Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early

FEB23 Net Worth $1,183,740 (-$8,938)

FEB23 Net Worth $1,183,740 (-$8,938)

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 πŸ”₯


 

I found out one of my mates was diagnosed with cancer this month.

He originally beat it two years ago, but it’s just returned during a trip with his family.

He’s married to his beautiful wife and they have a young daughter.

Fucking brutal.

“A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person has only one.”

– Unknown

Mortality is a great reminder that most of the things we worry about don’t really matter.

And conversely, the simple stuff we take for granted is really goddamn important.

I consume a lot of self-empowering content from very successful and happy people. An emphasis on gratitude always pops up somewhere in the book/podcast.

It only takes 5 minutes and is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

It’s basically a life buff that’s really easy to unlock yet so few people do it.

Kinda like a good night’s sleep. Everyone knows you should prioritise it, but somehow we end up scrolling on the couch for another 45 minutes πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ.

When I heard about my mate’s bad news I had the usual reaction of sadness and empathy for his family.

Life’s really unfair sometimes.

But I also started to think about how bloody blessed my family was. How much of my personal worries and annoyances paled in comparison to life and death.

The art of perspective and gratitude is a gateway to happiness.

What are you grateful for in your life?

Here are my top 5 in no particular order

  • Loving partner with aligned goals.
    I have the best teammate for the game of life and I’m 10 times better as a person with her than by myself
  • My health and fitness.
    Life’s easier/better/more fun when I’m in shape. I get more out of life when I’m fit and it’s a privilege to be able to move my body. Some people are born without ever getting the chance to push themselves physically.
  • My parents.
    I appreciate them more every year I grow older. They gave me a head start in life and showed me the blueprint to succeed. Something I hope to emulate when I become a dad one day.
  • Being born in Australia.
    One of the best countries on earth. More opportunities have been opened just from being born down under than I’ll ever properly appreciate.
  • Our home.
    I spend a lot of time in our home. I wake up every day with an appreciation of where we live and the lifestyle we have. Crashing on our huge couch to watch some shows on our 70-inch TV after a busy weekend never gets old. I have my own office. A veggie garden. A nice patch of lawn. Double garage. Central heating. The list goes on. This is such an enormous luxury that 90% of the world’s population will never get to enjoy.

Whenever I’m feeling down I try to concentrate on what I have rather than what I don’t. It works about 95% of the time.

Net Worth Update

Slight dip in shares with BTC and Super having small bumps.

Our cash reserves continue to take a hit as we keep booking overseas trips πŸ’Έ

We’re really embracing that ‘Die with Zero’ mentalityπŸ˜‚

 

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*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

 

Another super expensive month after we booked more activities for Japan.


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

Diversification is important!

Aussie shares have a tumble but the rest of the world was up.

We didn’t buy any shares in February.

 

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.Β 

Networth

FEB23 Net Worth $1,183,740 (-$8,938)

JAN23 Net Worth $1,192,678 (+$43,023)

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 πŸ”₯


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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ€”?).

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 πŸ˜‚.

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.

 

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*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!


 

Shares

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?
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.Β 

Networth

FEB23 Net Worth $1,183,740 (-$8,938)

DEC22 Net Worth $1,149,655 (-$21,465)

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 πŸ”₯


The Rask event at the start of December was a smashing success!

When Owen asked if I was interested in hosting a panel, I was initially a little bit hesitant.

“I’m anonymous mate, and it’s hard to keep your anonymity at a live event. Especially one that’s being live streamedπŸ˜…”

But I promised him that I’d think about it.

I’ve been blogging since 2015 and a lot has changed in my personal life. One of the main reasons I hide my identity was because I was worried that my employer would find my website and it would cost me promotions during my accumulation phase.

“Matt’s not sticking around long term, best to give the coordinator job to someone else”

Hiding my identity was crucial if I ever decided to pull the plug on this site and have it fade into obscurity.

But those aren’t relevant concerns anymore. And after having so much fun at the Sydney FIRE meetup, I made a promise to myself that I would be more involved in the real-world FIRE community and not just online ones.

I contacted Owen again and said… “I’m in”.

This ultimately entailed hosting a panel and being part of another one.

