The theme of these past few months has been adjusting to the new life in the slow lane, and I must say, I am very much enjoying this change of pace. It has been a challenge adjusting at times, and my mind does race with thoughts and plans and ideas for the future, but overall I feel more and more in control of my life and in tune with my body, my mind, my spirituality, my family and my life. I have seen unprecedented growth in my portfolio and felt my anxiety about financial security melting away as I work through these concepts with a therapist. Read on for all the details.
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Monthly Question from the Captain;
Do you include an emerging market index fund ETF in your investment portfolio? Why or Why not?
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?
I am now fully set up in Adelaide. I have been ‘off’ work now for about two months or so, which has been such a weird change for me. I definitely feel a loss of identity and prestige as a Pilot, and have been grieving for that and my past life, but spending time with my gorgeous nieces and nephews MORE than makes up for it. These past months have been great, I have really done nothing much at all – chilled out, spending time with family and friends. It has been a well needed rest.
My Mums chemo has been going well, her tumours are responding to the treatment and her blood markers are looking super good all things considered. My sister finally had her miracle baby (after years and years of IVF), and my Dad, whilst now severely disabled, has stabilised and I was even able to have a beer with him at the hospital. He is a 6 hour drive away, and refuses to move to Adelaide (where pretty much ALL of his family is) because he believes he will recover and go back to the farm (which is not going to happen). Part of me was very angry at him for that, but after rationalising this with the counsellor, I realise it is what is giving him hope to live, and that we have different lives and I should have no expectations.
During school holidays I had my nephew over pretty much most of the time, and now we are settling into a routine of me having him on the weekends as well as time with his sister as well. I bought a second hand Nintendo and a bunch of games for $500 which he loves playing, and its total nostalgia to be playing Super Mario on the big screen!
I also splurged on a whizz-bang you-beaut coffee machine (second hand, naturally!) when I discovered I could get amazing Decaffeinated beans at the Adelaide Central Markets (just a short walk from my apartment) as well as a few thousand dollars on stocking my balcony ‘nursery’ (as I am calling it!) in preparation to start my orchard in the Adelaide Hills. These premium cultivars I will be able to take cuttings from to graft onto hearty root stock to then build my permaculture-agro-food-forest.
I’ve also been prioritising my physical and mental health, and while I still have private health through work had a full comprehensive medical and finally fessed up to the Doc about all my problems, worries, aches and pains. You tend to collect these as a pilot, especially the back and neck issues. Adding the whole ‘Loss of identity’, terminally ill family members, and throw in some trauma for good measure and its been a bit overwhelming with a few nasty side effects like insomnia and IBS. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant and some sleeping tablets which I reluctantly started taking, the intent is really just a bit of a crutch over the next 3-6 months as I transition to the new life.
I had possibly the most embarrassing night of my life recently. Due to the side effect of some of this medication I have been a bit clumsy, and on this particular night I was unfortunately doing a bowel prep for a colonoscopy (just to make sure there wasn’t anything nasty causing this IBS). Well if you’ve ever had Picolax or movicol before you will know what I am talking about, I was stuck on the dunny for ages and as it turns out my leg fell asleep during one of these mega ‘poopathons’. When I stood up, my leg immediately collapsed under me, I fell forward smacking my nose into the side of bathroom door giving myself a blood nose and simultaneously projectile shitting all over myself and the floor tiles. Oh what a fall from Grace from the suave, shaven, cleanly pressed uniform wearing pilot in an airport lounge.
Anyway, I got over it. Potentially more surgery on the cards in the future for my Back and Neck, which I am a bit anxious about but I should be able to get covered through private health from work before I am fully separated. It’s been a bit of a shock really and a lot of these niggling aches and pains I have just kind of put off and not worried about since I didn’t want to lose my flying medical, and now getting them investigated is making me reconsider the whole public vs private health insurance thing.
I have been totally slack with the money side of the house, and been haemorrhaging money. Whilst the spending is offset by the (strangely) increased income, I want to be saving and investing as much of this as possible towards funding the purchase of a farm in the Adelaide hills. But I have been deliberately relaxing the purse strings under direction of my therapist, which has included gourmet shopping trips to the Adelaide Central Markets, as well as going out for meals a few times per week.
