We can see it now... Sipping espresso and dodging scooters in Italy; soaking in the turquoise blue Mediterranean, eating olives and hummus in Greece; haggling with the street vendors while sweating bullets in 100% humidity (most of Southeast Asia). Living life out of a backpack, catching trains and jumping buses, meeting & greeting while it’s all so fleeting - It’s a gap year, baby!
Spending time abroad can be a life changing experience, being exposed and immersed in other cultures and societies can give you a fresh perspective of the world and your place within it. Ask anyone you know whose had one and I bet they’ll say something like ‘OMG! my year abroad, just, like, totally changed who I am’ (You know who I'm talking about). But now it’s your turn! *Insert evil ‘Muahahaha’ laugh*
But before you get there, you need some money. And that means setting goals and sticking to them. Don’t worry, we’ll have you on that plane in no time.
Set your eyes on the prize
A lot of people fail in their saving goals because they just aren't motivated enough. Whatever they’re saving for seems so far away and out of reach. We want the instant gratification that impulse purchases give us. When your brain starts screaming for that dopamine release, just stop, take a breath and picture yourself in your dream location. Download some pictures of a tropical beach to your phone for inspiration and solace. Maybe spend nights researching and planning that 2-week trek through South America, rather than drinking in the same bar you have been for the last 2 years. Get pumped, stay pumped and keep that vision of you rocking it in paradise alive and kicking.
How much is it for a beer in Prague? A bowl of curry in Goa? A night’s stay in Amsterdam? Prices for everything can change drastically depending on location and time of year. Try and estimate how long you will be spending in different areas, do some research on daily costs and set a savings goal around that. We’re not saying plan everything in detail beforehand (no one likes that person) but having an idea of how far your money will go in certain areas might be the difference between a gap year and a gap month (or an embarrassing phone call to the parents).
Talk the talk and walk the walk
You’ve set your goals and come up with an amount needed to get you where you want to be, now it’s time to put your money where your mouth, ummm, is….? No, put your money away! Have a long hard look at your budget, see where you can scrimp and scrape and open a goal savings account. This is the hard part, the nitty gritty, the part that so many people stumble on often because they believe they just can’t save enough.
Sometimes what you need is a fresh pair of eyes on your specific circumstances and budget. A financial adviser can offer you avenues and advice to reach your long-term savings goals that might’ve never occurred to you. Get in touch with your friends from Visia Financial Services today and let us help you get your gap year underway.
Kora Drage is an Authorised Representative of Financial Wisdom Limited ABN 70 006 646 108, AFSL 231138. The information contained in this article may contain general advice. It does not take into account your financial circumstances and objectives. You should consider talking to a financial adviser and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a financial decision. Any views and opinions provided in this article may not reflect the views and opinions of Financial Wisdom Limited.