Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

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!¬†ūüėĪūü§ĎūüĎä


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



November 2017 Net Worth $411,918 (+$16,574)

November 2017 Net Worth $411,918 (+$16,574)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…


Ahhh yes.


It’s that time of the year again.


When every conceivable¬†marketing tactic known to mankind is deployed among the general public in hopes that you spend money on shit you don’t need because of some dude that was born a coupla thousand years ago…


And what about Black Friday the other week? Isn’t that an American thing for Thanksgiving???


I mean really! Do they honestly think we are going to spend even more when Christmas is just around the corner!


Ahhh haha umm yeah about that… We were sucked in harder than a tornado.


Well, not exactly but I did treat my beak to a new pair of Nikes because the discounts were just insane.


If you haven’t already, check out Oz Bargins. It’s basically a site dedicated to finding all sorts of deals within Australia. I bought my shoes that were on sale for $112! A pretty good deal I thought because I had been keeping my eye on these shoes for a few months now. I finally bit the bullet to buy and the site took another 40% off the already reduced price at checkout!!! Ho Ho Ho, Christmas had come early.


Mrs. FB was a savage over black Friday with the deals too. I had an RDO on the following Tuesday and the parcels just kept rocking up. Had around 4 deliveries before 10 AM.


A huge milestone for us this month, hitting and surpassing $400K! Woohoo

We hit it pretty much at the start of the month after being so frustratingly close last month.


It’s been insane the amount we have been able to add to our net worth this year. I had a rough estimate that we would be nearing $400K by the end of 2018. So to hit it at the end of 2017 is incredible.


We had an extra payday this month too which added another couple thousand to the pot.


Now we just have to get through the festival season with one more month to go before beginning a new year ?? where has the year gone???




Net Worth Update


Another stellar month for the stock market with both our ETFs and Super gaining healthy amounts. We had an extra payday in November too which bumped things up. I had an insurance claim come through for one of the properties after there was some damage¬†caused by a tenant. It’s most likely all going to be spent so not really adding to net worth but the cash came in so I’m going to include it for this month at least.

$3K Super, $4K from an insurance claim, $3.3K ETF bump and around $10K was earnt.




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.


Another great month with an additional $3.3 bump in cap gains for the ETFs.



October 2017 Net Worth $395,344 (+$13,208)

October 2017 Net Worth $395,344 (+$13,208)

Pretty quiet month for October.


Had one major expense pop up out of the ordinary which was having the cats shaved.


*Not actually my cat but basically the same (man boobs and all)

We have two cats who must be around 2-3 now but left them at M.F.(Mrs. Firebugs) parents house when we moved in together. It was just going to be too hard to move them when they were so settled and I’m pretty sure that the parents love the cats more than their own children (not kidding).


I once witnessed Mrs. Firebugs dad come home from work during the day in summer to turn on the air conditioning for the cats (not kidding) and leave. This is the same man that yells when a light is left on too LOL!


Anyway, the cats need to be shaved once a year which turned out to cost $550 for two this year  ???


I floated the idea of just buying two new cats every year to M.F. but it didn’t go down so well…


We still managed to come under our budget for October through which was a miracle.



Did everyone have good October returns wise for their shares?


We sure did.


It was our best month ever in terms of returns. We made around $5K from capital gains during October ????


Putting us up to around $118K worth of ETFs (we bought another $5K lot this month as per usual).


I recorded a really interesting podcast with Ms Frugal Ears in October.


Some of the topics were pretty deep and I’m glad Serina was brave enough to open up about sensitive issues, particularly what happens after a divorce and the power that comes with knowing your financial position.


I reflected on Serina’s story after the podcast and thought that if I ever have a daughter, how important it will be to make sure that she knows her financial position at all times and what the power of having your own money enables you to do…and not do.


Reading all the allegations about¬†Harvey Weinstein can make you feel pretty sick pretty quickly. Even if it’s only half true.


I can’t think of many more vulnerable positions than an aspiring actress trying to ‘make it’ in Hollywood. You read countless stories of people in the entertainment industry often working for pennies trying to chase their dream of making it big. And this guy is one of the head honchos that decides who gets the role and who doesn’t.


Could you imagine the emotional roller coaster it must be for these girls to go meet him thinking they are about to be offered their first big role only to have him force sexual favours on them? It really is disgusting and an abuse of power to the highest degree.

I know Harvey Weinstein is only one of many though. And unfortunately these people exist everywhere in every industry.


