Categories
Finances

What does retirement look like for me?

Retirement, wow. It feels so far off why should I even bother thinking about it?

To give you some context why I’m asking myself this, I work in the superannuation industry (the Aussie retirement savings scheme) and the leadership team has asked people to reflect on retirement. I’m 31 and I don’t think I’ll ever “formally” retire. Let me explain to you why I think that.

If you asked a 21 year old me

Myself at 21 was seeing the 2008 financial crises impact the world. If you had asked me then about my thoughts on superannuation, I would have told you, “what even is the point?”. I believed:

In my lifetime we are bound to have another market crash or some other global catastrophe and it would render all of our money useless.

Money is imaginary

If we humans didn’t exist, would the universe still have money? No, money is a human made idea to help us make sense of the world. Once I understood that money is a social construct it became easier for me to think about my retirement savings.

Understanding Money, part 1.

It didn’t matter if there was a chance of all of that money disappearing because there’s also a chance that I’ll actually get that old and it will all count for something.

If it’s all imaginary why not put extra into super now? I don’t need that money today and the worse thing that can happen is it doesn’t exist when I do need it.

I found the book debt, the first 5000 years on Audible a good but hard read to get through. It helped me understand money better too. Basically debt existed long before money did.

The climate crisis is my main concern

We’ve really screwed up this planet we are on. I would say climate change is my biggest concern when thinking about retirement. Here in Australia we had a terrible bushfire season last year. When I’m older I don’t want every year to be like that.

I use to think I’d buy some land in Tasmania and build a little self sustainable hobby farm to ride out most of the bad impending climate change crisis. But new studies showing Tasmania is even more prone to climate change than Australia (because temperate rainforests take hundreds of years to develop but seconds to burn down) are really concerning.

Buying land is still a worthy goal but it might not be the retirement safe haven that I want it to be.

I don’t think I’ll stop working

Even as a 75 year old I’ll probably figure out a way to do business consulting or teaching. I might even consider doing a PhD and tutoring. I’ve never sat still, why would my retirement be any different?

Warren Buffett is currently the oldest CEO at 87, what do you think retirement looks like for him? Bernie Sanders, Trump and Biden are all 70+, I don’t think they got to the magic age of 65 and decided to “retire” either.

Categories
Finances

Emergency Savings

How much money do I need to save for an emergency? That’s a good question. The barefoot investor recommends starting with a 2k emergency savings. Then building it out to 3-6 months worth of living expenses once debts have been sorted.

This is NOT financial advice, a professional can help you if you have any concerns about your finances.

Figuring out my living expenses

I’ve spent the last month tracking my lifestyle expenses and you can access the final version of my spreadsheet here. My emergency savings is for the situation “I’ve lost my job” and need to survive off my own steam.

I’d like to aim for 3 months worth of savings and building that up to 6 months before I start my own business full time.

Categorising the budget

I used a green, orange, red category system to figure out my lifestyle costs over the month.

  • Green = Essential
  • Orange = Could reduce
  • Red = Luxury

I can then count up all of the categories and say things like:

  • In the last month I spent $80 on coffee
  • I spent on average $110 per week on beer

Minimum living expenses

My minimum expenses would be the total of the green amount, minus my housemates contributions + my reduced orange expenses.

I have another minimum value that is subtracting my personal loan repayments because I’m on track to having that paid off in 2 years time.

But I might be paying off a mortgage for some land in Tasmania around that time so I don’t know if I should include it or not. Hence why there’s two levels.

My basic living expenses is a threshold between $6,300 and $11,340 for 3 months.

6 months emergency savings goal

I’d like to have 20k to 25K saved up as an emergency fund before I start my own business full time. I believe 6 months worth of living expenses will give me enough of a safety net to take that risk. I’m currently at 3k in my emergency savings:

Up Bank – savings

Saving for a home deposit

I’m also saving for a deposit on a house. I’ve just increased my salary sacrifice into my super to $460 per fortnight and I plan on using the first home savers scheme in a few years time.

Comparing pay slips, I get paid every 2 weeks

I’m now close to maximising my contributions into super and approaching that 25K concessional contributions limit over the finiancial year.

Sunsuper’s concessional contribution tracker

If you’d like to read more, I have these related finance posts:

But these savings goals are going to take me a bit of time to build up. What are you currently saving for?

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depression Finances mental health

How I recharge

Today I ran out of spoons and I didn’t realize until I started my walk to work and I started tearing up over listening to this podcast about people going for walks. Now there were some touching stories but I even got a bit teary feeling grateful over my morning coffee. 😭.

