Author Topic: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]  (Read 1275 times)


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Life Situation:
Mid 30ís couple with two dependents (under 4 years old) living in Australia. One full time income earner (P1- good saver/planner, just gone back to work), one stay-at-home (P2 - good spender/spontaneous) (self-employed with high earning potential) - intending to homeschool.
P1 and P2 have a company which we pay a casual wage to P2 through to keep them under the HECS repayment threshold (income up to $54,435) as the HECS debt is 150k+ and the company is not yet profitable (and unpredictable).
P1 is in charge of making sure the family is financially okay as P2 gets overwhelmed by it please help me (P1, aka shrimp) as we are whatever the opposite of FIRE is.

I am solely responsible for ensuring my family's financial security (at this stage) - please suggest what I can do..particularly to get my SO on board without them feeling to blame or like they are restricted!

Now take a breath - get a cuppa, youíre going to need it.

Gross Salary/Wages:
P1 - $102,000 p/a excluding superannuation  ($1348.40 per week after tax and compulsory HECS)
P2 - $5676 p/a after tax/super ($109 per week after tax based on last years earning) unpredictable, self employed but has high earning potential
Company - $0 but could eventually pay P1 too or set up trust for kids etc through here?

Total = ~$75784 p/a (after compulsory tax, HECS, super)

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions: none
Other Ordinary Income: none
Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: none
Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation: n/a
Adjusted Gross Income: n/a
Taxes: not sure?

Current expenses (per annum $ and % of total expenses, calculated using a 3-monthly spend):

Groceries - $20956 / 21.62%
Takeaway and Dining Out - $4,264.00 / 4.4%
Golf  - $7459 / 7.70%
Personal luxuries (Hair, Massage) -  $1,716.00 / 1.77%
Clothing - $1248 / 1.29%
Petrol* - $7020 / 7.24%
Car - $3418 / 3.53%
Kids - $260 / 0.27%
Child Care - $2756 / 2.84%
Medical - $2184 / 2.25%
House bills - $6271 / 6.47%
Mortgage repayments - $26104 /  26.93%
Mobile/internet/subscriptions - $1620 / 1.67%
Accountant** - $1970 / 2.03%
Gifts/Holidays - $6760 / 6.97%
Online shopping - $832 / 0.86%
Gym*** - $1820 / 1.88%

Total = $96918

*20-30min commute (each way) 3 days a week. I cant bike to work and I work from home to my maximum allowance.
**Legally our company tax return has to be done by an accountant, this is the cheapest we can get (I do all the other business finance)
***I clean the gym in exchange for my membership but if I have to stop that then this is my non-negotiable expense

Expected ER expenses: (no idea what this is?)

House - $750,000 current value, purchased for $500,000 (remaining mortgage $335,000 primary/sole residence)
Cash - $20,000 (offset with redraw facility as ďemergency fundĒ - hard to access acc)
Cash - $6,000 (offset account, easy access acc)
Car - $15,000 ($10,000 loan remaining)
Car - $5,000
Car - $500

2)Asset allocation plan:
Pay off car debt ($10,000)
Save $1000 by June 2025. P1 and P2 deposit $500 as a post-tax superannuation contribution to get the maximum government contribution match (of $500)
50% into extra mortgage repayments
50% into share market (Vanguard VDHG)

My rationale for this is simply to get rid of the debt hanging over us from family, then start investing. By putting 50% into extra mortgage repayments I feel we are mitigating some of the risk if we lose a big chunk in the stock market. I would also be open to purchasing an investment property with equity (as that feels Ďsaferí and I would like to eventually leave property for our children) but am not sure how any of that works. Also interested in finding out about trusts.

Once P2 is earning close to the HECS repayment threshold ($54,435) and the company loan has been repaid, the company will pay extra super contributions for P2.

Mortgage - $335,000 and 27 years remaining, currently 5.66% variable P&I paid weekly $502 - (original loan 30 years)
Car - $10,000 no interest or set date to be repaid (loan from family)
Company - $40,000+ no interest or set date to be repaid (loan from P1 and P2 to start up/continue to float our company)
HECS P1 - $28,000
HECS P2 - $150,000+

Investment objectives
My objective is to gain financial independence in my 40ís and set my children up with generational wealth. I will not withdraw from my portfolio until I have achieved this goal.
(I haven't read/calculated how to FIRE so happy to take suggestions as right now we just need to be making more than we spend)

Risk tolerance
My risk tolerance is moderate-high. Iím aiming for early financial independence, and a high level of equity exposure will be necessary to sustain this. Iím also relatively young (mid 30ís) and do not have a fixed date in mind for retirement, so I have time to recover from market volatility.

