I currently work in the telco industry and have a pretty good work/life balance. I do my standard 38-40 hours per week and get to see my partner and my best friend bear (my chocolate Labrador) every night and each weekend. We hang out together and watch TV and chat during the week after work and on the weekends catch up with friends and family. Life’s pretty good. The only down side is that we aren’t really making an inroads into our goal of being financially free later down the track. We’re sort of just paying the bills and not being able to put away much money each week.
I used to work in Northern WA on a few of the mine sites on a FIFO basis. The money was great and allowed my partner and I to purchase our home and go travelling to Europe, as well as a lot of other things. I would go away for a month at a time and come home for a week in between. It sounds pretty extreme but the feeling of having a whole week off each month with all of that money in your pocket was amazing. We never had to worry about any unexpected bills or not being able to do something or go somewhere because we couldn’t afford it. The problem was that when you work away on a FIFO basis and you spend over 290 days a year away from home, it’s starts to take it’s toll on you and your relationships. You reach a point where you say, ‘it doesn’t matter how much money I’m making, I’m not happy and I’m missing out on my life’. ‘Im trading time for money, not just a little bit each day, it’s all of each day and it’s 290 days a year’. You miss out on so many things, birthdays, outings, weddings, family catch ups, funny moments, sad moments, the whole lot.
I guess we all have to trade our time for money in some way or another to live and get by. Maybe the FIFO life is just a supercharged way that allows you to trade lots of time now in a short period for lots of money which will eventually free up more time later on if the money is used wisely.
I recently accepted an offer to work away again on a 4/1 rotation, meaning I work 4 weeks and get 1 week off. The same as what I had been doing previously. I start in a weeks time. It’s a new role that I haven’t got any experience in so I am a little anxious/nervous. I have been thinking about it a lot and whether or not it is worth trading essentially my life, my younger years, for money. The pay is approximately triple the amount I make now working in the telco industry and I feel I simply cannot turn it down. I know it’s going to be difficult being away from family and friends again. I will miss out on many occasions but I will also have a lot more money in the bank. I will be able to pay off lots of the mortgage and put us in a great financial position for the future. I still get that feeling though, that money isn’t everything and that I will never get the time back that I have traded.
In reality, money makes the world go round. If you have lots of money, it certainly makes certain parts of life much easier. I’m definitely not saying that money makes you happier, but I think having lots of money can allow you to enjoy other parts of life easier and more of the time. I just wish I could trade very little time for lots of money!
Working FIFO is certainly a great opportunity to make a lot of money, but you must be willing to sacrifice a lot also. I think I will stick it out for a year or 2, trade my time for some good money and then come back home and become a full time property investor!
Hey, we all have goals