Join us for this amazing interview with Kylie Travers, as she talks about her journey from being a homeless single mother to a multiple international award-winning CEO, author, speaker, and ambassador. When it comes to turning setbacks into opportunities, this gal knows her stuff!
Resources from this episode:
- kylietravers.com.au, home to Kylie’s work as a public speaker, brand ambassador, and freelancer
- thethriftyissue.com.au, Kylie’s award-winning personal finance blog
- Kylie’s motivational 10 Steps to Success with Goals article
- The Young Scrappy Money Academy Digital Subscription Service
- Young + Scrappy, home to Michelle’s work as a financial advisor and financial coach
INTRO [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome to the Young Scrappy Money podcast. I’m your host, Michelle Waymire. And each week, I’ll be bringing you tips and tricks to help you take control of your finances as well as interviews with people who made big financial changes in their own lives. So join us. And we’ll help you get your financial s**t together.
MICHELLE: Hello, everybody. Welcome, welcome. I don’t know how you’re feeling today. I hope you feel inspired. But, listen, hey, if you are having the kind of day where maybe they gave you the wrong coffee order— or, maybe you got splashed by a car walking down the street, or like a puddle hit your face. Something like that happened, and you’re not feeling particularly inspired, then it’s about to be a much better day, a much more inspiring day.
I am super pumped because with me today is Kylie Travers. And she is gonna chat with us about turning obstacles into opportunities. So, listen, guys. She went from being a homeless single mother to a multiple international award-winning CEO, author, speaker, ambassador, etc., etc. Like no joke, this woman is awesome. And she is here today to bring you that inspiration that you might be missing. So welcome, Kylie. I’m so excited to chat with you.
KYLIE: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
MICHELLE: You have an incredible story. So honestly, I’d love for you to just start at the beginning and tell us about your financial journey.
KYLIE: Sure. Well, the last few years is what I tend to focus on. I left an abusive marriage. And I ended up homeless with my two young daughters at the time, who had been diagnosed with severe learning disabilities. So at that time, I was just trying to scrape together any money I could to afford their therapy, to get us a new place, to move to a different state where my family was, and that sort of thing. So it was all quite stressful.
But also, I kind of knew what I was doing because I’d been raised by parents who were quite financially intelligent. My aunts and uncles all had businesses and things like that. So I knew what to do. It was just a matter of being in a position suddenly where I couldn’t do what I knew to do.
And, yeah, so within a few months, though, I managed to move to Canberra, where my family are, and sort of rebuild my life a bit. And I founded a company. And then I started winning awards and doing a lot of volunteering around homelessness and domestic violence and that sort of stuff.
And so obviously, financially things picked up a lot. And I was doing quite well again. And then in 2015, I ended up paralyzed on and off for about seven months and with level 10 pain, which is where pain’s so intense you black out. Childbirth’s a level eight.
MICHELLE: Holy s**t.
KYLIE: Yeah, yeah. So childbirth’s a level eight, which I’ve been through twice. And then, yeah— and so then I was going through that. And obviously, the medical bills were piling up. And I couldn’t work as much as I’d wanted to. And, yeah, so I learned a lot of lessons through all of that as well, obviously.
But now, fast-forward a couple more years, and now it’s 2019. And I live in a really nice suburb in Melbourne. And my daughters and I have a really fantastic life, where we travel. I do the work that I like. Money isn’t such an issue. And I don’t really have to— like obviously, I earn more. But it’s not so much just the earning more.
It’s just I’m less stressed about it. I’m more mindful about what I do. And I have better systems in place for both my business and my finances. So I feel a lot more stable. And also, I’m very clear that if I had a new relationship, how I would do finances. So I think I feel— yeah, I’m in a good place now. But it’s been a bit of a journey to get there.
MICHELLE: Oh my gosh, yeah. It totally sounds like that. Even just like the thought of off and on pain greater than childbirth for a full seven months is like, ah, wow.
KYLIE: Oh, that was fun. The amount of medications that they give you— like they gave me nerve blockers and painkillers and that because they couldn’t actually work out what was causing it. And sometimes my spine— my muscles would go to crush my spine, and so they gave me injections to stop that and all different things.
And, oh, in the middle of all of that, they thought I had the cancer my mom died from. So I had to have an operation for that too. It turns out to be a different one. But, you know, that was fun too. So it was like all of those sorts of things happening. But, you know, you just— you deal with it and move on.
MICHELLE: Yeah. I feel like we all kind of go through periods in our life where you look at it, and you look around, and the negative view is, boy, this really sucks. And the positive view is, I’m really building a lot of character right now.
KYLIE: Well, that’s it.
MICHELLE: It sounds like you built a lot of character.
KYLIE: I have. I have definitely built a lot of character. And it’s funny. That’s how I’ve always sort of focused on things is I always ask myself, you know, what are the lessons that I can learn from this? What are the opportunities that can come from this? And that sort of thing, even— so if we go back to like 2012, after I left the abusive relationship, within a week I was robbed of everything, including my underwear— which, you know, is pretty devastating when you already have nothing.
