2020 was a strange year for everyone. The COVID19 pandemic, lockdowns, bushfires, economic devastation and recovery. The impact of the pandemic (still going today) has crippled the entire planet. The world will simply never be the same, all thanks to a microscopic little virus. Kinda terrifying isn't it? Here we were wondering about terrorists, war and the stock market crashing, but it all it took was a tiny little bug.
To say the loss of life has been tragic is a gross understatement. It's been just terrible. Second to that is the economic devastation that has befallen so many industries. Local businesses closing down en masse. Thousands unable to go to work and while government economic support is good short term, what about those that could not keep their jobs?
I was fortunate enough to remain employed, but my beautiful wife Sarah was made redundant after 17 years with the same company.
Money, Money, Money
While it has been a nice break and great to support the kids through remote learning, it has made me think about our long term financial situation. The other thing that came to light was Sarahs work situation and long term effects. See Sarah was working for a non-profit organisation with lower salary expectations but an included vehicle in her package. Now this is great while your employed, but this also means that your getting much less superannuation employer contributions (for the Americans I think that's your 401k).
The maths behind it can add up really quickly (feel free to correct my maths!) Example: Your salary is $50,000 a year. Your employer is paying 9.5% contribution. You work for 15 years with a company and your super account earns 5% interest. When you leave that job your super would be around ~$75,000 (excluding fees etc) The same calculation done at $65k would leave you with ~$100,000. And that's just your super. So while a vehicle is nice, the extra income and super benefits I believe far outweigh in that scenario.
Right In The Hip Pocket(book)
This made me look at our finances and wonder what our potential was. The first step was to look at the way we were spending our income. Years ago I signed up for Pocketbook (My Review Of Pocketbook), a nifty little app that tracks all of your spending etc. (You can find out more in this post) You can connect your bank accounts and then categorise your spending into things like groceries, insurance, pretty much anything. Once you categorise something, the app uses a bit of intelligence and will automatically categorise purchases. Nifty huh?
So I had a look at the way we were spending and made a couple of changes (changed mobile plans from Telstra to Aldi - same network, easy recharge through their app and saved me almost 50% etc) to free up some cash. I also grabbed all the coins that I've been dragging around. I had a great big money box that I just kept piling coins into. All counted, this came to ~$250!
I also decluttered, selling off unused music gear like guitar speaker cabinets, speakers, and a bunch of Boss guitar pedals and the like through Facebook marketplace.
All up I netted myself a pretty decent bag of cash - but what to do with it?
My options were:
Pay off more of our mortgage (boring!)
Put it in the bank (even more boring)
Buy some magic beans (hmmm, interesting)
Invest to try to earn some passive income (oooh, really interesting!)
Find out what I did in Part 2