From Hospitals to Home Ownership: How Filipino Nurses Can Build Wealth in Australia

December 25th, 2023

Maria was a nurse in Manila who felt stuck in her career. The long hours and stressful work took a toll, yet her salary barely covered her basic living expenses. When a recruitment agency approached her about working as a nurse in Australia, she saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime.  

The agent painted a rosy picture – higher salaries, a better lifestyle, and even the possibility of owning her own home one day. Maria took the leap of faith and, within a year of arriving in Sydney, had saved enough for a down payment on a small apartment. Five years later, after diligently following her financial plan, Maria purchased a beautiful house in Melbourne outright. 

Maria’s story is an inspiration, but also a model, for Filipino nurses seeking to migrate abroad. With proper planning and discipline, nurses can realize the dream of homeownership in Australia much sooner than they may think. This guide covers key steps for maximizing savings and building wealth.

Evaluating Nursing Job Opportunities in Australia

Australia is expected to see acute nursing shortages over the next decade, meaning demand for migrant nurses will remain high. When assessing potential employers and locations, consider:

Salaries – Base salaries for nurses in Australia are already substantially higher than the Philippines. Can range from $60K-$150K depending on experience and speciality. 

  • Metropolitan areas may pay more 
  • Review award rates carefully

Benefits – Most facilities offer additional allowances, overtime pay, paid leave, superannuation (pension) contributions, insurances, shift bonuses, and more. These can increase total compensation significantly.

Locations – Weigh cost of living against salary packages for different cities and towns. Consider proximity to Filipino communities.

City Average Base Salary
Sydney $70,000
Melbourne $75,000
Perth $80,000
Darwin $90,000

 

Reducing Costs of Settling in Australia  

The high costs of temporary housing, furnishings, transport, and more can burn through savings quickly. To keep expenses low when you first arrive:

– Share apartments with other nurses 

– Bring key household items like linens, appliances, dishes

– Use public transportation while saving up for a car

– Cook meals at home rather than eating out

– Avoid using credit for big purchases

Track spending to identify where to cut back. If housing costs exceed 30% of your salary, consider finding a place farther from the city center. Every dollar saved helps accelerate timelines for major goals.

Creating a Budget and Sticking To It

Once settled into Australia, establishing and sticking to a budget is critical for maximizing savings:

  • Track income – Note recurring salary and any supplemental pay
  • Track expenses – Categorize into fixed needs, variable expenses, and discretionary spending 
  • Set saving goals  – Home down payment target, emergency fund, vacations, etc.
  • Identify waste – Use spending patterns to reduce eating out, impulse buys, etc.
  • Use apps to stay on track – Mint, Pocketbook, Spreadsheets

Aim to save at least 20% of take-home income. Pay yourself first by automating deposits into separate savings accounts for different goals.

Avoiding Common Financial Pitfalls

It’s easy to fall into certain traps that can seriously impede saving capacity:

  • Over-supporting family – Set limits on remittances home. Your financial future must come first.
  • Lifestyle inflation – Avoid “keeping up” with peers’ spending. Stay disciplined. 
  • Lack of emergency funds – Build at least 6 months’ worth of living expenses as a safety net.
  • Frequent travel home – This can erase savings quickly. Limit trips based on budget.

Stay focused on your goals by tracking net worth and savings rates each month. Keep your sights set on the future.

Building Your Savings

Leverage time and healthy returns to make your money work harder through: 

  • Compound growth – Reinvest investment earnings over long time horizons 
  • Automatic deductions – Max out superannuation contributions, set recurring monthly savings deposits
  • Cashback programs – Strategically spend on credit cards that offer sizeable rewards
Years Monthly Savings Total Saved
5 $800 $48,000
10 $800 $115,000
15 $800 $205,000

 

An extra $100/month over 25 years could yield over $250K with compounding!

Investing Your Money

As savings grow, put funds to work generating returns through:

  • Diversified mutual funds – Low-cost index funds provide broad market exposure
  • Australian shares – Strong dividend yields over long term  
  • Investment property – Generate rental income and benefit from capital appreciation  

Consult fee-based financial advisors to create a customized portfolio approach based on risk tolerance and time horizons. Take advantage of tax-preferred superannuation investment options.

Saving for the Down Payment

Saving for a 20% down payment can be challenging but is achievable by:

  • Using mortgage calculators – Determine deposit needed for desired loan amount 
  • Defining longer timelines (e.g 10-15 years)
  • Making extra principal payments whenever possible 

Also take advantage of government assistance like the First Home Super Saver Scheme which promotes using retirement savings for home purchases via tax concessions.

Finding the Right Home Loan 

Don’t leave money on the table by failing to shop around for home loans. Compare many providers on:

  • Interest Rates– Even a 0.5% difference equates to tens of thousands in interest costs    
  • Fixed vs variable rate loans
  • Fees – Application fees, annual fees, discharge fees add up

Use online comparison tools to identify loans best suited for budget and financial situations. Getting pre-approved also provides bargaining power when submitting offers.

If Maria’s disciplined financial plan inspires you to realize the Australian dream sooner, begin by contacting top nurse recruiting agencies to optimize your income and benefits potential. Once hired, implement savvy budgeting strategies and tax-advantaged investing to accelerate your savings. Stay laser focused on your destination – owning your piece of the Australian dream faster than you thought possible. For personalized guidance on strategic property planning and investing, Empire 8 Property offers complimentary consultations to evaluate your needs and risk factors. Take the first step today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Filipino Nurses Building Wealth in Australia

  1. Q: Why should Filipino nurses consider migrating to Australia for work?

A: Australia offers higher nursing salaries, better work-life balance, and potential for long-term financial growth, making it an attractive opportunity for Filipino nurses seeking career advancement.

  1. Q: What factors should nurses consider when evaluating job opportunities in Australia?

A: Consider base salaries, benefits (allowances, overtime pay, superannuation), and location-related costs. Researching cities, their average salaries, and proximity to Filipino communities can help in decision-making.

  1. Q: How can nurses reduce initial settling costs in Australia?

A: Nurses can share accommodations, bring essential household items, use public transportation initially, cook at home, and avoid unnecessary credit for large purchases to keep initial costs low.

  1. Q: What budgeting strategies are recommended for Filipino nurses in Australia?

A: Create a detailed budget, track income and expenses, set saving goals, and use budgeting apps. Aim to save at least 20% of take-home income and automate savings to achieve financial objectives.

  1. Q: What common financial pitfalls should nurses be aware of?

A: Nurses should set limits on remittances, avoid lifestyle inflation, build emergency funds, and limit frequent trips back home, as these factors can impact their ability to save and invest.

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