Eqeus clients Matt and Kass share their inspirational story about how they turned their finances around to fulfil their dream of travelling for 12 months. You can read the full story in this article published by dailymail.co.uk.
‘A family has thrown in their jobs, sold their home and turned their back on city life to travel around Australia in a caravan for nine months.
Matt and Kass Pine were the typical Sydneysiders who lived busy lives in the inner west Sydney suburb of Lilyfield. They spent up big and saved very little while struggling to pay off an exorbitant mortgage and juggling their two children Luca, 5 and Sullivan, 3. So when the crazy idea entered their heads to chuck it all in and hit the wide open road they never thought it would be possible but now they are living their dream.
It was a big decision to put their much-loved careers on hold but the couple have never looked back. Matt worked as a sport scientist for AFL team the Sydney Swans for almost eight years. He now home schools Luca, who is of kindergarten age, while they travel. Kass is a graphic designer and has co-owned design studio Boheem Design in Surry Hills for the past 11 years. She is now working remotely but on a much smaller scale. ‘After chatting with my business partner, we agreed I could access equity I had in our graphic design business to purchase our caravan and Jeep, and then it was a case of reducing our debt so we had as little expenses as possible while we were on the road,’ Ms Pine said. ‘This prompted us to make the decision to sell our house in Lilyfield. Fortunately we sold at a good time and we were then able to use the profit to make a couple of new investments.’
Those investments included repaying what they owed on an apartment in the inner city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills and the rent has become their income while they are on the road. They also invested in a new ‘off the plan’ property in Brisbane which required a 10 per cent deposit upfront and the remainder paid when the home is completed in 2016. Mr Pine acknowledges the couple were fortunate enough to own property in the Sydney marketplace, which gave them equity. ‘There were certainly a few big decisions to be made as the plan for the trip came together, which were pretty stressful and scary at the time but once we made those decisions they didn’t seem so big or scary, you just make them work.’
Their main concern was what the trip would mean for their finances when they returned to Sydney. ‘We literally sold our house in Lilyfield, in the inner west of Sydney, just before leaving on this trip,’ Mr Pine said. ‘It was tight timing, and a stressful time, but it all worked out well in the end.’ The family left Sydney in their brand new plush caravan in April. ‘We started in familiar territory and travelled up the East Coast,’ he said.
‘We moved at a pretty leisurely pace for this segment of the trip as we had lots of friends and family to catch up with in different places which included a detour into Armidale – the country town where we both grew up.’ The couple have no regrets so far in their life-changing adventure. ‘Before taking off we led a very city-centric lifestyle, and had no real experience with camping or caravanning whatsoever. In that sense it has definitely felt like a great adventure.
He described the rare chance to spend so much time together as a family unit as a ‘unique and intimate experience’ ‘Although living in such close proximity with small kids can have its moments, we feel very lucky to have this opportunity,’ he said. ‘On top of that, we have been seeing so many amazing things and places, many of which we didn’t even know existed. ‘It is exciting knowing that you get to explore a new part of the country every few days, and you can take your house along for the ride!’ Their travels have have seen them trek up to Townsville then head west through outback Queensland and then north through Katherine and Kakadu and up to Darwin before hitting the Kimberley region in Western Australia. ‘The whole trip has been great, but we have especially liked the uniqueness of the top end,’ he said.
The couple have also found a way to profit from their big adventure – by launching an all-Australian stock photography company. ‘We were already planning our family trip when Kass’ business partner, Claire, came up with the idea for Austockphoto,’ he said. ‘It is the type of thing you would never have time to do when trying to run another business, so the trip was the perfect opportunity for us to get it off the ground.’ ‘We are meeting and have signed up some amazing photographers on our travels.’ The couple sought financial advice from Eqeus financial planning to get their affairs sorted to make the trip a reality. ‘We just felt like we needed to run our ideas past someone who knew what they were doing from a financial sense. Gareth was a great sounding board for us and helped to get our financial lives in order,’ he said. ‘This included everything from getting our wills and insurances sorted, through to some advice around property and other investments.
It certainly helped leading up to the trip knowing that this part of the equation had been overhauled and that the family had some security in the event of something unforeseen happening on the road.’ When asked to give their top money-saving tips – Mr Pine said they didn’t feel they were qualified. ‘We have never been great savers or ones for sticking to a strict budget, so we would feel like frauds going through and listing some tips on how best to save money,’ he said. ‘In saying that, we are not great spenders either, so the closest we would get to giving advice would be to work hard, make considered financial decisions, take the odd risk but generally live within your means.’ They plan on travelling until at least the end of the year. ‘It will be difficult to think about going back to normal life,’ Mr Pine said. ‘We have a bit of time and lots of things to weigh up – including Luca going to a real school – but continuing the trip in 2016 is definitely appealing at this stage!’
MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS FEEL OUT OF CONTROL WITH THEIR FINANCES
– 80 percent of Australians are worried about their future financial security/ feel they don’t have control of their finances (78% men / 82% women)
– 73 percent of the country get stressed about money (69% men / 78% women)
– Nearly half of the population (43 percent) admit they find it uncomfortable to even talk about money (40% men / 45% women)
– Less than one in four people (23 percent) regularly set financial goals or track their progress (22% men / 24% women)
Findings released by personal finance consultancy Eqeus
Image by Bec Hannaford via Daily Mail.