Lance has been personally using the Spending Planner to transform and manage his own finances since 2002.
Lance Box has worked with clients helping them take control of their finances over the last four years, and is now serving Bright Spenders’ clients and helping them rock their finances. Learn how Lance always ‘pays himself first’ and about his famous ‘Start Over Again Fund’ which he’s had to tap into a couple of times over the past decade.
Anthea: Hello everyone, Anthea from Bright Spenders and I have a real treat today. I want to introduce you to one of our newest members of our team, Lance Box, who is with us today. I always like when we’ve got a new team member to introduce them to the community. So you can get to know him a little bit and hear about his experience with using our program, firstly and how it’s, how it’s changed things for him because he’s actually been using it for a long time. A lot longer than me. In fact, I think I’ve been using this since about 2010. Lance – 2002. He’s a serious veteran at this stuff and really knows his stuff. So welcome, Lance.
Lance: Thank you very much, Anthea.
Anthea: Why don’t you just start off by telling us a little bit about yourself. We’d love to find out a bit more about you.
Lance: Sure. My wife and I’ve been married nearly 40 years. I have two adopted children from the Philippines. My eldest son is doing his second apprenticeship in locksmithing. He completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter. My second son is married to a Walpuri woman and lives in a community called Gargaringi in the centre of the Northern territory. I’ve three Aboriginal grandkids, Walpuri grandkids. And I’ve been on the journey with the spending planning as you’ve mentioned since 2002, when it was called Simply Budgets. I started.
Anthea: Fantastic. So you’re actually up in Darwin, aren’t you?
Lance: Yeah. In Palmerston, which is sort of the twin city to Darwin.
Anthea: Yeah. Great. Okay.
Lance: And also have a PhD in education.
Anthea: Right. Okay. So you’re actually a teacher?
Lance: I have been in a past life, but I’m not anymore.
Anthea: I know – now you’re teaching in other areas, teaching people great financial management skills so they can really rock their financial goals. So why don’t you tell us a bit about what life was like before you found the Spending planner system of money management for yourself? I know back then it was called Simply Budgets, but what drew you to it and what shifted as a result?
Lance: Sure. Well, when I grew up, money was never talked about in, in our family, probably wasn’t talked about in a lot of families. And as a consequence on you, nothing about money. Got married and we had a roller coaster ride, big ride because at times I would look at my bank account and I think we’ve got heaps of money. Let’s go out and spend it. And we would go and spend it and then bills would turn up and we didn’t have the money. Or I would think, Hey, we got bills coming up. I don’t know how much I’m going to need and my wife would say we need X, Y, and Z. And say, no, we can’t spend on that. We can’t do anything because we’re gonna need it. And I was a little tightwad or a Spendthrift and it was just an absolutely insane rollercoaster ride.
Lance: And then my wife said, “Hey, you need to learn about money.” So I went to a meeting on the Gold Coast and David was there, David Wright, creator of the Spending Planner business. And he was selling his software. I bought a copy of the software and started the process of learning how to use it in time. Initially, there was no coaching which made it hard to learn. So we learned the hard road. But anyway, in time what I found was that having the Spending Plan in place gave me huge predictability and took away that rollercoaster ride, we knew to the day what amount of money we needed in our bank account every single day to be able to cover out bills up to 10 years. And we could have conversations and discussions and we would say, spending plan tells us, yes, we can do that. Or it tells us we can’t do that. And just, for example, my wife and I were thinking about getting a new car. So we went and had a look at a new car in the last couple of days, put the numbers in the Spending Plan, Spending plan said, can’t do it. Okay. So we’re not going to do it. We’re just going to hang onto the old car until we can.
Anthea: That’s such a great practical example of how of it in action in your life, having that question, “Oh, can I really afford to do this? Or not?” Like even on the little things like, “can I really afford to go out to dinner tonight? Can I really afford to get, piano lessons from my son or daughter? Can I really afford that car?” And you just can find out that information so quickly and easily with this program, you don’t have to do all the juggling of numbers in your head, which just leads to a whole lot of fatigue and foggy thinking. I think of it like my second brain really. It’s definitely my financial brain and it means I don’t have to be juggling all those numbers.
Anthea: So I imagine that you, like me back in 2002, were probably on the phone to David Wright for hours trying to set it up. And, the whole model is changed now and you can’t access it unless you work with a spending planner like ourselves. That has just proven to be a much better system because I don’t know if Lance, but my experience is that there are a lot of apps, there are a lot of books out there, there’s a lot of things that people can do, which we did initially to try and work out how to manage our money. But there’s no guiding force to help you, keep you accountable, really customize it for you and your particular finances, your goals, your lifestyle.
