The traditional route for Aussies is to make their wealth through real estate. As children we are often told to invest in bricks and mortar, to buy a family home, and if possible, purchase rental properties as well.
Mr D is no different. Read on to find out how he became a millionaire and what he’s doing to create a passive income. Hint: it’s not all from real estate.
Since April 2019, Mr D has kept a blog about investing, books and FIRE (financial independence, retire early). You can find his blog at Snowball Journal or follow his story on Twitter @snowballjournal
Name: Mr D from Snowball Journal
Current age: 44
Marital status: Married
Children, ages: Two teenagers
Net worth: Combined net worth of 3.4 million including the family home
Current estimated value of the family home: 2.5 million
Town or suburb: Sydney
Debt: 1.6 million in investment properties
Average monthly spending:
Frugality: I don’t think we live a frugal lifestyle. We do not spend frivolously, yet at the same time I also want to give my kids and family the opportunity to see the world. Most of our big ticket spending goes towards travelling.
Pets: One dog. We spend around $125 per month on our dog, this includes pet insurance.
I was fortunate enough to get a good education which contributed immensely to my current lifestyle. Although, I don’t consider that I was born into privilege.
Hard work was drilled into me from very early age.
My parents, who are migrants, were money-wise during their working years. I never saw them splurging money. They have always been savers and that habit has helped them through some tough times.
I didn’t have one specific person who taught me financial literacy – I had many. Some of the people I have known have taught me plenty about money, business and wealth. These lessons have never been direct but mostly through observation or aphorisms. I have also learned a lot by reading books and studying a few famous investors such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.
When I was growing up I received pocket money. I remember it was enough to buy ice-cream but not enough to buy a video game console.
Then when I turned 15, I started my first job working in a public library stacking books. I don’t remember what the salary was, but I do remember that my first pay cheque was for $49.75. I felt like a king.
The first time I saved any money was to buy a Nintendo console.
Growing up, I was educated through the public system.
I started getting interested in building wealth in high school. I was always interested in following news about stock markets and big companies.
When I finished secondary school I became interested in my industry and worked towards further education in a number of professional qualifications. These credentials helped me get my first full time job.
I’ve never inherited any money or consistently won any either. All our wealth was built through hard work and investing.
As An Adult
I keep to a budget but it is not very detailed. In certain areas of life, I find that high-level accounting adds more value than tracking things in detail.
I track income, but not expenses. I work as a contractor, so income tracking is made easy by using Quickbooks. For expenses, I set myself a limit and I try not to cross it.
Setting goals is very important. One of the problems I see with many people is that they often set large impressive goals which are seldom achieved. I used to do the same, but then I realised that I was setting myself up for failure right from the beginning. I started working on smaller goals and achieving them was very rewarding. This became a habit and now I only set small goals.
My current financial goal is to save for six months worth of expenses as an emergency fund.
A few years ago I started tracking my net worth. I do not use anything fancy. Just spreadsheets. I record my updated net worth every month. However, I know that the only meaningful updates are yearly but playing with spreadsheets every month is fun.
At present our financial breakdown looks like this:
Property 85% – Stocks 15%
This is not the most ideal and my long-term goal is to have it close to 50-50.
Most of our wealth was gained through real estate. In my early years of working, I was wise enough to save and get into the property market. We bought our first house in 2006 and it was a stretch.
I remember reading books on finance, investing and real estate like a madman. After educating myself for more than 2 years, I understood that for a person with my circumstances, property is the best way to get started.
Since then I have built a substantial property portfolio, excluding the home we live in. Property has been a great starting point but for long-term I feel that my portfolio needs to be well balanced between property and stocks.
At present our monthly passive income is almost zero. The properties I have are all cash-flow positive except one. The income I make from them goes straight into reducing the debt.
I’m still working as a contractor, in IT industries. The yearly income is good but the feeling of trading time for money isn’t that great.
My advice for people seeking financial independence is to start early.
However, if you are late then do not stress. Start now. Remember that the best time to invest was yesterday and the second-best time is today.
Also, learn and absorb compounding. The magic of compounding will surprise anyone. Just prepare a simple spreadsheet and calculate how much an amount will grow over decades. Ignore the first seven to ten years. The real magic starts after that.
We live in one of the richest countries in the world. If you tune into news, then you see nothing but disasters and the world falling apart. Ignore most of it.
If you are breathing, and you have the mental capabilities to read this, then there is nothing which can stop you from achieving your goals.
Just stay focused.
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The goal of sharing the Australian financial story with others is to inspire, educate and challenge other Australians seeking financial wealth.
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