Captain FI Net wealth Update Q2 2024

CaptainFIs financial and personal update for the start of 2024

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Captain FI’s personal update

Wow, where does the time go? I swear I was planning to do these updates every few months, but here we are, and it’s been *checks calendar* EIGHT MONTHS!?!

Life has been pretty busy since my last update, so I wanted to update you on some of our major news— my Fiancee and I got engaged, I (finally) bought the dream farm and we moved to Queensland, and I have had a major surgery (tonsillectomy).

CaptainFI engagement
She said YES!

I feel super lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive partner, and it really meant a lot to me to be able to give her the ring my Mum gave me before she passed. My mum absolutely adored my fiancee, and actually, just quietly, I’m pretty sure Mum even said something to her about making her promise to marry me before she died so there would be someone sensible to look after me and temper my crazy schemes once she was gone haha! But anyway, she officially said yes! We ended up having a huge engagement party whilst visiting family in the Philippines – which in the end turned out to actually be the “unofficial wedding”‘” and probably much, much larger than our actual wedding will even be back here in Australia (when we eventually get around to it!)

The Tonsillectomy was to help improve my sleeping and reduce chronic infections I was getting by removing my scarred and enlarged tonsils. They were pretty much stuffed after 15 years of fairly intense shift work, travelling and constant exposure to changing environmental conditions, irritants and infections making me get sick all the time. It was ridiculous, I would have some variation on a cold or strep throat every month! Actually, since I retired, it was much less often (3 monthly) but the ENT still recommended to get the operation done since I had already been waiting so long for it.

The operation was, quite frankly, totally fucked. No slight on the surgeon or the hospital or whatever – they all did a great job and I am very grateful to have had this done almost entirely free (except for some expensive prescription meds) – its just a fucked procedure with one of the worst, most painful recoveries (except for, I dunno, a face transplant or something?). This was one of the worst, most horrible things I have ever experienced. I kinda had an inkling of what to expect as I had a friend that had the same operation about a month earlier, but the reality was worse than I was imagining as I thought she was just full of crap. Add into the mix running out of pain meds and 2 x post-op hemorrhage’s and I ended up back in emergency three times, including one very fun ambulance ride absolutely off my chops on fentanyl.

hospital admission
hey at least I got these free red grippy socks

After a month I was back to most foods, and after two months I was pretty much healed, but it was a challenging period – especially weeks 2 and 3 when I got the bleeds and ended up back in hospital. I was hoping to lose those last few kilos of fat I was shedding with my Keto diet I was previously doing, as everyone (even the doctors) said you lose weight from not being able to eat for a few weeks after a tonsillectomy; well, it worked the opposite way for me as I indulged in a few too many banana milks, ice creams and yoghurts and I managed to pack on about 5 kilos! After my recovery I was back in the gym working on my goals through diet and exercise and I am back to my target weight (although still waiting on the mythical six pack to appear…)

I guess the big news finance-wise is that I cashed out my FIRE portfolio of index funds and crypto, and used the cash to buy a small acreage in the South East Queensland hinterland, and we have moved up there from Adelaide.

WOMP WOMP – Zero balance in the FIRE portfolio

Now I know what you must be thinking – ‘is this guy insane?! – why on earth would you knock the FIRE portfolio on its head when its producing great income for early retirement – and how will you be able to afford to live?!?!’

So let me explain – there were a few reasons.

One was how disappointingly my family behaved after my mum’s passing, and after 18+ months of nasty conflict, I was just so drained and wanted to get away. Even being in Adelaide made me feel a bit sad as that constant reminder of what had occurred, going past the hospital my parents were treated in, or the anxiety of running into estranged (or unsupportive) family members.

Then, after spending so long searching for an acreage in the Adelaide Hills and being outbid several times after making offers on 3 different properties, I was feeling very burnt out and pissed off – the market there was just so hot and competitive, which was a real shock for me as Adelaide has historically been a pretty quiet place, but it seems every man and his dog is moving there to escape the crushing costs of Melbourne and Sydney. Maybe I shouldn’t have constantly told everyone how great it was?

I was also increasingly vigilant of the incredible bushfire risk an Adelaide Hills property would face and the impact of climate change on this region over the next 30-40 years – the weather will only get more extreme, it will be harder to farm, and the bushfire risk will only get worse and worse. After being involved in the black summer bushfires in the Blue Mountains when I was living in Sydney, this was quite triggering to think about, and I even found myself feeling physically sick when preparing initial bushfire plans for places we were putting offers on, and having difficulty sleeping with the stress of it all.

We have also got a few very close friends in SEQ, and it was an important factor in our decision as we wanted to be close to our support networks and community with our plans to start a family. It is also much more convenient for overseas travel, with direct flights to manilla available from Brisbane.

