Smart Money Weekly; Saving and investing for kids, avoiding lifestyle creep and the housing market stabilises

Ben Nash

Hey team,

Happy Monday.

The Australian housing market has started to stabilise. Sydney home prices have increased in value for the first time since January 2022 with a 0.3% rise and the CoreLogic home price index across Australia fell by only 0.1% in February which is the smallest decrease since May 2022. However, some forecasters are still predicting more property pain to come for the rest of the year. Westpac are forecasting another 8% decline in the market by year’s end. The question remains though, what if they get it wrong – like we have seen so many times in the past?

Smart Money upside #107
Here we unpack the numbers from a recent client we helped, what they were doing with their money when they came to see us, what they chose to do as a result of going through the financial planning process, and the financial impact and upside we helped them achieve. To chat about how to get these sorts of results, you can book an intro chat with us here.

Couple, late 50’s; household income ~ $650k; total assets ~ $3.5m; saving ~ $30k annually.

No idea what to do with our existing cash and am also frustrated with their current tax position.

What they wanted from us / the advice process
A clear financial plan and a better understanding of how to reach retirement.

What success looks like for them
A solid retirement plan, clear use of money and a better understanding of how to manage their tax position.

What money strategy they were following before we went through the planning process
Saving money in cash, retaining their vested RSUs.

What money strategy they chose to pursue from our planning work
A new banking structure, a detailed superannuation review, starting to invest into investment bonds for long-term growth, a top-to-bottom insurance review and implementing new tax structures to manage their situation more effectively.

Key benefits of going through the process
Education and understanding of what needs to happen prior to retirement as well as better tax management.

Value of advice after all advice fees year one: $90k
Year 20 upside after advice fees: $4.5m

If this story resonates you can book an intro call with us here.

Video of the week
Having kids is NOT a good financial decision, but as a dad of two gorgeous girls I know that for me and a lot of others, it’s the right decision. Here I unpack how to plan with your savings and investments around having kids to go through this magical time with limited financial blowback (disclaimer: periods of magic may be interrupted by long periods of chaos). Check out the full video here.

Client story of the week
Lifestyle creep is real and it’s easy to fall into the trap of overspending, but when you do your money progress goes out the window. This story from a recent client and how they turned around their overspending to get back on the front financial foot and kick start their saving and investing. Check out the full video here.  

Podcast drop
Learn the tips, hacks, and strategies to help you level up your money game. Pods released last week:

Upcoming events:
Free online money education to help you invest smarter and create a life not limited by money:

Blog of the week: How to save more without sacrificing
With the rising cost of living, inflation pressure, and rising interest rates, many Aussies are struggling to keep up.

But if you want to get ahead with your money, you need to do more than just make ends meet – you need to find a way to save and keep your financial momentum building.

It’s not easy, but finding a way to make this happen is worth it.

In Australia at the time of writing the average pre-tax income is $92,029 or $1,342 per week after tax, and the average savings rate is 6.9%, reflecting average weekly savings of $93.

If you could manage to double your savings rate and save an extra $93 per week and then invest that money into the share market, that money would grow over the next 10 years to be worth $81,614. Keep this going, and over 20, 30, and 40 years this extra savings would grow to be worth $298,206, $873,013, or $2,398,479.

If you want to achieve savings success, there’s one key area you need to get right. Nailing it in this area will go a long way to driving your savings success, and delivering the financial results you want while you live a lifestyle you love.

There are also some common myths and mistakes that can hold you back.

What a budget isn’t
There is a lot of fear and myths around budgeting that often create barriers that can stop you from getting started. And even once you’ve started they can stop you from following through.

Having a good budget does not mean you have to count every single dollar you earn. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good lifestyle. And it doesn’t mean you need to spend less on anything that’s actually important to you.

Good budgeting is simply about good prioritisation. Everyone has priorities, that include your day-to-day spending (and lifestyle), travel, where you live, how much you save and invest, which conveniences you want to have in your life, and the list goes on.

Everyone’s priorities are different. For some people travel is something that’s very important, and for others, it’s less important. For some, it’s living in a nice house or in an expensive area or suburb. For others, it’s eating out.

Budgeting success just means that you’ve prioritised the things that are the highest priority for you AND at the same time you’re saving at a rate you’re happy with.

Getting there often requires you to de-prioritise the things that are less important.

You are in control
You are in complete control of every aspect of your spending and saving plan (budget).

Your budget is simply a picture of what you’re doing today. If you don’t like the picture, you have the power to change it. Every single element of your spending plan is within your control. No matter where you’re at today, you shouldn’t think of your budget and spending plan as an endpoint, but instead as a starting point.

