Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

I publish these net worth updates to keep us accountable, have others critique our strategy, and show that reaching financial independence in Australia is very doable without winning the lotto, having a high-paying job, or inheriting a wad of cash. The formula to be able to retire early is simple, the hard part is being consistent and sticking to a plan for many years. The table at the bottom details our entire journey from being $36K in debt all the way until we reach 🔥


One of the best things about semi-retirement are the new interests and hobbies you’re able to pursue with the extra free time.

2022 has definitely been the year of BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) tournaments for me.

I had always been interested in martial arts growing up. But between footy, gym and the occasional basketball/mixed netball comps, I never had the time to really pursue it. It’s been awesome training and competing with my mates for the last 20 months without sacrificing other areas of my life. Having the free time to discover new hobbies and pursue new interests is a real privilege!

I’ve been on a pretty solid training schedule in 2022 and part of me wanted to know how far I could go competing in the sport, especially since I’m not getting any younger 👴😅.

So with a bit of momentum behind me, I registered to compete in the Australian national Jiu-Jitsu championship in August.

It’s a knock-out style competition (sorta like Mortal Kombat haha) and my group had 16 competitors.

Every match was very difficult and I somehow ended up getting to the final round where I lost to a kimura submission.

 

I managed to snag the silver

I was pretty chuffed taking home the silver tbh.

At 33, I was one of the older competitors and I somehow hurt my back in one of the matches which has been bugging me for weeks.

I think this will be my last comp for a while because my body just doesn’t bounce back like it use to. I almost wish I could start again at 21 and see how good I could have been if I dedicated myself during my athletic prime but such is life, isn’t it. Ya can’t do it all!

At least FIRE has given me the free time to have a decent crack in my 30s which is all I can ask for.

August was pretty busy for me work-wise too. I’ve been heads-down-bum-up building/optimising the data product I’ve sold.

Quick reminder for the Sydney FIRE meetup on the 15th of October too!

We already have over 50 people coming and another 180 interested. I’m really looking forward to meeting the Sydney FIRE community in person 👊

The event is on Facebook here. 

Net Worth Update

The big gain from this month came from our PPoR being revalued.

Our mortgage broker had been going back and forth with our bank to get us a better rate. The banks eventually came to the party after they officially revalued the house at $610K. Realestate.com.au actually has it higher but we’ll stick with the official valuation.

We bought the house in April 2021 (settled in July) and the gains are pretty typical of what we’ve been seeing over the last 16 months since. Our home’s value is probably on the way down with all these interest rate rises so I’ll be sure to keep an eye on it.

I gotta admit, it’s been a bit mind-blowing seeing the sold prices of similar homes around our area over the last 6-8 months. I remember thinking we had bought at the peak in April 2021. Never in my wildest dream would I have thought prices would climb to the heights they’re at now.

Once again, savers have been left holding the bag for asset rich/highly leveraged Australians.

The rest of the month was pretty uninteresting with some gains from shares and Super whilst Bitcoin and cash reserved dropped.

 

Cash continues to be high while we save for a new car. I pray to the gods each month that the second-hand car market returns to some sort of normality soon lol🙏

*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


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

Not much to report here.

There was a big drop at the end of the month that wiped out most of the gains. Let’s see what happens in September!

 

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 other impact other than some extra accounting work once a year. 

Networth

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

JUL22 Net Worth $1,061,414 (+58,310)

I publish these net worth updates to keep us accountable, have others critique our strategy, and show that reaching financial independence in Australia is very doable without winning the lotto, having a high-paying job, or inheriting a wad of cash. The formula to be able to retire early is simple, the hard part is being consistent and sticking to a plan for many years. The table at the bottom details our entire journey from being $36K in debt all the way until we reach 🔥


It wasn’t too long ago that I was complaining about my lack of social interaction because I worked from home.

Well, let’s just say I’ve had a change of heart ever since the cold snap set in during July.

There’s nothing better than wearing trackies and a hoodie when it’s freezing outside and enjoying a cuppa/hot Milo during work. Our solar panels provide free electricity during the day so I’m able to run a little heater in my office guilt-free and I try to get all the washing/drying done when the sun is shining.

Mrs. FB, I, and some friends wanted to escape the cold during the holidays so we ended up booking a trip to Bali in July.

