If you don’t already know by now, we jetted off on our overseas adventure in mid-Jan to begin a new chapter of our lives working and living in the UK.
You can read about the decision and ‘why’ in last months post ‘You Only Live Once’.
I’ve had so many people reach out to me with amazing stories about their travels when they were younger and how it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done. We left in the middle of Jan and have been trecking through South East Asia for the last 3 weeks stopping by Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
And before you ask, no this is not becoming a travel blog 😂 I just couldn’t resist showing off some of our photos.
There are a few things that stick out like a sore thumb when you visit SE Asia. With the exception of Singapore, everywhere has been so incredibly cheap! It’s mostly a reflection of how much taxes we pay in Australia, but drinks and smokes (some of our most taxed items and for good reason) are literally 10% of the price in SE Asia. I mean, even at a swim-up bar where you’d probably be paying $10 for a stubbie in Oz, you could get an ice cold long neck for around $2.
Food and accommodation are also insanely cheap and most of the time it’s really healthy and fresh. Half the reason we went to SE Asia was because of the food. Our favourite place has been Thailand for food (legit have ordered a Pad Thai every meal for around $2.5).
We have been mostly staying at backpackers for around $20-$30 a night (which was cheaper than our rent back home lol) but occasionally we splash out for a ‘luxurious’ night in a fancy place for around $100!
Hostels are such great places to meet people from all over the world. Whenever we say we’re from Australia, one of the most common themes from other travellers is how expensive Australia is to them. It is one of the most expensive places to live in the world! But the advantage that we as Australians have is that we can move and travel to cheaper countries if we chose to do so. Someone growing up and earning a normal wage in Malaysia would almost find it impossible to have a holiday in Australia because of the difference in purchasing power.
We off to Cambodia and Vietnam during Feb and then a stopover in Dubai before starting work in the UK mid-March.
As a result of this travelling, I haven’t had the time to respond to all your emails. So if you’re waiting for your question to be answered, please be patient. I will get around to every last one eventually!
Net Worth Update
Great start to 2019 with a big bump of over $20k!
The sharemarket bounced back from what was a turbulent December. This looks good in theory, but during the accumulation phase of FIRE. We actually want the sharemarket to not go up at all, in fact, it would be better for it to head south whilst we are gathering units are of favourite ETFs and LICs.
Nevertheless, shares and Super (ours are mainly in shares anyway) really beefed up the gains for January and added around $14K into the portfolio.
The other bump from cash was a nice surprise. I’m currently using my annual leave which benefits from leave loading. In a nutshell, I’ll be earning more each fortnight until the start of March which is when my annual leave runs out and I’ll switch over to long service leave at half pay until July. It’s pretty insane that I have long service leave already built up when I’m not even 30 yet. I don’t feel old enough to have it but I’ll sure as hell take it 😁
Mrs. FB got her last paycheck last week (teacher) and won’t get paid again until she finds a job in the UK.
Just because we’re on holidays doesn’t mean we aren’t tracking our expenses too. And would you believe that travelling around SE Asia has, in fact, cost us roughly the same as living back home for the last 3 weeks 😲
And we have been living our best life too, even doing a few expensive things (night safari in Singapore, river tour etc). I met a dude who was from Amsterdam (a student) and he had been living on this tropical island in Malaysia for the last month without dipping into his savings at all! He works at a local coffee house as a barista and gets a free bed plus a bit of money which he can stretch to live on! He only works like 5 hours a day too.
No changes in the properties this month.
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.
We have a new addition to the portfolio this month…
Australian Foundation Investment Company (ticker AFI) has joined the fold. It’s a LIC that forms part of our strategy 3.
It was trading at a discount so we pulled the trigger. I have to say though, I have been thinking more and more about Labor’s franking credit refund plan as of late and it’s hard to not factor that into the equation when we are buying LICs.
Also, the FI Explorer wrote an extremely well written and researched article about A Skeptical View of Listed Investment Company Investing which I encourage anyone who is considering investing in LICs to read. It’s important to hear both sides of the story and have a well-balanced view on an investment before you put down your hard earnt dollars.
I’m not going to refute the article in this post (I pretty much agree with everything that was written) but will say for anyone wondering, my view is and has always been as part of strategy 3, I’m willing to accept a lower return and diversification in exchange for a more dividend focussed portfolio.
LICs have a ‘focus’ on dividends which I like. I don’t feel easy that there is a human making the investment decisions which is why I split my management risk over two LICs and only buy when on discount. I have also modified my strategy to ensure that I’m never weighted too heavily in LICs with a good portion of the portfolio being in ETFs (currently a 17% to 83% split).
At the end of the day, no one knows if LICs will outperform ETFs or the other way around. I dabble in both and think they are both suited for anyone looking to reach FIRE in Australia.
One thing I think we can all agree on though is the quality of content within the Australian FIRE scene continues to reach new highs. FI Explorer’s article, whether you agree with it or not, was one of the most thoroughly researched with sources to back up his claims articles I’ve read! This only strengthens the movement and welcomes healthy discussion.