050: State of the administration

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Get up to speed with the good, bad and ugly state of Mia and Dinah’s life admin.

Since Mia and Dinah have been writing their Life Admin Life Hacks book they have optimised their life admin processes even further. In this episode they bring you up to speed on their life admin systems with a focus on the foundational tools: password manager, cloud storage and dedicated email, scheduling, lists and budgeting. 

A password manager is an essential foundation for life admin. Dinah has continued to use Last Pass Families and Mia uses Keeper. They recommend:

  • if you don’t have a password manager you should start a free trial
  • if you need some help setting up your password manager you can watch YouTube videos to step you through the process. 
  • installing a Chrome browser extension on your computer to make it much easier to access passwords on your PC or Mac and allow auto-filling of login details
  • all important documents (eg copies of passports and Medicare Cards) are uploaded to your password manager, given its high security and encryption 
  • setting up a legacy contact in your password manager so that if you become incapicated or die your passwords can be accessed to manage your digital estate. 

The second foundational life admin tool is having cloud storage and a dedicated life admin email. Mia and Dinah both continue to use Google Drive. They recommend:

  • a separate dedicated email for life admin to keep life admin in a separate, defined space and to more easily share the load with your partner or coparent
  • if you have had a cloud storage setup for some time it might be time for a digital declutter to get rid of anything no longer required. 
  • trying different mail apps on your phone to make it easier to save things into your cloud storage – Dinah uses the Gmail app to make it seamless to save files into her life admin Google Drive.

Another foundational life admin element is a shared digital calendar and scheduling. Mia and Dinah both use Google Calendar but Dinah uses the Outlook app on her phone to make it easier to view her work and family calendar together.

Mia loves lists! She uses:

  • the iPhone Reminder app for her to-do lists 
  • the iPhone Notes app for reference Llsts including her meal plan and shopping list
  • to-do lists that are categorised by the duration of the task: “Ten Minute Time Killer” tasks and “Hour of Power” for more complex tasks

Dinah also uses the Reminders app as she can easily share the lists with her husband and use Siri to easily add to the lists on the go.

Budgeting is the final element of the life admin system and is essential given its links to comparison shopping for household bills. Mia uses the Money Brilliant app while Dinah uses defined bank accounts to help live within her targeted savings goals.

There have been quite a number of changes to other areas of life since the various episodes were recorded. These include:

  • Home loans – lowest interest rates since the 1970s  – make sure you compare the rate you’re paying against the average interest rate on Moneysmart.gov.au. If your rate looks high at a minimum, call your bank and ask whether they can offer you something more competitive.  If you want to invest more time and reap more savings then call a mortgage broker.
  • Energy  – always on comparison services are now possible such as Energy Umpire. Most contracts no longer have exit fees and so shopping around each year is critical to get a good deal
  • Internet – the NBN rollout is now complete and contracts have reduced in time to 6 months. There are 35 providers to choose from and you can probably get a better deal if you have been with your ISP for a while
  • Mobile phones – this market has changed considerably with 5G now rolling out. It is now generally cheaper to shop around and buy a handset on sale, and then sign up with a SIM-only contract. If you are now working from home more, you may no longer need as much data so you might be able to downgrade to get a better deal.

RESOURCES

Last Pass – Dinah’s password manager

Keeper – Mia’s password manager

Episode 3 Managing passwords and form filling data

Episode 44 – Planning your digital estate

Episode 5 – Scheduling the Inevitable, the Inspirational and an Hour of Power

Episode 4 – Mastering To Do Lists

Episode 25 – Embracing Budgeting

Money Brilliant App

Money Smart – Home Loan average rate

Energy Umpire

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