I feel that despite being ‘Retired’, I have been more busy than ever. Busy living, healing, building a healthy life and prioritising relationships. It has been a really emotionally challenging month as I have been pushing my and boundaries with emotional healing and development with my therapist and with the help of some great books gifted to me by loved ones. Other than reading a bunch of awesome books (‘How to Do the Work’ by Dr Nicole LePerra is the current one) and some high rise balcony gardening, I really haven’t done anything relating to investing or websites – and the financial snowball continues to compound and grow – nearly hitting the $2M Assets milestone with over $70K growth in assets in just one month! Read on for all the details.
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Monthly Question from the Captain;
Do you include your leave balances in your emergency fund?
CaptainFI Total Net Worth
Expressed below in dollar amounts using the WeMoney from Net Worth tracker function. Of course the difference between the Net Worth and the total Assets is the money I owe to the bank against the investment property.
CaptainFI Financial progression
CaptainFI personal update: Early Retirement?
As I mentioned above, I weirdly feel busier than ever despite formally being off work for about 3 months now. I still look up every time I see an aircraft, and I watch aircraft on approach to Adelaide International Airport from my high rise apartment balcony and windows – which is pretty cool. I still see all the aviation memes pop up on socials which I chuckle at and enjoy, but I sure am glad to be out of that shit fight. Aviation at the moment is a very difficult industry to work in, and I tip my hat to all of the aviators working and flying to help keep the economy and essential services afloat (it is seriously difficult shit, especially when many have to isolate in hotels between trips, and aren’t allowed to go home to their families between flights).
Instead of being busy working and flying, building websites, writing content and investing, I have been working on myself. Self care, self healing, and introspection. Its been confronting at times, but I am glad I am doing the work. Working towards overcoming childhood traumas, workplace issues and injuries. I am starting to gradually wind down off the painkillers and through a combination of medication, vagal nerve activation and other ‘alternative approaches’ have been able to help manage my stress, anxiety and pain to manageable levels. Sleeping is still difficult at the moment but improving, and I have a plan to get off the anti depressants by the end of the year.
I’ve recovered from my rather embarrassing haemorrhoidectomy ordeal, and am looking forward to getting my back and neck sorted (getting the whole neck, back and crack sorted! ha) – next on the list is a radioisotope bone scan and some steroid injections into the spine – thoracic and cervical. Sounds pretty gnarly but the Doctor and Surgeon assure me its fairly standard stuff for aviators. I am organising a physio rehab plan and everything looks promising. I spoke with my GP who suggested talking to my Super provider about the workplace injury and rehab stuff, currently its being all sorted through private health but looks like I might actually be able to get this paid for through my super scheme after I am fully separated from work which is actually pretty good and something I hadn’t put too much thought into.
I will probably be getting private health anyway for tax reasons, since there is only ‘so much’ business income I can leave as cash in the company accounts before it drives me nuts and I have to pay it out to myself (or family members). I dislike holding cash, and prefer to be fully invested at all times.
I am starting to look at how I can invest some of this business income through the company to diversify and further ‘passiveify’ the income streams, but it is opening a whole can of worms and I am delegating this to my financial advisor, accountant, lawyer and book keeper to figure out for me. I’m not the expert, just a guy making it up as he goes along!
I realised that a bit ironically, of my fervour towards ‘FIRE’ and early retirement (and subsequently all the extra work I took on) was to escape a bit of a toxic and overwhelmingly demanding work environment that was taking its toll on my physical and mental health, which was really difficult to see at the time. But then again that’s the whole issue with being Gaslit and bullied isn’t it – you don’t realise its happening and think that you are the problem and that you aren’t ‘good enough’.
Anyway, I am out of that environment now, and couldn’t be happier. I am so thankful for the amazing and beautiful FIRE community who have helped me in my journey. I have been spending a lot of time with my family, and with my new partner, who is very lovely. I don’t know how much detail I should go into here and now, but I truly feel that I am in an adult relationship for the first time in my life. I am not a ‘child’, nor is my partner a ‘child’ and I am not ‘Parenting’ my partner (which is how some previous relationships have felt due to differences in emotional and financial maturity). I feel like we are coming into this relationship as equals and as people who can both teach each other and mutually grow. Anyway, for now lets just call her Miss FI.
