I am buying a house. Not today. Not next week. Likely not next month. But who knows, maybe by the end of the year.
On paper, this seems ludicrous and impossible. My average earnings over the last five years have been around $20,000 annually. I have less than $2000 saved towards a deposit. I’m a 45 year old single parent and I’m self-employed.
But I am buying a house.
The impetus began last year, when I received my annual accounts in August. My income had more than doubled, to $30,000.
Which meant that my tax bill had tripled – usually a manageable $1500, it was now $4980. And the student loan I’d taken out to pursue a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing was now coming due as my income had tipped over $17,000. Not only did I owe $5000 in tax by April 7, 2021. I also owed another $5000 on my student loan.
Shit. $10,000! In six months! How was I going to do that?
My focus went back to my business accounts, and my salary. I’d more than doubled my income, in one year.
Something pinged in my head. If I’d done that without really intending to, or paying attention. I could do it again.
I could double my income again. And if I did it two years in a row… I would have a self-employed income that would be sufficient to secure a mortgage.
Oh yes… a mortgage the ‘death pledge’, as the word means. See, my son and I had recently moved to Thames, and my son had been busy counting up how many houses he’d lived in during his ten years on this planet.
Something like 23. 23 different houses. And this latest shift, which wrenched him away from a school he loved, and a best friend up the street, had come about because of Lockdown. He was so upset and angry about it, for months. And fair enough.
“You just keep dragging me around everywhere Mum.”
Yep, he had a point.
It was time to put down roots. It was time for some security, of sorts. It was time to buy a house.
Somewhere we could paint the walls and hang pictures and rent out rooms without having to get anybody else’s permission.
That combination of factors – my income doubling unexpectedly, and the unexpected move to Thames fired up a clear desire to Do This Thing – Buy a House.
And so, I swung into action, pulled out my calculator and spreadsheet and began by defining some targets. If I was going to double my income, that meant paying myself $1154 per week. And we were already halfway through the year, so in essence, I’d have to earn enough in my business to pay myself more than that for the remainder of the year.
Like many businesses, I’d lost thousands of dollars when Lockdown was announced – there were cancelled Trainings, presentations and events, including a five day event in Fiji.
Fortunately the wage subsidy meant I could continue paying myself $585 a week while getting some online programmes up and running. By mid-May, that had been successful and I’d already increased my weekly salary to $800. Rent was $440, but my son and are I used to living simply and that was enough.
Come August and the arrival of those annual accounts, I knew I had to focus on increasing my salary.
I began to put it up $50 or $100 a week, every month, making sure I had enough cash flow to cover it. By October, I hit my initial target of $1000 a week. I’d never paid myself that much! I’d earned that much before – as a waitress in the early 2000s in Whistler, and as a speechwriter for MSD. But paying myself that much! Wow!
Of course, it’s not enough to just pay myself more money out of my business – it means the business has to earn more money to cover that. And I did. I took the leap and put up my 1:1 hourly rate because sessions were already sold out two weeks ahead of time. Bookings kept coming in. I poured energy into my Learning Platform and watched it expand. Things were happening.
The energy was following the clarity of my desire.
And at the same time, I start running numbers on my student loan and tax bill, determining how much I had to pay per week in order to pay what was due by April 7th.
I also reached out to the landlord and asked permission to get in a flatmate, as we had a spare room. He said yes, and the money from the flatmate went toward the tax and loan payments.
Those payments were also covered by the pay rises I gave myself, and I made those weekly loan and tax payments automatic.
Around the same time, Bonus Bonds announced it was closing down. I had about $4000 in Bonds, and it made no sense to stick them in a bank account, so I whacked the whole lot on my tax.
As well as auto payments on my student loan and tax, I started another savings account with the Cooperate Bank – one I couldn’t see, and starting paying $25 a week into that. That was on top of my usual ‘slush fund’, which I keep at $1000 for unexpected dentist bills, or car repairs.
Plus, I finally started Kiwisaver. I’d never done it, because I don’t like the idea of the government controlling how I can use my money or when I can access it.
That’s why I’d used Bonus Bonds. It kept my assets liquid plus there was always the chance I’d win a million dollars. But with the demise of Bonus Bonds, I needed a new way to save.
I ran the numbers on Kiwisaver and determined that if I paid the bare minimum to maximise the government contributions for the remainder of my “working life” – another 20 years… I would put in $20,000 and receive a payout of $100,000. That’s assuming a steady annual return of 10% which is possibly slightly high – although the long-term returns on the share market do track at about 10%.
You can’t draw down on Kiwisaver to buy a first home before three years, and I wanted my son and I to be in a home before he started high school – about two years away. But I figured it was still worth a $1500 punt every year to possibly receive $100,000 at 65. It was an awesome rate of return and I’d be stupid to let my reluctance to sign away my money to the government prevent me from taking advantage of that ROI.
It’s now six months since I made that decision, in the face of owing $10,000 by March 31st and I’m on track to double my income again.
