Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

Financial Goals 2019

Financial Goals 2019

Just like last year, and the year before that. It’s time again to take a step back and see what we achieved over the last 12 months and set new goals for 2019!


2018 GOALS

Have a savings rate of 65% or better 

Achieved = No ❌


Total expenses for 2018: $60,742

Total money made (post-tax): $142,957

Savings rate for 2018 = 57.5% 😓

This one isn’t really a surprise for us. The two big factors that lead to an increase in spending was all the flights and accomodation we booked for our trip overseas and Mrs.FB having her wisdom teeth out was not cheap either. Even though we earned $12k more this year than the previous, as always, the expenses are the biggest factor in a healthy savings rate and not your income!

I’m not overly devastated by this because I know that these big expenses were sort of a one-off and not exactly lifestyle creep. Tbh, 55% is not that bad considering how much we booked for our trip. If I cut out the money we spent on flights and accommodation our savings rate jumps to 67%… Not bad.


Reach $200K in ETFs

Achieved = No❌


Technically this wasn’t achieved. We had around $194k in ETFs/LICs at the end of December 2018. But we could have had heaps more in there because we sold IP1 last year and currently have a big cash reserve we’re drip-feeding into the market. It also didn’t help that December was a really bad month for the markets but oh well.

If I actually remembered this goal in December I could have just put in an extra $7k to hit it haha.

Always next year!


Get to $550K+ in net worth

Achieved = Yes✅


Woohoo first tick! We managed to end 2018 at $600k mostly due to the sale of IP1. Very happy with this one.


Make monthly checks to the above goals as part of my monthly net worth posts

Achieved = No ❌


I don’t know how I forgot about this one but I can’t remember referencing these goals at all during the year. It was maybe something that sounds good last year but not something I ever think about with each months update. Maybe I’ll remember this year 😂


Redesign homepage and the whole site

Achieved = Yes✅


I changed my WordPress theme at the start of 2018 to make it easier for me to update the site and for you guys to navigate around. The older readers might remember, but the old theme was a bit clunky and for me to add things into the site use to take ages and was extremely buggy. So happy I made the switch to the new theme. Really fast and very customisable.


Find a Super expert to interview on the podcast

Achieved = No ❌


Ugh! I’m so over this one. I was really close to getting a Super expert for MONTHS to come on the show and they never did. I won’t name any names but I got over it really quick after I tried pretty hard to land some other quality guests.

So I’m changing my strategy.

If you know someone who would like to contact me to come on the podcast, then I’m all ears. But I’m after someone who will provide expert info about Super in regards to FIRE. What I don’t want is some random from their financial consulting company coming on to talk about how good their company is. It has to be specifically in regards to people looking to FIRE or FI that are close to their preservation age. SMSF is of great interest.

[email protected] if you know someone 🙏


Update the Australian FIRE Calculator

Achieved = Sorta yes ✅


I made some minor changes to the calculator last year (didn’t update the changelog) but nothing major. There are actually other calculators that are based off mine that have expanded it greatly. If you’re one of those people who has made amendments to it, please contact me as I’d love to release a better version and give you credit and some exposure to whatever site/content you may have.

I came across one version that had the ability to enter in multiple people’s numbers and stuff like that. Really cool stuff and something I’d love to get out there officially without having to further develop this myself as I’m pretty much moved on from that.


Get to 500 Facebook likes

Achieved = Yes ✅


Currently sitting on 940 likes 😁

Who will be the prestigious 1,000 like?

I feel that pages and groups have so much more authority when they hit the magical 1K mark.

Although there’s plenty out there who pay for likes 🙄. Just look for the pages who have over 1,000 likes yet only have 5-7 reactions each time they post. I take pride in saying the Aussie Firebug page has never ever paid for likes and on top of that, doesn’t have a single friend or family member liking the page. Mostly because they don’t know about it! But I reckon that’s an easy 100-200 likes right there getting the old friends and family on board 😂


And that’s it for the recap for the last 12 months. Heading into 2019, these will be our main focus financially/blog-wise.


