I’m Captain FI and I am flying my way to Financial Independence. I’m in my 20’s and currently based out of Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about Financial Independence and the freedom it provides people to pursue their dreams. Through Investing in Real Estate, Low cost total stock market index fund ETFs, old school low cost LICs, and Superannuation (the Aussie tax sheltered retirement account) I now control over a Million dollars worth of assets, with a Net Worth of $860K and a goal of achieving $1M in 2020.
Despite living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, I manage an average savings rate above 80% through practicing mindfulness, minimalism, self-sufficiency and sometimes just good old fashioned disciplined stoicism! I’ve hit my ‘lean’ FIRE number, which is the amount of assets invested to allow me to reach Financial Independence Retire and Early on a really tight budget.
I’m continuing to fly, save, invest and diversify my investments in order to increase my passive income and decrease my risk. This is so that I can more comfortably start my future family, and am on track to achieve this updated ‘work optional’ lifestyle and financial goal by age 30.
I have been able to do this through working hard, being mindful with my spending and investing smartly. This was initially borne from necessity, as I wasn’t always a pilot. I started my working career when I left home at 17 to become an Engineer, which thankfully I got a scholarship for, but I then had to cover the cost of my flight training which added up to over $300,000 over 4 years.
This is on the high side for pilot training – I hesitated a lot and it took me a while to get the confidence to take the risk and transition from my secure desk job into the flight deck. I procrastinated by undertaking a lot of flight training, getting qualifications and endorsements such as aerobatics flying, low level flying, formation and instructor training on weekends while I worked the desk job. The training was expensive and I never resorted to debt or student loans to fund it; so I lived on a shoe-string budget and found as many different ways of making money as possible to make it happen.
I really loved instructing on the weekends, and it let me gain the experience to enter my current flying role with an ATPL, and earn a little bit of beer money to offset the cost of all the training. Since my flight training expenses have dropped and my income has now increased, I haven’t allowed my lifestyle to inflate with it – instead I choose to invest the difference in my future.
Other than working full time as a pilot, some of the side hustles I have now or have had along the way include;
- An Aviation business
- Casual flying instructing
- Warbird adventure flights
- Index fund investing (Australia, US, and Total world markets)
- Property investing and real estate developments (Australia)
- Freelance design work
- Contracting on aviation project management
- Social Media Management
- Online arbitrage (eBay, FBMP) – flipping vehicles and other items
- Maintenance of a shopping centre – i.e. cleaning graffiti, rubbish, gardening and general caretaker duties
- Small ‘Cashies’ – payments for landscaping, fixing / repairing / maintaining vehicles, cleaning cars and houses, mowing lawns
- A website portfolio
- This blog; researching, learning and writing informative articles and reviewing the best deals and products for those on the journey to financial independence. I have dabbled off and on with Adsense etc for this site to make it cost neutral or slightly run at a profit, but I haven’t been able to achieve that yet.
I am also a part time student and always learning. I’ve managed to use workplace educational grants to get a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering for pennies on the dollar – Over $150,000 worth of Undergrad and Graduate scholarships at a total cost to me so far of around $28,000. I am a life long learner and after reaching my FI goals I am interested in doing a doctorate in the Space / Cyber industry. I also have a variety of other hobbies including Gardening and perma-culture, Cooking, Learning to play Guitar and learning to speak new languages.
Whilst I love flying, doing it professionally takes an extreme level of commitment; it is a constant learning environment where you grow and develop as an aviator, and it can be stressful at times. Ultimately it is a high stakes environment, especially considering you can regularly have over 100 souls on board, and are often flying in challenging conditions in all weather by day or night.
You are flying all over the world to new (and some tricky) destinations, which can be complicated by foreign Air Traffic Controllers for whom English is a second language. You also have to accept a wide variety of cargo, some of which can be dangerous and needs to be expertly managed to be transported safely.
As a pilot I am away from home a lot, and exploring the world has been fun and exciting in my 20’s. Realistically, I know sometime in my 30’s I want to have the stability to raise a family, so a focus on Financial Independence will allow me more control over my life, my choices and my working conditions.
My main goal is to cover my cost of living with passive investments. The primary objective is to grow the passive ‘Get FI Portfolio!’ of index fund ETFs and LICs, and the secondary objective is to diversify this income stream through real estate developments, rental properties, web portfolios and online businesses.
This isn’t because I want to stop flying; I will never stop flying. Fair warning, aviation is a disease and on your first flight you will be hooked you can never stop. I just want flexible work options in the future (potentially fly a reduced schedule / roster), so I can do whatever I want, whenever I want – including being the best Dad I can possibly be!
From my time in aviation, especially instructing, I learned the value of teamwork. When you can help people to get what they need, you can often work together and get what you need, too. I also want to keep myself accountable to my goals. This is why I started CaptainFI.com.
Hopefully you can use the tips and tricks here to help you on your journey to Financial Independence – even if that only means being able to save a few bucks here or there, or questioning what I have said and sparking a fire in you to delve into some deeper research. Whilst its not financial advice (which I am certainly not qualified or licensed to give), this is just the experiences of an Aussie bloke trying to make a better life through financial independence.
For more details on my journey towards FI, check out my dedicated post here: My journey towards Financial Independence.
If your worried about investing because of fear of a market crash, you need to educate yourself about how the stock market works. Peter Thornhill is someone I look up to as an investor and have learned quite a lot from – check out what he has to say in the Video Below.
Get Financial Independence!