Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

MAY 2018 Net Worth $423,504 (+$8,494)

MAY 2018 Net Worth $423,504 (+$8,494)

A solid month of savings with a little help from the assets sees the net worth soar to new heights in May.

Averagish (not a word I know) month expense wise with us spending a touch over $4K.

The hidden costs of certain activities added up last month. A pet peeve of mine are trips to Melbourne for events, weddings or to see family and friends. Not that I don’t want to see family or friends or go to events in Melbourne. It’s all the added costs/hassles associated with it that sucks. It takes around 1.5 hours from where I live to get to Melbourne, the trip usually means a fast food lunch stop at the servo past Pakenham which, while relatively inexpensive, leaves me feeling like shit and still more expensive than if I had made lunch myself, city link tollway adds another $17.50, you then have to pay for parking in the city which can be another $25 and then there are the accommodation costs which are around $120 p/n depending on how cheap we are going.

So a typical weekend in Melbourne can end up costing us:

Fuel round trip: $35
Toll: $17.50
Parking: $25
Accommodation: $120
Wasted time in traffic: 3 Hours

Total: $197.50

I’m not including food or anything related to the event because we would still have to eat if it was local and pay for the event. I’m just adding the ‘Melbourne’ element.

$197.50 doesn’t sound like much. But invested at 9% over 50 years works out to be $14,723 bucks… Bit of a hyperbole but you get the point.


City living to me just seems so incredibly expensive.

Everything you do seems to cost money.

City: Please drive around for 30 minutes before I give you the opportunity to pay $20 to park here
Country: You see all the spare parking spots in the main drag. Take your pick friend. Btw, what’s meter parking?

City: Hello gents. It’s going to cost ya $20 bucks just for the privilege of breathing the air in here. Also, the drinks are special tonight, $20 red bull and vodka’s
Country: Yeah, no shoes are alright mate. Just watch the broken glass down back and don’t feed the dog. That will be $3 bucks for a pot.
*Disclaimer: Well aware that city clubs offer a lot more but still 

City: Oh, you want to use the fastest route to your destination? Here is this great tunnel that you helped pay for (taxpayers money)…… But we’re ganna have to keep charging you more money to use it each time. And if you want to take the long way around, I hope you downloaded some Podcasts because surprise surprise, road works have just started 🙂🔫
Country: Follow this road for 20km straight and you’ll reach the town. Just watch for the potholes and roos.

City: And this lovely two bedroom shack will only cost 1.2M, your first born and the tip of a black rhinoceros horn.
Country: $350k plus a slab of VB and you’ve got yourself a deal cobba!



Net Worth Update

Hitting new territory in terms of net worth this month as autumn comes to an end. All round contribution from savings, little bump from ETFs and Super to cap off a solid month.



No changes in the properties this month.



Various data sources (RP data, etc.) are used in combination of what similar surrounding properties were sold for to calculate an estimate. This is an official Commonwealth bank estimate and one which they use to approve loans.


ETF performance update for May


Nothing to write home about but any gains are always a plus.



APR 2018 Net Worth $415,010 (+$14,906)

APR 2018 Net Worth $415,010 (+$14,906)

Finally feel like we’re making progress again this month.

The ETFs are doing great, Super is up, killer month for savings and we booked a holiday. That a domi (made up word used to describe good things) if I’ve ever seen one!

We are actually paying for flight and accommodation for not only us but both our parents too. This doesn’t sound too frugal but my parents recently retired and Mrs. Firebug’s mum retired last year so we thought it might be a nice surprise trip for everyone. I have wanted to take my parents on a holiday for a while now. They are the single biggest reason why I’m in the position I’m in today and even have the option to retire early. Not just from teaching me good life skills, how to be frugal, how to work hard, setting the right examples etc. But just for being genuinely great parents.

One of my biggest financial advantages ever was living at home until I was 26. Meals were ready for me when I finished work, didn’t have to do laundry or do much cleaning, hardly any bills. I helped out around the house (mowing the lawns and odd jobs for dad) but definitely enjoyed the luxuries of living at home. Stay at home for as long as possible people!


But seriously, it sounds easy in theory, but you have to have a good relationship with your parents and sacrifice your independence to do this. I loved my time at home but was well and truly ready to move out when I did, even though it wasn’t the best move financially.

I probably will never be able to repay my parents for everything they have given me. But I know that a nice holiday to Queensland with Mrs. FBs family will make them happy.