2019 GOALS

The big financial goals are:

  1. Obtain a savings rate of 20% or better
    • I honestly don’t know if we will be able to save anything whilst on our trip this year. But that of course was never the goal. I’ve set 20% as a little goal just to be a bit more accountable. A lot depends on our housing situation and how good the jobs we’re able to land are.
  2. Reach $420K in ETFs
    • We’re putting in $15k into ETFs/LICs each month over the next 16 months from the big pile of cash left over from the sale of IP1. This means at a minimum, $165K will be going into the markets for us this year. Maybe we can continue to add a little bit from savings and perhaps the markets will do ok. I don’t think this goal is unrealistic but a lot will depend on factors outside of our control.
  3. Get to $700K+ in net worth
    • Maybe a bit unrealistic since I don’t think we will be able to save that much but you never know.
  4. Sell another property if the lending condition changes and the market picks up
    • I could be waiting a decade for this one but the two IPs are currently cash flow positive so I’m in no rush.

Website goals:

  1. Bring back AFF and aim to release an episode on a regular basis once I’m up and running overseas
  2. Release a webapp I’m been working on
  3. Get to 2,000 Facebook likes


That should keep me pretty busy this year.



What about you? How did you go with your financial goals in 2018? And what goals are you setting for the next 12 months?

Podcast – Nathan Birch

Podcast – Nathan Birch





Are you ready to exit the matrix?

Investing in his first property at 18, and starting his first business shortly after, Nathan Birch was able to ‘retire’ at just 24. He has appeared on such programs as 7 news, Sunday Night and Triple J’s Hack and his story is so incredible it’s hard to believe!

We delve into so much more than just investing today, Nathan has in his own words, some alternative views about the entire systems that we are born into and some really thought-provoking commentary in regards to money.

Some of the topics we cover today include:

– Property Investing
– Is Australian property heading for a crash?
– How to finance more than 6 properties
– BitCoin
– Cryptocurrencies
– Hyperinflation

And much more!

It’s a big one today so maybe grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy.



Nathan talks about the Financial Claims Scheme (government guarantee of $250,000) being removed last year, but this is not the case. The FCS is still in place FYI


Show Notes

JAN19 Net Worth $621,955 (+$21,341)

JAN19 Net Worth $621,955 (+$21,341)

If you don’t already know by now, we jetted off on our overseas adventure in mid-Jan to begin a new chapter of our lives working and living in the UK.

You can read about the decision and ‘why’ in last months post ‘You Only Live Once’.

I’ve had so many people reach out to me with amazing stories about their travels when they were younger and how it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done. We left in the middle of Jan and have been trecking through South East Asia for the last 3 weeks stopping by Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

And before you ask, no this is not becoming a travel blog 😂 I just couldn’t resist showing off some of our photos.

A cat cafe in Thailand

There are a few things that stick out like a sore thumb when you visit SE Asia. With the exception of Singapore, everywhere has been so incredibly cheap! It’s mostly a reflection of how much taxes we pay in Australia, but drinks and smokes (some of our most taxed items and for good reason) are literally 10% of the price in SE Asia. I mean, even at a swim-up bar where you’d probably be paying $10 for a stubbie in Oz, you could get an ice cold long neck for around $2.

Food and accommodation are also insanely cheap and most of the time it’s really healthy and fresh. Half the reason we went to SE Asia was because of the food. Our favourite place has been Thailand for food (legit have ordered a Pad Thai every meal for around $2.5).

Everything here combined was around $10 AUD

We have been mostly staying at backpackers for around $20-$30 a night (which was cheaper than our rent back home lol) but occasionally we splash out for a ‘luxurious’ night in a fancy place for around $100!

Hostels are such great places to meet people from all over the world. Whenever we say we’re from Australia, one of the most common themes from other travellers is how expensive Australia is to them. It is one of the most expensive places to live in the world! But the advantage that we as Australians have is that we can move and travel to cheaper countries if we chose to do so. Someone growing up and earning a normal wage in Malaysia would almost find it impossible to have a holiday in Australia because of the difference in purchasing power.

