Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

JUL19 Net Worth $704,892 (+$14,873)

JUL19 Net Worth $704,892 (+$14,873)

Before I get into the monthly update, I want to highlight that Ask Firebug Fridays is officially back (with the latest episode airing the last week) and will be dropping new episodes on the last Friday of each month.

Publishing every week was too hard to do because our lifestyle has changed so much, committing to a monthly episode is more achievable.

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We have officially started our Summer Euro trip! Mrs FB and I have embarked on a two-month adventure around Europe and the Middle East.

We have sublet our apartment in London and with Mrs FB being on school holidays and the beauty of contract work, I can take off as much time as I need. I won’t get paid of course but the whole point of packing up shop and moving to another country was to see as much stuff as humanly possible. It is hard passing up £20,000 pounds (or ~$35K AUD) for the next two months but we’re in our YOLO phase right now so the race to FIRE will just have to wait 😝.

We first hit up South West England stopping off to such places like Bath, the Cotswolds, Oxford, St Ives and some others too.

Here are some shots.

Some rocks

Ancient Roman baths that are around 2000 years old!

St Michael’s Mount- Epic castle with stunning views at the top

England’s countryside is absolutely gorgeous and I really liked the architecture and style of the buildings. It was good to do it in summer though, I couldn’t really imagine it would be that enjoyable when it’s raining.

Frugal tip: If you want to go to Stonehenge, there’s a way to see it for free and save around £25 pounds (~$49 AUD). Go to this spot https://goo.gl/maps/cKTR7KeNcx8QAv2Q7 and hang a left to drive or walk all the way up to Stonehenge using this path.

You stand about 10 meters further away than the official tour group path but it doesn’t make a real difference unless you really want to stand a bit closer.

 

Our next stop and where I’m currently finishing up this post actually is Spain.

We visited Madrid and are currently in Calpe with Barcelona being our next stop tomorrow.

We have loved the tapas, weather, culture and history that Spain offers. Here are some shots:

Calpe resort. Only $95 AUD per person a night

Madrid Cathedral

Sunset in Madrid

Something very special happened in Spain too…

I’ve been planning this for a while and have probably have dragged my feet a bit (it’s been nearly 9 years)…

I asked Mrs FB to marry me and she said YES 💍🎉!!!

I couldn’t be any happier and it’s the perfect way to start our Euro summer trip. Now we just have to plan the wedding 😁💸

Net Worth Update

We have broken the $700K mark!

The ASX has been on a RAMPAGE lately. We saw an all-time high in July and with the cash rate looking to be cut again, who knows where it will end up by years end.

We have had a great month even though I didn’t actually get paid in the month of July. I have two big contractor paychecks coming in over the next two months. One was meant to be paid in July but there was an issue with it (long story) so it wasn’t approved until the middle of June. I think I’ll get it any day now but it means the August update might have a big bump.

I still owe a heap of tax both in the UK and in Australia so I’m expecting to be down thousands very soon.

Extremely happy with how things are travelling along though, especially since we are on holidays.

You really don’t have to spend a lot when you travel as I’ve discovered this year. So many people just go crazy and feel they need to spend up big to fully enjoy themselves. Eating out at restaurants every day/night is one of the biggest spending traps. There nothing wrong with taking a packed lunch and cooking at your Air BnB or hotel. Eating out once or twice is great for sure, especially to enjoy the local cuisine but goddam you spend a lot if you do it every day!

Properties

No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018

 

*DISCLAIMER*
Various data sources (RP data, Domain.com 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/LICs

 

Holy Mackrel!

Over three per cent return in just one month including over $2K worth of dividends 😱

The share portfolio is inching closer and closer to providing us with the income upon which we will live off once we hit FIRE. It’s so exciting to watch the dividends grow each quarter which is what investing IMO should be. Building that snowball up every day until it reaches critical mass.

The investment nerd side of me could stare at that graph for hours!

Networth

 

JUN19 Net Worth $690,019 (+$45,247)

JUN19 Net Worth $690,019 (+$45,247)

Such an incredibly busy month June turned out to be and the next few months coming up are gonna be even busier!