Miss FI is great. Other than being one of the most kindest and compassionate people I have met (and being a total babe), she has her shit sorted out, a professional career, a PPOR, an amazing dog (who we now share an increasingly close bond together with) and a large, welcoming family who farm in the Adelaide Hills. Whilst she is a bit younger than me which means in terms of financial stuff still does have a HECS and big mortgage and all that, but we are are definitely on the same wavelength and trajectory when it comes to lifestyle, financial independence, maturity and family desires. I am literally still pinching myself that I got to meet her and really excited for what the future holds. I know it is still early days and we are still learning each others subtle nuances and idiosyncrasies, but some would say its a “perfect match” 😉🔥
I have started scaling back on the whole ‘buying stuff’ thing (apart from plants of course, which is still full steam ahead) and finally begun purging old things from the apartment, including old furniture and clothes I no longer use. It feels great to declutter, and potentially make the next move a whole lot easier 😎
For more information on how I am planning for Early Retirement you can read my dedicated transition to retirement financial planning process article.
Captain FI Monthly Spending
Tracking my spending lately using the WeMoney app – I am a little embarrassed by literally just how much money I am spending. Its such a weird feeling ‘not working’ and having large amounts of semi-passive income come in, so I have been working on limiting self beliefs and letting myself enjoy life more – which does include a bit extra spending. I have enjoyed being able to help family and friends where I can even if that just means grabbing groceries for them or some little luxuries or gifts here or there. And of course I want to be transparent about the whole process so here it is below. Again, I am too scared to calculate a savings rate 😂
I have done an in depth review of WeMoney and how it works so be sure to check that out if you want to learn more about how you can improve your finances for free by using WeMoney, and I have also done a Podcast interview with the CEO of WeMoney, Dan Jovevski .
I’m also posting some unique insights about my Financial Independenec journey and money lessons I have learned over in the WeMoney Community feature, which is kind of like Instagram but for personal finance! If you download the free WeMoney app it is just in the bottom right hand corner (Community) section, and you’ll see a bunch of other like minded individuals in there too sharing money tips to help you smash your income, saving and investing goals.
Captain FI Investments
My investments are split between eight investment ‘areas’. I decided to start reporting on the progression and performance of each of my investments separately so we can find the best way to Financial Independence once and for all.
- ETF ‘FIRE’ Portfolio (Global, US and AUS Index fund ETFs)
- Hands-free Automated Investing (Roboadvisors)
- Microinvesting (including Stock picking)
- Real Estate
- Peer to Peer lending
- Website Portfolio (Online businesses)
- Angel Investing.
Note I am also considering getting some Gold and Silver ETFs – however this is mainly out of a desire for comparison as I have an inner bias that equities will out perform., and I also got some Pearler stock which should show up next month.
ETF ‘FIRE’ Portfolio
My Financial Independence ETF Portfolio is a simple, low-fee passive portfolio which is split between three index tracking Exchanged Traded Index Funds (ETFs):
- I now have this portfolio fully automated through Pearler which has been a huge gamechanger for me and a massive weight off my mind
- I track my share portfolio using Sharesight, which means my accounting is also completely hands free using the Pearler API plugin.
- This means I pretty much only need to log in to confirm all the trades and dividends over the year when needed for my tax return, however I also choose to log in each month to produce these monthly updates for you guys.
- I have had questions about the tax efficiency of VTS and VEU due to the double tax or withholding tax drag because they are US domiciled funds. This is something I will be looking into. My limited understanding at the moment is that this tax drag creates an ‘effective MER’ of closer to 0.5% which might mean there may be a lower cost alternative that is better than these ETFs – something I will be investigating.
Portfolio vs Target – Pearler chart
I am still heavy on Australian shares through the A200 fund because I was chasing the franked dividend yields for a baseline level of income stability for Financial Independence. I am now working to balance this home bias concentration risk by an automated purchasing of VTS and VEU through Pearler.
