20: Spenditude: A life-changing attitude to money

What if you could gain financial security and live the life of your dreams just by changing your attitude?
Is that even possible?
According to Paul and Janine authors of Spenditude, it is not our age or income that influences our financial success but rather our 'spenditude'- our attitude towards money.
Are you a spender, a slender or a defender?  Paul and Janine are on the show to help us identify our spenditude and how we can make small incremental changes to get us on the right path to financial security.

Listen to the episode on the player above, or keep reading the transcript.


M: Hello, beautiful people and welcome to episode 20 of the Money Mindful Podcast. Today on the show we have financial experts Paul Gordon and Janine Robertson, authors of Spenditude a life-changing attitude towards money.

I'm very excited to have them on the show one because Spenditude is the book that we are reading this month in Book Club and two because when it comes to managing our money and creating more money for ourselves one of the fundamental building blocks towards creating change is our mindset. And it's really refreshing to have a book about money that is on mindset because without the right mindset or right attitude, it doesn't matter what you do with your money habits. Your mindset and attitude is going to be the guiding foundation, so it's really exciting that there's a book out there that helps you develop awareness around this.

We're also going to be doing a giveaway. Paul and Janine are generously giving our listeners the chance to get their hands on a copy of the book so stay tuned until the end, where I'll give you the details off how to win a copy.

But first a little listener shout out to IbuSteph, she writes, inspiring and practical. Loving this podcast, as well as the Blog and subscription email updates from Meaghan. Since I started listening in late 2019 I've knocked off consumer debt and it feels great, set and started working towards some small but significant money goals and learned heaps about topics that were previously a bit daunting, like insurance, estate planning and rent-vesting. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to get on top of their money situation. It's not a scary as we thought. Thanks, Meaghan.

IbuSteph When I read this review, I did a little twirl and I jumped up and down because my whole motivation for starting this podcast was to support women just like you, in having More exposure to information about money and how to make positive change in your life by hearing stories from other regular women just like you, just like me. We're not financial experts, but we have the skills and the knowledge to set ourselves up financially and create what we want when it comes to money. So thank you very much for taking the effort to write the review on iTunes. It helps other people find the show, so I really appreciate that.

And just a little hot tip- IbuSteph mentioned that she subscribes to the email newsletter. And that's right. We have a newsletter that goes out once a week on Tuesday, when the podcast drops and I tell my newsletter subscribers all the things. So in fact, this book giveaway that we are doing today they knew about that weeks ago. So if you don't want to miss out on all the things, make sure you head over to, the website www.moneymindful.com.au and hit that subscribe button. I'll put a link in the show notes.


Okay, let's cue the interview.


Paul and Janine Welcome. I'm thrilled to have you here on the show. We are talking about your book Spenditude today. I've been talking a lot about it on my social media, and it's the book for book club this month for Money Mindful. So let's talk all the things.

How about we start by, can you introduce yourself?

P: Thanks for having us, and I'm very excited to be on your podcast, about our background is about 15 years ago we started working together on a project which was to help people who are impacted by redundancy, which is a really tough time in people's lives and what we found by interviewing over 10,000 people that there was a sort of a common theme that those who were kind of good with money got through fairly easily. But those who didn't have a really good relationship with money struggled and this this sort of theme came across all different age groups.

It didn't really matter what you earned or, what stage in life you were. So that sort of set the scene for us to think there's something going on here around people's attitudes to money, and we felt as though it was probably something that was deeply ingrained in you from a young age and that sort of started us on this journey of exploring people spenditude.

J: Yes, so we've been talking about, as Paul said, for about 15 years and working in corporate spaces in financial well being, So, seeing lots of people over that period of time.

M: So was the book to help the people that you were serving at that time? Or was it more than that?

P: I think the book came out of us learning more and more about how most people we meet fall into one of the three spentitude categories, and we wanted to sort of document those categories. But also talk about how you can address and understand your behaviour to money. That's the first step towards changing your spenditude. And that's a very different prospect and doing a budget or doing those yucky things that most money books want you to do.

