‘This is your Captain Speaking’ is a series from the Financial Independence Podcast where CaptainFI provides updates on his journey to FI
This podcast is an update about my FIRE Journey – one year after leaving my flying job, essentially one year of early retirement, which has also been a very busy year. There has been some traveling, the loss of my dear mum, some family drama, working on some personal projects including the website business, lots of reading and prioritising my own health, as well as setting goals for the short term and the long term.
Podcast – This is your Captain Speaking #4 – One Year of Early Retirement
Captain Fi: [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard the Financial Independence Podcast.
Gday and welcome to another episode of Captain Fire, the Financial Independence Podcast, where I open the cockpit to some of the best and brightest in personal finance, as well as those who have reached or are on their way to financial independence. Before we get started, remember nothing said here is financial advice and you should always do your own independent research before making any financial choices.
With that being said, I hope you enjoy the episode and learn something new.[00:01:00]
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Good day and welcome back [00:02:00] to another episode of This Is Your Captain Speaking a monologue where I just chat about financial independence.
Today I’m gonna be chatting about my one year of early retirement, or probably better to be called semi-retirement because I have been working on projects but essentially one year since I hang up my wings and am no longer flying to earn a wage. So for anyone who’s new to the podcast, my journey to fire has taken place over 14 years in the workforce.
I started my career with a engineering scholarship and sight hustled my little butt off to become a qualified as a pilot, and finally got my dream job flying as a transport pilot. The catalyst for leaving. Full-time work in the end was a combination of things. I had some family health issues, unfortunately, both parents suffering from terminal cancer.
But I also had some other personal reasons going on as well. There was the black summer [00:03:00] bushfires, which came through Sydney. And cause probably led to some tensions leading to the breakup of a long-term relationship that I was in. And I was experiencing a bit of ongoing disharmony at work and I just didn’t find myself motivated or I didn’t really want to be there anymore.
So yeah, 12 months ago on Star Wars Day, actually , may the fourth I pulled the pin and left. I still had obviously some leave entitlements and things like that, which I was able to cash in. So I had a , pretty good cash buffer. But also, And this is something I’ll get into later in the episode.
I’ve actually been able to generate income from my website side hustles. So it hasn’t actually been the giant leap of faith that I thought it was going to be. Some really interesting themes that came up after a year of early retirement, or should say semi-retirement, was actually a huge sense of a loss of identity.
I actually missed working and [00:04:00] missed my job even though. At times I couldn’t wait to leave my job. I actually found myself really missing the job, missing the aircraft missing the lifestyle and missing some of my coworkers as well because we did have a lot of great times. It was a hard job, but there was some awesome stuff.
One of the things that I got into it was obviously a bit of reading and I got given an awesome book by my mum, which was called Entangled life by Merlin, Shere, and Entangled Life is all about fungi and how fungi work and what they do and how they interact with us and other plants. And it was awesome and it led me down this rabbit hole of learning about psilocybin and other psychedelics.
And I had been going through therapy which has been really helpful. Seeing and talking to a counselor. And I actually had my first experience with psilocybin and had a pretty [00:05:00] remarkable. Experience had the full-on ego dissolution and some pretty hectic some people would say them hallucinations.
I would probably more talk to ’em being visualizations or almost lucid dreams. And yeah, it really shifted my perspective. That’s not to say that I’m now perfect and I don’t have an ego. I certainly do. I think I’m probably just a little bit more aware of my ego and, and how It contributes to maybe my mindset and some of my actions.
A really positive thing that came out of it though was I began to decouple this idea that the net wealth was your net worth. So that was a really important mindset shift and a new perspective for me. Unfortunately my dog passed away. L losing her to cancer, it was bloody hard.
, it really just started as a sore leg she began limping it got worse and worse. And after going to the vet we tried some painkillers just continued to deteriorate. So, When she had the imaging [00:06:00] scans yeah, it showed an osteosarcoma, which had unfortunately you already spread into her organs.
