Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

Nothing written below is financial advice. The below questions and answers are for general information only and should not be taken as constituting professional advice. You should always do your own research when making any financial decisions.

A bit of a different AFF today guys,

It’s been ages since I last uploaded any audio content and I wanted to give you all an update as to what has been going on.

I also touch on a topic that I’ve already covered but my thoughts have changed over the last few years and I think a few people would like to hear what I would have done differently if I had to start my FIRE journey all over again from scratch.

Enjoy ✌


Heads up grammar Nazis, the following transcription is half human half machine and not 100% perfect (nowhere near it 😅) so expect a few typos and errors…

Intro + Podcast update (0:57)

Hey guys. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Firebug Fridays. It has been a very long time since I last recorded one of these episodes, uh, or any of my podcasts for that matter. It’s been nearly six months. Since I last produced any audio content, and I felt like I needed to just give you guys an update as to what’s been going on during the last half of this year with Aussie Firebug.

And I also wanted to touch on a topic that I’ve actually already covered before, but my perspectives have, has changed on that topic over time. And I think it will continue to evolve, but I wanted to just get, give you another update on that subject matter, because I think it might help out a few people, but first let’s talk about the podcast and generally.

Aussie Firebug content of light. Let’s get into it. Okie dokie. So unless you’ve been living under a rock this year, you’re probably aware of the global pandemic that has gripped the world. So COVID hit in March this year, 2020. And my company that I’m working for basically went into overdrive. So I’m working for a startup and for anyone out there that hasn’t worked for a startup before, it’s not uncommon for the first couple of years.

Uh, w at working for a startup or when you’re working for a startup that it’s pretty full on. You’ve got the founders, they’re the early adopters. People are all trying really, really hard to make this new idea, make this new company work, and it can be quite stressful. And there’s a lot of work and people are putting in, you know, ridiculous hours.

So I’m working for a startup and then when COVID hit and everyone started working from home, I felt like that workload and the stress and everything was compounded a lot by people working from home and maybe, you know, managers, not sure if people are working as hard as, as they could be, or as efficient as they could be if we were in the office.

And I’m sure that, you know, people out there that are listening to this pod, uh, that are, that have been working from home this year. You can probably back me up when I say that the lines between what is work and what is not work is really, really blurred at the moment. And I guess, um, you know, we’re all trying to adapt to this, this new world that we’re currently living in, but I found myself on the computer.

You know, past five 30, just finishing off a few little bits and bobs, uh, for the job. And next thing you know, it’s like seven 38, and you know, I’ve got to have dinner, I’ve got to go to bed soon and it’s a really unhealthy thing to get into the habit of doing, but it just sort of. I know, it just sort of happened to me and a lot of my colleagues and essentially you do that long enough.

You’re going to get burnt out. And that’s exactly what happened to me this year. I was sick of staring at a bloody computer screen for potentially, you know, 12 to 14 hours a day. Well, I don’t know about you guys out there, but I do a lot of my leisure stuff. Um, in my leisure time playing video games or watching YouTube videos, it’s on the computer or it’s looking at some sort of screen.

And even I was thinking about this the other day, like even when you’re at work, yes, I’m still working on a screen predominantly, but I get breaks all the time. Like if I’m going to. You know, the coffee maker or the water fountain, or, um, just going into a meet meeting with people and like looking at them face to face.

It’s like it gives your eyes a break from the screen. And it’s crazy to think about how long, all a whole bunch of people working from home all around the globe have been staring at a screen for this long, for this amount of time, without any breaks. Like I literally wake up, I’m staring at the screen all day.

I’ve got all my meetings there. And, you know, this is, this is nothing new. A lot of people are going through this. Um, and actually funny side story, not, not really funny, but, um, I actually had to get glasses during lockdown, which was, you know, I’ve never needed or never felt like I’d needed glasses before, but they, the, the glasses that I did end up getting reduced the stress on my eyes or something like that.

Um, so it wasn’t so much that I need them to see per se it’s just to help me, like, not. Concentrate too hard on the screen or something. Uh, it helped with the headaches anyway, so they must be working. But, um, it was funny to listen to the optometry, say that the amount of people that have booked in to get new glasses during lockdown has just been through the roof, which I can totally understand with everything that’s been going on.

