Rocky, an educator living in Auckland

Published on 3 May 2020
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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!


I’m Rocky and my wife is Pamela. We are in our thirties, have one young child and live in Auckland. I am in education and Pam is a lawyer.

Earning and spending summary
Annual income $156,100
Less tax and payroll deductions -$45,006
Less annual spending -$94,600
Equals remaining income $16,494
Net worth summary
Total assets $206,418
Less total debt $0
Equals net worth $206,418


Up until fairly recently we haven’t done much long term financial planning. Our focus was making sure we could live comfortably and travel extensively. Starting a family has focussed our attention somewhat and our next step is looking at moving from renting to owning our own home. We are lucky enough to be getting a helping hand from our parents in this endeavour. It will be interesting to see how the property market shapes up in the coming months and we have a lot of research and learning to do.

Our most important goal therefore is to buy a property that will suit our family and be able to service the mortgage comfortably to give us the flexibility to invest our surplus and be able to travel from time to time. Until this happens we will be tightening up and start to build on our current savings.


Cash $106,000
Kiwisaver $24,595
Managed funds $29,823
Shares $4,000
Vehicles $42,000
Total assets $206,418

Cash: Made up of combined savings (20%) and the recent sale of most of my share portfolio (80%). It was a great feeling when the shares were sold and years of patience has paid off at an important time in our lives. I was fortunate enough to have a majority of my portfolio in healthcare which offset recent losses in the market. So having been relatively unscathed, we decided to quit while ahead and cash out with our goals for the next 12 months in mind. I kept a small portion to take advantage of a Limited Purchase Plan and these will also be sold shortly.

Kiwisaver: I have a growth fund with ASB and Pam has a conservative fund with Westpac.

Getting ready to buy a house was the driving force behind becoming more liquid. We currently have 2 cars. We look forward to selling our excess vehicle to add to savings, the worry with this is that there is a reduced market in the current climate. We can afford to be patient however without adding km to the vehicle. The managed funds are Pamela’s two overseas retirement funds from her time abroad. and she will attempt to transfer this back into her Kiwisaver as we look to position ourselves to make a deposit on our first home.


Very proud to have stayed debt free but hopefully that changes in a big way shortly.

We have one credit card between us and pay the balance each month. We are not in a reward scheme which in hindsight seems fairly stupid.


Salary or wages $156,100
Annual after-tax income $111,094
Total weekly income $3,002
Weekly after-tax income $2,136

In addition to our $60/week government reward for reproducing; I earn $66,100 working full-time and Pamela has just returned to work earning $90,000 for her part-time efforts which is pretty sweet. We are both rapt with returning to two incomes as living off my salary as a family in Auckland is not conducive to anything other than treading water - once the maternity pay stopped we started to eat into our savings like a stoned T-Rex.

I get 12 weeks of holiday so combined with Pam’s casual hours we get to spend plenty of quality time as a family. We have been unaffected by Covid in terms of our employment and feel incredibly lucky in this regard. It has made me appreciate my unspectacular public service salary considerably more. We currently still have separate accounts which can safely be put down to procrastination more than preference.


Annual Expenses
Housing $39,585
Groceries $13,420
Eating & drinking out $6,921
Transport $3,450
Utilities $2,781
Entertainment $965
Sports & hobbies $593
Health $1,000
Shopping $4,514
Kids $12,000
Personal care $1,220
Travel $4,775
Insurance $792
Fees & charges $84
Gifts and donations $2,500
Total annual expenses $94,600
Total weekly expenses $1,819

It does feel a bit alarming when you add everything up and see just how much is being spent in areas where you don’t have a lot to show for that expense like eating out. With a potential mortgage on the horizon this is going to have to change.

Some more explanation of these expenses below:

  • Housing: Rent is $750/week and contents insurance is $585 per annum.

  • Groceries and home supplies: Pre-Covid we spent about $70/week on home booze and assorted confectionary, the rest we mostly wasted on food. We did Hello Fresh for a couple of months when our newborn stole all our time. We found this really cut down on our superfluous spending at the supermarket but we got sick of the meals.

  • Eating and drinking out: We like to be social and enjoy the local cafes and bars (and if I'm being honest a fair amount of takeaways) but goodness me it is expensive to do this here! This is an important part of our lives we probably need to reign in and properly budget for going forward.

  • Entertainment: Netflix and Spotify are subscribed to and used heavily. Our concert going has been non-existent since the baby arrived but will look to remedy that in the coming year as we do enjoy a boogie. We love second hand book and record stores and if we indulge we have been known to spend over $100 in a session. We limit these to once every 6 months. I don't mind a bit of a punt on sports and racing - not the trots though, they are thieves on wheels. I usually put $100 in my account and if this gets to $0 I will take a break and if I double my money I withdraw to make sure it stays affordable and fun.

  • Shopping: Pam does a lot of online browsing but not much buying I am told. A joint account may be necessary to examine this claim with more clarity.

  • Health: Our doctor and dentist visits have been mercifully few lately so this is more of a projection along with the costs of both of us seeing clearly.

  • Transport: I get the train to work which is roughly $6/day and driving has been fairly low km in recent months, we fill the tank roughly every 3 weeks in normal times. This will increase once Pam starts working on-site after lockdown.

  • Utilities: Our combined mobile plans and wireless are provided by 2Degrees at $80/month - I get a 15% discount on our mobile plans for being a 'Hero' in the workforce which cracks me up. Utilities are pretty standard.

  • Kids: The amount of stuff we have for something that is pretty happy rolling around in her nappy while nibbling on a wooden spoon is horrifying. I'm not sure the correct solution is to get a bigger house but it appears to be the most likely. Daycare will shortly be $180/week.

  • Sports & hobbies: We despise the gym so no problems there but I play a bit of golf and cricket in the summer.

  • Insurance: Family medical insurance.

  • Travel: We love to travel and over summer most of our travel was wedding related which adds up quickly with all the extras needed when bringing a child along.

Remaining income

Remaining income
Annual income $156,100
Less tax and payroll deductions -$45,006
Less annual spending -$94,600
Equals remaining income $16,494

We haven’t been living to a structured plan with our day-to-day expenses, but going forward we are going to be more disciplined and keep track of all our spending if we are going to maximise our savings to achieve our goals. I’m going to keep a detailed spreadsheet so that there are no surprises and we can adjust our lifestyle where needed. With our spare cash in the coming months we will be adding to our fund to buy and furnish a house. The funds are currently in a savings account but we are thinking about other options.

Inviting feedback from readers

Any advice for first home buyers would be much appreciated:

  • Potential pitfalls.

  • Where is the most helpful place to get information.

  • What type of loan structure would work best.

Also, what should we do with our spare cash in the coming months as we save to buy and furnish a house? The funds are currently in a savings account, but is that the best option?

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