I have also made a $10,000 ‘Angel Investment’ into Pearler. This is a private equity investment into the actual brokerage tech company itself.
Hands-free Automated Investing Portfolio
The Hands-free Automated Investing Portfolio is a combination of the two largest Online investment advisors in Australia – Stockspot and SixPark. I think they are both pretty damn good, and to stay accountable I wanted to hedge my bets with an investment in both. This way I can analyse the performance of each against one another – comparing the results of asset allocation, and Chris Brycki’s choice to diversify with gold, against Pat Garratts’ choice to diversify with property and infrastructure.
This month, Sixpark is in the lead producing a ~7% return versus Stockspot ~5% return, so I think its still too early to call and have invested another $5,000 into each of them.
I’m pretty excited to say I was able to record a pod episode with Chris from Stockspot recently and I am working to get it edited and released for you all ASAP. I have also been chatting to Pat from SixPark who turns out is a really good bloke and very switched on financially, and have invited him to come onto the Poddy later this year too to share his story.
After a successful trial with the Stockspot roboadvisor platform where they allocated me the Topaz portfolio (which is their most aggressive portfolio), I have increased the balance to $10K and am letting it compound away. After realising some great gains in the website portfolio, I am ready to make another $5K investment into Stockspot (and will do the same into SixPark to keep it even for the comparison) – however I need to sort out the tax owed on the website income and set that aside first.
If you want to learn more about Stockspot, check out the dedicated review I did on Stockspot – which I will be keeping updated with all the lessons from my personal use trial.
The Six Park online investment is going well too, slightly out performing Stockspot this month. I will add another $5K to this portfolio shortly, too.
Crypto seems to be back in favour in the media since Bitcoin recovered and hit around (AUD) $72K recently. I did my DCA and purchased a few hundred bucks worth of ETH to add to my growing crypto stash. It still feels like a pretty risky and speculative asset, but heck I think the upside potential (asymmetric risk level) is well worth a punt.
I did a podcast episode on Bitcoin with Stephan Livera if you are interested to learn more about it, and also did an interview with Andrew Fenton from the CoinTelegraph where we talked a lot about crypto and its application on the Financial Independence Journey
I have been playing with four of the biggest microinvesting platforms mainly just as research for the blog, because I want to see how they all stack up against each other, and against the other portfolio’s in terms of % gains.
Its not strictly speaking a true comparison though because they don’t even hold the same investments at all. Really it is just a bit of fun stuffing around with them, including a bit of speculative stock picking, and really gives me some more background knowledge and familiarity for my reviews and when people ask me about how to get started investing using microinvesting platforms.
Its not a huge amount of money, but has grown to $1310 which I think shows the power of small amounts adding up over time.
I will soon be adding Commsec pocket to the mix.
I just decided to go all in on Tesla (Elon Musk’s electric car company) through Stake. Its interesting as this is on the US stock market, so the currency fluctuation affects the value of the investment in Australian dollars, so its kind of a fun way to learn about currency risk and hedging. Some strong performance recently making it dominate the microinvesting portfolio
Raiz aggressive portfolio – good split of ETFs, and a cheap option for small-ish balances at only $3.50 per month. To be honest the fee’s are more than my investment return, but the round ups from spending and the occasional affiliate click sign up bonus usually more than covers any fees, making it a weird pseudo-investment-pseudo-savings kind of account.
I didn’t do any trading on Superhero this month, just left my HACK shares to do their thing. I might have a look at some ethical ETFs on superhero over the next few months, but the HACK ETF has gone up by 24% since I bought it. I’ll most likely add a few more speculative picks into my Superhero trading account soon just to get a bit more familiar with the platform and will most likely be looking at buying Silver, Gold and lithium ETFs, (both “physical” and mining companies). Again, this is more for research purposes than any huge ‘genuine’ investment.
Spaceship Origin portfolio: Top 100 Global Blue chip ETF. This seems to be going alright but If I am honest, for a speculative punt I should have probably gone for the Universe portfolio which seems to be having insanely high gains – I am hoping the origin portfolio might be more stable though. Latest screenshot below.
