As I come closer to the point of being Debt Free (aside from my HECS) I keep thinking about what I want to do next… There are several options that I’m considering and I wanted to talk through them and get advice from others as to what they would do.
Go on a Holiday, Invest, Build Savings, Contribute to my Super? What do I do?
The first thing i’m going to do (after cutting up my Citibank 0% interest credit card) is to celebrate a little bit. After paying off debt I believe a celebration is definitely in order. Of course I don’t want to put myself into debt again but a little celebration is a great reward. For me this might *probably will* end up being getting my next tattoo. I’ve been putting it off for ages because of the cost.
Next I need to really sit down and focus on what I want to do with my next few years and my life in general. I’m currently trying to have a baby so my goals need to fit around that idea and that includes savings and growing my money.
As I said above one of my biggest goals is to have a baby which means I should probably look at building some savings for the items I will need upfront and also for medical costs etc. I’m not really sure what i’m going to do about maternity leave yet so having savings seems like a wise idea.
For the non-Australians out there Superannuation is basically the money we live off in retirement. America has a 401k which would be the same thing. I’m not sure what it would be called in other areas of the world. My super balance is doing alright for my age because I haven’t had any periods of unemployment. While I am on maternity leave though I won’t get any super contributions.
I do have a goal of eventually increasing my pre-tax contribution to super. My employer pays 9.5% of my wage to super and I want to increase this to 15%. I changed my Super company last year to HostPlus and so far the returns have been good so i’m really happy with that decision.
At some point I want to start investing in shares but I think i still have a lot to learn before that. I need to build a bit of savings first (aside from my other savings) that I will then invest. If anyone has any recommendations of books to understand the stock market let me know.
Pay back my HECS
One of the very last thing I will do is pay my HECS loan. HECS stands for High Education Contribution Scheme. It’s the Australian version of a student loan except that you pay it back at 0% interest and you only pay it back once your income is over a certain threshold. My income is over that threshold so I have been paying mine back for years already. Your HECS loan is indexed to align with the current cost of living every year but that is the only form of ‘interest’ that you will pay. It’s usually about 1.7% of the balance added on once a year.
Because of the 0% interest I’m not too concerned with paying this back quickly like I would be with other debts.
Now… I’d love to know what you did after you were debt free.