Irresponsible personal finance article

CARRY huge wads of cash in your wallet, don’t worry about paying your bills, and buy a silver spoon to stir your coffee.

Author of Joy of Business
Author of Joy of Business

A bizarre book extract published on Mamamia in which a woman explains how she paid off $187,000 in debt in two years has been panned by readers as “appalling”, “irresponsible”, and “like if the anti-vaccine movement tried their hand at personal finance”.

Written by Simone Milasas, author of Getting Out of Debt Joyfully, the piece outlines the three “tools” she used to become debt-free — each of which fly in the face of common sense.

Ms Milasas is the “worldwide co-ordinator” for Access Consciousness, a self-help program “based on the idea that … consciousness can shift anything” which claims “miracles can occur on a daily basis” if you use any “one of [its] 7000 tools”.

According to Ms Milasas, her first “tool for having money” is the “10 per cent account”, where you put away 10 per cent of everything you earn. “You are not setting it aside to pay bills with,” she writes. “You are not saving it for a rainy day … You are putting it away as an honoring of you.”

But what if, she asks, people say, “I’ve got bills to pay! How can I put away 10 per cent of my income?” Well, she writes, “here’s the thing”. “If you pay your bills first, you will always have more bills.

“When you pay the bills first, the universe says, ‘Oh, okay. This person wishes to honor their bills. Let’s give them some more bills.’ If you honor yourself by setting aside 10 per cent first, the universe says, ‘Oh, they are willing to honor themselves. They are willing to have more,’ and it responds to that. It gives you more.”

To be absolutely clear, this is appalling advice. Do not follow this advice.

Back to the 10 per cent account. Ms Milasas describes it as “gifting to you”. “It’s about being grateful for yourself,” she writes. But you shouldn’t do it because someone suggested it — you “have to do it for you”.

“When I first did my 10 per cent account, I was doing it grudgingly because Gary had suggested to do it,” Ms Milasas writes, without specifying who “Gary” is.

“The 10 per cent account will not work if you do it from the point of view of, ‘This book or person said to do it.’ You have to do it for you. You have to do it to change the energy you have around finances and the energy you have around money.

“After around three or four months of starting my 10 per cent account, the energy of money changed for me. I no longer had this panic about money. How many of you have a panic about money, or a stress about money, and that has become more normal to you than not?

“If you look at the energy of this, it’s contrarian; it’s like throwing the depressing party that money doesn’t want to show up to. Money follows joy. Joy doesn’t follow money.”

Her second “tool” is to “carry around the amount of cash you think a rich person would carry”. “How different would you feel about your life if you saw a big wad of cash every time you opened your wallet or purse instead of a lot of blank space and some scrunched up receipts?” she asks. “What if you enjoyed having money in there?”

Ms Milasas says she likes to have at least $1000 — and a bottle of water — on her at all times. “Some people balk at the idea, thinking, ‘What if I get mugged, or lose my wallet or purse?’ I had a young friend who carried about $ 1800 on her at all times and lost her purse. It wasn’t very nice for her at the time, but after that, she was much more willing to be aware of her money!”

This, too, is awful advice. Do not follow this advice.

But for all the worrywarts, Ms Milasas says her question would be, “How much money would you need to carry on you so that you are willing to be aware of it at all times?”

That’s because when you “carry around a large enough amount, you will suddenly become willing to be way more aware of your money; you will become conscious of where it is and what you need to be aware of so that it doesn’t get stolen or lost”.

“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,” she writes. “You have to be willing to have money and you have to be willing to enjoy it without a point of view.”

Finally, her third “tool” is to “buy things of intrinsic value” with your 10 per cent account — like gold, silver and platinum, which “can be bought in ounces, kilos or coins”.

“I have a safe in my house where I keep a lot of my gold and silver,” she writes. “If I ever get the feeling that I don’t have money, I will go and look in the safe and realize, ‘Oh, I do have money’.”

This, Ms Milasas explains, the “sort of thing the 10 per cent account can do for you”. Purchasing items of intrinsic value is a “way to enjoy having money, and to also have liquid items (liquid means easily sellable for cash) in your life that will maintain or increase their value over time”.

“Purchasing antiques or antique jewellery can be a good investment too,” she writes.

“Things like sterling silver flatware are great liquid assets because they are aesthetically beautiful items you can actually use which will contribute to creating a feeling of wealth and luxury in your life. Isn’t it much nicer to drink champagne out of beautiful crystal, or a sterling silver goblet rather than plain glass or plastic? I know it is for me!”

And if you’re strapped for cash — in debt to the tune of $187,000, for example — don’t worry. You “don’t have to have thousands and thousands of dollars in your 10 per cent account to start buying things of intrinsic value”. “You could start with buying a silver teaspoon to stir your coffee with, and add from there,” she writes.

“Just make sure, whatever you do or buy, that you follow what is joyful for you. Educate yourself about things of value that would be fun for you to have in your life.”

‘EVERY SENTENCE IS A MASTERPIECE’

The article, which was posted to the Mamamia website over the weekend, went viral on Tuesday after being picked up on Twitter, where users reacted with bemusement.

“I have never seen such objectively terrible advice,” tweeted Erin Turner, head of campaigns and policy at consumer group Choice.

“Apparently the universe will sort it if you to set aside 10 per cent of your income rather than pay off your credit card accruing 18 per cent interest. The advice is actually: wish hard and wait for the universe to give you money. It’s The Secret for money.

“OH. And being ‘aware’ of your money means it won’t get stolen. The final recommendation is the greatest: buy fancy things so you feel wealthy. This is actually how you *get* into debt.”

Peter Johns wrote: “It’s like if the anti-vaccine movement tried their hand at personal finance.” Vivienne Egan described it as “f***ing irresponsible for @Mamamia to publish this bollocks”, while Clare Payne said it was “appalling”.