And. Yeah, like the vet said, you’d be lucky to get a few weeks and pretty much two weeks from that day , she told me she was ready and she passed peacefully at home. It was really upsetting. We’d grown quite close over the year the 12 months that we’d spent together. And so I ended up burying her right at the top of a hill place that she, she loved to go exploring.
So yep, we go and visit her from time to time when we go hiking. I also, basically became a full-time unpaid carer for my mum. Her health unfortunately continued to deteriorate and she did actually pass away at the end of last year, which was just a completely life shattering event.
It was something that, we knew. Was coming. But you kid yourself into thinking that this next treatment’s going to work. This trial is going to work. And yeah, when she did go she held on, we had an early Christmas um, we had lots of friends and [00:07:00] close friends and family come over and yeah, we had a wonderful day and yeah.
And after that was all done. That was when She yeah, she just, she let go. After her death. There was some family dramas, which was quite horrible. The timing was really poor. I ended up as I had moved in with her to be a carer. My siblings actually. Got a lawyer and evicted me from the house.
Not that I particularly wanted to be there, but it, it is very difficult to. To get a rental during a, an accommodation crisis. So this was really hard. And I spoke a bit about this in my blog post update where I’d mentioned we had actually applied for hundreds of properties, I think it was like 200 and something applications that we had we’d sent.
So we ended up just actually going overseas for a few months and visiting my partner’s family which was. Bloody awesome. Once we got home, yep. The struggle continued. We did eventually find a place and I’m recording [00:08:00] from the new office now. Once we settled into the rental and all was said and done, The biggest thing that I guess I learned was you do need to have some kind of project or structuring of your time because you do now have all the time in the world and it’s very easily, very easy to get sucked into this black hole of, Vegging out TV not really doing much, and that sort of depression, clouds can form.
So it’s really important to stay motivated and passionate on some kind of project and having some structure to your day and to your time. So on the traveling aspect my paranoid, we did lots of shorter trips, interstate trips road trips and flying and hiring cars, camper vans, that kind of stuff.
And we had a great time. As I mentioned earlier, we went overseas for a couple of months to Southeast Asia, so we. Based ourselves outta the Philippines with her family. And yeah, we did some cool stuff. We did a cruise. We visited like Thailand Malaysia. Singapore. Yeah, it was really fun.
[00:09:00] As my mentor man says to me, you really gotta get out of your comfort zone and taste from the smallest board of life, which I chuckled out when he first said, but no, it does make sense. So we’ve been trying to, do new experiences, bit of slow travel and it’s confronting because after, traveling professionally as a pilot for, so many years, I had this attitude that yes I’ve been around the world, I’ve seen there and done it, got the t-shirt, but really.
There’s actually a whole world out there. Even if you think you’ve seen it all before and everyone keeps saying your younger years your prime years to spend. While you still have the health and for those of us who’ve reached financial independence we are really quite blessed in that we have time money and health.
So it would be crazy not to get out there and use it. Whilst, we do want the comfort of having money in investments. You can obviously take it too far but frugality when it becomes an obsession and, this is something that I’ve been working on that it’s [00:10:00] okay to spend, and this has been a regular theme when I chat to the counselor is, it’s okay to spend money.
It’s okay to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So having said that, though, we have done a lot of traveling and we spend a lot of time away from home. And I think I must be just a bit of a homebody after all the sort of traveling I did for work. And just when we go flying, sitting in the back of a plane or standing queuing in line, it just seems to really.
Piss me off. I can’t explain it. It just feels like I’m wasting time even though you are out getting out there and seeing the world. So I think I prefer the concept of slow travel. So I guess my nightmare is, every week flying back to Australia and then flying to a new travel destination.
What I would probably prefer to do is, fly to some hub. Overseas and then base ourselves out of that, or, tr slow travel, jump on a train, jump on a cruise ship hire a car, that kind of stuff, and just slowly meander our way along. [00:11:00] And I love doing that back home in Australia just because it’s, everything is quite safe in Australia.