We off to Cambodia and Vietnam during Feb and then a stopover in Dubai before starting work in the UK mid-March.

As a result of this travelling, I haven’t had the time to respond to all your emails. So if you’re waiting for your question to be answered, please be patient. I will get around to every last one eventually!


Net Worth Update

Great start to 2019 with a big bump of over $20k!

The sharemarket bounced back from what was a turbulent December. This looks good in theory, but during the accumulation phase of FIRE. We actually want the sharemarket to not go up at all, in fact, it would be better for it to head south whilst we are gathering units are of favourite ETFs and LICs.

Nevertheless, shares and Super (ours are mainly in shares anyway) really beefed up the gains for January and added around $14K into the portfolio.

The other bump from cash was a nice surprise. I’m currently using my annual leave which benefits from leave loading. In a nutshell, I’ll be earning more each fortnight until the start of March which is when my annual leave runs out and I’ll switch over to long service leave at half pay until July. It’s pretty insane that I have long service leave already built up when I’m not even 30 yet. I don’t feel old enough to have it but I’ll sure as hell take it 😁

Mrs. FB got her last paycheck last week (teacher) and won’t get paid again until she finds a job in the UK.

Just because we’re on holidays doesn’t mean we aren’t tracking our expenses too. And would you believe that travelling around SE Asia has, in fact, cost us roughly the same as living back home for the last 3 weeks 😲

And we have been living our best life too, even doing a few expensive things (night safari in Singapore, river tour etc). I met a dude who was from Admsterdam (a student) and he had been living on this tropical island in Maylasia for the last month without dipping into his savings at all! He works at a local coffee house as a baristia and gets a free bed plus a bit of money which he can strech to live on! He only works like 5 hours a day too.



No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018


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.






We have a new addition to the portfolio this month…

Australian Foundation Investment Company (ticker AFI) has joined the fold. It’s a LIC that forms part of our strategy 3.

It was trading at a discount so we pulled the trigger. I have to say though, I have been thinking more and more about Labor’s franking credit refund plan as of late and it’s hard to not factor that into the equation when we are buying LICs.

Also, the FI Explorer wrote an extremely well written and researched article about A Skeptical View of Listed Investment Company Investing which I encourage anyone who is considering investing in LICs to read. It’s important to hear both sides of the story and have a well-balanced view on an investment before you put down your hard earnt dollars.

I’m not going to refute the article in this post (I pretty much agree with everything that was written) but will say for anyone wondering, my view is and has always been as part of strategy 3, I’m willing to accept a lower return and diversification in exchange for a more dividend focussed portfolio.

LICs have a ‘focus’ on dividends which I like. I don’t feel easy that there is a human making the investment decisions which is why I split my management risk over two LICs and only buy when on discount. I have also modified my strategy to ensure that I’m never weighted too heavily in LICs with a good portion of the portfolio being in ETFs (currently a 17% to 83% split).

At the end of the day, no one knows if LICs will outperform ETFs or the other way around. I dabble in both and think they are both suited for anyone looking to reach FIRE in Australia.

One thing I think we can all agree on though is the quality of content within the Australian FIRE scene continues to reach new highs. FI Explorer’s article, whether you agree with it or not, was one of the most thoroughly researched with sources to back up his claims articles I’ve read! This only strengthens the movement and welcomes healthy disucssion.




You Only Live Once

You Only Live Once

Ok, real talk.

I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all… well it’s not really a secret but just something that’s been planned for nearly four years now and I have never written about it…

There’s a little back story that’s needed so let’s start there.


The year was circa 2013 and I’d been working for nearly 2 years and Mrs.FB was just finishing her degree eagerly (not) looking forward to starting work fulltime.

We had always planned to do a Euro trip at some point in our 20’s, and we were roughly aiming for 2015 to be the year.

