Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

I share these net worth updates to stay accountable, seek feedback on our strategy, and prove that achieving financial independence in Australia is feasible without relying on extraordinary luck or wealth. The table below tracks our journey from $36K in debt to reaching our goals. πŸ”₯


*Updated 08/02/2024: There was a miscalculation for this update that was originally published. I’ve updated the title and numbers to be accurate. The oversight was due to failing to record the sale of 87 VTS units on 08/12/2023 in my personal spreadsheet during a busy period, which has now been updated for accuracy.

 

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but if there’s one area where I really want to improve in 2024, it’s getting stuff done now and not later.

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” – Spanish Proverb

This quote really hits home for me. It perfectly captures how I often catch myself thinking, “Ah, I’ll just do it tomorrow,” but then, before I know it, four weeks have flown by and it’s still not done.

I’ve made it a real priority to just do the bloody job (whatever they my be) today and don’t push it out unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I used to stroll by the weeds sprouting in my garden, always telling myself, “I’ll tackle that over the weekend.”

But this year, I’ve changed my tune. Now, the moment I spot them, I simply bend down and yank them out.

Starting off strong is key for me. I make it a point to pick out a couple of tasks in the morning, be it something on my laptop or just tidying up around the house, that I know I can knock out fast and easy.

It’s all about building that initial momentum. Once I’m on a roll, it’s easy.

This productivity hack does have its drawbacks… it’s harder to kick back and relax since it feels like there’s always something on the to-do list.

I’ve wrestled with this dichotomy my whole FIRE journey.

I want to reach financial independence so I can relax and prioritise all the other non-working aspects of my life. Yet, I can’t help but feel like I’m squandering an amazing opportunity if I’m not being productive.

One thing’s for sure… procrastination is no friend to either goal.

Another NY reoslution I’ve made that’s done wonders for my productivity (and probably hygiene) – no phone when I’m on the throne.

It’s unbelievable how much time I waste scrolling on my phone when I’m on the loo. It’s also kinda gross as well πŸ˜‚.

 

Net Worth Update

The share market had another great month In January which propelled the NW to all time highs.

We saw a pretty hefty chunk of cash go out the door, thanks to a few pricey buys we needed for setting up the co-working space. I’m not including those in our ‘expenses’ chart below since they weren’t about keeping up our standard of living. Instead, they were one-off purchases tied to getting the new business off the ground.

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*Expenses include everything we spend money on to maintain our lifestyle. We do not include paying down our PPoR loan as an expense, only the interest
*Investment income is simply 4% of our FIRE portfolio divided by 12

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Shares

The above graph was created by Sharesight

Seeing nearly $5K in dividends come through in January was definitely a welcomed sight.

I found myself mulling over our passive income setup recently.

We’ve got five days each year that we really look forward to. There are the four days when dividends get paid out, plus that extra special day when we receive our refund from the franking credits. And honestly, the wait between those five days never feels long. Just as one batch of dividends lands in our account, it feels like the next payout is just around the corner.

I love this way to invest, especially from a psychological point of view. It’s like having a mini payday always on the horizon.

Passive investing. Simply amazing!

Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer:
We started buying A200 in August 2018 after Vanguard didn’t lower their MER to match A200. Practically speaking, A200 and VAS are almost identical so it makes sense to go with the lower MER. As an added benefit, I like the fund diversification between Vanguard and Betashares. We decided to hold both after making the switch since it doesn’t have any impact other than some extra accounting work once a year.Β 

Networth

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

DEC23 Net Worth $1,283,257 (+$68,310)

I share these net worth updates to stay accountable, seek feedback on our strategy, and prove that achieving financial independence in Australia is feasible without relying on extraordinary luck or wealth. The table below tracks our journey from $36K in debt to reaching our goals. πŸ”₯


As a relatively new father of three months now, I feel compelled to write about a device that has significantly improved the well-being of both my wife and me.

And I promise I’m in no way, shape, or form affiliated with the company selling this product.

The greatest invention of the 21st century

The bad boy pictured above is called a SNOO, and it’s basically a smart device for your little bambino.

This thing is crazy:

  • It has 4 different levels of ‘rocking’, which helps soothe your baby to sleep.
  • It has a microphone to detect if your baby is crying (which can then increase the levels up or down depending on what pre-made settings you have assigned in the app).
  • It has a speaker for white noise and a ‘hushing’ sound if your baby starts to get upset.
  • The app tracks your baby’s sleeping patterns, which apparently is useful if you want to sleep train (we haven’t got this far yet)

But most importantly, it helps you and your partner get better sleep for the first 6 months, which is invaluable.

