By Mr and Mrs MoneyPlant
$129,000 | MAY 2014
After hitting $100k, I was monotonous (dull, tedious, and repetitious; lacking in variety and interest.)
Let me tell you from experience, that sometimes the money isn’t everything. After I had moved back home and settled in, my life very quickly become a soul sucking experience. Wake up > Go to work (I enjoyed the 5min drive to work as opposed to 50min+ in Brisbane though, that was nice)…then back home… and repeat. I had no friends, no social life, and after being in Brisbane it was pretty quiet and boring. Being an introvert I didn’t mind it at first, but boy, it didn’t take long for me to I miss the experience of living with my best friend and running our own house/rules. I moved in Feburary 2013 and lasted until August before moving right back! When I got back to Brisbane I was unemployed for 1-2 months while I looked for work, so the payrise didn’t really end up working out to be any more then if I had stayed, but it was still a valuable experience.
Another word of advice… If you are planning on leaving a job in the near future… DON’T TELL YOUR EMPLOYER YOU PLAN ON LEAVING (At least not earlier then you have to)!… I thought I was being an honest employee (and it was a small practice, so we all got along well). I had told them in July that I was planning on moving back to Brisbane at the end of the year (just to give them the heads up). Well….a few days they gave me my 4 weeks notice and said its probably not a great idea to continue to invest in me if I wasn’t going to be around, so my plans were cut short. It wasn’t a bad thing, but it just wasn’t on my terms, so yeah, don’t do that.
After moving back to Brisbane, I was looking for work for about a month or so before securing a not so exciting sales role to get my income rolling. I really needed to resume my cashflow and being a sales consultant was the LAST thing I thought I’d do! As much as I hated it, looking back I think it was a good period of time where I was forced outside my comfort zone, so it wasn’t all terrible (Did I mention the drive took over an hour one way though? Now that was terrible! haha)
While working in sales I was constantly applying to IT jobs, and managed to score a new, exciting opportunity that would be kick my career back into action. I secured an entry level IT Helpdesk role in November 2013. The salary was $40,500, which was quite humbling after my last job for $50,000 , but… I had to get my foot in and build my reputation!
I was 23 and still saving hardcore at this stage, and I mean.. hardcore. Back then you could buy a subway foot long breakfast sub for $5, so I ate half for breakfast and the other half for lunch (dw, I heated it back up, I’m not a monster), so you could say my expenses were prettttyyyy low. I lived about an hour away from work so I would wake up in the dark, cycle to the train station, and then train for an hour for a 7am start in the Brisbane CBD. It was gruelling. I actually remember laughing out loud one morning on my cycle to the train station during winter, at how utterly ridiculous the situation was, but…having just secured my new IT related job, I was willing to stick it out. Everyone starts at the bottom, and the bottom is hard.
This introduction to the corporate environment was lots of ‘fun’. I realised that recruiting agencies took HUGE cuts and that you could actually negotiate your wage. I was doing the exact same job as others and earning way less. I attempted to re-negotiate my rate after my probation period about 3 times via a formal process (with no luck). This wasn’t doing wonders for my sense of justice, or for my saving habits!
Long story short, I quit my $40,500 a year contract on Friday and received a new offer with another recruiter for a Monday start, but this time for $50,000 for the EXACT same job (No really, on Monday I clocked in and sat down at the desk I left on Friday and just continued my work as usual). This was a teachable moment, I had the sudden realisation that scrimping and scraping is great, BUT… sometimes one of the best things you can do financially is to try and earn more money. I wasn’t content, and I certainly didn’t take no for an answer, so I kept pursuing and exploring my options. The process took 2 months, but 2 months for an extra $10k worked out to be time well spent.
I mean take this scenario for example:
- Person A earns $40k. They save 90% of their income (which is insane btw, this is just an example).
How much did they save? $36k!..They can NEVER save more then $40k….
- Person B earns $80k. They only save 60% of their income (that’s more reasonable)
How much did they save? $48k. That’s $8,000 more then Person A could EVER save.
So what am I saying exactly?
Invest in yourself and always be on the lookout for more ways to make money.
With that realisation… the following weekend I printed out flyers and handed them out within my neighbourhood advertising my IT services for $50 per hour (which was just over double the hourly rate of my day job), I wasn’t swimming in cash, but the extra $50 here and there was split between my ‘Saving’ and ‘Luxury’ fund. My luxury fund was so I could spend money guilt free on things that made my life easier, or just gave me enjoyment. Guilt free was an important keyword here btw, I actually felt bad spending money on myself, and looking back now, that wasn’t healthy. (I managed to find balance in this department, but that came later when I met Mrs MoneyPlant 🙂)
$150,617 | NOVEMBER 2014
OVERCOMING PERSONAL BARRIERS
What a crazy 6 months it was to the next $25k! Not long after I received a $10k pay rise to $50k, someone I worked with forwarded an email for a job position for an IT Trainer. The description sounded exciting and fresh, but then I looked at the salary… $85k!!! I was 24 years old and thought “Sigh…. that’s a little out of my league”… and plus, training means you have to be in front of people, right?
