Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

Podcast – Scott O’Neill – Investing in Commercial Property

Podcast – Scott O’Neill – Investing in Commercial Property



Today I’m welcoming back property investor Scott O’Neill to the podcast. Scott and his wife are self-made multi-millionaires that created $300K in passive income by 28. Since Scott was last on the show, I received a fair amount of emails asking me to get him back to give a more practical guide on investing in commercial real estate.

Some of the topics we cover in today’s episode are:

  • What is commercial real estate? (00:06:32)
  • Pros and Cons for both residential and commercial property (00:13:52)
  • Why commercial leases are so so important and very different compared to residential (00:21:58)
  • What about finding a tenant to lease your property? (00:29:02)
  • Are there strategies specific to commercial property investing? (00:41:50)
  • What to look for when doing due diligence (00:52:46)


Podcast – Jeff Speck – Walkable City

Podcast – Jeff Speck – Walkable City



Today my guest is city planner and urban designer Jeff Speck. Originally trained as an architect, Jeff is most famous within the FIRE community for his award-winning 2012 book: ‘Walkable City: How Downtown Saves America, One Step at a Time’.

It’s amazing how such a small detail like walkability can touch on so many tenants within the FIRE ethos. The economy, health benefits and sustainability are all areas that are impacted greatly by our poorly designed cities which are where the majority of humans on earth live.

Some of the topics we cover in today’s episode are:

  • How Jeff became an expert in city planning. (00:03:25)
  • What is urban design and city planning? (00:09:02)
  • City development before the great depression and world war 2 (00:13:43)
  • How do we solve this problem of a car-centric environment? (00:36:25)
  • Health benefits of a walkable city (00:41:14)
  • How we can change our roads to benefit pedestrians and reduce traffic (00:52:09)
  • Different ways to make a city more walkable (00:57:48)


Podcast – Kate Campbell – The Importance of Taking Calculated Risks

Podcast – Kate Campbell – The Importance of Taking Calculated Risks



Today I’m talking with financial educator and podcast host Kate Campbell. Kate grew up in country Victoria and joined the defence force as a teenager before changing careers to finance and investing later on. She’s probably best known in the FIRE community as a co-host for many of the very popular podcasts that Rask Australia produces.

Some of the topics we cover in today’s episode are:

  • How Kate got started in finance and investing (00:03:30)
  • The importance of taking risks and just giving it a go (00:08:52)
  • What does Kate’s portfolio look like? (00:23:12)
  • Kate’s blog and podcast (00:32:04)
  • How Kate came to work with Owen at Rask Australia (00:38:03)
  • Common roadblocks people face with their finances (00:43:22)
  • Financial hurdles women have to face (00:44:56)
  • Money and psychology (00:54:04)


OCT22 Net Worth $1,140,704 (+$45,735)

OCT22 Net Worth $1,140,704 (+$45,735)

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 🔥

Before we get into the update,

The 2022 Aussie FIRE Survey is currently open.

We had 1,298 submissions last year so that’s the target to beat 🎯.

The survey only takes about 10 minutes and I’m going to be leaving it open for the whole of November.

I headed up to Sydney in October for some sightseeing and to finally attend an in-person FIRE meetup that I’ve been trying to make happen for years.

Americans have a financial conference expo for money nerds and content creators called FinCon. I have been secretly hoping for years that someone would create a similar style event here in Australia which is pretty much what happened.

The boys at Equity Mates announced their Finfest (financial festival) a few months ago and I knew this would be a great opportunity to kill three birds with one stone.

I was originally planning to take the wife with me to Finfest but my mate Luke heard about it on one of my podcast episodes and said he was really keen to come with us. So he ended up taking my wife’s tickets since she wasn’t really keen in the first place lol.

Luke’s wife joined the crew and the four of us had an absolute blast over 4 days exploring Sydney, hanging out at Finfest, meeting everyone at the FIRE meetup and chatting with the team at Pearler HQ.

Here are some shots:

Hyde Park Sydney

Luke and I at Finfest

Sydney you are stunning!

Obligatory Opera House Shot

Luke trying his best to die near Manly Beach

My highlight was definitely meeting people at the FIRE meetup.

I love receiving emails from readers/listeners that enjoy AFB content but it’s so much better when you get to meet members of the community face-to-face.

Shout out to Derek too who helped organise the meetup 👏, although the music was really booming at the bar that I lost my voice from speaking so loudly 😅.

We ended the weekend by meeting the team from Pearler at the WeWork office. I had been banging on about this co-working space during the whole trip and I was low-key very excited to show everyone what it was all about.

Awesome co-working spaces are something I sorely miss from London and I’ve been trying to pitch the idea to Luke (who’s a builder) that we should try to do a watered-down version of WeWork in our hometown. I have no idea if it would work but I’m very confident more and more people are going to start their own little business in the coming years.

I just love the vibe at those types of places. The energy and atmosphere at co-working spaces that are mainly made up of entrepreneurs/creatives is inspiring. I found that there’s a lot of cross-pollination of ideas when you get a bunch of like-minded people in different industries in the same room.

Working from home this year has meant that socialising at work is basically non-existent for me.

Starting a co-working space would be awesome and Luke and I have already checked out a potential space in town. There’s a lot more research to be done and it’s exciting to think about the potential. I’ll be sure to keep ya’ll updated 🙂

Lastly, I’ve received some emails from my fellow Victorians asking when the Melbourne FIRE catchup is happening.

Well, it was a bit late for me to organise something and it’s surprisingly difficult to book a place without paying a fortune so I’ve decided to piggyback off an event that Rask Australia is hosting.

I was invited by Owen (founder of Rask) to speak at the event along with a whole bunch of other awesome guests.

The line-up

I’ve always been a bit hesitant doing live gigs just because of the whole anonymity thing but I think it’s time to step out into the light.

I’ve remained anonymous throughout the years partly because I didn’t want my boss to know that I’m planning to retire early. I thought it might negatively affect my career progression during my accumulation phase.

But since I’m my own boss now, it’s less of an issue 😂.

There are limited tickets but you can get $10 bucks off the price if you use the code fire on checkout (limited to the first 25 spots)*.

Tickets are available here.

There’s going to be an afterparty too but I don’t know all the details yet. I’ll be making an event about this catch-up on my Facebook page.

I’m really excited to be speaking and I hope I can meet some of you guys at the event 👊.

*I’m not receiving any kickbacks for that code/the event

Net Worth Update

A big month for our shares with Bitcoin being our only asset class that went backwards.

Sydney was relatively expensive but nothing major.

We bout $2K of Bitcoin during the drop in October.


Cash remains high and our shares are back in the 700’s

*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



The above graph is created by Sharesight

Nearly $10K worth of dividends 🤑🤑🤑.

We’re still down ~$20K overall for the year but it’s always a nice little psychological boost seeing that much money being generated from the portfolio.

We bought $13K worth of VEU in October too.


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. 


Podcast – Dave Gow – Strong Money Australia Book

Podcast – Dave Gow – Strong Money Australia Book



Today we welcome back Dave Gow who retired at the ripe old age of 28. He’s better known online as Strong Money Australia where he blogs about early retirement and how to live a happier life. It’s a really light-hearted chat today where we mainly talk about Dave’s new book which will be available on the 1st of December 2022 which is very exciting.

But we also cover a range of other topics such as:

  • Updates on early retirement (05:32)
  • Strong Money Australia book (06:53)
  • Publishing rights (12:58)
  • Audiobook difficulties (18:23)
  • Updates on the FIRE and Chill podcast comeback (34:15)
  • Elon Musk buying Twitter (43:20)


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