One more thing that pops up in my mind about Mum and Dad that I love, is they have worked their asses off to be in the position to retire around 60 completely financially independent! I would 100% support them if they needed it in their golden years. It’s the least any child can do and in many countries without a pension, this is the norm. But the fact that they have raised a family of three and set themselves up for retirement is inspirational to say the least.

Inheritance is an interesting topic that I have not even really begun to explore. But right now, I’m not sure I want to leave my kids a fortune at all. What I do endeavor to achieve is a fantastic upbringing for them and no financial stress caused by Mrs. FB or myself in the future. Just as my parents have done for me.


The FIRE community’s growth has exploded in the last few months. When some of us got featured in mainstream media, it seems the general public discovered a very niche community within the world of personal finance.

I sometimes get asked what would happen if everyone became as obsessed to reach FIRE as me.

Well firstly, it would be terrible for my investments. I invest in companies that rely on people buying or using their products. If no one was spending, the economy would not grow very fast. I want people to buy stuff!


But I don’t think there is even the slightest chance that this would happen. Time will tell, but my guess is that for the majority of new people who have discovered this blog and the community within the last few months. The concept of FIRE will only strick a cord with a small minority.

Most people will love the idea of retiring early. But I’m guessing that when they figure out what it takes to achieve it, they will pass.

The funny thing about reaching FIRE is that anyone can do it. Don’t have to be smart, lucky, an investing genius, from a wealthy family or anything else extraordinary.

You just have to be disciplined and have patience.


Net Worth Update

The markets are back!

Big month for the ETFs and Super giving the net worth nearly a $10K bump!

We also saved really well with a relatively inexpensive month! 👌👌👌

Hopefully, we can get a few months in the black and get a roll on heading into winter!



No changes in the properties this month.



Various data sources (RP data, etc.) are used in combination of what similar surrounding properties were sold for to calculate an estimate. This is an official Commonwealth bank estimate and one which they use to approve loans.


Here’s how our ETFs did


Not bad at all 🤑🤑

Good spread across the board and with the extra dividends, VAS was the number one gainer for last month.



MAR 2018 Net Worth $400,104 (-$7,211)

MAR 2018 Net Worth $400,104 (-$7,211)

March was a month of highs and lows. Mostly highs.

I was asked by the ABC to come on to their national radio program to chat about my journey towards FIRE which was pretty cool. They had a financial planner, audio snippets from someone who was in their mid 30s current enjoying early retirement and yours truly. It was pretty cool going into the studio and getting mic’d up and all that. I can’t lie, I was a bit nervous when the ‘On Air’ light came on haha.
The one question that I wish I could have answered again was when the host asked me what I had to give up to be on this journey. I tried to answer it to the best of my abilities but I sorta just stumbled through the classic stuff of not upgrading your phone and eating out all the time. What I wish I had said was “Nothing! I don’t feel like I give up anything. If I want something enough, I buy it”. And that’s honestly how I feel.

I don’t know about you, but when I discovered financial independence and realized the freedom it can grant you. My wants and needs shifted. I honestly don’t feel as though I restrict myself in the slightest. I splurged here and there but for the most of it, the things I enjoy these days don’t cost a lot of money or are free.

The other one was the whole early retirement thing. Everyone has a different idea of what early retirement actually is. I could tell the host was a bit taken back when I said I don’t plan to stop working ever. What I really mean of course is not working a 9-5 job and unplugging from the matrix of being a wage slave. Meaningful work is a staple of life and without it, I’d be miserable. Even the lady that was on the program with me hasn’t really stopped working. They just do a different type of work. She and her husband grow a lot of their food for example. This is a form of work expect is probably has a lot more meaning and satisfaction to it than sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day.

You can listen to the program HERE.

I also learned first hand that major online publications are not overly concerned about what an article is about, but mainly what headline will be catchy enough for people to click the link.

Let me explain.

I was contacted by the commissioning editor of because they wanted to increase their voice in the finance and money space and must have found me from the ABC radio interview. They asked if they could repost my Rent vs Buy article which I happily obliged.

I didn’t know when they were going to repost it, but I woke up one Saturday and there were something like 20 new comments throughout my blog and I was a bit confused before I realised that the article must have dropped.

First thing I noticed was the headline:

LOL. What! That’s not what the article is about.

The comments that followed were also extremely amusing.


angry5 angry8 angry4 angry6

Had to laugh about headline written by a kid comment 🤣🤣🤣

You can check out the Facebook comments HERE

I lot of people also commented on the actual article here on my site. They were really getting upset about me using 2.5% as a rate of return for capital appreciation on property. I edited the article and stated a source for property only having risen 2.8% (real rate of return) during the last 30 years. But the old ‘Bricks n Mortar’ crowd was out for blood I tell ya.