You can check out my segments on YouTube (I’m on from 3:09:20 until the end).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Owen was kind enough to lend me a party shirt which was the theme for the night πŸ˜‚

There’s nothing better than meeting people in real life and hanging out at events like this one. I met heaps of people at this event and we had a little FIRE meet-up afterwards too. I’ll be doing a lot more of these events in the future so I hope to meet some of you guys there and have a chat in real life πŸ™‚


 

The silly season was in full effect in December which meant plenty of barbecues, beer and backyard cricket.

One area where I felt a bit left out was end-of-year work breakups.

Everyone I knew was heading out to social events for work in December. I was invited along to a few but it just isn’t the same.

2022 was a strange year for me.

On one hand, it was awesome because of the following:

  • Travelled heaps
  • Only worked 2-3 days a week on something I like doing
  • Had copious amounts of free time to spend on whatever
  • Was able to do a lot of home renovations with my old man. This improves our lives + is quality time with family, win-win
  • Spent time developing hobbies and working on my health/fitness

This sounds perfect, right?

Well, in typical first-world problem fashion… I felt a little bit… dissatisfied or something.

Maybe dissatisfied isn’t the right word. I’m not sure what exactly was wrong but I know it has something to do with a lack of growth.

I’ve been a ‘man with a plan‘ for as long as I can remember.

I think I’m hard-wired to have long-term goals or something and I seem to get lost when I’m not working towards them.

I’ve been marching towards the goal of FIRE for the last 10 years and even though we haven’t hit our FI number, we’re living the life I envisioned which was always the goal. I know the portfolio will eventually grow to our number one day.

I feel less and less motivated by FIRE each day. We have set ourselves up financially speaking and have been enjoying the fruits of our labour for the last 2-3 years travelling around the world, getting married, buying a home etc. etc.

This has been lovely.

But I can’t help but shake the thought… what’s next?

I’m still young.

What do I want to achieve?

Why do I want to achieve anything in the first place?

Can’t I just be happy with what I’ve currently got? I love my life, but I feel like I can do more.

Does anyone else have these issues!? Am I crazy?


 

I came to the realisation last year that 99% of people I like spending time with will not stop working in their 30s, 40s, or 50s even if they were financially free. Mrs Firebug has voiced that she will still teach a few days a week post-FI too.

This is a tricky conundrum. I have all this free time now, but I can’t spend it with friends and family because they’re at work!

I’m starting to miss that feeling of having a dedicated team to work with and all the other benefits that come with a great culture.

That was one of my favourite parts about the fast-paced work environment in London. The work was interesting, challenging at times and fostered a motivational atmosphere.

My line of work doesn’t have anything like that where I’m from.

I don’t want my old job back, because that’s not what I’m looking for. But I think I’m going to really ramp things up in my business with the hope of building out a small team in the future.

If I can’t find a local company that has what I’m after, I’m going to try to make it myself!

New long-term goal activated!

I’ve also been tossing up the idea of starting a co-working space in my hometown.

The co-working space goal isn’t concrete yet because there are already a few spaces popping up locally but they’re not quite what I’m after. If I find a good one though, I’m more than happy to just go there.

So here’s the plan for the next decade or so:

  • Build a small team of 4-7 people. Create an epic working environment and throw kick-ass Christmas breakups
  • Start a co-working space in my hometown

Net Worth Update

Not much to report here.

Pretty much everything went down (shares having the biggest drop).

I cashed in a fairly large invoice at the end of December which helped a little.

 

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*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 really cheap month for us. We bought most of the presents throughout the year and prepaid for our new years eve celebrations.


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

A lot of red!

$6.5K worth of dividends is nice though.

We didn’t buy shares in December because I’ve finished all of my consulting work for the time being. I’m now switching my focus to building and selling this digital product that I built. I need to win a few more multi-year contracts if I have any hope of employing people and fulfilling my dream of having a small company one day.

This means we need more dry powder for that sleep-at-night factor.

 

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.Β 

Networth

FEB23 Net Worth $1,183,740 (-$8,938)

NOV22 Net Worth $1,171,120 (+$30,416)

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 πŸ”₯


Speaking as someone who works in data and analytics professionally, you wouldn’t believe how many companies are trying to sprint before they crawl.

The data science hierarchy looks something like this.