This update is two weeks late because I’ve honestly just not had the time to sit down and put it together. I’ve been juggling work, traveling, tax admin work for five different things (personal return, trust return, Aussie Firebug return for the money made through this site and my UK company returns which also includes a personal one), organizing our big Euro summer trip which starts next week and enjoying our new city 😅

So if you’ve sent me an email during the last 3-6 months please known I’m not ignoring you and that I’ll eventually get around to replying to you when I get a minute!

With that said…

A few biggish things happened in June.

I officially quit my job back in Australia!

I didn’t quit back in January when I left on this trip because I always felt like it was unnecessary. I had long service leave and I knew there was a very good chance of them giving me 12 months off with some unpaid leave.

I was hedging my bets against the very real possibility that we wouldn’t like it over here and wanted to move back. Some of our friends went through a very similar experience where they moved to London and it wasn’t what they imagined so they came home.

But the funny thing is that having that job to come home to was a bit of a mental blocker for me and our future plans. We’re well on track that working for money will become optional within a few years and as good as the job was, it’s not where my passions lie and I’d like to try something new when I get back to Australia.

Even just a wondering thought about the possibilities for next year was often met with the anxiety of knowing I’d have to return to my job.

But the beauty of FIRE is that it gives you options and you no longer have to make every decision based around money. Money works for you, not that other way around!

I thought long and hard about it and concluded that ultimately the job was holding me back from doing exactly what I wanted to do.

Resigning from a perfectly good job in my home town that may not come up for grabs again for a decade (low job opportunities for my line of work in the country) sounds insane to most people (including my mum).

But I knew I’d made the right decision straight after calling my boss as I was hit with the ultimate wave of freedom, excitement, and nervousness.

It’s extremely liberating not knowing what the future holds. Playing it safe can be boring sometimes and we’ve been playing it safe for as long as I can remember. Time to get adventurous for a while 😎

So these monthly updates have now turned into a part-time travel blog of late haha.

And keeping up with that tradition, we traveled to the land of the Scots in June. Here are some of the places we visited.

Yes. That’s Haggis flavored chips. Delightful too I might add

Arthur’s Seat

Edinburgh was absolutely amazing with breathtaking scenery and the city is stunning! I don’t have the photos to do it justice but it just feels so badass walking around it. Very old and has a great grunge feel to it.

I was sort of expecting London to feel how Edinburgh felt. But London to me is a very new modern city, I believe this is partly because of the big fire that burnt down half the city in 1666 so maybe the streets don’t feel so old but Endinborught just had that old school vibe that made it special.

We also hit up Glasgow but I can’t say it was that special especially considering we just came from Edinburgh (the Glasgow locals would kill someone for saying that lol).

It was a short trip but we loved Scotland and will be back!

Net Worth Update

Huge month for the old NW which can mainly be contributed to three big factors.

The first is that I received all my entitlements (basically the rest of my leave that was owed) when I quit my job which turned out to be around $10k.

The second was that the markets had a very good month bringing it around $8k.

And lastly, I received my first full month contracting paycheck 🤑. Would you believe that it took almost 2 months to be paid at my current contract because there was a bit of a process with the payroll system and getting me on it?

The other thing that cannot be overstated was how much expenses I was reimbursed with that paycheck. I’ve been paying for all my work expenses like accommodation at the client site, meals, travel, etc. the entire time which amounted to close £2.5K. So my invoice had my rate PLUS all the stuff which turned it into quite a decent amount of cashola that hit the account.

I currently owe a heap of tax though (which is paid quarterly in the UK I believe) so it’s not as much as it seems… But still, it was a nice bump to hit the account.

It still tripped me out that I didn’t get paid for almost two months and had to pay for everything during that time. I mean, we had the spare cash thankfully, but not everyone could have done that. If you’re thinking about doing contract work make sure you have AT LEAST 6 months of living expenses.

Bring on $700K 👊

Properties

No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018

 

*DISCLAIMER*
Various data sources (RP data, Domain.com 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/LICs

And the Aussie Bull run continues!