We got our SNOO second-hand for $800, which might sound like a lot of money (and it is), but good God, that sum seems laughably low compared to the value it has brought us.

Picture this:

It’s 4:30 AM, and you have been jolted awake by your baby’s cries.

You’re smack bang in the middle of some REM goodness and so tired you could nearly throw up. You’re just about to flick the covers off and rock your baby back to sleep when you hear the SNOO’s responsive rocking motion kick it up a notch and start soothing your baby.

You give it a minute or two, and, to your absolute astonishment, your baby goes back to sleep, and you get another glorious sleep cycle.

πŸ™Œ

Words can’t explain how glad I am that we set ourselves up before having kids. Now, spending nearly $1,000 on a device like this doesn’t cost me a wink of sleep. I would have never done that in my 20’s and it gives me anxiety to think I would have forgone such a great innovation for the sake of getting ahead financially.

The SNOO has been a godsend for us so far, but I’ve also read that it bites you in the ass when you have to take it away… but I’ll take 6 months of sleep and then deal with the consequences any day of the week.

Good luck, future Firebug πŸ˜…

Net Worth Update

Santa came early for us share market investor in December.

A huge month for all asset classes to boost our NW to a record high of $1,283,257.

Years End Net Worth
2021 $1,038,417
2022 $1,171,120
2023 $1,283,257

We started 2023 at $1,149,655, which means we increased our net worth by $133,602 during the year.

But here’s the astonishing thing… we didn’t make any investments throughout the year, and we spent all of our dividends!

Yeah yeah yeah, I know 2023 was an exceptional year, but still.

The power of compounding is crazy!

We spent all our investment income, took two trips abroad, had a baby, didn’t work for six months, made no new investments, and yet our net worth still grew by over $130K β€” absolutely mind-blowing! 🀯

For anyone reading this who might be just beginning their journey, I have one message for you:

Keep going.

The snowball is so bloody hard to get going. But once it’s rolling, it gets easier and easier. And you get to a point where it feels like you’re playing this money game on easy mode.

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*Expenses include everything we spend money on to maintain our lifestyle. We do not include paying down our PPoR loan as an expense, only the interest
*Investment income is simply 4% of our FIRE portfolio divided by 12

A pretty normal month spending-wise.


 

Shares

The above graph was created by Sharesight

For the first time ever, we sold a significant amount of shares in December.

We sold $30K worth of VTS to help seed our co-working dream.

We opted for VTS as it had become the most out-weighted holding compared to VEU.

I didn’t want to sell any of our Australian shares (A200 and VAS) because they will naturally decrease in weight over time as they typically distribute larger dividends.

Mentally, I struggled with the decision to sell such a significant number of shares, but I had to keep reminding myself what was actually important.

Do I care more about missing out on market gains, or is it more important to me to chase a dream?

Given that my family and I are in a comfortable financial position, I believe the above question is rhetorical.

The $30K is going to be used to help set up our space with furniture, management software and security management.

Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer:
We started buying A200 in August 2018 after Vanguard didn’t lower their MER to match A200. Practically speaking, A200 and VAS are almost identical so it makes sense to go with the lower MER. As an added benefit, I like the fund diversification between Vanguard and Betashares. We decided to hold both after making the switch since it doesn’t have any impact other than some extra accounting work once a year.Β 

Networth

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

NOV23 Net Worth $1,214,947 (+$24,022)

I share these net worth updates to stay accountable, seek feedback on our strategy, and prove that achieving financial independence in Australia is feasible without relying on extraordinary luck or wealth. The table below tracks our journey from $36K in debt to reaching our goals. πŸ”₯


We secured the lease for our co-working dream in November πŸ₯³.

Our new Co-working space

This was the first step towards our goal of creating a community-focused shared environment for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

There are so many unknowns when you start a venture like this one.

  • What’s the demand?
  • How much do you charge?
  • What are the ongoing costs?
  • What type of permits do you need?

I thought adjusting to life without the stability and assurance of a full-time job was challenging enough. However, pouring money into such an unknown project tops it.

But here’s the rub: it’s so bloody exciting!