So yeah, ok then. It was going to be one of those days where I’ll be over sensitive. No watching Pixar films for me then.

I called in sick for the day, told me team I was out of spoons. I’m really grateful that I can be open about this stuff with my colleagues.

The source of my depletion

I’ve started studying a graduate diploma in financial advice part time on top of full time work. I had 2 interview assessments this week where I had to play the role of advisor for two hypothetical couples. I’ve also had two statement of advice assignments due over the last two weekends. Today was burn out day.

Retail Therapy

I started my morning with a nice coffee and breakfast in a cafe. Taking this time to appreciate food helps me recenter. Then it was a walk through Newtown and I ended up buying some awesome craft beer. We are hosting board games tomorrow and I enjoy sharing a beer with friends.

I think using retail therapy to help me feel better is one way my credit card debt got to 35K. I never use to budget for these episodes and because I have an impulsive nature that’s impossible to reign in during a low day all of those purchases use to go on the credit card.

Today, they didn’t go on a credit card. I don’t have one any more. Instead those purchases came out of splurge account, this is money I’ve already put aside to spend on what ever brings me joy. Big win for the budget there. You can read more about my budget here.

Other recharging activities

I had an afternoon nap. It was just so nice to rest for a bit. I also find the act of writing helps me to get my thoughts in order. It helps me get my thoughts out of my head. Hence this blog. I would consider going for a motorbike ride if I hadn’t already left home for the day. I’m going to watch some TV and drink beer with my partner this evening.

Having friends over for boardgames tomorrow is also going to help. I love cooking and creating tasty things, cooking for others is one way I make myself feel useful and appreciated.

How do you recharge your spoons?

Categories
Design Finances Technology

Review of Finance Apps

I’m studying to be a financial advisor and I’ve been exploring many of the mobile apps out there that can be used to help manage finances. This post is a review of the ones I’ve used so far. My preferred apps are listed first.

This is NOT financial advice or a product recommendation, a professional can help you if you have any concerns about your finances.

I own shares in CBA, Westpac, Eggy & Tyro. This represents a vested interest.

Budgeting Apps

I prefer using a simple Google sheet to manage my budget, however money brilliant looks pretty and Up bank has a cute little budget tool built into it too.

Commbank gets in honourable mention because their upcoming bills feature has helped me keep on top of expenses due to come out of my bank in the next few days.

Many of these apps have a bank feed import feature and they can miss label transactions/categories and it can be frustrating to fix.

You can read more about how I manage my budget here.

Google Sheet
Up Bank
Money Brilliant
Commbank – upcoming bills
CommBank – category budget

Life Admin Apps

These apps aren’t strictly budget related but can help you with your budget through helping with life admin. With reminders for upcoming bills and connecting with financial advisors.

I own shares in Eggy via Birchal.

Eggy
MyProsperity

Banking Apps

I love Up Banks branding and personality. They also have an ok interest based savings account and an auto round up saving feature on transactions. Westpac has a 3% interest for anyone under 30.

Otherwise most of my banking is done through CommBank. I have used a variety of other banking apps but they are all kinda similar. 86 400 has a bank feed integration feature and a decent predictive bills feature which is cool.

The bank card I received from Xinja was the funnest card that I received:

Xinja
Up Bank
86 400

Business Banking

If you need to do EFTPOS/credit card processing as part of your business Tyro is cool. I worked on their mobile app a few years ago. Otherwise I use commbank as my main business account because the fees are cheaper than westpac.

Tyro

Investment Apps

Learning to invest

CommSec pocket is great if you are learning to invest and has a minimum investment of $50, but the fees can be expensive. Raiz has an auto roundup on bank transactions for the purposes of investing which is nifty.

Setting up automatic investments into an index fund is a great way to get started. You can read more about how I built up my own portfolio by investing a small amount each pay.

CommsecPocket
Raiz

Education

I’ve installed both Finimix and Forex Portal for learning purposes. I’m not sure if they are useful yet. More time will tell.

Building a portfolio

Most of my portfolio is held in CommSec (minimum initial investment $500). BrickX isn’t a mobile app but their website is mobile friendly and I’ve been using the platform to learn about property investment. BrickX may not be great if you need to liquidate those investment quickly though.

