Anthony Hourigan WorkLife Balance
Anthony Hourigan is a man who likes to optimise gains. His family’s sea change saw them shift from Sydney’s inner west to Kiama six years ago, in search of more of the good stuff. Since then he’s set up his own Private Wealth Management firm; Cloudbreak Wealth, yet still finds time to be the Deputy Junior Activities Coordinator of Kiama Downs Surf Club and run informal interval training sessions with a tribe of mates around town. He can often be seen in Kiama sporting more than a passing resemblance to NRL legend Brent Tate, toting a soy flat white from The Hungry Monkey in a keep cup and plotting how to get the most out of every day. Here he sits down to have a WorkLife Balance chat, letting us in on what he doesn’t miss about Sydney, how it is possible to work harmoniously alongside your spouse and where to get the best burger on the South Coast.
How and when did you choose life? What’s your tree change story?
We were living in Sydney up until the end of 2012, then when we had our third daughter Sofia and we moved down to Kiama. We wanted to do it before any of the kids went to school. Our oldest was just about to turn five. My wife Sarah was born in Kiama and her parents were here. Originally the Kiama life was just a bit of a fantasy. Then it became a bit more realistic. We had just reached a point where Sydney was not working for us. There was no community feel. We had a house in Leichhardt, which Sarah loved but I felt no affinity for the area. The thing that grated on my nerves more than anything was the time it took to get things done, whether it was just going to the shops to pick up two or three things, but part of that was a 15 minute car park ordeal. The cost of living was exorbitant. There was just so much wasted time because of the number of people, poor infrastructure and the terrible traffic. You might have picked up I don’t regret leaving Sydney.
What was your greatest fear about making the leap?
What’s really funny is I almost can’t really remember exactly what it was because my fear was so unjustified. We got here and I thought ‘Is that it? Ok! We’ve done it!’ I think it was a bit of a fear of possibly being out of touch with my work and this idea that we going to make the move and then discover that I needed to be in Sydney all the time. It was more a fear of the unknown.
What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
The transition of our working lives. For us it was a little bit easier to make the shift because what I was doing was under structural change anyway, so I was forced to make a decision. It was the question of ‘do I do something I dislike for a long time, move to Sydney’s North Shore, pay big money just to have a bit of a bigger house and continue to work for an industry of institutional stockbroking’ — or; ‘do I do it now, make the clean break from this industry now and start a career in private wealth management?’
Circumstances conspired so I had to make that decision then. I think that made it easier, because if things were still pretty cushy, we would have been complacent, we would have stayed longer, the kids would have had more commitments and we would have been locked in. Sarah at the time was working for the State Government and had just given birth to our third child. The older girls and I literally went from our emptied house to the hospital, picked up Sarah and new baby Sofia, put both into the fully packed car and kept driving down to Kiama. Sarah was going to be taking some time off work anyway, so she took a voluntary redundancy which bought us some time.
How does it work for the rest of the family? What’s been the impact on them?
I know when we bought our house that we have now, versus what we had in Leichhardt, I had this feeling like I was cheating. It seemed like such a great deal in my favour. Halving the cost of living down here was a huge appeal for us. One of our major expenses when we first moved was childcare, but down here we were paying exactly half of what we were in Sydney. Plus there’s the benefit of cheaper regional prices for eating out and let’s not discount not having to pay for parking down here, versus everywhere you went in Sydney. In Sydney, even if we did nothing during the day it would seem to still somehow cost a lot.
What we can offer the girls down here is amazing. We wouldn’t be able to offer anything like that in Sydney. We’re at the beach most days. Their school is five minutes from home. Their activities are five minutes from home. They can play multiple sports, they can have this really healthy lifestyle and live in such a beautiful town and we’re not sacrificing anything. It’s not as if I have to go work in the mines in order to do that. So as far as they go, the lifestyle they have is so much happier than what we would have in Sydney.
What’s the biggest cliché of country life that’s turned out to be true?
Everyone is friendly and knows everything about everyone. It’s pretty funny. This also makes Kiama such a nice place to live as our girls love seeing friendly familiar faces when we are out and about around town and they feel very much a part of the Kiama community. Whenever we take the girls and the dog for a walk everyone is friendly and says hello so you get to know lots of people very quickly.
Is there anything that’s been a surprise to you?
How quickly the time has gone. It’s been a bit more than six years for us and it’s just flown by. It doesn’t feel like we’ve lived here for more than six years.
