Simone Milasas is the founder of a company called Joy of Business and the author of a book of the same name.
Australian women's website Mamamia published an excerpt from Milasas's new book Getting Out of Debt Joyfully over the weekend and it has caused something of an uproar online.
In her book, Milasas describes how she travelled the world and found herself in $187,000 of debt, but with a few "tools" – which she then shares – she was debt-free within two years.
The first tip seems pretty straightforward: Put away 10% of everything you earn.
But that money is "not for when you run out of money" or have to pay bills, Milasas stresses.
"If you pay your bills first, you will always have more bills," she writes.
"When you pay the bills first, the universe says, 'Oh, okay. This person wishes to honour their bills. Let’s give them some more bills.'"
With a 10% savings account, the universe, according to Milasas, gives you more money because you're "willing to have more".
The next tip Milasas offers is that you should "carry around the amount of cash you think a rich person would carry".
"I like to have at least $1,000 on me at all times," she said. "I like to have a bottle of water with me at all times. I like to have a cold bottle of wine in the fridge at home."
Milasas acknowledges that carrying a wad of cash could be a security risk, describing a situation in which her friend was mugged while carrying US$1,800, but said that while it wasn't "nice", her friend was "much more willing to be aware of her money" after the robbery.
"If you avoid having money on you or in your life because you think you will lose it or it will be stolen from you, you will never allow yourself to have money at all," she added.
So far readers have been encouraged to put away 10% of their pay packet (which, remember, should not be used to settle outstanding bills) and to withdraw a large amount of cash in a bid to "create a different financial reality".
Confusingly, the next tip offers suggestions on what you should spend your savings on.
Spoiler: It is not your unpaid bills.
Milasas suggests that to have money you must spend money on "things of intrinsic value" such as gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, and/or pearls.
"I have purchased lots of gold and silver with my 10% account and it’s fun for me," she writes.
"Things like gold, silver or platinum can be bought in ounces, kilos or coins."
Here, Milasis throws a bone to readers who might be reading an article about getting out of debt because they're in debt and suggests they start small: "You could start with buying a silver teaspoon to stir your coffee with, and add from there."
The excerpt finishes with a thought-provoking question: "What else could you add to your life to create a sense of aesthetics, abundance, luxury and wealth that expands every facet of your life and living?"
Mamamia has included an "editor's note" at the beginning of the article that reads: "This is one person’s experience and should be treated as such."
But people were still confused.
"It must be terribly tough to rack up $187k in debt travelling the world, and then earn a gobsmacking wage; enough to pay off the debt in two years whilst honouring yourself by buying gold, silver, diamonds and pearls," one Facebook user commented on Mamamia's Facebook post of the article.
It inspired poetry.
Milasas previously described her miraculous march out of debt in an interview broadcast in the US on FOX31 Denver.
She wasn't "even cognitively sure" how she got into debt, she told the Good Day Colorado breakfast program.
"I would definitely go away on a weekend or buy a nice bottle of champagne," she said. "I didn’t live from a mentality of lack."
But when she looked at her bills she realised: "Oops! I'm $187,000 in debt."
"Once I decided to change my point of view I started earning money in the most random places," she said.
Later in the interview Milasas said that most people "feel very comfortable with where they were brought up".
"So if you were brought up middle-class, you feel comfortable in middle-class," she said.
"If you were brought up with poverty, you feel comfortable with that.
"One day I was actually looking for an apartment with a friend in LA … We drove around all these different areas and the sort of middle-class area, I was like, 'This feels good,' and the poverty one I was like: 'Oh I’m not, you know, this doesn’t feel that great.'”
BuzzFeed News contacted Milasas and asked questions, including what qualifications she had to give financial advice, and whether she thought it was a security risk to carry around $1,000 in cash.
Milasas's PR assistant said that her client was in Germany and unavailable due to time differences.
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Gina Rushton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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