You have all of your comforts, you understand how everything works, and there’s actually a lot of really cool stuff to see. In Australia. There’s still so much that I haven’t seen and so much that I want to show with my partner. So yeah, so that’s our take on traveling. We definitely don’t want to be permanently traveling and, maybe we’re planning on being away maybe three months of the year
or similar. The other big thing we noticed post fire is that you your timelines change. Everything seems to slow down. There’s no need to rush about anymore, although I still do catch myself. Rushing. And one of the things that’s helped is just doing a short mindfulness exercise.
So I do the breathing exercise couple of deep breaths, hold and slow exhales. Have a bit of a mantra. I’ll I’ll post a link to that and. That kind of helps regulate my nervous system and just bring myself back down to a sort [00:12:00] of a calm state. Also cutting out caffeine has been super helpful, not just to not feeling sort of jittery and reducing the caffeine anxiety.
But it’s also been, I think it’s been really helpful to my gut health. I certainly notice that I’m having less issues like in the tummy department than when I was eating a lot of processed foods and drinking a lot of coffee to keep going. In terms of the finances everything’s groovy.
Like the investments keep growing. Websites are making income. The investment property is growing in value and cash flowing. So yeah, everything is just going as planned. All better. I’ve consolidated and simplified my investments. I ended up selling off a bunch of stuff that I had, like managed funds, robo investments metals, commodities and I even sold a couple of websites.
I’ve been upping the amount of cash that I hold because as I said, my partner and I are planning to purchase our our property. So always wanted this hobby farm. [00:13:00] And so we’re looking up a bit more. Seriously at what we actually need and where to purchase. As I mentioned in my update, we are not a hundred percent set on the Adelaide Hills anymore.
Really we were basing our plan there based off family. But as I mentioned, there’s been some sort of family dramas and we sort of don’t feel the need to be. Located in Adelaide anymore. Despite it being a wonderful place to live and we might very well end up settling in the hills still.
But we are broadening our search to have a look at areas around Brisbane as well, which is quite nice. And we’ve got lots of friends and family over there as well. The takeaway there with the finance is that, yep, the fire plan is solid. But you should consider working on some form of scalable side hustle even while you’re working as a bit of a backup plan to your conventional portfolio.
You have a stable income and you’ve got plenty of time. So if you are working on some kind of scalable side hustle, like a [00:14:00] website business as it grows and scales up and begins to produce income you could potentially look to gradually reduce your day job. Until that sort of side hustle grows into, a full-time business of self-employment.
So with the website stuff, they realistically are gonna take a few years to grow, adding good quality content indexing growing your brand and the C results. Since the startup costs and the buying costs and the holding costs are so low, I don’t think there’s literally any reason not to start one or buy one.
And just slowly add to it, let it grow organically over time. And I’ll talk a little bit about the transition, but for me When I stopped flying, I began this role as a carer for my mom. So that was the project that I slotted myself into. And it was almost like I felt uncomfortable with the silence, or I felt uncomfortable with there being a void of me not doing something, not having a task.
Keeping myself busy like that. I just Jumped at the opportunity. But if you are going to, be working like a [00:15:00] full on job and you all of a sudden like fire and you quit the job and you’re not doing anything it’s a big shock. And I got that after my mum passed away.
Uh, I mean we, we went traveling, but it was once. There was a couple of weeks there where I I was just in a hole. I didn’t really do anything. We, I found it very hard to continue put myself out there with the rental applications. And then when we came home from traveling and we settled and found a place, once my partner started her new role and the house was empty during the day.
Yeah, there, there’s. the silence can be scary. So I was very fortunate, that I had Some passion projects like Captain Fire and like my aviation site and a big stack of books to keep myself occupied. It can be a bit of a shock that transition, that, that lack of structure.
So having a more of a gradual reduction of your workload. I think that’s the takeaway here. Have a test of retirement, do some sabbaticals, take a couple of, three or six month blocks off and [00:16:00] travel and practice doing what you plan to do for your retirement. And then also consider maybe doing a transition to retirement.