I have no idea what the future holds, but I do find it interesting that nearly every single economist/part-time financial guru out there was calling the next recession back in December. I thought it was heading that was for sure as well!

But as we have learned time and time again. No one knows what’s around the corner and I have found it to be extremely relaxing just sticking to our routine of investing once a month and not caring what the markets are doing. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really had a chance and it’s and it’s something I think less and less about anyways these days.

Networth

 

MAY19 Net Worth $644,772 (-$1,255)

MAY19 Net Worth $644,772 (-$1,255)

A relatively quiet month this update.

The federal election has finished and I’m in the middle of a dedicated post about what the outcome means for our journey and to share a few more in-depth thoughts and opinions on how our strategy has changed from not only the result but also, more importantly, the potential changes that were being talked about.

Work has been ramping up lately and I can distinctly remember thinking last Thursday in the office as the team and I were diligently working away at 8:30 pm…

“Damn… I’m definitely not at the council anymore”

😂😂😂

But for real, the timelines for consultants are brutal. We have a deliverable due next week and it’s crazy the hours we’re putting in. It 100% helps that’s I’m getting paid more than double what I was back home but for some of the junior analysts, that’s a tough pill to swallow!

The other thing is that I know this isn’t going to be my life for the next 10-20 years. The projects are really interesting and it’s kinda cool working on different problems each contract.

We hit up Frankfurt in Germany for May to see my cousin who has moved there with his partner. This trip was predominantly to see my cuz who I haven’t caught up with in over 6 years! He’s from Canada and our parents are first cousins so I’m not sure exactly what that makes us (4th cousins?).

He actually came to Australia in 2009 to meet all his Aussie relatives (me included) and we’re around the same age so we had a lot in common. Would you believe that he arrived in Victoria on Black Saturday of all days! I remember meeting him for the first time and having to explain that these bush fires were the worst I’ve ever seen and this was not the norm.

I went to see him and his family in 2013 in Toronto and I made a promise that I’d be back at some point. We have actually decided to spend Christmas this year with that side of the family in Toronto and hopefully, we can have a white Christmas once in our lives. That would be pretty sweet.

There’s something really special about catching up with family you’ve never met before. It was my favourite part of my US/Canada trip back in 2013 and I’m really looking forward to it again at the end of this year.

Here are some shots of Frankfurt.

I can’t remember what this was called but it’s a traditional dish of some sort. There is a whole block of cheese under the pink stuff (I had no idea what I was eating half the time).

And ya just can’t go past some German beer 😋

Germany gets the 👍

The other news from May is that it was my birthday!

I have officially entered my 30’s 👴

You know how you always read about insanely young successful people who are millionaires before they turned 30? I had secretly hoped that I would join this elite group when I was still in high school. I had a lot of ambition and drive and thought I could climb the corporate ladder and be a ‘young gun’ property millionaire before the big three zero.

But priorities change right?

As silly as it sounds, I almost pity senior managers/directors and CEOs now when I once envied what they had and the power they wielded. I look at things completely different these days and instead of envy, I just think about how stressful and time poor these people must be. I couldn’t think of anything worse than running on the corporate treadmill for how long it must have taken them to reach the position they’re in now.

There are exceptions to the rule of course and I’m sure there’s some CEO out there running their own startup or something and loving life. But odds are if you showed me a ‘normal’ week in the life of a CEO I’d imagine it’s not something I’d aspire to.

Mrs. FB still has a really good chance to reach the exclusive millionaire before 30 club though. She turns 28 in December and depending on how these next few years pan out, it’s definitely possible.

Who really cares though, it’s just a number.

I honestly couldn’t be any more happy than where I’m at right now at 30!

It’s really easy to be lost in what you don’t have in a world of Social Media where all these influencers are just uploading all the good stuff and none of the bad, but man… when I sit back and think about the life we’re living I really have nothing to complain about.

I think it’s really important to have goals and it would have been cool to join one of my biggest FIRE inspirations, MMM, and reached 🔥 by 30 but as the old saying goes…

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

And we’re loving the stars right now 😁

Net Worth Update

Not much to say for this month. We’re slightly down after booking some flights for our Summer trip coming up in July.