Financially, I was cashflowing an amazing income from a ~$2m ETF portfolio, around $80K a year give or take, but spending not even half of that with an annual spend of under $40,000! This didn’t seem very efficient from a tax point of view (pay tax on dividends and then just re-invest them…), and I probably should have been focusing on more capital growth assets instead of cash-flowing dividend assets. I was also making good income from my other investments – namely my website portfolio – so the FIRE portfolio had almost become a redundant ‘backup’ income source that wasn’t really even being used. An emotional support portfolio have you will…. So the decision to move all of that capital into something with tax-free growth (PPOR) was more palatable.

Finally, the lease on our rental had run out, and the landlord was being a real jerk and refused to renew or extend it (even for a couple of months), which was the final straw or catalyst for our decision. I HATE being told what to do, and being told that I had to go back out into the grueling world of rental applications was just not happening again.

After a few months of searching and a couple of trips up to the area house hunting for a few weeks (and what feels like a zillion open homes – we actually visited over 100 properties which was exhausting) we finally found the perfect spot for us to settle down and set up our small hobby farm, where we feel we can really put down roots – both metaphorically and literally!

We actually had nearly 6 months of overlap between when we settled, and when we actually moved in. This was due to the elderly sellers requesting more money than we could even offer, and eventually we were able to reach a deal on a delayed settlement. What was particularly challenging was at the end of our lease term, the landlord at our rental unit in Adelaide did not want to extend the contract, and no one wanted to rent to us for less than six months, so we found ourselves stuck in a bit of no mans land.

Thankfully, we had some good mates that we were able to rent a room from and we were able to make it work in the interim (despite some teething issues with being back in a communal living situation haha, looking back they were very very minor issues but I was under a lot of stress at the time and I feel bad for blowing it out of proportion)

We ended up selling all of our furniture, one of the cars and most of our possessions and only took up what we could fit in the station wagon and our small box trailer, because it would literally be cheaper to give it away and then rebuy it in location (the cost of movers being over $10K).

CaptainFI moving trailer
All our belongings crammed into a box trailer

We had originally planned to go to Japan for the Sakura festival in March/April, but because this property purchase pushed us to the absolute limit (with looming future expenses including capital gains tax for selling shares, and then on buying furniture, and setting up the house and gardens how we want them), we actually ended up having to cancel this trip , however since we had nonrefundable tickets to Manilla booked (we planned to go visit family on the way), we decided to spend the whole time with my fiances family in the Philippines instead.

In the interim, we packed up our unit and handed the keys back, rented a room, parked the car and trailer in a friend’s backyard, dropped off our puppy dog with some trusted friends (it’s always hard to leave her!), and went overseas to visit family and travel around the Philippines for a month while we waited for our house to become available.

last meal before moving
Somehow this has become our tradition for the first/last meal when moving house. Champagne courtesy of our awesome Mortgage broker to celebrate closing the deal on our farm.

It was awesome, and we went to a lot of new areas I hadn’t explored – including some of the more remote provinces and islands in the south and south east phillipines where we scuba dived with Whale Sharks, snorkled with turtles, visited active volcanoes, walked through lush rainforests and swam through canyons (and took some terrifying high speed zip lines through them), Parasailed at 1000ft over the ocean (which was actually pretty terrifying without being strapped inside a jet) and dived with millions of sardines. It truly was a magical experience, and a much better trip this time around than my last as I was in a much better headspace and could actually enjoy it. We also enjoyed some of the highlights of Manilla including lots of massages and fine dining.

I have attached some photos below (these aren’t all my photos as I was fully immersed in the experiences so some of these are from Google image search, they are much better pictures than I could take anyway haha!)

After returning to Australia, we hitched up our trailer, got the dog and made our final journey from Adelaide across the country to the East Coast of Queensland over a week, where we stopped and camped in our roof top tent and made an experience of the travel.

the dish parkes radio telescope
We stopped at a lot of cool places along the way. One night we camped near Parkes – if you have seen the movie ‘The Dish’ then you will recognise the Parkes Radio Telescope. This was very very interesting to a space systems engineer like myself.

Finally arriving at our dream property was such a surreal feeling. Unfortunately for me, I strained my back unhitching the trailer and spent the first week with a lot of back pain and not really able to do much except complain. But fortunately, we had some awesome mates come up to visit and stay to help us get started – seeing that ute appear up the driveway with a familiar face and a queen-size bed and mattress tied on the back was very relieving as it meant we didn’t have to brave the inflatable mattress for another night!

Captain FI and co finally home in the new house
Finally at home in the new house. Moments before straining my back whilst unhitching that ungodly loaded trailer.

Whilst I feel we did still overpay a little for the property, in general the prices in the area had been correcting down, so at least we had decent leverage in the negotiation and were able to get them down significantly from their ridiculously inflated initial asking price. In exchange for a delayed hand over, they also agreed to rectify a number of defects found during the building inspection.

Annoyingly, after we moved in and when our heads finally stopped spinning and the ‘honeymoon’ period was over, we actually realised the sellers had made off with quite a bit of the ‘chattel’ which was supposed to be included in the deal (ride on mower, tools, library shelving, mirrors, irrigation systems, fire pits etc – basically anything that wasn’t nailed down and some things which were!) which one can only assume was due to hurt feelings about the defect repair costs… The lawyer said since its total value was under $10K it wasn’t even worth considering litigation.