So going from five days a week or, six days a week maybe dropping that down to 4, 3, 2 days a week, part-time. I think that would’ve probably been a lot more helpful for my transition I guess the other thing is just, it’s the motivation, especially the financial motivation.
So ever since I can remember, I’ve been motivated by money. In fact that’s been like, A theme of my childhood that I’ve been working on overcoming these money traumas and this scarcity mindset is I’ve just been so driven by money or, not having enough money to feel safe that I’ve been very motivated by money and using money to try and regain control of my life and to try and build stability.
And after you reach financial independence, you. You take away the money motivation and it’s honestly, it’s a huge mind fuck. And it takes a lot of adjusting to, and I’m still adjusting to it, and I’m still working [00:17:00] through that in therapy and working on the fact that it’s okay to spend you know what?
Your previous narrative and your previous money history, that’s not your future. That doesn’t have to be your future. So it’s been good timing actually. Ram Seth’s new Netflix show. I’ll teach you to Be Rich. That was, that, that was awesome. There’s been a lot of talk in the fire community, Mr.
Manash, mad Scientists, Ramit Sethy I’ve seen, Australian bloggers like the Aussie Fiber. We’re all starting to now talk a bit more about spending. And it’s okay to spend, guys talking about getting a Tesla. And, various other purchases. And that’s okay. It’s okay to spend on things you love as long as you don’t waste money on shit that you don’t need or so in terms of, I guess learning how to spend, again, we are really more so focusing on quality and things that we think would improve our life.
And my partner and I, we thought about what should we buy? We thought about the possibility of a new car. Like getting a full drive are often spoken [00:18:00] about getting a land cruise or like a Prada or, probably a more cheaper alternative would be a a Mitsubishi Pegi.
But we came to the conclusion that like literally one, we already have everything we need, and two, our cars are perfectly suitable for our use. Have a station wagon. And it does everything just fine. It’s big enough for our family at its current size. We did end up buying a new crockery set to replace our thrifted set.
So new plates and bowls which is nice. And after renting a campervan for a week, we ended up going out and buying a rooftop tent for my station wagon. And then after a camping weekend away, we thought an eggshell foam mattress topper. We needed to go with it, felt comfortable which is awesome.
And since it’s getting a bit cold here in Adelaide now we bought an electric blanket for the bedroom, which has been an awesome little quality of life upgrade. But ironically this conversation actually prompted us to. End up doing a [00:19:00] huge clean out and downsize. We donated and gave away a lot of our stuff actually including our home theater systems worth a couple of grand a couple of thousand bucks worth of camera gear that we don’t use.
Normally I would’ve stressed out about trying to sell them, recouping the maximum possible value, but it. Actually, it felt really good to just donate it. We donated it to a local community group. And they’re actually gonna be able to use those when they run events and use the camera system to actually film training that they’re gonna do so that they can actually share that with the wider community.
In terms of food as well, we are focused on just buying better food. My partner’s a bit of a self-professed foodie. She loves going out and trying new foods. She really enjoys good food. So we had a chat about it and we decided that increase our grocery budget. I. Compared to what I was spending, we actually tripled our grocery, our weekly grocery budget up to $150.
So now we’re buying a lot more sort of consumable luxury items [00:20:00] more regularly. For example, I don’t like oysters. It’s probably a bad example, but we buy oysters for her. Sometimes we’ll have something really nice, like a really nice piece of salmon. Or maybe a really nice piece of meat which, we don’t really eat meat regularly.
But when we do, we’re opting for now more more luxury items. Speaking of sort of luxury items something I used to enjoy but didn’t really understand was scotch as in Scotch whiskey. Now having a little bit more time to delve into it. I’m starting to do some tastings whenever we travel new regions.
Having a taste understanding a little bit more about it and I’m not spending a lot of money. I’m not the kind of person that will drink a big bottle of scotch. I’ll certainly have a half a nip and I’ll enjoy sipping and playing with it for. For quite a while.