[00:04:58] KYLIE: And I remember I was sobbing on the lounge. And then I sort of, you know, picked myself up. And I go, all right, well, why can I be grateful for this, that this happened? And I managed to write down a list of quite a few things of why I could be grateful it happened. And one was I was insured, obviously. So, you know, insurance would kick in, although that took months because it was right at Christmas. So they, you know, flag you for fraud.
MICHELLE: Oh, yeah.
KYLIE: But that ended up helping pay for the therapies that my kids needed. And so it all sort of rolled on. And there was other things. Like, you know, my daughters and I weren’t home. So we weren’t in danger. And it’s just stuff. Stuff can be replaced.
And one of the ones that I really liked about it, though, was I was so grateful it all got stolen because it was all stuff from my marriage. And now I had a clean slate. And I was being given money to go shop for stuff I actually wanted. Like that’s all— that’s a lot of benefits from getting robbed.
Like who gets that? Like leaves an abusive relationship and then gets robbed and gets a bunch of cash that they can then use for therapy and new stuff? Like usually you have to have the stuff from the bad marriage hanging around, whereas this way it was just like, free money. So I was happy with it.
KYLIE: But people think it’s a little bit insane when they hear it. So, yeah.
MICHELLE: I feel like, one, that clean slate is awesome. Like I love that perspective. And, two, this is like the poster child case for why you should have renters’ insurance.
KYLIE: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I— it was the first thing I did. As soon as I moved, like as I was moving, as I was arranging the move, which was all done very, very quickly because of the circumstances— but I’m like straightaway, online. Because, I mean, you can do it from your phone immediately. Bang, I’ve got insurance. And it was done.
And I’m not— I’m not even kidding. It was— literally, we’d been in the house three days. I went to Canberra for two days. And it was in those two days that we got robbed. So it was like, bang, instant. Yeah, so I’m like insurance, that insurance—
MICHELLE: That’s like the highest ROI on an insurance investment I’ve ever heard of.
KYLIE: Isn’t it? It was incredible. But, I mean, because when I was growing up, our house burnt down when I was a kid. When I was 12, our house burnt down. When we were on holidays, we had our house flooded. We’d been robbed. Like I live in Australia, so bushfires is a big deal in a lot of areas. We’ve got— one’s raging at the moment.
So I would never be without insurance. Like that was drummed into me from a young age. But I’m surprised how many people still don’t have it. It’s like, insurance, people. You know? I mean, that was thousands— thousands— of dollars that I got that helped support for quite a while.
MICHELLE: Yeah, wow. So let’s kind of walk through your story again kind of piece by piece. Because it seems to me that every little phase of your life probably has a bunch of lessons in it— I think both emotional and financial. So I think starting out and being in the situation where you were a homeless single mother, how did you manage your finances in that situation?
I mean, you know that it had to be different from what you were taught. Even financially savvy people know what to do. But then when you have approximately $0, it’s like all of the conventional wisdom about how to handle that situation flies right out the window.
KYLIE: It was definitely a different situation, one I never expected to be in. My parents were super frugal. So when I was really young, we didn’t have a lot of money. And so I did have a lot of knowledge I was able to draw on. And growing up in the church that I grew up in, I’d helped different single moms and that sort of thing. So I tried to think, well, how did they do stuff?
Because now I didn’t have my husband’s income, and I still— he actually stopped working for a bit and stopped paying for the mortgage. So I had to pay for the mortgage. And then I was paying private rent as well. And so— as well as trying to pay the speech therapy and that. I was like, I’ve got no income.
But so I had a little bit of savings because I knew the marriage was bad. And I knew that I needed money to get out. And so I had a little bit of savings that I was able to use to get me a house and that sort of thing.
Also, Australia has an incredible welfare program. So I was able to access that, which meant that I then— once it was approved, I was then having money every second week paid into my account, which helped significantly. Then, I basically sat down and went, what can I do in this situation to make more money? And I reached out to all the networks I had.
So I already had a blog at this point. And I’d already won Best International Personal Finance Blog. And I already had a book published. So that all helped. But obviously, when you’re in this survival mode and simply trying to get through day to day— and I was in court getting a protection order. And there was legal fees mounting up, and then medical fees, and all that sort of stuff. You just— you can’t think very clearly to promote your own work.
So I actually went to doing things like buying things to resell because that didn’t require a lot of brain capacity for me. I did reach out to all my networks and went, you know, I’m doing freelance writing. I’ll speak at anything. I’ll do, like, what you have for me sort of thing. And I picked up some work that way. And then obviously with the welfare system, I got payments from that.
But looking back, and since this time, I’ve actually found I didn’t know at the time just how bad my situation was compared to others. Because, you know, I was like, well, I have a house. And I have this. I’m doing OK.
But looking back, like I could have accessed food banks. I could have accessed charities. I could have accessed like a whole bunch of other help that’s out there for people that are in these sort of situations that I just— I didn’t know where to go for help because I’d never been in that situation. Like no one in my family really had been in a situation like this.