Plenti P2P lending
Plenti Peer to Peer lending account. I have it all set to auto reinvest and over time it should slowly grow, but it is good to know that I can either switch the auto invest off and have that drop into my account within a month, or I can just forfeit monthly interest and do an early withdrawal of whatever is on loan in case I ever need to quickly access the cash. This forms part of my emergency fund (the rest is in the bank).
Lets crack open the champagne because the slab is finally fucking down! WOO-HOO! Accompanied of course, for a bill for $55,000 from the builder. Ouch! OF course this was planned for, and so we have split this by drawing out the construction loan with the bank, as well as the bank requiring us to actually pay some in cash out of the offset on the property (land) mortgage account.
It has taken a long time to get to this point, and boy have we made some embarrassing mistakes; including but not limited to…
- Thinking we could save money by NOT using an architect on a house and land package we bought from a developer WITHOUT DA from local council
- Falling for the oldest trick in the book re: portable fencing hire (the fencing hire company stole the fences back and then tried to charge us for having them stolen)
- Endless delays by not having DA and needing to relodge with council three times meant we were one of the last blocks to be built on, and hence became the neighbourhood ‘free rubbish dumping ground’ which we then had to pay to get the rubbish removed and pay tip fees for (A big fuck you to any dodgy builders reading this who have ever engaged in this practice)
I’m just super glad its getting done, and even during the COVID lockdown this is considered an essential activity to building has been allowed to continue. Hopefully, we may even be ready for tenants by the end of the year. I am looking forward to the next stage which is getting the frame up!
I have not changed any of the valuations, still going off the banks final completed estimation of $560K, and with the mortgage the way it is leaves me with about $190K of equity in the build. This will come in handy after completion as I will be able to access some of this equity towards buying the dream farm in the Adelaide Hills.
Online Business (websites)
My websites continued to amaze me with an incredible result, revenue of $27K in July and then $14K in August. It fluctuates depending on traffic, affiliate sales and downloads but holy shit, this thing is insane.
I couldn’t be more thankful to Matt and Liz for their ongoing patience and mentoring in this field and I was pretty excited to take part in their three day conference recently. It is looking like I will be signing up for the champions program which is about $25K for the one year mentoring package, but I am excited about it because it will directly increase my websites profits and its also a business expense meaning I can then offset $25K worth of income, making it a tax free way to upskill!
I have done a pretty comprehensive review of the eBusiness institute as well as interviewed Matt and Liz Raad about this on the podcast about online business and websites if you want to learn more about this lucrative side hustle. They provide a free introductory course for CaptainFI readers.
I have also recently spoken to Liz Raad again on the pod, and will be releasing this as soon as the editing is finished which will hopefully be later this month, but as I said I have a lot on my plate at the moment. I need to stop making excuses and just get on with it though!
Currently I have made an ‘Angel Investment’ in the Financial Independence brokerage company Pearler. This was the maximum allowable private investment of $10,000 (AUD) made in July 2021 with the number of ‘private equity’ shares based on their June company valuation.
This helps to fund Pearler’s capital investment pool and lets them grow and build their business – which is great for me since I have nearly $400K invested through them and I trust them to automate my investing for me.
As Pearler grows and builds its revenue, it will get an increasingly higher company valuation and my private equity will grow accordingly (i.e. it is not a free $10,000 loan, it is a $10,000 investment where I am buying a slice of the company).
Whilst this doesn’t align with my general investing philosophy of index investing and diversification, I feel I have a unique insight into Pearlers organisational and company structure and build a great rapport and trust with their executives, and I believe in this company and its genuine intentions to help people reach financial independence.
Also realise that while $10,000 does sound like a lot of money, but this is a small overall percentage of my total investments so my personal risk is actually quite low, and I would not encourage anyone to go out and make $10,000 Angel investments into tech startups. It is generally quite high risk (high risk = high reward). Make sure you don’t compare your financial ‘race’ with others (just think of it like a time trial where you are only competing with yourself)
Cash / emergency fund
Totally backed out of my plans to hold more cash, and I’m sitting back down around a few thousand bucks.