So that’s been fun to do and to learn about more regions and actually planning a bit of a holiday to go over into Europe and go over to Scotland and see where this stuff’s made. How they make it and what kind [00:21:00] of products they’re producing, and also just connecting with a bit of ancestry there.
And the same goes with sour. So at home I’m learning to bake better. I just, I gave not, I gave up, I, I realized that I needed to just buy the more expensive baker’s flour, like it’s just, it’s got a high protein count, so you’re gonna get a better bread. So by just stumping up and paying a bit more for the more expensive ingredients I’ve been able to bake way better loaves of sour.
And I’ve been able to share and give those to friends and neighbors and family. And yeah, it’s been great to be able to share and getting a lot more compliments as well, which is good. Learning new cooking style. For some of our date nights we’ve gone on cooking classes. We’ve done a bit of cooking, experimenting together, trying new dishes gone on a couple of wine tours.
And just again, when it comes to just trying of enjoying spending a bit more on food and spending a bit more on experiences together. In terms of health both physical and mental that’s been a huge priority for the year. [00:22:00] Prioritizing my health which is great. I’ve got a home gym setting boundaries regarding my health, so limiting Alcohol consumption trying to limit sugar consumption.
Being a bit more disciplined with my sleep hygiene and my morning routine and not setting alarms. And one of the things that I really look forward to about financial independence and. Finishing up flying was not having to set an alarm. And I always used to fantasize about this and I’d read this article from Mr.
Money mustache about how whenever anyone tried to organize something for earlier than 9:00 AM that , he would just laugh at them. And and I was like, I cannot wait to be in that position. But seriously, yes, if you try and get me to do something in the morning before nine o’clock, like good luck.
I’m just, I’m not gonna be there. But also setting more boundaries in actually saying no to things. So saying no to particular gatherings saying no to particular events or work opportunities. It’s okay to [00:23:00] say no and to just, Be happy doing less. We don’t always have to be hyper productive.
And that’s been really cool. My morning routine , at the moment, it looks like waking up naturally. It’s usually sometime around six 30 to seven 30. I go to let the dog out of her crate, she comes in, has a cuddle with us in the bed. Then I’ll make a cup of tea, have a couple of bits of fruit.
Even though everyone says, oh, don’t use your phone when you wake up. I do end up checking my emails and checking my notifications and I put her around the house, do a bit of tidying up. Then the dog and I enjoy a bit of time together. We do a little bit of training and we go for a walk. Then usually when I come home, have a bit of a light breakfast, maybe another piece of fruit, bit of cereal, little bit of dark chocolate.
And then I try and get stuck into my Pilate. So stretching it’s like yoga. It’s been really beneficial. That’s been something that the physio has been getting me doing. And then my weight lifting before doing whatever I had planned for the [00:24:00] day. Just reading, riding the bike, heading out As I mentioned before, it can be tempting to just get sucked into a bit of a depression hole and do nothing and just watch movies.
And I think I’d been there and I did that, for a, oh, it was longer than I’d like to admit. Wearing the same clothes every day, just sitting on the couch, not really getting out and doing anything. But it’s it’s not really a good place to be. Getting out there, keep on moving, working on projects, reading.
I found the more active I am and the more sort of stuff I do, the happier I am. So I think that’s probably another like argument or lesson to have something that you are retiring to rather than that you are retiring from. Because if you just sit around and do nothing, like it’s not good. And from talking to my mentor, he’s had a lot of experience, when with older people older business owners and his previous clients, he’ll say to me, the day you retire [00:25:00] is one of the most dangerous days for your health.
Because a lot of them, they sit around, they do nothing. What do they do? Start drinking they’re not moving, not exercising, don’t feel useful, maybe depression sets in. And unfortunately he said he has actually lost quite a few very successful business owners. They end up just killing themselves.
