Mar 20 Update: $819,354

How is everyone loving this volatility? Whew. Did you let out a little ‘GERONIMOOOO’ as your portfolio began to slide this month? We all knew it was coming, and what a great opportunity for those in the accumulation phase and with the ability to work. I’m seeing this for the amazing opportunity that it is – perhaps something that presents itself only a few times in a lifetime!

I have been working behind the scenes to release another episode of the CaptainFI podcast, this time teaming up with Simon and Em from Smashed Avo, to discuss millennial money, real estate investing and the impact of COVID-19 on our investments. I am blown away by the number of listeners to the poddy out there, with the total streams now in the tens of thousands! I will need to upgrade to a more expensive hosting/streaming plan soon so I might have to look at re-monetising this site to cover the expenses, although we will cross that bridge when we get there.

In terms of my personal life think I am finally past ‘step 7’ (redirected hope) of the breakup; I still look back with a bittersweet tinge, but in the end I suppose I am a better person for it. The 7 stages of Grieving a Breakup is eerily accurate here… I actually even went on a couple of really fun dates this month – and a couple of really average ones too! 🤣🙄 I forgot just how passive some women can be. That is to say, the guy is expected to think of, do, and pay for everything 😅 Luckily I am a fairly outgoing / extroverted guy anyway so it still works even when this happens – I’m happy to take someone along for the ride with me! As Mr and Mrs Aussie Firebug once said, Just pay for the bloody first date!… or you’ll be paying for it the entire relationship! 🤣

I know its been two months, but there is still a little part of me that feels guilty for putting myself out there. Is it too soon? I’m not in any rush, but it sure would be great to have someone to hand me chips during the isolation Netflix Marathons!

I have travelled to 5 countries (and over countless more) and ten cities this month, which has been fantastic. Across this great continent of ours and seemingly endless deserts (and headwinds!), across vast oceans, through the rugged Mountains of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, around Dubai’s bustling city skyline amongst sandy haze sunsets, to sipping hand-picked coconuts on isolated tropical reefs and beaches, it has been a treat. The downside of course: self isolation and COVID testing back at home! (yes the swab goes uncomfortably far into your nose and throat)

Captain FI
Crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean
Captain FI
You can literally pick coconuts off the trees and drink them, it just requires a little muscle and ‘skill’ to peel them

Home isolation was a good chance to unwind and focus on a bit of ‘me’ time. I have been studying my aircraft systems as well as general operations and aviation knowledge pretty hardcore lately as I will be looking to take on more seniority in the company very soon. I have also been getting back into my Russian language lessons, as well as playing the guitar more often, and some other ‘home’ activities like learning to bake sourdough bread!

I turned down the offer to buy a luxury Mercedes C-350 sedan (article to come soon). It was a real beauty with low kms and in great shape, however it would have required me to sacrifice $10,000 as well as ‘trading in’ my current luxury wagon. When I ran the numbers it was actually a great deal (motivated seller who lost their job), and the fuel savings even totally offset the increased self maintenance cost (higher cost parts).

Mercedes
Baller Whip! The Mercedes that was not to be…

The trade-off was a potential $1000 loss in portfolio income every year (before accounting for compounding), and I would also lose the safety of all wheel drive in wet driving conditions, the ability to tow and to easily go camping in my wagon which has much more cargo space and roof racks.

I* decided that ultimately that $10K was much much better off invested in ETFs, which is why I decided to keep my current car instead. I thought a new whip would make me look real baller when I picked up a girl for a date, but I quickly realised I would rather have the extra passive portfolio income to pay for said dates 😅

* I say I decided, however there was a great deal of me getting beaten over the head with a frying pan by some of my close friends for even suggesting buying this flashy toy.

March

I spent most of March away from home bouncing around the globe and soaking up some delicious equatorial weather. Although March is usually great in Sydney, every time I got home it seemed to always be night time and raining sideways – making for interesting approach and landing conditions (let alone the walk from the aircraft back to dispatch/office and the carpark) 🙄

CaptainFI

When I got back home, I entered self-isolation – but not before mandatory COVID-19 testing due to a slight cough. I can tell you it was not all that enjoyable, think: pipecleaner down the back of nose/throat as well as blood samples taken. Miraculously, once I entered isolation the weather has been amazingly perfect everyday, as I watch from isolation in my balcony…

Weather aside, the big expected slide in the market has come as the prices return to normal levels. Are we at the bottom of the fall? Will it have more to fall? Probably, but again – who knows? Based on capital values, the portfolio is down about $31,800 or around 3.7% which encompasses the drop in the Get FIRE’d portfolio as well as the index invested portion of my Super. All I know is I am sticking to my plan in order to take full advantage of the situation!

Saving rate

Cash flow for March was good. Although the spending was still elevated, I received a higher than normal salary due to working overseas/interstate for 3 weeks. I was then self-isolated for the last week of March which meant I couldn’t spend money anyway 🤣 The net result is a 80% savings rate, putting me back on par with my target!

Income

Two standard paychecks from my flying wage plus some nice allowances, $180 in dividends from Milton and $72 in bank interest.

No side hustle this month, as the second hand eBay/classifieds economy has really slowed down due to COVID-19 fears (which I am totally okay with – the less contact with randoms the better!).

I have also not been doing any flying instructing as it was interfering with my work schedules too much and I need my weekends to recuperate / enjoy life.

Portfolio income from the sites has stopped as I have turned adds off to improve user experience. There is still some affiliate links going in the background – nothing appreciable this month other than $9.50 saved in brokerage thanks to a SelfWealth referral from one of the viewers.

