About MoneySecrets: MoneySecrets offers a peek into the financial lives of our fellow Kiwis. The story below was written using pseudonyms to remain anonymous. When commenting, please remember that the writer has laid bare their financial life, which can be a scary thing to do. Please be kind, and enjoy!
Hi my name is Anna, I am 32 years old and work part time as a physiotherapist. My family, including my boyfriend Bevin and our children Molly (age four) and Marco (age two), live in the Bay of Plenty. Bevin works for a local iwi authority. Bevin and I share our finances so the information we have provided is about our household.
|Earning and spending summary|
|Less tax and payroll deductions||-$24,587|
|Less annual spending||-$68,577|
|Equals annual remaining income||-$773|
|Net worth summary|
|Less total debt||$325,123|
|Equals net worth||$144,021|
Bevin and I have not discussed our holistic financial goals, so I have written some ideas that I would bring to a discussion with him about this.
My short-term financial goal is to have our incomings greater than our outgoings. This would help with my second goal of having greater financial freedom. I would love surplus money for weekends away with friends, buying gifts, getting a dog, getting married, and for our sporting activities. It is also important to me that we can financially support our children with their education and their housing in the future.
When Bevin and I first amalgamated our finances he started a spreadsheet for us to follow our money. It has made our spending transparent and easy to discuss.
We are careful with our money, me possibly more than my boyfriend Bevin. I try to buy things second hand and gratefully receive hand me down clothes for myself and our children. We do buy some new clothes and try to buy cotton or wool materials when we can. We eat healthy but non extravagant home cooked meals and drink a majority of our coffee and beers at home. Bevin hunts for most of our meat and we eat some vegetables from our garden. Most of our household furniture has been handed down from family. When we do need to purchase household items we do spend money to try and get quality items. We also spend money on the kids’ extra-curricular activities which can include swimming, gymnastics, and athletics. Because money is tight I occasionally purchase presents for family and friends from my “pocket money”.
Bevin has a dream to buy a rural piece of land and be self-sufficient. We like to generate our incomes through means that align with our values. We would like to be mortgage free before the age of 50.
Real estate: Our house is our biggest asset. We are proud of our house as Bevin has put in a lot of hard work to make it our home and also add significant market value. His work has included fencing, decking, building a carport and shed, landscaping and painting, etc. It is a short term house for us and we are unsure how we will afford to make a step into the next “property bracket”.
Shares: I’ve got $500 worth of shares through Sharesies which I purchased with my personal savings to start an investment portfolio. I don’t know a lot about the share market so I thought it would be a good place to start learning. I have mostly invested in medium and low risk companies.
Kiwisaver: I'm in a conservative fund with ANZ. I can't remember why I choose the fund I’m in. It’s a default fund so I probably didn't put enough thought into it. Bevin split his fund some years ago, half in a growth fund and half in a conservative fund. There wasn’t a lot of thought that went into it, he was just keen to take a balanced approach and was interested in comparing the performance of the two funds. We used our Kiwisaver funds on our first home, so the balances are rebuilding.
Vehicles: We have 2 cars. Mine is worth around 5k and Bevin’s is worth around 1k.
|Credit card balance||$2,050|
Bevin and I discuss how great it will be to have our student loans paid off so we get more of our paycheck in the hand. This small amount of money would make a big difference to us. My student loan is still huge and working 15 hours a week will not see it paid off anytime soon.
We use a Mastercard Hotpoints credit card. We pay enough each month to avoid paying any interest, but leave some debt on the card since that remaining amount is interest free. Having the hotpoints scheme is a nice bonus.
Mortgage: We have $144,942.91 fixed until May 2022 at 5.44%. $96,661.92 fixed until November 2020 at 3.39%. $18,130.53 floating at 3.99%.