Data Science hierarchy

 

A lot of people are trying to jump to the top of the pyramid (artificial intelligence/machine learning) without establishing a solid base.

Half the time these companies don’t even have enough data to warrant paying expensive Data Scientists.

I’ve worked on some incredibly expensive proof of concept projects that had hoped to train models to better predict future revenue streams.

The issue? The company couldn’t even produce the necessary datasets that were needed to train the models. They couldn’t extract their own data into a meaningful format (the Collect part of the pyramid)

They were trying to bake a complicated cake without having the ingredients first.

On the contrary, Spotify’s ‘2022 Wrapped’ feature is a perfect example of how to visualise data in a meaningful and useful way.

They’re not using any fancy pants AI/ML algorithms or training models or any of that higher-level stuff.

They’re just showing you your data. But their presentation of the data is what sets it apart.

This was the first year they releases a wrapped version for podcast hosts. It was really cool seeing some stats for the Aussie Firebug podcast.

 

 

It was a lot of fun seeing some of the posts you guys tagged me in on social media too. It means a lot to me when I see the AFB pod has made their top 5 podcasts for the year πŸ™‚

 

P.S.

I’m so excited to meet some of you guys at the Rask event this Friday.

The event was a total sell-out and there will be more details on the afterparty on my Facebook events page here.

Net Worth Update

November was pretty much a carbon copy of October. Shares and Super were up, Bitcoin went backwards and our cash holdings went down after booking another holiday.

The big story in November for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, in general, was the downfall of a Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange called FTX.

FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF)

Before I get into my thoughts I want to make it crystal clear that I have part of my wealth tied up in Bitcoin.

This inevitably means my views are so what biased. It’s hard for me to objectively write about this story without it sounding like I’m trying to defend something I’m invested in πŸ˜…… but here goes nothing.

 

FTX was at one point in time, the third-biggest cryptocurrency exchange (by volume) in the world. We’re not talking about small potatoes here.

SMB (pictured above) and Zixiao Wang founded FTX in May 2019. On the 11th of November 2022, FTX filed for bankruptcy with reports stating $1.7 billion of customer funds had vanished.

😬

The story is still unfolding but obviously, some shady shit went down and a bunch of people lost their money.

So many people on Twitter, Facebook (in my own group) and Reddit have been parading this story around like it’s some sort of ‘I told you so’ moment.

This attitude represents a fundamental misunderstanding of why Bitcoin was invented in the first place and how third-party intermediaries must be regulated.

It’s actually a bit similar to people trying to tell me investing in shares is like playing the casino every time there’s a market crash. Most of us in the FIRE community know that isn’t true, but it’s unbelievable how widespread that rhetoric is within the general public that doesn’t know how it works.

A quick history lesson on Bitcoin.

  • 2008
    • An anonymous person/group called Satoshi Nakamoto designed the original bitcoin protocol in 2008 and launched the network in 2009. The whitepaper’s abstract read:“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
  • 2009
    • The genesis block was mined by Satoshi Nakamoto at the start of 2009. A secret message was instilled within the Block’s raw data:“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
    • On October 11, 2009, Martti Malmi helped create the first exchange (Bitcoin for fiat) of Bitcoin, called ‘New Liberty Standard’.
  • 2010
    • In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using Bitcoin occurred when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John’s pizzas for β‚Ώ10,000 ($253.3M AUD).
  • 2011
    • In February 2011 bitcoin reaches parity with the US dollar. β‚Ώ1 = $1 USD
    • The first major users of bitcoin were black markets, such as Silk Road.
  • 2013
    • Bitcoin’s momentum builds and suddenly rises from $125 USD in September to over $1,100 USD at the end of November.
    • On December 18, 2013, a drunk bitcoin trader created a meme when he misspelled hold as “HODL”.
  • 2014
    • In July 2014, the exchange platform Mt. Gox announced that 850,000 Bitcoins (valued at $460,000,000 USD at the time) had disappeared from the portfolio of its clients. According to investigations, the theft occurred because the hackers managed to gain access to the credentials of an official auditor who worked for the exchange.
  • 2015-2017
    • The block-size war
  • 2017 – present
    • Multiple exchanges have been hacked and hundreds of millions have been stolen. The latest and most infamous being FTX
    • Bitcoin’s value has fluctuated dramatically
    • The network continues to run

There are other important things that have happened but that’s all the major ones I can think of.