So anyway, I was working too much and the last thing I wanted to do. Is jump on the computer to do, even though it Aussie bug. And this podcast is a passion project when I didn’t have to be in front of a computer. And especially after like the hardcore lockdown finished in London and we were able to go out and weekends and things of that nature, I was getting out, I was getting out on my bike and if we weren’t like exploring London on the weekends, we did do a few trips overseas during the weekends and stuff like that.

Um, so I really just haven’t. I, I haven’t wanted to jump on the computer during my spare time. And that’s where a lot of the Aussie Firebug content that I do make happens. It’s either after work or on the weekends, maybe in the morning or something like that. But I just felt like I had to get away from the screen as much as humanly possible when I wasn’t at work.

So as a result, uh, you can imagine Aussie Firebug content fell off a cliff, but I really just wanted to give this update to you guys because I’ve had a few people actually messaged me saying, you know, a steward on the podcast is the podcast. When’s the new episodes coming out. And I thought I better release something just to let you guys know that it’s still, I’m still recording episodes.

And I actually still have. Um, I currently have a lot of episodes in the editing room and I’m sure, um, maybe there’s people listening that have been on those episodes and sort of, uh, wondering when they’re going to be released. And for, for those of you out there, I definitely am going to release them and edit them and stuff like that.

I just, I found it really hard to, as I said, have the willpower to be in front of a computer when I, when I don’t really need to be. And I guess that’s, that’s the beauty of running, you know, a passion project and a side hustle is like, I only have to do it when I want to do it. I’m really just crawling to the finish line with this contract.

It’s sort of killing me a little bit, this contract. So I just want to get it done. Finished the year, have a really good rest and I’ll be back better than ever in 2021. And I’m really excited about, I’ve got some really good podcasts guys in the editing room that I can’t wait to get out. Uh, but it’s nothing is going to be released until next year.

On the blog side of things, I’ve always done my monthly net worth updates and they will continue. But in terms of the podcast or any audio content, uh, that nothing, nothing new will be released this year. It’s going to happen in 2021. And that’s really the update and that’s really all I wanted to say with this.

So I am taking a little break and see you guys next year.


What I would have done differently if I had to start all over again (7:58)

Okay. So to finish the last ask, Firebug Friday episode of 2020, what a year it’s been, uh, we’re going to revisit a question that I’ve already covered, but I’ve had some, as I mentioned in the intro, my thoughts on this has changed quite a bit.

Especially in the last two years, it’s really been a, a learning experience for me. And I think I’ve really grown as a person and I’ve really broadened my horizons in the last two years. And I, um, I’m excited to speak to you, you guys about that, especially in regards to fire as well, like it, cause it goes beyond fire for me in the last two years, but I think there are some, some great lessons that I’ve learned that I can apply for.

Uh, the, the journey that is financial independence retire early and, um, yeah, so let’s get into it. So the question is what would you do differently if you were starting again from scratch today? And it’s a great question. Um, and I think a lot of people ask that when they knew to find they’ll come into the forum boards or the Facebook page, the Aussie fire discussion group, and they will ask this and that they’re hoping for people that have done the journey to, you know, speak on their experience.

So I want to break this down. I really want to focus on the financial independence side of thing for, for this question, because the retire early part, I think is a lot more philosophical. And I could probably do a whole episode on the retire early and why it’s important and you know, what, what, what should be the driving factors of why you even want to go on this journey to begin with?

But I think it’s going to be too long. If I, if I go, if I delve into that, Um, that sidebar. So I’m going to stick with, what would I do differently if I’m starting again from scratch today in regards to financial independence and reaching financial independence and not necessarily the quickest way possible, but doing it the best way?

I think so that’s not depriving yourself of everything, but I just, there was, there’s a few things that I would tweak. So first of all, I’m going to break. Financial independence for me is there are three major components. And then there’s sub components within those major components are of reaching financial independence.

So the first major component and the most important one, and I’m going to list these in order of importance as well, which I think is important. So the first one is the savings rate, which I think is universally regarded as the most important thing. And for good reason, amongst the fire community. It, it has that double whammy effect of not having to produce as much passive income to live a great lifestyle and also having more money to deploy, to invest.