I also had another publication republish the same article.

Here was the headline







Net Worth Update

So now we have come to the lows for March. ETFs and Super were hit pretty bad to the tune of around $6K. This plus an expensive month results in us just keeping our heads above the $400K mark.

2018 has been pretty lousy for our net worth but here’s hoping for some stronger performances in April!



No changes in the properties this month.



Various data sources (RP data, etc.) are used in combination of what similar surrounding properties were sold for to calculate an estimate. This is an official Commonwealth bank estimate and one which they use to approve loans.


Down around $3K here. VAS got hit the worst with VEU doing the best (but still down).



FEB 2018 Net Worth $407,315 (+$9,248)

FEB 2018 Net Worth $407,315 (+$9,248)

What a month February turned out to be!

The market had a big dip at the start of Feb which I included in my net worth update from last month because I didn’t get around to writing it until the 7th of Feb.

Now, what separates an astute investor from a novice? An astute investor has a plan and strategy they stick to and don’t let emotions get in the way. One of the worst things you can do if you follow the Bogglehead investment philosophies (which I mostly do), is to listen, read or watch too mubo jumbo market updates/predictions usually published by financial noobs who probably don’t invest at all and are living the consumer lifestyle.

The thing is, these media outlets, be it print, online or TV. All really exist for one reason.

To make money.

What do you think sells more. A headline that says “Markets ticking along fine with no need for concern”.

As opposed to “BIGGEST MARKET CRASH SINCE 1929 INCOMING*written by our intern who majored in finance

A lot of people can have predictions without any accountability. Where were all these experts in 2008? Or 2000 when the tech bubble crashed? I pay no attention to what 99.9% of people say about the markets and neither should you. Because at the end of the day, I subscribe to the philosophy of investing regularly no matter what the market is doing.

To quote John Bogle (the founder of Vanguard)


Our Lord and Saviour

Which is why we bought in the middle of Feb just after the dip. This turned out to be lucky because of the rebound that followed after. We were going to buy anyway, the timing was just lucky. And in the long run, it doesn’t even matter that much.


HUGE news for the entire FIRE community in Australia came in Feb when Pat The Shuffler was asked to write a story about financial independence by the ABC.


Pat out there repping the Aus FIRE community like a boss

When I first started blogging back in 2015, I could not find another financial independence retire early blog out there for Australians. There were plenty of money and finance blogs, but no specific FIRE ones (to my knowledge).

Fast forward just 3 years, and now we have one of our very own published in one of the major media outlets in the entire country!

If you’re after a good laugh, have a read of the Facebook comments from that article. People cannot wrap their brains around someone being able to live a great life by only spending $40K a year.

There was actually another dude who wrote a response piece to Pat’s article that was published by the ABC too. I can’t even begin to tell you how factually wrong it is but it’s another example that FIRE will never become mainstream because normal everyday people just don’t get it and won’t even entertain the notion of cutting down their spending habits.

I did an improv podcast with Pat about the whole article the other week to get his thoughts. I haven’t released it as a proper podcast yet (I just wanted to get it up quick).

The FIRE movement must really be making waves among the Aussie journalists because Aussie Firebug himself was actually contacted by one to contribute to a story that she was writing about the community. I actually had already responded to an online request from another media outlet looking for people involved in the movement but it was nice that one journo reached out.

Long story short, I made a few paragraphs in Sydney Morning Herald along with Ms Frugal Ears and Get Money Wise.

Pretty cool right!

I can now add that ‘As seen in’ cool little graphic on the front of my blog even though it was only a few paragraphs 🤣.


Net Worth Update

Back over the $400K mark 👊👊👊!

Decent bump this month mainly due to saving well and the markets bouncing back. We made a nice little gain by buying on the dip too.

We went a little over our budget for the month but nothing too major.



No changes in the properties this month.



Various data sources (RP data, etc.) are used in combination of what similar surrounding properties were sold for to calculate an estimate. This is an official Commonwealth bank estimate and one which they use to approve loans.


The ETFs bounced back after the first week and a bit of Feb!

The recovery was almost instant, but it made me wonder how I would go to see those sort of drops happen for an extended period of time.

I know the strategy that you shouldn’t sell in a bear market. But it will be interesting when push comes to shove to see how both Mrs FB and I respond mentally when we go through a proper crash.

Almost looking forward to it 😜



JAN 2018 Net Worth $398,066 (-$2,106)

JAN 2018 Net Worth $398,066 (-$2,106)

2018 has not been kind.