[00:10:00] And I was living three hours away from my family, so I couldn’t actually really turn around to them too much. And I felt too proud to tell them how bad I felt my situation was at the time too. So there was all of that happening.
But, yeah, that’s kind of what I did. I sort of like hustled hard and accessed, you know, government help and just— yeah, and then the robbery helped a lot, too, to get through financially. I don’t actually know how I would have managed that time without the insurance money, really, when you look at it. So, yeah.
MICHELLE: Yeah, totally. OK. So managing your money as a single mother, I mean, we know is hard. And I think it’s so great that you were able to kind of draw on those resources. But I’m so curious about something that you brought up that I think actually a lot of people who I have talked to, and even some of my coaching clients, have struggled with— this sense of, you know, if you’re in a tight spot, in a lot of ways, it’s easier to go to the government for assistance mentally, right?
MICHELLE: Because you kind of know that’s what those programs are there for. But oh my gosh, there’s something about asking family for help that is so hard.
KYLIE: It is. It was easier for me to hide— they didn’t even know I was homeless. When my girls and I ended up, we were like couchsurfing. And I slept in my car a few times and things like that. I didn’t— I didn’t tell them. I was just too proud.
And had they known— like they all knew something was up. But they couldn’t pinpoint what it was. And because I was three hours away from them, it’s not like they could check in on me really or sort of really suss it out that well.
But, yeah, it was— and particularly because of what I was already doing for work— like it was literally months after I’d won Best International Personal Finance Blog that this was the situation that I was in. And so there was that whole level of pride. I didn’t want them to, you know, view me badly or anything like that.
But looking back, I’m like, why didn’t I just ask? Like I’m so close to my family. They’re my best friends. Like we are a ridiculously close family. I easily could have asked for help. And when I was paralyzed, I did. I just sent out an email and was like, this is the situation. This is what I need help with. What can you do?
And they immediately jumped in and were taking my kids to and from school, and providing meals, and cleaning the house. I’m one of nine kids, so there’s like a bunch of us. But, yeah, it’s like that help is there, but we have such hesitation to asking our family I think because we don’t wanna be spoken about. We don’t wanna be looked down upon. And we don’t— from discussions I’ve had with other people, we don’t want it thrown back in our face later.
Like I know my family would never do that to me. They never have and never would. But I know a lot of other people who when they’ve asked for help, it’s really been thrown at them later, particularly if they were single parents. Yeah, it can be really daunting to reach out when you need it.
But, yeah, if you have a good relationship with your family, just ask for help. Like my dad’s a bishop in the church. I’m not a member of the church anymore. But like there was a lot of resources I could’ve accessed that I just went, nah, I’m too proud.
And that’s what it was. It was pride. Like I look back, and it was just pure pride. So don’t be so proud. That’s the main thing. Like just swallow it and go for it. Like you’ll get out of it much quicker the more help you get.
MICHELLE: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s great advice. And so then like flash forward to when you had your health scare, what happened there? And then how did your finances change again? I mean, I know medical debt is a big concern. But what else happened?
KYLIE: Yeah. Well, thankfully in Australia medical is not as big an issue as in the US. We have a very good healthcare system. But I went private for various reasons. But, yeah, basically, I had just started dating someone. And then they went overseas for a couple months. They got back. And within nine days of them getting back, I ended up paralyzed.
It happened really, really quickly. I just bent over one morning, my back seized up, and then I couldn’t move. And I collapsed. And I’ve had back issues a couple of times before. So I thought it was the same issue. And I said to him— I’m like, you know, if you can get me into the bed, and get me some painkillers, I’ll sleep it off. It’ll be fine. And it was not.
MICHELLE: Oh my gosh. That’s— that does not sound great. I’ll sleep it off. It’ll be fine. And then like 10 on the pain scale later, it’s like, we’re gonna need backup.
KYLIE: Well, this is the thing. And like he could see the muscles moving in my back. And he’s like, I’m calling an ambulance. And the ambulance— the first time the ambulance came out, and they were like, there’s not a lot we can do. You’ve already got all the strong painkillers. Because both he and I had had surgeries before, so we had this amazing medicine cabinet of stuff, which sounds terrible. But it was all prescribed. But we had all this. And so it was like—
KYLIE: And my uncle was a pharmacist. And we checked with a few doctors and that. And they were like, you’re already doing everything. There’s not much we would do for you in hospital. And we were like— so I said, well, don’t bother. And my then partner at the time was like, are you kidding me? I’m like, they said they can do nothing.
And then two days later, it’s still going on. And he’s like, nah, you’re going in the ambulance. You’re going to the hospital. And we’re gonna do something. And I got there. And, yeah, they gave me injections immediately to stop the muscle spasms and stuff like that.
