Lizzie’s Diary and Update – December 2021

Welcome to my December personal diary entry and update! I wanted to add this as a regular feature on Teaching Brave so I can share a little bit about my personal life and my health, my money updates, my parenting and co-parenting journey, a little bit about my professional life as an Early Childhood Teacher and Child Care Director, as well as Teaching Brave updates!

My Personal Update

Early this month I said goodbye to Adelaide and returned to Sydney, back to reality and routine. It was so lovely to have a break from everything, explore Adelaide, enjoy day drinking, watching movies, dinners out, and just general recreation. It’s been too long since I’ve enjoyed a break like that. I 100% needed it. On returning to Sydney, the Covid cases started increasing dramatically. I’m writing this today, 31st Dec 2021 and the Covid cases have almost doubled overnight from 12,000 yesterday to almost 22,000 today! This was no doubt due to many factors but a bungle in a pathology location near the city has seen almost 900 people told they were Covid negative when in fact they were positive. These people have then gone out into the community and there has been a subsequent explosion in cases. I think there is a general feeling of many people voluntarily isolating due to the numbers. To a degree, I’m also doing this, as plans are getting cancelled all over the place and it seems almost everyone has a story these days of getting Covid, being a close contact, a casual contact or needing to monitor for symptoms or wait for test results. So, I’m making the best of it. Quality time with Andy (and my mum who is staying with me at the moment), getting some new blog content organised and trying to stay healthy! (As well as polish off Christmas leftovers).

I babysat my baby niece Lily for the first time a couple of weeks ago and Andy loved having that time with her – helping to feed her, bath her and play with her. We’re loving new smiles, new noises and forming those important early bonds, crucial for brain development.

Christmas was spent at my sister’s place which we all enjoyed but my sister in law (whose baby is due in 2 weeks) has been instructed to self isolate until baby arrives due to the Covid risk in the community, so she stayed home alone. We missed her but understood the significant risk. There are too many cases of Covid positive mothers getting separated from their newborns and that would be worse case scenario for her and my brother.

I made my first Christmas charcuterie board and I was pretty proud of it to be honest.. it didn’t take long for everyone to polish this off.. Andy went crazy for the smoked salmon and Santa hats.

Lizzie's Diary and Update - December 2021
I’m pretty proud of the Christmas Charcuterie board I prepared for Christmas Day..
Lizzie's Diary and Update - December 2021
It wouldn’t be Christmas without making and decorating gingerbread men (and other shapes) with Andy.

I took a big step upon returning to work after my Adelaide trip – I QUIT MY JOB!! More about this below but after 14 years at this child care centre, I’m now contemplating what life will be like after my last shift! I’m planning to use my long service leave payout to take some time, spend a bit more time with Andy in the school holidays and take some time to decide what my next move will be.

Money

I’ve completed a Net Worth update for the end of the year and calculated it as $421,305. I can’t tell you how it feels to look at that number after looking at my financial situation when I was a newly single mum about 8 years ago and I was broke! I had some superannuation but NOTHING ELSE to my name! I was left with debt after Andy’s father left us and I didn’t know how I was going to pull myself out of the financial hole I was in. You can read my money journey here but below is a breakdown of my Net Worth. I used the Net Worth calculator on the Money Smart website to calculate my NW.

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I requested a free home valuation this month which gave me a better insight into how my apartment has increased in value, as well as what other apartments around me have sold for recently. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was worth at least $50k more than I originally thought.

With what I owe on my mortgage as my only liability (I became consumer debt free earlier this year), my assets are as follows:

Equity in my property: approx $210k

Superannuation (Hostplus): $173k

Shares: $5k (I use Pearler for my ‘Big girl’ shares and Raiz for microinvesting)

Savings (Emergency Fund in my mortgage offset account): $15k

Car & belongings: $13k

My Net Worth in September was $350k so this is an increase of approx $70k in 3 months which is solid growth, based mainly on a quote of higher property value, as well as some solid super growth.

I have had a LOT of success selling things online, and making cash selling other people’s items too, as a pretty lucrative side hustle. You can read my best tips on how I do it in my article HERE.

I’m still looking for a financial advisor to consult regarding my mum’s move to Sydney, as this will be a complex issue, so my ears and eyes are open to suggestions for this.

December did prove to be a bit of an expensive month to be honest, when it came to Christmas gifts as well as food! Thankfully I had savings to cover this and would never put myself in a position of having Christmas debt!

Coming in to the new year, I will be doing some budgeting to prepare for not having my usual income!