There’s a profound sense of fulfilment that comes from being in charge of your own destiny.

I’ve also noticed something very interesting when discussing this idea with friends and family. People love to point out all the things that can go wrong and rarely see the potential upside.

And it’s not like they are doing it deliberatively to be nasty.Β There seems to be an inherent truth about humans: our operating system is wired more to avoid losses than to actively seek gains.

Many people are comfortable remaining in their 9-5 jobs, contributing to their boss’s dreams, rather than taking the leap to pursue and build their own.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the old 9-5. But I do wonder how many kick-ass products/services have remained unrealised because those capable of starting them were too risk-averse to take the plunge.

FIRE has given us the financial courage to give this a go without worrying about my family suffering if it fails.

And even if we do fail, the satisfaction of having a crack will remain. In the end, it’s the effort and the journey that counts.

Net Worth Update

Wowee!

What a huge month for our portfolio, Super and BTC.

This is coming off a three-month slide that saw our net worth decrease by over $76k!

That encapsulates the essence of the volatility game in the stock market. It’s the reason we earn the returns we do as investors. Not everyone can withstand these fluctuations, and those who can are rewarded accordingly.

 

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*Expenses include everything we spend money on to maintain our lifestyle. We do not include paying down our PPoR loan as an expense, only the interest
*Investment income is simply 4% of our FIRE portfolio divided by 12

Booking another Bali holiday for next year saw a spike in our spending in November.


 

Shares

The above graph was created by Sharesight

It seemed like the entire world was on an absolute tear in November.

VTS has a whopping 5.26% gain in a single month followed by our Aussie shares (~5.05%) and then VEU (4.26%).

BTC continues to climb up and up increasing in value by 6.04%.

We made no purchases in November.

Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer:
We started buying A200 in August 2018 after Vanguard didn’t lower their MER to match A200. Practically speaking, A200 and VAS are almost identical so it makes sense to go with the lower MER. As an added benefit, I like the fund diversification between Vanguard and Betashares. We decided to hold both after making the switch since it doesn’t have any impact other than some extra accounting work once a year.Β 

Networth

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

OCT23 Net Worth $1,190,925 (-$34,247)

I share these net worth updates to stay accountable, seek feedback on our strategy, and prove that achieving financial independence in Australia is feasible without relying on extraordinary luck or wealth. The table below tracks our journey from $36K in debt to reaching our goals. πŸ”₯


My second month of dad life has been going great.

Yes, there are times when getting enough sleep can be difficult. But boy oh boy it’s all worth it when you see your little one’s adorable smile πŸ™‚

I’m not kidding; it’s like black magic. I’m pretty sure evolution has developed this way to give parents an additional gear they can tap into when things get hard haha.

As a data nerd, I’ve been looking forward to seeing how much more electricity we would use when the baby arrives. This was one of my biggest motivators for installing our 6.66 kW solar system in October 2021.

Our out-of-pocket cost for that system was $3,800.

Solar Install

Our usage comparing October last year to October this year has been the following:

Month Grid usage Consumed directly from solar Total Usage Self-sufficiency $ Saved (based on 39c/kWh)
22-Oct 115 kWh 102 kWh 217 kWh 47% $40
23-Oct 153 kWh 151 kWh 304 kWh 50% $59

Since the three of us are home most days, our energy usage has increased by over 40%. And I suspect this will only increase as our baby grows up.

The other significant factor is we will be buying an electric car next year (trying to hold out until the new model Y drops). Our solar panel energy consumption will skyrocket from that point onwards and the payback period will significantly speed up.

It’s going to be cool to calculate how much our panels save us in a few years and compare that to how much we would have received if we invested it instead.

Net Worth Update

Another brutal month with our shares and Super being hit the hardest.

On a positive note, Bitcoin increased by 30% in October!

I haven’t used my Bitcoin yet, but I’m interested in finding out where I can spend it. Does anyone know of any cafes or stores in Melbourne that accept BTC or are on the lightning network? I’m curious to see how easy the process will be.

 

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*Expenses include everything we spend money on to maintain our lifestyle. We do not include paying down our PPoR loan as an expense, only the interest
*Investment income is simply 4% of our FIRE portfolio divided by 12

Another quiet month on the expense front. We’re really not spending a lot of money at the moment.


 

Shares

Monthly Performance

The above graph was created by Sharesight

$8.7K in dividends slightly softens this bad month from a psychological point of view, but still, not great.

