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Real money talk: Olivia

Real money talk: Olivia

Olivia is a 30-year-old who works in advertising and loves carbs and cheese.

30 July 2019 · 4 min read

This post is based on an interview we conducted with Olivia in June 2019.

Real Money Talk is our series where we interview Australians from all walks of life about their personal finances. The views expressed are those of the interviewees, based on their experiences with money, and as such are not necessarily representative of Spaceship's views.

We have changed the name of the interviewee for their privacy.


Name: Olivia.

Age: 30.

Where do you live: Newtown.

Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I work in advertising, I have a Shih Tzu-Toy Poodle named Simba, and I love carbs and cheese. I’m originally from Brisbane and I moved to Sydney three years ago.

What is your current net worth?

Savings: About $5,000

Super: $35,000

Debt: About $15,000 for my business and $5,000 personal.

Investment: None.

How did you accumulate your net worth?

Just putting money away each week from my salary.


Tell us a bit about your career:

I’m in the advertising industry, have been for 13 years. I worked for other people for the first seven or so years, I’ve had my own agency for three years, and I’ve been working for someone else for the past 12 months. I signed to be co-owner about two months ago.

Do you have income sources outside of your job? If so, how much do you earn from each and how did you develop them?


What advice do you have for people who want to earn more money?

Don’t get into credit card debt. Save as much as possible in your twenties. If you decide to move in with a partner, make sure you still have a handle on your money and know where it’s going.


What is your savings rate? And how has it changed over time?

My savings each week will depend on what bills and expenses I’ve got that week. After my bills and the $100 I give myself, the rest goes into savings. I have a few savings accounts.

I read “The Barefoot Investor” so I have a fun savings account and a fire extinguisher account.

I would say it normally goes 20% fire extinguisher and 80% fun, but it depends on what I’ve got coming up and how those accounts are looking.

When I had my own business, I didn’t save. Some weeks I barely paid myself. When I had a salary, I was reckless and spent everything. Now, having worked for someone else for a year, I have a great salary and I’ve turned 30, so I realised I had to start saving and get my shit together. But I don’t save just for the hell of it. I’ll save if I have a reason.

Do you have a budget?

Yes, a very strict one. I use an app called MoneyBoard.

I make $1,380 a week.

Rent: $425

Car loan: $180

Loan: $109

Health insurance: $17

Every week I give myself $100 to do stuff like dinners, drinks.

How much do you spend per year?

Probably between $50,000 and $70,000.

Do you make purchase decisions carefully, or are you loose with your money?

I’m definitely not precious with spending.

How is your work-life balance?

Good. It’s very important to me because I’ve been in positions where I’ve worked myself into the ground and it impacted my health. I refuse to get into that position again.

What is your favourite thing to spend money on?

Food! Just food. I eat out a lot.


How do you invest?

I don’t. I haven’t had the money to do it; refer to the above notes! Also, I have absolutely no knowledge, I wouldn’t know where to start.

How are you building wealth?

To be honest, I don’t consider myself to be building wealth. In 6-12 months' time, when I start taking dividends from this business I co-own, I’ll have to sit down with a financial planner.

Do you have a target net worth or lifestyle you want?

I just want to not worry about money and do the things I want to do. I like expensive handbags and clothes, travel. I’d like to be able to take my parents on holiday and give more to charity. I’d love to not think twice about giving $50 to a homeless person. I want to be able to give back where possible. And eat out more!

If you could start again, what would you do differently?

No credit cards! None. Zero. If you’re in debt, don’t avoid it. Nip situations in the bud. No matter how much you’re earning, always put something aside.

What mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

I hate money and I liked the idea of being looked after, so I let my partner have full control over my finances. I was naive.

Do you have any worries about retirement? If so, how are you planning to address them?

Yes. I don’t have immediate plans but in the next 12-18 months, I’ll sit down with a financial planner and work something out. I want a plan in place by the time I’m 33.

How are you learning about building wealth?

Well, “The Barefoot Investor.” I like podcasts too, and I read articles online. I really like Marie Forleo’s podcast.

Do you give to charity? If you do, what percent of time/money do you give?

I have in the past. I still do, but not regularly. Maybe twice a year.

The information in this article is prepared by Spaceship Capital Limited (ABN 67 621 011 649, AFSL 501605). It is general in nature as it has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs.

Bryna Howes is the Head of Content & Brand at Spaceship. She's equally obsessive about cinnamon donuts and scouring the web for great reads.

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