Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

Financial Goals 2018

Financial Goals 2018

 

 

Before I get into the 2018 goals, I want to go over my 2017 financial goals and see how I did.

 

 

 

2017 GOALS  

 

Obtain a savings rate of 65% or better

Achieved = No ❌


I usually do EOFY write-ups that go into details how much we spent and what we spent it on. But just quickly crunching the numbers to give an EOCY savings rate came out as follows:

 

Total expenses for 2017 (give a day or two): $47,371

Total money made (post-tax): $130,716

 

Savings rate for 2017 = 64% 😫😫😫

 

C’mon!

 

We missed our goal by 1%! 😭😭😡😡

 

Ahh well. We are still fine tuning as much as possible and finding new ways to save money.

 

There’s always next year right?

 

 

 

Reach $100K in ETFs

 

Achieved = Yes ✅

 

We finished 2017 with over $125K in ETFs with plans to keep adding to that pile in 2018!

 

 

 

Release a Podcast Monthly

 

Achieved = No ❌

 

2017 has been the biggest year yet for the podcast. I missed three months (May, June, and November) where I didn’t release a podcast/audio post. 9/12 ain’t so bad. I’ll try to get one out each month in 2018 👊

 

 

 

 

Revamp Homepage

 

Achieved = No ❌

 

Really angry with myself for this one. I redesigned the homepage at the start of the year but I kept on putting it off because it wasn’t ‘perfect’. There are a few days left in 2017 whilst writing this. So I may publish it, but I most likely will have to do it next month. I wanted to make the homepage more user-friendly with a logic flow of what articles to read and a bit more direction.

 

 

 

 

Write More About Super

 

Achieved = No ❌

 

Wow, I’m doing terrible with these goals so far lol. Super was something requested a lot. I’m actually looking for some Super experts out there to come onto the podcast. So if you know of anyone please shoot me a message or leave a comment below.

 

 

2018 GOALS

 

 

The big financial goals are similar to last year

  • Obtain a savings rate of 65% or better
  • Reach $200K in ETFs
  • Get to $550K+ in net worth
  • Make monthly checks to the above goals as part of my monthly net worth posts

As far as website goals:

  • Redesign homepage and whole site
  • Find a Super expert to interview on the podcast
  • Update the Australian FIRE Calculator
  • Get to 500 Facebook likes

 

That should keep me pretty busy this year.

 

 

What about you? How did you go with your financial goals in 2017? And what goals are you setting for the next 12 months?

 

 

Financial Goals 2017

Financial Goals 2017

As 2016 comes to an end I’d like to reflect back on what was achieved and set new goals for the coming year.

I’m a big believer in setting goals and making deadlines for them.

One of my favourite quotes:

a-goal-without-a-plan-is-just-a-wish

I really like it because everyone has dreams, but very few actually put in the work required to realise those dreams. Too many people (myself included) think of doing something great but it just never happens because you don’t put any pressure on yourself and rely purely on motivation.

Motivation only lasts so long and when it runs out you should be relying on habit/routine to get the job done. “I’m just not motivated today” is the wrong attitude. Everyone starts the project with motivation, but it’s the habits formed that will see the project completed.

It’s so important to actually map out a plan of attack for your dream no matter how small it is and say to yourself:

“I’m going to have X done by this time next week/month/year”

And then break the task up into smaller sub tasks if it’s a big project. But make sure you set a time and date that you want it completed by or else it will get pushed to the side every time.

I have a rule with this blog that I MUST write a minimum of two posts per month no matter what! No excuses!

This has led to me publishing a new post at 11:30PM once with work on the next day. That’s the price I pay for not being more organised.
 

What Did I Achieve In 2016?

2016 was a huge year for me personally and financially.

I

  • Moved into a share house
  • Watched as the RBA cut the cash rate twice to 1.5%
  • Watched Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal party get elected
  • Had 2 properties gain and one lose value over the course of the year
  • Joined financial forces with my partner
  • Bought around $50K worth of ETFs
  • Moved in with my partner
  • Broke into the $200K net worth club (so close to the $250K damit!)

I originally wanted to buy another investment property and dip my toes into ETFs for 2016. But the more I thought about it, the more I was leaning towards ETFS.
 

2017 Financial Goals

setandreachgoals

My big financial goals that I want to achieve by the end of the year are

  • Obtain a savings rate of 65% or better
  • Reach $100K in ETFs

They are both very measurable goals and are something I can review monthly to track how I’m going.

My big goals for the blog are:

  • Try to release a podcast every month. It’s the number one thing I get requests for. I love doing them too I just find it hard to find guests
  • Revamp the home page
  • Write more about Super

 

What Are Your Goals?

What do you hope to achieve financially on your way towards FIRE in 2017?

 

Rentvesting

Rentvesting


 
What a horrible mash-up of words. Rentvesting? Rent-Investing? Rentvestor?

Yuck!

While the term itself doesn’t sit well with me, the underlying principles defiantly do and I think a ton of millennials could benefit from it, so listen up muchacho’s!

What The Hell Is Rentvesting?

Put simply ‘rent where you want to live, while you invest where it makes sense’

If you’re a citizen of Sydney or Melbourne, you may know about the incredible median house prices.

The stock standard formula for buying a house used to be:

  1. Get a good job
  2. Save enough money for the deposit
  3. Buy house
  4. Pay off the loan
  5. Live happily ever after

But as the great Bob Dylan once said

bobdylan

The new formula is now this:

  1. Get Arts degree
  2. Skip smashed avocado for 6,363 days
  3. Pay your deposit
  4. Spend the rest of your life paying off your loan
  5. Enter death blissfully knowing your financial situation will not follow you to the afterlife

I kid I kid.

But the point I’m trying to make is that the old school conventional way of buying a house in our two biggest cities doesn’t work anymore for the majority of people without financial help from their parents or inheritance.
This is because the game has changed! It ain’t what it used to be when ma and pop were hunting for a house.

