It’s Valentine’s Day again, which is an important date in my life.
As long-time readers will know, however, it’s not because of love or romance.
On 14 February 2011, I was declared voluntarily bankrupt by the Australian Government.
Ever since, I use Valentine’s Day each year to look back at how far I’ve come financially during the past 12 months.
And after my fifth year of bankruptcy, I’ve come a long way and a good way…
…although it began in a disappointing way, with my job of 19 years being made redundant and ending on 27 February 2015.
Although having to look for work again sucked – especially as the last time I had job-hunted was way back in 1996 – there was also opportunity, especially with my redundancy payout.
My payout was about the equivalent of a year’s pre-tax income. Thus far, it has been the biggest sum of money I have ever seen in my life.
After some delay, the payout finally arrived in my bank account in late March 2015.
And ever since then, for the first (and I very much hope not the last) time in my life, I haven’t had to live from pay to pay.
It has been a very liberating experience, indeed.
As I have been describing in my other series ‘2015: A Life Odyssey’, my redundancy payout kept me going during seven months of unemployment during 2015. It also allowed for some large stress-free purchases like my first-ever suit and $1000 worth of Lego.
As well, it allowed for two different outcomes from two experiences that had driven me nuts back in 2014.
In my Year Four entry, I talked about how my trip to Canberra Brick Expo 2014 was almost brought undone by a late tax return and temporarily clouded by an unexpected safety deposit at the hotel I stayed at.
In 2015, however, I didn’t have to rely on a tax return to get me to Canberra Brick Expo 2015, and this time I could pay the safety deposit without it biting into my trip (although I think that safety-deposit policy is nonsense and I wish Australian hotels didn’t use it).
As for 2015’s tax return, my redundancy payout made another impact.
In 2014, I had done my tax as early as possible in the hopes of getting my return as soon as possible – but for reasons which the Australian Tax Office never fully explained to me, it took them three months to deliver my return.
In 2015, partly because I didn’t need my return as soon as possible and partly out of annoyance with the ATO’s previous slackness, I didn’t do my tax until only a week or so before the deadline.
Yet this time, I got my return in barely two weeks.
And not only that, it was the biggest return I’ve ever received.
And thanks to having my redundancy payout, I decided to do something special with my return.
Soon after I got it, I put all of my return into my first-ever term deposit.
And months later that term deposit is still there, renewing each month and gaining interest.
So not only did my redundancy payout keep me going for most of 2015, it also encouraged me to start investing.
After five months of job-hunting, I finally began a new job in late September 2015.
As I will be describing in detail in Part 7 of ‘2015: A Life Odyssey’, that job paid well and helped contribute to one of the best times of my life.
As I type this, a little of my redundancy payout is left.
For this year’s tax return, however, I’m hoping to claim back some money from last year’s job and add it to what’s left of my payout.
As well, if other opportunities arise during the coming year, I hope to add more money and continue investing.
In Year Five of bankruptcy, I began to thrive.
And in Year Six and beyond, I hope to keep doing so.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