Quick PSA too. Mrs. FB needed to renew her passport and the whole process was a nightmare that took over 5 weeks. We had to go down to the Melbourne passport office TWICE! If you’re thinking about traveling soon and need to renew your passport, I’d suggest you start the process ASAP.

We ended up booking a 7-night stay in Legian, Bali.

Below are some of the pics from the trip.

Bali Mandira Beach Resort

Potato Head Beach Club

Jimbaran Bay Sunset

ATV Fun

I lot has changed since my first visit there as a 12-year-old with the fam.

My memory of Bali was a dirty, busy, and loud holiday destination that heaps of Aussies went to so they could drink cheap beer.

The island of Bali has had a really interesting transformation in the last 24 months. I couldn’t believe how clean everything was compared to my last visit nearly 20 years ago (damn I’m getting old). I spoke to a few locals about COVID and what happened to the place when all the tourists left.

They told me that a lot of people went back to farming. Either starting their own farms or helping other farmers out during the last 24 months. There was also a big push from the government to clean up the streets and beaches.

I was blown away by how nice the beaches were. I swear they didn’t look like that 20 years ago. I’m not just talking about lack of rubbish either. The quality of the sand and lack of rocks were what stuck out in my mind. Maybe I just went to a few crappy beaches as a kid but Jimbaran Bay, for example, had a world-class beach that would rival most Australian ones. And when you’re eating a seafood banquet on the beach for ~$40pp including cocktails in 27° weather, it’s hard to complain.

I also noticed that the island is becoming a lot more ‘westernised’. There were a lot more cafes and eating spots that cater to Australian tastes more so than Indonesian. This is either a positive or a negative depending on the type of person you are but we thought it was nice to have that option.

My mate and I did a bit of surfing which was awesome. I’d love to dedicate a few weeks to get a decent base because riding across the wave looks like so much fun (I can only do the white water for now).

The wife and I were so impressed by Bali that we’re thinking of heading back during winter again next year. Hopefully for a bit longer that time around. I would love to incorporate some sort of east Asian trip once a year where we live somewhere hot for a few weeks. I’m lucky enough to be able to work out of a laptop so I don’t see why not.

In other news, I sold my first data product in July which is a big reason for the big bump in this month’s net worth.

I can’t go into contractual specifics, but this is a bit of a milestone for my business. It signals a move away from consulting and more into product delivery. I think I’ll always consult to a certain degree, but I’ve had dreams about building this product for years and it was awesome to see there was a demand for it in the market.

I signed a three-year deal with my first customer 🥳

And lastly, I’ve been talking about it for years, but I’m finally coming up to Sydney and I’m going to organise a FIRE meet-up.

I’m heading up to FinFest on the 15th of October so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and organise a meetup for that night.

The event is on Facebook here. 

All details and updates will be posted there. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of you guys in person 🙂

Net Worth Update

The share market and Bitcoin all had healthy gains in July but it was our cash balance that received an out-of-the-ordinary bump.

The cash injection came from the sale of my first data product being sold on a three-year deal (the first year being paid for in full).

Without going into specifics, I’m basically selling ready to consume data models to the customer. It’s a DaaS (data as a service) business model where I’m taking care of all the data engineering, architecture design, ingestion, modeling, and serving for a fixed cost. The customer receives the models via an endpoint and away they go.

I’ve had this idea for some time now but it wasn’t until I worked in London and dealt with companies there were running this exact business model did I know it was really viable. I’ve been tweaking the product for over a year and it’s really exciting to land this first deal.

The plan is to sell the product to a few more customers so I can have enough recurring revenue to justify hiring someone. I have a dream of running a small Analytics company of 5-8 amazingly talented and fun individuals where we can solve fun problems. I want to foster a similar working environment that I was lucky enough to have experienced overseas. That’s my dream for this decade, work-wise.

 

Cash is really high atm. It’s a combination of saving for a car and having money on hand for my tax bill. We also purchased around $3K worth of Bitcoin in July.

*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


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

Ohhhh Eeeeee!

$15.5K of dividends baby, plus some strong growth from our international shares. If only every quarter was as good as this.

Our overall portfolio is still down from the all-time highs at the start of the year so it’s all relative but you’ve gotta celebrate the wins when you get them.

We purchased $5K worth of VEU in July because that was the most underweighted split.

