With the risk of virtue signalling, I’ll keep this really brief:
Sometimes really bad tragedies unfold in the world that puts our personal issues into perspective.
The bushfires near my home back in Australia is one of these events. Everyone I know is doing ok (the fires have not reached where I’m from) but there are so many people who aren’t as fortunate.
If you’re thinking about donating, the CFA has an option to donate to the ‘Bush Disaster Appeal‘.
Heading back to full-time work reminded me of how insanely unhealthy it is for humans to not move around for 8+ hours on end. During our ‘mini-retirement’ in Oct/Nov this year, we were doing something active every single day without even trying.
Just shooting hoops, throwing the frisbee or walking everywhere within a 3km radius because the extra time meant there were no pressures to get somewhere quickly.
The extra time and no commitments to be anywhere really helped. I would purposely look forward to walking down to the Super Market and even take the longer, more scenic route because I was digging my audiobook and wanted to listen a little bit more.
I’m still listening to my audiobooks but now I’m in a stationary position for 30 minutes on the incredibly polluted ‘tube‘ crammed full of people coughing and sneezing all over me 😓
I’m loving the work we’re getting stuck into, but again, I’m sitting down (I have requested a standing desk) for over 8 hours a day and because I’m trying to get my head around everything, often I’m working a few hours from home each night.
And as the old saying goes…
“If you don’t use it, you lose it”
Over a period of around 3 weeks, my lower back started to tighten and I knew it was probably just screaming out at me to stretch it more and actually use its muscle instead of letting it waste away sitting around all day.
The human body is incredible at adapting. If I had not made it a priority to get my ass to the gym a few times before Christmas, the backaches would have probably resided and eventually it would have become comfortable to sit down and not move at all for the majority fo the day.
In fact, I’d argue that the majority of 1st world adults have bodies adapted to moving the least amount possible during the day.
I mean… we build bloody ‘moving walkways’ just so people don’t have to walk for 15-20 meters. I wonder how much those things cost to build and maintain 💸
The minimalist in me finds it insane how there’s a billion-dollar industry trying to fix all the illnesses/diseases caused by our lack of exercise. Wouldn’t it be easier to be proactive vs reactive?
I think I’m going to buy a second-hand bike and try my hand at riding into work each day. The only thing that worries me is the rain. I’m cool with it being cold but the rain sucks and makes things a lot more dangerous.
Are there any London bikers reading? I’d love to hear your experiences riding around London below please 🙂
This was my second time starting a new gig in late November/December and it seems to be a really great month to join an organisation. With the lead up to Christmas, most people are winding things down and social events are peaking which makes it easy to get to know your colleagues and move past that ice breaker stage.
But there’s a hidden trap with all the festive food and drinks…
Heathrow Injection Noun
A metaphor for the weight one inevitably gains when one migrates to London for an extended stay. It is attributable to the fast-paced lifestyle that leads one to eating mostly take-away and fast foods.
Person 1: “I reckon i’m getting a little tubby. I think i’m developing love handles.”
Person 2: “Yeah well you’ve been here in London for three months now. That’s the Heathrow injection right there. I’ve been here for two years now. Look at this flab on me. I slap it and it makes waves.”
London and Christmas parties, name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait…
I think I’ve been out and about more in December than I have in the last 4 years combined. Add all that with all the Christmas food that’s been getting around of late and I feel I’ve been well and truly blessed with the Heathrow Injection.
I can’t blame it all on London though… The land of maple syrup, poutine and Ice hockey definitely played a part.
O Canada! O Canada!
We decided it would be nice to have a white Christmas for once in our lives and head over to Toronto where I have 3rd cousins. We thought about heading back home to see family but it’s just such a mission. An 8-hour flight seemed a lot more palatable.
What else seemed a lot more palatable was all the delicious food we got to indulge in.
We spent a week in Toronto for Christmas and then a few days in Montreal before heading to Mont Tremblant for a bit of snowboarding which is where I’m posting this article from right now
Quebec has been freezing!