Can Rentvesting Help?

Absolutely!

As I have already explained with my Rent vs Buy article, renting is cheaper 90% of the time.

And if you live in either inner Melbourne or Sydney, this becomes 110% of the time.

So instead of taking on a mortgage in either of these two cities, why don’t you rent for a few years and invest where it makes sense to do so.

Rentvesting can get you into the housing market without the financial stress when buying in inner Melbourne and Sydney.

How Does It Work?

homer-rubix

One rentvesting example might be ‘Harry Hipster’ from inner city Melbourne complaining that the housing market is rising faster than he can save for a deposit.

Harry desperately wants to enter the property market but cannot save enough for the deposit and is unsure if he will be able to make mortgage repayments without at least a 20% deposit. Caution Harry is also extremely hesitant about the Melbourne market being in a bubble and is worried that prices could come crashing down just after he has bought.

He has been very cautious of a potential crash for more than a decade now and year after year he has seen friends and family around him buy real estate and increase their wealth. He’s sick of being on the side lines but can’t afford to buy in inner Melbourne.

Harry discovers rentvesting and decides to take his savings and invest interstate where the property market is more affordable. The collected rent would cover the majority of costs associated with the investment with plenty of upside for capital growth.

Rentvesting has allowed Harry to get into the property market without the mortgage stress he would have had if he had bought in inner Melbourne. Furthermore, if Harry’s financial situation changes he can adapt quickly.

If Harry gets a raise, he can move into some place more luxurious. Maybe he loses his job? No worries, he can move somewhere more affordable until he finds his feet again. None of these luxury can be had once you lock yourself into a mortgage that you’re paying for. The investment property is an asset not a liability. The mortgage on the IP is not paid for by Harry, he has tenants that are paying that loan off for him.

After a few years Harry may decide to sell the IP getting back his savings plus whatever capital growth occurred during the years and use this money as a down payment for an inner Melbourne house. The entire time, Harry was in the property market and benefiting from whatever gains occurred instead of missing out on the sidelines. Harry was also not under financial stress and had the flexibility to live wherever he wanted to based on the circumstances he was in that year.

 

PROS CONS
thumbs-up No mortgage stress thumbs-down You won’t be paying off your home to live in. There is a psychological connection to be paying off something that’s yours. Renting can feel like dead money
thumbs-up Ability to save and invest more thumbs-down No security in renting. Can get kicked out anytime
thumbs-up Exposure to the property market sooner thumbs-down Rentvesting is for the disciplined! A mortgage can act as a forced savings mechanism. Rentvesting relies on you having the discipline to stick to a budget and not blow the extra cash.
thumbs-up Flexibility to change your biggest expense (living costs) when it suits you.
thumbs-up Start building your wealth now not later
thumbs-up Invest on your terms. 9/10 the place you want to live in is not the best investment. Rentvesting allows you to live where you want and invest where it makes sense.
thumbs-up Frees up cash flow for more smashed avocado on toast ??

Conclusion

With the two biggest cities in Australia being more expensive than ever, more and more Australians are struggling to get their foot into the property market. Rentvesting can be used to get into the market without having the stress of paying a mortgage yourself.

Rent where you want to live, invest where it make sense.

My partner and I are rentvestors and have no plans to buy a house to live in anytime soon. This gives us the flexibility and freedom that we want this time in our lives. When circumstances change, we have the flexibility to adapt.

Are you currently rentvesting? Why? Why not?

Thoughts and feelings in the comment section below.

My Savings Rate 15/16

My Savings Rate 15/16

Lets talk savings rate for a second. It is in my opinion THE most important factor to FI (financial independence) and determines a lot of things like:

  1. Whether you actually reach FI
  2. How long it will take you to reach FI
  3. Gives you a clear indication as to what your FI number is

It’s really the foundation for the concept of financial independence retire early (FIRE) which is what this entire blog is about.

There are only three things you need to do in order to become extremely wealthy:

  1. Spend less than you earn
  2. Invest the rest
  3. Wait

The very first step in becoming rich enough to retire early is to save your money. The second step is what gets most of the limelight and chatter.

Investing.

But don’t get it twisted. You won’t EVER invest your way to FI if you don’t spend less than what you earn, because that’s… you know…impossible.

And finally the third step is the time you have to let compounding interest dominate for you.

There could be an argument made for the amount of time you have as the most important factor but it’s kinda out of your control as in you 1. don’t know how much time you have (could die tomorrow) and 2. Can’t change it even if you knew you had X amount of years left. You have a lot more control over whether you spend less than you earn.

 

Savings Rate For Last Financial Year

Let me cut to the chase.

My savings rate for last financial year was…

74.39%

Last financial year I made $72,105.04 (after tax) and spent $18,468.42.

One of my top ten tips (LINK TO TIPS) I suggest to people trying to save money is always, always track your spending.

As the old saying goes ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’.

You cannot set a plan of attack without knowing exactly how much you spend. You know roughly what your income is going to be, you then need to plan for the amount you want to spend each year to achieve your goal of whatever spending rate you choose.

 

 

Breakdown Of Spending

There are two ways you can track your spending:

  1. The hardcore way = manually inputting ever transaction into an Excel spreadsheet
  2. The easy way = Using an online service that feeds into you bank account (something like pocketbook)

I use the easy way but there is absolutely no problems using the hardcore method.

Let’s have a look at where my cash went last year

SavingsRateoverallBar

 

Below is the same data but represented in a pie chart.

SavingsRateoverall

One of my favorite features of Pocketbook is its ability to create sub categories. My biggest expense is my car for example. I spent a  total of $3,385.61 dollars on it last FY. But that’s a little vague isn’t it. Luckily I recorded sub categories for it and can dig deeper into the overall ‘car’ category to see it.

CarSpending

Pretty cool huh.