M: Yeah, well, that's what I love about Spenditude so much. And what attracted me to the book was. I've read plenty of how to books, but one of the things in the how to books that's either only lightly touched on or not there at all is all about mindset, and I know that you're using the word attitude, but I think it's very much mindset and the thinking behind what you think about money, and in my opinion, that's the most important thing. That's the foundation for everything and the the other parts of the day to day management of money. Like if you invest in something or do you save money? That's just the details. That's just what you choose to do. But the starting point is the mindset. So I'm thrilled that there's a book just about mindset when it comes to money, and I think I better just stop here and say, How about I get you to explain what those three categories are? Because I think we're talking a little bit like everybody's read the book because, of course, haven't you read the book? Everybody. Those of you who haven't could you explain to us those three categories that you're talking about that we fit into when it comes to our attitude about money?

P: Okay, well, there's a spender, a slender and a defender. It's not a joke. They don't actually walk into a bar there are actually, three very different behaviour types. So if we could go into the two polar opposites, so a spender is somebody who uses money, transacts with money because they’re not interested in the mechanics of money. So when they when they have it, they spend it. When they don't have it, they borrow it so there is clearly a type like that. At the very other end is defenders. Defenders, in the DNA is financial security, financial independence. I don't mind spending, but they hate waste.

So for them they look at any sort of spend through kind of like a value lens. You know, they they're very thoughtful before they spend. And in the middle is the slender and the slender is the majority of the population. And what they do is when they spend, they get guilty. The spender doesn't get guilty the spender is having a great old time, or they'll do some defender things like get themselves really organised with their money and understand it. But they don't stick to it.

So they’re the sort of people in the middle and we sort of say that the best way to describe them because they they're frustrated. They don't like that the spenders are having a good old time. And they don't like the fact that defenders are getting ahead.

M: I see yeah, well, I can relate to that. Definitely.

P: I'm just saying The funny old thing about writing this book and something that sort of Janine and I worked out as we were writing it is that I'm a spender and Janine's a defender. And when we'd sort of come up with ideas, we came from very different places, and it was sort of really quite interesting how, how we sort of started to put on paper how that the spender and the defender think very differently. But if you could combine the two together, you know you've got a pretty happy place.

J: The other thing that's interesting about that is when we present to people and talk to people often, there's an assumption made that you know, Paul, being a man who's slightly older than me, is perhaps assumed to be the defender. And as a younger female, I'm assumed to be the spender, and it really kind of proves the point that it's not age, stage, income.

M: Yeah, I think we can definitely box people into stereotypes, can't we? But I'm wondering, why is it important to know what category were in? And can we be a mix of the two?

P:Well, I think it's important because it's awareness. You know, any behaviour change programme starts with awareness. So if you're not aware of what you are, then you keep on doing what you're doing. And we're finding that people who have read the book and even friends of ours and others are saying, Oh, you know, I checked in on my spenditude on Saturday and I did a bit of defender stuff, you know, and I was really proud of what I did. So that's the start of an awareness conversation.

Can you be one or the other? We believe that you're born either a spender a slender or defender, but you can adapt behaviours that change some of the things you do, and what we see is a spender who adapts defender tricks and defender behaviours tends to do pretty well and have quite an enjoyable life.

J: And I think at the other end of the spectrum. If you're talking about defenders, you know, understanding your attitudes to money and that maybe you come from that place where I know at the really extreme end spending can be really hard for a defender as well so it doesn't matter which kind of place you sit on that scale, having that awareness can help you improve your behaviours.

M: I love it when I've got notes in my hand for a podcast, and the next thing that I'm about to ask about is what we naturally, naturally move into talking about. Because that's what I was going to say on one of , I’ve got a quote here from the book where you talk about awareness and it says “I understand my current spenditude so I can see what needs changing?” And I think awareness is something that more and more in the general consciousness we seem to be talking about it more than its. It's underrated, I think, and being aware of what we're doing has such a huge impact on our lives and putting us in a position where we can make change.

P: Yes, it's a real light bulb moment, and we talk about partners, too, and you know, people that you love, who one might be a spender and the other's a defender. And you know that can cause all sorts of problems in relationships and family dynamics. And what we say is just be aware of what everybody is and that's the start of the conversation in and of itself.

J: Yeah, and it can change the conversation because you might come at a certain topic with a different mindset and a different understanding of where that person is. And, you know, talking about money is something that we also talk about in the book, and it has been such a taboo over the years. But if you can come at those conversations with that awareness that can certainly improve.

 P: I’ve got three boys in their late twenties, early thirties and one’s a spender, one's a slender and one's a defender, that's,

M: So you've got the full spectrum. Love it,

P: That's right, and they sort of talk about it in that way. It just opened up. It allows people to be who they are, but they're also looking for ways of learning from each other.

