To be able to fully understand how we are moving forward, you need to first understand our current position.
I am a teacher in a State school, and I have one current side hustle. I used to have more, but have since quit or shut businesses down due to a lack of time and mental capacity. I am the sole income earner of my household of 3 adults. My husband suffers from chronic depression and while it is better than it used to be, I also double up as either cheerleader or carer as needed. My sister lives with us and is studying full time to finish her Masters. As is usual to many Asian households, no contribution is asked from close family members. (Quick reasoning being that my parents supported me and it’s only right that I then help out with supporting my siblings as the eldest child.) We also have 2 cats and are actively building a food-growing garden.
My financial education from my parents consisted of only one word: Save.
So in true fashion, I didn’t know how to. My husband is quite a bit better at saving, having shown that he was way better at coming up with his half of the money for our wedding than I was. But due to him being off work for 1.5 years now, his savings are now depleted and of course, he didn’t have income protection and is now reliant on my income.
For years, I went through lifestyle inflation, not understanding my finances, coasting from pay cheque to pay cheque and stressing about credit card debt. But thanks to barefoot investor, I eliminated credit card debt, and cultivated a much healthy habit of using credit cards to travel hack. I also learnt how to save, and we no longer live pay cheque to pay cheque. There’s actually some moolah sitting in the bank! I even tried my hand at micro-investing, with my eggs in Raiz (previously Acorns), Ratesetter and Brickx. I had hope to begin dabbling in the stock market earlier than this, but life had better plans for me. But that’s okay, 2019 will be my year!
The house we live in is mine, we do not share the mortgage. My husband pays me rent (even right now when he is reliant on my income. That is the one thing he still pays for). We have both joint and separate accounts, I had previously spoke about how we structure our finances, but this obviously no longer stand as he no longer brings in an active income. I have an offset account (multiples, rather) with my mortgage, so almost everything sits there. The deposit that I put down was 43% of the asking price of the house.
We have no debt other than the mortgage (and that’s really just me); we have solar panels and a tesla battery wall; we have 3 credit cards that we leverage to travel hack. They get cancelled and different ones are applied for every year to make full use of the signup bonus. We utilise a financial advisor, tho that relationship is still young and it is very early days. I will get into the reason for using a financial advisor at some point.
IVF is no longer on the books. With the husband doing full time study while juggling chronic depression and mental health, we just could not put one more thing onto the plate, not to mention it’d be a very expensive thing onto that very crowded plate! It took me awhile to come to peace with that, but children is not the only reason for me to be on this earth, and certainly not my only purpose in life. I have plenty of other goals and things to chase after, so that’s all good.
And I think that’s us! Life isn’t unicorns and rainbows, but when is it ever really that? Other buzz words that we try to live life by now are: Sustainability, eco-friendly, permaculture, frugal and minimalism.