The day we left, it was forecasted to be -27 and I can tell you that human beings are just not meant to live in such conditions even with snow gear on 🥶
I didn’t bring my snowboarding mitts overseas so we had to buy $3 ones at Dollarama. Safe to say these were not designed to be used in -9 conditions and basically every chairlift consisted of me taking off my gloves to warm up my hands underneath my armpits lol.
Mrs. FB learnt to snowboard which was great but if you’ve ever been snowboarding before, you’ll surely remember how hard it is when you’re just starting out.
Her arms were absolutely cooked from pushing herself up every few minutes three days straight.
Dog sledding was an incredible experience. We got super lucky on the day we went with sunshine and a tiny bit of snow.
At first, I was hesitant about doing the sledding because part of me felt like it was similar to seeing the elephants or tigers in Thailand. I made that mistake when I was 19 and quickly realised that these animals are miserable and are being forced to do the tricks.
I did a bit of research about dog sledding and came to the conclusion that like every industry ever, there are some dickheads that are running shitty businesses. But ultimately if the dogs are well looked after and get to enjoy a comfortable retirement, I’m comfortable participating in their own desire to run/mush that’s been bred into them for thousands of years.
In fact, you could argue that people who buy Huskies and Malamutes that don’t walk their dogs every day are the cruel ones. You really need to see it in person to understand just how excited these dogs are when they get to mush.
I love Canada and if we were 3 years younger, I’d definitely consider living here once we’ve done UK/Europe. One item I’ve always had on my bucket list that’s probably passed me by is living on a mountain for one snow season.
But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. We prioritised saving and investing for most of our 20’s and are reaping the rewards now.
Net Worth Update
We didn’t end up hitting $750K to end the decade but no complaints here.
It was an expensive month and the markets didn’t really do anything plus I still haven’t received my first consulting check from the new job (something about their payroll closing for Christmas 🙄).
It was only the second month this year where the old net worth went backwards which was a pretty big surprise, to be honest.
I had it in my head that 2019 would most likely see minimal gains because I wasn’t sure of our working arrangements before we left. But to my surprise, we managed to pile on an additional $120K!
I can only hope that 2020 will be as prosperous and maybe we’ll be in striking distance of the big $1M by 2021 😀
No changes in the properties this month.
Property 1 was sold in August 2018
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.
The above graph is created by Sharesight
And so the end of the decade comes storming home with… not much happening at all.
Which is A-OK with us.
Not a whole lot to report on from the graph above.
As per usual, we continue our strategy and bought another $5K worth of A200.
It’s a shame you didn’t get an up month in the markets to hit $750k for the end of the year, really it’s just another number though and you’ll likely be through it pretty soon anyway if you’re not already.
It’s interesting looking at that sea of green in your net worth monthly updates, with as much as you have invested in the stock market now I’d expect to see that over time there will actually be more periods of red coming up as the portfolio returns become more important than the additional savings.
Looking at all that tasty Canadian food 25yo me is like get in my belly, unfortunately 40+yo me is thinking about how far I’d have to run to work it all off. Glad you enjoyed the holiday and got in some awesome experiences while you were over there!
That’s a great point.
We’re nearly the point where the snowballs movements will mean a lot more vs the snow we can shovel on each month. I can’t believe how good the returns were in 2019 though. I’m expecting a big downturn soon based on absolutely nothing but the fact we are due for one haha. I’ll keep investing each month though of course.
Dude… I’m hearing you about the heavy food. I’m 30 now myself and we have to approach these ‘food adventures’ a little different these days. We eat super clean leading up to the delicious calorie behemoth and make sure it’s our only unhealthy meal of the day.
We did USA when I was early 20’s and it’s outrageous how much shit we ate and drunk but miraculously just powered through everything with an abundance of energy.
We need a 30-minute food coma nap when we eat meals like poutine nowadays 😂
Congrats on a successful 2019 living life, but still maintain the progress towards FIRE!!