Specific Questions:
We are OVERSPENDING every week. I could tell you all the reasons and sad stories but here I am, laying it all out. Please help this shrimp get from the actual fire to F-I-R-E.

Please provide feedback on
1) Reducing expenses
2) Asset allocation plan
3) Increasing income
4) Financial values questions/ways to get my SO on board
5) Proposed bank account structure
6) Anything else, thank you

P.s. Iíve read the MMM blog posts (Australian) investment order and converting your SO as well as a few case studies!

1) Reducing expenses
Take away/dining out, gifts/holidays, clothing, online shopping, gym (iíll keep cleaning for my membership), groceries and a bit of golf (which I don't want to totally restrict as it's such an enjoyment for my SO), replace car with more fuel efficient one?

I have no idea how else to reduce our expenses, we don't drink or smoke (hence more $$ spent on our hobbies) our kids don't do any extracurricular activities, we have no health, home contents, company, life, income or car insurance - basics that I think we need.

2) See Ďasset allocationí above

3) Increasing income (other than working more and spending less)
House renovations ($50,000-75,000) would enable primary residence to host short term accommodation (and we could stay with family at reduced cost) during peak times (school/christmas holidays) but this would mean spending money we don't have and there is no guarantee we will actually follow through with this.

4) Financial values questions/ways to get my SO on board
My approach to P2 is to get them to answer the following so we can realistically plan our budget and short/long term goals:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/ What do you want your day-day look like? (experiences, accomplishments, purchases, relationships etc)
How old do you want to be when you donít have to work to pay bills?
Do you want to leave/give any money to our children? If yes, how much and at what age?
What is something you want to buy in the next 1.5 years?

5) Proposed bank account structure (see attachment)
We need to overhaul our accounts as right now it just comes in and gets spent! This is what seems to be the best. UP bank has some good features (locking accounts) so we are considering making the switch over.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2024, 02:05:56 AM by shrimponfire »

Fresh Bread

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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2024, 12:48:40 AM »
Just quickly - add [AUS] in your title and it will send out a batsignal to the Aussie contingent and help prevent a bunch of inappropriate advice re mortgage etc!

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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2024, 01:18:42 AM »
I haven't read every little bit of you post yet, but if you're spending more than you earn then your primary focus must be on that as a hair on fire emergency, but I think you recognise that. But you have plenty of time to turn everything around.

With regards P2, they need to put their big girls/boys pants on and get some basic financial literacy, even if it's a basic understanding of what goes out must be less than what comes in and adhering to a budget. There's a pinned post somewhere about how to get your spouse on board but I think that may be for later? 

Your groceries are $400 a week. I know groceries are crazy right now and if that includes nappies and so on, then I'd expect it to be high, but you could probably knock $100 a week off.

Have you got 3 cars for 2 adults?? Dropping one and rego would obviously save.

Golf. I have feelings about this! It's a massive expense and I get quite annoyed at (assuming it's dad's hobby) one parent basically being AWOL for a whole day at the weekend. Time to get a new hobby?? I'll say that my husband's hobby is no cheaper than this, but maybe drop it for a year or two?

Re AirBnB - we built a new place and had ideas of renting it out as we're near a beach, but the thought of packing up our stuff and getting it immaculate means it's never happened in 3.5 years. Just saying!


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2024, 06:05:46 AM »
Your spending is insane relative to your income.

10% of your total aftertax income on golf?
3 cars, one of which has a lien?
96k spending on 75k income?
7k on petrol?
2k on an accountant for a company that makes $0?

GTFO of any Mustachian pretensions - you will be working until you are dead unless you increase your income AND cut your expenses.

How TF is your spouse only earning $6k/yr?

With a total income of 100k you are basically earning what two full time workers in AU earn in minimum wage jobs, yet you are spending like you are upper middle class.

In terms of concrete steps you can take:

1. Sell two of your cars to save on registration & maintenance (plus to redeploy their value as investments instead of depreciating assets).