If you remember how I mentioned in my 0-100k post that I had crippling shyness? Well.. turns out when you’re thrown into the workforce and part of your job is to talk to people, you get put out of your comfort zone A LOT. Who would have thought that the excitement of earning money and determination to do well would outweigh my social anxiety?… Money can be an interesting motivator that throws you out of your comfort zone. Have you ever heard the saying ‘Fake it till you make it’? well I much prefer the ‘Fake it till you become it’, which over the last several years has been an interesting journey in personal development.
Anyway, the IT Trainer role involved delivering workshops, travelling around Queensland etc, and I had already turned down a really well-paying job before out of complete and utter fear, and I would not let it happen again, so what the hell, I sent off my application and hoped for a miracle.
Fast forward a few weeks and I was successful in getting the role, which really boosted my confidence, and my income stream! It was a short contract, nothing permanent, so I made a very conscious effort to not splurge or change my lifestyle any particular way. I would later find out that I was actively managing ‘lifestyle creep‘.
Lifestyle creep is effectively the phenomenon by which your spending increases in line with your income, so you end up working most of your life without ever really ‘getting ahead’. Sometimes lifestyle creep comes at you unexpectedly, or comes with having kids and buying a house; but sometimes it’s completely choice (Like buying nicer clothes, more expensive phones, or dining out lots just because you got a promotion).
Person A earns $40k a year and spends $20k, leaving them with $20k of savings. That person now gets a payrise to $80,000, but instead of living on $20k, they up their spending $70k. They end up saving less.
They doubled their income, but tripled their expenses. This is typically seen in the movies whereas soon as someone gets a big promotion, they get a huge house, another car, and all the fancy stuff, and they are no closer to reaching their savings goal then if they were still on $40k a year income.
That being said, remember the first scenario? It’s really important to note that you SHOULD reward yourself for being paid more, you kind of deserve it, just don’t go all out, ok?
$175,000 | MARCH 2015
A year after getting my break, that sweet contract gig was over, however, I managed to secure a position afterwards at a slightly lower rate ($76k) but much higher than the $40-50k beforehand, and it was a non-contract role so this helped create a new, stable fortnightly transfer into my savings account.
I was pretty slow buying shares. For my age and risk profile I should have been dumping everything I had into the share market, but….I’m a pretty conservative guy and don’t like to take risks in the slightest, so I kept quite a large cash buffer (as you can see in the image). Also.. did I mention I had no idea what I was doing?… I was like…Hmm.. my cash is getting high… Guess I should buy more shares? *EEEK!!*
I was earning a stable income, investing regularly, and it was around this time that I met the wonderful Mrs MoneyPlant (Watch this space!)
$200,000 | APRIL 2016
I FINALLY HIT $200,000! 34 MONTHS
… WOOHOO! Ok so turns out the first $100k wasn’t a complete fluke (or I fluked it twice.. time will tell)
Hitting $200k was a new kind of feeling compared to $100k. It felt more intentional, rewarding, and ultimately, something I wanted to stick with for the long term.
My income was higher now compared to the first $100k period so I felt like I had abit more fuel to throw on the fire 🔥!!! I just needed to keep my head down and continue doing what I was doing…
Starting at $100k, the growth was consistent, but slow. It was routine now to log in and update my spreadsheet at the start of every month. This really kept me accountable and I got a nice dose of dopamine! haha In all seriousness though… It was a habit, and there is something quite powerful I think in visualising seeing your net wealth increase every single month. As I say, slow and steady wins the race.
LOOKING BACK ✈
I reached $200,000 much sooner than I thought I would. The first $100k took 51 months, yet the second $100k only took 35. There were some pretty interesting events that happened during this period.
- It took less time, and yet my interest and dividends earned more (double), that’s crazy1
- I earnt a total of $350,000 in salary (Over 7 years) and despite my expenses, my wealth hit $200k, the value of my portfolio is starting to grow at a steady pace!
The dashboard image below shows two images.
One is from $0 to $200, and the other is from $100k-200k
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
$100k to $200k I made over $20k in returns! For this period, it worked out to be a monthly average of nearly $580 per month (Remember my first interest payment was $1.21….)
At this point.. I was pretty committed to seeing this through. What if… one day, my investment income covered my expenses so I didn’t have to rely on work? I had no idea at the time that this is essential what FIRE is all about!
The graph below how much I got in interest and dividends. The light blue is interest from a savings account, and the dark blue are dividends. Each bar represents one month. As you can probably tell straight away… dividends are amazing (not as frequent, but when they do give, they give way more then interest)
HOW MUCH DID I EARN?