We definitely stretched ourselves here financially, and I ended up needing to use finance and got a big loan for the shortfall between my savings, shares, crypto and the property price – thankfully, I had a great mortgage broker who was able to use all my sources of income as well as my interest (pending inheritance) I had in my late mothers family home (which has thankfully now recently settled), as well as use potential income from renting out rooms to service the loan. Very creative indeed!

When we were looking at what we could afford for cash, we realized that whilst many of these properties were still amazing, if we took a loan, we could really take things to the next level regarding our lifestyle and get a newer, larger property with more established grounds (and less maintenance and landscaping costs). Somewhere that we could really see ourselves loving being in for the next 40 years to raise a big family and be able to regularly entertain family and friends from interstate and overseas, as well as being a working hobby farm to create a bountiful food forest, grow large vegetable garden, and keep a large flock of chooks, bees and eventually some sheep or a cow and produce an income stream via produce and farm stays.

I guess it comes down to that old adage – “Live like no one else now, so you can live like no one else later” (Dave Ramsey). I was able to save and invest aggressively whilst building an online business, and now I can reap the benefits of that flexibility.

Thankfully, my partner is also a good earner (should this be renamed from FIRE to wife-FI?), and I am still able to make awesome (semi) passive income online, so whilst things will be tight for the first year or two, once we are established and she starts working again, I can focus more on smashing down the mortgage and rebuilding the share portfolio when she can contribute more to the household. In 5 or so years we will be literally set for life in paradise. We wanted to really just move once into the dream home, pay one set of stamp duty and not have to ever move again (well, maybe once more for the downsize to an apartment in our 70’s or 80’s, health dependent).

Just to be clear, in line with our Pre nup (BFA), the farm is in my name and the loan is also in my name only – currently I pay for the mortgage, bills and all our living costs such as groceries, fuel, insurance etc. Mrs FI isn’t currently working but she does do occasional casual contract work and and she puts her income towards her super or index funds. We like this arrangement as we get to spend a lot more time together than when she was working full time, and it is much more peaceful which is helpful as we are TTC (trying to conceive).

The community where we have settled is amazing, and we already have made a few good friends here. The area is so lush – with incredulous rainfall (compared to Adelaide!) and fantastic soil. The location is close enough that it’s not too much of a commute at all into town for shopping (or future schools), or for my Fiancee to work (healthcare), and she will actually get a significant pay rise when she eventually starts to work up here compared to back in Adelaide.

Since moving onto the property, we have slowly planted over 300 productive food trees and hundreds more flowering plants, encompassing over 270 different species and varieties of fruit and nut trees, as well as a huge selection of edible and medicinal herbs, perennials, and several large veggie garden beds for annuals which we plan to try and produce a lot of our own food – main crops at the moment include sweet potato, Snow peas, beans, and Kankong (water spinach) but we also have about two dozen different veggies we are trialing to see what works.

We have established a diverse food forest of approximately 1 acre on a gentle slope, a small grove of nut trees and began the (never ending) landscaping work to remove some problem trees (palms!) and replace them with productive mulched food and flower areas. We have brought in over 60 tonnes of wood chip, mulch and compost using machinery and are spreading this to revitalise and improve the soil health – feed the soil, and the soil feeds your plants, which feed you.

We have also set up our apiary with the acquisition of 4 large double beehives from a neighboring farmer who was downsizing. They are very hardworking girls who have already produced (a small test sample of) 5kg of honey for us—which was just lovely. I have linked in with the local beekeeping groups and found a local mentor, who rather impressively told me that in this part of the world it is not unheard of to get yields of around 100kg of honey per hive per year – which is just amazing as back in Adelaide it was around half of that! We also have been getting involved with the community and actually recently took place in the honey judging in the Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show in Nambour.

We are working on fencing for the back paddock before adding some sheep, and I have almost collected all of the required building materials to finish the chook run before we can start our flock of laying hens (and we may try meat birds in the future but probably not for a while till we get fully settled in).

One little fun project we did was making our own coffee from scratch, with the beans from our first harvest of first fleet arabica coffee – which it turns out is actually a multiple day ordeal and very messy. Needless to say, it is much easier and simpler to just buy your beans already roasted. However, it was very exciting and I must say we absolutely nailed it with a beautiful, rich dark roast. It is very satisfying to offer to make someone a coffee made from our own beans, with macadamia milk made from our own orchard.

Fire Spark retreat

I attended the inaugural FIRE spark retreat as a (paid) guest speaker, run by the very talented Brenda James down in the Mornington Peninsula. This was a fantastic weekend, and I met a lot of really talented and clever people from all different walks of life.

One thing that I took away from meeting everyone, was just how much knowledge was in the room. It was a great reminder that there is a reason that we have ‘two ears to listen, and only one mouth to speak’. I felt very aware of my own personal experience and limitations – and that just because I have a blog and host a podcast about FIRE, it doesn’t automatically mean I know the answers to everything. Actually, the more I learn, the more I realize just how much I don’t know!