2. You are spending $7k+ on petrol.  With a 30 minute commute 3x/wk, let's generously assume you need to drive 100km every in-office day, so that's 300km/wk or 15,600km/yr.  With a $2.11/litre cost (assuming the worst - NT residency) and a car that uses 9 litres/ 100km, that's 1,404 litres costing a total of $2,962.  So you are spending more than $4k than you need to.  So, trade your remaining car for one with better fuel economy if necessary, or drive only when you need to (those work commutes) or both.  Additionally you could look into carpooling to save on driving and fuel cost.

3. Be ready to abandon your business as it's losing money.  Do you have a business plan?  If you don't you should, and if the business doesn't live up to your expectations be ready to dissolve it.

4. Your grocery spending is a bit high and as stated earlier you could cut it by a chunk.

5.  Stop the golf, the beauty treatments, gifting, expensive holidays, and especially your home improvement plans, until you can both spend on these whilst also saving.

6.  Don't worry about asset allocations until you're actually saving money.

7.  P2 needs to step up and do their share on the earnings front.

8. You are spending twice what you need to on housing.  Sell the house and rent a 2BR flat.  Invest the proceeds from the sale in diversified equities (for example, an index fund that tracks the ASX).

8a.  Find a rental MUCH closer to your work so you can cut your petrol costs even further!

9.  Sell at least one of the kids... kidding (mostly - at least refrain from any more until you can afford it)

Good luck!

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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2024, 07:16:58 AM »
I understand the company accountant cost as I have had the same but $2500! Does the business need to be a Pty Ltd and not sole trader?

Jeroly I think P2 is the primary carer for 2 kids under 4yrs so that's their main job. The homeschool idea seems a bit pie in the sky though. The choice is either build the business or homeschool surely?

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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2024, 09:07:24 AM »
You've got two problems, one is income and one is expenditure

P1: What is your income from your main job looking like for the future?  Any increases possible?  Will it at least keep up with inflation?

You have a second job as a gym cleaner: have you worked out what your hourly rate of pay for this job is (ie hours worked vs discount)?  Would you be better off with overtime at your main job or a higher-paying second job and paying full price for the gym?  Can you reduce the gym cost by only going in off-peak times or not using certain facilities?

P2: Some realism is required here.  "High-income potential" and "self-employed" does not compute with caring for two children under four, having no current income/$100 a week and proposing to home-school for the next 18 years or so.  If things continue as they are you are essentially looking at being the sole earner for your family for the whole of those 18 years.

One big question here is: why homeschooling?  Australia still has decent, free schools from the age of 4.  That's a big financial benefit to your family that you are throwing away, both in terms of the social and educational value to your children and the time it frees up for your spouse to earn some money.   There has to be something really compelling not to take advantage of that - and your children are too young for you to know that homeschooling is going to be the best option for them.  They may well thrive on the social and educational experience of school: research shows that the children of educated and involved parents do well at school almost whatever the school is like.

Company: I don't understand this company you own and have put $40k into but which neither of you is working for and which makes no money?  What does your business plan say about it?  Who is going to be doing the work, how many hours a week, what is the likely salary for that worker and profit for you and P2 as owners?  When do you expect this company to be a net earner for your family?

Now, expenses.  I'm sorry to say this, but you have omitted various items from your list of expenses.  Nothing for house maintenance and nothing for car servicing and repairs are two that stand out.  And your list of things you have no insurance for is terrifying.  I certainly hope that by "no car insurance" you only mean that you don't have comprehensive insurance for the value of your cars, not that you are driving illegally without any insurance.

On the things you are paying for, is there any chance of reducing the mortgage costs, eg by refinancing?  They are a big chunk of your expenditure.

You certainly need to sell at least one of the cars.  And I would suggest looking round the house for anything else you can sell: it all adds up and the less you own the less you need to worry about it not being insured.

If your spouse is not earning enough to cover the cost of child care then she has to be looking after the kids full time: no more "child care costs". Golf, personal luxuries and clothing add up to $10k a year out of money you are not earning. Subscriptions, gifts, holidays and online shopping are another $8k out of money you are not earning.  Something has to give here, preferably not your sanity.

Here is the thread about getting your spouse on board with mustachianism.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2024, 03:18:08 PM »
Ah now there is the kind of replies I was expecting and hoping for.

Thank you - I need some tough love so I can go to P2 with the facts and try to get us out of this nightmare.