So as you, you know, as you get a higher savings rate, both of those things happen at once, which is why it is so important. And it definitely is, uh, the main thing people should focus on. Yeah, the second major like segment or part of reaching financial independence, in my opinion. And the second most important.

And Mike, this is where my views are starting to change and has been updated in the last two years. Is income potential. So that means your earning capacity. And I’m going to go into detail in a minute, but that is in my opinion. Now I’ve changed my mind. I had a, I actually didn’t even think about this one, um, till I moved overseas, but income potential is a major one that does not get.

Enough limelight in the fire community. And the last major piece for this is obviously investing because you need that passive income. But I think that way too many people focus on investing and even they, they skip a lot of people when they first discover financial independence, they will skip the savings rate.

And they definitely a lot of people, even that have been around the financial independency in a long time, or skip the. Income potential, uh, and they’ll go straight for it. They will go straight to investing. Right. So you’ll always see questions about investing, you know, VAs 8,200. The Vanguards diversified high growth index versus, you know, make your own portfolio.

There’s a whole bunch of questions that always gets asked on the Aussie fire discussion group on Facebook, which I’m a moderator of. And it’s fine to ask those questions. Don’t get me wrong, please. You know, it’s not like you should stop asking them, but really the bread and butter over reaching financial independence is really your savings rate.

And your income potential in my mind, if you can nail those two things, the investing side, why whilst important, I don’t want to downplay, like there’s not important, but it’s really like, it’s, it’s largely out of your control and you should really focus on those other two things, which is why I want to, I want to dig deeper into those two things for this question.

And we’ll start with obviously the first one, the, uh, savings rate. So let’s start again. Let’s start from the top. The savings rate. Is obviously how much of your paycheck you can save. And it’s got that double whammy effect. Like I said, the higher your savings rate, you have the more money you have to invest, but also the other side is the less you, the less passive income you need to be able to live your lifestyle.

So that awesome double effect is happening now. My views on the savings rate has definitely changed over the years. And really what I would say I would, if I was starting again from scratch, I would focus on the four big areas that 98% of people, 99% of people will most likely spend majority of their, or the majority of their expenses will fall into these areas.

And they are housing. Food transport and holidays Eve, you can nip these four big areas in the bud and establish good financial habits early on in the piece. Most of the other things take care of themselves. Now I that’s an, that’s a, a viewpoint that I didn’t have my whole life. Actually the majority of my life, I really sweated the small stuff way more than I really should have to be honest.

Like I think back now, And I cringe a little bit about how, how much of a tight ass I was back in the day. And I definitely like, I hate using the word regret because I, you know, you can’t change it and it is what it is, but there are definitely things that I could have done differently. And I, I would have done differently if I was starting again from scratch.

And I’ll give you an example because when I was younger, actually, between. Like the ages of maybe like 14 to about 26 or 27. I was probably, you know, one of the biggest Tituss you’ll ever meet in your life. And. I was, I grew up a little bit crazy with how much money I was trying to save around about the time that I discovered fire.

And I used to set these hardcore budgets, like $2,000 a month. That was all I was allowed to spend. And it didn’t matter what emergency popped up because there was always some sort of thing that popped up during the month, but I just have to, I had to figure out and deal with it. Right. So if I had to get new new tires on my car and I had to spend my four or $500.

Well, that’s $500. That’s like 25% of my budget was gone for that month. And I always worked around that. Like, you know, that the famous saying, pay yourself first. I definitely did that. I was like living that mantra heavily. So when I got paid, it was like all of it was saved. And at that point I wasn’t invested in the share market.

I was saving for a deposit for investment properties. And I would stash that money away and then whatever money I had left over, I would just have to deal with it. I had to make it work. Right. So it was like, I looked back and it was definitely, I saved a lot of money that’s for sure. But now that I’m older, I do sometimes wonder, did I sacrifice?

And I give something up in terms of friendship groups. Uh, in order to squeeze out that little, few percent of a savings rate and was it worth it and looking back now, I’m not too sure it was. And like, if you, I’m not saying I lost any friends, you know, cause I was too much of a tight ass, but I really like, you have to, if you’re getting invited to social gatherings and events, And you’re constantly not going because you’re worried about money and like saving as much as possible, which I definitely went through a few years of that back in the day you’re going to get, or your friends are going to stop inviting you to those events and those gatherings.