Super was down a bit with our shares basically staying the same.

Properties

No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018

 

*DISCLAIMER*
Various data sources (RP data, Domain.com 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/LICs

Woohoo!

We made $15 bucks this month lol.

After what started out as a really good month has turned mostly red as we finished off May. This was largely due to Australian shares bouncing back from ‘priced in’ changes that were potentially going to happen at the election. I’m only guessing here, but because the other party got in, we seen those prices swing the other way and a lot of Aussie ETFs made some serious gains in May.

So whilst our Aussie shares had a great run, our international took a major hit especially from the states.

Speaking of Aussie shares…

It’s officially been over 1 year since the release of BetaShares A200.

I thought it’d be interesting to see how it went over the last 12 months and compare it to my other Aussie ETF index, Vanguards VAS.

Here were the results

I made a quick dummy portfolio (in Sharesight of course) of $100,000 in each A200 and VAS in May 2018 to see what the differences were like over the 12 months.

I’d imagine to see an almost identical return between the two funds as historically speaking, the different between ASX200 vs ASX300 has been around 10 basis points.

What’s interesting to note is the significant difference in capital gains vs dividends between the two. This was fully expected because A200 is a new fund won’t have similar dividends until it reaches a mature size in a few years. If you’re in the accumulation phase, as in you’re not yet retired and are still adding to your snowball., I think the A200 makes for a more efficient investment vs VAS because it has not yet started to generate a lot of dividends. This will change over the next few years though but right now, especially the situation we’re in (earning income in another country), this makes for a far superior tax efficient vehicle vs VAS and all of our other LICs. We’re in the middle of deciding to change our tax residency to the UK but basically if/when we do, it would mean that all dividends are taxed at the higher bracket. The ability to distribute income via the trust helps this situation but I’m aware that most people don’t have that luxury.

I’m actually surprised to see such a difference in returns in just the first year, to be honest. A200 is half the cost of VAS in terms of management fees but the 7 basis points would need a few decades of compounding to really make a difference between the two. The return difference was definitely made up by the top 200 out performing the top 300.

Will this happen in the future? I’ve got no idea.

Nevertheless, without a crystal ball, I’ll always choose the cheaper option.

 

Networth

 

APR19 Net Worth $646,027 (+$4,354)

APR19 Net Worth $646,027 (+$4,354)

Mrs. FB and I were well and truly in ‘The Grind’ for roughly the last 4 years back home. We had holidays every year and plenty of social events but the routine of work, gym, nightly wind down (book/Game of Thrones/Youtube) from Mon-Fri was pretty much the same for a very long time.

When you get stuck in ‘The Grind’ it seems like days melt into weeks, weeks dissolve into months and before you know it, a year has passed without you even blinking!

When you’re out of the grind and exploring around through … it feels like you get to see and experience more in a month than you might in a year!

Which is why these monthly updates are so long these days I guess 😁

I have been contracting as a consultant for over a month now and the dynamics of the workplace have been extremely interesting to witness. Without naming names, I have landed a contract with a multinational corporation within the heart of London. I had come across the ‘corporate elite’ back home but it feels like it’s ramped up over here. Where you work and what position you have is very important in some groups. And the cost of living is so high that a lot of people who have relatively high paying jobs can’t afford much. A lot of it has to do with ‘Keeping up with Jones’, where you live, why do you have roommates? Can’t you afford a place yourself, bars you go to etc. etc.

I will say this though, the Brits know how to drink! It has been really fun working a new job and getting to know a new team.

I have been working a few days a week outside of London at the client’s site which has been a bit of a hassle but my employer pays for all transport, food and accommodation which helps. When we’re out at the client’s site, all dinners are paid for on the corporate card. Now I’ve been a public servant for the last 7 years so you could imagine my shock when they started to order alcohol 😱.

I can definitely see the appeal for working these consulting jobs though. It’s almost like a trap. Basically, everything is paid for, the money is great and you get to travel internationally if you want.