I would hate to think that some of these victims¬†couldn’t turn down the unwanted sexual advances simply because they needed¬†the job to survive. A positions nobody wants to be in, but unfortunately some are.


Net Worth Update


$1.5K bump from Super, around $6K from savings and another $5K from the ETF bump bring us ever so close to 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.


Huge month for ETFs in October. About a $5K increase!!! ???



September 2017 Net Worth $382,136 (+$4,898)

September 2017 Net Worth $382,136 (+$4,898)


I can’t believe that September has finished already. Weren’t we just starting 2017 a few months ago?


We hit a big milestone in September. We reached $100K in ETFs!


We were so close last month and it felt like the market was just toying with us. It got to $99K a few times before dropping.


I knew we would eventually break through $100K because we were going to buy another lot of ETFs anyway but I really wanted it to get there on its own.


This was a big milestone for Mrs. Firebug and I¬†and it’s important to celebrate the little wins along the way to financial independence.


We bought our very first bunch of ETFs on the 29th of September last year which means we managed to get to $100K within 12 months which was definitely¬†unexpected and I’m actually shocked we did it in such little time. My payout this year when I switched jobs definitely helped, but other than that, it was mostly savings.


We made the decision to diversify our assets since we were too heavily weighted in property in Australia.


The plan was to get to $100K in ETFs and then decide from there as to what we were going to do.


We sat down and discussed our options. We could either:

a) Buy another property investment

b) Continue to buy more ETFs

c) Invest in something else


Option a) might have been more appealing if the market had suddenly tanked or the rental yields improved. But as it currently stands, option a) was not very appealing to me for the following reason:

  • I can’t be bothered putting in the effort required to purchase a good IP. This includes the proper research, potentially¬†value-adding exercises on weekends, dealing with agents and banks (errrr¬†banks. No thanks) and having another IP to manage all the book work for
  • The risk associated with Australia right now. A recession (whilst I don’t think it’s likely) is well within the realms of possibility. And if it did happen… Who the hell knows what the fall out would be.
  • Cash flow just isn’t there for me.

Don’t get me wrong. You can still make a killing in real estate right now but you have to put in the effort. Which I can’t be bothered doing. There was a time when I could. But now that ETFs have proven such a great alternative. Why would I work hard when I can get great returns from hardly doing anything at all?


No other investment really caught my attention for option c). I did look into P2P and maybe someday I will dabble in that. But we are looking to build our base foundation for a prosperous wealth machine. P2P feels like a fun exercise and not something you could comfortably retire on.


So the only option that was left and the clear winner was option b)


More ETFs ūüôā


The returns played a big part to our decision too.

Here’s what our last 12 months looked like




A total return of just over $9K (8.77%) after investing roughly $100K which isn’t too bad. To put that into perspective, Australian based robo investing company Stockspot has 5 funds they offer. And only 1 fund managed to beat my return for the last 12 months.


You can see their returns here


This is a company I have had on the podcast before. They also invest in ETFs but offer rebalancing and a few other things.


My point is that with a very simple three fund portfolio, I got a great return with 0% research into what are the ‘hot’ stocks this year or time spent managing my investment and still came out similar to a professional investment company.


And when the dividends started to roll in it was like Christmas!


I also looked into our interest rate for the IP loans to see if there were any better deals out there.


I already have a mortgage broker, but didn’t have any luck with him being able to lower my interest rate.


I ended up signing up with a company called HashChing* who is basically a marketplace for mortgage brokers and loan deals.


Their website boasts some insanely good rates and it doesn’t cost anything to sign up so not much to lose I thought.


I ended up being contacted by a mortgage broker who has been great and is currently giving me options on all three of my loans.


The lowest option being 3.88% which is a whole 1% lower than what my current rate is at now.


This works out to be a savings of $6,791 bucks per year just from making a few phone calls!


I’m still in the process of choosing a deal but the bottom line is if you have a loan (home or investor) you need to have a mortgage broker working for you to get the best deals. They don’t cost you a single dollar as they get their commissions from the bank and 9/10 times they will get you a better deal than you could get by walking into the bank.


*The Hashching link above is an affiliate link to which I may receive a commission from if you sign up to their service. This is a service I have personally used and would recommend anyone to use if they have a loan to get a better rate. I would never recommend something I didn’t believe in (and there have been plenty of offers trust me)

Net Worth Update


Pretty quiet month with our smallest gain this year. There was a bit of Super bump and ETFs but mainly just savings.




No changed 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.


ETFs more or less stayed the same, slight bump I believe.