By today's standard we feel our mortgage and student loan debt is fairly normal. We feel that we are in control and don’t feel too overwhelmed by them.
|Salary or wages||$92,392|
|Annual after-tax income||$67,804|
|Total weekly income||$1,777|
|Weekly after-tax income||$1,304|
I earn $22,391.88 for part time work ($65,700 if I was full time). This consists of 15 hours a week with school holidays off. Bevin earns $70,000. Neither of us are contributing to Kiwisaver at the moment, and we're both repaying student loans.
We flip flop on how we discuss our incomes. We can see that we are lucky to have our middle class incomes. On the other hand, most of our friends that we went to University with have much higher incomes than us which can make us feel that we are worth more.
We have dabbled with the idea of picking up extra work in the evenings but can’t see how to fit it in at this stage of our lives. Bevin is due for a pay review and is anticipating a pay rise. I have worked almost a year in my part time role and do not anticipate that I will get a payrise in the coming year.
|Groceries and home supplies||$14,520|
|Eating and drinking out||$1,000|
|Fees and charges||$44|
|Gifts and donations||$750|
|Total annual expenses||$68,577|
|Total weekly expenses||$1,319|
Some more explanation of these expenses below:
Housing: Mortgage: $17,232. Rates: $3200. Home insurance: $1,000. Contents Insurance: $550. House and yard maintenance: $700.
Groceries: Bevin hunts for deer. We do some onsite food production (fruit, herbs and veges).
Entertainment: Apple storage: $41. We have Spotify and Lightbox free through Spark. We piggy back on our families Netflix and SkyTV accounts. Personal entertainment comes out of our pocket money.
Pocket money: $5,200 paid to our personal accounts for personal spending e.g. coffee out alone, some gifts, personal alcohol, entertainment, social sports, donations of our own choice etc.
Transport: We own 2 cars. Car insurance: $810. Car registration: $210. WOF: $165. Repairs & servicing: $2,000. Petrol: $3,500. Toll road: $110.
Utilities: Internet: $1,080. Mobile plan: $960. Power: $2,700. Water: $648.
Kids: Childcare: $3,500. General expenses: $2,000.
Personal care: Waxing: $360. Hair cut: $120.
Insurance: Health insurance (Anna only): $667. Life insurance (Anna and Bevin): $557. Physiotherapy professional indemnity insurance $92.
Other expenses: Physiotherapy annual practicing certificate: $555. Physiotherapy membership $306. Physiotherapy courses: $500. Incidentals: $500
We feel that we are not extravagant with our expenses. We know that there are expenses that we would reduce if we needed to, like our pocket money, takeaways, and luxury items that we buy from the supermarket e.g. alcohol. At this stage we are reluctant to do so as these things bring us joy.
For the physio-related expenses, sometimes this is covered by the employer in my industry. Each company is different. Where I work at the moment, employees pay for their own insurance, annual practicing certificate, and physiotherapy New Zealand membership. The employer can help with funds that go towards CPD.
|Total annual income||$92,392|
|Less income income tax, ACC levies, student loan repayments||-$24,587|
|Less total annual expenses||-$68,577|
|Equals annual remaining income||-$773|
Currently we are living outside of our means. If we were to have any remaining income, in the short term we would like to opt back into our kiwisaver schemes, increase our mortgage payments, upgrade Bevin's car, get married, and get a dog.
Inviting feedback from readers
This process was a good exercise for us. For example:
We haven’t been paying into KiwiSaver as we have needed the extra income. We will reassess now that I have increased my hours (very recently increased from 8-15 hours), or once Bevin gets a pay rise.
We’ve stopped $1 monthly payments into an account for Molly for savings. I think it’s better that we put that money onto the mortgage (even if it’s only $12 a year).
I will also cancel my personal credit card. I didn’t realise how expensive the annual fees were, it’s silly for me to have one when we have a joint one.
We’d love feedback on how we can achieve our goals of living within our means and feeling financially free. For example, could we find a better mortgage deal? Should I be doing something with my savings?