The software lets you see where the costs came from and even what months you spent the most amount on. The above are screenshots only, but this graph is actually interactive which is pretty cool because you can un-select multiple sub categories from above and the pie will change and you will see the spending per month change on the fly. This sort of stuff really excites my inner finance geek (what a sad existence I live lol)

 

 

Before You Ask

There are a lot of things missing or not quite right with my above spending, so before anyone points it out let me set the record straight!

  • I only moved out of home at the start of this year hence why my rent is quiet low and overall expenses
  • Everything above is only my income and expenses. I do however pay for me and my partner some times (like for dinners and what not) but she also pays for things too so it’s hard to keep track of that. We have not yet joined finances
  • My rent ($110 a week) covered gas, electricity , internet, and water. This was a room share deal in the county (cheap as chips)
  • I don’t pay a phone bill…sorta. I pay the minimum which is around $20 bucks I think, every six months so I can keep my number from Telstra, this small expense falls under utilities. This means a don’t have credit and can’t call people when I’m out and about. It usually blows people minds when I tell them I don’t pay for credit and am not on a plan. But with the availability of open wifi’s increasing, it is my opinion that we will see less and less people buy cellular data/credit unless they’re in a remote area. Nearly all calls and messaging will be done through the internet in the future
  • I have not included the costs (or incomes) of my investments
  • I have not included my accounting fees because they are a deductible expenses associated with my investments. In the end I plan to transition completely to index funds and will be doing the accounting myself. Anything investment wise I keep off because I would then need to include the income generated by those investments to be fair and that would get tricky
  • Costs associated with this blog are not included
  • Going out to eat as an activity fall under ‘Entertainment’, food is where we had to eat somewhere but not as an activity (like at a petrol station) and groceries are anything bought at the supermarket
  • I group ‘Holidays’ as one big expense and than create sub categories for each holiday. Anything that is spent on the holiday falls under that sub category holiday. If we buy groceries during a holiday, it will be categorizes as the holiday and not as groceries. Gives me a better indication about how much the holiday costs me
  • ‘Presents’ covers gift to myself and others (Christmas, Fathers day, Valentines day etc.)
  • ‘Personal’ covers health related things like physio, dentist, ambulance insurance etc.
  • And no I don’t have any kids. The one expense for ‘Kids’ is because I recently became an Uncle

 

 

How Do You Compare?

I like to compare the savings rate to the nutrition for a professional bodybuilder. Some people say that Bodybuilding is 80% nutrition and only 20% the other stuff (training and sleep). You can’t out exercise a bad diet. Period.

You can train the house down 6 hours a day 7 days a week, but if you’re not fueling your body with the right amounts nutrients it needs to function and repair itself then you’re not going to see results.

This is the same for those striving for FIRE. A healthy savings rate enables you to invest capital. The better the savings rate, the better the results are going to be.

It’s a rookie mistake among first time gym goers. They concentrate so hard on their routine and make sure they put a solid 2 hours in, only to swing by McDonald’s on the way home from the gym thinking they have improved their health.

You would have been better off simply eating a healthy meal and NOT going to the gym!

Optimism your savings rate first, and then concentrate on the investing part.

A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Where as a dollar made isn’t really a dollar, it’s more like 0.70c because of tax. Think about that for a moment.
I would love to know what your savings rate looks like. Have you optimized your expenses so much that my measly 74% savings rate pales in comparison? Maybe this was an eye opener and now you have something to aim for?

Thoughts, feelings and emotions in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

Podcast – Ben Everingham: The Stars Align In Paris…

Podcast – Ben Everingham: The Stars Align In Paris…


 

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In this episode I chat to Ben Everingham who was able to retire from full time work at the age of 29. 

Ben knew he was not wired the same as everyone else when he started working full time and quickly discovered that the ‘normal’ working life was never going to make him happy. After a Euro trip at 19 and finishing Uni, Ben was able to land a great job in Sydney earning over 6 figures. Most would think that they have it made with a great job straight out of Uni but after working a while Ben knew that this job was never going to satisfy him long term and whilst the money was great, he was miserable.

After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, Ben’s eyes had been opened up to the possibility of investing and business ownership. Eager to get started, Ben was able to purchase 6 properties within 4 years and started his own business, thus achieving his goal of quitting full time work before the age of thirty…

 

Transcript:

Aussie Firebug

Welcome to the Aussie Firebug podcast where we talk about finical Independence in Australia

Today’s guest is Ben Everingham who managed to retire froem full time work at the amazing age of 29

Welcome to the podcast Ben

Ben

Thank you so much, excited to be here

Aussie Firebug

I guess we’ll start with, lets just go back to the very beginning

When did you know you wanted to be financially independent?

Or when did you even discover the concept of being financially independent?

Ben

That’s a really interesting question, so there is probably two key stories for me that really stand out from things that have happened over the last ten years that were really meaningful

One was when I was 19, we were sitting around having some beers with about 20 of my mates at the times at the age when you still have the big crew of people that you hang out with at the weekend.

We were sitting around and someone suggested that we book a trip to Europe in a couple of months, so the next day four boys and myself went and booked the trip and two months later we were over there.

It was the exact sort of trip that you would imagine a 19 year old would sort of do and that was sort of the partying and having a fun time.

I got to this point actually it was probably 6 weeks into the 8 week trip and I’m sitting watching the sun set on my own in Paris watching the sun set behind the Eiffel tower and I was sitting there and I know this may sound a little strange but as I was looking at the Eiffel tower and I was looking at the sky and at that time the sky looked extremely chaotic to me and all of a sudden, I looked up again and it was almost like it was…this is really odd especially for me…it was almost like the starts had become straighter and align themselves and it was like my future was opened up to me and I knew at that point I had to do something difference it was a massive transformation experience for me

Aussie Firebug
Wow that’s quite the epiphany

Ben

Haha I don’t even know if I believe in this stuff. but it was one strange moment that, like it was literally like it was my future was mapped out in front of me and I knew not at the time what I needed but I knew that was on my way and so I came back and moved to Queensland from Sydney. I thought that in that time of my life I needed to get away from lot of influences in my life that were, you know a lot of party people and not a lot of people that were really going anywhere and so I started fresh and that was the first major experience

Aussie Firebug

Wow that’s crazy

So let’s just rewind a bit, so you were 19, were you working full time at that stage or at Uni?

