Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

.

*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

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

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.

 

.

*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

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

JUL23 Net Worth $1,267,453 (+$27,511)

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 for retiring 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 πŸ”₯


In July, I felt fortunate to be blessed with the opportunity to work from the comfort of my home. My social side has been longing for more real-life interactions for a while now (hence my co-working space ambitions) but honestly, in the middle of winter I’m pretty content to be inside in a hoodie and moccasins πŸ˜‚.

It might sound weird to some but I really enjoy going for a walk first thing in the morning when there’s still ice on the grass (my fellow Victorians will know what I’m talking about). It wakes me up and get’s the blood flowing.

During that 15-minute stroll, my mind tends to wander. On occasion, it’s focused on what I want to get done by day’s end. There are moments when my thoughts drift towards upcoming events and the future. And then there are instances when I find myself fixated on that joke I cracked that nobody laughed at πŸ˜….

My walking shifts into autopilot mode, and since I’m mostly unable to reach for my phone or use my computer, it’s just me and my thoughts for a while. Almost like meditation, I guess.

And then there’s a different type of meditation I get when I’m at the gym. There are times at the gym when the physical demands of exercise completely occupy my mind.Β In those moments, my brain’s capacity for attention becomes entirely absorbed, leaving no room for any other thoughts.

I’m solely focused on lifting something heavy and placing it back down (it sounds funny when I write it out like that).

Having time to let my mind wander and time, when it’s completely focused, are both important mental exercises I need to feel centred.


In other news…

There’s only one week to go before the RASK roadshow tour in my hometown.

There’s going to be a lot of my local FIRE community joining along with other great guests and speakers.

See y’all next week πŸ”₯

AFB x RASK Traralgon meet-up

Net Worth Update

The share market did the heavy lifting in July with BTC being the only asset class that went down.

 

 

.

*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

 

It’s been a very, very long time since we had a sub $4K month. This is mainly because we didn’t book any future trips and just stayed home for the whole of July. It’s funny to think that $4K a month was our baseline pre-London.


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

We didn’t buy any shares in July.

I’m planning to record a podcast soon to provide an update on our progress towards FIRE, as I’ve received numerous messages inquiring about it.

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.Β 

Networth

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