Yeah it’s shocking. But it happens. So I think it’s important to stay busy and keep working on projects and keep using your brain, keep using your body. Anyway, the more I do that, the happier I am. And, regularly talking to a therapist to chat and regularly seeing a therapist to a physiotherapist to work on back pain has been super helpful.
And yeah, between. Those two things, plus the psilocybin. I’ve been able to reduce my reliance on painkillers and I’m actually, having more pain less or pain-free days, which is really cool.
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A projects, one of the projects that I’ve had going on is my reading list. So this past year even with everything that’s going on I was able to get through a couple dozen books, which was awesome.
I still have over a hundred on my reading list. And it’s been good not to just pigeonhole myself into just finance books or investing books, and I’m really trying to branch out and try some new genres and styles. Some of the, some awesome books that I’ve read that [00:27:00] I can recommend from this year are outliers, how to do the work.
How to change your mind by Pollen. In fact, pollen’s got a number of awesome books. You pretty much can’t go wrong with anything from Michael Pollen. Ego is the Enemy, the book of Ichigo Itchy Nausea, although that’s a bit of a painful book to read, but it’s worth it. Marching powder that was.
Very interesting to read. That’s an account of a drug traffickers who is convicted and spent time in a bivian prison. And it is very eye-opening. Other books, the Alchemist awaken the Giant within. Awesome. One by Dave Gal Strong Money Australia. A book based on off his blog. Also the Exit Printer Playbook.
And yeah too many more to list. I’ll put the full list on the blog. But like I said had. Plenty more to read to keep me very busy. Actually just finished yesterday be here now, which is about written by [00:28:00] Ram Das. Previously professor Richard Alpert from Harvard.
So he was one of the original researchers into psilocybin and L S D along with Timothy O’Leary. And yeah, really interesting book. Re reading about his history. And about the Buddhist belief system, I guess in general. I’ve been learning relearning that it’s, how to be creative.
And I guess I want, don’t wanna say how to be productive, but replace the word productive with creative. So how to be creative without the stress or pressure from a job or a deadline sort of forcing you to do something or expecting you to do something. It’s okay to just be creative, like you literally don’t have to be good at something just so that you.
Do it. So I suck at playing guitar, but it’s fun. And when I play it, I feel connected to my mom because my mom actually gave me this guitar as , one of her old ones. And, it’s a, it’s challenging. And I’m impressed with myself when I can learn a new chord, a new song.
But look, I’m not gonna be, [00:29:00] performing anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have fun practicing. Also, I’m not the world’s best gardener, but I love growing stuff. I love growing plants and food and herbs and trees. Same as writing and podcasting. I’m not winning any awards here on this podcast or on Captain Fire.
But the point is, you don’t have to be the best you don’t have to be everything to everyone. But you can just enjoy creating something. Even if it’s not super efficient or productive or, it’s a side hustle. It’s making lots of money like there is. Joy in creating stuff for creation’s sake.
And everyone will interpret that differently. But I love it when stuff that you create other people can enjoy. And I’m hoping that people get value outta these podcasts cuz I do spend a while doing them. Admin. So I got on top of my admin and my estate plan. So went and revisited my Barefoot Investor fearless folder.
Updated my will advanced care directive getting a a binding financial agreement sorted. And just [00:30:00] going through my standard yearly financial health check, which is basically auditing bills and insurances. Yep. Nothing too sexy, but important to do. So that was something we did recently.
I guess a big thing. Has been socializing and connecting with people. That’s been, I wouldn’t say an issue, but it’s been an area that I’ve been deliberately focusing on. So usually you get a lot of this at work for free, right? It just happens where do you like your colleagues or not?
You’re gonna spend a lot of time with them and most people end up building a friendship group, which has, a lot of colleagues or a lot of work friends in it, or people that you meet through friends of. Work friends. But you know what Covid has shown us? When you work from home or you choose to retire early or semi-retire you’re not gonna have as much of these forced social connections.
So for me, volunteering has helped. But generally the sort of slower life is great because it’s enabled me to take time to [00:31:00] have more meaningful connections every day. For example, I’ve been, when I go shopping, rather than rushing to Audi, grab everything, throw it in my bag, pay, get on the bike, get home, unpack it like it’s some kind of speed run.