What happened with FTX and all the other exchanges is not a fault of the technology.

Ironically, the entire value proposition of Bitcoin was a P2P transfer of value without needing a third party because they can’t be trusted… and then everyone started storing their coins with third parties.

Bitcoin was created to give financial sovereignty to the individual. You could send and receive your money without having to get permission from a financial institution.

Better still, you could protect your money from mistakes made by bureaucrats and central bankers.

The Australian dollar is a safe and secure currency so this concept is probably foreign to the majority of readers. But imagine if you lived in Venezuela, Zimbabwe or Turkey. Some countries have frozen their citizen’s accounts so they can’t take out their own money. And then they have the audacity to say it’s for their own good!

Let me make something crystal clear. I would never recommend anyone to put their hard-earned money into such a new technology like Bitcoin. Hell, I’m not even that confident myself that Bitcoin will be around in 10. It’s just too damn risky and so many things could go wrong.

However, what happened to FTX is in no way shape or form, a fault of the technology (which has a number of other shortcomings). It was greedy human nature/corruption that caused the collapse. I can’t speak for the creator, but I reckon there’s a good chance that greed and corruption played a big role in the motivation to create money that’s free from centralised human influence. It’s a lot harder to collude when the majority is in control.

 

This brings me to another interesting discussion point.

I had a fun back-and-forth with The Motley Fool’s Scott Phillips (a former podcast guest) on Twitter the other day.

Here was the Tweet thread.

If you’ve followed this blog long enough you probably know that I’m a big advocate for civil liberties and freedom for the individual. I don’t believe the government should restrict my investment options when I’m using my own money. I believe in the freedom of choice even if that choice carries risks.

I think it’s reasonable to allow individuals to make their own decision even if it’s potentially self-harming.

It’s a different story when it comes to affecting third parties though and that’s the reason why I’m in favour of regulating exchanges. I personally don’t think exchanges should be allowed to hold customer coins in a custodian manner. This goes against everything Bitcoin stands for in the first place.

Not your keys, not your Bitcoin!

Back to the point. Whenever the topic of rules and regulations in Super is brought up, eventually, all roads lead back to the same argument.

“Their risky investing does affect me because if they lose their Super the taxpayer will have to fit the bill”.

And this is where it ends for me. Because if that’s the way you think, then literally every single risky activity could potentially be affecting the taxpayer.

Do you smoke?Β 

That’s selfish because you could get sick and then medicare has to fit the bill. We should ban that.

Do you race motocross?Β 

That’s selfish because you’re increasing the likelihood of hurting yourself and having a tax-funded ambulance come and get you. Please consider others before you go out dirt jumping. We should ban that.

Do you eat junk food?

That’s selfish because the consumption of junk food increases your likelihood of medical morbidities which might put further strain on the tax-funded system. We should ban that.

 

Ok. Maybe I’m being a bit pretentious.

And those examples aren’t exact apples-to-apples comparisons but it’s really hard to think of anything that doesn’t have third parties affects.

Like seriously. I could draw a very long bow with just about anything to tie it back to third parties.

We put higher taxes on certain goods and services to discourage people from participating (such as smoking and alcohol). But we don’t outright ban them.

Where do you draw the line?

 

Ultimately, I’d never encourage or suggest to anyone that they should start buying Bitcoin in their own SMSF, but that doesn’t mean I’d support the government outlawing it.

Education is key. Forcing people never works as well IMO and we should be allowed to try and fail in our endeavours.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the topic. Should certain risky assets/investments/speculations (whatever you want to call them) be banned from Super?

.

*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


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

A big month for our shares.

We didn’t purchase any shares in November but we did buy $2K worth of Bitcoin.

 

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.Β 

Networth

FEB23 Net Worth $1,183,740 (-$8,938)

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 πŸ”₯


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 πŸ‘, although the music was really booming at the bar that I lost my voice from speaking so loudly πŸ˜….

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‚.

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 πŸ‘Š.

*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


 

Shares

The above graph is created by Sharesight

Nearly $10K worth of dividends πŸ€‘πŸ€‘πŸ€‘.

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?
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.Β 

Networth

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