The year was 2014 and Alex, a long time friend of mine, got accepted for a job as a physiotherapist. As soon as he finished school, he studied at university for four years to get the degree. He grew passionate about helping clients and got paid well for his age at the private practice.
Each fortnight when his paycheck came in, he would treat himself to nice things. He would have fancy dinners, buy new clothes, technology and countless other things. All bought at the spur of the moment. It didn't matter what it was because he had a secure job and could afford to pay whatever he wanted. If he couldn't pay for it in that fortnight, he'd buy it anyway with his credit card and pay it off as soon as he could next pay.
Alex would also aim to go on a holiday as soon as he could at least once a year. He loved to travel and was proud that he had been to so many countries.
He would put in the long hours at work to reap whatever rewards he desired. He was a good employee and every year or so he would get a small bump in his wage to reflect his hard work and dedication. He worked hard to get a pay rise. It meant he could buy the latest thing sooner or tick of the next destination on his bucket list.
He'd been working hard and was due for a holiday.
The Unfortunate Holiday Event
Five years into his career he was on a week long holiday at a ski resort in New South Wales, Australia. He was sitting on the chair lift for his first run of the day. He was looking forward to a perfect day of skiing and the weather conditions were fantastic. Alex reached the top of the mountain on the chair lift. He jumped off and dismounted the platform only to get caught up with the skier next to him.
He tumbled down and the skier landed on top of him.
Alex let out a cry of pain and knew something was not right.
He tried to get up but buckled under the pain of his right leg. A ski mobile brought him on a stretcher down the hill to the medical centre. He got transported to a hospital for an x-ray.
He had broken his leg! That was the end of his holiday.
Feeling sorry for himself, he sat in a chair with a cast around his leg thinking about how long he would be out of action. There would be a lot of physio work to do to recover from this.
Time to Get on Track
He ran out of money with no savings to his name and had to put his career on hold. He moved back in with his parents because he couldn't pay his rent. He sold a lot of the things that he had purchased during his young working career. This helped to pay for his life while he had no income. It was during these five and a half months of recovery, that he knew he needed to make a change.
It was around this time when I was working full time on building my web agency business, Web3. We were designing and developing websites for all types of businesses.
I met up with Alex one day while his leg was still in a cast. He told me about his recent struggles. How in hindsight it was obvious he would end up like this because of his relationship with money. He had no long term financial goals and spent his money as soon as he earned it.
He admitted that he wanted to change his bad habits. If only he had a way to keep himself accountable and review his ongoing progress.
The Lightbulb Moment When Fichest Was Born
That is when the lightbulb switched on and I knew I could help. I offered to build him a dashboard so he could track his money and wealth building progress. He liked the idea and believed that this would be what he needed to get him on the right track.
At the time, I was using a fancy spreadsheet that I had made to track all my finances but it was taking a lot to maintain. Alex didn't love spreadsheets. He preferred a solution where it was simple to see the results in a nice visual way.
That week I hacked together a basic prototype which had 3 main features. There were lots of visual charts tracking budget, spending and net worth. I knew he needed more than those basic functions. But features like investment tracking could get added after he'd mastered the fundamentals.
He got hooked. But because he was not able to work, he couldn't track his current income. So he back-tracked from the previous four years of his working life into the dashboard.
With the numbers there as clear as day, he uncovered some astounding truths.
Even though he had immense fun in the last 4 years, he vowed to make some positive changes. He had high spending, no investments, no assets and consumer debt over his head. It was not how he wanted to live his life moving forward.
Alex was young and able to bounce back with ease. He has a long career still ahead of him. Its been two years since he recovered from his accident and living his best life.
He continues to track his finances and enjoys seeing the growth of his portfolio. As a friend, it's great to see he has the confidence and a long term plan to make great strides with his money.
Since building the dashboard for Alex, Fichest has become more useful. It has dozens of new and improved features. Expanded for far greater use by more Aussies on their financial journey. Its free to use so let me know what you think.