Because I just— I couldn’t roll over. I couldn’t walk. He had to like lift me to go to the bathroom sort of thing. And that’s— I would black out if I tried to stand up or anything. My body just couldn’t do it. And he was like, no, there’s something seriously wrong. They still couldn’t work out what was wrong. They didn’t for that whole period. It just was constant.
[00:15:03] They just gave me, yeah, painkillers. And they had all these tests. And when I was having all these tests, my GP— it was actually my GP who said, well, your mum died at 37 of cancer. You’re 30. Let’s just test you. Oh, yeah, it was like six weeks after my 30th birthday, so super fun 30th year. And, yeah.
MICHELLE: Oh, man.
KYLIE: So we expected something to pop up somewhere. But we thought the cancer one would be clear. She’s like, it’s just a precaution because of your age, blah blah blah. Everything else, every single other test, was negative except for that one. And so I was immediately like booked in to have the— see a specialist.
He booked me in a couple of days later to have surgery. I actually thought I was just going in for another test. And then they rang the night before. And they were like, this is what you need to prep for surgery. And I’m like, oh, right, that’s what’s happening tomorrow. OK. OK. So I didn’t really have a lot of time to sort of process or prepare.
And thankfully for me, I had health insurance. In Australia, the way it works is we do have free healthcare. But you can have a very long waitlist for that. So I went on the waitlist anyways, just in case. Because it would be cheaper. So the waitlist was gonna be like two and a half years for my spine.
And I was like, I can’t walk. And I’m blacking out from pain. I need something sooner. And so that’s why I went private with that and paid all the private fees and that. And then when it came to the cancer stuff, I was like, I’m not even gonna bother considering public. Because, again, they were like, it’s nine months wait.
And I’m like, nah. In private, it was done and really quickly. So it was like immediate. But, yeah, so I sort of did all of that. But in the middle of it with— I had that surgery. I had some surgical stuff for my back and that sort of thing. I couldn’t afford anything anymore.
All my finances were all messed up. I had basically maxed out what I had. And I thought, what am I gonna do here? And I actually rang my health insurance company. And I said to them, this is the situation. I can’t actually afford to pay for my health insurance anymore. But I’m not in a situation to not have it. What can I do?
And they actually offered six weeks free. They said, you’ve been with us for three and a half years now. We’ll give you six weeks free to sort of sort yourself out a bit and get things sorted, and hopefully that’ll help get you back on track. At the end of the six weeks, if you’re still in the same situation, give us another call. And we’ll see what we can do.
And I was like, are you— are you for real? And she goes, yep. And it was all done instantly.
MICHELLE: That’s amazing.
KYLIE: I know. I’m like, what health insurance company does that? So I like stayed with them for another three years. Because I was just like, thank you so much. But, yeah, so we had all of that. And, yeah, my new partner at the time wasn’t working because he had to be my full-time carer.
And so our income was reliant on whatever I could do, like any speaking I could do and that. But if I spoke at an event, we’d like pump me full of medications, prop me up. I’d speak. And then I’d be out for four days. Like I couldn’t function for four days. And so we really had to get really selective about what work I did or didn’t do to be able to afford all the stuff that we had happening.
And in the end, I went to my parents. And I was like, give me money, please. And they did. Yeah, my parents are really good and really helpful a lot of the time. But, yeah, we— I heavily relied on my family to get my kids to and from school, as I mentioned, and to provide meals.
I had my partner at the time, his mom came and stayed with us for a while. And she stocked up our fridge and freezer, and cleaned everything, and cooked up like a month’s worth of meals for us, and all that sort of stuff. So we had a lot of support. But it was really difficult.
And also, I lost the— like I wasn’t eligible for government support at the time because the work that I was doing and the income that I was getting. And then he should’ve been eligible as my carer, but he wasn’t. And so we had all of that.
We were just like, all our money’s going. And we can’t even get the help that we should be eligible for and that sort of stuff. And it was just— it was a super, super stressful time. I still don’t know how we got through it. But, yeah, we did. We actually broke up later for other reasons. But that, we got through. So, you know, it’s interesting.
MICHELLE: Yeah. Wow. So I’m curious. This was what— three years ago, you said?
KYLIE: Yeah, so 2015, yeah. So, yeah, nearly four.
MICHELLE: OK, pretty recent.
MICHELLE: So at the end of that period, thinking about kind of your financial situation at that point in time, how much debt did you have?
KYLIE: 20,000. So not heaps, not heaps. I’d managed to stay on top of most things. But with that 20,000 in debt, I did ask my bank for basically assistance in that I could pause my payments for a while. Because I was also— at the end of that year, I also moved states again. I moved down here to Melbourne. Because my partner— my then partner got a job and that sort of thing.
But, yeah, so I was only $20,000 in debt. But he was in a lot, lot more debt than I was. Because most of our money that came through was actually my money. And we didn’t really share money, if that makes sense. Like we kept most of our finances separate because I had the two girls and things. But, yeah, so it was 20,000 Australian, which is actually less when you convert it to US.
