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Dan and Ed Shoot the Sh*t on Money, Business and Why It's So Hard To Talk About

Dan and Ed Shoot the Sh*t on Money, Business and Why It's So Hard To Talk About

by Gemma Nichols


Shoot The Sh*t is a regular column where TradeMutt founders Dan Allen and Ed Ross discuss issues that impact their lives as well as the wider TradeMutt community. 

On the 3rd of July, 2021, at 9:18 AM Ed wrote:

Derek,

Mate thought I’d shoot you a note about an interesting conversation I had with a bloke on the phone this week. 

We were connected through LinkedIn and he was after a recommendation for something, doesn’t really matter but I just asked him how business was. He sort of paused and then said, “fuck its been tough”. 

Apparently he has had some real cash flow issues of late and has been struggling with anxiety and lack of sleep worrying about his business. He was blown away when I told him that we have been in the same situation before more than once. 

Do you think this is an issue more common than we think? It may be that people feel some sort of shame or social pressure not to talk about business and personal finances. What do ya reckon?!

On the 8th of July, 2021 at 1:08 PM 2021 Dan replied:

Mate no surprises here - you are the king of LinkedIn after all.

One thing I've learnt on our TradeMutt journey is that there are two types of business operators - operators that have cash flow issues and operators that lie, or to your point, just don't talk about it. As you and I both know, the numbers side of things is the most critical part of any business but it seems like it's the hardest part to wrap your head around. There are so many external factors that can affect cash flow at any point in time that it's never just a set and forget scenario. It's bloody stressful mate. We're just so lucky that we asked for help and found an awesome numbers guy that takes care of all the spreadsheets. We'd be absolutely screwed without him.  

To be honest mate, any talk around finance does have a taboo element about it. It feels like sometimes when people talk about money and finance in general it can be seen to be a bit wanky, but then on the other end of the spectrum a lot of people avoid the subject out of fear of being perceived as not having their shit together. And at the end of the day, although we don't like to admit it, people are always comparing  themselves to others, like when you see someone with a nice car and fall into the trap of thinking they must have it all together. That shit is society's biggest trap. Nice cars and shiny possessions do not equal financial stability.

I just wish I had taken more of a proactive approach to finance and numbers when I was still on the tools. Remember when I was working as a sub contractor and hadn't organised my finances correctly and got audited by the ATO? I had to pay back $30k which fucking sucked. Not to mention the stress and shame I felt about the whole situation. 

I guess at the end of the day not everyone loves the numbers side of things, and that's ok, but asking for help and getting a plan in place definitely takes that stress away.  

You've got a pretty good understanding of numbers though. Did you always have that or have you asked for help yourself?

On the 8th of July, 2021 at 5:26 PM Ed responded:

Appreciate it if you could now reference me as 'The King'.

Yeah fuck I remember when all that shit was going down on that job in Clayfield. Was a confusing time for you and me for that matter. I mean who the hell knows TAX law!?

As for a 'good understanding' I would say it's more me being 'interested' in personal and business finances. More honestly mainly personal atm as we have TM and TIACS stuff sorted with a Jet already. 

I was never that interested in my own money, mainly because I had no idea how to manage it properly. As you know that all changed after reading the Barefoot Investor and I have gone on and read a wedge more financial based books. I am a firm believer in open conversations around investments and how people manage money. It is so important we do talk about it because financial stress is crippling!

I know I bought you a copy of TBFI, what did you make of it? Do anything for ya?

On the 9th of July, at 12:24 PM 2021 Dan wrote:

Mate your more of Jester than a King. 

Yeah that was a tough 3 years with the ATO - I felt completely trapped and like I was falling way behind while everyone was getting ahead of me. Again, comparing myself to others. Wrong approach. But hey, sometimes you've just gotta eat the shit sandwich and learn some tough lessons. And I've got no doubt that I wasn't the only young tradie operating as a sole trader who has no idea how to correctly structure his shit. Given what I went through and the way I felt, I'd really strongly encourage anyone to have a chat with their accountant and ask a few questions. So much easier to to ask some dumb questions than make dumb mistakes. 

Talk about the bloody Barefoot Investor - easy to understand, easy to set up and easy to start seeing results. My personal finance structure and savings looks so much better since TBFI. Just goes to show that all you need to do is have some sort of a plan in place. 

I agree that people should talk about this more, but how do you strike up this conversation without either sounding like a finance wanker and without making people feel more anxious or worried than they may already feel? It can be a dicey topic to bring up sometimes, like asking people if they're getting the Covid jab or not?  

On the 14th of July, 2021 at 10:28 AM Ed responded:

Danimal,

Yeah, I remember you having your ring hanging out for a while there as you worked through the ATO stuff.

Also, glad to hear you embraced the Barefoot stuff. I harp on about it all the time. Larns and I can't speak highly enough about it. 

As for how we can speak more openly about it, hard one. I reckon it's not about imposing ideas or saying what people have done are good with their finances but having open discussion about things that have worked and what has not for individuals and couples. I know one of my big regrets was buying that Hilux on finance when I was on the tools. I had a perfectly good ute before but in my own head I created this narrative that I needed an upgrade and I needed the best version and all the extras. Fuck, I look back and am glad I did in a way make that decision because it has taught me a valuable lesson. CARS ARE A SHIT INVESTMENT.

If it was not for Mount Gravatt and Wippells Mazda helping us get some fresh wheels you know I'd still be dabbling in the old 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer.

On the 15th of July, at 12:52 PM 2021 Dan replied:

Morning King ding-a-ling,

Could not agree more regarding the car side of things. What is it with people and feeling like they need a big flash car to show off? And don't even get me started on apprentices buying big flash utes on less than minimum wage. apprentices don't need a new ute - they need to be able to slowly build their collection of tools and not drown themselves in finance. When it comes to mental health, financial stress is a MASSIVE topic. You're definitely better off having less possessions and more financial freedom to be able to afford a holiday or a nice dinner with the wife.

Speaking of the epic utes from Mount Gravatt and Wippells Mazda, it's time for smoko and I'm about to drive myself up the road for a delightful culinary adventure - Me thinks it might be time for a Nando's fowl drowned in hot sauce. That should make a good dent in my splurge account!

Love your work big boy!

 

If you are experiencing financial or business stress or just want to chat to someone please reach out to our TIACS support service on 0488 846 988 to talk to a mental health professional for free. 

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