J: And I think the interesting thing about that is as well, is If you look at Pauls Children, they all grew up in the same house with the same parents with the same experiences. So it's certainly some of those behaviours come from experiences in life, but they come from your perceptions of those experience and then, also as we said some of it's kind of in the DNA.

M: Yeah, All right. Well, I want to come back. I want to circle back to this topic. But before we do, one of the first chapters in the book really took me by surprise. But I absolutely loved it. And it's about sleep. Okay, so what the? Talked to us about this? Because I don't think there has ever been any other money books with a chapter on sleep. And why have you included this chapter? What's the? I mean, I know this because I’ve read it, but for our listeners talk to us about this.

J: Yes, so sleep is one of those fundamental things, and I think we are seeing more discussions about sleep in media in various things. But basically your brain is operating at a reduced capacity. If you're not getting consistent sleep and one of the things that that leads to is poor decision making. It leads to anxiety, you know, physical health conditions as well. So if you think that people operating on a small amount of sleep are making good decisions with their money, then we need to revisit that and really look at where those decisions coming from sleep is a fundamental thing for brain function and physical. You know, health.

P: A spender with not much sleep is a dangerous human because Harvey Norman will get them.

J: Think about it as well. You know, we deprive ourselves of sleep, and we live in an age where you know, we have access to shopping any time of day. On our phones from our bedrooms from our lounge rooms. How many times have you been online shopping and watching television at the same time? You know, all of these things combine and reduced sleep is helping us make poor decisions with our money.

M: I am just really glad that was included because that's actually not something that I thought about. Although I do think about how sleep affects my day to day. But I didn't make that connexion to do with money. But it affects all aspects of our lives in many, in all respects. Really.

J: And if you're a spender and maybe you're the type of person who enjoys shopping or shopping is a bit of a stress relief and that kind of thing, then improving your sleep quality can really help to get you to focus better on some of those habit change things that we were talking about.

P: There is also you know, there's that three AM anxious hour when you wake up and everything is magnified by about a 1,000,000% and and then you start to get anxious and anxiety is really just unresolved conflict floating around in your head and often it has a financial sort of bite to it and defenders or spenders or splendours can still be triggered by that three AM anxiety around something to do with money. So not only do you need to work on your sleep hygiene and we've got a whole range of stuff around that in the book. But also it can it can keep you awake. And so if you can be aware of your spenditude, then that can certainly help.

Yeah, well, I know from my own experience that spending money makes me feel good. It's like eating food, you know, if I'm sort of feeling like a bit, I want that dopamine here. I'm not I mean, personally, I think I'm a defender, but I can relate to. I can go out and spend money and feel good, just like I can go and eat some chocolate and also feel good for a temporary period of time. But there's consequences for that, obviously. But you mentioned in the book there's, What is it? Like a kind of process called the Tight Five. Are you happy to talk to us a little bit about that?

J: Yeah, yeah, that's fine. So it's chapter six. I think it is. So the first thing we talk about in that is making a plan and pivoting, but we actually say make a little plan. So I think when you talk about gold setting and you're thinking about changing habits, having some big, large goal that's overwhelming is kind of setting you up for failure.

P: Can I get use an example of that as a spender? I went to an auction last year because I'm much more aware of the defendant tricks. I didn't go to the auction just with my emotions. I went to the auction with a tiny little plan, which was don't spend any more than this amount. And as much as that sounds obvious to everybody spenders at auctions can be really vulnerable, and the auctioneer will smell a spender from the moon. So you've just got to be kind of have this little plan in place to protect yourself against yourself.

J: Yeah. So it doesn't matter if that's a plan in the sense of what Paul saying, you know, a moment in time or kind of a longer term goal. Just making sure it sure it’s reasonable and achievable on. Then the second part of that step one is pivoting. So you know, when you've done that step reassessing where we need to go next. Um, I on the right path. Things happen in life. You know, you can't make a big five year plan and expect that everything is going to go exactly as you expected too.

M: And you do have. And this is one of the only sort of, like, really kind of money parts of it, I think, is to spend less and you earn I mean, that's in every every book, isn't it? You had to have that in there.

J: If every book that has been written that said spend less than you earn were successful, then we'd all be doing really well. I think sometime it’s hard to do right? Especially these days when you can tap a phone, a ring of, you know, credit card in some way on. We just have lost this connection into our money.

P: There is no cash anymore.

