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  • Writer's picturePeter

Your Salary is Not Your Paradise & Money Savings Tips

Updated: Jun 4

Sydney Harbour Twilight
It's 5pm somewhere Twilight Drinks 🍸

Welcome back to Sydney. The dick measuring and pissing contest capital of Australia.

It's not that I don't like Sydney. I was born and raised here, along with many shared memories with my family, friends. It's also where I began my working life and committed to my journey of attaining financial independence early. 

Plus Sydney harbour is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world along with its world class beaches, national parks, economic advantages and its cosmopolitan lifestyle. 

Avoca Beach
Avoca Beach

It's just that after 8 years living in regional Australia, becoming countrified (pronounced with a silent o), travelling, retiring and returning to Sydney, I feel blah..... and nothing has changed.

Except for the explosion of wokes, teals, hight vis construction workers, misandrists and hipster barristers (hipster barristers is not such a bad thing except for the prices they charge for a coffee 🤯)

Round and round the conversation goes, complaining about traffic, cost of living, the price of real estate whist gossiping about others whilst technicolour yawning to others about how much their neighbour hoods home values have gone up, how lucky they are to have bought when they did or where they have just travelled to or planning to go. It's just so zzzzzzz!

Red panda sleeping
Thanks for sharing!

Anyways, back to the topic of doing what you want, when you want, with whom you want, where you want and for as long as you want. Or in short your paradise.

Palm Cove, Cairns
Paradise Found. Palm Cove, Cairns!

Sydney has always been expensive, however using this reason as an excuse that you can't save and live well simultaneously is well... pure bull dust 💩 because when achieving anything in life that is important to us, it comes down to our priorities and our choices.

Sydney Art Gallery

Lets dig into paradise a little deeper. If by some miraculous way your cost of living was $0 zero and it continued to be so, officially you could retire today and never have to work another day in your life again. My point is, achieving financial freedom is not about how much you earn, it's all about how much you spend.

Bushwalking Sydney Harbour
Bushwalking cost $0. Experience priceless $$$$$

I cannot impress how important discovering this number is, because discovering it is the foundation of every choice, action and consequence that follows it.

Back in 1996 I discovered that my ideal lifestyle spending number was $50,000 per year. At the time I had no investments, was renting and worked as a waiter at Novotel Darling Harbour in Sydney earning $25ph, with little or no money left over each week to put towards any savings or investments (nor did I have any idea about investing/retirement planning/financial freedom etc..).

However discovering my spending number inspired and motivated me into action. I traded books for libraries, running, cycling, home weights for my gym membership, home made meals and BBQ's with friends over dinners out at fancy restaurants, working on weekends and public holidays to get penalty rate and over time loadings etc.. In short allowing me to maintain most if not all of my pre savings lifestyle, along with the ability to save $1,000 per month. 

Sydney Festival Live Events
Attending a Free Concert at the Sydney Festival

Since I had no idea about investing I based my investment projected returns to be 10% pa (average ASX share market returns since 1900 is actually 13.2%pa) meaning it would take me approximately 23 years to make $1,000,000 in investments which I believed was enough.

The reality is that life and achieving what is important to us is never a straight line. Since starting on the journey of attaining financial freedom, I changed careers, met a girl, got married, bought a house, started a a business, moved to Cairns Sydney, sold the business, retired and have now moved back to Sydney etc.. but throughout this we balanced creative ways to live well, we kept our living expenses to a minimum and made saving and investing our priority. Resulting in a healthy, sustainable and growing investment value balance.

Camel Riding Morocco

Adjusted for inflation $50,000 in 1996 is now $99,917 in 2024, but $50,000 expenses per year back then was my goal as a single person. Today as a couple our combined expenses are about $150,000 per year or $75,000 per year if back dated to 1996. 

Money Savings Tips

The point is back in 1996 (my quarter century life crisis) I could have continued life unchanged, spending all my increased salary over the years and my living expenses would have continued to match my salary up to today. But if I had chosen that path, I wouldn't have the luxury of choice to retire 15-20 years earlier than most others.

Decluttering since 1971 (space cakes😎)

So to all the Sydney show ponies that complain about their 'cost of living crisis', refusing to save whilst continuing to buy things you don't need with money you don't have to impress people you don't like. Good luck with that and I hope its working for you, but you're probably not reading this anyway 😛

But for those of you that are and you still aspire to be free, appreciate that from my own experience I have found that cutting your expenses is a far more powerful way save more than trying to earn more.

Key West Bar
Bar in Key West Florida USA😯

Simply because choosing to do so shifts you into an environment of greater self discipline, creativity, personal mastery and awareness. Whist also you benefit from the dividends of your choice, i.e., needing less to achieve your version of financial freedom, helps foster your authenticity, and helps you to better clarify what's most important to you and why.

Gumbare! Pete

BTW my website is now live🥳 Free Your Way

May Goals

  • Continue progress on book (minimum 2 chapters) Goal carried over from February, March and now April goals 😫😫 I've been facing writers block.

  • Book flights and travels back to Malaysia and Japan for June.

  • Improve Japanese (written & spoken minimum 30 new words). Note I'm also planning to do a 10 week Japanese language emersion starting May 4th. 

  • Lazy Yoga! Improve stretching (to touch toes with legs straightened), I'm back to being 10cm away 😫

What am I reading/watching/listening?

  • Reading: The Fiology Workbook fi·ol·o·g /fīˈäləjē noun the study of Financial Independence by David Q. Baughier.

  • Watching: Extremely Inappropriate A single father desperately tries to return to 1986 after somehow arriving in 2024, where his Showa-era ideas come across as completely inappropriate. 

  • Listening to: Japanese Disco, Funk & Soul 1972-1987. Spotify Play List. Again!!! because its good for my practicing Japanese and well I'm an old school 80's dag 😆

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