We did an American trip at the end of 2012 with another couple and I really hated the style that we did the trip.

You know what I’m talking about:
* Fly here
* Get a cab to landmark
* Take Seflie
* Hop back in a plane
* Goto next stop…

Don’t get me wrong, I loved that trip and it was an amazing experience. It’s just that it was so exhausting and I felt like I never had the time to truly experience the inner vibe of some cities because we were there and gone in a second.

Some parts of that trip I just wanted to chill out and enjoy the area we were in. But that’s what a 7 week trip around the states is really. Unless you’ve been before, everyone (myself included) wants to see as mush shit as possible during your time off.

Another massive negative from traveling like that is you pay a premium for everything. Because you don’t have time to head down the supermarkets and prepare meals, or you can’t wait for offseason ticket prices for a lot of things especially with airlines (don’t even get me started).

In a nutshell, that trip was awesome, but it’s hard for me to truly enjoy myself when I know I’m paying a premium for most things.

Which brings us back to our Euro trip.

Instead of rushing around like mad over 6-8 weeks… Why don’t we pack up and stuff, and move over there for a year?

Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend like this is a groundbreaking idea. I’m really following suit from many of my mates who did the whole work in London and travel around on the weekend thing.

It’s a brilliant way to do it I reckon. You have a base where you can recharge and get back in a routine. And because all the countries are so close, you can skip on over to France on a long weekend…Or pop over to Spain Friday night and return Sunday. I have even heard of (insane) people catching a 5 AM flight in on a Monday and heading straight to work!

The other really big bucket list item that Mrs.FB and I wanted to tick off is living in a capital city. Yeah, the weather sucks in London but the lifestyle, food and drinks options, events, concerts, sports, proximity to other countries and countless other pros to us was worth the hustle and bustle of a concrete jungle.

So our minds were made up. In 2015 we would pack our bags and head off on a once in a lifetime trip…

And then I discovered FIRE

I was very lucky to get a high paying job (relative to the country) straight out of uni and when I discovered FIRE I felt like
I was in an extremely fortunate position and could realistically achieve this goal before 35.

I had the following:
* Early 20s
* Good paying job
* Low cost of living
* Frugal

We were still planning to do the trip but in the back of my mind, I wasn’t ready to pack in my job yet and really wanted to grind away for a few more years so compound interest could do its thang. I had it in my head that your 20’s are a really special time where you can save and invest a lot of money and leapfrog yourself to FIRE. You can still do it in your 30’s and later but it’s just a lot harder when kids are on the scene.

So there I was, stuck between a trip of a lifetime and a goal that had turned into an obsession.

I ended up chatting to Mrs.FB about the Euro trip and how I wasn’t ready to go. What didn’t help the situation was Mrs. FB had just started full-time work and she had a really, really hard time. She’s a teacher and was placed in an incredibly hard class for her first year (still the worst one after teaching for 5 years). And on top of that her cat got eaten by a dog halfway through that hellish year…

So as you could imagine, the conversation went about as smooth as sandpaper. I think she understood how important setting ourselves up at an early age was, but it’s hard to appreciate that after the year she had. Mrs. FB ended up booking camp America for 2015 lol. She needed a break and I was totally supportive of that. I stayed home and worked through those 4-5 months in 2015 and met up with her in Hawaii as she flew back to Oz.

The next three 4 years (2015-2018) set the foundations for the bulk of the portfolio that is worth over $600K as I write this today. We were both working fulltime and investing a large chunk (~65%) of our combined after-tax income.

We had revised the date for our Euro trip to be at the start of 2019.

And then, as if a temptation from the devil. I got a raise and my dream job towards the end of 2018. I thought about just canning the whole trip for a few nights but the longer I thought about it, the more I realised that I would 100% regret it if we never went.

How many people have you heard say they regret traveling? I’ve yet to met a single person. On the contrary, how many people have you heard say they wish they took more risks when they were younger? I’ve met a few…

If we continue on our current path right now. I’ve roughly calculated that we would hit FIRE in 4-5 years. That’s a house fully paid off
with around $50K rolling in.