August 2017 Net Worth $377,237 (+$6,965)

August 2017 Net Worth $377,237 (+$6,965)


A lot to cover for August.


We finally had price movement in our properties with one going up $16K?, one dropping by $22K ? and one not changing at all.


It feels like it’s been forever since there was a price change. But in reality, the last price fluctuation¬†was 7 months ago in January which isn’t that long really.


Property is like a big cruise ship. When the price goes up or down it takes a while for the ship to change direction. You’re not going to see prices zip up and down quickly. It usually takes a few months for a significant wave to build up and change the course of the ship.


The sharemarket, on the other hand, is a ballet dancer. Jumping, bounding and leaping up, down and sideways with no warning.



We had another influx of cash into our account from an event which I have hinted to in past posts. I still can’t give away details yet but there is a post coming in the future which will go into detail about¬†?.


We are so close to hitting the $100K in our ETFs. We’re currently at $99,705 and it feels like the sharemarket is just toying with us.


We set a goal last year around July that we wanted to get to $100K worth of ETF’s and then reassess what we wanted to invest in next. Pretty stoked to have achieved this goal ($300 off but c’mon) within 13 months.


We’ve already had the chat about what we’re going to do next and we both agreed that pouring more $$$ into ETF’s made sense.


I love real estate, but when I look at the current climate in Australia there are very few places where I think we could make money without a lot of risk and hard work. ¬†I’m a buy and hold investor. I don’t have the skillset, experience or desire needed to flip, renovate or subdivide in this market and come out ahead majority of the time. There’s too much at play right now for us to put so much capital into property especially when there is such a great alternative for us which requires no skill or experience to make money.


I’m talking ETF’s of course.


Don’t get me wrong, you can still make money in the current climate but you better know exactly what you’re doing. Because the yields just aren’t there for me in the capital cities and I don’t want to put in the work required for sweat equity.


If Australia does have a property crash and the yields get back up towards 6-7% in the capitals (especially Syd and Melb) I hope that we have enough spare cash to grab a bargain. If the banks are lending money that is…


Net Worth Update


$16k from an IP and -$22k from another. About $1.7k added to Super accounts. $5k into ETFs as per usual with ETFs adding an extra $500 through capital¬†gains. We also had an additional $7k from another source which I’ll write about in due time. We saved well this month too but the majority went into ETFs.


On a side note. We broke our $10k streak which lasted 7 months!


That’s 7 months in a row where we managed to add at least $10k or more (sometimes a lot more) to our networth.


Sad the streaks over but I knew we couldn’t keep it up forever…for now at least¬†?




Finally some change in our properties!


One IP went up by $16k, one went down by $22k and one stayed the same.



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.


ETFs moved about $500 upwards. Pretty good months.



July 2017 Net Worth $370,272 (+$24,361)

July 2017 Net Worth $370,272 (+$24,361)


Tax Christmas arrived at the Firebug household in July.


Saint Nick delivered 3 parcels of joy and one lump of coal.


Mrs. Firebug got a sweet tax return and paid off around $3K worth of HECS debt (bringing her loan to ~$22K)


I paid off my last installment of HECS ever!


Officially HECS free and getting around $250 extra per fortnight.



I had around $11K for my HECS debt so with that cleared, it has essentially added $11K to my net worth this month.


And the one lump of coal was me actually owing the ATO some money.  Can you believe that!




Even after all my management fees, maintenance costs, rates, water bill, insurance, depreciation reports and the banks upping investor loan interest rates. I still managed to earn too much from my IP to negative gear.


I guess I should be happy. Paying tax is a sign that your investment is profitable. I just wanted a refund god dam it! ?


The end of July marks 1 year that I have joined finances with Mrs. Firebug.


We spent around $50K last FY.


But the cool thing about tracking every single dollar we spend is now we have a baseline. Where as last year we were sort of flying blind because I had no idea how much she spent and vice versa.


Every month I’m comparing how we did the previous year. It also makes big ticket items like rego, insurance ect. easier to plan for because I can look back at the same month last year and see where our money went.


Really looking forward to the next 12 months to see how much we can improve.




Net Worth Update



Cleared about $15K worth of HECS debt between both of us which was the major bump in this month’s net worth. Super, savings, and a little¬†ETF increase also helped.





No change in any of the properties for 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.


ETFs had a little bump.



Australian FIRE Calculator
Send it!
Get Calculator!
Get FREE Aussie Firebug updates, tips and tricks, and exclusive content!
No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Stay Connected!

Join others who get FREE Aussie Firebug updates, tips and tricks, and exclusive content!