Life Update: May 2021
Slamming out these life updates! Feels like just yesterday I produced the April update. Well, that’s because it was… At least I’m staying accountable and catching up!
These months keep flying by and to be honest it feels like just last week we were packing up our lives to head back to Australia from Canada. Hard to believe we’ve been back in the country for over 3 months now. They do say that time flies when you’re having fun.
The month of May was a momentous one for us because we moved out of the temporary Airbnb accommodation and into our own home. We didn’t rush in to buy a house this time around. Instead, we’ve decided the right move for us is to rent for at least 12 months while we decide what we want in a house and where we want it to be.
5 years ago, I would have thrown sand in your face if you would’ve said to me that “renting can be a good financial decision for some people”. Ok, I probably wouldn’t have been that aggressive, but I was a stern believer that rent was dead money. I don’t feel that way anymore.
Your primary place of residence will always cost you money. Renting someone else’s home will also cost you money. “But at least I’m paying down my mortgage and not someone else’s”. That’s the number one response people give for justifying buying a house to live in. Remember that a mortgage is a liability (aka: debt) and you are locked into paying it until the loan is fully repaid. Rushing in to buying a property could result in you buying something that’s not right for you or your family, so it’s not a decision that should be made lightly.
We could have tried to buy a house within the 8 weeks that we were in our accommodation, but I don’t think that would have ended well. It takes 4 – 6 weeks to even close on a house in Australia, so that means we would’ve had to have had an accepted offer within 2 weeks of us getting out of quarantine! That’s a little bit ludicrous to me.
So instead, we are taking our time in the house hunting process and are quite happy in our rental for the foreseeable future. We’ve signed a 12-month lease in a beautiful neighbourhood on the west side of town. The houses in the area are all modern and well looked after, and the people are super friendly too. I even had one guy tap on my car window at 6am just before I took off for work just to introduce himself. How nice!
Our move in date was around the 7th of May and to make the moment a bit special and hopefully memorable, I popped to the shops to grab a CONGRATULATIONS balloon and a 6 pack of donuts for the kids. It’s one sturdy balloon too because it’s still inflated to this day, nearly a whole month later.
As expected, the kids loved the donuts and Allanah thought the balloon idea was so sweet. Mission accomplished in my books.
The first 2 weeks of moving into our new house was pretty hectic. Since our Canadian items hadn’t arrived by then, we had very limited items in the house. The furniture and appliances that we purchased arrived on several different deliveries and the cardboard packaging was starting to pile up excessively. Did I tell you our couch is going to take at least 12 weeks to arrive as well? Unbelievable! To compensate for now we have outdoor furniture inside. It doesn’t look too out of place to be fair, but it’ll be nice when the inside couch finally shows up and the loungeroom will be complete.
I mentioned in the April update that we spent an absolute motza at the local furniture and appliance store, and it was nice to see it finally start to arrive. The fridge, a 75” TV (biggest one I’ve ever bought), washer, dryer, kids beds and outside furniture (now inside) all showed up within the first week. Plenty of unpacking and organizing to do.
Our first week in the house was also one of our few in town without any formal plans, until the day before Mother’s Day that was. We weren’t planning on traveling anywhere but we made an impromptu trip to Murrembateman to where Allanah’s mother lives at 7pm on a Saturday night.
To get there, it was a 3-hour drive, which to us is not very long considering how far we had to travel to get anywhere while living in Canada. We had a quick bite for dinner at home, loaded the kids in the car and took off to go visit the family. Well worth the trip in my opinion.
The next week or so was pretty relaxed as we kept pottering around the house and slowly buying more things to match our Scandinavian décor style we’d decided on. One thing that was exciting though was the 19th of May, which was when our shipment arrived from Canada (technically Sydney as it had been in quarantine/customs for 2 weeks).
We had forgotten how much stuff we actually packed! There was plenty of unboxing to be done. I got to avoid a lot of it thanks to my need to work, so a special thanks goes to my wonderful wife. Oh, and Addi was super stoked that all of her stuffies had finally arrived.
Towards the 3rd week of May we were lucky enough to have yet another visitor stay with us for a while. This time it was Allanah’s dad, Darryl. He had a medical appointment during the week and decided to come a bit earlier to hang out with the kids and us in our new house. Since we had a weekend together we visited another winery and also our local lake to soak up the warm days.
Here's a few happy snaps of our adventures at the lake and winery:
He even put together Callum’s bed frame that arrived from Canada. What a gem! He had to screw it together with brackets from Bunnings though because we couldn’t find the bed accessories until a week after this task was done.
Quite a few items had been damaged or broken during the move from Canada to Australia, which was a bit disappointing. Allanah took photos of all the items and their condition and will provide feedback to the relocation agency. The items have an insurance value so we would either get a new-for-old replacement or cash. I’d rather neither and just have the items arrive in good condition but it is what it is.
Back with another savings month of zip, nada, zilch, zero. This is all planned though. On the plus side, our spending has slowed down after the big purchases for our home. I forecast that June will also be a negative savings month as we finish buying a few bits and pieces and settle into a bit more of a normal weekly routine.
NET WORTH SNAPSHOT
The bleeding has slowed down and we only dropped around $6k in our net worth for the month. The main driver for the decrease is our cash spending, which is to be expected with all the household items we’ve been buying. I don’t include possessions like that in our net worth calculations, but some people do. Too complicated to do so in my opinion and I like to keep it simple.
The dip in our cash reserves was partially offset by increases to our investments. My Super grew by a bit over $4k (mix of contributions and growth) and my SelfWealth account had $2k thrown at it. I’ve even got a little crypto portfolio running and let me tell you, that thing is a roller coaster! One day it’s up 20%, the next day it’s down 30%. That’s why I only have a small portion of my net worth tied up in this speculative asset class.
Another cracking month in my opinion. The weather is starting to cool off – nowhere near Canada’s cold though – and we’re enjoying being in our new town and new home. Excited to see what June has in store for us.
Blake – FIRE with a family