CommSec
BrickX

International Investing

I don’t have a large portfolio with Stake but it’s a clean looking app for US stock market trading. Just watch out for the foreign currency conversion fees, fast processing times will cost you.

Otherwise most of my international investing is via index funds traded via Commsec.

Stake

Managed portfolios

This is starting to get towards the bigger end of town in terms of minimum investments. If you have a larger portfolio these options might be worth considering. These products aren’t all mobile apps but they have very attractive web portfolios for checking this stuff while on the go.

Spaceship

I don’t have much invested in spaceship but their managed portfolio has exploded recently mostly due to US tech companies doing exceptionally well during the pandemic.

Maybe these tech stocks are now overpriced? Who knows, the markets aren’t very predictable. You can read more on my adventure with investing during a crisis.

Superannuation Apps

Super Apps

I’m biased, the mobile app that I’ve been working on for the last 1.5 years is the best one here. However Sunsuper is my main super and I like Aware super. Grow is also pretty but it was confusing to use at first.

You can read more about superannuation mobile apps here.

Colonial First State
SunSuper
Aware Super
Grow Super

What apps do you use for your finances? What features do you like the most? What’s been frustrating?

If you are interested in learning more about finances, I highly recommend checking out the My Millenial Money podcast.

Categories
Finances

Windfalls of cash

I’ve gotten 3 windfalls of cash recently;

this post is a reflection on what I’ve done with that money. All numbers are in AUD.

This is not financial advice, a professional can help you figure out the best approach for you.

Show me the money

I first withdrew 10k from my super, then my bonus was 5k after tax and then my tax return was 1.5k. For a total of 16.5K in extra cash in the last 2 months.

Paid off debt

The first thing I did was pay off a 2k credit card, cleaned up my outstanding zip-pay and contributed and extra 1k towards my personal loan.

Emergency Savings

The next thing I did was put 2k into an emergency savings account. Then topped it up with 1K one month later when I got my bonus. Then I put 1k into a spare cash fund in my main bank when I got my tax return.

Holiday savings

I put 1k towards the purpose of saving for a holiday and 1.5k towards my side business app idea.

Investing in the stock market

This is not a product recommendation, this a list of funds that I invested in for my own personal investments

I bought mostly index funds (an investment with a selection of companies):

  • 10 units of the ACDC (battery storage companies)
  • 100 units of the HACK (cyber security companies)
  • 70 units of IIND (top companies in India)
  • 10 units of ROBO (global robotics companies)
  • 18 units of NDQ (tech companies)
  • 8 units of IEM (mostly Asia and other emerging markets)
  • 43 units of ETHI (an ethical/sustainable investments fund)
  • 2000 units of DOU (a new neo bank for the US market)

Which is nearly 4.2k invested, that DOU investment is an experiment, most of my portfolio is index funds and not direct shares.

I use Commsec and Commsec Pocket to buy shares. This is not a product recommendation, all major banks in Australia have some sort of trading platform and there are alternatives like Stockspot, Raiz and Spaceship. Your superannuation is also an investment account.

Investing in property

I put 1k into brickX, I’m doing this to learn about property investment over time with small investments.

This is not a product recommendation

Treat for myself

I took my partner out for dinner for their birthday, we went to Tetsuya’s; a Japanese fine dining restaurant in Sydney. I prepaid for the food and paid for a whiskey at the Baxter Inn before hand. This was a $500 treat and I also spent $200 on buying some new clothes.

Feeling financially stable

This is the first time ever in my adult life that I’ve felt financially stable. It is an awesome feeling. I can’t state how grateful I am for escaping the poverty trap and not getting stuck in the over spending loop. In our society it is too easy to overspend.

I’ve previously written about how I manage my budget, my struggle with consumer debt and how my super is going too.

Any future windfalls will probably go towards my personal loan and then towards my emergency savings.

Categories
Finances

Lifestyle Plan

How much does it cost to be you?

This blog post is a walkthrough of how I manage my finances so I can answer the question, how much does it cost to be me? I’ll be doing a budget spreadsheet for the month of October to come up with a number for my minimum living standards and my current living standards.

This is not financial advice, if you are concerned or have questions, a professional can help you sort this out.

This is not a product recommendation, this a list of tools I use for my own personal finances

I own shares in CBA/Westpac/Tyro and have worked on some of these apps so please consider this a vested interest.

Budget is an ugly term

I don’t like the word budget. gah, so ugly. So having a lifestyle or spending plan just sounds nicer. Glen James, who is a host on the my mellenial money podcast has his own spending plan program too.

