Simon Says – 2 Years On…
Just thought I would drop you guys a line and let you know how we are travelling so far… How long has it been since we started on our budgeting journey? It will be 2 years come this October… it feels like it was only 6 months ago!
During this time, I have found that implementing a budget is not an easy or necessary simple task, nor is it always instantly rewarding or instantly gratifying especially when it comes to achieving large goals. However, 2 years down the road we are seeing MASSIVE improvements to our bottom line, and we are setting and achieving goals on a regular basis. It’s easy to see the initial small improvements when your first put a budget in place such as bills being paid on time, low cost items are paid for easier and the bank balance and books look better than pre budget days. But, what about the goals you set that take years to achieve?
It’s not often you read about how someone is going years later when life, the daily grind and more to the point complacency often set in. Well I am here to give you a report 2 years down the road when it’s easy to see the wheels fall off and the budget get blown to hell. I think I owe you both a bit of real-life budget feedback.
First up… I applied for a transfer to another site within the same company. My first attempt was not successful but since that time (6 months later) I was asked to re-apply for the same position and was successful second time round.
This position change is very different to what I was doing in the previous role and also came with a $50k pay decrease! Yes, you heard right, $50,000 AU dollar pay reduction! This was also coupled with an increase in costs, as the new gig is no longer fly in/fly out but drive in/drive out, accommodation and travel expenses are all at my cost! You probably would be asking yourself right now… who would willingly take a substantial pay cut and increase their cost base? Well, I have, as the new position allows me to be closer to my family and see them a lot more of the time. This is a wonderful thing, but the reality of actually living this change is quite different to the idea and how it looks on paper.
If you’ll remember we got you and Alyssa in to go over our budget and see what changes we would have to make to allow us to make this change… as usual you sat down with us and after a few changes and modifications you came up with a modified budget to suit the changes we were wanting to make in our life. It was more than 6 months later that we actually implemented these changes, after I had got the new gig.
These changes looked relatively simple and easy on paper, implementing them was a slightly different story.
One thing I have always endeavored to do in all the correspondence I have had with you guys is to be honest, brutally honest at times. I won’t sugar coat anything (A.Mates – oh we know!), if something is hard or sucks doing, then I will tell you my experience no holds barred.
This change of position, decrease in pay and increase in costs has not been easy. We have had to really keep our eye on the prize with this goal, the goal being spend more time with family whilst still managing to keep our goals of early retirement and financial security.
We have needed the advice and direction of our accountant through-out this process, he has helped us greatly in saving money and making things more tax effective that we really had no idea about. I think this point is key, having a solid budget is a great thing and a fantastic start. Getting good advice in regards to claimable costs and tax is also key. It is no wonder that your registered office is based with an accountant!
So where are we at now? I wish I could go into more detail as to how we have implemented all of this… I have now doubt you will be impressed and when I see you guys next, when we can sit down and go through it all, but due to the private nature of our personal finances there is allot I have to leave out. What I can say though is we are still in a fantastic financial position, and we are still meeting our budget targets every month! Money is a little bit tighter than before but as a family unit we are happier, most importantly the kids are happier that their dad is present more often. Additionally, we have regular mini holidays (weekenders) away from home.
We had to cut back a little on our entertainment budget, but we still go out for breakfasts on Sunday mornings once a month. We have bought another vehicle (utility) as advised from our accountant and believe it or not we have bought another house.
None of this would have been possible without the following things:
- A solid budget that is realistic live-able and can be met every month without setting yourself up for failure.
- Good advice from an experienced accountant you trust.
- A fantastic mortgage broker who not only shares our vision for the future but supports our implementation of it.
- A positive can-do attitude no matter how tough things may get and what curve-balls life throws at you.
Through all this I have come to realize that budgeting is a team sport, and it helps to have a team of people behind you guiding you and supporting you through your journey. I know my job well, but I don’t know all an accountant knows about tax law and finances, nor do I know what a mortgage broker knows to facilitate a mortgage.
When your car is not running you call a mechanic, or when the drains are blocked you call a plumber. When you need tax advice you call an accountant, when you need a home loan and the correct financial structure to suit your situation, you call a mortgage broker.
When we started this journey, we knew very little of budgeting and saving. This first initial step was key in our financial salvation! It all started with a budget laid out by you two legends (Adelaide Budgeting), then the ongoing support that you have provided to us. Our finances and financial structure have totally changed, it is way more complex now than it was 2 years ago, and I am extremely lucky that my wife is all over this area of our life! It keeps her on her toes and reasonably busy, but the positive changes it has had on our life have been truly amazing and worthwhile.
I know what you are thinking… well I think I do… how can you cop a substantial pay cut, increase of costs, buy a near new Ute and another house. Then on-top of all this keep within your budget (new tighter budget) and still be on track for your life goals in years to come?
I can’t spell it out any simpler… “It all starts with a solid workable and live-able budget! The rest will come with time, experience and a good team of experts behind you.”
“To Andrew and Alyssa, I can’t thank you enough!”
To all others who may read this… I wish you the same success as I have experienced.
My hope for you all is if you haven’t yet started on your financial journey that this inspires you to do so.