Whilst I know this goes against a lot of what I did during my accumulation phase, I have always encouraged people to have a healthy emergency fund of somewhere between 3-6 months expenses. I just never personally took this advice and instead took the gamble because I wanted to be fully invested, and because I had a stable, reliable paycheck, good insurance (through my super), private health, a very low cost of living and no dependents.
Now that I am transitioning to Early Retirement, I won’t have that stable income stream and all the associated benefits, insurance, private health etc so I know I should be keeping a bit more cash on hand, and I will also be getting a Cocker soon, so will be responsible for unexpected vet bills and the like. However the opportunity cost just hurts my soul and honestly I think I am fine with the risk of having to sell some shares in a market downturn and take a bit of a hit. I am also getting a decent amount of income from the business so that does relax me a bit.
Captain FI net worth progression
The net worth progression graph is rather crudely constructed in Excel, but still demonstrates the ‘somewhat exponential’ journey over the past 13 years.
|Date||Net worth||Difference||Saving Rate||Notes|
|Jan 09||$5,000.00||?||Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the time||LINK|
|Jan 10||$24,000||+$19,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 11||$40,000||+$16,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 12||$92,000||+$50,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 13||$130,000.00||+$38,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 14||$161,000.00||+$31,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 15||$200,000.00||+$39,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 16||$281,000.00||+$81,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 17||$340,000.00||+$59,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 18||$482,000.00||+$142,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jan 19||$542,000.00||+$60,000||?||Estimate NW||LINK|
|Jul 19||$578,900.00||+$36,900||84%||Finally began tracking NW this like a proper adult.|||
|Aug 19||$560,100.00||-$18,800.00 (-3.2%)||78%||Share market slight correction, Ok savings.|||
|Sep 19||$584,744.88||$24,644.88||72%||Share market rebound, savings rate not so good.||LINK|
|Oct 19||$600,386.00||$15,641.12||84%||Good saving this month. Normal salary, plus allowances, dividends from index funds, tax refund, eBay selling and was working abroad in asia where things are cheap.||LINK|
|Nov 19||$612,917.21||$12,531.21||76%||Falling short of my savings goal of 80%. Mostly domestic legs this month with higher costs. Also invested in hydroponics.||LINK|
|Dec 19||$625,350.00||$12,432.79||76%||Good savings of cash (for development) and investment, however higher spending due to Christmas period (Travel and Gifting).||LINK|
|Jan 20||$865,212.00||$239,862.00||55%||Super settlement was a HUGE boost to NW. $9K growth from stock market. Expensive month lots with lots of unexpected bills – weddings, travel, Booking flights, fines etc.||LINK|
|Feb 20||$851,802.0||-$16,592 (-1.9%)||52%||Large increase in spending on myself this month, still managed to tuck away $5K to put into shares and property. Corona Virus market scare resulted in a correction and gave NW a small negative trend. Time in the market not Timing the market! Became Single again.||LINK|
|Mar 20||$819, 354.6||-$31,806.95 (-3.7%)||80%||Another small step backwards in the NW due to the ‘corona crash’ in full swing. FIRE Portfolio of ETF/LICs down about 15% this month, however due to high savings rate and structure of my superannuation annuity the NW is only down 3.7%. Savings rate good at 80%, higher than usual income (with some slightly higher spending, too). Picking up shares on discount – this is the best outcome for someone in the accumulation phase with good income!||LINK|
|Apr 20||$847,023||+$27,668||85%||$11,000 in rebound of stock market capital prices alone (up 6%), plus first quarter dividends paid (heavily reduced due to banks withholding dividends). Great savings rate due to COVID-19 lock-down = no spend. Increased entrepreneurial efforts and selling down of physical possessions provided side hustle income. Two standard paychecks from flying activity; domestic day trips only so no allowances. All cash unfortunately had to go into the property development due to contract timing, I am chomping at the bit to buy some more index funds before they go back up in price too much – hence why I am selling most of my toys!||LINK|
