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 to be able to retire 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’m going to be in Sydney this Saturday night for the FIRE meetup.
If you’re interested and want to hang out, the event is on Facebook here.
We headed to New Zealand for the school holidays in September.
This was our 3rd overseas trip for the year which is out of the ordinary for us. We’re planning on travelling throughout our early retirement but this year has been supercharged.
I attribute the excessive travel to a book I read early this year called ‘Die With Zero’ by Bill Perkins.
To cut a long story short, Mrs FB and I are trying to do as much travelling as we possibly can before we have kids.
After I read ‘Die With Zero’ I kept thinking…
We’re young, fit, healthy, have no dependents and have enough money to last 30+ years if we really wanted to. Why don’t we pull back on the accumulation phase a tad and start to harvest our hard work before we get tied up with raising a kid?
The logic makes sense to me. There are a bunch of experiences that lose value as you get older or are not available to you anymore. And conversely, there are some experiences that can be enjoyed much more when you’re older and can appreciate them.
Backpacking through Europe, whitewater rafting and hiking the Inca trail all take a certain level of fitness and stamina to do. These experiences would best be enjoyed when you’re young.
Other experiences like seeing the Pyramids of Giza, riding a gondola in Italy and seeing the northern lights are less demanding and will probably be appreciated much more as you age.
Writing down everything you want to experience in life and putting them into decade buckets helps to highlight the point I’m trying to make.
Here’s an example plan
So basically what I’m getting at is you’re going to keep seeing our travel pics roughly every 3 months until we have kids 😅😂.
But back to NZ…
I had actually been to New Zealand before and we really wanted to do Japan instead but the travel restrictions are still a bit weird. I think you can technically travel there but everything you do has to be via a tour guide. So we decided it would just be easier to jump across the pond and check out the land of the Haka, sheep and hobbits 🙂
Here are some pics during our travels.
We started in the North island and made our way down to Queenstown where we spent most of our time. Milford Sound is amazing and the drive to Wānaka was breathtaking.
I have to say, Queenstown is seriously one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been to in my life. It’s not hyperbole to say it has 360 degrees of incredible scenery surrounding the town. The combination of the three snow mountains and lake is simply phenomenal.
I love what they’ve done from a town-planning perspective too. A lot of walkways and an entire area near the pier that’s open to pedestrians and not cars 👏.
And how could I talk about Queenstown without mentioning their arguably most famous product… the FERG BURGER!
I’ll also give a massive shoutout to the Ferg Pie too. It would have to be up there with the best bloody pie I’ve ever eaten. Simple incredible.
I also caught up with Ruth from the Happy Saver whilst in Queenstown.
It was so cool meeting her and her husband Johnny in real life. We met for a morning coffee which lasted 3 hours!
Ruth and Johnny are some of the best examples of what FIRE and early retirement is all about. They’re the embodiment of being smart with your money and maximising happiness. We hit it off so much that Mrs FB and I actually swung by their home a few days later after coming back from Milford Sound.
It’s always fun checking out another podcaster’s set-up and home office.
Oh and lastly, for those wondering… yes, I did do a Bungy jump. It was 10 years ago when I first went, but I still did it!
Net Worth Update
Pretty much all our assets got smashed except for Bitcoin which was up a bit.
The share market had big losses and combining that with our trip to NZ meant that the old Net Worth took a decent dive this month (our second biggest drop ever).
We bought $1K of Bitcoin at the start of September and we plan to do another $5K into ETFs for October once one of my freelancing invoices comes in.
A few people have been commenting on our unusually high cash buffer lately.
There are a few reasons for this:
- We want to buy a new car in the next 12 months and I leaning more and more towards an EV that doubles as a home battery solution. That might cost $60K+ all up.
- Mrs FB isn’t sure what she’s going to do next year in terms of work. Maybe she won’t work at all… this means our cash flow will be impacted which has resulted in us having a higher cash buffer. It helps our sleep at night factor
- My freelance business is sporadic. I love being a freelancer because flexibility and creative freedom are awesome! But if you need a steady paycheck, freelancing ain’t it. This again means that we just feel more comfortable having a higher cash balance than usual.
I’m finding it hard to allow myself to start harvesting money from the portfolio. I think this is one of the biggest physiological advantages of receiving dividends as opposed to selling shares for income. Receiving dividends just feels better because you don’t have to sell anything. Even if there’s not a mathematical difference between the two, I’m more likely to receive dividends and start to use them to pay for expenses vs selling down my portfolio for some reason.
*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 lot of red this month.
I’m feeling a bit guilty for not taking this opportunity to pour in as much money as we can. The thing is though, I’m not all as fussed about it as I once was. We’re living a great life at the moment and I know we will get to full fledge FIRE one day anyway.
I keep seeing the market drop and have thoughts about picking up some more lucrative contracting work to get more cash to invest. But this of course comes at a cost of time, energy and stress. I’m pretty happy with where we are sitting at the moment so I’ve just been plugging away with my freelance business and enjoying life travelling around.
It’s so hard to shift out of accumulator mode after being in it for most of your life. There reaches a point where building wealth takes a back seat to other endeavours. Even though we’re not full FI yet, I feel like we’ve reached that point now.
Question: Why do we have A200 & VAS?
Answer: 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.