How my secret savings fueled my passion!

I will start this article with the disclaimer that this is my personal story and of general nature only. It is prudent to consult with a professional before you take or not take any action as this may or may not suit your personal needs.

I have been in my business since 2009 and celebrated my 8th year this August. As you may be aware, being self-employed can have its pros and cons. But before being self-employed, and upon arrival in Australia (yes I am a first generation migrant), I worked in a casual job for a couple of years. During that time, I never knew I was ever going to start my business.

But being Indian and in my genes, what I decided to do was to put away a huge portion of my income as savings. Once my husband understood that I am really good with money, I became the Chief Finance Controller at home (and still am). This means I knew what bills had to be paid and how much was left over each month. Since this was my task, I wanted to see how much of my income could be saved while trying to live on one income.

Taking up this project was not as easy as I thought. I never know and still don’t, why I decided to do it as a secret savings account. Thinking back, I probably could have told my husband that I am opening a separate savings account to save money and don’t think he would have objected, but I will never know.

However, the thing was he never knew of this account for a few years. But once I was in business and slowly settling into running my own show, I started investing more into the business. At this stage my partner was still a PAYG income earner and even though it took me a few years to grow my business, I never asked him to support my business growth from a monetary perspective.

In 2013, I decided to take up business coaching which was expensive and as a part of it decided to write a book called “Smart Women, Smart Home loans”. If anyone has written a book and self-published, you would understand there is a huge cost involved in the task. At that time, my business was not making enough profit to help me do this. I was in a dilemma whether I should publish a book or not. This is where the money in my savings account helped me.

Without that money I never ever would have been able to achieve my dream of being a self-published author.

  1. Does this saving have to be kept secret? I understand the future is unpredictable and every woman should be financially independent. So, can I be open with my husband about this savings plan? 

As mentioned earlier, this article is my story and what I did. In a normal healthy relationship, it is always good to sit down, may be with a glass of wine and have an open discussion with your partner what your financial goals are – as an individual and as a couple. This will help you understand each other’s needs and plan accordingly. The main aim is to have a savings account that will help in case of emergency or to plan for holidays, whatever your goals are.

  1. I would like to know about a situation, where I saved $10,000 in my personal savings account without my husband’s knowledge. Assuming my husband and I are in a healthy relationship, but few years later, we have an unavoidable situation and this secret savings is the only option to resolve the situation. Do I use the saving or not? 

As mentioned in the previous question, it is always good to have an honest, open conversation regarding savings. However, if your savings is in your personal account, and a situation arises – it is entirely at your discretion whether you want to use it or not. There is no straight forward answer because it is your money and you are the best person to know whether to use it or not.

  1. How do I account for this savings? What are the tax implications?

Any savings account and interest earned from it needs to be declared on your tax returns. Your accountant is the best person to advice you on this.

  1. Can I have this savings in an overseas account? Do I have to declare that savings with ATO?

If you have an overseas account and want to save money through that account, it is your choice. However, I would suggest an account in the country where you reside, as it means easy access in case of emergency.

Again, with regards to the tax implications, it is good to check with your accountant on what the rules are at the time of filing tax.

The general idea is to save some portion of your income as savings. Because as the saying goes, you can earn a million dollars and still live from pay check to pay check. Start small today and you will reap the benefits long term.