To borrow a phrase from Vicki Robin: “Financial Independence is just the beginning”

I was very humbled to be able to present about my journey to FIRE, and to be able to go into much more details with such an initiate audience in person. I appreciate how supportive everyone was and it was pretty surreal to have people coming up to me afterwards and expressing their heart felt gratitude.

Some of the presentations really did hit close to home, especially Cam and Trish from ‘A family on FIRE’ when they spoke about their FIRE journey and their motivations – highly recommend having a read of their blog to hear about the struggles they have had to overcome. Having recently lost my mum, it was pretty emotional for me.

Fire Spark Retreat

It was nice to catch up with Serina Bird (the Frugalista!) and we even managed to record and put out an impromptu podcast on our Guest Panel.

Getting back into flying

I also have been working to get back into flying, after having a two year break since FIRE’ing in May 2022. Whilst I won’t be rushing out into the cockpit of a jet airliner any time soon, my first steps will be back into a small training aircraft for recreational flights to get my hand back in, and then doing some fun flying as a private pilot getting back into some aerobatics and maybe some formation flying with mates.

I’ve been doing some study, reading up on my old notes and activated a new NAIPS account with airservices so I can check the met (weather) and NOTAMS (notice to airmen) before flying.

I’ve also renewed my medical and my security clearance, which are requirements to fly as PIC (Pilot in Command) of an aircraft.

It is a bit of a ‘fine line’ to balance with medication and flying – as I had previously taken opioid medication for chronic back and neck pain, as well as anti depressants. Unfortunately, CASA is a bit ‘stuck in the dark ages’ when it comes to medication, and won’t give me the class 1 medical yet (Doc has told me at least 12 months off tablets before we start the process). The irony is there are literally HUNDREDS of USAF fighter pilots over in the United States that are cleared to actively fly F18 Hornet and F35 Lightning fighter jets (you know, with missiles and bombs) that are taking Sertraline (the drug that I took) under supervision.

Anyway, I am fortunate that I am in the position of not needing to fly for an income, and I am enjoying taking my time to slowly get back into the air. I am also able to manage the chronic pain a lot better now that I don’t have such insane levels of stress anymore, and between meditation and ongoing physio rehab, have got it down to a dull roar.

Where we have settled in South East Queensland was actually where I first earned my Commercial Pilots Licence over a decade ago, doing training flying out of Archerfield, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast airports. Actually, I have to say some of this airspace is pretty complex (maybe not as bad as Sydney), there are lots of controlled airspace and restricted zones especially when you want to fly out of Archerfield (Class D) and you are ‘wedged’ between Brisbane (class C), Gold Coast (class C) and Amberley (military restricted and class C) airspace. Just check out the map below to get an idea!

Captain FI ozrunways map
OzRunways screenshot of SEQ Airspace where I earned my Commercial Pilots Licence. The farm is in there somewhere 😉

New Captain FI podcasts

As I mentioned above I have been podcasting and writing a lot more lately and have recently published some awesome interviews with a couple of my FIRE idols such as JL Collins!

I have also updated the Best Finance And Investing Podcasts directory page with some of my favourite FIRE podcasts at the moment.

Recent pod interviews published since my last update:

New Captain FI blog articles

I have also published a heap of new blogs and review articles since my last update including (but not limited to):

Captain FI’s Spending

To close the loop on the last Net Worth Update – Q2 2023, my total personal expenditure in 2023 was just shy of $46,000 which was about five grand higher than I was expecting – this additional expense came from some travel associated with house hunting trips, as well as I pre-paid for our flights to Manilla ($2500 for us both) for the 2024 Phillipines trip.

As you know, I really stretched myself to purchase the property, meaning my discretionary spending has been super low so far this year. We had actually sold almost all of our belongings, including Ms FI’s car – save for what we could fit in my station wagon and a 6×4 trailer, and I literally got down as low as having less than a hundred dollars in my bank at property settlement. It was very stressful, but we made it work.

We spent a bit of money traveling around the Philippines for a month, but we had actually originally planned to go to Japan for the Sakura festival. We were just initially going to stop through in Manilla to see our family there, as its a very short flight to Japan from there. Going to Japan would have been a very expensive trip (around $10,000 for us both for just 3 weeks), and we just didn’t have the funds post settlement so we adapted the plan and decided to spend the time visiting family and friends in the Phillipines, basing ourselves out of Ms FI’s parents house.

Thankfully, I still had some income from my online business coming in, and our family was also super generous and actually paid for some of our domestic flights and accommodation when we visited some of the provinces on a family trip.

We then did some ‘backpacker’ style traveling in the more remote regions and just stayed at some very modest accommodations. All up, for the month for the two of us, we only spent around $6,000, including flights (as in $3,000 per person). This was less than half of what we spent on our previous trip to the phillipines in 2022/2023 – of course this time I didn’t have the dental work (or get covid) and we had help from family paying for some of our flights and accommodation.

