Here’s the first international 20something money story… about a 27-year-old living in the Down Under.
I don’t have a blog, but I’ve been thinking of starting one when I have the time. So for practice, I thought I’d write my money story. I know your focus is on demography rather than geography, however my location is my main point of difference – I’m a twenty-seven year old grad living in Melbourne, Australia.
I’ve had an interest in personal finance since I first started earning an income working part-time at university. I don’t know how it happened. One day it just dawned on me that, seeing as I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, getting the best marks I could in all my subjects, and saving as much money as possible, could only be a good thing. So, taking advice from my mum, (whose been a personal finance geek all her life without ever realising it), I set about making sure I didn’t pay bank fees I didn’t have to, making sure I had the cheapest mobile phone deal, earning the most interest possible on my savings etc.
Once I had all of this down pat, I ventured into purchasing shares. I bought some shares in a casino and a building products company, but not really knowing what I was doing, I sold them when they went down. A few years later I bought a book on buy-and-hold share investing called “Retire Rich and Early”. (I was so embarrassed by the title I kept it in a drawer rather than on my bookshelf!). From that book I learned how to pick quality stocks that pay dividends I can reinvest.
The sharemarket, however, is not something I have a lot of spare money for anymore as I bought my own three-bedroom unit in a decent suburb of Melbourne a couple of years ago. I achieved this by living with my parents until I was 26 (Australians tend not to go away to college unless it’s really necessary, and with housing so expensive, never leaving home until you’re in your late 20’s is becoming quite common), and by having a small inheritance from my aunt.
If it weren’t for the inheritance, I probably wouldn’t have bought such a large property. Conventional wisdom would suggest I’ve done the wrong thing by purchasing a property that’s too big for my needs with mortgage repayments that are a little restrictive. I’m happy with my decision though, because I’ve been able buy into a good area that has increased in value, and the unit is large enough for my fiance and I to live in even when we have children. My aim now is to pay as much off my mortgage as I can, as quickly as I can. My fiance has started his teaching this year, so with his income as well, this is much more achievable.
The area that I have really neglected is my career. I completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in languages. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after that, so for the past five years I’ve been floating around doing dead end admin and retail jobs and travelling overseas. This year, I’ve finally decided to go back to university full-time to complete an Accounting degree so I’ll have some career prospects, rather than feeling like I’m going nowhere fast.
I don’t intend to work in accounting for the rest of my life; I’m hoping that the steps I’m taking now will allow me to “retire rich and early”, so I can do something I really want to do, such as a Masters/Phd in historical linguistics, opening a homewares shop or renovating houses.
Wow – Melbourne Girl bought her own place at 26. That’s really admirable. And MG – tell me, is living in Australia really as awesome as it sounds? Do you go snorkeling? ‘Cause it sounds pretty awesome. 🙂
Money Story #2: Elizabeth in SF
Money Story #1: Emily in Austin, TX
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