Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

A relatively quiet month this update.

The federal election has finished and I’m in the middle of a dedicated post about what the outcome means for our journey and to share a few more in-depth thoughts and opinions on how our strategy has changed from not only the result but also, more importantly, the potential changes that were being talked about.

Work has been ramping up lately and I can distinctly remember thinking last Thursday in the office as the team and I were diligently working away at 8:30 pm…

“Damn… I’m definitely not at the council anymore”


But for real, the timelines for consultants are brutal. We have a deliverable due next week and it’s crazy the hours we’re putting in. It 100% helps that’s I’m getting paid more than double what I was back home but for some of the junior analysts, that’s a tough pill to swallow!

The other thing is that I know this isn’t going to be my life for the next 10-20 years. The projects are really interesting and it’s kinda cool working on different problems each contract.

We hit up Frankfurt in Germany for May to see my cousin who has moved there with his partner. This trip was predominantly to see my cuz who I haven’t caught up with in over 6 years! He’s from Canada and our parents are first cousins so I’m not sure exactly what that makes us (4th cousins?).

He actually came to Australia in 2009 to meet all his Aussie relatives (me included) and we’re around the same age so we had a lot in common. Would you believe that he arrived in Victoria on Black Saturday of all days! I remember meeting him for the first time and having to explain that these bush fires were the worst I’ve ever seen and this was not the norm.

I went to see him and his family in 2013 in Toronto and I made a promise that I’d be back at some point. We have actually decided to spend Christmas this year with that side of the family in Toronto and hopefully, we can have a white Christmas once in our lives. That would be pretty sweet.

There’s something really special about catching up with family you’ve never met before. It was my favourite part of my US/Canada trip back in 2013 and I’m really looking forward to it again at the end of this year.

Here are some shots of Frankfurt.

I can’t remember what this was called but it’s a traditional dish of some sort. There is a whole block of cheese under the pink stuff (I had no idea what I was eating half the time).

And ya just can’t go past some German beer 😋

Germany gets the 👍

The other news from May is that it was my birthday!

I have officially entered my 30’s 👴

You know how you always read about insanely young successful people who are millionaires before they turned 30? I had secretly hoped that I would join this elite group when I was still in high school. I had a lot of ambition and drive and thought I could climb the corporate ladder and be a ‘young gun’ property millionaire before the big three zero.

But priorities change right?

As silly as it sounds, I almost pity senior managers/directors and CEOs now when I once envied what they had and the power they wielded. I look at things completely different these days and instead of envy, I just think about how stressful and time poor these people must be. I couldn’t think of anything worse than running on the corporate treadmill for how long it must have taken them to reach the position they’re in now.

There are exceptions to the rule of course and I’m sure there’s some CEO out there running their own startup or something and loving life. But odds are if you showed me a ‘normal’ week in the life of a CEO I’d imagine it’s not something I’d aspire to.

Mrs. FB still has a really good chance to reach the exclusive millionaire before 30 club though. She turns 28 in December and depending on how these next few years pan out, it’s definitely possible.

Who really cares though, it’s just a number.

I honestly couldn’t be any more happy than where I’m at right now at 30!

It’s really easy to be lost in what you don’t have in a world of Social Media where all these influencers are just uploading all the good stuff and none of the bad, but man… when I sit back and think about the life we’re living I really have nothing to complain about.

I think it’s really important to have goals and it would have been cool to join one of my biggest FIRE inspirations, MMM, and reached 🔥 by 30 but as the old saying goes…

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

And we’re loving the stars right now 😁

Net Worth Update

Not much to say for this month. We’re slightly down after booking some flights for our Summer trip coming up in July.

Super was down a bit with our shares basically staying the same.


No changes in the properties this month.

Property 1 was sold in August 2018


Various data sources (RP data, 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 made $15 bucks this month lol.

After what started out as a really good month has turned mostly red as we finished off May. This was largely due to Australian shares bouncing back from ‘priced in’ changes that were potentially going to happen at the election. I’m only guessing here, but because the other party got in, we seen those prices swing the other way and a lot of Aussie ETFs made some serious gains in May.

So whilst our Aussie shares had a great run, our international took a major hit especially from the states.

Speaking of Aussie shares…

It’s officially been over 1 year since the release of BetaShares A200.

I thought it’d be interesting to see how it went over the last 12 months and compare it to my other Aussie ETF index, Vanguards VAS.

Here were the results

I made a quick dummy portfolio (in Sharesight of course) of $100,000 in each A200 and VAS in May 2018 to see what the differences were like over the 12 months.

I’d imagine to see an almost identical return between the two funds as historically speaking, the different between ASX200 vs ASX300 has been around 10 basis points.

What’s interesting to note is the significant difference in capital gains vs dividends between the two. This was fully expected because A200 is a new fund won’t have similar dividends until it reaches a mature size in a few years. If you’re in the accumulation phase, as in you’re not yet retired and are still adding to your snowball., I think the A200 makes for a more efficient investment vs VAS because it has not yet started to generate a lot of dividends. This will change over the next few years though but right now, especially the situation we’re in (earning income in another country), this makes for a far superior tax efficient vehicle vs VAS and all of our other LICs. We’re in the middle of deciding to change our tax residency to the UK but basically if/when we do, it would mean that all dividends are taxed at the higher bracket. The ability to distribute income via the trust helps this situation but I’m aware that most people don’t have that luxury.

I’m actually surprised to see such a difference in returns in just the first year, to be honest. A200 is half the cost of VAS in terms of management fees but the 7 basis points would need a few decades of compounding to really make a difference between the two. The return difference was definitely made up by the top 200 out performing the top 300.

Will this happen in the future? I’ve got no idea.

Nevertheless, without a crystal ball, I’ll always choose the cheaper option.




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