When we got back, furnishing our new home was expensive, so we have tried to stick to second hand items from Marketplace and Op shops for most things. However for some things, we have decided to splurge on new (such as a new super king size mattress for our bed). The reason being, in Queensland, certain things you just can’t buy second hand due to the high humidity causing mould and pest issues – some things we looked at were just SO GROSS they made us gag.

So we figured, we have already spent so much on the farm, what is the harm in spending a little bit more to really enjoy the house? (I’m pretty sure there is a phrase for just this situation when you convince yourself to do this…). After three decades of fairly extreme frugality, I have to say I had very mixed emotions about this, but as we have had income come in, it has pretty much all gone straight back out again on setting up the house. I think I calculated we had about a 12% savings rate – or conversely an 88% spending rate 🤣

Thanks to the generosity of my Fiancee’s family we have been gifted a huge brand new fridge (THAT MAKES ICE!), as well as a washing machine and drier, and a robot vacuum which honestly is the best thing I have ever bought.

Expensive things I have splurged on include

  • Over 300 fruit trees
  • Four established beehives and associated equipment
  • Home CCTV system
  • A large, beautiful, hardwood dining table with live edges
  • 85 Inch Sony Bravia flat screen and paid for wall mounting
  • Bose home movie sound system
  • High speed internet, router and Wifi extenders for the property
  • Ride on mower for the house lawns and paddocks
  • Tools and machinery

Its pretty hard to type, but so far this year (2024) I have spent close to $65,000 (including mortgage repayments) – the majority of which was spent since moving into the property. This means I have been basically spending almost everything I have been earning this year, as well as a good chunk of my inheritance.

Captain FI’s Investments

As I mentioned in my last update, I no longer regularly calculate a Net Wealth or Savings Rate Figure each month.

Nevertheless, they were great metrics for tracking my journey to FI, helped my accountability, made interesting blogs and the figures showed I made exceptional progress on the path to FI (the historical summaries can be found at the end of this update).

My most recent investment decision was to sell ALL of my index fund shares from the FIRE portfolio, as well as all of my crypto, which was really nerve-wracking, but it allowed me to purchase the dream property – a small acreage in the South East Queensland hinterland where we can hobby farm and raise a family!

Whilst some people rightly consider their PPOR a liability, not an asset, I am still going to include it as an investment for net wealth tracking purposes, as we do eventually plan (in 30-40 years) to downsize and sell the acreage and use the proceeds to buy an apartment somewhere for our old age as well as give our kids an early inheritance.

My investments (outside super) are split across the following areas;

  • Index funds – the FI portfolio – which was sold in December 2023 (but I will build back up through debt recycling)
  • Real estate – My PPOR (acreage) and Investment Property (Residential duplex)
  • My company – which runs a portfolio of content marketing websites
  • Cash (Australian Dollar, held in a mortgage offset account for an Emergency fund)
  • A small Angel Investment in the investing platform Pearler

NB – Approximately a few years ago I ended up divesting in various things such as RoboAdvisors, Micro investing funds, Managed funds, Metals/resources, and a few other speculative investments or experiments I had in order to simplify my finances. I had racked up a complex mix of investments as I wanted to try out and review various investing services but this became unmanageable in the end and I needed to simplify

The ‘FIRE’ Portfolio (Exchange Traded Index Funds)

As you may have known, my ‘Financial Independence Retire Early’ ETF Portfolio was a simple, passive share portfolio split between three parcels of low-fee, index-tracking Exchanged Traded Index Funds (ETFs) to achieve global diversification.

I began switching to this passive index approach to investing in 2018, firstly by adding new contributions, and then over time by divesting in other assets (individual shares, managed funds, LICs etc) and rolling the investments over to it.

  • The FIRE Portfolio targetted a split of A200 (15%), VTS (60%) and VEU (25%).
  • I tracked my share portfolio using Sharesight, which means my portfolio accounting and tax reports are completely automated.

This was sold in December 2023 to fund the acquisition of a hobby farm, after six years of passive index fund investing. Going forward I will be first building up cash again for an emergency fund in the mortgage offset, and then when we are ready to invest I will be deby recycling simply using something like the Betashares DHHF ETF which is an ‘all-in-one’ ETF in order to keep things simple.

Sharesight summary – final performance of the FIRE portfolio

Well, it was nice to finish on a high. Cashing in the chips with a total return of 10.51% was a good feeling. I know the market has continued to grow in the six months since we have sold, but you know what, I achieved what I set out to do which was to become financially independent and retire early from the rat race / grind, and buy my dream acrage to start hobby farming.

Total FI Portfolio performance – This Graph is generated by Sharesight

Anything over 10% is a bloody gift in my mind, and this aligns nicely to the commonly accepted long term rate of return of around 10% for the stock market.

It was great to get one last bumper dividend of $12,979 ($11,030 in cash plus $1949 in franking credits) hit the account even AFTER i had sold all my shares, because I had held it for the ex-dividend date. I wasn’t really tracking that but it was a wonderful surprise which has helped us furnish the house.