I’m calling mine a “lifestyle budget”. I think it’s important to come up with a process that works for you. It doesn’t matter how many spreadsheets I’ve had professionals share with me, I’ve gotten more value out of tweaking my own method.

Create your own spreadsheet

Here’s my spreadsheet:

There’s a plan

In the first tab I’ve listed out all of my expenses under a few categories, there’s the expenses I share with my house mate at the top. The total rent for the place I live in is $460 per week. I split the rent $250 for the big room and $210 for the small room. My house mate has the big room. We both contribute $50 a week towards house hold expenses.

I get paid fortnightly (every two weeks) and I’m in the process of increasing my salary sacrifice into super to save towards buying my first house using the first home savers scheme. You will see my October income is actually $2740, it’ll be $2600 from next pay.

Then there’s reality

With the second tab I’m tracking my actual expenses to see if it matches with my plan. I don’t do this every month, I’m only doing this for October. I started on the 7th of October when I got paid and I’m tracking everything that comes in and out of my accounts:

Traffic light categories

I’m using a traffic light system to categorise each expense as

  • essential
  • Could reduce if my budget became really tight
  • luxury expenses

If I lost my job, those luxury expenses would be the first thing to go.

When it comes to my minimum savings needed to survive 3-6 months I’ll be using my essentials + my reduced orange expenses to come up with a number.

I fill in the spendings on mobile

I access this spreadsheet on my mobile device and fill it in as I go about my day, this is what it looks like on mobile:

I like adding things in as soon as I see notifications for them:

But I’ll also cross reference check with some of the budgeting apps like MoneyBrilliant to check they are keeping an accurate record:

MoneyBrilliant

I use seperate bank accounts as “buckets”

I have my groceries come out of my every day account and my luxury/Splurge expenses come out of my Up bank account which is connected to my phone via google pay.

I also have a bucket for spare cash, emergency savings, business expenses and my motorbike expenses (I want to save up for a new helmet), this is very similar to the barefoot investors “buckets” process:

My main bank account buckets

My splurge account bucket via Up Bank

My savings with Up Bank

Upcoming bills

I also regulary check for upcoming bills through different apps (commbank, 86400 and WeMoney) to make sure I’ve got enough cash in my everday account to cover these costs:

Commbank

86400

WeMoney

WeMoney

Automatic Transfers

I try to set up automatic transfers as much as possible so I don’t have to think about my budgeting as much. I don’t have to worry about, “do I have enough money to pay for those bills due soon?”

Prepay bills

For my electricity, I like to be 3-6 months ahead. I’ve been stung by a few surprise bills before and hate being in that situation.

I also like to purchase carbon offsets for my electricity too. My electricity is through powershop and they have monthly future power packages that I always buy and a mega pack (2-3 months of electricity) that I’ll purchase every now and again.

Further reading

If you’d like to read more about my investment portfolio, my struggle with consumer debt or how my super is going I have a few more blogs you can check out.

At the end of the Month I’ll update this blog to see if my spendings actually matched my my plan. Stay tuned.

Categories
Finances

Early Access to super

This is not financial advice. This is a story of how I applied for 10k release from my retirement savings and what I spent that money on.

Earlier this year, the Australian tax office allowed Australians the ability to withdraw up to 10k from their superannuation if they had been impacted by the pandemic financially. (super = superannuation = retirement savings)

I went through this process myself. All of the income from my side business had all completely dried up. I was previously helping YOW! conference promote their conferences at tech meetup groups around Sydney, when all meetup events were cancelled all of that income dried up. So I met a condition of release.

The process

I put in an application to the ATO on Friday the 28th of August, by Monday the 31st I got a text message saying the ATO had approved the application. By Wednesday the 2nd of September I had an 10k in my bank account. Oh I’ve never felt so rich before. I was surprised at how quick the process was.

Where did that money go?

I used 2k to pay off a credit card, put 2k into my emergency savings (it was at zero before this point), and 1k put aside for my business to get that restarted. The remainder 5k was re invested. I put 1k into property via brickX and the rest in shares through commsec/commsec pocket.

I know this re-investment isn’t the best option, I’m moved that money out of a low tax environment into a high tax environment. I used half of that money to help me get my financial ducks in a row and it is such an awesome feeling to experience.

The only debt I have left to pay is my personal loan which is at 18K and my HECS debt.

What would you do if 10k came into your account?

