I hope the economy continues to improve from here on in. It’s not something I want to have to deal with for the rest of our lives. I don’t need much money to be happy, but I need enough so I that I don’t have to worry whether we can afford to pay the bills and if we can afford food to put on our table and in our cats food bowl. My partner and I are going to continue working on our side business and just see how it goes. And hopefully one day we’ll make enough money from it that we won’t need to continue working at our full time jobs. Possibly one day we may have enough saved up in our account to buy that house on a larger piece of land so we can fill it with animals and fruit trees and a patch for our vegies. But unfortunately I don’t think it will be happening any time soon. Until then we will just continue saving our butts off, spending less and being careful with our money. Because God knows, the last thing we need right now is to lose our home.
My aunty and uncle also had it a bit tough. They fell pregnant with their first child which ended up turning into twins. Then fell pregnant just seven months after having the twins with another child. By mistake of course. It meant that my aunty could not go back to work as she had three children under the age of three to look after at once. They considered child care but it would have been far too expensive and basically taken all of her wage so it made working not worth it. They were still paying off their house and had only my uncle’s wage to do it with. They ended up selling one of their two cars as it was too expensive to run and they used the money to help pay for everything like food and the mortgage. My uncle started applying for higher paying positions in his work so they could afford to keep living. It’s amazing watching how different their lives are now compared to before having the children. They are always struggling for money now and their entire lives revolve around their children and keeping them happy and healthy. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just wouldn’t want it for myself is all.
So along with Melbourne having some of the highest house prices in the world, and our interest rates going up and up, it is just impossible to know what to do. Most people I know don’t know when to buy because we all just keep waiting for the median house price to drop but it keeps steadily going further up. On the other side of it all, the current economic situation has affected a lot of would be retirees like my parents. My dad was going to retire the year after the economic crisis but after it hit his superannuation just quartered in amount and without my mum working it made it impossible to retire. He has only just gone into retirement at the end of this year, making it three and a half years later than he originally wanted. He was so frustrated as they had planned holidays and all sorts of things that needed to be cancelled so he could continue working. Again it was due to no fault of his own. It makes it so unfair for hard working regular people that have to change their entire lives because of it.
So back on our home front it has made it difficult for us to decide what to do next with our lives also. Neither of us are particularly fond of children and we don’t think we want to have any, but it does bring up the question of, could we afford to even if we wanted to? Could we really afford to spend the next 20 years looking after a child? They say it costs roughly $500000 per child up to the age of 18. How on earth can anybody afford that sort of money? What if you have two of them? I’m not sure if its more selfish to have children and be unable to give them absolutely everything they need or to not have children at all. For some reason people find it more selfish to not have children but I couldn’t bare not being able to look after a child properly and give it what it needs. For instance I desperately want another animal but we both know that we probably can’t afford it and don’t want to give that animal a worse life because of this. It isn’t fair to get something just because you want it and then not be able to look after it.
But basically we are doing alright. I feel really sorry for other families that are really doing it tough right now though. Imagine if you lost your job due to the economic crisis. What would you do? Especially if you had a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. What if your partner couldn’t work due to injury or illness? Or maybe they just had a baby and need to stay home as they couldn’t afford childcare and couldn’t take the baby to work. Its awful hearing about those situations. And eventually the bank ends up taking their house and they are left with nothing. Due to no fault of their own. It is really a horrible situation. And I wonder if the families ever recover from that? How do they cope psychologically? It must be a terrible blow on a man’s ego to have something taken away from his family even though it wasn’t his fault. It must just tear relationships apart beyond recovery sometimes. I feel really lucky that my partner and I aren’t in that situation ourselves. As strong as we are together, I don’t know if even we would survive it.
I can imagine that if you had kids it would be so much harder to cope with everything. Having to make sure that they are all well fed, watered, clothed and educated. Thankfully we just have to feed our little cat and he basically takes care of the rest. We are still definitely doing ok financially, we haven’t had to take any money out of our mortgage and are still paying off the minimum requirements. And we are still able to eat properly and do the occasional dinner out or social event. But I do hate worrying about money. Once you’ve had the luxury of having it there, to have it taken away is quite a shock. It makes you think twice about everything. I hate being at the super market and looking at the prices of everything and adding it up in my head. Then getting to the check out and hoping that the Eftpos card goes through. It’s so embarrassing when it doesn’t and you have to either put it on the credit card or put something back. And everyone in line looks at you with sympathetic eyes. I hate it!
It’s been a bit stressful not knowing what he interest rates will do. They have gone up over 2% since we bought our apartment and that makes a huge difference to our repayments. We have been unable to make big purchases that we would have liked such as air conditioning and a dishwasher because we just don’t know how much higher the interest rates are going to go up. We don’t want to be caught in the situation where we can’t afford the fortnightly repayments. It makes the future really unclear also. My partner has picked up an extra day at work again just to keep the cash flow up a bit but he doesn’t know how long he’ll be able to continue this for before the company just says they need to hire someone full time. Or does he let our side business fail and go back to work full time? We don’t want to let our business die as it could potentially be a money spinner for us. So do you just give up on that and go back to work that you don’t really love just to make sure that the interest rates don’t get to high for us?
When we originally bought our apartment two years ago, the interest rates were roughly about 5%. And between us both we were earning around about 150,000 per year. So basically we figured at the time we were doing pretty well financially. We paid quite a lot extra in to our loan rather than just the minimum repayments and still had cash to burn. We didn’t think twice about spending $200 on a meal out midweek. But then things changed, the worldwide financial crisis hit. And just at that exact moment, my partner decided he would drop to part time to concentrate on a side project business of ours. He needed to do it or the business would never grow and it would have been just a waste of our money, time and effort if he didn’t put extra work into it. So our wages dropped. Instead of working fulltime, he was only doing one day per week. It was a bit of a reality check for us. We were relying on just my wage to get us through it all. Luckily for us we don’t have children, just a much loved cat.
The world is currently going through a ‘recession’ at the moment. Most of the world anyway. Somehow Australia has managed to avoid the worst of it and keep their heads above water. Meaning not too many people have had their houses repossessed by the banks or lost their jobs due to work places making cut downs. That’s not to say it hasn’t happened here, it just isn’t as bad here as it is in the United States or England. So how has it affected the little people. The everyday, middle class working families? For my partner and I, we have had to stop going out to dinner once or twice a week and now only go once a month or less. We turn electrical appliances off at the power point and avoid using electricity unnecessarily. I’ve stoped my weekly clothes and shoe shopping and now only buy what I actually need. And my partner has stopped buying expensive wines that he stores for twenty odd years before they are ready for drinking. It’s not really that different for us or hard as we are still earning a decent wage between us. It’s just that the interest rates keeping going up which makes paying off our house mortgage harder.