[00:20:04] But it felt like a lot because I wasn’t able to do a lot of my work. And by moving states, I actually reduced the amount of work that I could do as well. Because a lot of my work was based in Canberra— that I thought I would be able to do online, and then I wasn’t. So I kind of shot myself in the foot. It took me about six months in Melbourne to actually get back on my feet financially.
MICHELLE: Yeah. So I’m curious then how that process worked out for you. Because I know now, you know, your financial situation is good, and you’re kind of back on your feet. So what did you do I think both from a tactical standpoint— so what sort of budgeting, or debt consolidation, any advice like that would you have for somebody who’s kind of in a similar situation?
KYLIE: Yeah. So I didn’t do any of the debt consolidation. I did help with his for some of that sort of stuff because he had a few. We sold our car to clear a chunk of his debt. We basically just— I sold off everything when I moved to Canberra, so that— when I moved to Melbourne, sorry, from Canberra. So that helped significantly. I, yeah, used the financial hardship bit.
MICHELLE: Yeah, that’s it.
KYLIE: Yeah, financial hardship is what I had to say whenever I rang any— like the bank and things like that. So I did all of that. But my main focus was on how I could bring in more income. So I had the company. And I did have government contracts and that sort of thing.
And so I just focused on utilizing that more, and expanding more, and finding some networks and connections within Melbourne to sort of expand so that I could do that. But my aim was to get out of having a company. I didn’t want to actually continue down that path, which I did later. I sold it later in the following year and that sort of thing.
But when it came to budgeting, that was actually where it got trickier. Because my girls starting at a new school needed new school uniforms. They— the school required them to have iPads. So there was that and then their books and all this sort of stuff. So with the 20,000 debt that I had, I suddenly had $2,500 that I needed straight up to pay for their things.
And, yeah, there was significantly high expenses at that point. So what I started doing was I was unable to save anything really for the first couple of months. And I— all the extra money that came in I— well, any money that came in really— I sort of did my budget slightly different to how I do normally in that— I always work in percentages with my income as it comes in. So now, at least 20% of my income automatically goes to savings.
And I have like 10% that I automatically invest and that sort of stuff. Savings is higher because I still have to pay for child custody and legal fees, so that’s what I focus on. But I try and keep my daily living expenses under sort of like 50 or 60% at least. But when I was dealing with all the debt and that sort of stuff, the debt took up sort of like that extra 30% of the saving and the investing as well to sort of like try and clear that as quickly as possible.
One of the first steps I took obviously was to get like a mini emergency fund. So I know Dave Ramsey recommends like $1,000. I always sort of focused on 2,000. And that’s typically what’s recommended here in Australia is like a 2,000 mini emergency fund. Just because most of the emergencies I’ve had in my life were like $1,500. So that sort of fit better.
And I don’t have credit cards or anything like that to fall back on. I haven’t had them since I was like, you know, early 20s. Because I’m really bad. I know that if I have one, I will like max it out if I’m having a really emotional day. So I just avoid having it. Like I know that about myself, so I just avoid it. But, um—
MICHELLE: That’s such grade A self-awareness. I love it.
KYLIE: And it’s— do you know what? This is the first time I’ve actually admitted that out loud. Because credit cards can be amazing if you have that self-control, and you can maximize the points and all this sort of stuff. But I just— I know myself. I will spend more money if I have a credit card.
I just— I seem to lack discipline with a credit card. Every other area of my life, I’m pretty good with discipline. But it’s just like a credit card, hey, hey, take my money. So I just— yeah, I avoid it. I just— I can’t do it. So, um—
MICHELLE: I feel like this is a little bit of like a money nerd confession session now. I feel like I know secrets. This is satisfying. I love it.
KYLIE: I don’t think my family even know that one. Like I don’t— like I haven’t mentioned it to anyone. It’s just— yeah, yeah. But it is. It’s true. And I think that’s important to know about yourself. Like if you’re bad with money, don’t have a credit card. Don’t get loans. Don’t— like as soon as I cleared my loan, like after I sort of got out of that position, then I fixed my budget.
And I shifted the percentages back to how I normally like them and that sort of thing. I was like, I am done with personal loans. And I don’t like— I don’t know. You guys I assume have like Afterpay and those sorts of things. Do you know what I mean when I say Afterpay? It’s like a lay-by—
MICHELLE: Um, I—
KYLIE: Or almost like a prepaid loan. Like so—
MICHELLE: Like layaway?
KYLIE: Kind of. Because layaway is like— we call it lay-by. It’s like within the stores, right? And you can put it aside. And you pay for it over a period of time, right?
[00:25:00] KYLIE: Yeah, no. Afterpay is like a prepaid personal loan that gives you a certain amount of time interest-free. And then you make payments each— every second week, usually, or every month over a period of time. But if you don’t pay it off by the interest-free period, then it’s like, you know, 20% interest or something like that.
