Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

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
 
heath-row in-jec-tion
 
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.

Smokes and Timmy Horton’s. Doesn’t get much more Canadian than this!

La Banquise Poutinerie, Montreal. The best poutine on the planet.

BeaverTails- a delightful Canadian pastry shaped like the tail of a beaver with your choice of topping, yum!

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

Downtown Toronto

Sled dogging on Mont Tremblant

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 😀

 

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

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.

 

Networth

 

Download my personal spreadsheet I use to calculate my net worth each month

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