Introduce Yourself! Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Ben, a 23-year-old goof-ball turned lawyer! I practice in family and criminal law, including making and defending domestic violence applications, property settlement, and custody of children matters. However, what I’m passionate about is health, and helping other people work around their lifestyles to achieve their goals. I love encouraging people to achieve new things!
What does the millennial mindset mean to you?
We all realise the 40 hours a week for 40 years dream is gone; by that I mean having enough money to enjoy your life, have weekends, and have a nice retirement for working those hours. Realising this, half of us give up, live week to week and not think about our future; the other half are doing what we can to create the future we want to live in. One thing we share is that we know the moulds of the last generation or two have been broken, and we have to forge our own way in the evolving world. A bit far out, but we only get one shot. May as well do it our way!
How do you think you’ve embraced the millennial mindset?
Well I ran two businesses last year (not at the same time, of course, I’m not insane), and I didn’t have a proper ‘job’ until January this year. Now that I’ve gone back to law, I am helping Mum start a family day care business (this came up from a client from my first business) and am promoting a health/weight loss program. I’d say I’ve partially taken on the millennial mindset with my ‘side hustles’, but I still have the ‘good career’, which I sometimes regret.
What’s one stereotype millennials have been given that you dislike or think is invalid?
Perhaps this ‘age of entitlement’ or the ‘too sensitive’ thing going around? Or perhaps the good ol’ smashed avo! (For those non-Aussies, if you’re not sure what Ben is talking about, just click here). I dislike the age of entitlement, and the ‘smashed avo’ (which represents the sentiment that we millennials over spend) and I believe they’re invalid.
Statistically, Australians are working more hours, and the average wage increase has slowed, so it’s now less money over more hours; and the cost of purchasing a home has increased disproportionately to our incomes. Which is part of why our mindset is where it’s at. Both of those stereotypes are born out of a lack of appreciation and understanding of the living expenses versus income most of us face.
Tell us one achievement you’re super proud of:
I paid for my mum to have a week off, then paid for half her spending money in Fiji just by selling raffle tickets. Or supporting myself entirely on 100% commission. It’s deeply empowering to know that you do not need an employer at all, just a product, people and a venue.
Tell us one obstacle you’ve had to overcome & how:
My first firm was going bankrupt and I had a lease. So I started a lawn mowing business and was only ever one week late at a time for rent, and still paid for my (albeit) minimal living expenses. I looked around and borrowed my brothers sponge, bucket and car cleaning products, his lawn mower and whipper snipper.
I carried around all of that and knocked on doors to see who wanted their car washed or their lawns mowed. I ended up working 2-3 full days a week with repeat lawn mowing clients and partial ‘shifts’ in between. I built that in two months, and then found something else that I enjoyed more.
What advice would you give to other millennials wanting to break the 9-5 lifestyle?
Two bits of advice (except it’s general and you should really give this some serious thought before you follow my advice). First, work out what you want. Seriously, do it. Ever heard of Gary Vaynerchuk? Most of you, particularly if you’re reading a finance related blog, would have heard from him. ‘Work your face off’ sound familiar? He’s running a company (or two) worth tens or hundreds of millions of (American, exchange rates, bro) dollars. If you want Gary’s life, work like Gary does, for as long as Gary has, as hard as he has done. Maybe you do not want to be responsible for over 1000 employees, a huge media company and dominate social media across a large part of the West. So, don’t work like Gary suggests.
Personally (so you know I’m following my own advice), I’m working toward earning $70,000.00 from active (think job/active business revenue) income streams per year, because studies have shown that more money actually DOES make you happier if you’re on less than $70k a year. Bloody oath it does, I’m holding on (and I hope my fuel tank does as well) until Wednesday when I get paid (saving for a house deposit sucks the proverbial).
Above $70k p.a what people give up to get that extra money cancels out the extra ‘happiness’ that more money brings; more hours, more responsibility, more stress, more politics, more tax – Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems (Sup Biggie).
While I’m doing that, one of my intended active income streams can be built until it’s a residual income; because I leverage the efforts of other people (think doing the same work, but it’s worth more – cool huh?). Then what you could do is live below your means, SAVE, and invest the difference between your income and expenses (get better at something and watch your income grow) to create passive income (shares, and property at this stage, but I’m woefully ignorant of investment vehicles); which is being paid whether you get out of bed or not.
If you could get paid $100,000 a year, without getting out of bed; you could do whatever the hell you want, and live pretty damn comfortable. You could start a family, and spend time with them, work part time (cuz, you know, boredom from not working) and increase that by 40k. So that’s how short-term actions feed into long-term goals
Anyway, tangent, sorry. Make SMART goals, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (to what you’d like long-term), time-focused. Work out what you want, in the short term and long term; you can make it more specific as you go, chill, start general if you want. Then work out what needs to happen immediately to move toward that, then write down things you can do every day to get closer to it.
Like right now, I want to increase my income by $300 a week so I can continue with using my PT (it’s my de-stress time) and can afford half the deposit for a house by 2018. So, I’ll approach my boss and ask for a raise based upon my performance, I’ve started a business and will look at weekend work.
Second thing to do, I’ll keep it short. Appreciate and use what you have. I have a mother, she has a house, so I live at home (doubles my saving capacity), plus it’s going help for the house next year. I also have a brother, he and his wife might want help save toward a house, suddenly its 3-4 incomes saving and paying down one mortgage. Maybe you don’t have that, that’s fine.
A friend of mine once suggested he and 9 friends/acquaintances put in $100 a week, which is a grand a week total, for two years (or 5 for $200, math it up). $100k deposit in two years, you could invest it and split dividends or buy a house. EXCEPT, get financial advice from someone qualified first, this is just an example. Figure out who/what you have, use teamwork and family and take daily actions.
Follow my Instagram @ben_obreezy, I post landscapes, sunsets, beaches and the occasional thought; I want to put out positive thoughts everywhere.
Feel free to add me on facebook, I’m usually more active on posting about my ‘journey’ there; search Ben O’Brien (breezy).
*If you or you know anyone who has an inspiring story and would like to be featured, please email us as firstname.lastname@example.org!