They are super popular here in Australia at the moment. There’s Zip Pay, Zip Money, Afterpay, all these ones. But— and you get pre-approved instantly for 1,000 to $3,000, for most people that I know of, even if you have— and you don’t even have to prove that you’ve got a job or that you’ve got income or anything. They basically just require your email, your license, and like a proof of ID or whatever. And then it’s like, here’s $1,000. Go spend. And, um—
MICHELLE: Oh my god, that’s so dangerous.
KYLIE: It’s terrible. Our debt is already in the billions or something. I think it was like four billion or something— like consumer, consumer debt. There’s actually a website that you can go to that you can just see it ticking over. And we’re just racking it up.
But these particular options are so bad. Because people are just getting into so much debt. And particularly around Christmas, people are just like, yeah, I’m gonna get this, and I’m gonna get this. And it all gets delivered to you. And then it’s just like you have all of this debt. And people can’t pay it off within the interest-free period of time.
And so I— yeah, I avoid everything like that that I can. I have used it. I have tested it. And I’ve gone, not for me— and not for most people, I think. Most of us don’t have the self-control we think we have.
MICHELLE: Yeah, totally.
KYLIE: That’s my little—
MICHELLE: I mean, I don’t carry my credit cards either. No shame in that game, friend.
KYLIE: I think the majority of people, that’s the way it is. So, you know, let’s just be open and honest about it.
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MICHELLE: So I like that you shared some of your financial tips and tricks for handling that kind of situation. And I really like that your— I mean, I think you have to be flexible in that situation, right?
MICHELLE: Like if kids need school stuff, kids need school stuff. But I’m really impressed by your ability to, one, kind of recognize maybe this isn’t the right time to save; two, know that it’s such a short period of time; and then, three, actually have the self-control to get back in there and say, OK, all of the big stuff is gone, no more excuses. Kind of back to 20% savings and 10% investing I think is really, really powerful.
KYLIE: Thank you. Thank you. It was not easy, but it was— my kids are a strong motivator. And the knowledge of how high my legal fees are gonna be with them are also a strong motivator for the savings. Those sorts of things help. Like when you have a very clear why, it helps a lot.
And kids are expensive. So I think savings in general is a good idea to have. But, yeah, it’s not always easy. But, yes, I try to stick to that.
MICHELLE: Yeah. So in addition to sharing some sort of financial tips, I’m wondering if you can also share some emotional tips. So like how did you manage your mindset through all of this rollercoaster?
KYLIE: Oh, yeah, that was fun. No. At the beginning, I actually, funnily enough right before all of this happened, came across a couple of quotes which helped me significantly. So the first one was, “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become,” by Carl Jung. And I— that’s one that I would repeat over and over and over in my head whenever things were really getting bad.
And, you know, there was times where I was sobbing on the bathroom floor. Like I could not believe this was my life. And I would just say that over and over. Because I needed it to be true. I needed to believe that what was happening right now was not how my life was gonna be in six, 12, 24 months. It was, you know, I could determine my destiny. So there was that one.
There was, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” And, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” Or, did I get that mixed up? But you know what I mean.
KYLIE: Yeah. And so focusing on them, I had affirmations that I put up everywhere and would repeat. I had my goals written in permanent marker on my mirror. It comes off with like window spray. It’s not a big deal. But if you only use whiteboard marker, that wipes off every time you move the mirror. So it’s like, that’s pointless.
MICHELLE: Oh, yeah.
KYLIE: But I had that. I had vision boards. I just really strongly focused on where I wanted to be. And I tried to just keep that in mind. I made sure that every night I was writing down at least three things I was grateful for in my diary because— or journal, whatever you wanna call it. Because it didn’t matter how bad the day was. There’s always something that you can be grateful for. And that gratitude mindset really helps bring you out of those really troubled times.
I did see a psychologist on and off during this period as well. When I felt I needed to, I went and got that help. I’ve got an incredible family. So we talk. My sisters and I talk every day, just on— we’ve got a private Facebook group. But it’s constant. Like the conversation between us is constant. My dad’s very proud of that, of how connected my siblings and I are. So I had them.
[00:30:05] I have my dad. The amount of times that he’s gotten sobbing phone calls from me, him and my stepmom— I’ll ring up like, Mom, (WHIMPERING) aah. And she’s like, I can’t actually understand what you’re saying right now. But we’re here to support you. Like, aah. She’ll be like, how about you just take a breath? Yeah, so they’re really awesome.
So I feel very fortunate that I’ve made sure that I’ve sort of maintained a really positive community around me. Because right at the beginning when I was leaving my ex-husband, I lost everyone and everything. I left the church at the time— not because of the relationship. I left the church for other reasons. But I left the church at the time.
I lost all the mummy friends at my kids’ preschool because they were like, your life’s just too difficult. And it’s like, yeah, no kidding. How difficult do you think it is for me? And they’re like, it’s just— you know, we don’t wanna be involved in any of that.