 

Networth

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

JUN22 Net Worth $1,003,103 (-$32,783)

I publish these net worth updates to keep us accountable, have others critique our strategy and show that reaching financial independence in Australia is very doable without winning the lotto, having a high-paying job or inheriting a wad of cash. The formula to be able to retire early is simple, the hard part is being consistent and sticking to a plan for many years. The table at the bottom details our entire journey from being $36K in debt all the way until we reach 🔥


An old neighbour from my childhood neighbourhood (where my parents still live) passed away last month.

I don’t know the exact details but my understanding was that it was very quick (less than 6 months from diagnosis), unexpected and has left a big hole in their family.

The man that passed away was around 10 years younger than my dad.

People always tell you to spend time with your aging parents, but sometimes you need a wake-up call.

A major reason my wife and I came back to country Victoria was to spend more time with our parents and extended family and I’m so happy we did.

My wife and I are so lucky. All four of our parents are still with us and even better still, are fit and healthy to enjoy experiences.

Being able-bodied is so important. What’s the good of living till you’re 100 if you’re hospital-bound from 60? You can still enjoy some experiences but the bulk of them are gone at that stage. It’s one of the biggest lessons I took from reading ‘Die with Zero‘ the other month. Allocate your bucket list items to certain decades throughout your journey because life doesn’t always pan out like a movie. The vast majority of people are not going to retire at 60 and then pursue all their grand plans. You run out of energy. A snow trip to Japan is going to look and feel a hell of a lot different when you’re 50 as opposed to 25.

The entire goal of becoming financially independent is to free up our time to live a happier and more fulfilling life. And one of the greatest joys of claiming our time back is to spend it with loved ones.

My dad asked if I wanted to go with him to the Footy in June. It was an afternoon game on a Sunday at the G and he was heading up to meet some mates and cousins.

I’m pretty sure he asked me to come to a game last year but I just had too much on and was trying to get my freelance business off the ground so I declined.

If I was still working full time, my first instinct would be to think about the 2+ hour train ride and how buggered I’d be for work on Monday morning after getting home late on Sunday.

But I don’t work Mondays anymore 🤘

We headed up together on the train and watched with glee as our beloved Magpies dismantled the ladder leaders, the Melbourne Demons.

You can say what you want about Melbourne, but it has to be one of the best sporting cities on the entire planet! And there’s nothing better than watching a big game at the G!

Collingwood vs Melbourne at the MCG

We made our way down to Swan Street in Richmond for a feed after the game and the atmosphere was electric.

The magpie army had taken over Bruton Avenue as the poor Melbourne supporters were subjected to our famous war cry…

“COOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGGGWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD”

One of dad’s best mates is a Dee’s supporter which made the victory all that much sweeter.

We ended up at the Corner Hotel in Richmond for a pint and to talk about Collingwood’s path to an inevitable 16th premiership.

And as I was downing my Guinness beer, talking to dad about the game, arguing that De Goey doesn’t do enough or that Cox needs to be more consistent, I couldn’t help but think… this is what it’s all about.

Net Worth Update

Mamma Mia!

All of our assets got crushed in June to give us our second-worst monthly drop of all time. I keep sounding like a broken record but luckily we’re still in the accumulation phase so depressed asset prices are a good thing.

But if the market continues this decline, I’ll have to retract our millionaire status 🙈

We also bought around $2K of Bitcoin in June even though I personally think it’s going to drop further. There are talks about the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in America finally regulating cryptocurrencies. I think this could be a huge step in its adoption. If the SEC (and consequently other commissions around the world including ASIC) come out and say that Crypto is an official financial asset, it will give this new technology legitimacy in the eyes of a lot of people. It could also start the process of consumer protection and eliminate thousands of scams that have infiltrated this technological breakthrough.

I’m a free-market libertarian at heart but I don’t think even the most staunch Bitcoin maxi would advocate for zero regulation.

 

 

Our cash holdings are way too high for my liking but I still have a few big tax bills plus we’re saving for a car. Not much I can do about it for now.

*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


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

Big drops all around.

We didn’t purchase any shares in June but I’ll be topping up in July for sure.

 

Networth

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

MAY22 Net Worth $1,035,887 (+$5,144)

I publish these net worth updates to keep us accountable, have others critique our strategy and show that reaching financial independence in Australia is very doable without winning the lotto, having a high-paying job or inheriting a wad of cash. The formula to be able to retire early is simple, the hard part is being consistent and sticking to a plan for many years. The table at the bottom details our entire journey from being $36K in debt all the way until we reach 🔥


Super late update for May.