J: Spending less than you, and I think is harder today than it was know, for my grandmother. She received cash. She put it in her jars, envelope pepper. It might have been she allocated money to different expenses because there was no way to access any additional money. We just live a different way of life, I think.

M: Yes. So you go on in the book to explain some further steps to do that with the Tight five. But we might not need to give it all away because you need to go and get the books, ladies. But the following on from these five steps that you give us, then you talk about something called and I'm loving that you make up these words because actually make up. Words all the time. And I hear myself on the podcast saying variations of words that but anyway, that's a whole other story. But you talk about this concept called rewirement as opposed to retirement. And I think this is a fantastic point that is really relevant to the people listening today who are not at retirement age, and this is something that they need to be thinking about now. And, but you explain this concept in a bit of a different way, so I'll let I'll let you explain it.

P: Yeah we believe that that term retirement was quite handy and very understood 50 years ago. But it's really outdated. You know the idea that you work, tio you 60 somewhere and stop completely and then live. Ah, a life in retirement kind of worked when you died in your sixties, but we're living into our eighties and nineties and hundreds now through life. You really do need to be forgetting that that plan and thinking about what you're doing now and continually rewiring yourself and rewiring could be thinking about having a side hustle. You know, there's a lot of people out there that are renting out anything that moves or doesn't move that they own to make money, and we talk about that a fair bit. There's really interesting examples. There were even just learning new skills because, you know, we talk about the future of jobs due to technology we talk about the fact that we're going to continually have to consider where we're at much more around what we're doing today rather than thinking of some mythical time into the future. So get rid of that word retirement and rewire regularly.

J: But I think if you think about 50 years ago people didn't work really hard, probably in jobs that had more physical labour as well on, they only lived in that retirement phase for such a short time. As we said before, you know about the way we use money, life's just evolved. It's just really different. And I think careers have evolved. As Paul said, the future of work's going to be very different to what it is today.

P: And there's a really funny example of a story. Or there's a lady I know that's got a cat, good looking cat, and she posted up on Instagram, but it's got a big following on now. The cat industry wanted to endorse their product next to this cat, this cat's got 25,000 followers on Instagram. That's her side hustle. I think if you can do that with the cat, there's things that you can do.

J: Must be a good looking Cat.

M: I love it, I love it and I think that you have really hit on such an important topic and not even just for retirement. I'm experiencing that in my own life that it's just happened and I didn't know that this was going to happen. But we've moved and our circumstances have changed. And I can see now that I need to make moves about thinking about my career moving forward, and that's just becoming part of life.

P: Yeah, we're not sort of dissing super either, because super is just a way for the government to give us a bit of a tax break for long term savings. And that's really good. And defenders maximise that tax break. You know, they would not consider missing one cent of a tax incentive, so it's a done deal. But for the majority of us, we're not maximising that tax break, so we're actually throwing money away by not understanding it. And that's the point. You know, if you're a spender or a slender, learn a couple of these little defender tricks, and that one is a classic.

J: Learning along the way, and you know that aligns the realignment you've got to keep learning along the way. It's important to have those different skills in life in the same way it's important toe lone about those things that are further away life.

M: Ah, 100%. And you know, that's why I'm doing this book club just purely to create a space where we can learn more because that's what it's all about. You just need to keep evolving, and you don't have to know it all at once. You don't have to learn every single thing, but you just pick up another little tip and pick up another thing that you can change. And before you know it, you are changing your behaviour. Because I know you talked about that in the book, Paul, that you're a spender, but you're obviously have changed some of your spending spending ways.

P: Yeah, it's the most is the most powerful thing is to know that you can change things once you're aware, and when when we talk to groups of people, that's the light old moment, as when those in the room who are spenders or slenders say okay, so I don't really have to change a lot. I just need to be aware of where I am now and pick up a few changes. One of the most immediate changes. This is really interesting, I think is the, is the environment, you know, with keep cups. So keep cups are an interesting concept because there's two things happening with a keep cup. One is you're you're protecting the environment so environmentally friendly thinking people love that. The other is it's cheaper. You know, Our coffee shop near where we go for a coffee is like a 50 cents discount on a keep cup. So if you're a defender, you may look at that 50 cents and be very comfortable that you have saved 50 cents on a coffee. You're a spender. You might look at it is that you're helping save the planet. So what we say to spenders is just put a few things ahead of purchase, like planet like helping others like de cluttering. And that is the start of picking up some defender tricks.

J: And on the topic of coffee, we always say, Go have a coffee changing coffee habit is probably not going to be the fundamental thing that you do. You'd be better off to go buy a coffee and read a book.