When I lived in London I cycled to work almost every day – it was 1000x better than the tube/train, even in the rain. Apologies for the length of this but I’m super passionate about riding > training in London, even in winter, even when it’s raining, as long as you’re prepared and was exciting to see you write about it! Riding was possibly better on rainy days as you had less bikes around. Also the rain in London is usually a light drizzle, rarely was it a heavy downpour.
In terms of the bike:
– Either get a good second hand bike or a cheap one from Decathlon
– Get a good set of front and back lights you so you visible to others.
– Get a pair of all weather tires. I used Continental Grand Prix 4 seasons, and they were really noticeably grippier in the wet, and I barely ever had a puncture.
– Make sure you keep your bike well maintained, like once a week check the tire pressure, brakes and clean/lubricate the chain.
Specifically for rain:
– Get mudguards on the front and back to stop any spray hitting you/your back.
– If you’re carrying a bag, get one with a built in rain cover or buy one of those high vis ones you’ll see everyone has on their bags.
– A decent rain jacket layer to keep your torso dry if it’s more than a light drizzle
– I used a pair of cheap clear lens sunnies so I could see through any spray hitting my face. Decathlon had some good cheap tint changing sunnies for different conditions
I know you’re good with cold, but for anyone else for the cold:
– Get some good winter riding layers, you can probably use the same base layers you’d wear snowboarding – i.e. long sleeve, quick dry Under Armour type things. Usually I’d just wear an exercise t-shirt on top, but when it was especially cold or raining I’d wear my biking rain jacket for an extra warm layer but still breathable.
– I sometimes used a neck warmer.
– I’d use a range of gloves from fingerless in summer through to thick winter gloves.
– It takes a couple of minutes for your face to get over the cold initially, but after you’re moving you won’t even notice it!
Finally, ride safely/defensively, don’t do stupid things around and use the bike paths if available. I’ve only had a couple of bingles, never anything too serious but it was always when I was riding too fast for the conditions and couldn’t slow down enough. You won’t look back once you’ve done it a few times and got some confidence. Enjoy the riding!!
I’d recommend hydraulic disc brakes for riding in the wet. Rim brakes get sketchy when it rains
I can’t thank you enough for this epic write up mate 🙏.
I was really close to buying a bike beforehand but after reading this, LOCK IT IN EDDIE.
There’s a really good chance the January update will have a picture of the new bike dude. You’ve got me really exciting about riding around London now 😀
All good mate. I love being on my bike and encouraging others to do the same. I also like learning to do the maintenance on it myself to save some money.
Agree with other comments that hydraulic disc brakes are better in the wet, but they have some different drawbacks and won’t make a huge difference to a commuting cyclist riding carefully.
Can’t wait to see the new bike! It could even be an “investment”/money saver in its own right, some analysis might be needed.
100% an investment!
Better health, saves money and is quicker!
I ride everywhere within my home town back in Oz but just haven’t gotten around to getting on the bike in London. But it’s definitely happening now 😀
Great year mate. You missed out on great gains carrying so much cash. But I understand the need to sleep at night. Smash it this year.
An insanely good year for the ASX hey. Doubt it will continue and I’m sorta hoping for a crash to buy more units!
Hey mate, probably a silly question but was just wondering how the dividends are calculated on the monthly Sharesight graph? Is it indicating how much dividends you were paid out for the month? If so, wasn’t aware of Vanguard or Betashares paying out dividends in December? Thanks
Lived in London mate eight years ago. Best investment there was getting a bike compared to the torture of the northern line in the morning. Plus it’s a great way to see London as the tube is so convenient you spend most of your time underground!
I take the northern lol.
And to top it off… I get off at Bank 🤮🤮🤮
I can’t wait to get back on the bike. The only reason I didn’t do it sooner was because I was working outside of London 3 days a week on the last contract. I didn’t actually work in the city that much.
But the new gig is smack bang in the middle of the action.
Sharesight record the Ex-dividend dates. The dividends don’t actually hit your account on those dates. The dividends are calculated on those dates and all shareholder then receive the value through online transfer, check or DRP at a later date.