I’ve had a lot of family commitments lately and work has been surprisingly busy. As a result, AFB content has been on hiatus.

I’ve still been recording podcasts though and I have some really good ones coming up in the next few weeks (the first one hopefully drops this Friday).

I got the spicy flu (COVID) in May which knocked me out for a few days. I felt tired AF for 2 weeks and still can’t shake this annoying cough. Not bad though all things considered.

The timing was pretty bad because I had another BJJ (Brazil Jiu-Jitsu) tournament I was meant to be training for. I lost so much fitness from COVID and only had 2 weeks to get back in shape.

I wasn’t at my best but I still had a great time competing.

Trying my best to secure an arm drag

BJJ tournaments with mates you’ve been training with are the best!

Net Worth Update

All investments were down around -$20K for May with the only saving grace being 2 big invoices that were paid for my freelance gig. That, along with our other income sources miraculously saw the NW grow by $5K this month. I have a hefty tax bill coming up though so the cash reserves will be taking a beating soon 😅.

 

Our cash holdings continue to climb in preparation for a few big-ticket items in the not so distance future.

*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


 

One of our most inexpensive months so far since becoming homeowners!

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

Oooft!

Down $15K ain’t pretty but as all accumulators should know, a bear market is precisely what we look forward to!

We bought $5K of VTS in May as this was the holding most underweight in our portfolio at the time.

 

Networth

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

APR22 Net Worth $1,030,743 (-$9,748)

I publish these net worth updates to keep us accountable, have others critique our strategy and show that reaching financial independence in Australia is very doable without winning the lotto, having a high paying job or inheriting a wad of cash. The formula to be able to retire early is simple, the hard part is being consistent and sticking to a plan for many years. The table at the bottom details our entire journey from being $36K in debt all the way until we reach 🔥


It’s been a while since I logged into AFB/recorded any podcasts.

The whole ASIC fiasco got me down a little honestly. It feels like the whole community that has helped so many people are being vilified because of a few bad apples.

I also felt the need to lay low and watch what others were doing in the FIRE/personal finance space. I’ll be dropping a podcast very soon that will cover my thoughts on ASIC’s new interpretations and how that’s going to affect AFB content moving forward.

In other news.

My freelance business is really starting to take off. I’m getting more business than I want (first world problem) and I’m starting to create a data product that I’m really excited about. This influx of work has been the other reason I’ve taken my foot off the AFB creator pedal last month.

It’s usually a juggling act between AFB content, my business and travelling. Some months I’ll record 5 podcasts and write 3 articles and other months I’ll be lucky to produce 2 pieces of content.

Freelancing has been a blast but I’m slowly getting pulled back into the ‘normal’ everyday office politics and BS. There are always going to be boring/pointless parts of the job regardless of what you’re doing but I’m trying to minimise that stuff as much as possible.

I find the greatest joy in building something that creates value with colleagues who are just as passionate. I’ve spoken about it before but I really like the idea of having a small team that can help me build data products/services and foster a kick-ass work environment! I fell in love with the culture when I worked at a few different startups in London during our overseas trip. Trying to replicate that is high on my goals list for the next decade ahead.

Net Worth Update

Not a whole lot to report with the old NW. It was a down month for shares and Super which saw us slide backwards around $10K.

 

We’re continuing to build up our cash reserve for a new car in the not so distance future. I’m still having a really hard time choosing between a traditional ICE vehicle or a new EV. The longer we wait, the more attractive EVs become. But can we wait another 2-4 years? Probably not 😅

*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


 

Our expenses were up a lot in April. The reason for the big jump was us pre-paying for a trip to Bali. We fly out in late June for 8 days of holidaying 🏝🍻

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

No purchases in April but I’m publishing this article in mid-May and I just can’t resist the current sale atm so we’ll most likely be putting through a buy order soon.

 

Networth

AUG22 Net Worth $1,148,826 (+87,412)

MAR22 Net Worth $1,040,491 (+$31,701)

I publish these net worth updates to keep us accountable, have others critique our strategy and show that reaching financial independence in Australia is very doable without winning the lotto, having a high paying job or inheriting a wad of cash. The formula to be able to retire early is simple, the hard part is being consistent and sticking to a plan for many years. The table at the bottom details our entire journey from being $36K in debt all the way until we reach 🔥


A very quiet March for us this year.

