather here has been fairly summery. Mrs HM wants to do evening walks on the beach during summer - I won't be saying no.

A mixed roast in the oven smelling fabulous!

Anyway - lots more to tell but this will do for starters.....

Take care folks and stay nice.

Mr HM (Phil)

Dinner prep.....

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