The Making of a Shuffler – Part 3: The start of my full time working life

This is the final post of a 3 part series on how I got to where I am today. See Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this if you are interested.

Still not thinking long term

So I finally get to the end of my degree and I score a paid Engineering internship…

Sweet!

So what do I do with this new found income? I move out of the nice, warm and cosy nest that my parents freely gave me!

A generous intern’s wage of about AUD$45,000 per year starts hitting my account at this point. I decide to move out of home with my brother and we get a taste of domestic life.

Looking back I was fiercely independent and had a deep desire to be able to take care of myself instead of relying upon my parents. In retrospect I could of done great things financially if I had Pat the Shuffler’s advice for getting through my 20s.

Anyway, back to the story. During this time I continue to pile up money. I switch over to the graduate program at my current employer that now pays $60k per year as well as some additional overtime. However, I also start paying a huge chunk of my money to my HECS student debt.

The Army Reserve gig dropped away, as I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. It was also increasingly difficult to keep up with all of the weekend engineering work I was doing.

However this money didn’t stay piled up for very long. In 2012 I took a 3 month backpacking trip through Europe that depleted over half of my saved money. I then took a 2 week Thailand trip at the end of 2012. Still not doing too bad, as I was only spending money I had actually earnt up until that point. Additionally none of these trips completely depleted my finances, still leaving me a nice cash cushion for when I returned.

The new car that I did not need

It’s late 2012 and I am welcomed back from my Europe trip with a promotion to Project Engineer. This lands me about $80k per year. The door also opens to some serious overtime.

However ticking over into 2013, I decide that I should salary package a brand new Mazda 6!

Oh man, you can only show me the door…right?

So I have the HECS debt and now this car payment eating away at my salary before it even reaches my pocket.

Really hard work.. and the lifestyle inflation finally comes to an end

Here it is that I feel my real saving journey begins. I am earning a very decent salary and have plenty of overtime available to me. Money piles up without flowing away to unnecessary expenses.

In late 2013 I have put together a good chunk of money and I decide that I need my money working for me. I become interested in buying shares, but still have all of the negativity that my family and other social interactions have instilled upon me since a young age.  I also have an uncle that lost big in the sharemarket and never fails to mention it. Childhood indoctrination is VERY hard to overcome, particuarly when you consider the stakes to be so high. Nonetheless all the research I had done online suggested that I needn’t be afraid. I stumble onto Commsec one fateful night after drinking a couple of beers and took the leap. I hit the buy button.

That choice would end up shaping my life in ways I am yet to even realise.

I take yet another Euro trip in 2014 and a few short trips to Asia in the ensuing years. But after buying my first shares, I was hooked. I could feel that I was buying wealth with every purchase…and that felt worthwhile to me at the time, even without a specific goal of retiring in my 30s. I feel more financially secure with every share purchase that I make.

The remainder of the time between 2014 and  early 2016 can only be described as earning a very high amount well into the 6 figure range. This was achieved not through landing a better job, but by working A LOT of weekends. You could say working too many weekends. Nonetheless, as a young person I am driven and motivated and have the energy to keep it up.  Combined with a still opulent but not insanely so lifestyle, and no desire for anymore lifestyle inflation than I already had, the savings rate skyrockets. The monkeys of a HECS debt and a car payment eventually fall away which boost my savings rate again.

I eventually resign from that very high paying job, taking a huge pay cut in the process. It was soul crushing for me and I wanted something new.

I also learnt something about myself eventually by taking that new job. It wasn’t just that job that I didn’t like and made me want to move. Don’t get me wrong, it was very stale for me at that point, but I discovered that I have a problem with the amount of time that is draining away from my life. Objectively speaking all of the jobs I have had since graduating have been GREAT jobs, and I have been fortunate to have really good managers along the way.

But I have finally got the itch for more of my time back. The impetus for me was an unpaid Saturday of work, which was when Pat the Shuffler was born.

Shuffling through life

Pat the Shuffler

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