P1: option to increase salary in line with CPI or get promotions ever 5 years or so. Yep my hourly rate is about the same cleaning the gym as it is in my job as its essentially just a trade, so not taxed - They don't offer an "off peak" discount. I can only take "time off in leiu" of worked hours, no overtime except in rare occasions. I hadnt thought about getting a second job

P2: yes there needs to be a reality check here. A valid point that we cant afford to homeschool with our current trajectory, this could be a good motivating factor for earning more money now if its a shared value and something we want to stick to. P2 is the primary carer of the children but also meant to be the primary worker for the company..hence why I (P1) had to go back to work as the company/P2 wasnt making any money. (we have been living off government support payments and borrowing money off my parents...THE worst)

Company: The company was set up essentially so it could eventually pay us both a salary as the business has high earning potential. A lot of money has gone in to establishing the business and the overhead costs but...P2 is the one who does the physical work and P1 does all the business/admin side of things. The main thing here I can do here is to be firmer in facilitating getting more work in the door, so P2 can actually do the work. Then with the increase in work, the kids will go into childcare but will be offset massively by P2 having income. There is no business plan...I set it up so P2 didnt have to repay HECS and the company could make the money (paying rent as its a home business or buying a car), then eventually pay me P1 the bulk of the money for the work I do in the company once it was making large amounts.

Omitting items: yes we don't put any money away for those type of things and i am probably more terrified than you about our lack of insurance. And yes we have the compulsory insurance, just no additional protection.

Mortgage: we've got arguably the best variable interest rate on offer (heavily negotiated by me) at the moment but I will investigate again and make sure that still stands.

Car: Yep, P2 is meant to be selling one of the cars but I'll take this on now. I didnt realise how fuel inefficient our vehicles were..I will absolutely look into selling and replacing with something more efficient to run.

Kids/Childcare: Thats the cost of only one day a week, for one child. But agree, its something we cant afford without any income. And we've agreed no more kids - ever.

House: I disagree that selling the house and renting a 2BR flat would be the better option. Our current minimum mortgage repayments are at least $100-200 cheaper than any of the rental properties in our area (or the area where I work, plus our company is home-based and not easily movable).

Thank you all so much for your advice and contributions.. I am terrified about having this conversation with P2 but think i've got a bit of an action plan from collating all this advice. Will keep you all posted as it would be nice to see how things turn around.

I've previously read the thread on getting your spouse on board with mustachiansim but none of those approaches are going to work for me. Hence my suggestion on the values questions.. P2 DESPISES money talk of any kind.

Any suggestions on a FIRE role model that plays golf, is an artist and homeschools their kids? Like the david goggins version of that would be great


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2024, 03:45:15 PM »
I doubt this will be welcome, but I think you need to dump this business idea.  You don't have time to wait and see if it's going to work.  You need income, now.

Your spouse needs to go to work full time, probably on an alternating schedule with you to avoid childcare costs.  It's going to suck, but for now you just need to grind and get yourselves out of this situation.

You don't have the financial stability to start a business right now, or to have a stay-at-home spouse.  You've got to bring in wages and get back in the black before anything else will work.

Edit: From what you say about your spouse, it sounds like they just have their head in the sand.  I would suggest that you owe it to your family to explain that you are in a completely unsustainable situation and that you need to urgently and immediately make major changes to avoid financial ruin.  You can't keep going like this.  If you've taken on the financial management role, it's your responsibility to be clear about what's going on to your spouse.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2024, 03:55:12 PM by roomtempmayo »


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2024, 06:44:02 PM »
I doubt this will be welcome, but I think you need to dump this business idea.  You don't have time to wait and see if it's going to work.  You need income, now.

if this idea is such a money maker - why isn't it making money? what's the hold up?

and all this high earning potential sounds a bit delusional too. sorry.

It honestly sounds like your entire life is wrapped around trying to manage P2's emotions, wrapping him in bubble wrap and walking on eggshells. It sounds exhausting. It sounds depressing. I hurt for you, honestly.

My advice: Go to couples couseling.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2024, 06:54:53 PM »
Others have given good feedback on the financial side, but this is an untenable situation. What concerns me the most is this bit from your first post:

 "I am solely responsible for ensuring my family's financial security (at this stage) - please suggest what I can do..particularly to get my SO on board without them feeling to blame or like they are restricted!"

Your partner is most certainly going to feel restricted with any approach that is financially solvent, because my current understanding is:
1) They have a hugely expensive hobby
2) They are bringing in no income, but there are lots of overhead costs for the job you/they were planning for them to have (the business)
3) They additionally plan to continue this indefinitely, with a homeschool approach for 18 years.

