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 🔥

I finally managed to get the 2022 FIRE survey published the other week.

2022 FIRE Survey dashboard

I would like to get other communities involved in this next time. I only advertised the survey on my channels and Facebook group and even though I was happy with the number of submissions, I still feel like it can improve.

I liked the granularity of this year’s dataset but I need to strike a fine balance between asking a lot of questions and making the survey easy to complete. I’m thinking of removing a bunch of questions next year so it’s quicker to finish.

If anyone completed the survey last year and has feedback, please let me know in the comment section 🙂

In other news, my brother-in-law was telling me about these non-alcoholic (NA) beers I needed to try late last year.

My favourite non-alcoholic beer

See, I’ve never been a massive drinker but I will indulge in a couple of cold ones a few times a week (does that make me a big drinker 🤔?).

It sometimes feels illegal to barbeque on a hot day without a stubbie in your hand. But during a heat wave late last year (yes, we do get them in Victoria) I found myself drinking 3-5 beers every day for a week straight!

That may be a lot for some, and not a lot for others. Regardless, it crossed my mind that all these beers would add up eventually and I should probably cut back a bit.

I then stumbled across a podcast by Andrew Huberman who is a neuroscientist at the Stanford School of Medicine.

It was titled: What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain and Health.

This podcast was a big eye-opener for me. I’m sure most people know alcohol is bad for you, but listening to Andrew break down how regular alcohol consumption basically destroys the brain was scary. The really surprising part was just how little you need to be drinking to become affected. I always thought it was only those who were getting wasted regularly, but apparently not!

I finished that podcast and thought about those beers my brother-in-law was praising as the only decent-tasting NA.

I went down to Dan Murphies later that day and picked up a 4-pack. I haven’t had a light/mid/full-strength beer since Christmas!

I even went to a stag party two weeks ago and wondered how long I could last before I was bullied into full-strength beers. The weird thing is that moment never came and most people didn’t care/notice I wasn’t drinking full-strength cans.

I’m sure it had something to do with the age group (there’s more social pressure as a young fella to get wasted with the boys) but I’m more convinced that simply holding a can that looks like a craft beer has a hypnotizing effect of being part of the gang.

I’ve been in social situations where I couldn’t drink (designated driver for example) and for some reason, it’s so much weirder to be around people drinking when you don’t have anything to hold as opposed to drinking a NA beer. Even a can of soft drink doesn’t quite have the same effect.

I didn’t feel outcasted drinking my NA as much as I thought I would.

Social drinking is an enormous part of Australian culture. As I said earlier, I’m not a big drinker and I take my health and fitness very seriously. But I love catching up with my mates at the pub and this inevitably leads to alcohol consumption. I’d tried to go to the pub and drink lemon lime and bitters but it almost always ended up with me being roasted 😂.

I have never had a great-tasting NA beer before trying Heaps Normal. And I’ve recently discovered 4 Pines which is fantastic too.

I’m now drinking the same amount as before, but with fewer hangovers. And I also get to have a few after BJJ training to help me hydrate!

I’m not ruling out alcohol forever (there’s actually a tiny amount in these NA beers anyway), but I’m going to see how long I can last before having another.

Net Worth Update

The sharemarket roared into the new year.

Big gains all round except for our cash reserves.



*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 booked a trip to Japan/South Korea in January. Flights + accom sent our spending way up!



The above graph is created by Sharesight

Gains across all holdings with the Australian market leading the pack.

No more big invoices to cash yet so we continue to keep a decent cash buffer.

We didn’t buy shares in January.


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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