In any project, you need a baseline. You need to be able to clearly look back and see how much the pineapple has grown (hopefully) or the enthusiasm might dwindle a bit.
So, here’s my current state of play.
I don’t save enough. Full stop. I currently have between six and eight months in the emergency fund. This fund could also be the start of a house deposit but it can’t be both. I decided at the beginning of the year to start fresh with a separate house deposit fund so the amount in there is probably (at most) 1% of what I need. I’ll figure out how much that is this year, building that deposit as I go.
I have my car (fully paid for) and I aspire to have a home, some art and some shares. (Only two of those things I don’t have stand any chance of being vital for the not-eating-toast-in-retirement game plan. Pretty sure you can guess which is the main one from the previous posts here, here and here.)
Those two sentences should make it clear to you that I don’t have a lot in the way of assets at this point. I mean, I have all of my furniture and electrics and books (of course) but I don’t have any of the actual assets you need as a grown up planning for a retirement that’s suddenly closer than you ever realised it could be.
The big thing here is what I don’t have: a house. I want a home. Want. Want. Want. I want a home in a safe suburb, a toilet outside of the bathroom (I know it’s a space saver but I really don’t like the toilet in the same room as my toothbrush), detached (or the end of a unit block), room for a small garden (where I will mow my own lawn), and a shed/carport. Wants on the end of that include a larger garden, a verandah, established trees and a quiet street.
A quick bit of research tells me my super balance is maybe above average for a woman my age, mostly no doubt due to the fact I’ve not had children or taken a break from paid employment to care for someone. (Yes, that and our generally lower wages are why women’s super is lower. Thanks gender wage gap and cultural norms.)
That “maybe above average” balance still sucks when it comes to giving me a decent lifestyle in retirement though, when I use the ASIC calculator. The figure it’s giving me this week is well below $50,000/year in retirement.
*For non-Australians, you can read more about superannuation here.
I know I am spending too much. Between my bills and groceries and let’s-call-it-discretionary-even-though-coffee-is-necessary-to-life spending. My base expenses plus savings is currently at 78% of the income received so far this year. This means I’m spending almost a quarter on other things. Other things I could/should cut back on to increase my savings.
On the plus side, I have no debt and anything that does go onto the creditcard is paid off again quickly.
Well, I have no investments outside of my super. However, the second part of this category is investing in myself and I have done that in the last few years. There’s been webinars, finance books from the library, workshops and generally trying to broaden my horizons. Going to call that part an encouraging start.
So, that’s my baseline and summarised like that, it’s a bit depressing. Still, I have started and that alone gives me a better chance than I had before.