|May 20||$857,859||+$10,836||92%||Some Great sales as I let go of my Super Sport Motorcycle, Some gym gear, expensive flying equipment and a few other various bits and bobs and invested this money. Flying still reduced, but increasing from April. The share market grew as I continued to make my fortnightly investments. I also wrote down the ‘value’ of some of my possessions (liabilities) such as my car, tools and furniture by around $10K to align them to market price (“tell him hes dreaming…!”).||LINK|
|June 20||$858,650||+$791||90%||Small Net Worth gain as I continue to declutter and simplify my life, despite being off work due to a family emergency. Share market not doing much.||LINK|
|July 20||$888,218||+$29,568||68%||Majority gain due to share market going back up, low spending due to being on the family farm and at home because of lock down.||LINK|
|Aug 20||$1,029,293||+$141,075||74%||Became a millionaire. Achieved this massive milestone I set out for myself in Dec 2019. Included unrealised gains in my property development as well as website business. Good savings rate due to not much spending, invested in Aus and total world shares. Investing in my web business. Starting to shift focus away from $$$ and more into looking after my mental health.||LINK|
|Sep 20||S1,045,486||+$16,193||60%||Officially took time off work for the rest of the year to be close and look after family during major operations. Continued to sell down physical possessions and work on digital business while at home. NW gain mainly due to valuation of websites.||LINK|
|Oct 20||$1,064,399||+$18,913||80%||Base income (retainer) and leave loading, dividend and websites provided income, as well as raiding my P2P lending capital. Significant bill for property due to design not meeting standards which effectively lowers my equity position, as well as fence being stolen.||LINK|
|Nov 20||$1,143,433||+$80,394||82%||Big gains came from share market growth (influencing both the Financial Independence share portfolio and Invested superannuation), Business gains (due to increased earnings) and a $30K boost to my annuity thanks to me logging in and checking the fine-print on the accumulation stats. I only invested around $7K. Insane that in one month, I accumulated nearly more net worth than I did in four years from 2009-2012||LINK|
|Dec 20||$1,152,920||+ $9,487.32||84%|
Share market slight drop, Earnings from Business, Contract work, Selling possessions. No share market investments this month (oops! I forgot and money was tight). Invested a lot into the website business this month (way more than planned) and it is still running at a decent loss (plans to turn it cash flow positive in 3 months).
|Jan 21||$1,165,678||+$12,757||79%||Great returns from the share market. Earnings from Business, Dividends, Flying wage, flipping items on consignment. Regular share contribution, investing in micro investing platforms, P2P lending, Investment property and big reinvestment into the business (still running at a loss)||LINK|
|Feb 21||$1,135,272||-$30,406||76%||Significant write down on property development due to council DA rejection and redesign requiring more money and creating less equity. Offset by small increase to Business value and investments. Simplified my investments and switched over to Pearler.||LINK|
|Mar 21||$1,155,594||+$20,322||71%||Continued investment into the portfolio as well as growth of investments and business. Gave my notice at work and looking for part time job at home for ‘Barista FI’||LINK|
|Apr 21||$1,242,220||+$86,727||74%||Property development back on track||LINK|
|May 21||$1,379,469||+$137,248||72%||Massive gains in the website portfolio due to revaluation based on recent business income, big growth of superannuation due to annuity increasing (salary increment) and shares generally went up. Crypto went down by about 40% or so.||LINK|
|June 21||$1,469,989||+$89,757||41%||Quit flying role and moved to Adelaide. Great month for investments, websites producing serious income so accordingly they are valued higher. Spent a lot on furnishing the new apartment and on enjoying some more luxuries. Seeing a therapist to help deal with anxiety from leaving work.||LINK|
|July 21||$1,543,959||+$74,732||???||Set myself up in Adelaide. Did basically nothing for the whole month except spent time with family, relax, sleep and go to doctors appointments. Massive boost to website portfolio AdSense and affiliate incomes, as well as general share market performance.|
|Aug 21||$1,624,116||+$70,156||???||Relaxed again, focused on mental and physical health, and spending time with family and my partner. Big increases to spending (too afraid to calculate a ‘savings rate’) but also big increases to NW through website portfolio income growth. Finally got the slab poured on the investment property (foundation).|