Ben

Yeah I dropped out of Uni about 6 months into my course and it was my second gap year. I took two gap years basically. So I had been working full time for about six month saving for the trip

Aussie Firebug

And was that an eye opener? Because I know for me when I first started working full time, it was mind blowing. I always knew the hours and I know people went off and worked 8-5 Monday to Friday but it’s not until you actually start doing it I think…it’s such a full on experience…OMG it’s just so much time I’m at work. And I quite like my job. I don’t know if you went through a same experience. But I remember my first year that I was just like “this is crazy!” and I don’t even work that many hours.

I have mates that do the fly in fly out work and their working 4 weeks straight with one week off. This is mental! It’s wasting so much life?

Did you have a similar experience in them 6 months when you were saving for your trip?

Ben
Absolutely I knew from the first day I started my first job that I wasn’t wired the same way as the people I was working with. My first job was with the major elevator company as a laborer or a laccy one of the electricians and I just realised I was wired differently straight away like I wasn’t interested in taking breaks I was just interested in interested in getting the job done as quickly as possible and getting the hell out of there. I worked in that job for the six months before a left and I used to have this guy who was about sixty years of age who used to ride me every day and the day that I left he said sorry to see you go, you were the best young employee we have had here and I really thought you could have gone a long way. And I was like your half the reason I was bailing on this job because you are such an ass to me for that period of time. Ha ha hah. It’s funny how, how things come around like. It was definitely an eye-opener and it is something I would definitely never want to do it again.

Aussie Firebug

Right so you knew that you didn’t want work full-time for the rest of your life. And you go on this trip and the stars align and your like something is happening here I need to change my path so then how do you then, from that moment… because a lot of people don’t realise that financial independence is a thing. I remember reading about it, I was like my mind was just blown, I was like you just keep buying these things that make you money assets, and if you buy enough assets they can replace your income. My mind was just blowing when I read that I was like that so simple why hasn’t anyone told me about that before or why haven’t I heard that before. Then I had my doubts, I’m interested to know your experience with that. Was that something that you’ve always been around all is their family members that had reached it would do you discover that on your own?

Ben
No unfortunately I had to discover that my own not a lot of people that I grew up with all their families or my families had a huge amount of surplus money at the end of the week or the months so fast forward from Europe four years I was finishing a university degree in about six months before finishing the degree I picked up this book by Robert Kawasaki called Rich dad poor dad. I’m sure a lot of people listen and have read that book it such a foundational book for a lot of people as well. And I read this book and I just said, holy shit. It completely opened up my eyes to what is possible and from that moment forward I knew that assets and businesses were better than wages and jobs. I focused on buying assets as soon as I finish university with the intention as soon as I have the right skill set to go out to succeed to leave full-time work and start a business.

Aussie Firebug
Yeah I almost had an identical experience. Rich dad poor dad was actually the second financial book but I ever read. I originally read Stephen McKnight’s book 0 to 135 properties in 3.5 years. That’s an awesome book. I remember the same sort of thing, just reading that and your like this is like so up my alley and why isn’t everyone doing this. Rich dad poor at is a really good mindset one I think, gets you to think about things differently. It just makes so much sense, when I was reading that I was like this this is exactly what I wanted to do. You know trading your time for money for 40 or 50 years and relying on the government to help you out with retirement just seemed crazy to me. I always have in the back of my head, that people were actually retiring early and that just blew my mind. And I just had to get there as soon as possible. Yes that book was a big eye-opener for me as well

Ben
I remember something that happened to me post university. I was lucky, I got accepted into one of the big companies in Sydney’s graduate programs, for a lot of people that’s a fast track way to make a career. I realise that once I finished high school, done the degree gone and worked the big corporate job I still was never going to be fulfilled doing that. It was at that point I went on a trip with my girlfriend who is now my wife to Bali after working with IBM for a couple of years. She said your miserable and you’ve got to leave and at that point again we packed up a second time and moved from Sydney to Queensland and from that moment forward I didn’t make a single decision again based on fear or lack or something that wasn’t in alignment to where I truly wanted to be. And I just decided from that point on I would actively gain the skills required to actually be a business owner as opposed to an employee long-term.

Aussie Firebug
Right so you knew that working for someone else and doing the normal 9-to-5 day grind career sort of thing wasn’t for you. So you read Rich dad poor dad, was investing or businesses your first preference. Where did you sort of go from there?

Ben
So investing was definitely my first preference because I came from mindset which is probably like a huge amount people in your audience which is you have to follow a certain path to achieve a certain result and that path is School, University, great job paying a huge amount of money, and maybe investing in a couple of properties and retiring.

For me I listen to this guy a huge amount when I exercised called Jim Ronan who talks about financial independence and achieving financial independence. His first goal for every employee is to replace their full-time wage while their working in their job. And then he goes on to say that he replaced his full-time wage by three times before he left his job. That was always my goal, so I was earning good money over six figures by the time I was 23/24. And I was looking to replace my wage by three times which was a ridiculous goal. I don’t know why I had that goal, it was probably because I was listening to him so much and I thought that was financial independence. Where it ended up being someone further down the track that convinced me to leave my job because I replace my basic living expenses and I was ready to move on and do what I love full time.

Aussie Firebug
Right so you went down that investing road first and you discovered property, why properties what attracted you to property?