And I’m still, I still have mates and I’m still friends with the people I grew up with and everything like that. But yeah, I like since moving to London and. Going out and not worrying so much because I’ve definitely treated my time overseas as like an adventure and a holiday. Um, and so I do go out for beers with my work colleagues all the time.

I’m not too, you know, I, I hardly even worry about, uh, you know, if we go out for dinner and everything like that. And what I found is I still track how much we spend religiously. And I don’t think that’s just like a habit I’ve always got. And we actually aren’t even spending that much more. We really aren’t.

And I feel like because we have good financial habits built in already. We can like live a little bit and the small stuff really doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did at the start. So as long as in my mind, as long as someone’s got housing, food, transport, and holidays, Within reason and optimized as much as possible.

I think that. Yeah. You know, going out and having beers with your mates and spending money on that coffee. I don’t think it matters as much as I thought it did at the very start. Now I know that there’s going to be people out there that have done the math on it. And I understand all that. Trust me, I, I get all that.

I was living in a spreadsheet myself, uh, at the start of the journey. So they can say like, it adds up over the course of the year. Then you compound that you invest at this. This is how much money you gave up. I get all that, but I think sometimes it’s okay to just not sweat the small stuff and to live a little bit within reason.

If you’ve got those four things under control, I think you’ll be more than okay. And if I could go back, I’d probably change a few things at the start of my journey and. Last point on this, the housing part of the equation is, is probably no, I think it’s definitely the biggest part because the other three, like you can just follow common sense.

You know, food, try to make as many meals at home. It’s going to be healthier. It’s going to be cheaper, better for you, et cetera, et cetera. Um, transport, you know, don’t buy a brand new $50,000. You’d have Europe, an apprentice tradie. It’s going to set you back financially a lot. And holidays, you know, do you really need to go to, uh, the, you know, the latest Island that the Kardashians went to or something, or the latest girl on Instagram has been not learning videos too.

Pick your holidays and, you know, be as efficient as possible with it. So I feel like those three areas are pretty self-explanatory, but the interesting one, and just from my experience, uh, in the last couple of years, like just growing up with, with people and seeing what people do, my people, I went to high school and stuff with housing is such an interesting one because, and I’ve thought about this a lot.

A lot of my mates, uh, boys and girls, they started working and pretty much everyone’s every like the group of friends that I grew up with and like, uh, that generation, like I was born in 89 and, um, I’m a millennial also. So our parents had a, really, a strong sense of home ownership was making it in their eyes.

And so like, if. It was constantly repeated at the dinner table. Like this person has bought a house like this, this young, you know, it might one of my oldest sister’s friends. It was like 22. She’s got a house. Well, she must be doing so well for herself. She’s setting herself up like. I think a lot of people out there listening, even my, uh, Google analytics has anything to go by, fall into the same age range that I’m in.

So I’m hoping that a lot of you guys out there can relate to this, that our parents, like if you’ve got boomer parents getting a house and getting a home, owning a home really young, it was like the ultimate sign that you’re doing well in life, which is really funny because. I just, I don’t think that our generation, the millennials value, and I don’t want us to be speaking on behalf of a whole generation, but our generation is a lot different to our parents’ generation and a hell of a lot different to our grandparents generation as well, because that’s, that’s the other thing I was thinking of, like my grandparents on my dad’s side is Italian and they migrated to Australia.

So. I could understand that having a bit of land to call you on your own and like starting this new life and by getting a house that you can raise your family. And that was like a big deal. That was like the dream you go to another country, set yourself up, right. Get start a new life. And then they had kids which were our parents, the boomers, and they’ve sort of grown up with the same, you know, similar mentality, like get a house.

Start a family. Like that’s, that’s sort of what the goal is in life. And I really feel. Like that is not the case for millennials. We do like, and I think the statistics back it up as well. We do a hell of a lot more traveling and we’re exploring the world and we aren’t working the one job for our whole career.

Like those days are really, um, they’re gone that, you know, you go to a, you started a corporation, you work hard, you work your way up the ladder. I really don’t think like there’s going to be people. I’m sure that do that still, but, um, they’re far and few in between. Most people will have a lot of jobs throughout their career.

