Making economic sustainability personal

Here’s the thing. I have started to use this column as a monthly confessional. A conversation I would have with my very best friends. (Or not, because sometimes it is easier to write things down on paper than say them out loud.) In reality we are part of the AVA because we are friends. We share similar passions, skills and get excited about similar stuff. We also share similar challenges, the hard, icky, stressful stuff.

These columns can easily be full of management word salads about what the AVA is up to. A conversation about economic sustainability lends itself particularly well to a salad.

The starting point of the conversation about economic sustainability is focussed on ensuring that revenue or income is growing in a sustainable way and maintained at a level to support quality work. Promoting pet insurance, the value veterinarians offer and programs such as Biocheck and Pregcheck that provide a tool for engagement with farmers are key to assisting growth. We then turn our attention to ensuring that this growth flows through the balance sheet to improved business profitability, and then to increasing employee wages.

Economic sustainability is also about something much more personal. What happens between the layers of the wallet. This is a conversation we don’t often have in ‘polite company’. We are not good at talking about what how much comes in, how we spend it and what (if any) is left over.

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index (AUWI) is an annual report published by Australian Unity and researchers at the Deakin University School of Psychology. The conclusions of the 2017 report focus particularly on the contribution of financial security to personal wellbeing.

Scott Pape is among the most persuasive voices in Australia on personal financial wellbeing. In his writing he talks about money management in a way that makes it seem ‘doable’. In his bestselling book The barefoot investor he recounts the story of a fire in 2014 that devastated his family property. His description of the state of his property and his animals make Black Saturday seem like yesterday.

His message is a simple one: we will all face a financial fire at some stage in our life. I know I have. It might be a real fire, as it was for him, or a relationship breakdown, a divorce, a death, a diagnosis or any other color of crisis but having your money sorted makes it much, much easier to fight the fire.

What does ‘sorted’ mean? For me, it is knowing what is coming in, being intentional about what goes out, living on less than I earn, checking my super and automating as much as possible at the start of the month. This doesn’t take me very long, but I am still always tempted to play hooky from it. But, like most other life administration tasks, I feel physically lighter when it is done. When I know the money is sorted, I can deal with whatever comes my way. When I feel financial anxiety, this spills over into just about every other aspect of my personal and professional life.

We all have enough to deal with; let’s make economic sustainability a little bit more personal this month.

Paula Parker
President, AVA

This article appeared in the November 2017 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal

     Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer  |  Contact us