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How and why I’m taking stock of my family’s cash flow position | Money Master Diaries


I am Mark Wenzel, Senior Financial Adviser with The Hopkins Group and for as long as I remember, I have been recommending people spend less than they earn and invest the excess money. 

In my own situation, I have broadly used an ad hoc system where I pay myself first and invest this money without having any structure to the process. However, always looking for ways to improve, I wanted to look into ways I could better monitor my cash flow position and be more mindful of how my family and I spend our money.

With the additional time I have due to the COVID-19 shut down and a desire to experience more and buy less, I thought I would try ‘The Hopkins Group Money Masters’ program and share my experience with you. Over the next three months, I plan to write about my experience and share what I’ve learned over the time.

What is The Hopkins Group’s Money Master program?

Money Master is The Hopkins Group’s cashflow and budgeting solution to help put your finances in focus and give clarity to your spending. 

It’s powered by Xero Cashbook, which is an online app which can help track income and expenditure. The program is described to “take the stress out of managing your money, so you can be in a healthy position to plan and save for the future.” 

In my case, I hope it can help me better understand where my family is spending money.  

What do I hope to get out of the program?

I aim to increase my savings so that I can experience more in life.  Experiencing more to me means: 

  1. Sharing activities with my family & friends now.  I get far greater enjoyment from time spent with people rather than buying things.  While you get initial enjoyment from things like cars, technological devices and home goods, the real memories for me come from activities with my family and friends.  These do not have to be expensive activities.  It is time together that brings me joy.
  2. Saving money to fund future experiences.  These can be activities like holidays, bucket list activities or a course. They require planning and saving over a longer term than day to day experiences. On my bucket list is going to the US Masters, the NFL Super Bowl and living in Asia learning how to cook authentic Asian techniques.
  3. Having less things that keep me tied down.  We accumulate commitments in life that keep us tied down such as mortgages, car loans and school fees.  While this will take a while to work through, I aim to be in a position in 8 years to have more financial freedom to experience life with less financial commitments and more passive income.

What will I be doing and why am I documenting the experience?

By sharing my experience, I hope to encourage more people to take stock of their finances and work towards achieving their goals. While I won’t be getting into detail about how much I spend, nor what I chose to spend money on, over the next three months I hope to:

  • Be more conscious of what I spend money on and make mindful decisions about the expenditure considering my future goals
  • Recognise that small regular expenditures add up to be a lot over a year
  • Make changes to my habits so as to have a positive impact on my financial position
  • Run some experiments to try reducing expenditure (such as shopping more at Aldi than Coles & Woolworths to see if this saves money)
  • Attempt to put a value on things like insurance and considering alternative ways of reducing this cost
  • Highlight that expenditure today can affect tomorrow’s experiences
  • Test to see if I can save money from the regular expenditures such as the mortgage, private health insurance, electricity and gas

I plan to write regular articles sharing my progress and what I’ve learnt, to hopefully shed some light on small changes that people can make that may have a longer term impact.

If you’d like to learn more about the Money Master Program and how it may work in the context of your own financial situation, please get in touch by clicking through to our contact page or give The Hopkins Group a call on 1300 726 082.  

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