And most people as well, most millennials, uh, have traveled way more than their parents. And that’s like due to a whole bunch of factors, um, a higher standard of living, you know, travel costs coming down and stuff like that. But the point I’m trying to make here, and I’m going to tie this back to the housing point is a lot of these people that I grew up with and I’ve seen, you know, in my home town and everything.

They ended up getting, they end up buying these like four bedroom houses when they were 22, 23. And I’m not saying that that’s like a bad thing because it’s not it’s, you know, you can sit yourself up and you can pay it off. If you’re lucky, you know, by the time you hit 30 and everything, and that’s good, that’s better than most people.

Right. But if we’re talking purely on finances, and this is a point that is often, often overlooked, there is an opportunity cost that comes with buying such a big house, or to put it a another way, taking out such a big loan at such an early age. And half the time, like, hopefully, you know, you guys can relate a little bit and you, you might know someone that has done this, but half the time these people, they buy, they buy the humongous house and they only live in like 20% of the house.

They might use the kitchen, their bathroom, their room, and then there’s like three empty rooms. They got this big space of land, this big block, and they’re not using hardly anything. But what they don’t realize is they’re paying for all that. So, like, that’s not, you know, they’ve got this big house and everything, but they’re still paying for it.

And they have so much of their capital tied up into an asset that isn’t produced. Are you seeing any income? Now? You can argue, you can say, yeah, but you can sell it later on for a profit and pay no tax, which is the nice thing about, um, the primary place of residency. And yes, that is true. But. You are locking away so much capital that it isn’t able to compound when it’s not producing any, any income.

So that’s a lot different, a lot different than investing or buying an investment property and, and living in a much smaller area and really trying to save a whole bunch of money and, and put that into an income producing asset. It’s a lot different. And I’m not saying either way is right or wrong, because as many people know there’s intangibles that come with buying a house and a lot of people buy a house for different reasons.

But if we look purely from a, from a financial point of view, All I’ll say, is that be sensible when it comes to housing and either you’re going to buy a big house early on and like, that’s what, that’s what you’re going to do. Just know that you are going to be paying for it. And that opportunity costs is there.

So you really need to ask yourself, do you really need a house that costs that much money? And do you even know what you want to do for the next seven years? Because if you don’t really know what you want to do, So, what we did is rented this tiny two bedroom flat in the country that cost bugger rolls like.

At one stage, it was like $190 a week, which is just really, really cheap. And we just poured money into income producing assets. And I really feel like that sped up our journey a hell of a lot, and it almost would have been, it almost in some sense would have been crippling if we had taken out a decent size loan early on in the piece.

And what’s funny is that we were really close to doing that back in like 2013, where. You know, are we going to rent? Are we going to buy? And I can tell you that I’m so glad that we went down the renting path because not only has it opened up doors and it’s allowed us to travel and everything, because sometimes I think if you’ve got a house, are you really going to take that risk and maybe move to another place to get a new job or go overseas or anything like that?

If you’ve got this mortgage tied, To your name and everything. And I think that I really truly think that that might put a lot of people off. So I think you just got to ask yourself, do you really need to own a home? And I think for people, with families and stuff like that, yes, that’s a good reason.

That’s what we will eventually own a home for that reason. But I think that too many people, uh, pushed in the direction of homeownership, especially by their parents when they don’t even really know what they wanted to do with their life. And, uh, yeah, it’s just something to be aware of. But either way you go and I guess I’ll wrap it up now in this, with this point is just be sensible and try to optimize the housing as much as possible.

So whether you rent. Do you know, do it appropriately and sort of live within your means and get that nip that in the bud. And as I said, good financial habits early on in the piece. And if you buy a house, try to buy appropriately because bigger is not always better. And you’re going to have that opportunity cost.

If you tie up all your capital in a non-income producing asset. You know, it, it could, you could miss out on many years of, uh, compounding. That’s all I’ll say, all right, the second major part. And I think this does not get covered enough and my eyes are really opened and I’ve really broadened my horizons really.

In regards to this part is the income potential on the road to financial independence, right? I wasn’t even thinking about this and I didn’t really, even, this is like a brand new area for me. Um, but I did actually recently contribute to Pearl is ebook called Aussie FIRE,  where I spoke about how important it was to increase your income and how it’s often overlooked.

