This post is based on an interview we conducted with Arham in April 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.

Overview

Name: Arham

Age: 34

Where do you live: Punchbowl, NSW

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I only have one name, as a surname is not mandatory where I was born. I am a tech nerd that is passionate about technology. I work in IT through progression for a retail company. I had to learn to be independent from a young age, which has shaped the way I view money.

What is your current net worth? $79,000

How does it break down? (shares, real estate, businesses, home, superannuation, etc)

Super: $90,000

Micro-Investment: $4,000 (Spaceship and Raiz)

Direct Investment: $1,000

Savings: $1,000

Any debts? (including HELP from Uni)

Help Debt: -$17,000

How did you accumulate your net worth?

Mostly Super as I have been working for around 19 years. I started micro investing through apps just over 9 months ago and these have been a game changer for me.

Earn

Tell us a bit about your career:

I work as an IT manager for a large-ish retailer and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to progress from someone who fills the shop floor to running their IT department.

I worked in fast food for over 10 years before I decided to go back to Uni through Open Uni and get out of the fast food business. I joined this retailer a short time after and the rest is history.

Do you have income sources outside of your job? If so, how much do you earn from each and how did you develop them?

I get dividends and market returns from my micro and direct investments. I did a unit on personal wealth management in Uni and that opened my eyes to the world of investing. I also do some IT jobs on the side for a bit of extra cash. So far, I have earned about $500 this financial year

What advice do you have for people who want to earn more money?

Save as much as you can and start building an investment portfolio. Start with micro investing as it’s an easy way to enter and learn how investing works. I wish I started 10 years ago.

Investing in yourself is the most valuable.

Save

What is your savings rate? And how has it changed over time?

I used to save $50 a week in my retail days for a year to spend on holidays. This went on for several years until I had to save for my wedding. It increased to $100 per week to pay off the wedding.

Now I put $150 every week into micro investing and whatever I have left at the end of the month, I put half to a savings account and half to my investment account to buy shares.

Do you have a budget?

I try to stick to a set amount every month for living expenses and allow one big purchase every 3 months.

Do you make purchase decisions carefully, or are you loose with your money?

This changes regularly. I try to see its future value. For example, a game console can bring many hours of entertainment in the future and will have a resale value, but awesome shoes will not have much future value once used.\

I don’t mind spending over my budget for things that will be used regularly or long term e.g. a bed or sofa, but otherwise its mostly the cheapest that meets the need.

How is your work-life balance?

Being the IT manager, you are on-call 24/7, but when things are good, then the work-life balance is fine. It will get a bit crazy soon as we have a bub on the way.

What is your favourite thing to spend money on?

Video games and eating out. I feel a $60 game can bring many hours of entertainment than a movie with some snacks for 2 hours’ worth of entertainment. As for good food, I think that’s worth the price.

Invest

How do you invest?

I have money in Spaceship and Raiz. I also have some shares through CommSec.

What has been your worst investment?

Lost some Bitcoin that I bought early on when it was still selling for peanuts. This still hurts.

What's been your overall return?

So far looking at around 12% this year.

How are you building wealth?

Getting into the investing game and closely monitoring my superannuation. The default super you had at 15 is not always the best place to put ‘your’ money. Next stop is to own some property.

What are your main roadblocks? And how are you addressing them?

Not saving while younger means I don’t have enough for a deposit to buy my first home. Paying down my HELP debt should help. I am continuously looking to improve myself to increase my value to my employer, which should equal more $$$.

Do you have a target net worth you want?

I want to be able to continue my current lifestyle well after retirement. Seems like I need $1 million.

When did you make your first significant behavioural shift towards wealth building?

Looking at what I have after working for 19 years, I decided it was time for a change.

If you could start again, what would you do differently? (Advice for younger self)

Start investing early. Compounding interest is your best friend.

What mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

Don’t try to keep up with the latest, whether it’s fashion or gadgets. Only purchase the necessary things.

Do you have any worries about retirement? If so, how are you planning to address them?

I have not paid too much attention to my super in the past and I am still renting, so definitely worried. Trying to save and build my wealth now so I don’t have to worry about it later

How are you learning about building wealth? Is it from family, books, forced to learn as wealth grew, etc.?

Reading books and plenty of resource on the internet. Spaceship has a good section on the app that gives you updates on the company in its portfolios.

Do you give to charity? If you do, what per cent of time/money do you give?

I donate regularly. My beliefs have made it a must for all able people and it really does make the community self-sufficient. I give 2-5% of my earnings to charity.


Arham is invested in the Spaceship Universe Portfolio at the time of the interview.