Anthea: And so that’s what we do. We actually guide people through the process of setting up their own very personalized spending plan so that they can achieve their goals and really maximize their savings. Lance, you have worked with a ton of people over the years and I would love to hear about one particular, one or two sort of stories of people that you’ve worked with. I don’t want you to name names, but if you can share a little bit about what they were like when they came to you and what the result was.
Lance: Well, if I can very quickly share two. Yeah. One of my clients was a woman who had a very well paid position and she received redundancy and went away and accumulated $97,000 worth of debt, having spent her redundancy payment. Came back and realized that she needed to get her old job back. And they said, yeah, sure. But at half the pay. So she came to me, half the pay, same lifestyle, $97,000 worth of debt. What can we do? So they put all the numbers into the spending plan and as it turned out she found that there was a lot of things that she was spending on did she didn’t need to. And in a very short time, we had her situation in control. She was paying off again, hammering it down. She was going on trips overseas and she’s living a better lifestyle than she did before.
Lance: She took the redundancy. She threatened all sorts of dreadful things If I ever stopped being her Spending Planner And we’ve remained really good friends over on very long time. And she is doing extremely well. And a second one was an accountant. An accountant who had no idea where his money was going and he had significant mortgages, and other debts and we put them into the Spending Plan and we saved him over, I think it was $26,000 of interest that he didn’t have to pay and a reduction of his debts by 18 years so that we reduced his repayment commitments to the point where he knew he would be totally debt-free by the time he was planning to retire. It was astounding. Amazing. He just absolutely couldn’t believe what this program could do.
Anthea: Both of those are just phenomenal stories. Like the first one – it really speaks to that whole idea that it makes no difference how much you earn. Absolutely no difference. I’ve worked with clients who are earning 50 grand a year, right up to clients who are earning 50 grand a month. And it’s often the ones on the higher incomes that are actually struggling more because they have this perception of there’s lots of cash around, there’s lots of cash coming in through their accounts, but little control in terms of holding onto it and that sick feeling that they’re having of, “Oh, it’s going out faster, than it’s coming in.” And the second story – we work with lots of accountants, financial planners and bookkeepers. Interestingly. And what I always say to people, because clients come to me and they say, Oh, I went to my accountant and they couldn’t really help me with this stuff.
Anthea: And I say, those professionals are super, super important in our lives. We need accountants. We need bookkeepers to minimize our tax, to make sure we’re compliant, be able to have really good business books. Financial planners are essential for future planning our investments. But they don’t really do this stuff. There really is no professional who looks after purely the cashflow part. Purely the budgeting part. And so that’s what we do as spending planners. So, – I’d just like to say there’s absolutely no what’s the word? Not disparaging accountants or anything, it’s just that doing a different thing that completely focused on a different part of finances.
Anthea: So they’re amazing stories. Lance, thank you so much for sharing those with us. And I just want to leave our listeners with one tip. , if someone’s listening in today and they’re struggling with control over their finances, whether they’re a small business owner or wage earner, what would be your number one tip for an action that I could take today to get their finances on track?
Lance: It’s a bit of a cliche, but pay yourself first is an absolute critical thing. It has got me through periods. I’ve had up to two years of periods of no income where I’ve known the exact moment when I needed to get a job or some kind of income. But I’ve paid myself first almost religiously since I’ve had a spending plan. And as a consequence, I’ve always had a Start Over Again fund
Anthea: And so what do you mean by paying yourself first? What does that actually look like for you?
Lance: Well, for me it’s, I take 10% of whatever income comes in and I put it into my Start Over Again Fund and then I live off the 90% live as if the 90% is my wage. Not the 100%
Anthea: Yeah. Right. Okay. So you’re always spending less than you’re earning. And so is that sort of when you get paid or when do you actually… Do you use your spending plan to work out the detail of exactly how much? So you put your income in, you put your expenses in, you make sure that your expenses are always only 90% of that income. And then that is surplus showing up as…
Lance: No, no, no. First thing I put in is a transfer from my spending plan account to my Start over again account. That then it becomes my 100%.
Anthea: Right, And then you put in your expenses after.
Lance: And then I put my expenses in.
Anthea: Right, I love it. So that really is paying yourself as it’s, it’s starting with how you mean to go on. That’s fantastic. Thank you so much, Lance. It’s really great talking to you today and introducing you to our community. I know that people are going to love working with you. You’re such a, I don’t know… Lance, you probably hate this term, but I feel like you’re the Teddy bear professor. You felt like you’re super smart, but you’re also incredibly lovable and warm and , I’m just so excited to be able to gift you to our community, so thank you.
Lance: So anybody who works with me has to obey my rule, and it’s an inviolable rule to be fun.
Anthea: I love it. Lance, thanks so much. I know we’ll be seeing a lot of you again. Bye.