After investing Andy’s money in some Vanguard VAS shares, my father (Andy’s grandfather) transfers money into my Pearler brokerage account now so that I can buy more shares for Andy, rather than giving him a Christmas gift. I don’t tell Andy how much is invested but rather have regular talks with him about the value of investing, about compound interest and about managing his money. He keeps part of his pocket money in Spaceship, enjoying watching the growth (and the dips).

Lizzie's Diary and Update - December 2021
Andy’s Christmas gift from his grandfather was some more VAS shares, bought through Pearler

Parenting and Co-parenting

Andy’s father Tom has gone overseas! He will be gone for approx 6-8 weeks as he hasn’t seen his family in several years. Andy will miss his dad and though this puts a bit more pressure on me to do the parenting 24/7 for the next couple of months, Andy is a bit older now so it will be nice to spend the extra time with him, but to be honest, I didn’t really have any say in this matter. It was announced to me that he was going, he’s now gone and it’s up to me to do it all. It’s mostly difficult for me to have a break, or have any social time as an adult. My mum is visiting briefly so that takes the pressure off at times but it can be hard.

You can read my Co-parenting article here. Things have improved in recent months, or for most of this year to be honest but there have been times where I find it extremely challenging.

There were plans to share time with Andy at Christmas time before Tom left but then this didn’t work out as Tom was a close Covid contact and had to isolate and get tested. I was more than happy to have Andy all to myself and my side of the family at Christmas time though..

I was SO proud of Andy this month as he came home from school and told me he had his first crush!! Not only was he comfortable enough to tell me about his crush, tell me her name and why he liked her, but he told her! I told him he was incredibly brave and I was so proud of him because telling her took courage! He’s also been rejected by this girl who will no longer talk to him or look at him!! but I’ve also talked him through this, telling him that dealing with rejection is something we all face at some point in our lives and while he’s disappointed he’s also shown incredible resilience, maturity and courage. I’ve encouraged him to fill his bucket by hanging out with his good friends and doing things he enjoys, such as his swimming, cycling, Lego and reading. He has been wanting more of the screen time but I have to limit this for him.

Professional

I QUIT MY JOB!! After returning from Adelaide and going back to work for only a few days to find out that one educator had already resigned, there were unhappy staff and new owners throwing their weight around and intimidating people, I had had enough. I gave my 4 weeks notice and sent the resignation letter to my boss.

kids first aid

This felt amazing. While I have years of wonderful memories from this place, I’m sad with how it has ended. I have put my heart and soul, my blood, sweat and tears into that place and for my boss, it’s just business. To be honest, he never really knew how to show appreciation and I felt taken for granted a lot of the time. 14 years of service is a long time and I showed my dedication, passion and loyalty, time and time again. I don’t know if I will take on another director role but I’m not ready to say goodbye to the industry. I studied early childhood because I love teaching children and I have a passion for education, and I became a Director because I wanted to learn more, I wanted to take on a management role, I wanted to have control over how we ran the centre and to be honest, I was burnt out from full time teaching.

I have a few more shifts left and I have only just informed the families of the service that I will be leaving next week. Many of the families are shocked and saddened but still don’t know that there is a change of management. They are also yet to find out that it’s not only me but pretty much the entire team that has quit! This will be a child care centre with an entirely new team in a couple of months. There was increasing stress for me in the lead up to Christmas so guess who took some well deserved stress/sick leave?!

I definitely have mixed feelings about leaving but mostly I’m feeling excited about what’s next for me. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more about building businesses online, and also spending more time with Andy.

Teaching Brave Update

For TeachingBrave, I’ll be a guest on a finance podcast in January, sharing my financial abuse story so I’m looking forward to that opportunity. I also shared my Financial Abuse article in some more Facebook groups with some overwhelming feedback! My blog traffic skyrocketed and my experience has obviously resonated with a lot of people. I feel saddened and frustrated that there are so many people out there experiencing financial abuse in various ways, but I feel fortunate that my article has had such positive feedback and helped those who have read the definitions as well as my experience.

I have some exciting plans for TeachingBrave in 2022 and I would love to hear from anyone who would be willing to give me some feedback about the kind of content they enjoy. I try to keep the content balanced between early childhood topics, parenting tips and money related articles, and I’ve had wonderful feedback from the social media community regarding many of my articles but I would love to get some more insight into what content is more useful, more engaging or any requests. Let me know in the comments!

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Lizzie.

Lizzie's Diary and Update - December 2021
Lizzie's Diary and Update - December 2021
Exciting to see a spike in blog traffic after posting my Financial Abuse article in some Facebook groups

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