M: and smashed avocado. What's your opinion on that?

J: Oh, you've got to enjoy good things in life. And if you come at money from a perspective of never being able to enjoy yourself, you're probably not going to have a good time.

P: That smashed Avocado Lady was the number one bestseller when we were number seven. Yeah I was dirty on that.

M: Well, before we wrap up, I just want to ask. So for somebody listening who might be feeling like, Oh, I think that's me. I think I'm a spender. I want to make change. Obviously, they can get your book, but is there anything else that you would like to share? Any final pearls of wisdom before we conclude the show.

J: I think probably re framing goals and things like that around purpose and happiness. So, you know, I have a thing about my family having some goals and some kind of purpose, things that we work towards, and it helps you make better decisions. So if you kind of know what your purpose and what's bringing you that joy in your life, you can work towards having a better financial outcome as well.

P: You've got it on your fridge that purpose.

J: My family values are in the entrance to my house. That's a defender’s house.

M: That's awesome. I love that!

P: I don't think it's that great.

J: It helps with having a conversation with the kids as well, because when you're making a decision to spend money, is it meeting those family values.

P: And maybe the last? The last thing, too, is that when we sort of present, we got a lot of people coming up and saying, This book's not for me but I want to give it to somebody I know. And I think that's what happens is defenders listen to this. Okay, Yeah, this is obvious. But I've had trouble with my nephew or my son or my friend or somebody who is a spender. They just don't move. So if you if you're frustrated about somebody that you love and they're not moving their attitude to money at all, this book could be the catalyst for a conversation with a defender.

M: Fantastic. Well, speaking of the book, you have bean very generous and are going to give a couple of our listeners a copy of your book. So in order to get a copy of the book, what we're doing is you need to think about are you a spender, a slender or a defender and we want you to email me, I'll give you the details at the very end of the show, but you're going to email Money Mindful, and you're going to tell us which one you are. And why, tell us a little bit about your money, Story. And why you think that you fit into that? Which category? And is there a category that you would prefer to be in? I'll give the all the details at the end of the show, and I think I will conclude by saying thank you so much. We had a few, some behind the scenes information. We did have a few technical hiccups at the start, but I think we worked it out in the end. Thank you very much for joining me on the show today. Paul and Janine.

P: Thanks we really enjoyed it.

M: And there you have it. Paul Gordon and Janine Robertson, authors off Spenditude so many important points in that conversation and in their book. So just to recap they talked about that we are one of three different categories we’re either a spender, a slender or a defender. And once we've identified what one we are, it comes down to awareness. We know what we are. We know what our behaviour is, an attitude towards money. And so then we're in a position to make change and they touch on some really important points, such as first of all, starting with getting the right amount of sleep and improving our sleep hygiene. So we're in a position to make clear decisions and make positive changes in our life.

Janine touched on the first steps we can take when we want to make change. And that's setting a goal but a small goal to make sure, make a little plan and then pivot So not to overwhelm ourselves by trying to tackle some whole new money regime, but taking little steps to move forward. And I really like that and they go on to, explain five steps in detail in the book, and they also have and 11 step framework, if you will, or should I say pathway to follow in terms of improving your attitude towards money and making positive change.

Okay, So how do you get your hands on the book, this is what you need to do. They talked about the three categories of attitude towards money, so there's the spender, the slender and the defender. So what you need to do to get a copy of the book is first, you need to go and subscribe to the Money Mindful newsletter that comes out every Tuesday, and then you need to email me and let me know. Are you a spender? Are you a slender or are you a defender? And why? So tell us a little bit about your money, Story and why you think you are a spender or a slender or a defender. And which one would you like to be? And why? If you are already a subscriber? No problem. Just reply to any of the newsletters with your answer, and the winners will be drawn at the Facebook Live Book Club meeting, which will be held at 8:30 p.m. On Tuesday, the 31st of March. So that's in two weeks time. Book Club is a meeting to discuss the book, Spenditude and talk about how we can apply what we've learnt in the book.

Anyone is welcome to join, even if you haven't read the book and you want to hear more about it and join in on the discussion. That's Tuesday, the 31st of March at 8:30 p.m. And it will be a Facebook live on the Money Mindful Facebook page. I will put links to that in the show notes, and I will put links to subscribe to the newsletter in the show notes as well. There you have it folks until next time have a beautiful week. Bye bye.


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