But there is a secret tax which is paid without you noticing if you’re not careful. And that is the impact these jobs have on your health and relationships. It’s so incredibly easier to eat bad and drink wine every night because one, you’re not paying for it, and two, it’s what everyone does and you don’t want to be the only one not going out with the group. And the time away from home sucks!

But I tell ya what, if you’re young without a partner/family (or if your partner is willing to relocate), this type of work can be amazing!

I’m going to try to stay in London 5 days a week for my next contract and we’re only here for a short period of time (relatively) so it’s not quite the same… part of me wants to get back to ‘The Grind’ but the new experiences have been cool so far!

Speaking of new experiences. We attending our first Rugby match in April.

Up the Quins

We also made our way down to Brighton for the long weekend and was blessed with amazing 22c weather 😂. But for real, the weather was actually good and my goodness does everyone get up and about for it. Volleyball, beach ping pong, skating down the boulevard, sunbaking, beach bars were absolutely packed!

When the sun is shining, everyone is up for a good time and the vibe was amazing.

Although I had to laugh that they called this a ‘beach’

It’s more of a rock barrier but let’s not spoil their party 😜

We are trying to stick to one country per month and somewhere in the UK too with the other two weeks off just to recharge.

Our first Euro trip was catching the Euro Star to the land of chocolate, waffles and beer… Belgium!

Even though the UK is apart of Europe… it’s not really Euro in most peoples eyes. I definitely noticed a more European vibe when we arrived in Belgium.

Sir Firebug

The options

The best waffle I’ve ever had!

Belgium beer 🙂

The cobblestone streets are just incredible. Also, I know there’s plenty of them but my God the elaborateness of the churches and the town centre is out of control.

Just staring at the detail of the craftsmanship on these buildings is mind-blowing.

This one must have had over 1,000 individually crafted statues that were nearly the size of an adult (seriously, click on it and zoom in). Can you imagine how much work went into those statues… and there’s over a 1,000 😱

There will never be buildings built like this again because most of today’s buildings are built for profit or are built with taxpayers dollars. Everything about these structures is over the top and not efficient but gee whizz they look cool.

 

The waffles, beer and chocolate lived up to the high standard I was expecting so no complaints there!

9/10 for would recommend!

 

Net Worth Update

It wasn’t much but we keep progressing with the net worth in April moving the needle by about $4K in the right direction. The big change, however, is the weightings of our overall net worth have changed significantly.

I refinanced (again) to a new lender (Macquarie) who has given us a really good rate of 3.90% for both the investment loans with an offset. But unfortunately, they wanted a lower LVR to complete the deal and so I had to throw in about $30K extra to add to the loans. I really didn’t want to have to do this but the rate was really good and I was looking at finishing things up with CBA anyway.

They also required the loan to be P&I, not IO. So whilst I don’t really want to pay down the IP’s loans, the rate difference is past the tipping point and it’s more attractive for us to get the cheaper rate vs staying IO (good job APRA).

As a result, you will notice that the pie chart for our net worth has added $30K to real estate equity and our cash holdings have dropped by the same amount.

It’s what happens when the real estate market is going through a downturn. Even though our properties are in Queensland, the major capitals (Melbourne and Sydney) have taken a hit and the banks are being extra cautious.

We will wait for the market to bounce back whenever the hell that is and then sell the IP’s as per the strategy. They are cash flowing nicely so no stress on that part.

Properties

No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018

 

*DISCLAIMER*
Various data sources (RP data, Domain.com 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/LICs

We continue our trend of pouring money into A200 in April with another $18K added.

This is diverting from Strategy 3 where we were originally planning to buy LICs if they were trading at a discount (which they are), but I just keep coming back to regulatory changes (the franking refund being axed) that would severely impact this strategy. I’m a big believer in not speculating potential future changes but I just feel more comfortable buying the vanilla index.

There’s plenty of ways around what’s being proposed but for my sleep at night factor, the A200 just sits better.

YMMV.

Networth

 

MAR19 Net Worth $641,673 (+$3,066)

MAR19 Net Worth $641,673 (+$3,066)

I don’t even know where to begin with this months update. So much has happened that it feels like it’s been a lifetime since I’ve logged in to give you all an update on our journey.

