Dealing with rapid change

Rapid change can be like a sensory overload. There is simply too much going on to process all at one go.
Rapid change can be like a sensory overload. There is simply too much going on to process all at one go.

Over the last few months my world has changed dramatically. I am now immersed in a totally new reality, surrounded by new opportunities and challenges.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. There are times when there is so much happening, so many new things to process, that it becomes impossible to keep up and you start tuning some of it out. Continue reading “Dealing with rapid change”

The Bare Necessities: An anthem for frugal living

Yesterday we took our son to watch The Jungle Book (wonderful movie!) and when Mowgli floated down the river on Baloo’s tummy singing about The Bare Necessities it suddenly occurred to me that this song is an anthem for frugal living.

Take a look at the lyrics (shown below) and tell me if you agree. Continue reading “The Bare Necessities: An anthem for frugal living”

Preparing your mortgage for emergencies

Accelerated repayments on your mortgage are part of your financial first aid kit
A mortgage payment buffer is an important element of  your financial first aid kit

Life has a habit of throwing us curveballs every now and then. There is no way of predicting when disaster will strike but it is possible to reduce the impact of an emergency by preparing a financial first aid kit that will help cushion the blow.

Obviously not all problems are made equal. It’s one thing to talk about having an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs such as the washing machine breaking down and quite another to plan for the possibility of losing your job and being unemployed for a few months until you find a new one. Continue reading “Preparing your mortgage for emergencies”

After selling my business – A wild rollercoaster ride!

Selling your business is an emotional rollercoaster ride
Up and down and round and round. It’s like an exciting rollercoaster ride!

It’s been a month since I jumped into a brand new chapter of my life after having sold my business and started a new career. It is also a month since I started this blog, which has proved to be a wonderful platform to get to know some really interesting people in the FI world. There are some very inspiring people out there!

Selling your business and embarking on a new career is like getting on a wild rollercoaster ride. It is exhilarating and scary and you sometimes feel like you are looping the loop, going around in circles. There are ups and there are downs, times when things are happening so fast they seem to be in a blur and you get a heady adrenaline rush and other times when things seem to be in slow motion. However totally changing my life was bound to be somewhat disorientating, so there’s no surprise there! Continue reading “After selling my business – A wild rollercoaster ride!”

Young Enterprise – the origin of Mrs Smelling Freedom the Entrepreneur

Young Enterprise empowers children to acquire important business skills
Young Enterprise changed my life. I would not be where I am today if I had not joined their Entrepreneurship programme when I was 16

I was raised in a pretty old fashioned type of family. My dad was a civil servant while my mum stayed at home. Setting up a business was not something people from families like mine did, and in fact the thought never even occurred to me as a child.

My dad used to encourage me to be a teacher or get a job at a bank, since according to him that was an “ideal job for a woman”. The general expectation was that I would get a job, get married, have a child and then become a stay-at-home mum. Continue reading “Young Enterprise – the origin of Mrs Smelling Freedom the Entrepreneur”

Deferred Gratification: the key to achieving long term financial independence

saving money for something special
Petunia saved her quarters so she would one day have enough money to buy something special

I was recently watching an episode of Baby Looney Tunes with my son and was delighted that the storyline centred around money – working for it, spending it and saving for something special. The episode was called “Petunia the Piggy Bank” which was cute, given the fact that Petunia is a pretty little piggy. Continue reading “Deferred Gratification: the key to achieving long term financial independence”

Till Death Do Us Part: Merging finances with your other half

combining finances when married or living together
Combining finances after marriage or when living together can be tricky.

My husband and I have been married for 16 years and we have had a fight or two (dozen) about money. Most of us go into marriage, or cohabitation, without much of a strategy other than an “I love you and I want to make it work” so it is not long before the money issue rears its ugly head.

Now that you have both become a half of one whole, how will you manage your finances? Continue reading “Till Death Do Us Part: Merging finances with your other half”

The Right Work/Life Balance in Retirement

cognitive function, brain, dementia, retirement
How many hours of work stimulation does the brain need to stay sharp? Do you lose it if you do not use it?

Research conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has shed new light on the impact of work-related stress on the cognitive abilities of adults over the age of 40. (It must be said that the study did not assess people under the age of 40, so it could very well be that these findings do not apply only to middle-aged and older people, but also to younger workers)

It has long been known that using the brain is essential to stay sharp, a concept that has been dubbed the “use it or lose it” phenomenon. This has often been used as an important argument by those who advocate that the retirement age is raised, since working is seen as effective way of warding off dementia. Continue reading “The Right Work/Life Balance in Retirement”

Financial Independence: Am I there yet?

Financial independence – a lofty goal that most likely means different things to different people. If you are working and earn an income that covers your costs and you do not need anyone to support you (mummy? daddy? a spouse?) then you are somewhat justified to claim that you are financially independent, as in, not dependent on anyone for financial support. For many years that is what the term meant to me, and if anyone had asked me “Are you financially independent?” I would have answered emphatically that of course I was!

As I got older and wiser, however, I realised that financial independence was more complicated than I had initially thought. When I ran my business, for example, I was earning money and could easily cover my bills. However was I ever really financially independent? Continue reading “Financial Independence: Am I there yet?”

Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Debt is a tool. If used wisely it can turbo-boost your finances while if used badly it can torpedo your financial future.
Debt is a tool. If used wisely it can turbo-boost your finances while if used badly it can torpedo your financial future.

A lot has been said about good debt and bad debt but in many cases the arguments used have been extremely simplistic. The most common line taken is that if debt is used to finance an asset that will appreciate in value or will increase your income-making potential it is automatically good, while if the debt will be used to acquire a depreciating asset then it is bad. This theory does not factor in the terms of the loan, the risk inherent in taking out any form of loan, the stage of life and earning potential of the person taking out the loan, etc.


Unfortunately many people have swallowed the concept of “good debt” hook, line and sinker, which has led them to make spectacularly bad financial decisions. Continue reading “Debt: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”