If you’re like most people, when you include all your ideal spending over the next 12 months, you’re probably not saving as much as you want to be. You might even be in the red – I know that was the case for me the first time I went through this process.

This step is all about prioritising to get you to a point where you’re happy with how much you’re spending and how much money you have available to save and invest.

Some changes are easy to make, and others will require more work, planning, and time to make happen – but they all can be changed if that change is important to you and your money’s success.

Calling out there may be elements that are ‘fixed’ in the short term. Things like rent and bills, your income, or debt you’re now determined to ditch for good. These commitments need to be met, and it may mean some short-term discomfort (or even pain). But over time you can shift and change all of these things to create a spending and savings plan that delivers the lifestyle you want and the savings results you want.

Short-term/immediate prioritisation
It’s easy for expenses to creep into our lives that don’t bring much real happiness, satisfaction, or value. This happens because we often make our spending choices in the moment, and at the moment our inner spender wants that pleasure hit that comes from spending.

You’re always prioritising, and prioritising in the moment almost always leads you to choose priorities that aren’t 100% consistent with what’s important to you.

The alternative: Conscious prioritisation
You know you only have so much money to work with (at least for now). You know you want and need to save enough money to make the progress you want. And you know that spending outside your means will just result in you having to make sacrifices in other areas.

Longer term prioritisation
Warning: there’s some serious potential and value in looking at how you can change your expenses and increase your income over time, but you should avoid relying on non-immediate changes to your income (or spending) to drive your savings success.

You should avoid ending up in a situation where you’re not saving much or at all, but you have grand plans to change careers or move interstate to increase your savings capacity. It’s easy for life to get in the way of these changes, and if you’re deferring saving success until bigger changes are made you risk them taking longer than expected, and all the while you’re financially ‘treading water’.

Instead, create a savings plan where you’re happy with how much you’re saving tomorrow. Then if you change things over time that further increase your savings capacity, this will be the cream on top.

How to prioritise
So now it’s time to assess.

First, you’ll want to run through your expenses and look at each of them in turn, thinking through how important they are to you. While you’re doing this, keep in mind that every dollar of expenses you eliminate is another dollar you’ll have to save.

Everyone’s priorities are different, so there’s no one ‘right way’ or ‘right amount’ for you to save. The key is making sure you’re getting real happiness and value out of your spending.

As you’re prioritising, your savings number will be constantly changing. Each time you make changes to your spending allocations, circle back to your savings number and see how it’s tracking.

Getting to a position where you’re happy with your spending and how much you’re saving often takes a few rounds of prioritisation, so don’t sweat it if you’re not immediately exactly where you want to be.

This just means you need to rinse and repeat. Doing this well can take a little time but given your spending plan is going to dictate your everyday lifestyle, and your savings plan will dictate your rate or money progress, the juice is worth the squeeze here.

The wrap
How much you spend and save is one of the biggest drivers of how quickly you get ahead with your money. It’s also the main driver of how you feel about your money, your levels of financial confidence and your peace of mind.

It’s not easy, but taking a good approach to prioritise is half the battle – success here will go a long way to getting you the results you want from your money.

To your success,


PS: Pivot Wealth exists to help people invest smarter to create a life not limited by money. If you want help to make your next steps easier, you can book a 10 minute, no BS chat with us here.


Ben Nash
Founder and Adviser
Pivot Wealth

The information in this note is not personal advice, a guaranteed pathway to that elusive beach bod, or the lost script of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Conversation at Midnight. This is just a bulk communication pushed out into the internet, and it doesn’t even have your name on it. Your personal situation, needs & objectives, and financial situation have not been considered in putting this together – nor have we considered your dietary preferences, the way you like your hair cut, or your favourite travel destination – but we have spent a lot of time thinking about the future of urban society, whether there is other intelligent life in the solar system, and the pervasion of soy and linseed bread in Australian metropolitan hubs. You should consider the appropriateness of any general advice in relation to your own objectives, financial situation and needs and seek advice before taking any action. You should also consider using a variety of eau de toilette fragrances to keep your partner interested and colleagues on side, not using plastic straws, and minimising your screen time. Where information relates to a financial product, you should read and understand the relevant product disclosure statement. Where information relates to your own potential for awesomeness, you should consider backing yourself totally and completely. Past performance is definitely not an indicator of future performance when it comes to investments and financial products, as well as the likelihood of your children sitting still and quiet for an hour being satisfied playing with a used piece of wrapping paper. Financial services guide.