It's one thing not to enjoy talking about finances with your spouse (although, that's probably a sign of some sort of value mismatch to begin with), but it's another thing entirely to want to put your head in the sand, spend like you have 3x the income, and just not want to discuss it.

This sounds like it's going to need outside help (likely a therapist/marriage counselor). Whose idea was it to have P2s job be to work in the business? Did they ever work in it/enjoy it? Have they expressed why they are not doing the work currently?


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2024, 02:13:10 AM »
From a relational standpoint, it might be better to lay it out to P2 the way you have here:
ď- we have after tax income of 75k
- we have annual spend of 96k
- we have two young children and no insurance so if one of us gets hit by a car then weíre all screwed.
- I canít wait for the business to take off to fix thisĒ

And then ask them how they think this can be solved. Donít take on the over-functioning and enabling, let *them* try come up with concrete ways to adjust the numbers. They need to understand the house is on fire and they wonít if you soften it or massage it or try solve it for them.


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Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2024, 04:38:11 AM »
I agree with a lot of the feedback already given but I want to add my support for the tough conversation you are going to need to have with your partner.

Iím also an Aussie, parent of toddlers, and the person in our relationship who is responsible for Ďmaking it all happení money wise, because my partner finds personal finance overwhelming.

Iím happy to take on that role in our relationship (he contributes in other ways) but the flipside to that responsibility is that he is listening to the decisions I take for us money-wise. We each took a year off to be a SAHP and the reality was the budget had to change. I did some spreadsheet wizardry of our fixed expenses, presented it to him and then we had a short conversation about how we wanted to spend the rest.

If your partner wants to be a SAHP they need to work with you to keep expenditure within what the family unit is earning. Try and reframe that (for both of you) from you Ďrestrictingí them to you helping  them understand what they need to do to reach their goal.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2024, 02:12:06 PM by chasingthegoodlife »


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2024, 01:33:07 PM »
You appear not to understand where you are on the path to FIRE. As others have mentioned, youíre in a hair on fire emergency, where your costs are significantly larger than your income. Any money needs to go towards fixing this problem. You have a mortgage offset account, so you may have an emergency fund. As I have never had an offset account, I know little about them, but Iím a bit nervous about you having two offset accounts, and Iíve read that some arenít really worth it, and canít be considered emergency funds. Iím sure youíve already checked this.

You need to get out of the hole youíre in before investing in anything - shares, an investment propertyÖ

Expected RE expenses are the expenses you expect to have in retirement. Mine were $25k a year. This number is probably irrelevant now, as you need to get your current expenses down a lot to get out of your emergency hair on fire situation. If you calculated it now, youíd be factoring in a lot of expenses youíll (hopefully) be removing.

Your expenses are broken down in an interesting way. Iím not sure I could use them to work out a budget. Others have commented more extensively. Would it be cheaper for you to catch public transport to work?

If p2 is an artist, my understanding is that there are a lot of provisions in the tax schedule for artists, so creating a company is significantly reducing the after tax income your family will receive, especially given that they arenít earning enough to be classified as a professional. The time to create a company is when theyíre earning enough to justify it, especially as companies pay tax from $0, and individuals can earn up to $18,200 tax free, and if I remember correctly, artists can earn more tax free. Given that p2 is an artist, where is the expenditure for their materials? This needs to be somewhere if they are going to earn money. Will the $40,000 for the company be enough? Most artists have a lot of up front costs.

Since youíve read the investment order, youíll know that HECS debt is indexed, and that it will grow, even if you earn below the compulsory minimum income to pay, unless you pay off some of the indexation each year. It appears to me that the only reason youíre created the company is to avoid paying off the debt, and yet, the amount thatís taken out of your income is pretty low when youíre not earning much. Also, how is the company going to be able to put more than $30,000 into p2s super? If they canít, youíre going to need to pay HECS once they reach that threshold anyway.

Also, in your current situation, you need all the money you can get to be available now, rather than locked up in superannuation, which you canít use until youíre much older. I assume that any extra money you put into the mortgage will be going into the offset account where you could use it in an emergency, until you sort out your hair on fire situation.