Instead I, I’ll walk or ride to the local fruit and bed shop. I’ll have a chat to the shop owner, talk about their day, try some of the different foods fruits, find something that’s nice, oh, this different type of fig, or this is a different type of melon. Actually interact.
It’s been refreshing. So when we were in Tasmania recently, we went to the Mona Gallery which don’t get me started. It’s very different. Anyway, there’s a small cafe there down right at the bottom of the basement and it was just very busy, so there wasn’t any free chairs. And I was looking around, probably looking a bit sheepish with a, a coffee and a biscuit and this old couple, Beck and me to come sit down and join their table.
And we ended up speaking for nearly an hour. Not that Mona wasn’t interesting, but [00:32:00] I’d. I’d certainly looked at most things many times and I was ready to sit down and have a break. Sensory overload. But anyway, we were chatting for nearly an hour, and it turns out the guy was actually a retired pilot who’d turned designer, and he had actually designed and had manufactured all of the exit signs in the Mona Gallery.
And his wife was a business executive. So they, they were both pretty well off and they’d told me stories about how they’d traveled the world and they’d tried all the luxury things in the world and they’d been to these fancy hotels and galleries and they’d seen the masters, all the famous artworks.
And they mentioned how they bit over it. They were sitting down at the cafe. They were over, over the gallery as well. But it was really cool to connect and learn a bit about them in a, this sort of unplanned, unscheduled meeting. And yeah, we ended up exchanging details and who knows who we might catch up again in the future.
So otherwise, I’ve been trying to stay connected and socialize within the fire community. I’ve been doing more [00:33:00] collaborations podcasts being a guest on podcasts, doing interviews actually meeting up with people bloggers and readers in person. We’ve been doing more classes, done some cooking classes done some tours.
And yeah, just taking the time to actually. Actually speak to people and not just talk, but to actually converse and take the actual time to, to listen to what people are saying and try and connect. So that’s been a big area we’ve been working on. I guess another thing that’s surfaced is needing to give back more, or wanting to give back more, I should say.
There’s definitely this sort of feeling of guilt. After breaching financial independence, and I don’t know how else to describe it. It feels like survivor’s guilt. It’s almost like , I’ve made it and it was a stressful journey. Personally, I probably, I pushed a bit hard, I had very high savings rate, often up, above 75, 80% some [00:34:00] months in the nineties.
And really that wasn’t healthy. So it felt like it was a bit of a battle when there was some stress and. Course and woman involved there. But now, yeah being at the end, it’s like the, it’s calm, the dust is settled, the financial war is over. And I feel a little bit guilty of all the privileges that I have now. People talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I guess the self-actualization or the giving usually ends up at the top or, you look at Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and Barefoot Investors’ steps. They all finish in, giving at the end.
And this kind of really hit me quite hard when we’re in the Philippines. Especially just seeing the poverty over there. And, I think I had a few moments. One was we were stuck in traffic as we often were. And they were just, there was these kids, just filthy children in the street, no clothes or ripped clothes, dirty, just begging.
And they were smiling and happy and running [00:35:00] around. But. I saw what parent would. Put their child on a eight lane highway begging for coins and scraps and stuff. And I just, I, I need to be doing more. I’d been so focused on my own journey to fire and it’s been so like in introspective, if that makes sense.
I hadn’t really been looking at other people’s needs I was so obsessed on savings rates and productivity and side hustles, and I overlooked my own privilege as an Australian. I used to do a bit of volunteering here and there, and coaching within the aviation community, but, nowhere near as much as I could have been.
I’ve been volunteering more and getting involved with community staff, like the community gardens. After my sister’s partner had a, she had a complication in surgery and she needed a lot of blood transfusions. It gave us a kick up the ass to start giving blood again regularly, which was a relatively easy and quick thing we could do to help give back.