When it comes to money, how do you make it work?
When we moved down originally I was technically an employee for someone else, but my income was solely derived from business I brought in. So the first five years was spent building that business. Then at the end of last year I went out on my own and started my own business, Cloubdbreak Wealth, which is where I am now, still serving those clients. It’s fantastic being my own boss. It’s one of the best things I’ve done. All of my efforts are now so much more efficient. I’m not wasting time sitting in pointless meetings. If I’m not seeing clients, I’m not getting dressed up unnecessarily. It seems like a small thing, but it’s a symptom of the fact that everything I’m doing now is in service of the business. Sarah is now in here with me in one of the suites at WorkLife most days, but we’re able to work in and around the girls’ schedule. She’ll take them to the bus stop on her way in here, then leave at school pickup and take them off to their various sports. Sarah is now working on the business with me, it’s really become a family outfit. I didn’t realise how much I would need her until she was in here working with me on it. It’s just working so, so well.
What’s your passion project/side gig? Is there anything that you’re hustling on?
Birthing a new business has consumed most of my energy at the moment, considering it’s only six months old. Life is pretty busy. We like to keep active. I’ve got three bikes on the go, and I’m not sure how many surf boards there are. I’d like to get into some ocean paddling soon. We’re pretty active in the surf club. I compete and we were just up at the country championships at Kingscliff a few months ago. I’m the Deputy Junior Activities Coordinator. I’m also sometimes seen around town leading an interval, high intensity group with some mates. We’ll run around and stop at some park benches to get the heart rate going. We also have a bit of a regular Saturday morning thing of getting on some of the race boards from the surf club and do a few km paddle from Kiama Downs over to the Boneyard and then swim around there, it’s probably about a 600 m or 700 m swim and then paddle back home. It’s nice to get out in the water in the early morning. The busier you get, the more things you try to fit in.
Picture your book shelf at home. What’s the one book on it that everyone should borrow?
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo. I’ve read it maybe four times. The analogies in that book have been so spot on for what’s going on in my life each time I read the book. It’s a source of truth. I’ve read it with my eldest daughter and she loved it, and she and I talk about the lessons out of that. It’s a book that I read and I thought; there’s not a single wasted word in it. It was just so concise. It really spoke to me.
What piece of furniture in your house makes you the happiest?
I guess we’ve probably created the most happy memories around our dining table. If that table could talk it would have the most stories to tell.
If people come to the South Coast, what’s the one thing they should eat?
A burger at the Hungry Monkey. They’re just so good. They’re not great for you but they are so tasty. My choice is the Bad Boy. It’s a wagyu beef, dripping in bright, but dark yellow cheddar cheese, it’s got a huge big fried onion ring on it, bacon, special sauce and on a soft bun and it’s really, really good.
What’s your go-to listen for your trips up to Sydney?
I come up to Sydney about once every three weeks and my default listen is podcasts. There are a few; one is called Rules of Investing, by a group called Livewire, then Conversations with Richard Fiedler.
What’s your best productivity hack to get the most out of each workday?
Make a list. I’m still trying to learn how to get myself working the best I can, but if I have a list- if I write everything I think of to do down, no matter how insignificant it is, then work at crossing it off, it makes such a difference.
What’s the best thing about your membership to WorkLife?
WorkLife really solved a big piece of the puzzle when I went out on my own. The convenience is a big thing. Having the membership means I haven’t had to waste time trying to source my own space, furniture, equipment and printers and the like. It’s so easy to book the boardroom and great to be able to take clients into there. Plus the location is also fantastic. And you can be as active with other members as you see fit. There’s no pressure to be doing anything you don’t want to be doing.
Imagine tomorrow is a perfect snapshot of your Best Life. What are you doing?
I am doing my normal morning thing where I get to spend some time with my kids, and they’re being super cooperative and getting ready quickly. My day would then involve some sort of exercise or water activity. Then I would come into WorkLife and get a full day’s work done involving negotiating corporate deals on behalf of my clients and rebalancing portfolios. I’d go have lunch with my gorgeous wife and at the end of the day I’d go for a walk on the beach with the kids, and I’d get to sit somewhere warm and breezy, with my family around, and with a glass of Barossa shiraz in my hand.
You can find Anthony Hourigan and Cloudbreak Wealth at www.cloudbreakwealth.com.au