So there I was, finally all set up with a really awesome ‘Bachelor pad’ apartment in the city ready to get out and about and I was dating for all of about 2 weeks (OMG had some shockers!!) before something really exciting happened. It’s still early days and I don’t want to rush anything, but I have met a really lovely girl and it appears the feeling is quite mutual. We have spent a lot of time together and have very similar goals and desires for the future. After a month we have each ‘met the family’ and everything is going well. She even has family that are farmers in the Adelaide Hills, which is an added bonus 😉
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 – Holy Moly wasn’t July a spendy month. A lot of those home expenses were buying plants, and the grocery budget was blown on re-stocking my liquor cabinet after settling into my new apartment in Adelaide. I haven’t even bothered to try and calculate my savings rate this month because tbh, now that I am FI I’m just a bit more blaze about it all.
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. I’m also posting some unique insights about FI over in the WeMoney Community feature, which is kind of like Instagram but for personal finance!
Captain FI Investments
My investments are split between seven 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)
- Real Estate
- Peer to Peer lending
- Website Portfolio (Online businesses)
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’ve also signed a deal with Pearler where I have been paid for my time working with them in Stock, which should be sorted out by next month. This is considered an ‘Angel Investment’ in the company, to the maximum offering of $10,000. I haven’t included this in this months NW update, but when its all completed and I have the paperwork I will do so.
Also, sweet little side note – Pearler simplified their brokerage structure this month! It is now a flat $9.50 for all brokerage regardless of size, apart of course from a number of ETFs which are completely brokerage free if held for over a year (the ETF provider pays Pearler for the cost of the brokerage essentially in exchange for advertising or being mentioned). I’ll update the review article on Pearler shortly with the good news.
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, Stockspot is in the lead by a whisker, producing a yield of $341 versus Six parks $318. Although that $23 difference could be very easily spent at my nearby favourite pub!
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!
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 seemed to go back up and got some more media attention. I completely forgot all about this, missed the headlines and forgot to buy crypto this month. The next purchase will be some more BTC to keep the ratio at 2:1. I am also exploring the De-Fi movement a bit more and some of the options for crypto staking in order to receive a yield, as well as some of the other alt coins available. But for now, without having done a lot of that research, I’ll be sticking with what I feel are the two ‘blue chip’ cryptocurrencies which is Bitcoin and Ethereum.
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
I have been playing with 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, and gives me some more background knowledge for when people ask me about how to get started investing using microinvesting platforms.
Its not a huge amount of money, but has grown to $1157 which I think shows the power of small amounts adding up over time.
I just decided to go all in on Tesla through Stake, and after the drops in May it has recovered back to a reasonable level where I am about 4% up since the beginning. I got some affiliate commissions from people signing up through my review article which resulted in me getting some shares of GoPro stock. Rather than keep the GoPro stock, I just sold it and rolled it into Tesla.
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 any round up and the occasional affiliate click sign up bonus usually more than covers any fees.
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 17% since I bought it.
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.
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. I will likely be adding some of my emergency fund to this just to get a bit better interest rate than I would be getting in the banks, but not all of it.
Earthworks have finally commenced on the Investment Property build which is really exciting. The COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney and its spread through NSW and QLD has threatened to stall the project but for now construction is being allowed, and the construction loan is starting to be drawn down.
More rubbish has been dumped on our block, so the first step was clearing that as well as the weeds/grass, and I’m looking forward to getting some photos of the block soon to help visualise the process. I’ll post up progress shots when I can.
With the regional ‘Zoom boom’ we have seen the final completion realised value estimations increasing, which is offsetting the increased interest costs due to delayed construction, and the higher cost of materials. I guess we will find out how it all ends up when the project is completed.
Online Business (websites)
The website portfolio reached an amazing milestone in July which was finally over my $10K target, however of course revenue does not equal profit. After paying my team, for my subscriptions and tools, and setting aside money for GST (BAS) and Tax (27.5%), it looks like I’m ‘clearing’ about half of that. This is where the book keeper and accountant are worth their weight in gold.
What is super exciting, is that traffic on two of the sites has really surged upward giving a rise in both AdSense and affiliate earnings, which means August is on track to actually double July’s earnings at over $20,000! The irony is I have done basically NOTHING for the websites for six weeks, and they continue to rank and grow, and are now making more money than I ever earned as a pilot.
I couldn’t be more thankful to Matt and Liz for their ongoing patience and mentoring in this field and I’m pretty excited to take part in their three day conference and sign up for the champions program when the intake opens later this year.
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
Cash / emergency fund
Upped it to $10k, and actually have $15K sitting around in cash at the moment.
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. 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), 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 will be keeping a bit more cash on hand. I will also be getting a Cocker soon, so will be responsible for unexpected vet bills and the like.
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.|