It was definitely a bit confronting the first time back giving blood because, when they hook you up to the [00:36:00] machines it looks a lot like a chemo ward. And it was actually a bit triggering for me. I didn’t expect to feel that, but just had this wave of sadness that just basically yeah, brought me to tears.
And yeah, sometimes these things just get you when you’re not expecting it. But whilst, volunteering and donating your time and giving blood is good it came down to actually giving actual money is something that I need to start doing. So when we’re in the Philippines, , we just started carrying a bit more cash and we started giving away cash.
When we needed to, to, to people on the street or people that were doing it tough. And I started doing the same thing back here in Australia now previously someone on the street might come and ask me for money and it’d make me feel really awkward. And I’d follow the generic script of, oh, I’m not gonna enable this person’s drug addiction, or I’m not gonna enable this person’s alcohol addiction.
They’re just going to spend on this. And, really, does it matter what they’re fucking spending the money on? If this person’s homeless and drinking some beer is the only thing that gives them comfort, then you know, it’s very controlling anyway to. [00:37:00] To give money with conditions. I’m really trying to challenge that narrative and that challenge, that belief that I have.
And so yeah, I, I want to keep a couple of notes, fives, tens, and twenties and, if someone. It’s so desperate that they’re asking a stranger for money. They probably don’t know where the next meal’s coming from. So it’s just trying to, give a little bit of dignity back and not trying to control people and how they’re going to spend that money.
Having said that, how giving is not just about. Giving your time, volunteering, donating, and randomly giving out money anytime you feel guilty. I wanted to challenge myself to actually just set up a regular donation. Started donating regularly towards the medical missions and scholarships that my partner’s family run in the Philippines.
Because I thought that is where that money can do the most amount of good. Where to from here? Just gonna continue as normal. Recently had a coaching session with my mentor and reevaluated my goals going forward. So I went through, set up my daily process [00:38:00] goals, my weekly goals, my short term goals, my year goals, my medium term goals, and my long-term goals.
As an example, some of my daily or process goals they’re just simple things, following my morning routine, doing an hour of reading, doing an hour of writing some of the weekly goals included date night with my partner, taking the dog to puppy school, recording a podcast, publishing an article on the blog, and spending time volunteering.
One of my short term or three monthly goals is actually to sell one of the websites and reduce some of the workload. One of my yearly goals is to get back into recreational flying. Bit of instructing and also I really want to purchase a block of land, some of my medium term goals. So we’re talking three years.
I want a road trip around Australia. I wanna start a family. I want to get a Bernie’s mountain dog, puppy, and I wanna plant out a food forest on my block of land. And one of my long-term goals is to actually go back to uni and do a PhD. Hopefully the second year of [00:39:00] semi-retirement is a lot better than the first.
There was a lot of crap going on, and to be honest, I don’t know how I would’ve coped in full-time employment. And I guess actually, If you flip that around, that was the reason or the catalyst for why I decided to take the jump in the end. But it was really nothing like I had planned. There’s a lot of interesting lessons that came out of it.
And yeah, we’re just gonna slowly work on the goals. Slowly work on the 1% improvements each day keep building those good habits, trying to stay away from those bad habits. And just hope that the next year is is fun. And I get to just focus on living and creating and giving back a bit more.
So there you go. That’s a summary of my first year of of fire, first year of semi-retirement, and a bit of a plan going forward. Cheers.
Thanks for listening to another episode of the Captain [00:40:00] Fire Financial Independence Podcast. To read the transcripts or check out the show notes, head over to www.captainfire.com for all the details. If you have a question for the captain, make sure to get in touch. You might even make it on the airwaves.
You can reach me online through the Captain Fire contact form. Or get in touch through the socials. I’m Matt Yon, Facebook and Instagram, as well as a number of online finance and investing forums. And finally, remember the information presented on the show and the links provided are for general information purposes only.
They should not be taken as constituting professional financial advice. You should always do your own research when making any financial decisions and make sure it’s appropriate for your personal circumstance.[00:41:00]