Firstly, this is the first time since I’ve been posting our net worth updates that we have been in the negative two months in a row. I secretly knew that the run we had in 2017 was not sustainable but I was hoping that we could at least start to make some gainz at the start of the new year after taking a pretty hefty hit in December 2017.

I knew it was going to be a big month expenditure-wise, so I checking pocketbook religiously but it still got out of hand a little bit. It was like sort of like when you’re fully aware of the danger ahead but you can’t do anything to stop it from happening.


We had our most expensive month in a long time! Pre-booked a few holidays, went out a lot (such nice weather), and there were a few one-off expenses like new tyres for the car.

Mrs. Firebug is a teacher so the school holidays between December and January are always a bit more expensive because we’re out doing stuff and being social.

It didn’t help that I’m writing this update after our portfolio just got smashed by the biggest day drop in sharemarket history. So a few things factored in to explain this months drop.

I causally messaged Mrs. Firebug this on Tuesday afternoon right after we had figured out what we wanted for dinner.


She asked if we should buy more during this drop.

I shed a tear of joy


Net Worth Update


If one image could summarise nearly all our assets classes during last months it would be this one.

down down prices are down

You can almost hear the signing *shudders*

Sooooooo basically we got smashed on the shares front. Property stayed the same. Cash reserves went down paying for everything and Super was around the same too.

The market has already bounced back again today as I’m writing this. But I’m not including the updated stats from today in this months update. Next months should have some decent gains as I’m already up nearly $3K from the losses and we dumped in some money during the downturn so we should see a decent increase next month.

So sad to fall below the $400K mark 😭😭😭



No changes in the properties this month.



Various data sources (RP data, etc.) are used in combination of what similar surrounding properties were sold for to calculate an estimate. This is an official Commonwealth bank estimate and one which they use to approve loans.


Down almost $8K during January!

This has been our first real test of a decent drop, but I believe we responded correctly and actually bought more shares during the dip. Who knows where it goes from here but we are being disciplined and sticking to our monthly schedule of dumping $5K into ETFs come rain hail or shine.

It was a bit strange to see so much of your money just vanish like that though.

But you only make a loss if you sell!



December 2017 Net Worth $400,877 (-$11,746)

December 2017 Net Worth $400,877 (-$11,746)

The last net worth update for 2017 ends with a… whimper.


Down nearly $12K!



A few things happened in December.


Firstly and most damaging to the net worth drop this month was some repair work (more about this to come) that was done to one of my investment properties.


I am covered by insurance but I had to fork out just over $10K to cover it before the insurer could refund me.


This emphasises a point I always tell people who are thinking about investing in property. You need a big buffer when things go wrong. Even with insurance, it can be hard sometimes to cover yourself until the insurer comes to the party. That’s why we have such a big cash buffer. Having 3 properties has the potential to have big expenses.


The other big one for December was a holiday that we booked for August 2018. We paid for everyone flights because it was just easier that way. They are going to pay us back their share so that’s probably another $1.5K-$2K.


Did everyone have a good time over the Christmas break?


Between my own job and Mrs. Firebug’s job, I went to about 5 Christmas break up parties lol.


My job had a social club one, an official one that was on a Thursday (wtf were they thinking) and we had another unofficial one at the pub on the last day).


So between all the parties/birthdays/Christmas and new years eve festivities.


It’s safe to say that the budget was blown out just a little.







It was a relatively quiet Christmas break this year. The best part for me was there was minimal traveling.


Nothing worse than having to spend half of Christmas day driving to and from a destination that’s >1 hour away. We stayed local for Christmas and new years which was awesome. It meant I could ride my electric bike to each location within the town.


The Beast

One of my favorite things to do when it’s good weather is to ride my E-Bike all over town. Puts me in a great mood and makes traveling fun.


We started 2017 with a net worth of $258,857 and ended it at $400,877 meaning we added $142,020 bucks! 😱🤑👊


Bring on 2018!


Net Worth Update


Super had a very good month over December. We added around $4K for both our accounts combined. I’m not sure if this is because of the markets doing well, a dividend payout maybe, or our employers adding in an extra Super pay (we had three paydays at the end of November instead of the normal two).


Our cash savings took the biggest hit due to a repair bill and holiday that was booked and ETFs didn’t really do much for December, only moving up about $350 bucks.




No changes in the properties this month.



Various data sources (RP data, etc.) are used in combination of what similar surrounding properties were sold for to calculate an estimate. This is an official Commonwealth bank estimate and one which they use to approve loans.


Not much happening here. VAS was the only ETF that went up during December with the other two (VTS and VEU) going down. About $350 all up for the month



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