This post is partly to vent and partly to work out our moves going forward for the short term. Last week, my husband told me that he has been on JobKeeper (Government assistance program during COVID) since April! I had started getting concerned when work dried up about 6 weeks ago and he was at home, however, the company were still paying his weekly wage, or so I thought. No super was being contributed but I thought we could handle that for the short term. Now he tells me the government have been contributing each month about 60% of his wage and his company were struggling to top up the 40%.
Now you may ask why I wouldn't know this. A few years ago we decided to have our own personal accounts where our individual incomes went in to. Lots of reasons but the main one was so that he had some control of the money flow as I do ALL the finances and it did put a strain on our relationship ... I enjoy it and it is my strength, however, over time I guess it reduces the partner's involvement and they feel that their income 'just goes somewhere'. We tried the swapping of roles one time and he took over but he wasn't enjoying it and I was still doing the 'massaging' anyway. So we came up with this process where he paid into the household budget and was responsible each week to do so. So I didn’t' know what was happening with his incoming wages as it's his own personal account (I have my own personal account too that my salary comes into). Now from a personal/partnership side of things, this is typical of him to try and get the problem fixed before telling me about it. I joke it’s the 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' conundrum (book by John Grey ... it’s a beauty) but it is a problem that still is something we need to work on.
Each week on Thursdays, he transfers $700 to the DAILY Expense Account and SPLURGE Accounts & $300 to the Yearly Expense account. It came to a head when he ran out of money and had nothing to transfer ... Since it's our groceries it showed up straight away and he had to confess.
I don’t think I am that scary but apparently when it comes to the budget and our Future financial independence I am. Yes, yes, I will have to work on that part of my DNA!
So why am I airing our dirty laundry?
Shit happens and even the best thought out goals and intentions get thrown up in the air. Am I stressed? Hell yes! I feel like I am going through the 1st half of the year all over again when I was on JobKeeper and then made redundant (after 9 months on the job). It was hell AND we got through it.
I do need to earth myself and think a few things through ... do we have an Emergency Fund (EF)? YES. Do we have a budget that I can hone in on to see what can be tweaked or massaged (my favourite word)? Hell YES. Putting this into perspective, it WILL be a short term issue we can get through.
Short term Action Plan
First thing is to remind him we have an EF and we can get through this. What options at work are being discussed? Maybe scout around for another casual job for the time being? We don’t have a lot of 'extras' in our budget but our expenses are still really high ... teenagers, private school, mortgages and healthy taste buds aka high grocery bills! 😊
IF things get WORSE (I am a bit of a half-empty kind of girl), then I will go into emergency mode (like I did in May when I was stood down from my employment) and call the banks, health insurance, schools and car/home insurance to ask for any discounts OR a relief from some or all of the monthly payments. I found that most companies were really helpful when you call BEFORE things go pear shape AND you only need to use the option if you REALLY need to ... just in case.
Short term the 'Realigned goals' for 2021 (posted just a couple of weeks ago) will need to be rechecked and do the things we can for now and don’t stress about the ones we can't. As I am reminded often in this wonderful Personal Finance community, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
So things I am looking at will be to have a monthly goal tracker for 2021 to keep me motivated but also not too worried that we have no movement. We have done a lot of hard work in the last couple of decades and so what we already have will keep moving upwards.
Goals to be rechecked:
Our Investing goal may need to be scaled back a bit. So our Investing buckets may not reach the goal for next year. --> 2021 goal was $50k. This most likely will be reduced. Not sure yet.
I am still going to max out my salary sacrifice / super contributions --> 2021 @ $25k
Growth BOND for the kids have already been done for the year --> 2021 @$2k
Expenses have been pretty much fine-tuned so will hold and try and keep within the budget/buckets. --> 72% of income (approx. $7600pm)
This post is more for me to write it down and have it diarised, plus also allow me to think it through to feel more at ease with it all.
Some quotes that feel close to my heart right now:
Self-Care for me
The non-monetary things I had on my 2021 goals will still be in full swing and I will ramp up my research and learning over the year. I may not be able to action some of the things I learn however can certainly be ready to go when we are back in full swing.
READ 3 books a month – 1 x financial | 1 x soulful/spiritual | 1 x fiction
SEEK understanding about backdating tax refunds by adding to super via the concessional contributions from 2016 to 2020 tax returns
Finalise SALE of investment property in our SMSF - (self-managed superannuation fund). Liquidate and move to an Aggressive fund. Close SMSF
COMMIT to writing BLOG posts to build relationships with like-minded people and to keep me focused and motivated
CONTINUE to nurture the kids to gain financial literacy
LEARN about opportunities for side hustles/passion ** new **
BUILD my healthy regime to become a habit and change in mindset
Next Step: write down and visualise the outcome I want for us and keep visualising the goals to manifest them into reality. A little woo-woo but you gotta put it out into the universe right! Hello universe here I come. 😊