Photograph of Dr Kate Joyner with the text Women in Wealth: Dr Kate Joyner. climbing the corporate ladder, studying and buying a place on your own

Kate Joyner came from humble beginnings. She has worked her way up through her career in the education sector and public service completing her undergraduate, Master of Business Administration and PhD qualifications alongside working and caring for her family and also saving to purchase her first unit. This article details Kate’s insights, sacrifices and journey towards buying a unit in Brisbane on her own and provides some key insights for first home owners.


  • Age when purchasing her first property: 40
  • Deposit saved: $70,000
  • Life mantra: “Don’t worry, be happy”

I met Kate several years ago when we both started our new jobs at the same workplace. I feel lucky to take part in her intellectual conversations and hear more about her interests and passions.

Kate started her career as a music teacher in State Schools, moving into private schools. In her late 20s she decided to make the most of the Government scheme at the time that allowed for free tertiary education to pursue her next tertiary qualification, her Master of Business Administration (MBA), alongside full time work. At the end of her degree she moved into her next career as a researcher at a university, allowing her to expand her network and also became passionate about and developed a Women in Leadership program. Kate’s next career step came when she moved over to the public service and as well as developing facilitation skills, finding the topic for her PhD and also decided with the good stable job and employment that after a period of saving that the time was right to buy her first house. In between Kate took a break to care for her sick Mother. Shortly after Kate’s Mother passed she completed her PhD. Since this time Kate has gotten married, bought her childhood home with her husband and renovated it to provide a space to live for them and their extended family to live. Kate is now a Corporate Educator at my workplace, the Director of our Emerging Leadership Program and the host of a Podcast, Exec Insights where she interviews thought leaders on contemporary leadership practices. In this interview Kate shared some insights as a single, independent woman and what she learnt buying her first home.

Develop a new definition of status

Kate has come to a higher level of thinking in relation to the way she views status that behavioural economists do not think that human beings can get to.

She suggests you think about where you fit in the world and push to think more rationally about why you want certain items. A process Kate suggests is to think carefully about what is better in a long term situation. She describes this process as;

“Taking a step back to take a step forward”

For Kate family, community and relationships lie firmly at the centre. Because of the rational process she has been able to really use her financial position to help others including caring for several members of her family.

One of these rational choices over the years have been driving old and reliable practical vehicles, in this sense Kate is exactly on the same page as my favourite finance podcaster, Dave Ramsey. Kate truly lives like no one else so that she can live and give like no one else.

Questions to ask when buying your first unit

Kate is from humble beginnings and her Dad passed away when she was a child. She has carved out her financial journey entirely alone.

She managed to save a $70,000 deposit on her own by sacrificing travel and luxury cars. This was very difficult and meant that Kate really to focus on her goals as at times she felt she was not getting ahead.

Before buying her first apartment she went to see a Financial Planner because she did not know how to buy a home which in hindsight she said was a mistake.

Kate is the Chair of the Body Corporate of her unit complex and noted a number of points for people buying units to consider:

  • Ask for a copy of the Body Corporate minutes
  • Find out what is in the sinking fund to accommodate future expenses
  • Find out whether it is a happy Body Corporate
  • Investigate whether the fees are comparable to other unit complexes
  • Talk to other residents
  • Be aware that governance impacts on your unit and your investment
  • Investigate flood zoning
  • Find out whether the Body Corporate enforces bylaws

Kate’s top column she recommends reading is by writer Michael Yardley who has some excellent insights for people buying a unit.

Buying a home will change your life

When signing the dotted line Kate said she felt a number of different emotions, she felt scared but psychologically happier and felt like it was a turning point in her life. The unit provided Kate with some certainty beyond renting as she knew where she was living and could control her costs.

Initially Kate needed to do some work to plan through her new budget with new expenses such as water, rates and body corporate fees. She said the unit purchase was challenging in the first five years and she got used to a frugal routine in the first five years to adjust to the new costs alongside completing her PhD.

Kate’s top tips

  • Buy a property as soon as you can
  • Think carefully when purchasing depreciating assets such as vehicles as these go down in value very quickly
  • Check out charity shops in affluent areas for beautiful, expensive brands for a fraction of the price
  • Think about purchasing your first unit as an investment and how you can maximise the loan and future potential on the property through putting money into your offset account and focusing on additional super contributions
  • Stay curious and interested in finance – Kate loves reading blogs and listening to podcasts and in the last few years has really enjoyed Australian, Noel Whittaker’s column and Economist, Russ Roberts’ podcast, Econ-Talk
  • Think and plan for the next step

Thank you Kate for your insights, your strength and commitment to your family and the community alongside working towards your goals continues to inspire my journey.

Be my next Women in Wealth

Would you like to be featured as my next Women in Wealth? I’ve been searching and speaking to women that have successfully purchased property and achieved things on their own to help inspire my journey as a single female working to purchase my first home on my own. If you are a woman that is succeeding in the area of personal finance or you know of a woman with some insights to share please get in touch.

The Economiss is a single, female, millennial on a mission to buy her first home in Australia. A Kiwi by birth, she jumped over the ditch after she finished her tertiary qualifications in search of employment. The narratives quite often showing up online overshadowed her thoughts of buying a house alone changed in 2017 The Economiss started super charging her finances and saved over 30% of her after tax income towards her house deposit as well as cash flowing four overseas trips. In 2018 The Economiss decided to create a new narrative and share her journey saving 36% of her after tax income for a $60,000 house deposit by December 2018. Do you have some tips to share or want to be featured on the blog, please get in touch!

Women in Wealth: Kate Joyner

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