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.


Hey AFB,

Just wanted to hear your thoughts on superannuation…

I think its an important piece of the FIRE puzzle. I know the money is locked away until were old but in the meantime, it is a great opportunity to stash cash away and pay less tax! And let’s face it, we’ll need money when were old anyway.

I contribute up to the $25000 cap via salary sacrifice and trust it’s saving me a fair bit of tax as I am earning over $80k.

Plus host plus has a balanced index option and costs just 0.02% (plus a $78 annual fee).

I’d love to know your thoughts…!

Thanks heaps for all your material.



Firebug’s Answer

Hi Emma,

This one pops up every week and it really comes down to two things.

  1. When do you want to retire?
  2. How long until your preservation age?

There is no better tax efficient vehicle than Super. It’s the best way to invest and, all things being equal, will generate the most amount of wealth for any Aussie investor due to the tax advantages.

But it won’t enable you to retire early!

If I were 50 and could dip into my Super at 60 then the choice would be easy. I’d be maxing out the SS cap of $25,000 every year until preservation age. Because at that stage, even if I did decide to retire at 55, I would keep enough cash to last 5 years until I reached the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But I’m only 29. And having that much money locked up for another 35 years makes me nauseous 🤢. And what’s to say that the government don’t change the rules and push back the preservation age even further?

I think most people can find a peaceful middle ground and SS some amount. But I hope to have built the retirement income long before I hit my preservation age. Super can just be a safety net at that point.




Hi firebug,

Loving the new podcast. Just a question re: AFIC vs Beta shares A200. The A200 has the lower MER 0.07% compared with AFIC and VAS of 0.14% but AFIC/VAS seems to have the better dividend yield of the two (3.86%/4.27% compared with 0.2% with the A200) how much is dividend yield a factor for you? (figures pulled from




Firebug’s Answer

Hi Jamie,

Because the fund was only created this year, the yield is not a true representation of what a full year will look like. Comparing the A200 to VAS is a good example because of how similar the returns have been and the fact that the bottom 100 companies in the ASX300 only represent about 3% in terms of market cap.

If we look at what the ASX300 returned over the last 10 years vs the ASX200 we get the following.



The ASX top 200 has actually returned a slightly higher return than the ASX top 300. But the above graph does not factor in dividends. Given the results though, it’s easy for me to choose BetaShares A200 because of how similar the two indexes are and BetaShares offers one at half the price of the other.

Speaking of AFIC, you got me curious as to the yield because 3.86% seems too low for AFIC. Does this factor in franking?

I pulled up the data (that also factors in franking credits) from the last 10 years and came up with the following.


And VAS for comparison since A200 has not been around for 10 years.


And before people start commenting that VAS has not been around exactly 10 years and that AFIC has a disadvantage because VAS missed the tail end of the GFC… I already know!

But we are measuring the dividend yield not the growth, and AFIC’s first dividend payment in the above graph is on the 10th of February 2009. The same year as the first dividend payout for VAS too (July 2009) so it is a fair comparison for dividend yield (not growth).

The conclusion I reach from the above is that VAS has slightly outperformed AFIC over the last 10 years in terms of dividend yield (VAS: 5.53%, AFIC: 5.29%).

Given that we have already shown the incredibly similar returns of the ASX300 vs ASX200 and the fact the BetaShares A200’s MER is half the cost of both VAS and AFIC… I would conclude that the A200 yield should be extremely close to VAS and AFIC moving forward. And given that no one knows the future, I’m going with the lowest management fee options every day of the week.




Thank-you for your blog.

It is amazingly satisfying to have a joint financial goal with your partner, which, although alternative to the norm, you both believe in. I should have started investing early enough that I would have a dividend income during maternity leave.

I know this is a time many women feel dependant on their partner for income. Once I understand investing and see the effects myself, I would like to make a women-focused blog, encouraging investing for alternative income for women of all ages.


Firebug’s Answer

Hi Pia,

Thanks so much for the kind words.

We weren’t always on the same page but I struck gold because she was naturally frugal and a pretty good saver in general. It took me years to unplug her from the matrix and really believe that what we’re doing is actually possible. It’s a lot harder to do that when you invest in real estate because of the poor cash flow. Once we started investing in shares, it was easy to show her the dividends each quarter and with some degree of certainty explain that if we just had $X amount invested it would produce $Y of income.

At the start, she was encouraging but I don’t actually think that she thought we were legit going to have the option to stop working before 35 (maybe 30 for her). And this was the natural and normal response since what I was proposing sounded like a fantasy. But the more we met others that had already reached the goal and seeing those dividends roll in, the more she started believing.

The income stream during children is a massive motivator for both of us. Not only will it alleviate pressures and stress from fulltime work, but it will also allow us to direct all our investment income to Mrs.FB since she definitely won’t be working, which will mean big tax efficiencies. Even if you don’t hold your investments in a trust, even having half the income going to someone that’s not working is huge.

A woman focussed blog would be awesome! Drop us a line when it’s up as I’d love to read it 🙂


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