I guess I’ll just go in chronological order but I may have a few sidebars here and there.

We were still in Vietnam at the start of March and I pretty much covered all the things we did there in our Feb update… I don’t think there’s anything noteworthy on the last few days.

Oh, one thing I will mention is that we couldn’t really shop anywhere in SE Asia because we were backpacking and didn’t have any checked luggage. This is a much more convenient way to travel around but you sometimes see some killer deals and want to buy stuff but can’t. We had already well and truly maxed out our 7kg carry on limit multiple times when boarding (most of the time getting away with extra weight).

So anyway, because our last stop was in Hanoi and the next two flights (Dubai and London) included checked luggage for both of us, this meant that we could buy a suitcase and do a big shop before we eventually ended up at our new home in cold old England!

We ended up with this haul after one shop at the night markets costing a total of $400 AUD!

The best buys from everything had to be our ‘North Fake’ jackets! They are so incredibly warm and if you look really close you will see the logo is slightly suss but honestly you can’t even tell. We have been wearing them almost daily now in cold AF London and they have been the best! No signs of dodgy materials… yet. I was also really happy with the fake Daniel Wellington watch, looks great and cost around $10 AUD.

We then packed our bags and finished our SE Asai adventure and boarded a flight to Dubai which was a nice in-between stop on the way to England but was a place I had really wanted to see for a while too.

You can go snowboarding in the mall when it’s 40+ outside

A two-story aquarium in the mall

 

 

What can I say about Dubai… it was a big shock paying western prices again after we got so used to SE Asia, especially the cost of alcohol!

Dubai definitely lived up to the hype in terms of big is better and a lot of flash and bling everywhere. Each time I looked around at the buildings it was as if every single architect was trying to outdo each other. Many of the 100+ buildings we saw would have probably been world famous if it had been built in Melbourne just because they were so nice looking and unique. But over there it’s just another skyscraper. Everything is so new and luxurious it’s crazy!

I finally met up with someone who reads the blog in Dubai too which was extremely cool! This person reached out to me months ago through my contact me page and I can’t remember the exact details but they mentioned they lived in Dubai and if I was ever traveling through I should shout out.

Well that’s exactly what I did and we caught up in person for a beer

We also went out for dinner with our partners and it was a lot of fun to finally chat with other people from the FIRE community in person.

And you couldn’t mention Dubai without bringing up the Burj Khalifa AKA the world tallest building.

Photos do not do this engineering feat justice! It’s simply incredible to look at something so insanely tall and realise it was built by humans. We have come a long way from the cave!

We were only in Dubai for a few nights before jetting off to London which took roughly 8 hours.

It’s been an absolute whirlwind since landing in London. I really wanted to prioritise finding a job ASAP and not sightseeing straight away. There’s only so much holidaying I can enjoy before itching to get back to work and have some income rolling in again. It does help that I’m getting long service leave until June but still.

Mrs. FB teaching gig is super easy and the pathway for teachers from Australia to London is well established and very mature. They even have a bloody app where you just tick on you’re available and you’ll have school contact you. Super easy!

So she was working within the second week we got there which was very easy. My work, however, was a little bit more unknown.

I wanted to see if I could get into contracting in London. I had always seen that there was plenty of money to be made in Melbourne, but that of course came with a much higher cost of living so I never really entertained that idea. But since I was moving to one of the worlds biggest and most popular cities I thought I’d investigate a bit more. Contracting usually offers a very competitive day rate and is perfect for a travelers lifestyle. You get paid well for short periods (3-6 months) and then you need to find more work. This could give us some flexibility and allow time for traveling Europe.

I updated the resume and started applying for contracts. The first week was a bit disheartening because I hardly had any responses and wasn’t even sure if I was experienced enough to be applying for these lucrative contracts. But I was determined to land one of these jobs and continue doing my research.

My luck turned around in my second week when I found a fanatic website that was made for IT contractors in the UK. I was doing so many things wrong and the forum there helped immensely.