Buuuuut… life’s worth living. And the fact that we have a growing snowball back home that will continue to work hard and make us money whilst we’re away makes the decision a lot easier for me.

Which is why I’m typing up this post on a flight to Singapore.


We are on our way to London (little holiday through southeast Asia first) to start our new life.

We’ll be back…at some point.

But for someone who has always been risk-averse… always chosen the smart move and not the most exciting.. made countless sacrifices in the pursuit of freedom…


DEC18 Net Worth $600,614 (+$34,175)

DEC18 Net Worth $600,614 (+$34,175)

I cannot believe 2018 has come and gone. What an incredible year it’s been!

We spent Christmas locally and thankfully Mrs.AF is from the same town as me along with all her fam so there was no traveling 🙏. We used to travel to Melb a lot on Christmas day to see my sisters and driving around can be a drag.

Christmas time is always awesome because a lot of my old mates that are living in Melbourne come down to be with their families which means I usually see them out and about. It’s great to catch up as everyone has such busy lives these days.

I remember last year that me and a few mates kept saying we should do a trip together and we just need to organise something. Well, Mrs.FB and I booked a trip for NYE in January 2018 because nothing ever happens unless someone pulls their wallet out and organizes shit.

I’d almost forgot that we had that trip coming up so it was nice to be reminded about it at the start of Dec and the whole group was pretty pumped.

We bought in NYE in Mornington Peninsula which was awesome!

So incredibly busy though. You’d hate to be a local when the tourist come and invade your town haha.

Big, big plans for 2019 which I’ll write about in another post but can’t really complain about the last 12 months.

The net worth has risen to heights that I didn’t think was possible at the start of the year and it’s only getting better.


Net Worth Update

Finished off 2018 at $600K 😁😁😁

The properties were the real heavy lifter this year and I was very lucky with IP1 and the re-vals for IP2 and 3 (more on that below).

I couldn’t be any more stoked to finish the year at this number. We’re getting into some serious territory now. I always thought that once we hit around $700K. The last $300K will come really quick because of dat compound interest baby.

We still have a lot of our net worth in cash. But I’m super pump to slowing drip feed it into the markets and see our passive income rise accordingly!



Property was the real MVP this month. I have mentioned in previous posts, but we have swapped lenders (from CBA to Macquarie) to get a better rate and to switch to P&I since the gap between I/O is at a comedic level now. It’s almost… cheaper (payment wise per month) to go P&I.


Because of the switch, Macquarie revalued the two properties and they came back higher than what Commbank thought they were… Which was no surprise to me really, I had suspected that CBA had put a halt on higher valuations for a while whilst they dealt with the whole royal commission thing.

This valuation saved what would have been a very red month.


Property 1 was sold in August 2018


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.





Put your hand up if at some point, you thought we were heading for another GFC during December?


The shares portfolio got rocked in December, some weeks we were down $10K+ grand and it looked like it wasn’t slowing down.

This might scare the n00b investor, but we understand that whilst you’re in the accumulation phase (still working and building our snowball). We welcome a GFC like event! It helps us collect more units than you otherwise would each time we buy, and it’s all about the amount you own,
not how much it’s worth.

More units = more income
More income = closer to FIRE

Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to have a quick gander every once in a while and see you’ve made more money in the markets than you might have at your full-time job. But this boost of dopamine that makes you feel good is a false win. Because if the prices rise, next time you go to buy your favorite
ETF/LIC, your money will net you a smaller piece of the pie and ultimately, a smaller income stream in the long run.

I was getting really excited at the thought of a huge crash because as some of you may have read, we are currently cashed up from the sale of IP1. Not only are we still in the accumulation phase, but we also have a big chunk of capital to invest over the next 18 months. I was starting to get itchy with all the prices dropping and at one point was considering investing half our cash holdings.

But as I type this today (mid-Jan), the markets have recovered somewhat so we shall continue with DCA over the next 18 months.



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