The Players

Continuing from my introductory post, there's us. Who are we? I've already mentioned I'm not an accountant or a financial planner.

Me. I'm a stay at home dad, full-time. I earn nothing. I receive no Centrelink or other government benefits. I do not work part-time. I'm a stay at home dad 24 x 7 x 365, with no sick days, no real holidays--not even public holiday off, and I can't even steal stationary. I built a career in IT, working in and out of the private and public sectors for many years although I consider myself predominantly a contractor—i.e. a body for hire. The stay at home dad seed was planted very early in my career and I worked professionally for about ten years from the age of 24 before "retiring". I was earning a very healthy bit of cash before giving away my career and we've sustained a hit without that money coming in. With my wife working more than full-time this arrangement was better for us than having a young child in day care and that child has thrived. I originate from Canada but immigrated to Australia as a young man to live with my new wife and we've been married for ages now.

The missus. She is to be henceforth referred to as “dear wife” or the equivalent. She's a paediatric registrar so basically a trainee doctor (a senior trainee, mind you). So also basically a grunt—or at least she has been. The residents and registrars do all of the night shifts and the weekends and the public holidays and Christmas. If you or your kids have ever considered studying medicine, I'd say don't waste your time. The wife studied at university for six years or so and now, in her mid-thirties, she's nearly finished her formal training. Did I mention the pay is uninspiring? It is. This is a government position, essentially—and it's contract-based so essentially she's a top-tier professional who's had to put up with poor working conditions (public hospital), horrendous hours, low pay, and little real job security for about ten years. My wife is also a very good doctor, not only smart and efficient but a good communicator too.

I should say here don’t let the doctoring thing put you off. Doctor-schmocktor. Our single income is likely less than that of your typical dual-income Perth family and if you flip through a publication like Australian Property Investor you’ll see many single men and women on modest incomes achieving extraordinary things in property. Yes, my wife is a doctor but read on and you’ll see how we actually live—the workload I mention above should offer an idea. If you have a bit of money to your name or, better yet, equity in your current home, there’s so much you can do. My wife could be a plumber and me a bum and it wouldn’t make a great difference.

The Kid. She's two and half. Popped out a while ago and is starting to become expensive. It's not any single one thing but, for example, I recently tallied up the cost of our swimming lessons over a one year period and it was $700 or $800. Then there's nappies, clothes, food, toys, books, furniture, baby gym, petrol to and from activities, medication, and other medical costs. For a little person who suckled her mother until the age of two it's amazing how much money she soaks up. Good thing she's loveable and cute. We’ve got another one on the way.

Lifestyle. I'll write more about this in future posts but I include it here as a summary of who we are as a family. Essentially we started our lives together having to scrimp and save with very little financial support from our parents and we continue to live and breathe that ethos today. We spend rarely and when we do it's with hesitance and consideration. We do not live lavishly. We do not drive fancy cars (we were a single car family until this year). We don't holiday abroad apart for the very occasional trip home to Canada. We dine out occasionally. We don't drink much. Don't smoke. Don't eat meat—we're vegetarians, actually. I bought our first big flat panel TV on Gumtree used for $150 and it was only a 42 incher. Some of the furniture in our house was handed down from my wife’s parents and until this year we still had the old purple microfibre couch her brother gave us when we moved back to Perth… his dogs had slept on it prior to that and Charlotte spewed all over it while breastfeeding so it was finally due for replacement. In other words, we save—again, I'll explain how later.

In a nutshell, that's us. I’ll no doubt expand on the above in future posts.

I suppose a disclaimer is also worth posting: I'm just a guy, I'm not an accountant, lawyer, solicitor, tax agent, mortgage broker, banker, financial adviser, insurance agent, land developer, builder, government agent, or anything else so I disclaim your application of anything I write here is to be applied at your own risk. What I write may be incorrect and you are best to seek your own professional advice (tax, legal, financial, and otherwise) before entering into contracts or spending your money. Your situation is unique to you and what I write here reflects my experience only. I'm learning too and expect to make many, many mistakes along the way.

Enjoy,
Michael

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