I also ended up connecting with another reader on the blog who was already a contractor here in London. It was great to chat to an Aussie who has made the move over here and had successfully secured a contract and also just happened to be apart of the FIRE community. We chatted over a beer of course.

Another beer with an Aussie Firebug reader in London

I changed my resume around and created my own limited company as an IT consultant which costs around £1,000 all up (with all the insurance and everything). It was a bit of a gamble but it’s what’s needed if you want to land the job.

I ended up with 2 contract offers by week 3 each paying £500 a day and both for 3 months 👊

There’s also an extremely big tax advantage for limited companies as opposed to PAYG which I’ll probably go over in another post. The dividend system is completely different over here and the UK pay way less tax in general than Australia which I am constantly reminded is one of the highest taxed countries in the world.

The other big piece to the puzzle was finding a place to live. I had dreaded spending days on end looking at apartments and rooms only to be disappointed. I knew this part of our trip was going to be hard. The rent is so much and you get so little but it’s the price you pay to live in London I guess.

Fortunately, we got extremely lucky and found a place that was perfect in just the second go! Right near the train station, 25 minutes out of the CBD, cool places all around, reasonable rent (£900/m), came with an ensuite which Mrs. FB had said long ago was a non-negotiable and most importantly… came with great housemates who we have been living with now for 3 weeks.

The rent of £900/m is a tough pill to swallow and was right at the max of what we were going to pay. But the place is brand new (we’re legitimately the first to live here) and it’s a killer area so it makes it easier… it’s still more than double of what we were paying back home though 😢

Setting everything up here in London has been exhausting. Just navigating around, finding a gym, working out the trains, setting up a bank account and all that takes time and energy. After nearly 4 weeks I only now just feel like we’re getting settled and back into a routine.

Traveling takes a toll on your health (for me anyway) but you gain some much valuable experiences from it. I’m honestly loving getting back into the routine of work (ironic for this blog), gym, eating healthy and a normal sleep schedule.

I have also got my computer setup finally so I can get back to releasing content on a more consistent basis.

That’s all the major things that have happened for us over the last month. Time to take it a bit easier now and see if we can start sending some £££ back home to continue our investment goals! The next overseas trip is a few more months away, but we have plenty to explore here in England first that’s for sure.

Net Worth Update

It wasn’t a lot, but we escape March in the black up $3K!

The sources of income that saved us from an incredibly expensive month were my long service leave still generating $1,600 a fortnight, share returns (including some nice dividends 🤑), money made through the blog via affiliates and Mrs. FB getting paid for her teaching gig in London.

We spent a lot last month though. It’s amazing how much it cost when you move into a new place. London has Gumtree thankfully but there are still so many things you need and it all adds up. Combine that with all the costs of traveling around (buses, trains, Ubers) and it’s actually a miracle we came out ahead for March.

Most of the big stuff is out of the way now and hopefully, I can start to get the big consultant checks for the next 3 months which will help immensely. I’ve signed up with Transferwise and plan to send surplus £££ over to my Aussie account so we can continue to invest in shares whilst overseas. I’ll report on how that goes in next months update.

Properties

No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018

 

*DISCLAIMER*
Various data sources (RP data, Domain.com 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/LICs

We added $16.5K worth of A200 shares last month to the portfolio. MLT and AFI were at a discount if I remember correctly but I’m starting to become hesitant about the shifting laws in franking credits and just felt more comfortable going with the vanilla ETF index this month. I still haven’t made up my mind about what will happen if the franking credit refund gets axed.

All positives from last month expect for AFI. VAS had some juicy dividends for us while A200 wasn’t too shabby either.

I have seen a lot of talk online about A200’s dividends being lower than VAS and some investor have used this as a reason not to invest in A200 vs VAS. There is a perfectly good reason for A200 to have lower dividends initially vs VAS and that reason is that it’s a new fund! But it doesn’t mean that it will have lower returns. It will just have higher CG vs dividends in its first couple of years which if you ask me is perfect for people in the accumulation phase. After the fund grows to a decent size you will see the dividend yield be almost identical to VAS (slightly different because of A200 vs A300).

