Track your expenses, put a percentage of your earnings away, automate your bills – these are just three pieces of advice frequently cited by financial advisors.
The reason being, financial advisors deal in practicality – there’s no magic way of getting out of debt or on top of your finances.
Which is why author and financial expert Simone Milasas’ new book has baffled people.
Tackling issues such as debt in her new book, Getting Out of Debt Joyfully, Simone doles out slightly abstract advice saying:
"Don’t pay your bills, because when you pay your bills the universe thinks you like paying bills and sends you more."
Arguably the book’s title is a taste of what to expect because as far as we’re aware, there is no way of getting out of debt joyfully.
Extracts of her book were published in Mamamia . Here are some highlights.
1. The ten per cent rule.
Common financial wisdom tells us to put a percentage of our earnings aside. Simone’s ten per cent rule is not like this.
The ten per cent rule pertains to paying your bills – and why you should instead prioritise treating yourself.
According to Simone, "If you honour yourself by setting aside 10 per cent first, the universe says, ‘Oh, they are willing to honour themselves. They are willing to have more,’ and it responds to that. It gives you more."
Simone’s advice even goes as far to suggest putting aside for this "treat yourself" fund even if it means you’re struggling to buy, say, food.
Yes, even if you have accumulated a large credit card debt, the fund must still be honoured.
"At one point," Simone explains, "the balance due on one of my credit cards was extremely high. I had three times the amount due in my 10 percent account, so I knew I could pay off the balance on my card if I chose to.
"I did not do that."
This goes against everything we know about credit card interest and credit scores, but, anyway, on to the next tip.
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2. Carry around large amounts of cash with you.
Again, this is ever-so-close to the popular advice which states if you carry cash instead of relying on your card, you become a lot more aware of what you’re spending.
Where Simone’s advice deviates from this piece of wisdom is that she offers no real reason for having £1000 in your purse other than it might make you feel happy.
"Carry around the amount of cash that you think a wealthy person would carry," she counsels.
"If you avoid having money on you or in your life because you think you will lose it or it will be stolen from you, you will never allow yourself to have money at all.
"You have to be willing to have money and you have to be willing to enjoy it without a point of view."
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Again, no mention of putting this £1000 towards, for example, repaying an overdraft, but she does go on to talk about investing. Sort of.
3. Buy things of intrinsic value.
Not a house. Not shares in a tech start-up. No.
Simone instead instructs us to buy gold, platinum and jewellery.
"You don’t have to have thousands and thousands of dollars in your 10 per cent account to start buying things of intrinsic value either," she writes.
"You could start with buying a silver teaspoon to stir your coffee with, and add from there."
So, relax – finally that 10 per cent frivolity account is paying dividends.
The reaction to Simone’s (no doubt) well-meant advice has been one of bafflement.
Interestingly, Simone herself was once in a large amount of debt – £144,895, in fact – and she claims she paid it off in two years.
This is, without a doubt, an admirable feat.
However, she does not say how she accomplished this – i.e. there’s no mention if she used her own advice to pay back such a large amount of money.
The book, in its fullness, may reveal more – but it will cost you £16 to find out and based on the above, you would forgiven for not feeling tempted to splash out.