Hopefully, youíll be able to turn around your hair on fire situation within a couple of years and start investing, saving money into superannuation, and to be on the next step towards FIRE.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2024, 03:49:16 PM by deborah »


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2024, 04:06:28 PM »
I presented the black and white info to P2 yesterday and (after a difficult and heated discussion) we have set aside some time next week to sit down and revise the budget together. I really appreciate your comment and relatability @chasingthegoodlife I also don't mind having that role in the partnership, its just getting him to the table to have the conversation thats difficult. P2 is neurodiverse and while from the outside it might look like he is selfish and i walk on eggshells - we simply play to our strengths and need to understand and approach one another the way our brains best receive/compute information.

Will update here next week on our revised budget/plan for house on fire emergency!

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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2024, 04:42:40 PM »
My sister has recently found out she's autistic and I understand the walking on eggshells if P2 has PDA as part of that because it makes things very hard indeed. Having said that, I once made my sister a budget at a critical time and it did help to see the ins and outs laid out.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2024, 09:51:33 AM »
FIRE is a fine goal to have, but itís not a silver bullet. In simple terms, and as others have noted, your spending is too high and your income is too low.
I donít believe you should be touching the equity in your home to purchase another home. Managing properties is not as easy as it is made to seem on social media - it rapidly becomes another job.
The business needs to go because it sounds like it is a distraction for your partner. A part time job doing something they enjoy sounds like a better option.
Your gift and vacation spending needs to be cut - you donít have the money for that right now.
Your first goal needs to be getting spending under income. Until you have that mastered, itís too early to be talking about anything else.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2024, 10:30:34 AM »
I think you are really focused on doing all the things that you want without any reality checks.

Business? Sure. Homeschooling? Sure. Golf? Sure.

So if it sounds like a nice idea, you go for it without any cost/benefit analysis or without considering how it fits in your big picture.

Others commented already on the financial side of things. I encourage you and your partner to take a look at your decision making. Why you feel entitled to all these things? Why does cost not factor in your decision making? Why are you unwilling to pick THE MOST IMPORTANT thing and then make the rest of your life work to achieve that goal?

Based on your posts, I feel that between you and your partner there is a lot of rationalization going on how things will somehow work out in your favour and you can STILL HAVE IT ALL.

The reality is that you would not make it all work with your current financial approach, salary and general mindset. The sooner you start prioritizing and acting based on it, the better it would be. Go in the damage control mode because, frankly, you need it. If your finances collapse completely you may have much fewer options going forwards.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2024, 10:32:06 AM by aloevera1 »


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2024, 11:09:50 AM »
I'm a little confused by your list of expenses and income, but maybe there's something I'm missing since I'm not from Australia.

You say you're overspending by over $20,000 per year, but you haven't listed any credit card or other loan payments besides the mortgage and student loans. When you spend more than you have, what are you spending from? How much are you paying in interest each month, and which loans have the highest interest rates? You list the gym membership as an expense, but you're not actually paying that right now. How much are you actually spending?

Is there any chance of finding a much lower cost of living area where your current or a new job could cover all the costs for your family? Friends in New York City uprooted for a small town when in a situation similar to yours some years ago, and they have made it work with homeschooling and everything.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2024, 02:43:17 PM »
Not sure if you are already claiming and just didnít list it, but at the income levels youíve listed youíll be eligible for a little bit of Family Tax Benefit. Not a huge amount but every bit helps. You can claim at the end of the financial year once youíve done your tax returns to avoid any chance of overpayment if your income fluctuates.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2024, 03:44:25 PM »
Exactly. I wanted to comment on that too- how do you cover the 20000$ gap?  And that does not even include the HECS repayments.

You are in a terrible situation: high expectations,  unrealistic lifestyle, not enough income to cover it and a huge debt. Plus an attitude problem and potential relationship dramas. It is a hair on fire emergency.

4 things which have to go immediately: the golf, the homeschool dream, at least 1 car and the business which makes no money.

You can't afford a stay at home spouse with a 7k golfing hobby. If the golf goes, you have only a 13k hole in your budget. Getting rid of 2 extra cars- how much are you saving with rego and insurance etc? Childcare will have to go. Halve the gifts and holidays. Shaving off 400 each month of the grocery bill and skipping eating out will cover the rest. How does that sound?

Your house is ok. Please fork out the money for home and contents insurance.  It is not that much, for about 150 a month you can get something.

As for life ins-  super funds may have an in built life insurance, check yours. Btw what are you doing for super?i did not really understand what you wrote before. Do you each have a super fund? Check the balance. You should be putting in the compulsory contributions.

