Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

About

Aussie Firebug is an anonymous blog detailing the journey to financial independence through investing in real estate, low cost index funds and Super. By investing at a young age and consistently it is possible to reach a point where your investments pay you enough money to live off. Once you get to this point you are financially independent (FI) and can retire early (RE) or do better things without the constraint of your job.

If you love your job and wouldn’t trade it for the word than this blog is not for you. If the below sounds familiar than read on:

6:00 AM: Drag yourself out of your nice warm bed into the cold

7:00 AM: Get to the train station and proceed to force your way into the tuna can (the train). Fire up the iPod and hope to god no one talks to you

8:00 AM: Start work

5:00 PM: Finish work and squeeze back onto the big metal sneezing/coughing/nose blowing inhabited worm

6:00 PM: Sort out dinner

8:30 PM – 10:30 PM: Watch the latest Game Of Thrones episode and hang out with your significant other

10:30 PM: Bed

Repeat this for 5 days until your arrive to the GLORIOUS weekend where you have to catch up on all the stuff you need to do (washing, cleaning, paying bills etc.).

If you’re lucky you may get to enjoy one or two activities of pleasure during these two days. And then Sunday night will hit and you start to feel depressed knowing what awaits for the next 5 days.

Repeat this for a whole year and you are entitled to enjoy four whole weeks to yourself before you have to return for another year of modern day slavery… 😐

But not all is lost. You only have to repeat this process for another ~ 45 years until you finally get to hang up the boots and quit work to pursue other ventures without worrying about money to live on because you should have amassed enough assets to live off by now…

I think the above lifestyle is borderline insane and am trying to condense the 45 years of reckless spending into 5-10 years of aggressive saving/investing in order to reach the retirement part years ahead of the current trend. I will be blogging about my frugal lifestyle and investing techniques along the way to reaching financial independence.

 

13 Comments

  1. Adam

    Hi Mate,

    Just stumbled across your blog courtesy of /r/fiaustralia – you and I are in scarily, uncannily similar situations. You’ve got my email from the comment now, I would love to chat and share thoughts and ideas about going from being mid 20’s to FI sooner rather than later. I’ve just bought a property, invested with Vanguard and have similar net worth (no blog though 🙂 )

    Hopefully talk soon,

    Adam

    Reply
  2. Scott

    Just found your blog. We are on the exact same trajectory only I have started quite late. Better later than never though. Currently we save 65% of our income.

    Reply
    • Aussie Firebug

      65% is a fantastic savings rate. You should reach FI in no time 🙂

      Reply
  3. Frankie

    Hey Aussie Firebug,

    Great to see some fellow Aussies taking their futures and finances seriously! I must admit, I’m lucky enough to enjoy my job, and my days are far from the depressing scenario you paint above. But it wasn’t always that way, and I can totally understand the focus on hitting FI ASAP when you feel trapped in the rat race.

    “If you love your job then this is not the blog for you” – well, I kind of do love my job, but I still plan to follow your journey!

    Cheers,

    Frankie

    Reply
    • Aussie Firebug

      Hi Frankie,

      “If you love your job then this is not the blog for you”

      I actually have changed my mind on this one (I wrote that back in 2015). I love my job now but still know the importance of reaching FI.

      Time to up this page I think.

      Thanks for the comment mate 🙂

      Reply
  4. digitaldan

    Wow, you have just hit the nail on the head for what I am trying to achieve. I am nearly 28yo. Aussie, work in digital (mix of marketing, front-end dev and design), and made some massive mistakes in my financial past (as in, I am 10’s of thousands of dollars in debt with very little to show for it and have next to no savings).

    I have recently got a rather hefty pay rise in my 9-5 and have a couple of side hustles that are growing. My first goal is to get my debt from my past sorted (November 7th is the magic date where I will be debt free for the first time in my adult life).

    Cost of living for me is only around 52% of my new take home so I am looking for ways to start making the remaining 48% work for me. I do want to leave myself some wiggle room for fun things (due to my heavy debt past I have not travelled or done any of the usual things people would do in their early 20’s). So I am looking to save/invest about 30% per year, rather than the full 48%.

    I guess my main question is, if you had to start over from in my position, what would be the first thing you would do financially once debt free (increase super contributions, invest in shares or other assets, property, save a tone etc.)?

    Reply
    • Aussie Firebug

      Hi Dan,

      Everyone’s different. But once you have eliminated debt (expect for HECS and/or PPOR loan) I would build up an emergency fund. And then I would invest my savings. Property worked well for me in my younger years because I had a lot of drive and was willing to give up my weekend to add value to my investment with hard work (sweat equity). But these days I prefer the passive investment style ETFs give me.

