Are you prepared for the unexpected?

FreezerWhile visiting my family in Germany, our freezer decided to break down. It was ironic to happen when our handyman checked our dishwasher and shortly afterwards, there was the new freezer. After 21 years, it’s a well-deserved retirement. For my mom, it meant an unexpected and unplanned expense. Luckily for her, she had set some money aside for these events.

We don’t know what the future holds but we can prepare ourselves for the unexpected. Here are the latest tips to start your own preparations for unexpected financial expenses:

Read more

Create your NOW (National Organising Week)

Have you heard of NOW? The National Organising Week? In Australia and New Zealand, the AAPO runs its annual campaign about the benefits of being organised this week and they partner with charities who’ll take any pre-loved items.

About 16,500 km away from Sydney, I’ll be working with clients on their own NOW here in Germany this week. I’ve been approached to organise a basement and am rather grateful for the cold and rainy weather. Moving unwanted furniture or bags full of stuff upstairs can be exhausting.

To start an easy NOW for you, look around your home and get rid of things you no longer want or need. Here are 15 suggestions of things you can declutter within 10 minutes:

Read more

Hope is not a financial strategy

In a few days, I’m going to my home town and I cannot wait to see friends and family again. It will be fabulous to sleep in a bit and catch up with them. Despite my best efforts, I will also look after tedious banking affairs. “Hope is not a financial strategy”, as Suze Orman once fittingly said.

Your strategy may be adjusted over the years, reflecting your age, family and job circumstances. When you’re in your 20s, retirement may be far away and you may focus on paying off any student debt. Forward 30 years and planning for your retirement may have become your top financial priority.

What do you want to achieve in life? Or what do you want to get out of life? For some, it’s saving enough that they’ve achieved financial freedom. Others may want to make enough money to travel to foreign places. For others, it may be providing private education for their children. I realise that this is probably one of the hardest questions you’ll ever ask yourself. By defining (in writing) what you’re looking for, you’ll gain clarity.

One you know where you’re heading, ask yourself:

Read more

Productivity tips from entrepreneurs

This weekend, I was meeting some ex-colleagues for a delicious and relaxing high tea. It was so lovely to see them again and, as usual, one of the first question we asked each other was how the other one was. “Busy!” This seems to be the answer these days. When was the last time you heard anyone answer with “Good, keeping well, thank you”? Who’s not a busy bee?

As our afternoon carried on and we left the superficial “How are you” question, it became apparent that “busy” had all kinds of meaning. One was introducing an automisation project at work, for others, it was relocating the offices, helping their children with their homework or researching the next holiday destination for the upcoming Eid weekend. Everyone had so many things to juggle every day.

The conversations left me thinking how we use the same 24 hours in a day. Like you, I know some folks who seem to be constantly chasing the activities on their to-do list, looking frazzled about what to do and completely stressed when not achieving as much as they’d like to. Then, there are others who seem to just breeze through their day, with hardly any signs of stress or panic.

What can you do to use your 24 hours in a day more wisely? Here are some tips from entrepreneurs for you:

Read more

Emotional Clutter – Get a tissue

About 2 years ago, my mother and I embarked on our own little decluttering journey: We went through the storage room which also included some of my grandma’s stuff. Even though my grandma passed away in 2000, it was a deeply emotional process. For my mother, it was a final good bye from the woman who meant the world to her.

There was the manicure set which my grandma frequently used. It had surely outlived its days – it was so loved. It was time to throw it out. Besides, my mom probably had 2 or 3 manicure sets of her own. Yet, she struggled to put it in the bin.

The question asked most often that day was: “How about we give this away? You don’t need and there are other people who’ll enjoy having this item.”

Knowing that she could help other people made the process of clearing the storage room and letting go of my grandma’s belongings a lot easier. She would make someone else happy with things she no longer needed or wanted. And for that, my mom was grateful.

You may have gone through similar experiences. A relationship has ended or loved one has passed away. You don’t want to simply throw out their things. Emotional clutter, just like physical clutter, can weigh you down and pause your life. But what do you do with emotional clutter?

Read more

Get the most out of attending an exhibition or conference

With kids going back to school, so are colleagues coming back from their summer holidays. The office is fully occupied again and meeting rooms are reserved for pretty much every hour of the week. Business is back to normal!

Later this year, we’ll see the influx of invitations to exhibitions and conferences. In fact, I’m already registered a few local conferences later this year. For many companies, the question though comes naturally: Who can attend which conference? Sometimes, the budget may only allow you to attend free ones, held locally. In Spring of this year, I’ve been very fortunate to present at 2 conferences. As a speaker, you can generally attend the entire conference free of charge, something that I’m sure sounds like music to your Finance team’s ears. No matter who gets to attend, you want to get the most out of attending an exhibition or conference. Do you know how to?

The majority of work will actually be done before the exhibition/conference even starts. Here are my tips for you to get ready:

Read more