Ben
I think the number one attraction to me was that I understood it. I have met people during university that were millionaires through property and I knew that they weren’t smarter than me, I knew that you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist. And I just love it, I love the concept of buying something of average quality with potential and manufacturing potential into the deal. And I also thought the one thing you can do with property was use leverage. I only had a $20,000 deposit within the first year of leaving uni and I knew that 20 grand leveraged in shares might have only been about $40,000 I could buy whereas with property at the time I could buy a 400,000 asset using first home buyers grants and things like that. So for me that was extremely attractive because leveraged and compound interest to me is what it’s all about

Aussie Firebug
So what sort of property investor would you say that you are? Are you buy and hold sort of guy or are you into developments or renovations?

Ben
I’m all about buying and holding now but by buying and holding I develop or renovate. I will never just buy and hold something and hope that the market goes up I will make sure I can manufacture at least $100,000 plus into the deal before I even buy.

Aussie Firebug
You retired from full-time work at 29 do you work at all these days?

Ben
I actually work harder than I have ever before. But I actually work doing what I love every single day which is helping other people buy property. It’s my passion I am absolutely obsessed with this stuff it’s all about contribution now as opposed to making cash though.

Aussie Firebug
It’s funny that you say that work harder than you ever have before because I read a lot about people that have made it to the end goal. They’ve reach financial independence… because some people do it without ever starting their own business. They just work their 9-to-5 today job and they slug it until they have enough investments to cover their living expenses which is totally Ok way to do it. It’s interesting to read about those people into a like that is a lot of say that when they get to the end of the journey, like they only have six months to go and theoretically should be able to retire really soon. Suddenly working this job is a lot better and waking up to go to the job is suddenly not as difficult and not so much doom and gloom as it was before like it was 10 years earlier and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Is that psyche sort of in your mind, you could turn around tomorrow and say hey I don’t want to do this I have enough money from my investments to retire and not work whenever I want to. Do you think that plays any part of it in what you doing now and why you work as hard as you do?

Ben
For me I would never be content it’s just not my nature. I come from a competitive sports background type, I can’t help it I love being involved in the game. I don’t want to be a spectator to life. For me I get a lot of my needs for significance and contributions through my day job now. For me those basic needs like survival and basic living needs are met and those things that are a little bit further up the chain to me get met through work. I’ve tried to sort of kickback, saying that. We have taken at least 12 weeks off in the last 12 months to travel and holiday and spent time the family. We will work extremely hard but will work extremely focused as well. It changes the way you work from 9-to-5 to working extremely hard for stints and then playing or relaxing extremely hard to stints as well.

Aussie Firebug
That’s awesome that you have the flexibility to do that and is one of the main things that attracts me to strive for financial independence so it can give you just that, the independence to do whatever you want and go on holidays and spend more time with your family. I know now I’m working full-time and it’s crazy, like I have a partner and I play footy, I swear I hardly have any time as it is now. I commute now each way to work which doesn’t help that but still, I’m thinking down the track and see people having kids now and am thinking how am I going to get the time to do everything I enjoy, seeing I already don’t have enough time as it is now and I know what people do when that happens they have to give up something, they drop the gym they drop the footy they drop something they like doing this just like work kids and there is very little fun time in between for yourself. And I just did not want to be in that position which is why am trying to get to where I’m going. Having children now yourself, you have two kids, that must be an absolute pleasure to you and your wife to know that you have that flexibility.

Ben
absolutely to me a huge part of our motivation now comes from our kids. Kids changed everything. One thing growing up is that my dad worked really really hard he come from absolutely nothing. From the time I was one half to the time I was four and a half we literally lived in a caravan while they saved for their first property. They bought their first property when interest rates were at 18%. My dad couldn’t buy a beer at the end of week that how hard it was. I learn’t from observing them that one, I don’t want to miss those early stages which is why I left work when my daughter was a year and a half, I’ve already felt like I’ve lost more than enough time in her life.
And secondly my dad ended up turning his situation around by turning around buying some great investment properties and starting some really successful businesses that are still running 15-20 years later. Listening to them and seeing the things that they missed out on that if they have made decisions at the age that you and I are their time now would be completely different. I don’t want to trade time for money and I don’t want to miss out the most important things which is being able to say yes to most of to the things that you really care about and to find time for the things that inspire you to do your best work and not to just exist there for a pay cheque.

Aussie Firebug
Sounds like he was a bit of an entrepreneur himself. Sounds like you’re a bit of a chip off the old block. Sounds like your old man had some influence on you.

Ben
Yeah sure he showed me it’s possible and he didn’t have a businesses that failed. I never looked at business is a risk as I could see how it could work.

Aussie Firebug
Absolutely and I think it’s a big thing about it to see people who have actually done it. Before I knew any about anything to do with financial investing and financial freedom and all that. Once you discover it, I went to a heap of property conferences and I’m meeting all these people and it’s like whoa they’re actually out there, these people actually doing it and now I’m interviewing yourself that retired from work at 29 its crazy. It’s awesome, you have that the back your mind that this might be possible, you read about it but when you meet someone who is actually doing it that puts it into perspective and it really validates it that this is the actual thing. You manage to retire from full-time work at 29. Your parents managed to buy a property when interest rates at 18%. Do you think properties in the two capital cities are unattainable and what would you say to people for people looking to buy properties in the two capital cities where the prices are very very high at the moment. What are your thoughts on that and that current situation.

