Taking on a second job can fast-track your savings to buy a home. But before you join the ‘one million club’ of Aussies who moonlight a second role, be sure it stacks up financially.
Growing numbers of Aussies are working more than job. The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that more than one million of us are clocking onto a second job — that’s almost a 13% increase over the past 12 months.
For some, taking on a second job can make it easier to balance household budgets. But for others, it’s a temporary step to achieve some personal goals, like an overseas trip or buying a home.
In fact, if you’re saving for a first home, the extra income from a second job has the potential to supersize your deposit or get you into a place of your own sooner.
Know where the jobs are
According to the ABS, a handful of industries dominate the second job market. Nearly one in four (23.2%) second jobs are found in administration and support services. That’s followed by education and training, and health care and social assistance. The hospitality sector and the retail trade are also popular among second jobseekers.
Make sure it stacks up financially
Juggling multiple jobs will likely mean less leisure time, so you need to be sure the sacrifice is financially worthwhile.
It can help for instance, to look for a second job that’s close to your regular workplace so you’re not wasting time (and money) getting from one role to the other.
The good news is that while you can’t normally claim a tax break for the cost of travel to your main job, the cost of travel between two different workplaces is a legitimate tax deduction.
Casual or part-time?
A second work gig can see you employed on either a casual or part-time basis. It’s an important choice because while casual work can be irregular, it generally also pays more per hour.
Weigh up which suits you by considering the demands of your main job, and the flexibility you have to turn up for a casual role at short notice.
Allow for the impact of tax
A second job can have tax consequences. The first $18,200 you earn each year in your main job is not taxable – you get the benefit of a tax-free threshold.
Consider letting your second employer know that you don’t want to claim the tax-free threshold, as it lowers the chance of receiving a bill at tax time. Sure, it may mean paying tax on every dollar earned in your second job, but it’s up to you to decide what will be best for you.
Have a plan for savings
Earning more can make it easier to spend more. Remember that your second job helps you achieve your home buying goal and have a plan of action for the extra cash you’ll earn.
Think about setting up an automatic transfer so that income from your second job goes straight to a savings account. This can do more than grow a deposit, it will also help you develop a healthy history of saving – something lenders love to see.
Don’t let your day job suffer
Job fatigue can be a real issue when you’re clocking onto multiple jobs. Your main job is likely to be your primary source of income, so don’t let a part-time gig spoil your performance in your regular role.
Bear in mind, it may not take a second job to give your income an uptick. You could always take the approach of asking the boss for a pay rise. Research shows that only around one in ten Aussies take this bold step, for among those that do, there’s a 75% success rate. It could be worth a shot.
Better still, talk to your Aussie Broker to know exactly how much income you need. You could be closer to buying a home than you think.