Aussie Firebug

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Nothing written below is financial advice. The questions and answers below 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.


Question (04:41)


How many ETF’s are too many?

I am trying to build a portfolio of ETF’s. I have a few that I like for various reasons but am finding there is an overlap of the holdings across several. I am currently at 7 ETF’s and am looking into an 8th but again there is overlap so not sure it is worth adding?

I currently hold NDQ, VAS, VGS, ASIA, IVV, VDHG & ROBO. The 8th one I’m looking into is VHY, it focuses on high yield dividend-paying companies but I note there is overlap here as well so not sure how much benefit it will bring.

I think I need to do more research!

Cheers Scott

Firebug’s Answer

Hi Scott,

Unfortunately, this type of question falls under the ‘it depends’ basket. There isn’t such a thing as a perfect portfolio mix but I can give you an example of the way we do it and justify each product.

We run a simple diversified portfolio that focuses on the biggest businesses within Australia, the USA and the rest of the world minus the USA. To achieve this diversification, we invest in the following products

  • USA – VTS
  • World ex USA – VEU
  • Australia – VAS/A200

A common question we get asked all the time is why do we have two products in our portfolio that are really similar (A200 and VAS). The answer to that is we started investing in VAS before A200 was even invented. We made the switch to A200 because the management fees were 1/3 of the price of VAS. And recently we have started investing back into VAS to balance the management risk between Vanguard and Betashares. That’s it!

I’m a huge believer in the psychological side of investing and am convinced that you need to have strong conviction with your investments in order for you to hold them for the long term and let the magic of compounding do the heavy lifting. There’s no right or wrong answer but I will say that it’s probably a good idea to have a diversified portfolio that has low management fees (anything under 0.3% is ok IMO). If you’re covering the diversification and management fees side of things, then the only real burden of adding extra EFT’s is the administration costs and time. There’s something to be said about a simple portfolio after all.

Here’s a great article from PIA that’s worth a read 🙂


Question (15:53)


I am 46 years old (so not that young) and have two small children that I care for with joint custody arrangements. I have approx 250k in a pension and after my house sale this month I would expect approx 150k cash. I live in Sydney where house prices are increasing rapidly at the moment.

My question is: do I buy a house using the 150k as a deposit or do I invest the 150k and increase savings?

Should I give up on property ownership?


Firebug’s Answer

Hi Simon,

Firstly, the older I get these days, the more I like to extend the definitely of what’s considered young lol and I definitely wouldn’t consider 46 as old mate 😅.

With that being said, if I were in your situation I would probably opt for the security of a home because you’re caring for children. But I’m not really sure what $750K in Sydney (20% deposit = $150K) can buy you these days. How important is homeownership to you?

I’m assuming your pension is money in a Superfund too. This means you’ll be able to access these funds once you’re 60… so only 14 years away.



Question (23:14)

*This question was asked in OCT 2019

Hi Aussie Firebug,

I’ve been listening to your podcasts for a while now, and I am looking into beginning a financial investment journey. To give you some context of my financial situation, I am 22 years old with about $80,000 in savings with a low cost of living. I do want to make the best use of these savings and that is why I am seeking out information about the world of finance from people like yourself.

My question for you is:
Most financial bloggers/investors that I have listened to say that it is inevitable that there will be a recession in my lifetime – with some even predicting that this will happen in the next 3-5 years. If it is almost certain that there will be a recession, wouldn’t it be best that I wait until the recession to start investing? In this instance, I would be able to buy shares/property cheaply and my money would go a lot further than if I was to buy those shares/property today. A lot of investors say that you should NOT try to time the market, but why not?



Firebug’s Answer

*I answer this question in the podcast at (23:14)

Meet Bob, the world worst market timer.

“If you understand the math behind compounding, you realize the most important question is not, ‘How can I earn the highest returns?’ It’s, ‘What are the best returns I can sustain for the longest period of time?'” – Morgan Housel


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