Ben

I wouldn’t touch Sydney or Melbourne personally with a 10 fioot pole. I mean if you paid me to invest their down there now I wouldn’t even considerate it. And that’s because something that I read by Warren Buffett a long time ago is don’t rush into markets that are at their peak and don’t buy markets where everybody else has just bought. Like the successful people in Sydney and Melbourne are the people that have own properties the 10 years and have cashed out or made equity through this boom. They are not the people who have just bought in the last 12 months. My thoughts is that there are parts of both of those markets that of extremely affordable and extremely attainable now. But you’re probably got to be a little bit more creative in the product that you’re buying. Maybe the dream of buying the four-bedroom two bathroom home on a 600 m² block for a lot of people in our age group is completely unattainable now but there is still plenty of value in the right sort of town houses in the right sort of suburbs. I think that the good buying in areas like that will be in 3 to 4 years times where you have these people that earning 100 grand a year who now own million-dollar properties and interest rates go up to 7 or eight or 9% and all of a sudden these people can’t afford to service the interest let alone the principal repayments on their loan and a huge amount of distress property comes back on the market. That will be a good time to buy if you can financially put yourself in the position to capitalise on that.

Aussie Firebug

Sure

Ben
It’s all about timing. Right now doesn’t represent good timing in the market.

Aussie Firebug
Your talking about an investment point of view, what about someone who just wants to buy a house to live in. So there not looking to invest. What advice would you give to people that are looking to break away from that renters, not trap…but that renting for the rest of your life. Do you have any tips or tricks? If you were a young man in Melbourne right now earning around $80-$90,000 dollars what would you sort of do? Would you move to an outer suburb or look to advance your career? How would you tackle that?

Ben

Through my businesses I to get to speak to a lot of young motivated people. So what I generally suggest is that, put ice on trying to buy the property that you want to live in in Melbourne for the next five years, and over that five-year period focus on the building of a fantastic business is that’s the way you orientated which most people aren’t. If you’re not orientated that way focus on making on making as absolutely as much money as you can over the next five years through better in yourself in your career. The great thing about Sydney or Melbourne is that you can live a 1,000,000 dollar life style for about $700 in rent.
And owning your own home only works if the market is consistently increasing during the time that you own it. There is nothing to guarantee that Melbourne or Sydney because it’s had 8 years of growth in the last three are going to increase in value over the next five years at all. So you would be far better off if you are not making money through your principal place of residence, renting the lifestyle you want a lead now and forgetting about buying and then investing in other areas or other states that can provide you.. say you buy one two 3 properties over the next five years that can make you let’s say make you $300,000 in equity over that five years, redrawing that equity as a larger down payment on the home that you want to own once you’re earning the income that you are able to justify that and when the marketplace is isn’t as ridiculously hot as it is now. That’s my thoughts on that.

Aussie Firebug

It is a really interesting topic. It’s funny those two markets you know, as I have said I know people in Melbourne who are trying to buy and it’s so expensive and Sydney is even worse like you said, renting just seems like such the logical choice now because you break it down into rental yield, if you rent a joint in Sydney it’s so much cheaper for you to do that like if you were to actually buy the same place that you rent your repayments would be double, triple of what you currently renting it for.
And if you just saved the difference if you’re discipline enough to save the difference between how much you pay for rent and how much your leftover savings you can clean up you can totally become a lot wealthier by renting and investing the difference then you can by over stretching yourself with this massive mortgage and having to make these huge repayments each month. I guess it’s sort of ingrained into a lot of people in Australia that your home is your castle and everyone hasn’t made it until they buy their own home. Which is properly not true, but it’s definitely an Australian mantra. I met someone once at a property conference, he was a multi millionaire, financially retired years ago and he rents, he still rents! He still rents his place of residence too, and it is exactly same thing that you said. I live in Sydney I can rent this $1.7 million apartment on the bloody waterfront or wherever it was, why would I buy a place and pay all that money repayments when I could happily rent it and live in a much better placed than if I bought.

Ben

Like I can understand psychology of people wanting to own their own home and the pressure that mum and dad’s and people in the community place on that. I tell you what, if I knew that my million-dollar house that I just bought was going double in value in seven years like it has done historically then I would be owning my own house in Sydney or Melbourne and making it work. But those old days are gone. The best you can… When I look at the numbers my properties the best I can hope for is a growth rate of 4% and if it’s not going to give me at least 4% I won’t invest. I think anything above 4% vote these days is definitely cherry on top of the cake because I don’t think need a 400,000 or place leveraged to increase in value by 10% every year like you did $100,000 how house because you’re still getting the same dollar for dollar return out of it.

Aussie Firebug

It’s funny because you would probably be of similar age, in terms of property life cycles. Have you ever seen a major crash in Australian property because I haven’t since I’ve been alive, my parents may have, but I don’t think there’s been one for a long long time, they have had that massive surge between 2001 to 2004 2005 and then it slowly slowly increase and then Sydney’s gone bananas in the last couple of years it’s almost you know due for a bit of flat line or a bit of a decline some would think?

Ben

Well Sydney market was in correction from 2005 basically through to 2013 and I suppose Brisbane sat flat for five years Gold Coast sat flat for nine years, Melbourne’s consistently sort of ticked along. All the markets have done what people projected they would do, there is no way that the sort of growth that they saw between 2001 to 2003/04/05 will occur again like it’s almost impossible for that to occur again. That’s why I’m so into that manufactured growth and having multiple strategies on properties and options now. Because the old days of just hoping you are going to make 100 grand on a property are over unless you’ve got a huge amount of time which I don’t think any young person really wants to wait 30 or 40 years before they retire these days.

Aussie Firebug

Australia was pretty much largely unaffected by the global financial crisis in 2008. I don’t know you’ve watched the movie, there was a new movie it just came out it’s basically about that financial crisis and a whole bunch of blokes betting against that. I’m trying to think, it’s… The name escapes me.

Ben

Is it the one with Brad Pitt in it?

Aussie Firebug

Yes that’s the one

Ben

Yeah I haven’t watched it

Aussie Firebug

Yet it’s a really good movie. But it’s really scary. Their property market just went completely underwater, like it wasn’t exactly the same as Australia. I invest in property myself and do you, does anything like that scare you or does anything like that come on your radar in Australia that you worry about that?

Ben

Is the movies called the big Short is that the one?