Networth

 

FEB19 Net Worth $638,607 (+$16,652)

FEB19 Net Worth $638,607 (+$16,652)

Our travels continued in February stopping by Cambodia and spending the majority of our time in Vietnam.

I know I said this is not turning into a travel blog but some photos are too good not to share, so please bear with me 😅

Temple at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Paradise cave, Vietnam

Hải Vân Pass, Vietnam

It’s sometimes hard to truly appreciate how good we have it here in Australia until you spend some time in a third world country. Just little things that we all take for granted like clean drinking water, maintained roads, social safety nets etc. these are all little things that you don’t really ever marvel at back home. They are just there and for my lifetime anyway, have always been there.

I had a suit tailor made in Hội An which cost me $220 AUD. This was a little bit more pricey then I was expecting but after reading a lot of reviews it seems like there are a lot of dodgy tailors there and it’s better to get one made from a reputable tailor. I mainly needed it for job interviews in London but, like, where else would I have got a perfect fitting suit for $220 AUD. Crazy good value if you ask me!

One other thing I have to mention is our experience in a 5-star resort for two nights. It’s a funny thing to say on a blog like this, but yes, we booked a 5-star resort during our motorbike trip up the east coast of Vietnam.

Why?

Because it only cost us $45 AUD a night.

I mean… $45 AUD for 5-stars? C’mon now, we’re getting silly Vietnam. That’s too good to pass up!

The place was called the Vinpearl and we actually stayed one night at their hotel in Ha Tinh, and one night in Thanh Hoa.

These places are sort of in the middle of nowhere but we passed through them on our motorbike journey so it was perfect. Let me tell you, the included breakfast alone was worth the $45 bucks. They have a kick-ass infinity pool that overlooks the city and a spa that you’re allowed to use which includes jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. The rooms themselves are huge and it was just so nice to relax in a place like that for a few nights. Yes, we could have stayed in a hostel for like $7 bucks but it was well worth it IMO.

SE Asia has been a blast for the last month and a half and now it’s time to have a quick stopover in Dubai before we touch down in England.

I’ve been looking for jobs but haven’t had much luck yet. A lot of recruiters/companies want to meet me first, but being in SE Asia makes it impossible. Hopefully, once I land I’ll be able to have a few interviews and meetings and get my foot in the door.

Does anyone out there have any experience working in IT in London or have a contact? I’d love to hear from you if you do. Just drop a comment with your email and I’ll follow you up. Happy to chat about anything else while we’re at it too 🙂

Oh, and the Facebook page hit its 1000th like sometime over the last few days

There’s something really satisfying about that little 1K!

Net Worth Update

The sharemarket bounced back last month with Super and shares contributing to the $16K bump for Feb.

Our spendings and income pretty much cancelled each other out which was great. So while we weren’t able to add anything to the net worth in cash, we didn’t go down in that department either.

I’ve been really happy with our spendings over the last month. We’re down to one wage atm because Mrs. FB last paycheck was in January since she’s a teacher and even though we are travelling around and eating out every night. We actually spent less last month than we usually do when at home 😱

I know SE Asia is cheap, but with all the things we’ve been up to, eating out every night, drinks etc. not to mention booking in a few flights for later this year, I did wonder what it would come to for the month of Feb (since I’m not able to check pocketbook every few days like I’m used to).

And I say this with 100% honesty, we have not restricted ourselves in the slightest. If anything, we have been overly indulgent (it’s a holiday after all 😄🌴).

There have been a few activities we’ve seen others do that can blow out the budget which didn’t really appeal to us anyway. Stuff like parasailing, jet skis, theme parks etc. wasn’t the reason we travelled to SE Asia.

Properties

No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018

 

*DISCLAIMER*
Various data sources (RP data, Domain.com 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/LICs

 

 

 

 

We added around $15K to Milton last month as it was trading at the highest discount compared to AFI.

Everything was in the black except AFI which went down overall but had a very nice dividend payout, so thank you very much 🙌

Ended the month with around $1,300 in dividends which is really nice too.

 

Networth

 

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