From when I started till now, I had earnt a total of $352,183 ($324k career, $18k dividends, $10k interest) You know… income isn’t mentioned a lot when people talk about their wealth, but I think it’s soo essential for context!
Say there’s two people you meet at a BBQ chat.
- Person A has a net wealth of $100k, earning $500k a year
- Person B has a net wealth of $100k, earning $40k a year.
I don’t know about you but the context of incomes paint very different stories. I’ll always have huge respect and appreciation for how much the low income earner worked their butt off and sacrificed to get ahead.
So while you may see/meet others with various net wealth’s, especially on social media, don’t compare yourself. I’ve never meet two people in the exact same situation and context. Don’t compare Apples with Donuts, it just isn’t the same. Instead… aim to be better then your own self. Earn more, save more. Compete against yourself.
Anyway, for full disclosure, from:
- $0 to $100k I made $146,855, an average of $34,500 per year
- $100k to $200k I made $210,000, an average of $72,000 per year,
The increase in income was largely contributed by:
- Significantly increasing my income.
- Earning more interest.
- Getting paid dividends. (they pay way more than interest in a bank account? Why? I’ll write about it later in more detail, but essentially it comes down to reward and risk. All investments carry a risk. Bank accounts are practically 100% safe and secure, so the reward (interest) is quite low. Shares & Property carry a higher risk, so the returns are potentially higher.
I just want to take some time to mention that there was an enormous difference in the quality of life between my first and second $100k. Yes, I kept drinking $1 coffees (I still do btw haha) and always hunted for deals and coupons (I still do btw, several years later) but I stopped being such a tight arse. I remember my first date with Mrs MoneyPlant and she was in shock horror that I didn’t even offer to buy her lunch during our date (She was happy to pay, but the fact I didn’t even offer resulted in her opening up about my unattractive qualities – Remember how I mentioned about being frugal vs a cheapskate) Save money where it counts, but sometimes saving $1 here or there isn’t worth it. Look after your friends, and enjoy the experiences you have with them without worrying too much about the price tag, because an experience missed, isn’t worth the extra $10 in the bank, trust me.
Everyone is a little different, but what really helped me not feel guilty about spending money was creating a travel account for myself. Every fortnight I would transfer money into my savings/share account, but I also started putting away a little bit in my newly created travel account. Over time, those small bits add up and suddenly, you can afford to go on overseas holidays. Before I had this set up I turned down a trip with my mate and our friends because I didn’t want to ‘touch my savings’, which is something I regret missing out on. Also, when you have an account labelled ‘Travel’, then you don’t feel bad spending it for travel, as that’s kind of what it’s there for! You might be different, but that worked for me 🙂
If you started to save, but then got lazy, distracted, or just lost interest, then start it up again, it doesn’t have to be full on, just give it a go, because when it comes to saving, it’s less about money, and more about having the discipline and self-control to live within your means, and this can have a whole range of other benefits in life, you got this!
- My First car
- Moved out of home (Bundaberg) to Toowoomba.
- First car accident… Cycled to work everyday for months while saving for a new one
- Moved to Brisbane to move in with my mate as housemates.
- Enjoyed a week’s holiday to Queenstown NZ (Snowboarding for a week, until I fractured my ankle, but definitely got my money worth).
- Moved back to Bundaberg (hometown) for a 25% payrise
- Moved back to Brisbane, was unemployed for awhile, got a temp job in sales
- Secured a role in IT Helpdesk
- Got a huge payrise and felt like I finally ‘had a break’.
- Started to date Mrs MoneyPlant.
- Lived life more and begun travelling (You may have picked up on the spend more and reward yourself vibe?)
- Went to China for 2-3 weeks and climbed the Great Wall and a lot of other amazing experiences.
- Visited Malaysia for 2 weeks.
- Road tripped around Tasmania for 2 weeks.
- Moved in together
- Work, Work, Work
$300k - $400k | September 2016 to October 2017 | Coming soon
- Mrs MoneyPlant had a motorbike accident (She's ok now)
- Holiday to Malaysia (crutches and all)
- We got Engaged! 🥂
- Went to Sydney for Vivid Lights light
- Mrs MoneyPlant studying her last year of Masters!! 👩🎓
- Still living with a housemate to save on living costs
- Wedding shopping (Oh that was fun!)
$400k - $500k | November 2017 to August 2018 | Coming soon
- Flatmate got married and moved out
- Got married and went on our honeymoon! 💍
- Got a puppy! 🐶
- I started University to study IT
- Travelled to Malaysia 🍜🍃
- Travelled to India 🍛
- Travelled to Singapore 🌏
- Mrs MoneyPlant completed her Masters 👩🎓
- Attended the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast
- Went to an Ed Sheeran concert (My first concert actually)
$500k - $600k | September 2018 to June 2019 | Coming soon
- Started a new role as a Training and Development Officer