Updated: Oct 12, 2021
How to harness your financial freedom while working FIFO.
You’ve just landed a dream FIFO gig, the money is large and your future is looking bright. But don’t be fooled — to make the most of a lucrative salary you have to be financially savvy.
Many FIFO workers finish up their gigs in worse financial position than they were before. How? Well, weeks on isolated mine sites can mean spending big when they get home, assuming that the jobs will last forever — which isn’t always the case.
To help you make the most of your FIFO money we asked financial planner Alexander McWilliams of True Wealth how you can be smart and plan for a solid financial future. Please note this advice is general in nature.
You can’t avoid some debt, but there is “good” and “bad” debt. Good debt is tax deductible and bad debt is not. Don’t borrow to buy lifestyle assets that depreciate in value as the interest is not tax deductible. Credit cards are never a good idea, but if you have credit card debt, consolidate it and pay it off as soon as possible.
Get a ‘financial health check’
Sit down with a good financial adviser and be really honest about where you’d like to be in five and 10 years’ time financially. Then develop a plan to make sure that allows you to use your money wisely.
If you’re under 50 years of age, select the “growth” option in your superannuation fund. If that’s not available ask your financial advisor what is. Your super should grow by approximately five to eight per cent per year if it’s invested wisely; make it work for you.
Housing market or share portfolio?
Both have their place, they just have different characteristics and it is important that you understand these. It used to be that the housing market came with fewer risks, but that’s not necessarily the case these days. It’s about which one you’re more comfortable investing in.
How do I build a nest egg?
By starting early, using debt wisely to buy an asset that will appreciate in value over time and staying the course. Be patient! If you’re young, working FIFO is a great time to think about your financial future, even if you’ve made some financial mistakes in the past.
What’s the best way to make my money work for me?
Pay yourself first. In other words, set aside some amount from each pay to invest — don’t rely on being able to invest what you have left at the end of the month. You have to make investing a priority; make it the first thing you do with your pay, not the last.
Delay instant gratification
This is a trap many FIFO workers fall into, if you really want something that’s going to be a substantial financial investment, whether that’s a new ute, a fancy watch or a jet ski, sleep on it for a couple of pays and really think it over. Many a FIFO worker have fallen into the CUB (cashed up bogan) trap of buying toys they don’t need, then having to resell them and losing money.
Your best financial tip?
I say this all the time, but you really do have to start early and be consistent. Albert Einstein famously said: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; He who doesn't, pays it.” Words to live by.
So there you have it, the rules are pretty simple: see a financial planner as soon as possible to get your goals in place, make your super work for you and invest as much as you can each pay.
If you’re looking for your next big FIFO opportunity so you can put your financial plan into action, contact the team at True Wealth.