Categories
Finances

How I built a 13k portfolio over 12 months

Disclaimer; this is not financial advice. This is a story about how I put aside a small amount of money each pay and how I invested it into a portfolio. I also work/have worked for a few of the companies mentioned in this blog.

The TLDR; I put aside a percentage of my pay into investments/savings and topped it up when I got a bit of windfall.

How this investing started

This all started when I got my 2018-2019 tax return. I wanted to learn how the stock market worked so I started with $1100 in shares. I started the year 2020 with no savings (I had just paid $1400 for a motorbike service) and only a small stock profile:

Taken on the 10th of January 2020, that’s my sad emergency fund account 🙁

My initial portfolio was Westpac shares, prospa shares and 2 ETF’s (index funds):

Taken on the 10th of January 2020

 

Taken on the 10th of January 2020

Setting up regular payments

I get paid fortnightly (every two weeks) and  back in January I tired to set up the following regular transfers:

  • $100 per fortnight into super (a retirement savings account)
  • $70 per fortnight into cash
  • $60 per fortnight into shares
  • $50 per fortnight into property

Which would be $7280 invested/saved over a 12 month period (which is over 10% of my take home pay). But the pandemic kicked in, my income from my side business dried up and I had to have my gall bladder removed (which was a 2k out of pocket emergency expense). I ended up doing:

  • Salary sacrificing into super to take my contributions up to 15%
  • $100 per month into property

The technology I use

For investing in shares, I’m using Commbank’s pocket app to invest in different ETF’s and using their commsec app to buy shares when I have a bit more money. The minimum investment in the pocket app is $50 and the minimum investment in commsec is $500.

For Property, I’m using brickX, which is a company that buys properties and then divides each property into 10,000 “bricks”, they then on sell each brick to budding property investors. Their minimum investment is $50 a month for their self managed “smart plan”.

When I get a bit of a windfall (e.g my tax return or bonus) I’ll squirrel away a bit of extra into my portfolio to help balance it out.

Here’s what that portfolio now looks like after 12 months:

  • There’s 3k in emergency savings
  • 2k in property
  • 8k in stocks

Shares (some are still poorly performing):

Taken on the 8th of October
Taken on the 8th of October 2020
Taken on the 8th of October 2020

Property via BrickX:

Taken on the 8th of October 2020

Emergency savings via Up Bank:

Taken on the 8th of October 2020

Side note: During the peak of the Pandemic 😱

I was down nearly 30% at one point during the pandemic and it got worse, you can check out my investing during a crisis blog if you’d like to read more.

Also there are tons of investment platforms out, here is an interesting video comparing the fees on the different platforms:

Categories
Finances mental health Weight Loss

My Credit Card Addiction

Let me tell you the story of how my credit card addiction blew out to be 35K AUD in debt (that’s 1.8 million rupees, 19K pounds and 25K USD for any of my international visitors). And how I’m still struggling with paying it off today.

But would I have done anything different? Probably not.

Learning how to manage money is one of the hardest things to do in life. And I think you learn the most by taking the hard route. Experience it all first hand.

2008 – The Student Credit Card

My first credit card was a $500 one. I got it before I went on exchange in Sweden. It did help when I was at uni, traveling around or had an unexpected expense come up.

2012 – The First Job Credit Card

When I moved to Sydney in 2012/2013 that creditcard was joined with a second one. This new card had a $2000 limit. I used it to buy a new laptop, and a bluetooth speak. I still use that speaker. The laptop really should be recycled through e-waste.

I also got my teeth done the first few years I lived in Sydney.

Getting my teeth fixed cost me $8000 and it was all cycled on the credit card over 2 years. So I never really paid it off. I just constantly cycled money on it.

That 2k credit card soon slowly increased to 7k.

2014 – The half arsed credit card application

Then I thought about consolidating that 7k creditcard. I half applied for a card but didn’t finish the application process. But Citibank were so desperate to issue me credit, they called my employer to check my income.

Nek minnit, I had a freshly minted 15K credit card in my letter box. I should have just canceled the card.

Narrator: She didn’t cancel that credit card

2015 was a bad year for my debt

In 2015 I had around 14k in debt across 3 cards. I had moved in with a partner at the time, used a card to help with the purchasing of household stuff. Had a sciatic nerve problem flair up, decided a decent mattress was in order. It went straight on the credit card. Got a loan for a motorbike, all of the extra gear I bought for it went on the credit card.