In your current situation your main priority is fixing the spending problem. That is doable. When you can live within your means, you can think of building wealth.  Most of the things you mentioned around the business sound too complicated for me. Ie too much 'cleverness' to avoid paying hecs, which costs you money, but makes none. Sounds dodgy.

And look after yourself.  I mean it in the nicest possible way, but regardless of gender, your spouse is a high maintenance princess. Resentment may build, if you continue to shoulder all the burden around finances and life admin.

As for spouse-   i understand that the neurodivergence might make it difficult to work a standard job, but in Australia everybody starts at the bottom and even 15 year old kids make decent money packing shelves or working the checkout at Coles.  Hospitality jobs. Office cleaning.  This person has a family to support,  they can't afford to be a golf playing princess. 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2024, 03:48:30 PM by Bee21 »


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2024, 05:36:28 PM »
OP, Iím curious about about the professional training your partner has that has resulted in. $150k HECS debt (for Australia this is on the high side!) with high earning WFH potential, and needs the current house in order to run the business (presumably to see clients?).

I feel like itís probably not medicine or dentistry (equipment etc not suited to WFH) and from what youíve said about your partnerís interests anything finance related seems unlikely too. Backyard part time solicitor is possible but I would think hardly high earning at this time of his career. Allied health or software engineering could be a high earning WFH option, but I would have expected a much lower student debt.

Iím also confused about why you say you need to bring in the work for P2 to do.

Anyway, where I am going with this, is if you are serious about this business, I think you need to do some in depth evaluation about how viable this is. Speak to people running a similar business, project out how long you expect the business to take in providing a significant, consistent part time income for P2 and how that compares to just working part time for someone else.

I agree with Bee that the strategy of avoiding HECS repayments is a bit of a red herring. Your energy and strategic thinking are better spent on increasing income and reducing spending. P2 could earn more that $70k at a regular PAYG job before their HECS repayments exceed the $2000 you are spending on company accounting right now.

Think of the difference even a consistent $30k pa would make to your family right now.

I believe you could reduce spending and make it work on just your income while you give the business a real shot for a year or two, but is it worth it? Do you both want it enough to sacrifice golf, holidays etc? To me, the benefits seem doubtful.


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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2024, 08:43:30 PM »
I don't want to speak for OP, but I believe they referenced the partner being an artist. I don't know if that was intended as a hobby or actual profession, but it would be helpful to understand which, given the viability of the business.

The Beebsta

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Re: Desperate shrimp on the barbie needs to plan familyís FIRE [AUS]
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2024, 11:34:50 PM »
You are not on your way to FIRE, you are on your way to bankruptcy. You are going backwards by >$20k per year. In one year your emergency fund will be gone. What happens then? How are you even in the fortunate position you are currently in?

What is P2s plan? Just keep their head in the sand? They need to step up and earn a real wage. You as a family cannot afford for them to be a non-contributing member of the household. What did they do before starting the company? What can they do to reach their high earning potential in a very short space of time? This is the number one thing that needs to change. Everything else could be overcome if P2 earns a real income.

As for the home schooling plans, why? I do not understand what is the attraction here? I did ďhome learningĒ with my kids during COVID. That is not an experience I want to repeat. There are plenty of great public schools in australia.

I thought our groceries were out of control at $1500/month for 2 adults, 2 teen/pre-teen boys and a dog. Your two kids under 4 really wont be eating much. This is an area that you as a family could easily improve upon. Do you have an Aldi near you? Shop there once a month for cheap staples.

Holidays, gifts and golf must go. Your family cannot afford those luxuries.

3 cars for 2 people when only one has to commute? I think 1 car should suffice.

Is it really a legal requirement to have an accountant do the company tax returns? I did an online tax return for one of our companies that had no income, so I didnít want to spend the money on accountant. I did it through the government company portal, so I really donít think itís a legal requirement to have an accountant do it for you.

I think you are doing what you can to keep your family afloat, but you are drowning and your partner is dragging you under instead of saving you.

Sorry to be harsh, but P2 needs to step up. Best of luck getting them to see what is really happening and not having then blame you for not making their deluded dreams a reality.

I have a friend in this position. Their spouse has not worked in 10 years but every now and then pretends they are starting an online business but it never generates any real income.i am so frustrated for my friend. Their spouse is not a partner, and does not contribute anything positive to my friendís life as far as I or other friends can see. I really hope for your sake that your partner has redeeming qualities and contributes in a positive to your life in other ways. I also really hope that you can get through to them, and they start contributing financially as well.