We had one of our best friends tie the knot and I’d almost forgotten how much fun big weddings are 🥳 . The wedding was originally scheduled for 2020 which was when we were overseas, so one of the small benefits (for us 😜) of Covid was that the date was pushed back due to the restrictions. We were incredibly lucky to pull off our destination wedding last year but so many of our friends had to delay/push theirs back. I’ve heard that some of the more popular venues have a backlog of more than 2 years 😱. It’s pretty incredible how Covid has affected so many different industries in different ways.

Another thing that’s been on my mind this year is buying a new car. I know I’ve spoken about it but I’m in a real dilemma of choosing a cheap reliable petrol car that will get the job done or waiting a tad longer to splash out a bit on a new EV (electric vehicle).

This decision is partly financial and partly wanting to join the EV revolution that I think is just beginning.

I’m just guessing here but I reckon fossil fuel cars will be dead by 2030. Petrolhead enthusiasts might still be buying them but just look at the trend of renewable technologies. Solar, wind, thermal, storage etc. are all getting better and cheaper and it’s only a matter of time before it makes sense financially to make the switch. It’s already happened with solar panels and with the amount of new EVs being produced each year, batteries will surely be joining the party soon.

There’s a premium to pay at the moment but I just love the self-sufficient concept of electrifying as many things in your life as possible and harnessing the energy of the sun.

Some car manufacturers are also talking about a Bi-directional charging capability for new EVs. So in theory you could charge your EV at home during the day from your solar panels and use some of the battery at night to power your house. Your car could double as a home battery when you’re not using it. I think this could have enormous potential for old degraded batteries that aren’t suitable for cars anymore. Imagine if you could recycle old degraded car batteries into a home storage solution! But I’m no electrical engineer and there might be technical reasons why this is hard to do/impossible so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Regardless, the potential of EVs is exciting to think about and maybe there will be some kick-ass rebates in the not so distant future.

I’d love to know if you’re stuck in the same predicament and what your thought process is in the comments below 🙂

 

 

Net Worth Update

The share market bounced back which was the main contributor to our gains this month.

But the big news from March was our purchase of Bitcoin.

You can read about our decision in this detailed article here, but in a nutshell, we bought Bitcoin for three reasons:

  1. I’m personally interested in this technology and get joy from seeing how it works and participating
  2. Speculative play. The value proposition of Bitcoin is favourable IMO
  3. It’s a vote for a more democratic financial system

There was some talk about the energy consumption concerns of Bitcoin that I didn’t address in my article. And that’s a fair point which is ironic considering how pro-renewables I am.

I posted the below on Facebook which basically sums up how I feel about it:

Bitcoin uses a lot of energy, no getting around that. But what about the energy the current system uses?

Here is a study that suggests that the banking industry uses twice as much.

We still need to address how crypto is powered but most people gloss over the inefficiencies of the current system it could one day replace.

Maybe the energy concerns will be the downfall of Bitcoin, who knows?

But when was the last time a new technology that offers a better solution to a current system was not adopted because it used a lot of energy? And if the report is accurate, it actually uses less than half of the energy it takes for the current system to run anyway! I understand that you can’t really compare the current financial system to Bitcoin just yet but surely you have to acknowledge that the modern-day banking industry uses a shit load of energy to keep the lights on.

Bitcoin (or another cryptocurrency) could offer a superior solution in the future for less overall energy and I think it’s important that the naysayers keep an open mind with regard to this point.

Also, for the pro-Bitcoin/crypto people out there in the FIRE community. For the love of God, can we stop being so bloody aggressive in the comment section when people have valid concerns about this new technology?

It pains me to see how cult-like some of the responses have been. Especially when someone is clearly just trying to learn a bit more.

Dismissing questions and concerns with “WRONG” or “You just don’t get it, HFSP lol” doesn’t help anyone. In fact, if you can’t explain the reason why you bought Bitcoin or another crypto, odds are you’re only buying it in hopes that you can sell it for a profit later.

One of the FIRE community’s greatest strengths is explaining financial concepts in an easy to digest manner.

 

$12K of Bitcoin has joined the fold.

*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 high month for the blue line.

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

No new shares in March.

 

Networth

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