Selling property: a cautionary tale

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

This month my husband and I sold a property. We don’t do that often. In fact, it’s only the second time I’ve sold and the first for hubby. The last time was a golden handshake from my employer: they paid me the average of two valuations on the home and I signed it over to them. I didn’t have to engage an agent, I didn’t have to clean my house for home opens, I didn’t even have to think about it really. That’s a far cry from this recent sale, which can reasonably be termed ‘a learning experience’. With all this learning fresh in my mind I am writing this post so that you, dear reader, may profit from it if you ever decide to sell a property. Read more

Buying a property in my teens

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

When I started saving half the income from my part-time jobs, I envisaged I would one day use the money to buy a flashy car. I dreamed of driving that car in the finest clothes, on my way to a swish restaurant. I had absolutely no expectation that my savings would be used to buy a property before I’d even finished my second year of university, but they did. I traded the flashy car, clothes and restaurant for a small, dingy apartment in which I wore clothes encrusted with paint and ate microwave dinners. I was 19 years old at the time. As usual, I have my mother to thank. My gratitude knows no bounds… seriously.

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Going Bankrupt | %%sitename%%

What’s it like to go bankrupt? Three personal stories

Author’s note: This article on what it’s like to going bankrupt is one of our most widely read and shared. Probably because most commentary on bankruptcy is about the maths rather than the aspect this article covers – the emotional impact. At over 2,500 words it’s a detailed blog, so, here’s a quick introductory video explaining what you’ll read about so you can decide if it’s for you or not: Read more

Love and Money: Four tips to reduce financial conflict at home

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

My parents fought about money. It’s the main reason they divorced. I can’t conceive of them sharing a household budget so in retrospect it’s not surprising. To put it bluntly: Dad spends, Mum saves. You’d think they’d balance each other out but it doesn’t work that way apparently. The issue was not the actions of saving or spending themselves but what they saved for and what they spent on.

My father has expensive taste: be it a pair of jeans, a bottle of champagne or a car, he only wants the best. He arrived on my doorstep one Christmas, effectively homeless, in his (reasonably new) Mercedes ML350. My mother, on the other hand, is an accountant. She budgets, she plans, she minimises tax. She would prefer to have a $2,000 car and a healthy investment portfolio than a $100,000 car and no investments. Of course, she’d have the expensive car AND the investments, but if forced to choose she’ll pick the ‘smart’ option every time (that’s the investments, in case you hadn’t worked that out…)

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Poverty in Australia? You betcha.

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

‘He had heard people speak contemptuously of money:
he wondered if they had ever tried to do without it.’

 – W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965)

In 2005, I watched an Australian film called Three Dollars and was traumatised by it. It’s not a horror film – I just found it confronting, depressing and very plausible. The main character, Eddie, is a successful chemical engineer living in a beautiful home in Melbourne with his lovely wife and daughter… until Eddie gets the chop from his job. In a matter of weeks his life unravels, as he cannot find a job but cannot bring himself to tell the family. He can’t afford his car or the mortgage. Eventually even affording food becomes a challenge. I think I found it so traumatic because it brings into focus that we tend to live life blissfully unaware of how close we probably are to financial ruin should something terrible – like a debilitating illness or job loss – happen. Read more

Six ways Monopoly is NOT like real life

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

In last week’s post, I expounded on my theories about how Monopoly (the board game) is like real life property investing. In the interest of balance, I’m following up with this post about the ways in which Monopoly is NOT like real life property investing.

It’s hardly surprising that a board game does not fully capture the intricacies and nuances of something as complex as property investment. I know you’re not silly enough to think you’ll get $200 every time you go around the block, and your kids probably aren’t that silly either… at least I hope not. However, it’s best not to fall into the trap of thinking Monopoly can teach you everything you need to know about property investing. Here are six ways in which Monopoly misses the mark…

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Monopoly and Real Life | %%sitename%%

7 Ways Monopoly is like Real Life

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

Monopoly and real life?

Monopoly? Really? Yes, I’m not talking about what Microsoft had in the 90’s, I’m talking about the board game we all know and love. Monopoly began life around 1903, originally (and quite aptly) named ‘The Landlord’s Game’. The version of Monopoly we are familiar with today was officially released in the early 1930’s and has been a staple in most Australian childhoods since then. In primary school, my sister and I spent many a holiday racing each other around the board to buy Mayfair and Park Lane. We had games that went on for several days and some that lasted mere minutes. Of course, a board game can never be a perfect replication of such a complex investment vehicle as property, but it was a great start that we didn’t even know we were getting!

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To ‘B’ or not to ‘B’: Budgeting

The people who do not cringe at the phrase ‘let’s do a budget’ are few and far between, and more often than not they hold accounting degrees.

That particular ‘b’ word (budgeting) has the power to strike fear into the hearts of men and women alike for a number of reasons:

  • It’s overwhelming – who has the time to build a spreadsheet with ALL their costs in it? And how on earth can we know what everything will cost in the future?
  • It’s boring – nothing is more likely to send you into a catatonic state than sifting through credit card statements and that pile of crumpled-up receipts hiding in the bottom drawer. And try watching the announcements about the Federal budget – positively snore-worthy.
  • It can be depressing – realising you spend $760 a year on take-away coffee is not likely to make you feel good.

All these pale in comparison to the One Unassailable Fear associated with budgeting:

If you set a budget,
you just might have to stick to it.

That’s why it’s called a budget – you set it then you don’t budge (I know. I’m hilarious).

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FIFO Money: Four Tips to Reduce Financial Stress

By Lacey Filipich, BEng(Hons), MAICD

There aren’t many industries in which you can make a pile of cash without formal qualifications, but mining is definitely one. The lure of a six-figure salary is often enough to overcome our hesitation at being away from our families for extended periods, sometimes for several weeks at a time.

Yet somehow, with all the extra income, some people who work fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) in the mining industry STILL have financial problems – just ask them! There’s not a crib room I’ve visited that didn’t contain someone complaining about their financial situation. So, if you’re a FIFO worker, how can you avoid the typical financial pitfalls we find in this workgroup? Here are four ideas you may find helpful…

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Pros and Cons of Pocket Money | %%sitename%%

The Great Debate – Pros and Cons of Pocket Money

In this extreme social experiment we call parenting, choices abound. From contentious issues like vaccination, to comparatively trivial ones like when to cut your child’s hair for the first time, we are bombarded opinions on what and what not to do, often in no uncertain terms. Ah, the glorious interweb, font of information (but not necessarily wisdom). So, if you’ve been getting lost trying to navigate the debate around the pros and cons of pocket money, let me assure this one’s completely subjective. Without further ado.


In this post, I try spare you the overload of the ‘pocket money should be earned’ debate. I will cover the pros and cons of pocket money, four ways you can go about setting it up, and some simple tools to help you work out which method is right for you and your child.

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