And it has taken me years to realize this, moving to another country where my skills are in demand has really broadened my horizons. Your earning capacity is the biggest asset of all during the accumulation phase. Now I want to, I want to repeat that because it’s SU I, I feel like it’s super important and it doesn’t get spoken about enough in the fire community.

Your biggest asset is not your share portfolio at all. It isn’t your biggest, your biggest asset is your earning capacity. Now, once you’re finished with the accumulation phase, Yes, your share portfolio will, you know, it will be so large that it’s going to be doing the heavy lifting, but it, that doesn’t kick in until the very end and on the journey towards financial independence, you really have two major leavers at your disposal, how much you’re willing to save and how much money you can earn.

And those two, those two are the drivers to financial independence. Trust me on this. Like I’m. W we, uh, to also use away from the angle and we are, we’re almost on like cruise control now because it’s just going to happen regardless if I add to the snowball or not, we’re going to get there. But, um, the, the savings rate is super important.

It’s number one. So have that optimize key, like dial that in, but then try to increase your income. Trust me on this, investing in yourself by upscaling. And getting that education and maybe moving jobs every few years will annihilate any passive income investment returns during the accumulation phase, which is what I’m assuming the bulk of people out there listening are in.

If all we’re starting again from scratch today. What I would do differently is I would jump onto Google and find out how much, like look at the people that are in a similar age bracket, experience, demographics, you know, our location, everything like that, and find out how what’s the average, what’s the medium, uh, wage for someone in my job description or someone in my role.

Right. And if I was earning. More than the average, then that’s awesome. There isn’t really many low fruit to pick if I’m earning more than the average, because I’m already doing really well. If I’m in, if I’m average or, you know, in the medium, um, I can look at like, what is the next jump in my career that I can take that can get me that pay rise and.

This is a really important point for people that are earning below average incomes, especially in your field. This is like one of the, this is one of the, I’m not going to say easiest, but it has to be one of the lowest hanging fruits that you can go after. If you are earning below average salary, if you’re putting as much effort into optimizing your savings rate.

And especially if you’re putting a whole bunch of effort, Into trying to calculate and work out the, the most efficient and most optimized investing portfolio. Maybe put some of that effort into actually trying to jump the ladder at work and getting a raise or even better. And what I found through experience is to job hop into a new position because that in my experience, that is the best way to get serious gains in your salary, your yearly, your yearly salary.

Can increase astronomically. If you are willing to move somewhere where your skills are in demand. Now, of course this isn’t going to work for everyone and I’m not factoring in, you know, people’s situations and everything like that. But I’m talking about purely from a financial independence point of view.

If you are looking to increase your income. Job hopping is the best way to do it. In my opinion, yes. You’ve got to have the right skills and experience helps and all that stuff and having the right certifications. But if you are willing to move, I feel like that is the easiest way to increase your income substantially a lot easier then to do it through investing.

Like if you think about it, let’s just say that. By you going to another place or moving jobs, you can potentially get like a $20,000 raise in your salary, which I don’t think, you know, obviously there’s, there’s a variety of people listening in from various backgrounds and everything, but it’s not unheard of for someone to go from, you know, 70,000 to $90,000.

Right. It’s it’s not that crazy. How long would it take for you or for anyone out there to invest your way to $20,000 worth of passive income? It’s going to take a hell of a lot longer to do that than it is to put in the effort and to grind away at increasing your income, whether it be in your job or maybe doing a side hustle or something, or doing something after work, if you’re like maxed out in your earning potential in your current job, then I would seriously consider starting a side hustle.

Even if it only generates a, you know, a thousand bucks a month. That’s still $12,000 a year. And again, how long would it take you to generate $12,000 from passive investing income? It’s going to be a hell of a lot longer. Like this is a real game changer. It can be a massive game changer, uh, to anyone on the road to financial independence.

And I really feel it’s not spoken about. Nowhere near as much as it should be because the savings rate is always the best. And I definitely agree with that because a dollar saved is a dollar earned and you’re not going to pay tax on it and all that good stuff. But I’m just speaking from experience.

When I moved from Australia to London, where my skills were more in demand and there was more of a, you know, more lucrative jobs over here and stuff like that. I more than doubled my earnings when I moved over here and my sort of my brain sort of exploded to be like, I never knew opportunities existed like this for people with, you know, within my skillset.