Aussie Firebug

Yes that’s the one! did you just Google That?

Ben

Yes I did ha ha ha. I’m constantly driven by risk and fear from the upbringing I had I still am always preparing for a rainy day I suppose. The way that I prepare is to overcapitalise for example a revenue stream in my business that is recession proof which is a property management business. So you’re going to have your high sales value which is the business I’m into which is buying agency but than you can buffer that with let’s say a million-dollar property management business that regardless of what happens in the world people are still going to need to rent and maybe rent will decrease by 50 bucks a week but you’re still going to get your 7% eveyr single week for the year for those properties.
I’m always concerned with that as well, like if I can’t manufactured growth into my portfolio, if my LVR is ever below 70% and I’m seriously concerned and won’t proceed with that property at that time. I’ve seen a global financial crisis I’ve brought five properties. I bought in Sydney a property which was 20% below which what the same property was worth 12 months before so there was a slight correction in Sydney. You know I read about the stuff that happened in Japan for example they lost over 50% overnight and their economy was as stable as Australia and that sort of stuff scares the shit out of me. It’s all about trying to create an income stream that generates income regardless of the marketplace. So that when things happen, and they will, you’re in a position to capitalise on that you’ve got cash funds and liquid funds that you can go out and buy the distressed assets that other people need to move. I look at something like a GFC now as an amazing opportunity. Where five years ago I would have been seriously concerned about it. I, like every investor, look forward to those opportunities where I can pick up distressed assets.

Aussie Firebug

It’s like what Warren Buffett says, be greedy when people are fearful and fearful when people are greedy. I think that was a famous quote or something along those lines and it’s definitely true. Only a few people know what I’m trying to do you know, I’ve got three properties myself. There are two people and I find I come across, one of them is supportive and want you to succeed and are all for it, but I just find that there’s a lot of people that are just Doomsdayer’s. People who have absolutely no idea about property and who have never invested in a single property in their entire lives and then suddenly they are telling me how just made the biggest mistake of my life. Just naysayer s. Did you ever come across those on your journey and how did you deal with them?

Ben

Yes absolutely and it’s really sad because most of those people were good friends and most of the people in my life still think I’m ridiculous and crazy but now they seem in living on waterfront house without having to work now like maybe if I did stay along for the journey. They have kind of come back around and gone Ok dude what are you actually doing because I’m on the train commuting two hours every day to work and you’re sitting in your house and… I don’t mean to be a dickhead and sound like an arrogant person but the difference is I made choices from about four years ago based on happiness and what was on in-line with my value system when a lot of people in my life make choices based on fear. With a lot of those naysayer’ s, I think about this a lot, I think as you begin to… I don’t know you could call it vibrating on a different frequency or getting yourself in a different mental head-space, like you’re going to attract hundreds of thousands of amazing people to this POD cast over time and your community will become people that are just like you. When I started my journey I had a goal for eight years which was to sit down with five people worth between one and $50 million per week and to sit with them for an hour and interview them and learn and try to find a pattern and it’s very simple what the pattern is and it’s about replicating that.

Aussie Firebug

And I think as while you have to take a risk to get somewhere in life like if it was easy everyone would be doing it so it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Even if you put savings into a savings account to earn money through interest that’s a very small risk but it still a risk. It slightly annoys me when people have a go at something and that so many people around that are trying to pull them down, you see it all the time not even in investing but also in sports, tall poppy syndrome. Like you said I guess you just have to focus where you want to be, make the plan and just go for it and hey if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t work out. I’m sure this can be bumps along the road but at least you can say you had a go. Even if you fail, even of it all comes crashing down you can say that you had a crack and you’re not going to…

Ben

I think you know the one thing you have is the skill set to rebuild it. If it all comes crashing down and you don’t have the skills to get back on your feet that’s where you see these poor people with marginalised loans that end up on the pension.
When you talk about risk it’s really funny because I used to think about risk as buying a $400,000 property now I see risk as not making that decision because I see that the long-term impact of what not achieving financial independence does and that is less time doing things you love that means less time with your family that means less time doing you know things that you’re passionate about less time contributing to the world. Money comes and it goes, you notice that the people that spend the most time focusing on money are the people that have the least. The people that have the money are pretty happy with everything sort of just it’s really weird that I suppose just been in flow with money and also having the skill set to make it and it is a skill set it’s not something that anyone’s born with unless you come from a family that is worth over $15 million and it’s then brought up to you through family.

Aussie Firebug

Yeah absolutely and I could agree with you any more. When I was younger you think that the guy with the flashy car or the guy that dresses really well they are the ones that are wealthy. But when I got older all my friends whose parents that I know do really well who have businesses in everything, they’re wearing 10-year-old trackies and the driving just normal cars, like what’s going on here? Movies have lied to me my whole life and everything I thought about rich people has been the opposite. Have you ever read the millionaire next door?

Ben

I have actually and that’s an awesome book as well.

Aussie Firebug

Yeah it’s so true though. The people that have to have the latest Mercedes-Benz every year they don’t own any growth assets some of them do. But I know a lot of people in my life that have the latest car and the latest this and the latest that but they don’t actually own anything, they’re not actually wealthy. They have all the latest toys and gadgets and stuff. It’s almost like their living… not a lie. But their portraying themselves as something that they’re not. Because the really wealthy don’t need to do that and half the time they are very simple people and they porbably spend less than most people spend on themselves.

Ben

I don’t think I’ve ever met someone with serious money that cares about too much of things like that. Because most people that have got money realise that those things aren’t what make you happy. Relationships, contributions, doing things you’re passionate about and fulfilling whatever it is you want to do with the world makes me happy personally. I’ve talked to you know, I get to speak to a lot of people and I would say like the high income earners that are earning wages between 200 to 500 grand per year and I probably speak to about 30 of them a month through our business are the ones that may own one property that have the most personal debt, that have the most car debts, that have the most credit card debts. Whether they are earning 80 grand or 500 K a year they still spend that. And their friends think they are absolutely killing that and I look at those people and go why the hell didn’t you retire 5 to 10 years ago and what are you still doing working? And they’re complaining about their job and they could have a way out of that job within two years if they were smart.

