Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

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 🔥

The Rask event at the start of December was a smashing success!

When Owen asked if I was interested in hosting a panel, I was initially a little bit hesitant.

“I’m anonymous mate, and it’s hard to keep your anonymity at a live event. Especially one that’s being live streamed😅”

But I promised him that I’d think about it.

I’ve been blogging since 2015 and a lot has changed in my personal life. One of the main reasons I hide my identity was because I was worried that my employer would find my website and it would cost me promotions during my accumulation phase.

“Matt’s not sticking around long term, best to give the coordinator job to someone else”

Hiding my identity was crucial if I ever decided to pull the plug on this site and have it fade into obscurity.

But those aren’t relevant concerns anymore. And after having so much fun at the Sydney FIRE meetup, I made a promise to myself that I would be more involved in the real-world FIRE community and not just online ones.

I contacted Owen again and said… “I’m in”.

This ultimately entailed hosting a panel and being part of another one.

You can check out my segments on YouTube (I’m on from 3:09:20 until the end).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Owen was kind enough to lend me a party shirt which was the theme for the night 😂

There’s nothing better than meeting people in real life and hanging out at events like this one. I met heaps of people at this event and we had a little FIRE meet-up afterwards too. I’ll be doing a lot more of these events in the future so I hope to meet some of you guys there and have a chat in real life 🙂


The silly season was in full effect in December which meant plenty of barbecues, beer and backyard cricket.

One area where I felt a bit left out was end-of-year work breakups.

Everyone I knew was heading out to social events for work in December. I was invited along to a few but it just isn’t the same.

2022 was a strange year for me.

On one hand, it was awesome because of the following:

  • Travelled heaps
  • Only worked 2-3 days a week on something I like doing
  • Had copious amounts of free time to spend on whatever
  • Was able to do a lot of home renovations with my old man. This improves our lives + is quality time with family, win-win
  • Spent time developing hobbies and working on my health/fitness

This sounds perfect, right?

Well, in typical first-world problem fashion… I felt a little bit… dissatisfied or something.

Maybe dissatisfied isn’t the right word. I’m not sure what exactly was wrong but I know it has something to do with a lack of growth.

I’ve been a ‘man with a plan‘ for as long as I can remember.

I think I’m hard-wired to have long-term goals or something and I seem to get lost when I’m not working towards them.

I’ve been marching towards the goal of FIRE for the last 10 years and even though we haven’t hit our FI number, we’re living the life I envisioned which was always the goal. I know the portfolio will eventually grow to our number one day.

I feel less and less motivated by FIRE each day. We have set ourselves up financially speaking and have been enjoying the fruits of our labour for the last 2-3 years travelling around the world, getting married, buying a home etc. etc.

This has been lovely.

But I can’t help but shake the thought… what’s next?

I’m still young.

What do I want to achieve?

Why do I want to achieve anything in the first place?

Can’t I just be happy with what I’ve currently got? I love my life, but I feel like I can do more.

Does anyone else have these issues!? Am I crazy?


I came to the realisation last year that 99% of people I like spending time with will not stop working in their 30s, 40s, or 50s even if they were financially free. Mrs Firebug has voiced that she will still teach a few days a week post-FI too.

This is a tricky conundrum. I have all this free time now, but I can’t spend it with friends and family because they’re at work!

I’m starting to miss that feeling of having a dedicated team to work with and all the other benefits that come with a great culture.

That was one of my favourite parts about the fast-paced work environment in London. The work was interesting, challenging at times and fostered a motivational atmosphere.

My line of work doesn’t have anything like that where I’m from.

I don’t want my old job back, because that’s not what I’m looking for. But I think I’m going to really ramp things up in my business with the hope of building out a small team in the future.

If I can’t find a local company that has what I’m after, I’m going to try to make it myself!

New long-term goal activated!

I’ve also been tossing up the idea of starting a co-working space in my hometown.

The co-working space goal isn’t concrete yet because there are already a few spaces popping up locally but they’re not quite what I’m after. If I find a good one though, I’m more than happy to just go there.

So here’s the plan for the next decade or so:

  • Build a small team of 4-7 people. Create an epic working environment and throw kick-ass Christmas breakups
  • Start a co-working space in my hometown

Net Worth Update

Not much to report here.

Pretty much everything went down (shares having the biggest drop).

I cashed in a fairly large invoice at the end of December which helped a little.



*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 really cheap month for us. We bought most of the presents throughout the year and prepaid for our new years eve celebrations.



The above graph is created by Sharesight

A lot of red!

$6.5K worth of dividends is nice though.

We didn’t buy shares in December because I’ve finished all of my consulting work for the time being. I’m now switching my focus to building and selling this digital product that I built. I need to win a few more multi-year contracts if I have any hope of employing people and fulfilling my dream of having a small company one day.

This means we need more dry powder for that sleep-at-night factor.


Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
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. 


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