And, yeah, they rung up drunk and dropped me basically at one point, which was highly amusing. I’m just going, well, that’s fine. I’m on my own. But it was good motivation to get—
KYLIE: Yeah. Yeah. It— yeah, it was interesting. But I’ve got it all in my journal. And I’m like, that was a really powerful lesson for me. Because they weren’t really friends anyways. We were only associated because our kids went to preschool together. And they all wanted me to stay on the welfare and didn’t like that I was trying to improve my life. And so they were constantly putting me down.
And it was like, you don’t need people in your life like that anyways. And so when they cut me out of theirs, it was like, well, that’s actually a blessing. But now I have no one. So it was for six months I had basically no one there in Sydney.
And so when I got to Canberra, I made sure I reconnected with everybody that I’d grown up with properly and had that strong network, which is really, really, really important for maintaining your mental health. And then also ensuring that I did things for myself, so even though I didn’t have much money, at the beginning I tried to make sure that I was doing a dance class. And this is actually where I feel I made a big mistake when I came to Melbourne.
When I moved to Melbourne after all those medical issues, I was really conscious of money. I became— I had quite a scarcity mindset. And I also felt that I had to repay my partner at the time for all that he’d done for me. And so I really neglected myself.
And I can see the difference in my mental health through that time period compared to other time periods. Because I wasn’t doing a dance class. I wasn’t doing anything for myself. And so that’s something that, as my finances have improved, I’ve consciously sought out.
So like this year, I’ve got a personal trainer. I’m doing a dance class two to three times a week. I’m studying a diploma of counseling. I’ve booked in for sailing lessons. Like I’ve made sure that I’ve carved out that time and that budget for me. Because when you don’t do that, your mental health really suffers. And then when your mental health suffers, your physical health can suffer. And we all know those bills are expensive.
But on top of that, like everything else just goes to crap in life. So make sure that you are allocating that time and that money in your budget for yourself as well. It’s, I think, one of the biggest things that I took too long to learn.
MICHELLE: Yeah. There’s so many good nuggets in there. So I love knowing your why, making sure that you’re super connected to what it is that you want, kind of making sure that you have those affirmations on standby, that you’re reaching out to your network. And I think even in some cases, like this is super important that sometimes therapy is just part of the game plan.
MICHELLE: Like I love— I want that to be destigmatized. I think that’s so, so important to have like your mental health team, so to speak, as you’re going through that stuff.
KYLIE: Absolutely, absolutely. And I have no issues saying that. Even now, I’ve got a psychologist that I’ve had a couple of sessions with because like the custody battle and all that sort of thing. And I had a couple sessions with her because I knew that going into custody— because this has been going on for years— that it’s very stressful whenever we actually have to go to court.
And I thought, well, it would be really handy to have a psychologist that I’m connected to and already have that relationship with before I’m facing that whole traumatic event. And so I went and had a few sessions. And so I’ve got a psychologist that I’m comfortable to go to when I know that I’m gonna be really triggered and emotionally vulnerable.
So I think it’s about psychologists and counselors and whoever you want to see can be both preventative and there for you at that point when you need. But if you know you’re gonna come up to a really traumatic event, I think it’s a good idea to sort of get that connection. Because you actually move through much quicker. If you have an established relationship with your psychologist, you’ll move through the trauma much quicker than if you’re trying to establish a relationship with them at the same time you’re traumatized, if that makes sense.
MICHELLE: Yeah. That’s so, so true.
KYLIE: Yeah. So I’m very pro getting whatever mental health help you need.
MICHELLE: So I mentioned kind of at the beginning of this podcast that the theme, so to speak, was turning obstacles into opportunities. So let’s say there’s somebody listening today— and you know who you are, if you are in this place of just like feeling so beaten down by what’s going on in your life, whatever that happens to be for you. What advice do you have for folks who are looking to turn their own obstacles into opportunities?
[00:35:05] KYLIE: Sure. So my first one is to try and have an attitude of gratitude. As hippy-dippy as that can sound, focusing on things that you can be grateful for can completely change everything. So I often like to do the gratitude list, like I mentioned before.
Anytime I’m facing any sort of obstacle, I always ask myself, yeah, what are the lessons that I can learn from this? What are the opportunities that can come from this? And it’s not always easy. But I’ve found once I’ve started writing a couple of things, more things will sort of flow. And that’ll help switch out the mindset.
Work out what goals you have and what goals you’re wanting to work towards. I have “10 Steps to Success with Goals” on my site that I refer to a bunch. Get out of your own head. So sometimes just going for a run or doing a yoga class or a dance class or something like that will be enough to sort of shift that mindset a little bit. I’ve found some of my best inspiration comes from when I’m completely switched off, doing something else. Yeah, like just getting out of your own head.
And I think too talking with others— so even if you don’t feel like actually having full-on conversations with other people, like getting out there, being a little bit more social. Or, even doing things like listening to podcasts and that sort of thing will sort of like— it makes your brain work in a different way a little bit and will stop you focusing so much on your own things, sort of get you out of your own head a little bit. Because that’s the step that you kind of need at that point.