Spending

Spending is on its way back to normal ‘Pre-breakup’ levels but still higher than usual this month. March included three weeks ‘on the road’ away from home on international trips and one week of self-isolation.

I am often tempted to spend more on away trips (I mean how often do you get to go to the Maldives for work?!) which is usually okay because it is offset by the extra allowances you earn. This month though, our crew decided on a few measures such as a big grocery shop while away, which reduced the expensive meal costs.

Other than some nice food (I doubled my grocery budget this month…) which I used to make awesome meals for myself and friends, I also spent a few hundred picking up some nice gifts for people on the road. Having access to duty free certainly makes buying alcohol as gifts more affordable!

Get FIRE Portfolio

Not much to report here – full steam ahead into the recession! The Portfolio’s capital valuation is down $29,152 or around 15%, however the dividend’s continue to be solid with only a small downgrade to projected dividend payments.

I will continue to buy (dollar cost average buy using my salary, as well as lump sum invest any dividends or extra windfalls I make) into which ever ETF has dropped the most from its respective market, or the most attractive LIC (based on dividend yield and trading at a discount).

I see the Market volatility as an indicator of fear/uncertainty, however as Buffet puts it ‘the stock market is a mechanism for transferring wealth from the impatient to the patient’ and ‘be greedy when others are fearful’. I will continue my strategy with a calm nerve and will benefit from the folly of those losing their nerve.

Obviously the capital value has taken a hit, but that only matters if your ever planning to sell. I’m still planning to hold these for the long term, so that I can receive the dividend stream. I actually don’t really care about the capital value of the portfolio at all! I just want a healthy dividend yield that can support my cost of living and make me financially independent!

Investing decisions

This month during the slide I have picked up $4000 worth of Vanguard Total US market (ASX: VTS).

To be honest I wish I could have invested more, and I am hoping my motorbike sells to free up some extra cash to put into the market before it rebounds. I have also listed some of my higher value personal possessions for sale in the hopes of generating more capital to invest.

I am also frustrated a bit due to agreements with funding the property development; I need to squirrel away some more cash towards that which is limiting the amount of capital I can use to pick up the stocks on an absolute FIRE sale.

Captain FI portfolio
The Get FIRE’d! Portfolio as of the end of March

Property

Not much to report on the property front. IP1 on the East Coast continues to be built, with some small delays to the project due to slow finance and valuations from the banks (to be expected in this current climate I guess).

Another $3000 tucked away from the salary into the property fund (goes towards the construction costs such as interest on the build loan, expecting the final $50K bill in the next few months so need to be ready for that).

Retirement

Financial Independence

The retirement plan is a two stage system;

Stage one consists of drawing down the Get FIRE portfolio whilst receiving rental income from the investment properties – yes this means unfortunately selling units off to supplement the dividend income.

Stage two is when I reach preservation age and I can reach my superannuation annuity (with a fall back of means tested social security).

Stage one: Get FIRE Portfolio

This will be drawn down at a 7% rate over an estimated 25-30 years. The rental income will increase as rents gradually increase and the effect of inflation erodes the ‘value’ of the interest only loan on the property.

These numbers have taken a hit as the Capital value of the stocks have fallen with the market crash as this system is based on selling units to supplement the received dividend to fund cost of living expenses.

Its not all doom and gloom however, as dividend rates have not been cut as much as the capital price fall – the end result is a higher dividend yield from the company, meaning I may not have to sell off as many units and hence the price fall doesn’t impact me as much – its a coupled relationship. The maths here is a bit complex and for ease of visualisation, I just apply a blanket 7% draw down rate to the capital value (based on a 4% sustainable draw down using the average dividend rate and a 3% capital draw down)

  • 7% draw down over 30 years = $11,470 ($955/month), and;
  • Rental positive cash flow: $1,440 ($120/month).
  • Total: $1,075 per month: 65% of the way to Financial Independence (obviously not factoring in kids yet haha!)

Stage two: Superannuation + Social Security

Stage two begins when I hit preservation age. Due to market corrections, the lump sum payout has dropped accordingly (around 20%) however the annuity instrument continues to accrue in accordance with my seniority / salary which is reassuring (thanks unions!).

  • One time lump sum payout of $68,239 Represents an investment opportunity to earn $2,729 ($227/month) at 4% sustainably forever.
  • Superannuation annuity = $17,806 ($1,483/month), and;
  • Social Security Aged pension = $18,122 ($1510/month)
  • Total: $3,220 per month – almost double my current FI income number! (This represents an annual income of $38,640 – well below the means tested limit for social security).

Net worth

Captain FI March Net Worth – $819,354
Mar 20 CaptainFI
Captain FI Net worth Graph

Net Worth table

DateNet worthDifferenceSaving RateNotes
Jul 19 $578,900.0084%Finally began tracking 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 $24,644.8872%Share market rebound, savings rate not so good.LINK
Oct 19 $600,386.00$15,641.1284%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 $12,531.2176%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 $12,432.7976%Good savings of cash (for development) and investment, however higher spending due to Christmas period (Travel and Gifting).LINK
Jan 20 $865,212.00 $239,862.0055%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!LINK
Mar 20$819, 354.6-$31,806.95 (-3.7%)80%Another small step backwards in the NW due to the ‘market crash’. Get FIRE Portfolio of ETF/LICs down about 15% this month, however due to high savings rate and structure of my superannuation annuity (guarantee – thank you unions!) 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!
CaptainFI

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