This post is based on an interview we conducted with Wilbur in December 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, but it’s worth noting that the interviewee works at Spaceship.
Where do you live?
I rent an apartment in Sydney with four others.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a software engineer working at a financial services company. In my spare time I take photos for friends and really enjoy watching films.
What is your current net worth?
Somewhere around $90,000.
How does it break down?
Any debts? (including HELP from Uni)
As an at-the-time permanent resident, I wasn’t able to get HECS, so my university fees were paid up-front with a lot of help from my family. Other than that, I have a credit card that I use to earn frequent flyer points. I settle it daily though; I’m neurotic as it is, and any debt hanging over my head just won’t do.
How did you accumulate your net worth?
Saving. I try to end each month with more money than at the start of the month. Obviously there are months where I’m forced to spend more, but I try to stick to this rule semi-religiously.
Tell us a bit about your career.
I finished university in 2016. My first job out of university was on an app development team at a large Australian bank. I learnt a lot there, but ultimately found my work there very unfulfilling. In 2018, I moved to the company I currently work for.
What advice do you have for people who want to earn more money?
It depends on your vocation, but I believe that having friends in the same industry is incredibly valuable. Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. If I didn’t regularly catch up with friends working at other companies, I would never had known that my time was being undervalued at my first job.
What is your savings rate? And how has it changed over time?
It’s certainly increased. I experienced lifestyle inflation after landing my first job, and bought a lot of things that I really shouldn’t have (and regret to this day). Since changing jobs I’ve put a lot more effort into saving. At the moment I save around 30% of my after-tax paycheck. I’d like to save more, but at the same time I don’t want saving to encroach on my social life.
Do you have a budget?
I should, but all the budgeting tools I’ve tried are too restrictive and don’t seem to accommodate for life events. I set a savings goal each month and try to hit it. It works for me.
Do you make purchase decisions carefully, or are you loose with your money?
I am more willing to spend on convenience than material items. I’d happily pay for takeout if it means that I have an extra hour at night to work on side projects or relax. Comparatively, I spend a lot more time considering whether I need to buy tangible things.
How is your work-life balance?
A year ago it wasn’t very good at all, and I often worked through the night. Nowadays I work a steady nine hours, and I’m mostly able to shut off as soon as I leave the office doors. I believe that rest time contributes more to quality work than the hustle-and-grind culture that social media influencers peddle.
What is your favourite thing to spend money on?
I really love tech products, so a sizable portion of my disposable income goes towards Apple products.
How do you invest?
Besides Spaceship Voyager, I have some money invested in ETFs. I have, in the past, invested in crypto, but it was a bit too exciting for me.
What has been your best investment?
Spaceship Voyager has been the best for me in terms of risk/returns, but Ripple (XRP) saw the most growth. My investment value grew around 1,000% percent before I sold half my stake. Sadly it crashed right back down shortly thereafter.
What has been your worst investment?
Three years ago I bought shares in a promising Melbourne cloud tech company shortly before they announced their quarterly figures. Sadly their numbers didn’t look how I expected them to, and the share price crashed by about 50% throughout the day. They still haven’t recovered.
How are you building wealth?
I’m still looking for something that I feel confident investing more of my savings into, so at the moment, my salary is my primary driver of wealth growth.
What are your main roadblocks? And how are you addressing them?
My biggest roadblock is knowledge. The only way to know where to grow your wealth is by doing the appropriate research. I just need to take the time to do that research.
Do you have a target net worth you want?
When did you make your first significant behavioural shift towards wealth building?
I still don’t think I have.
If you could start again, what would you do differently?
I’d tell myself to save more money when I was younger. Take more risks.
What mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?
Spent too much.
Do you have any worries about retirement? If so, how are you planning to address them?
Retirement seems so far away that I haven’t even considered it.