WOMP WOMP – Zero balance in the FIRE portfolio

I must admit, it does kinda suck to not have that regular dividend income coming in anymore (and having to rely more on my business for income), but in the future, once I have got my debt recycling sorted out, I will continue to post updates about the performance of our share portfolio and hopefully there will be a wonderful cross over point where the future dividends and other passive income streams cover our mortgage repayments and cost of living and I guess I “Reach FIRE” again…

Captain FI’s PPOR (acreage)

It is tricky to value the farm, especially from a business point of view as we have had a lot of expenses setting up, and not any income yet. To keep it simple, I just value it as a residence only

During our purchase period, we received several different “official” valuation figures from licensed property valuers, builders, lawyers, realtors, and our banks which had a frustratingly large variation between them (over 30% variation ffs!). Ultimately, a property is only worth what someone pays for it, and in the end I paid just over $2.5M for it. The current estimated valuation from the PropTrack automated online valuation tool is $2.375M

Captain FI’s Hobby Farm valuation

I honestly do think we overpaid for the property by about $100K or so, which sounds ridiculous at first given my frugal nature, but I think was worth it. After looking at thousands of properties online, viewing hundreds of properties in person, and making 9 offers on different properties, we were just a bit sick of the whole process. And we really, really liked this one.

They say never get emotional when it comes to investing or buying a home, but we found this nearly impossible. I just don’t think its that easy to separate your emotions when you are looking at the forever home.

This property was completely established with a high-end home on it that was more than big enough for our family goals, established gardens and landscaping, lots of water storage, and the land required very minor work to turn it into our dream farm (some swales, fencing, irrigation, planting, mulching and sinking a bore). So yes, we overpaid a bit, but we secured the best house and land that we looked at, in the best area we looked at, and the ONLY acrage NOT in a bushfire hazard overlay!

Honestly, after now having lived here for a while – it was worth every cent. Other comparable properties would have needed us to invest several hundreds of thousands dollars to get it to this standard.

Since we bought, property prices in the area seem to continue to be on a steady rise, and everywhere around us locals are pulling up stumps, selling their properties and moving further away to be mortgage-free. I believe this is due to record immigration into Australia post covid, which has the follow-on effect of record domestic migration to the area. It seems everyone is moving up north to get away from Melbourne and Sydney, and locals are cashing in.

Annoyingly, this means land valuations keep going up and in turn, our rates notices keep going up in price, too.

Anyway, after selling shares, crypto and a few websites to buy the farm, I still had to take a $800K mortgage out over 30 years to afford it. Currently I am paying $1250 a week in mortgage repayments. Which is a big jump from the $450 a week we were paying to rent in Adelaide – plus all the additional things no one tells you about like Rates, Insurance, Maintenance etc which really adds up. Our Insurance bill for the year alone was $8,000! We are currently looking to rent out some of the rooms as well as a powered motorhome/caravan site on the property to help go towards the mortgage repayments and holding costs, and once we can start selling honey and produce that will also help.

I am currently in talks with my mortgage broker and accountant about refinancing and the possibility to draw a second loan (against the PPOR) to debt recycle into a broad market index fund (Betashares DHHF ETF or similar) to try and pay the mortgage down more quickly.

My goal ultimately is to have a paid-off mortgage on the farm as quickly as possible to reduce our living costs and provide an additional margin of financial safety, ensuring we can continue our plans to be stay at home parents and work only when we choose.

When we downsize (in 30 or 40 years’ time) we will be able to use the equity to buy a nice apartment by the beach, and give our kids an early inheritance.

Captain FI’s Investment property

I recently wrote a full separate article on the IP buildCaptainFI’s residential property development investment.

The current automated online valuation estimate is $700K, and the property has has a $530K mortgage (6.39%) attached, for an equity position of $170K.

Actaually the bank thinks its worth a little more based on our loan docs ($750K), and there have been some comparable properties sell for more that, so, I am pretty confident this is a conservative estimate and we would be more around the high range of the estimate. But then again of course I would want it to be worth more 🤣 so take that with a pinch of salt.

I just got this valuation estimate from Domain.

The IP has been a headache since day one and we have just discovered now, two years after building, that the builders did the dodgy on some of the foundation which wasn’t poured evenly in a section which is now where one of the interior walls are, and as a result there is a big gap between the foundation and the skirting in one of the bedrooms and the carpet is starting to disappear and fray into it. Sigh, more inspection fees and warranty claims with this builder to refuses to do any maintenance or warranty claims without us escalating anything to fair trading…

The goal of the Investment Property is to build wealth (diversified outside super and shares) so that we have the option to give our kids an early inheritance without selling our hobby farm if we are not quite ready yet, but I don’t care about having the mortgage on the IP as if everything goes to shit I can just sell it (whereas we definitely do NOT want to be selling the farm).

Captain FI’s Online Business (website portfolio)

I have a small website portfolio of content and affiliate marketing sites. These make money semi-passively from display Advertising through managed ad networks such as Adsense and Mediavine, and affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates and other direct affiliate deals.