Because once we start focusing on how bad everything is, it just spirals down so quickly. And I know because I’ve been there. And it’s been quite traumatic at times. And how quickly we can spiral out of control. And, yeah, that’s when my dad often gets one of those phone calls. He deals with it really well.
KYLIE: Yeah. So that’s another one. If you have a support person that you can ring and go, you know, life just sucks, and they can sort of talk you through it, that can be really beneficial. But, yeah, I’ve found the gratitude list helps significantly.
Oh, and one more thing is focus on the good parts of yourself. I’ve found often when we feel that things aren’t going well in our life, we don’t just focus on the bad parts of life. We then sort of turn almost inwards and start berating ourselves.
And so one of the things that I’ve recommended for everybody to do is to write out a list of 100 things that you like about yourself. And that can take a few weeks to do because we often don’t like ourselves that much, if that makes sense. But if you have that list, it’s something that you can refer to.
And you can include on it things like just compliments that other people give you. And when people give you those compliments, just say thank you. Like don’t dismiss it or downplay it or whatever. Just say thank you and then make a note of it. And, yeah, you can include that in your list or whatever if you like.
But having those sorts of things to refer to when you’re feeling less than great can be hugely beneficial. So a lot of it is like prep work beforehand. But once you’re in it, it’s— yeah, that sort of like gratitude mindset will help.
MICHELLE: Yeah. That’s wonderful. I feel like we have this concept— I mean, you mentioned— you kind of gave this joking caveat that I think was maybe a half joke of like, oh, it sounds hippy-dippy.
KYLIE: Because it does.
MICHELLE: But I think you’re— I think there’s something to that, though. That in a world where we don’t have control over what happens to us— like we don’t always have control over our circumstances. You can either try and sort of move this immovable force in your life, and like fight against it and fight against it, and just be exhausted, or you can work on your brain, which is one of the few parts of life that I think you have so much more control over.
KYLIE: Exactly, exactly. And it’s huge. It has such a huge effect. Like I remember the first time it was suggested to me. And I just looked back at them. And I was just going, are you kidding me? You just want me to write three things that I’m grateful for? That’s stupid. And then once I started doing it, I was like, oh, this actually helps.
And then it became— I wouldn’t just write them every evening. Like whenever I was faced with something that was difficult in the middle of the day, I’m going, all right, what’s three good things that can come from this? Or, what’s three reasons I can be grateful for this specific thing at that moment? And it does— it helps shift your mindset.
And you’re right about the control thing. Like we want to be in control typically of our lives and to try and control everything. But we can’t. But we can control our thoughts to an extent. You know? And so making those decisions to sort of change your train of thought can have a profound impact on how the rest of your day and the rest of your life goes.
MICHELLE: Yeah, totally. I love it. Well, cool. I’m so excited that we got the chance to chat with you today. Anything else that you wanna tell the folks at home who are listening?
KYLIE: The main thing that I think is that realize that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself first— not just in terms of mental health, but also in your budget like having an amount allocated to you to do whatever it is that you want to do, to make decisions that are based on you, and what you want, and what you need. Because when you’re living your life based on what everyone else expects or what the financial experts or whatever are saying you should be doing, then you’re not really living your life. Obviously, still have a budget. But, you know, don’t worry about being selfish and taking care of yourself first.
[00:39:58] MICHELLE: Thank you. What a delight. Oh, one more question. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I almost forgot about it. It’s so important. If people want to find you online and give you love and read about your story more, how can they find you?
KYLIE: Of course. I completely forgot that as well. So you can find me at kylietravers.com.au, or if you look up Kylie Travers on any social media. I am Australian, so— and Travers is spelled T-R-A-V-E-R-S. Kylie Travis is actually an actor. But, yeah, you can find me there.
Yeah, and she was on Baywatch. And I do get emails about that, despite the fact that it was Baywatch from, you know, 20 years ago, and I’m only 30— well, 34. Or, you can find me at— it’s so random. But we’re both blond. You can also find me at thethriftyissue.com.au and all the social media related to Thrifty Issue because I’m behind all of that as well. So those are the two main ones.
KYLIE: Yeah, I’m— I will respond to anything that comes through. So, yeah, feel free to reach out about anything.
MICHELLE: Cool, awesome. Well, everybody, thank you for listening. I am so deeply appreciative that you chose to spend this time with me. I hope that you are feeling a little bit inspired and ready to like go out and kick some ass, and take in that gratitude, and just drink it deep.
If you are listening to this podcast, and you enjoyed your experience, honestly one of the best things that you can also do to help us out, go ahead and give us a rating, leave us a comment, tell us your thoughts. We would love to hear them. And seriously, the more you kind of comment and boost our speech, the more that we get to talk about money with more people. And it’s yay all around. So I hope you have a great day. Kylie, thanks again for joining us. I really appreciate it.
KYLIE: Thank you for having me. Thanks so much.
END CREDITS I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Young Scrappy Money podcast. If you want to read about my work as a financial advisor and financial coach, you can do so at www.youngandscrappy.com. That’s www.youngandscrappy.com. Thanks again for listening.