We made no purchases in October. We are still keeping our cash position high until I secure some contracts that will be landing in the coming months.

Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer:
We started buying A200 in August 2018 after Vanguard didn’t lower their MER to match A200. Practically speaking, A200 and VAS are almost identical so it makes sense to go with the lower MER. As an added benefit, I like the fund diversification between Vanguard and Betashares. We decided to hold both after making the switch since it doesn’t have any impact other than some extra accounting work once a year.Β 

Networth

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

SEP23 Net Worth $1,225,172 (-$12,629)

I share these net worth updates to stay accountable, seek feedback on our strategy, and prove that achieving financial independence in Australia is feasible without relying on extraordinary luck or wealth. The table below tracks our journey from $36K in debt to reaching our goals. πŸ”₯


Not a lot to report for this month so I’ll just be posting the basics.

Net Worth Update

Ouch!

The markets hammered our portfolio in August with Share and Super being hit the hardest.

Honestly, I’ve been quite occupied throughout August, so I haven’t been keeping a close eye on things. Nevertheless, as we begin to withdraw from our portfolio, these somewhat significant downward swings are stinging a bit more.

All good though. My business signed another client in August, so there should be a big PO coming my way in the coming months.

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*Expenses include everything we spend money on to maintain our lifestyle. We do not include paying down our PPoR loan as an expense, only the interest
*Investment income is simply 4% of our FIRE portfolio divided by 12

 

We hardly left the house in August which was reflected in our low expenses.


 

Shares

The above graph was created by Sharesight

Once we get the $$$ from the upcoming PO, I might consider buying more shares, although I find myself leaning towards reinvesting the funds back into the business. Both options are quite tempting.

Growing the business seems way more fun, though haha.

Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer:
We started buying A200 in August 2018 after Vanguard didn’t lower their MER to match A200. Practically speaking, A200 and VAS are almost identical so it makes sense to go with the lower MER. As an added benefit, I like the fund diversification between Vanguard and Betashares. We decided to hold both after making the switch since it doesn’t have any impact other than some extra accounting work once a year.Β 

Networth

JAN24 Net Worth $1,268,466 (-$14,798)

AUG23 Net Worth $1,237,801 (-$29,652)

I share these net worth updates to stay accountable, seek feedback on our strategy, and prove that achieving financial independence in Australia is feasible without relying on extraordinary luck or wealth. The table below tracks our journey from $36K in debt to reaching our goals. πŸ”₯


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

As much as I love online communities, nothing beats in-person gatherings with like-minded people.

Which is why it was so awesome to have the guys from the Rask team come down to my hometown and put on a roadshow. The FIRE community in Latrobe Valley showed out, and we had a packed room filled with like-minded individuals, all enjoying a great evening together.

Ana from the GRSC podcast and Captain FI

Owen from Rask

Traralgon crowd

Ana and Emma from The Broke Generation

 

It was so cool to meet folks who came all the way from the other side of Melbourne to be there too. I really did my best to chat with everyone that night, but if I didn’t get to you, I’m genuinely sorry, and I hope we can catch up at the next meetup.

Shoutout to Adrian from Chartscape for creating this personalised poster that beautifully illustrates our net worth journey (with the blue graph in the background) from the very start up to our July update. It’s an awesome digital art piece, and it’s hanging up in my office mate πŸ™‚

 

 

Net Worth Update

I had a big tax bill for the company, which, along with some other big expenses, was the primary factor behind the substantial loss this month.

All other asset classes went down too except for Super.

 

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*Expenses include everything we spend money on to maintain our lifestyle. We do not include paying down our PPoR loan as an expense, only the interest
*Investment income is simply 4% of our FIRE portfolio divided by 12

 

August was a fairly typical month for us.


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

We didn’t buy any shares in August.

I’m currently working on a long-overdue article. It will provide an update on our current strategy and where we stand in the grand scheme of things. You can expect it to be released before the end of the month πŸ™‚

Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer:
We started buying A200 in August 2018 after Vanguard didn’t lower their MER to match A200. Practically speaking, A200 and VAS are almost identical so it makes sense to go with the lower MER. As an added benefit, I like the fund diversification between Vanguard and Betashares. We decided to hold both after making the switch since it doesn’t have any impact other than some extra accounting work once a year.Β 

Networth

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