The overheads are pretty low – just some software subscriptions, my Virtual Assistants, and the cost of producing content – either writing it myself or subcontracting it out and paying specialist writers and editors

I’ve written a pretty detailed article here about how to make money online, and I recently published a few more articles about how to start making money online for beginners, as well as an ultimate list of blog income reports

Last year some of my sites got smashed by a google algorithm update, so its been good to see them slowly start to rebound.

My revenue is not where it was at the peak (in one month, I made $73,000!), but it is starting to recover from the low where I had to let most of my staff go.

Now I am trying to ‘insource’ more (aka do a lot more of the jobs myself) and be a lot more careful about my spending – which I have to say did get a bit out of control when I was outsourcing everything and spending money like it was going out of fashion.

Ultimately though, this is why websites and businesses are valued the way they are, because of the volatility and risk compared to traditional investments like property or shares.

I have actually since sold a number of my smaller sites, and am just focusing on the larger ones which are more of passion projects for me. I have a couple more for sale around the $5,000 to $10,000 mark, depending on how established and how much time, money and effort I have put into them. They range from 3 to 6 years old, with various backlink profiles, number of published articles, and traffic. You can check out this article on website operation if you are keen as I’ve listed all the details in there. Feel free to send me an email through the contact form or get in touch on social media if you are interested in buying one.

I originally learned these skills through the eBusiness institute over the past 4 years – I have done a pretty comprehensive review of the eBusiness institute as well as interviewed Matt and Liz Raad about this on the podcast again recently where we go over a huge list of frequently asked questions about online business if you want to learn more about this. They also provide some free introductory training for CaptainFI readers.

Check out these podcast episodes for more information

I have also recently finished the Authority Hackers TASS (The Authority Site System) Course as well as the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course which has been a cool way to consolidate the skills I have learnt from the eBusiness Institute, and I have published a few comparison review articles such as Authority Hacker vs Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and eBusiness Institute vs Authority Hacker which might help you choose between training providers.

eBusiness Institute

Angel Investing

I have a small ‘Angel Investment’ in the Financial Independence brokerage platform Pearler. This was the maximum allowable private investment of $10,000 (AUD) made in July 2021, with the total number of ‘private equity’ shares based on their June company valuation.

I am not tracking the exact company valuations for Pearler, but I know the company has had its valuation more than triple and has raised over $10m through VC funding rounds, with more to be raised in later rounds, so I assume the shares are worth a bit more. How much exactly, though? I am not sure, but trying to find out.

Cash – Mojo and emergency fund

Cash reserves are high at the moment – $286,000 in cash waiting to be debt recycled through the PPOR home loan.

After several years of legal issues following my dear mum’s passing, I have just received a $250K inheritance, which is currently sitting in the mortgage offset account. This reduces the interest payable on the loan and provides a nice buffer – 4 years of repayments nearly! I can feel the temptation to slack off on my business, so I am trying to stay disciplined and get back into doing some productive work and getting content out more regularly.

After Debt recycling, I will look to keep 12 months worth of expenses in the offset account, which is about $75,000 (including my mortgage repayments)

Captain FI’s Net Wealth progression

During my journey to FI I roughly documented my net wealth progression via monthly updates and a graph which was rather crudely constructed in Excel. It demonstrates the ‘somewhat exponential’ journey over my 14 year ‘working’ career. You can access the archives for my Net Worth updates here to see how it’s gone over time. Check out the graph and all the updates below to see how it has gone since the beginning.

When I FI/RE’d, I stopped putting out regular net worth updates and stopped calculating my net worth, and tried to just put out quarterly ‘updates’ but I was pretty slack. I am trying to keep up with quarterly tempo, and recently calculated my net worth after selling shares to buy my dream farm (hence the lack of data points on the graph below lately).

DateNet worthDifferenceSaving RateNotes
Jan 09$5,000.00 ?Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 10$24,000+$19,000?Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 11$40,000+$16,000?Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 12$92,000+$50,000?Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 13$130,000.00+$38,000?Estimate NWbased on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 14$161,000.00
 