Aussie Firebug

That’s crazy. Time is just about wrapping up so my final question to you is if you had to start again let’s rewind back to when you are 19, the stars are aligning in Europe. You’re sitting there in front of the Eiffel tower. What would you do differently knowing what you know now to reach financial independence as quickly as possible?

Ben

I would have not gone to university I would have gone and got a job straight away in real estate and I would become a property investor from that exact moment. The other thing that I would have done is to have the belief in myself that I didn’t need the approval and I didn’t need all these skills that I thought I needed and that I already have those to do what I need to do. Like all that stuff in already in you already like every single person has got unique ability and anything you need to learn along the way you can. Like to have just taken the plunge earlier like I probably would have been ready to start the business five years earlier like but I just didn’t have the confidence and I had all these expectations and limiting beliefs that was stopping me from doing what I was really meant to be doing which is what I’m doing with my life now. Jumping into property straight away and having belief in myself would have been the two biggest things.

Aussie Firebug
That seems to be a common theme with a lot of successful people and businessmen and investors. I wish I had done it years earlier. I think the guy that started KFC in America, he started that franchised at 60 or 65 I think. He has a quote that says, why didn’t I do this 30 years ago! That’s is crazy. I’m sure that a lot of people that are successful that have the same regret, but hey you’re super young so it’s not like you miss the boat by that much. It’s certainly something I think of. You just have to do it, you have to have a go at something because you don’t want to be nearing 60 and having to rely on retiring on the super and have in the back your heard what if I tried something and why didn’t I do it sooner.

Thank you so much than for being on the pod casts and I wish you all the best in the future I hopefully see you again soon.

Ben

Thank you so much and I really appreciate the time and I’m so excited for what you’re trying to do and I can’t wait to continue to listen in and see who else you get to interview.

Photo credit: Colleen AF Venable via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Melbourne and Sydney Real Estate

Melbourne and Sydney Real Estate

Lets talks about Melbourne and Sydney Real Estate for a second because it pops up in my life at least once a week.

I have a lot of friends renting in Melbourne who are at the age now that they are starting to look at buying a house.

They look around and quickly discover that the prices are outrageous. The median price for a house is Melbourne is well over $700K! Using the common 25% rule for a deposit and closing costs, this would mean that my mates would have to fork out $175K to buy one of those bad boys… That’s a LOT of money to depart with.

As you can imagine, there are plenty of people who can’t afford these prices and they are crying out for something to change. But can something really be done here?

I don’t think anyone can honestly say that prices in Melbourne and Sydney are affordable to the middle class. You either have to be a high income earner or wealthy to buy in these cities.

Sure, the average working class family could take out a huge mortgage but they would be a slave to debt for the rest of their life most likely.

So what’s the deal?

I have been reading COUNTLESS articles and reports for years on why there is a housing bubble and how it’s going to create the mother of all corrections in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 ,2014, 2015, 2016.

There are a lot of theories being thrown around:

  • Negative Gearing
  • Capital Gains Concessions
  • Foreign Buyers
  • Speculative Investors

I’m not going to pretend that I know exactly why the prices are the price they are or how to bring them down to a more affordable level. But it doesn’t take much to understand the most basic and fundamental rule in economics.

Supply and Demand

It’s so stupidly simple to understand yet so many go looking for more complex answers to justify their reasoning as to why this is happening.

If there are a lot of buyers (demand) and there is only so much land/property available (supply) the price for the land/property soars. And the same can be said if you switch it around. What do you think would happen this very weekend at auctions if no one turned up? The prices would plummet. No doubt about it. If there are less buyers than sellers the price of real estate goes down. This is proven economics 101.

So the question people need to be asking is not how the government can stop the buyers (demand), it should be about how they can free up the land (supply).

Padlock

Carve it in stone, demand for Melbourne and Sydney real estate will NEVER cease for as long as I live. It would have to take such a colossal implosion of Australia for these two cities to suck. Not completely out of the question, but I will eat my shoe if there is EVER a time where you can’t sell real estate in either Melbourne or Sydney.

They are world class cities. Melbourne was ranked the NUMBER 1 most livable city in the entire world last year and if memory serves me correctly it has been number 1 or 2 for a few years running. Sydney is no slouch either coming in at number 7. I just want to highlight this point because it’s important. If you’re trying to buy a house in Melbourne you are trying to buy real estate in THE MOST LIVABLE CITY IN THE WORLD! The world… not just little old Oz. The entire planet.

What do you think this does to Melbourne and Sydney real estate when they are some of the best places to live in on the planet?

Demand goes through the roof.

You have got to be realistic here. You are trying to compete with not only Australians but the rest of the world when you buy. Throw in limited supply and you have a recipe for exuberant house prices.

I don’t see any measure the government can put in place to stop demand enough for the prices to go back to an affordable level.

The focus is always on the demand, but little gets said about the supply.

Is it unreasonable to assume that if municipalities changed zoning and planning laws and released more land to pave the way for new development that this could potentially deflate some of the house prices? To me it makes sense. If you increase the supply in the market, the current supply will be worth slightly less.

The truth is I don’t really know (no one does), but I’m a realistic person. And when I look at Sydney and Melbourne I don’t see the demand slowing, in fact, with population forecasted to more than double by 2060, if anything, I see demand rising.

If the supply cannot keep up with the demand then it’s only going to get worse.

There may be a correction around the corner, I think there should be. But I doubt that Melbourne/Sydney real estate will ever be cheap, EVER!

 

 

Photo credit: szeke via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: CAr Photographies via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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