I commuted in London when I lived there, depending on where you are going to and from you can ride next to the Canals and stay off the roads. The bike was better than the tube in all riding conditions. As stated above, I’d get a cheap second hand bike, get good front and rear lights and a good wet weather riding jacket. I bought some cheaper riding rain pants and then cut them off with scissors at the 3/4 mark. If you can get a pannier rack and bags it’s much better than having a bag on your back. Good luck!
I’m loving these tips 🙂
Thanks for chipping in Ben
Hey Mate, London’s cycling infrastructure has come a long way since over the past 5 years and has improved a lot since I moved here in 2012, particularly in South East London.
I would recommend keeping to the cycle superhighways as these are consistently the quickest way of getting around London. Not just on bikes, but the quickest way of getting around London overall. https://tfl.gov.uk/maps/cycle
On top of that, if you do have an incident, most likely it will be with another cyclist and won’t be nearly as severe.
As for cycling in the rain? The Dutch (known for their love of cycling) have a saying “we are not made of sugar, you will not melt in the rain”. Take safe precautions and inspiration from MMM’s love of cycling in all conditions!
Great to know!
MMM is a bit hardcore though right haha I mean… cycling in the snow? 🥶🥶🥶🥶
Genuine question from a complete investing neophyte! You mentioned this month you built a property and received the FHOG, but you already own properties? so how did you get the FHOG?
ohhhhhh sorry. ignore that. I just read your table properly. the FHOG was on your first property back in 2013. My bad.
Hey Aussie Firebug,
Dont worry, back home in Aus we are getting just as much ‘Christmas Cheer’ around the belly and waist line as you are up in the UK! haha. Awesome to hear your getting on the powder and shredding it up, snowboarding has been a long time favourite of mine. Having previously lived close to the Victorian ski fields and then later close to the NSW fields, I love getting up for a session. Although it is super expensive, I have found a few interesting little ‘hacks’ to cut down on expenses. Thanks for sharing your update, you and Miss FB are getting so close to FIRE
What mountain dude?
My regular was Hotham although I lived really close to Baw Baw but that’s a really small mountain.
It’s soooooo expensive but so fun right! I really want to shred Japan one day. I’ve heard it’s the best snow in the world
Hey Captain, do you mind sharing your tips? It’s definitely super expensive here in Melbourne. I love going to Mt. Buller to ski, but it’s Soo damn expensive.
I think it was back in your September update you mentioned you’re a UK resident for tax purposes. From my understanding this means you are not receiving franking benefits on the Australia allocation of shares (70%) and paying 30% tax on unfranked dividends?
Did this transition also trigger a CGT event on your investments?
I’ve just been combing through the ATO website to better understand it as I plan to spend some time (long term) abroad in the future but it’s somewhat confusing as I imagine most tax legislation is and I remembered you’ve been through this process, so thought I’d ask.. I know it’s probably too complicated a question to answer in a comment, but thought i’d ask!
Thanks again for the updates, the Facebook Group has been fantastic. I usually avoid social media but there’s a lot of good and interesting discussion coming out from the group that has made me come back to using the platform.
You’re right about the laws I’m pretty sure but in an extremely lucky turn of events. It turns out investing your assets within a trust gives you a lot of options. Right now, my mum and dad are controlling all our assets back home so I don’t suffer from the tax residency implications 🙏.
When I return home, I’ll take back control of the corporate trustee and Bob’s ya uncle!
Oh wow, I didn’t realize the trust structure allowed for that.. well that’s awesome, nice work.
hey mate looking forward to your january networth update !!!
Probably will drop this weekend mate
Hi Aussie FB, I was wondering how you decide which shares you buy and how you best balance your portfolio? I’ve been buying a lot of AFIC but I’ve noticed you have very little. Do you just buy what is on special or are you trying to keep a certain weighting? Thanks! Laina 🙂
We are aiming for a 70/15/15 split being Aussie/US/World ex US.
When I buy shares each month, I look at which split is the lowest and I simply top that part up with the next purchase.
Hope that helps 🙂