+$31,000?Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 15$200,000.00+$39,000?Estimate NWbased on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 16$281,000.00+$81,000?Estimate NWbased on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 17$340,000.00+$59,000?Estimate NW based on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 18$482,000.00+$142,000?Estimate NWbased on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jan 19 $542,000.00+$60,000?Estimate NWbased on historical Super, Bank statements and assets at the timeLINK
Jul 19  $578,900.00 +$36,90084%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+$27,66885%$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+$10,83692%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 +$79190%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+$29,56868%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+$141,07574%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 20S1,045,486+$16,19360%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 +$18,91380%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+$80,39482%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 2009-2012LINK
Dec 20 $1,152,920 + $9,487.3284%
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).
LINK
Jan 21$1,165,678+$12,75779%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 -$30,40676%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+$20,32271%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+$86,72774%Property development back on trackLINK
May 21$1,379,469+$137,24872%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 +$89,75741%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+$74,732N.A.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. LINK
Aug 21$1,624,116 +$70,156 N.A.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). LINK
Sep 211,640,663.85 +$16,547N.A.Stocks, super etc went down, but business income from websites increased, plus business valuation increased. Property build. got to frame stage, and I also got a dog! Expenses for vet surgery well worth it. Moved into a nicer apartmentLINK
Oct 21$1,705,907 +$65,24330%Big boost from website valuation due to securing new affiliate contracts for recurring income, shares went up nicely. No massive changes to this month. Calculated a savings rate and found myself pretty low due to spending a lot on my garden and going out quite a lot – I don’t think I will calculate this savings rate figure any more. LINK
Nov 21$1,739,144.23 +$33,236Great month. Relaxing (somewhat). Spent a lot of money doing ‘fun’ things like winery tours, a fine dining experience and self education. Shares moved sideways (well slightly down) but everything else went up. Building got to enclosed stage (roof, walls, windows and doors) but have had some issues with build quality and weather / covid delays. Put a $1000 deposit on the puppy. Stopped tracking Savings Rate.LINK
Dec 21$1,764,516+25,372Spent nearly the whole month with family, did some work on the website portfolio. Traffic recovered from google algorithm changes. Invested $10K into Stockspot and Sixpark, $1K into ACDC, $100 into Comsec pocket and $100 into Bamboo, $260 into BTC, $4K into ETFs through pearler. Paid the $3000 balance for the puppy.LINK
Jan 22$1,826,633+$62,117Stock market slightly down, Massive boost to website traffic (overall its more than doubled). Invested $10K VTS, 2K VEU through pearler, Paid for Angels cancer surgery, bought more BTC and ETH, bought a parcel of ETHI on commsec pocket. LINK
Feb 22 $1,757,210.57-$69,422.93Stock market down, Website business revenues down and additional spending on content and staff for business, Additional property development bills, some unexpected expenses, Wrote down the value of some of my personal property (and gave stuff away). LINK
Mar 22$1,701,410– $55,799My last ‘regular’ monthly Net wealth update as I give notice at work and finish up my non-flying job. LINK
Q3, 2022Over $2MN.ASix months of Early Retirement in Rest mode! I stopped tracking my net wealth post-FI, my dog passed away, I gave away most of my physical stuff and moved to become my mums live-in carer, met a lovely girl, bought a puppy. Had some incredible months with semi-passive website income but overall neglected the business and regular (stable) revenues decreased. LINK
Q1, 2023Over $2MN.AOne year of Early Retirement! A lot of (sad) changes, the passing of my mother and family feuding resulting in temporary homelessness, selling my ‘nursery’ of plants, and traveling overseas for a few months. Finding a new home to settle, couple of domestic trips flying to Tasmania and Queensland a couple of times, and plenty of camping and road trips within SA. Did not work much on the business at all and lost a few more contracts and had to cut staff.LINK
Q2, 2023Over $2MN.AGetting back on top of things with podcasting and blogging more regularly. Focusing on building our ‘rich life’ and deliberately increasing spending in areas such as food, travel and convenience. Did a few interviews and went on a few podcasts. LINK: CaptainFI Q2, 2023 Net Wealth Update
Q3, 2023Over $2MN.ABig focus on health and fitness, fixing diet and losing excess weight. Continue to sell a few websites from portfolio and focus on largest ones. Attended some FIRE events and lots of road tripsLINK: Captain FI’s Q3, 2023 Net Wealth Update
December 2023$2.26MN.A+$260K (21 months since last calculated)Interim calculation due to share sales prior to purchasing property – no update publishedNo update published
Q2, 2024$2,417,42612% – Calculated to see where we sat+$157,426Mid year 2024 Net Wealth update. Sold shares, crypto and 5 websites, Purchased the farm in Queensland, received $250K inheritance, significant cost in setting up the property.
CaptainFI Net Worth progression table

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4 thoughts on “Captain FI Net wealth Update Q2 2024

  1. Thanks for the shout out, and was great having you as a guest at FIRESPARK Retreat.
    And many have you had an epic 8 months! I’m tired just reading about it. Looking forward to seeing how the farm evolves

  2. Hey Captain Fi,
    Thanks for the update. Congrats on the engagement and new property! And congrats, i guess, I becoming de-fi?

    Good luck on the TTC, be ready for everything to be turned on its head again.

  3. Used to read your blogs a lot a few years ago but life got in the way.

    Very pleasantly surprised to read of your updates. Enjoyed catching up and reading your more recent blog entries. They’re even more interesting than your previous ones that focussed only on finances. Those kinds of articles, while interesting (at least to those of us with a passion in personal finances and investing), are now dime and a dozen, but to read your heartfelt stories was something different – very touching and poignant.

    I was also happy to read that in spite of your previous fixations on frugality (which most of us in the world of investing share), you were able to grow and be flexible, even selling your portfolio to build your future with your new partner. That kind of personal growth is worth more than what can be calculated in dollars and sense.

    And finally, your eulogy to your mother reminded me of why we do this – to experience life with those we love.

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