I was just about to consolidate it all into one card and cancel all the others, when my dad asked to borrow 2k. I used the credit card to do it. He paid it back but it meant I didn’t cancel that 7k credit card. I kept it open.

There was a holiday (a motorbike road trip to cairns and back) all added to the credit card too.

2016 came weight loss surgery

I applied to pay for the $7000 excess for weight loss surgery out of my super, the application was declined because my doctor didn’t emphasis the life and death nature enough on the referral letter. I ended up using that remaining credit card to pay for it all.

This I wouldn’t change at all. It helped me lose 40kg. The gains in quality of life and earning potential have probably already paid for itself. You can read more here.

2017 – Personal loan 35K

In 2017, I decided I had enough of all of those credit cards. I had 35K in debt across 3-4 cards. I took out a personal loan, cancelled most of the cards. I kept the 2k one. I still couldn’t completely shake off that credit card addiction.

2018 – Had lots of shit happen

I broke my ankle at the end of 2017, which meant I didn’t work as much in 2018 due to recovery, there was 2 job changes and moving houses a few times. It was not a very stable time of my life.

2019 – finally some stability

2019 sees me land a job with Colonial First State, however there was some drama with how I ended up with that role too. Basically I thought I was going to move to Newcastle. but nope, that was cancelled at the last minute.

But my housemate had already found a new roomy to take my room. So I had to move again. That 2k credit card had slowly increased back up to 7k and I used part of it to help me move again. I’m really proud of my new furnishings though, I even got a photoshoot for it. It’s all second hand furniture and now I pay sweet fuck all rent in Sydney:

After a few months working at CFS I transferred my personal loan from westpac to commbank and reconsolidated that 7k credit card into it.

I also had my gall bladder removed at the start of 2020. Only about 2k out of pocket, but it still went on the credit card.

Today – it’s 20k plus 2k in credit cards

Today my total personal loan debt is at 20k and I have a 2k credit card. I finished paying off my motorbike loan last month. Woohoo. It’s the first big debt I’ve acquired since moving to Sydney that I’ve now paid off.

I’ll have that 2k card paid off by October and I’m track to have that personal loan paid off by the end of next year.

I feel on track to domino all of my debts but oh boy, has it been a rollercoaster ride to get there. I don’t think there is much I would change because it’s all a part of how we learn about life and how to manage our money.

If I hadn’t gone on this rollercoaster, when I do become debt free I wouldn’t appreciate it as much if I hadn’t taken the hard way to get there.

This is not personal financial advice, but seriously; paying off credit card debts feels fucking fantastic

Categories
Craft Beer Critical Thinking Finances Job hunting Marketing mental health mindfulness Software Testing Technology

Buddha in Testing: Chapter 5

At the end of Buddha in Testing, Pradeep asks the reader to co-author the next chapter with him. So this blog post is my attempt at writing part of Chapter 5 of this book:

What is the chaos that surrounds you in testing?

Write now, during the pandemic a lot of people have been made redundant and are struggling to find work. I’m lucky enough that my day job isn’t all that chaotic, which is a good thing. The mobile app I’m working on is doing pretty well. I wouldn’t want to be dealing with a stressful work load on top of everything else.

What is my contribution?

I put together a software testers career cheatsheet to help anyone whose struggling to find work right now. After having career coaching sessions with a bunch of people, a few themes came to light. I got the inspiration to do a video series on those points. I found out it makes for great marketing content.

What situations have put you out of calmness?

Last weekend I recorded 7 career tip videos in one weekend. I was burnt out by Monday and a blubbery, teary mess. I couldn’t focus on work and took the day off to mentally recharge. I told twitter I was out of spoons.

How did you bring peace?

Walking around the city, listening to podcasts and shopping in second hand clothes stores was how I recharged. I even had a beer in a sports bar at lunch and watched some cricket (England vs West Indies) :

What answers are you searching for?

Satisfaction in life. I’m over software testing. I’m starting a graduate diploma in financial advice next week because I have an idea to disrupt the retirement funds industry here in Australia. Making retirement funds easier is something I can get behind.

How will you recognise the peace?

I enjoy adding value to other people. It’s a huge driver to most of what I do. I miss the constant interaction with people from my shop assistant days. If money/labour wasn’t a drawback I’d prefer to work in a supermarket over most of the testing roles I’ve had. With my history of depression, I don’t think I’d ever achieve peace but I can be more content with life.

I’m now outta steam

I could continue answering the questions but I think I’m going to leave it there. How would you answer some of these questions?