Working for the Man vs Investing

Working for the Man vs Investing

Back to 2013, when I was still living in Laos, I was working full-time as a Communications Officer, from 8:30am to 5pm. After 5pm and as a secondary source of income, I would work as a freelance web/graphic designer and photographer. As a freelancer, I accepted every job that I could to earn as much as I could to cover my lifestyle, debts, and car loan (terribel idea, I know!). Oftentimes, I wouldn’t go to bed before 3am because of the freelancing work.  My full-time salary was $1,200/month, combined with my freelancing work, my total monthly income was around $1,500-$1,800. That was a lot of money as the cost of living in Laos is pretty low. However, what I learned was that it does not matter how much or how little I could earn, the most important thing is that I spend less than what I earn.

Now, living in Australia, my life has come full circle in that I am now employed in a casual full-time role with an income of $1,850/fortnight (after tax).

I don’t want to work full-time anymore. Instead, I want to invest and live off the passive income from my investments. However, to do the investing, I need to save money to then grow the money band let it work full-time for me.

Investing is a totally new idea for me and I’m going through a massive learning curve. Luckily, my partner Len, has a lot more experience in this than me and he has been teaching me the various forms of investing that can be entered into. Share investing is something that interests me and now that I am working full-time, we will have enough spare income to invest in the stock market every month. For the last two years, we haven’t done too much share investing as we were living off one income for most of this time while having to pay exorbitant visa costs and adjusting to our new life on the Central Coast. Previously, Len was building up a decent share portfolio but had to sell most of it to put down a 20% deposit for our house. Next year our goal will be to concentrate on this area by regularly investing a portion of our income.

Len and I are trying to save as much as we can together to achieve our goals. I believe there’s no right or wrong when in comes to investing. It’s about taking calculated risks with adequate potential returns. You have to spend time to do your research and read articles to get your knowledge up to a level that makes investing comfortable, at least to a certain degree. I know it sounds boring but we have to focus on the potential results and aim to build up the investment portfolio so that it can work full-time for us instead of us working full-time to finance an expensive lifestyle.


Below is a list of our current investments:

  • Bank accounts – we don’t keep too much money in cash but the money we do have is currently only earning around 2-2.5% per year
  • Peer2Peer lending (through Ratesetter) – this is something that we started this year to see how it works and whether it’s a worthwhile investment vehicle for us. We’ll post more on this in later posts but we only have around $1000 in this account and it’s earning between 5 – 9% per year
  • Shares investments – Our portfolio is worth around $7,000 and it’s spread over a few US and Australian stocks.
  • US property – We have two houses in Florida which are rented out and are owned 50/50 by Len and his business partner
  • Australian property – We bought the house we live in two years ago and so far it has increased in value by about 20-30%
  • Energy company – we made a one-off investment into a new community solar energy startup called, Enova.
  • Superannuation – we have around $40,000 in our retirement account which is currently part of a Self Managed Super Fund that Len is involved in with two of his business partners.


Thanks for reading!



What do you think about our investments? If you have any ideas then we would be happy to hear from you!



2 responses to “Working for the Man vs Investing”

  1. Jef says:

    Hey Toon,

    Cool story there and congrats on being motivated to get done all that you’ve achieved there!
    I like that you’ve got the multiple streams of income and interested to read more about your experiences with P2P and the investment in Enova

    I’d say you’re on the right path there, keep it up!


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