Ever wanted to know about how self-made Aussie Millionaires became wealthy?
I sure did! There’s so much out there about the American experience, but little is known about how Australians reach financial independence.
For this reason, I was super excited to have the opportunity to interview Fielding, an everyday Australian who is earning an average income AND will be retiring in just two more years at 40 years of age.
Read on to find out about how a farm boy, whose first big purchase was a cow, went on to join the ranks of Aussie Millionaires.
Current age: 38
Marital status: Been together 8 years but not married yet
Children: 18 months, and another on the way
Net worth: Personal $1,900,000
My partner and I have separate finances. The reason for this is she is not interested in early retirement and likes her own spending money. I expect this to change in time once I’m at home with the kids.
Current estimated value of your home: $750,000, give or take 30K
Town or suburb: Camden, NSW
Car/s: I have a 2011 Suzuki Swift and my partner has a Mazda 3, 2013
Debt: I owe $830,000 on my investments and about 30K on my half of our house.
Average monthly spending:
Housing: We are paying the mortgage aggressively. I’m putting $450 a week on my half and Courtney is putting $430 on hers.
Food: We probably spend a bit too much on food. We are spending around $150 a week on average. This also includes baby formula and household goods like cleaning products.
Transport: Between both of us we spend roughly $60 a week on petrol. This has dropped since COVID since Courtney works from home 50% of the time now and I dropped to part time work. Previous to this it was about $110 on petrol per week.
Clothing: Me, about $500 a year, but last year I don’t think I spent half of that. I do need new clothes! Courtney would be $1,000 or more, I don’t want to know!
We both live a pretty frugal life, but in saying that we don’t go without, we are just mindful of what we buy. We do an annual holiday and do a lot with our son. Our outings don’t really cost anything because we go to the beach and pack a picnic or head to my parent’s farm which my son absolutely loves. We just don’t get enjoyment out of spending our income and being consumers, if that makes sense. We just don’t need the latest gadgets and toys.
We do have a dog, a Cav and I have about one million bees! The dog costs about $40 a month. The bees actually pay for themselves.
I used to sponsor a child in Africa but he recently became independent so I haven’t donated since that ended. I’m interested in getting involved in or creating a charity for kids and parents. This means a lot to me personally because we nearly lost our son at birth. He was very, very lucky to come out of it okay.
My parents made sure us kids didn’t go without anything and, yeah, we had a pretty special childhood. However, my parents were not wealthy and they went without to give to us kids. I had a public school education and left at the end of Year 10. Eventually, I went to TAFE to study logistics.
I learnt nothing about finance from my parents as they were not good on managing money.
Growing up, I lived on a farm so didn’t start paid work until after I finished school at 16 years old. But I did start saving very young. I saved for a stud cow which I bought.
I used to wash my uncle’s car every fortnight for $20, which was all I needed back then. When I grew out of my motorbike I sold it and bought a cow and calf. Then I started to breed more and sell some. This was a lot for a teenager. I had about 30 cows at one stage and made roughly $20K out of it in total over a few years. I had some stud cows and when I started working I gave the rest to my father as he was breeding still and I had some really good ones.
My interest in personal finance was probably first sparked when I was a kid. From memory it was watching adults struggling for money or hearing, ‘No, we haven’t got the money for that’. I just remember thinking I never want to not have the money for the things I want growing up.
Also, what got me really focused on it was I was at my job which I worked hard to get and thinking this will be my career.
And the first day was hell.
That job was nothing what I imagined in my head it would be. Over a couple of months I spoke to the guys I worked with and they were all unhappy but accepted their situation.
I quit, and knew it was not a life I wanted. I was lost for a couple of years after that, doing just part time work till I read a book that clicked and put me on track again.
The book was written by Steven McKnight, From 0 to 103 Properties in 3.5 Years.
There was no one to help or mentor me about personal finance. I just knew from a young age that I didn’t want to struggle or stress about money. I knew I had to do something different. That’s when started to read books about personal finance because I went and saw financial advisors and didn’t agree with their advice.
During that time of being lost I saved a lot of what I earned so I had a healthy savings account.
As an Adult
I would like to say yes we do have a budget where our money is divided into separate accounts, but it’s only rough. I have naturally been really good with money and never had to keep a strict budget.
For tracking our income and expenses I roughly use Excel but don’t track it to the dollar and usually do it annually. I don’t care about my net worth. I worked it out for this interview, but I’m more interested in the passive income that the assets produce. At the moment the gross passive income is about $2,400 a week.
My goal is to retire when I am 40 years old, which is in two years time.
My net worth is made up of 90% property and 10% shares. I only invest in shares now as property has changed since I started. Shares are much easier.
I was able to accrue wealth by positively gearing property. I buy enough properties to produce the amount of income I need for a family to live comfortably. I knew it had to be done in property as at that time I was only in my early 20s and didn’t understand shares.
I became a real estate agent to learn and that’s when I found my first property. A house with a granny flat. This was before houses with granny flats became a thing. So I looked just for houses with granny flats. Once I figured this out, I left real estate after my cousin was killed in a car accident. This changed me as we were very close. From that point I looked at life differently and knew I needed to find a balance between saving and living.
I took a job that paid really well with overtime so I could save a lot. It was for a transport company as I had no real education.
At the moment, I work for an employer part time and roughly earn about $60K a year. I don’t contribute any extra money to my superannuation fund as I want to retire a lot earlier than the traditional age.
People seem to think it’s impossible or to hard to get what they want financially. But if you look at it as a big goal and you break it down into smaller goals or steps it’s not that hard.
My advice is look at what your big goal is and work out a way to get there.
Talk to people who have done it if you can.
There are lots of ways to network now which just weren’t around back when I started. Although as a word of warning, my parents tried to talk me out of buying my first house because they thought I was going to get into too much debt. They did this because they didn’t understand and wanted to protect me. Just be careful who you listen to.
Working hard for 10 or 15 years to become financially independent sounds hard and out of reach yet I did it as a forklift driver with minimal education.
When I nearly lost my son at birth, it really put my life in perspective. I now get to be home with the family and see my family grow which is priceless. I would hate working full time and missing this.
Life changes and what we want changes.
You deserve to have freedom in your life so go get it.
Interested In Sharing Your Story?
The goal of sharing the Australian financial story with others is to inspire, educate and challenge other Australians seeking financial sustainability.
If you are an Australian with a net worth over $1 million and are interested in being interviewed, I’d love to send you a questionnaire. It contains three sections: Personal Snapshot, Growing Up and As an Adult.
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