And not only that, but I paid off my tax bill and student loan payments for the year by December 20th. When that happened, I diverted what I had been paying on to the rest of my student loan, determined to pay it off in full by June 2021. In late January, I revised that target to March 2021. And I’m on target to do that.
By March 31st, I’ll be debt free, and have gone from earning $13,000 a year to $60,000 a year as a self-employed single parent within two years, during Covid-19.
That’s why, even though on paper the idea of me buying a house by the end of 2022 (or even 2021…) is ridiculous… I know that it’s possible.
Buying a house is possible because of the clarity of my desire, the strength of my will, the depth of my financial literacy skills, and the extent of my inner and outer resources.
And this despite the fact that because my income has increased so rapidly, my tax bill for the year ending 2022 is likely to be around $24,000. Why so high? Because I go from only owing for last year’s return, to also having to pay provisional tax for next years’ return, all in the same tax year.
Which has me asking the question – how am I going to save a deposit?
Factor in the 15 – 20% leap in house prices that has happened in the last year… and my mission has become even more difficult.
Let’s assume I can find a house that meets our needs (including business expansion needs, see below) for $600,000. If houses continue to increase at 15% a year, that’s $90,000 a year in price increase. If a deposit owed is 20%, that’s $18,000 increase a year in deposit needed. Which means each year I have to save an additional $18,000 on top of the deposit amount I’m already saving, just to keep pace with the market.
Is your head spinning yet?
Seems impossible right?
But no. It’s not impossible. It’s a challenge. And it’s a challenge I’ve decided to orientate toward it because I would love to give my son the experience of owning a house.
And, I would love to own a house that I could invite people to share with me – whether on a private retreat (as clients are now asking for these), small person retreats (there now demand for Level 2 Trainings), flatmates, or travellers. Financially, in terms of wealth creation, this makes a whole lot of sense, and will dramatically shift my experience as a self-employed single parent because the house itself can make money…
That’s my dream – cultivating a space where people can experience what it’s like to live from awakening and liberation.
And every single day when I wake up, I can orientate my energy in that direction and I can take action towards that dream, knowing that the impossible is possible.
Today, this began with a conversation with IRD. Later, I’m calling a mortgage broker to set up an appointment so I can get clear on the targets I need to reach as someone who is self-employed.
Plus, I wrote this article on my house-buying mission, for a couple of reasons.
- I’m a communicator, and I write myself into existence. Blogging about my journey toward house-ownership supports it becoming material reality. That’s what I did when I blogged about recovery from psychosis, when I blogged about my yoga journey, when I blogged about liberation and awakening, and when I blogged about relationship. All those things happened. This is the next thing.
- Sharing dreams with a community generates energy and invites support. It’s an important step in the process from Vision to Reality (as those who have done my Ignite Your Business programme know).
- After I launch my Kundalini Awakening Integration Programme (coming this month), the next online programme I’m creating is Money Mastery. I need to build my Money Mastery list to launch that programme, which will sell for around $37US. Writing articles that demonstrates money mastery support that programme.
- I love writing as a way to connect with people, but in the last year or so, have struggled to do this. My dedication to awakening and liberation hasn’t felt like something that many people can relate to. However, buying a house, paying down debt, saving for a goal, clarity on dreams… people can relate to that!
- I want to inspire other people out there thinking that they can’t buy a house, that it’s not possible, that they’re stuck. And that’s why I’m being transparent about my income, savings and investments. People get funny about money – we don’t like to talk about what we earn… and yet transparency can support other people so they can see it’s possible for them too. This was the approach I took on my journey of healing from mental health challenges, and it’s powerful.
- Charting a journey in a public way creates accountability. On the days when I might feel defeated… or shy away fro doing what’s needed… knowing ghat other people are reading about my journey, and being inspired by my journey will motivate me to keep going. From a Tantrik perspective, this is harnessing the power of taking action for the benefit of all beings
The beautiful thing about this house-buying journey, which I’m inviting you to join me on (subscribe here) is that I have no idea what’s going to happen.
Anything is possible.
Anything could happen.
What I do know is that in the six months or so since I first committed to buying a house.. the impossible has already happened.
I’ve paid off $15,000 in tax and student loan. I’ve doubled my income for the second year in a row. Even without buying a house, yet, those are things to be celebrated.
Aim for the stars.
Land on the moon.
Or maybe discover a whole new galaxy.
The House Buying Journey • Next Steps
Savings & Expenses
- Finish paying off the last $2000 on the student loan.
- Divert that money into saving for a deposit.
- Get my accounts done for 2020/21.
- Start paying off the tax for that year.
Income & Information Generation
- Call a mortgage broker
- Launch Kundalini Awakening Integration Programme
- Create Money Mastery
- Pitch publishers for the second edition of Forty Days of Yoga
Yep – know your targets. Work towards them everyday. If you’re inspired by my journey… start getting clear on your desire, whatever it might be, and the actions you can take today on that desire. There’s always something!