I always knew that there was higher paying jobs in the city, but I didn’t know it was like this. And you don’t know until you try. All I’m saying is once you have optimized your savings rate, In my opinion, try to increase your income. That should be the next biggest thing on anyone’s list. Investing is definitely important and like, you should understand investing, but once you’ve got the basics down, you really want to set and forget and automate that as much as possible.

And I think as well, that a lot of people in the fire community they’re hustlers at heart. I, I truly believe that like a lot of people that come to this community. And stick around and are actually, you know, trying to reach financial independence. They’re not just, they’re not just cruising the forums, not, not trying to actually implement this lifestyle, that the proper ones that are doing this.

I really think that there’s ambition and there’s like entrepreneurial spirit in a lot of people that pursue fire that enthusiasm and that heart, that willingness to work hard and like do the grind and everything. It is much, much better suited. To try to increase your income. Then it is to try to get the most efficient and perfect portfolio mix in the world.

And I don’t think enough is spoken or written about that part of financial independence where savings rates. Awesome. But so is increasing your income. And like I said, your earning capacity is your biggest asset. And that’s taken me many years to realize that. And lastly, the last major part or, or major component of reaching financial independence is the investing.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet with this. If I were starting again from scratch, I would just keep it really, really simple, even though I had success with property early on. And a lot of that was to do, was to do with luck, or it’s hard for me to say that I wouldn’t do it again because if I knew hindsight is 2020.

So if I knew. I knew I was going to make as much money. I probably would have done it again. I definitely would have done it again, but if, I didn’t know, like if it was going to be a random timeline, I probably would just go straight to a. Passive income share portfolio. And the only reason I say that is because just my mind.

Yeah. So at the moment, I don’t want to be renovating houses anymore or anything like that. And I’m sort of just over that and I’ve just got other ambitions. There’s other things that I want to do. So I would just be, I’d go the lazy route. Um, passive style index investing. I probably would go either VAs or a 200, either one is fine for my Australian component.

And then I’d, I’d even, probably go, um, VGs. Over my current one that I got the VT VTS and VU and own that. I’m only saying that because of the, uh, annoying w eight Benny form, even though I really like the VTS and VU, and I like to tweak, I like to be able to dial in the, how much is the in the U S how much is in the world and everything like that.

That super duper simple I’d either go various a 200 VGs. Or I would just go the Vanguard, highly diversified index, high growth option. I think it’s called the, the VD HG option and just, and that’s where I’d keep it. And I would just I’d invest in a 50 50 split between me and ms. Firebug and that’s it.

That’s what I would do if I was standing in from scratch today. Super duper simple. So to recap that, and to conclude that. I would focus on three main areas, the most important being savings rate. I would optimize that again, get that really efficient. I would lock in nip in the bud housing, food, transport, and holidays.

And I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff as much old. I would live a little bit more if I could do it again, then I would concentrate on my income potential. Where am I skills going to earn me the most amount of money? And I would take more risks in this regard. Moving overseas to where my skills are in demand has been.

The best thing that I’ve ever done in my life is the last two years has been awesome. And I wish I did this when I was younger. I’m glad we did it, but I really wish if I’ve always five years younger still, we we’d go to another city or another country and we do it all again. But we’re just at the stage in life now where we want to settle down and start a family next year.

So it’s, you know, it’s a little different now, but. It really, I cannot say this. I can’t speak highly enough of getting off the Island, getting away from Australia and seeing the world exploring and using your talents in other countries. It’s just, it’s one of the best things I’ve done, highly, highly recommend.

And lastly, with investing, I would just take that really, really simple approach and do a. Ridiculously simple portfolio, something like VD HG or VAs plus VGs and I would just throw money. I would just throw money in it. So every I would automate it. I would automate it as much as possible. So when I save a set amount every single month and we try to do about $5,000 these days, that would just get thrown in there.

So whatever splits I’m running, I just automatically invest. And eventually over time that snowball grows to a ridiculous amount. And that’s really about it. Once I got those three components locked down, everything else works itself out.

Okay. That is it for 2020, the very last episode. I hope you guys enjoyed it.

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