If you have not heard of this terminology, you may be thinking what does it mean.
HENRY = High Income Earner Not Rich Yet
That’s right another buzzword to explain someone’s financial position.
So what does a HENRY look like:-
- Can be single or a family generally in professional roles which could include an executive, lawyer, accountant, doctor, business owner or any other profession which attract large incomes
- Generally household incomes between $250,000 – $500,000.
- Don’t have much left after they pay their taxes, living expenses, housing loans, schooling etc.
Are you a HENRY?
If your household income is in the range above then most certainly you would fall under this category. That is after all your expenses you have nothing or very little to show for it.
I get it, you’ve studied and worked hard to get in the position earn a great income and you deserve to spend your money any which way you can. A word of warning, continue at your own peril. Generally when your income increases substantially and your spending follows without any structure lends yourself to bad habits. Structure is the key here.
I have seen so many situations where people would be included in HENRY category and their asset levels later in life do not reflect the incomes they have been receiving. They are living for today without any consideration for the future. Then they whinge and complain when they get to the end of their working life and have very little to show for. Generally forcing them to work longer and perhaps not enjoy the lifestyle they would have otherwise deserved.
Now, the responsible adult in my head is telling me that you’ve got yourself in this great position (earning a large income), then make the most of it, however you need to prepare for your future life as well, and in the case of a HENRY, they are putting this at risk. You can still have your cake and eat it if you have the right structure and discipline. The rich did not get rich from spending every cent they have.
7 Steps to make the most of being a HENRY and set yourself up for life.
1: Spending:- There’s a reason I have not said budget here. You would have most probably told me to go get stuffed, right? No one likes budgets. Their boring and signal a boring lifestyle, right? I get you, so let’s look at it a different way. How about spending your money on the things that you most value. That does not necessarily mean spending everything. It means looking at where your money goes, if you’re a HENRY, you most probably have no idea where it all goes. Sit down and work out where you spend your money. Draw a line on a piece of paper and every expense is going to go on one side of the page. On the left side list all the expenses you could not live without. On the right side list all the expenses that are not so important here, or you could live without and it would not have any impact on your life. The point here is to spend your money on those things that give you the most enjoyment. Dump those you do not value.
2: Structure, Structure, Structure:- Ok, i’m going to provide a formulae for you that will allow you to spend within your means. Of your net income allocate 40% towards your mortgage, 40% towards your living expenses and 20% towards building your wealth whether it be inside or outside super. If you are a long way off, you might focus more on investments outside super. The caveat here, don’t buy things you can’t afford. Ie, buying the most expensive house the most expensive suburb for example. Look at when you want to be debt free and purchase accordingly. You can always upgrade later on when your financial position is in a better position and guess what, you’ll most probably save yourself a lot of stress too, bonus!
3: Invest:- Invest 10-20% of your income. That is put it in a separate account, either a bank account or an investment account and regularly invest with the intention you are not going to touch it. That way you are automatically investing and securing your financial future. With the benefits of time and compound interest you will be surprised how quickly this will increase in value.
4: Avoid bad investments:- We’ve all had discussions over a beer at a bbq, discussion the latest investment or next best thing. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The tried and tested way of boring works. It might not be that exciting and give you a buzz but you will thank me later on. Too many times I have seen investment schemes sold to higher income earners and very few of them bring joy. Get the right advice and trust your instinct!
5: Automate:- This is the key, if everything is automated, you don’t need to think, it’s done for you. So every time you get paid this money is sent to a different account, so it’s not in an account where you easily access the funds.
6: Protect Yourself:- It is interesting that the Australian population is one of the most underinsured countries in the world. We think that we are invincible, that is nothing will ever happen to us. Let me put it this way, whether you like it or not you are already putting away 9.5% of your income towards providing for your income post work, so why can’t we just allocate roughly 5% of our income to protect our ability to generate income while we are working. Yes, in most cases that’s all it costs, roughly 5%, and that protects your income while you are working and guess what if you never have to claim, your in good health, BONUS?, yeah. If something happens the return on your premiums will be significant and you’ll be glad that you did that. Obviously as your circumstances change, ie. mortgage reducing, kids getting older or leaving home are some reasons to review your insurances. That is they are likely to be reduced, something that should be reviewed each and every year.
7: Live within your means:- Yeah, I know another boring finance thing you most probably don’t want to hear. But, you know what, you can still live a great life by living within your means, just focus on those things that give you enjoyment, and for most people it is experiences, not the latest toy. Latest toys are generally short term in nature.
So, now you know what a “HENRY” is and if you are one, you now have the framework to profit from it over time. You’ll have the best life now and provide for your future ensuring your great live will not be impacted. As always it comes down to planning, planning and more planning.
Sometimes people who are successful at their jobs, top of their game and earn great incomes sometimes thing they don’t require any assistance. They tend to think they are smart enough to handle their finances. However just look at successful athletes, when they are successful they still require experts to help them keep on top of their game, push them further and assist them make the right decisions. Your personal finances are no different, in fact leaving it up to yourself could be dangerous to your future.
P.S Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways we can help optimise your financial affairs so you can go live life, sound good?
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Written by Glenn Doherty CFP – Founder and Financial Organiser – Jigsaw Private Wealth
This information is of a general advice nature only, and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances or objectives. All information is based on Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd’s understanding of current law as of 17th July 2017. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should seek professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws, rulings and their interpretation as at 17th July 2017. You should seek independent professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information. Exelsuper Advice Pty Ltd CAN 080 419 holds an Australian Financial Services License 428272.