Forget the fillers and plump your finances

Economy

I found myself pretty cranky on radio last week, in a chat about women and money.

What got under my skin? What is literally getting under many females’ skin: cosmetic injectables.

There’s collagen, botox, fillers, threads, and you name whatever-the-hell crazy thing we are apparently putting in our bodies now.

Over just a few years, it is easy to inject the equivalent of a house deposit..Credit:iStock

Told you I was annoyed.

But ‘appearance’ pressure has reached epidemic proportions.

And while it is magnified by social media, it’s lubricated by debt facilities like buy now, pay later.

Indeed, our obsession with looking good is today so expensive, extensive and sometimes inexhaustible, that it can leech away financial security.

Over just a few years, it is easy to inject the equivalent of a house deposit.

Even the Better Health Victoria government website warns: “Think about your financial situation, as cosmetic treatment does not usually qualify for rebates from Medicare or private health insurance companies.”

And: “Cosmetic treatment may improve your appearance and self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily deliver your ‘ideal’ body image or change your life.”

Because the injectables industry is – in reality – a money-sucking machine preying on low self-esteem.

However, much like you can get in ‘calorie-credit’ by subbing in better-for-you foods (say ditching butter for avocado) in a health swap, you could be ‘sitting pretty’ with the below wealth swap.

Switch collagen for the co-contribution

You only need to cut your (collagen?) costs by $19.25 a week to get a free infusion of up to $500 from the government. If you pay in $1000 after tax to your superannuation fund, you get this so-called ‘co-contribution’. But you must be earning – that is important – less than $56,112 a year. Done every year, this dramatically swells your assets in a good way. Speaking of which…

Switch fillers for a (family) filling

Still on super, you can get a $540 tax rebate – so that amount trimmed off your tax bill – by a higher-earning spouse injecting $3000 after tax to the super of the other. That requires an investment of $57.70 a week; does a ‘clinic’ compromise cover it? The receiver needs to be on less than $40,000 – no requirement to be working this time – to get the full $540 ATO ‘discount’. This one inflates your bottom line both in the future and immediately.

Switch botox for a balance transfer

Where a person carries over credit card debt from month to month, RBA figures show that the average balance bloat is $1454. Worse, it is accruing interest at a typical 18 per cent, which means if you pay off the minimum only each month, you will end up wearing an extra $2145 in interest (over nearly 14 years!). Is that while – perhaps – you are dosing up on more debt for botox?

If you instead opt for terrific and tight finances, the average person would need to redirect just $40.40 a month. Today, you can get a beautiful 36-month offer to erase your past excesses by transferring your balance to a credit card charging 0 per cent interest.

Switch threads for dividends

This is a big one – both in terms of the invasive treatment and my evasive alternative. Swap inserting medical-grade thread material into your skin (this is real!) with a far more valuable boost: investing in the sharemarket. Here – and it is frightening thread users are getting younger – an early start is a smart financial decision: it gives you more time to reinvest your dividends (income) and harness the power of compounding. Just $6 a day invested from age 20, if you can get an average annual 8 per cent return, will grow to $1 million by age 67. And you’ll have shelled out only about $100,000; $900,000 will be a pure earnings uplift – or free money. Plump your finances with far less pain.

Re the cosmetic procedures I’ve mentioned, feel free to send me corrections and complaints. I have no interest in learning… only in interest I’m actually earning.

Sadly, some people are sacrificing economic advancement for cosmetic enhancement.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is the author of How to Get Mortgage-Free Like Me, available at www.nicolessmartmoney.com. Follow Nicole on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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