      There’s a lot to consider which asset class is right for you. What’s your tolerance to risk, volatility, how’s your cash flow position?, when do you want to retire? What time frame?

      Learn as much as you can and make informed decisions.

      Good luck 🙂

      Reply
      • Sats

        Hey Firebug,

        I noticed you said to eliminate debt outside of your PPOR loan. I am yet to pay off my unsecured debt but was wondering what your thought process is behind this. If one was able to save 65% of their income, while paying the minimum required on their PPOR loan would this be advisable? Or is it worth paying down the PPOR debt a bit first before investing in ETFs?

        Keen to hear your thoughts on this

        Reply
        • Aussie Firebug

          Hi Sats,

          It’s a personal preference but I choose to invest rather than pay down ppor debt. My reasoning is that I believe I can get a better return after tax as opposed to the interest I would say by paying down my debt. If interest rates were to jump up, I would switch to paying off my loans.

          It’s defiantly the riskier option and I would probabaly say most people are better off just paying down their loans tbh.

          Reply
  5. Jimmy

    Great read.. first came across your stuff on YouTube and loved that it was an aussie and someone I could relate to closely.. keep it up! Would be great to have updates or a feed on how everyone’s going and yourself?
    Cheers

    Reply
  6. Richard

    I must’ve been ahead of my time. After finishing uni in Melbourne in 1988, I worked as an engineer for 15 years in the telecommunications industry. I worked hard and was very frugal. My goal was to retire before the age of 40. I fulfilled that goal; I retired at the age of 37. Today, I am 52 years of age, in great health and am enjoying my hobbies and my life. One thing I didn’t expect was that it would take me a long time to get rid of my overly-frugal habits. Even today I tend towards the tight-arse side.

    I retired in 2003 with my house paid off, and $1.4 million in income-producing investments. Without working, my investments have grown to around $3.5 million today, and generating around $175,000 per year (before tax). I feel that I was lucky that I was in the right place at the right time – particularly with regards to home ownership. I think it would take me a lot longer to retire if I was just starting out today.

    Reply
    • Aussie Firebug

      Awesome Richard. Would love to have you on the podcast if you’re interested. Hit me up [email protected]

      Reply
  7. Just found Firebug

    Hi – just found the site. Have been living more or less this plan for many years. I did spend the first 3-4 years of work after uni spending instead of saving to enjoy life, on the theory income would likely increase with experience, which luckily turned out true. I then managed to avoid the trap of upping the lifestyle with the income though, which has turned into a savings habit of approx 50% of after tax income. The goal is a having choice in work at 40 – i figure house fully paid off plus $1m in net non-primary house investment buys me that freedom. Whether i retire or work from then on becomes a choice, and it’s the choice that is important, rather than the slavery of having to work.

    Am mid 30’s now, and am on track for that goal. As it has got closer, the discipline actually improves! The mountain looks unclimbable when you start, but now it’s close, i can almost feel the summit.

    One lesson from me I picked up along the same is what i call the “tax effect of expenses”. Every dollar saved through lowering expenses is worth (at least) $2 of wages from higher income. Effective Marginal Tax rates (including various benefit cuts) are between 50-75% for incomes between (approx) $150-250k, depending on the specifics of personal circumstances (eg loss of family tax benefits, loss of child care rebates, loss of health insurance rebates, loss of superannuation contribution tax benefits etc etc – lots and lots of hidden nasty that aren’t regularly talked about because they only target the so-called “rich”). Sure, getting into the tax bracket means you are doing ok financially…..though not as well as the man-on-the-street believes due to the taxes and baseline cost of living. However, in terms of wealth building, in that zone, trying getting ahead via working harder to earn more becomes mathematically impossible due to the very high effective tax rates. So the only tactic left to build wealth is then to cut expenditure!

    This also feeds into investment strategy. Of course, you should invest aiming at the after tax returns, considering super and capital gains system benefits where possible. But if you face taxes and have a non-tax deductible mortgage, then investment decisions becomes easier – pay off the mortgage (thereby also reduce your ongoing run-rate expenses)! At 4.5% mortgage rates, paying off the mortgage has an effective 9% pre-tax investment return risk free. Putting your money into risky and taxable investments looks crazy when you have that option available! And due to things like offset accounts, you can park your cash their for the same benefit, while having liquid options to pounce on lucrative investment opportunities if they do arise.

    The same tax-effect-of-expenses also goes to other things. For example self sustainability on utilities through solar panels and water tanks. A “pre-tax equivalent” investment return on cutting utility bills through capital investment is enormous, 20-30% IRR’s (even better with today’s electricity price rises!). Its not a coincidence that solar panel penetration is highest in “rich” suburbs….

    Anyway, thought i’d contribute ideas and discussion, and thanks for the tips on the site.

    Reply

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