From $10k debt to owning a home
IF THERE'S one thing people love to tell millennials these days, it's that they're doing everything wrong.
They say it's impossible to spend months in Europe, backpacking through the Greek islands and partying in Ibiza and then expect to be able to enter the housing market when you return home.
But one man thinks he might have the solution - a solution that lets young people do it all. Dominic Aarsen, 24, an entrepreneur and founder of Make The Most of Your Money, has devised an online program that is helping people better understand their cash flow and giving young people a fair go at the housing market.
Before launching his own business, Mr Aarsen was working as a financial adviser at Woodbury Financial Services, managing "ultra" affluent clients worth more than $30 million.
Now, he's putting his expertise online, directly offering his services to anyone who'll listen.
FROM CREDIT CARD TO DEBT TO CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE
One of Mr Aarsen's biggest success stories is a young paramedic who, six months ago, was struggling with credit card debt.
Raquel Abrahams, 26, who comes from the northern suburbs of Sydney was in the middle of paying off a credit card when she first decided to sit down with Mr Aarsen.
Half a year later, she has booked a two-month trip to Europe and is planning on going househunting when she lands back in Australia.
"You know how you dream about those huge things you want in life? Well, Dom helped me with all the information and tools I needed. I had no idea how to budget when I first started," Ms Abrahams said.
Mr Aarsen's program takes his clients through an online course but he also offers a one-on-one sit down service.
"The first week we sat down and went through all my goals and the second week we worked out a budget," Ms Abrahams said.
"It's been outstanding. Since then I've learnt how to invest my money, how super works and I've been able to teach other people which has been really nice."
Ms Abrahams, who has only been working as a paramedic for the past two years, has already established herself well enough to being on the verge of househunting.
"I had very minimal money when I first met up with Dominic and had a big credit card debt. I had no money for expenses or anything but within four weeks, all my debts were paid off," she said.
"Six months ago I thought I'd never even own a house. I just thought I'd be renting for the rest of my life, we weren't going to buy at all."
While Mr Aarsen's insists young people have to be realistic when considering where and when to buy a house, he also encourages his clients to dream big.
His devotion to his clients is clear. Although Ms Abrahams finished up the online course weeks ago, she said she still regularly emails or calls the entrepreneur to ask his advice - something he's all too happy to give.
"Dom's taught me how to budget and has given me a basic understanding on all those adult terms like super, tax and stocks so I'm not so much in the dark anymore," she said.
"He's given me more direction and makes me think before spending money on myself. For example, if you want to go to Europe he makes you have a rationale before you buy anything.
"You ask yourself: 'If I buy this right now, is it going to align with my goals?' He always makes you come back to that and makes you think: 'Where do I want to be?'"
Ms Abrahams work with Mr Aarsen has left her with a budget of $10,000 for a two month holiday in Europe and enough wiggle room to launch herself into househunting when she gets back in February.
THE EIGHT STEPS TO FINANCIAL GENIUS
Make The Most Of Your Money, dubbed the first independent money platform based on holistic advice, has broken down the often difficult to understand parts of financial advice.
"What I've done is build a platform where everything is online and a platform that gives people money direction not advice," Mr Aarsen said.
The program is made up of eight modules that take half an hour each. By the end of the program, he guarantees you'll have "your own road map of what your money looks like".
The young entrepreneur insists it isn't about selling stuff to clients, it's about providing them with the tools they need to be financially confident.
"There was a definite gap in the market. Young people don't want to spend money on advice and when people start thinking about their financials in five or ten years, they always say: 'I wish I would've done those things back then'.'" Mr Aarsen said.
While he said people often see things like home ownership and travelling the world as a one or the other situation, he insists it's possible to do both.
"You can still go on holidays but instead of putting $20,000 on a credit card you can spend $10,000 of your own money instead. It's about being realistic but still doing everything you wanted," Mr Aarsen said..
People who do his program will build-up an average of $2500 savings in the first three months with that amount improving the longer his clients stick with the practices.
The program, which features an upfront cost of $400, has already built an online following and forum where people can ask any question about their financials and have it answered by an expert.
Anyone who does the program also has a one-on-one with Mr Aarsen every three months.
The financial adviser isn't just teaching people to understand money, he's teaching them to be realistic about their goals - it's all about tweaking expectations and going for what's achievable.
"Young people need to understand, if they want to go to Europe over summer or start saving for a house, they need to stop spending money on irrelevant stuff like new gym pants from Lorna Jane or having a coffee every day," Mr Aarsen said.
"Our generation particularly loves doing whatever we want but the repercussions for people doing that over a long time is big."
He started his business a little over a year ago with $10,000 of his own money and, while not wanting to disclose how much the business is earning, he said it's doing "extremely well".
Despite only being 24, Mr Aarsen has already purchased a house (with a mortgage) and is encouraging other young people they can do the same.
"It's just easier than people think. The earlier the start, the better you'll be. The difference between doing something like this when you're 25 or 35 is massive. It can mean an extra $200-300,000 at retirement," he said.