2019 – A Year In Review

2019 – A Year In Review

Finally, it is a wrap-up of our of first year journey into FIRE since we officially started it from January 2019 .

What an amazing year it has been! Let’s take a step back and review how we did this year among various categories.


We started our FIRE journey with a networth of $434,000 (all asset basis) at the start of January, 2019. When we started, we had zero investments in stock market. All our assets were equity from our PPOR + IP , super and some cash savings in our offset account.

By the end of December 2019, we had total net worth of $573,447 ( i.e change from previous year +$139,447 or 32% increase from previous year). Pretty happy with the figure 🙂 .

Here is the breakdown of what our current net worth consists of :

  • Real Estate Equity ( PPOR + IP ) : $283,351 (change from previous year +$35,210 or 14.18% – There wasn’t any change in the value of properties , the increase in equity was mostly from paying down the loan principal)
  • ETFs/LICs : $171,542 ( change from previous year +$171,542)
  • Super : $113,115 ( change from previous year +$39,695 or 54%)
  • Cash : $5439

As we are building a new house back in our home country, I also had to send about $45,000 cash to my parents to help them with the building costs. The house is now nearly done 🙂

Here is the networth change over the year :

Income & Expense

Not that happy with our expenditures in 2019. Though we were able to control our spendings in Groceries and Utilities. Our spendings this year were quite high in our Holiday & Shopping categories.

We had an overall net saving rate of 47% (this excludes dividend income but includes rental income). Goal for next year is to hit saving rate of at least 55% (stretch goal 60%)

Here is the cash flow chart over the year. The large dip in saving rate in the month of May, Nov & December were due to our overseas holiday trips 🙁

ETF/LIC Portfolio & Returns

As we were starting from zero in the stock market, we wanted to invest aggressively into the market. To maximize the gain and also to make our income from shares tax efficient, we decided to take two approach :

  • Use debt recycling. Basically ,take a new loan split to be used for investment purpose so any interests on this new loan split could be used to offset our dividend incomes and use money in the offset account to pay down our PPOR loan.
  • Setup NAB Equity builder facility

We simply love NAB Equity builder. We have setup this facility in my name as my salary is 4x times that of my spouse. We only invest in ETF/LICs having a focus on CG via this facility to minimise tax. For e.g some investment via our NAB EB facility are IVV, VAE , AFI (DSSP enabled). This coupled with current low interest rate of 4.30% for EB, helped us to make some good returns from our investment.

We did not invest our investable cash all at once, we drip feed over the last 9 month or so. But looking at the market this year, I think we would have been better of investing all at once at the start of January 2019 🙂 . We had a total market return of $23,769 (15K CG, 8K Div) this year just from ETF/LIC.

Here is the breakdown of our ETF/LICs portfolio and their return in 2019 :

Note : I have deducted our outstanding NAB EB loan balance to arrive at our net ETF/LIC portfolio balance.

and here is the dividend income distribution throughout the year. It’s good to see a gradual increase in dividend income as our portfolio size increases.


At the start of January last year, we also moved all our super into Australian super. Looking back I think it was a great decision. We made some good returns from it and also paid much lower in fees compared to our previous super fund.

We are fully invested into International shares in our super. We had a total market return of about $25,000 from our super.

Holiday & Travel

In 2019, we made two overseas holidays to Japan and Nepal and two domestic trips to Tasmania & Gold coast.

Though these holidays expenses put us a little behind in our FIRE goal, we are glad that we were able to keep ourselves entertained with these little breaks regularly while we continue in our FIRE journey.

In 2020 however, we plan to do only one overseas trip. Let’s see how that goes..

Finally, enjoy some pics from our recent trip Nepal over the christmas break. If you haven’t been to Nepal, I highly recommend you plan to visit it. It’s a little paradise on earth.

Beautiful view of snow capped himalayas @Patale
Gurung village @Ghandruk
Gurung village @Ghandruk
Beautiful Rupakot resort where we stayed
View from Rupakot resort
View from Ghandruk

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great work on the net worth increase, hope you continue strong this year! Also your trip to Nepal looks amazing. Is that 4.3% interest rate with NAB a promotional rate? That seems really low for a margin lending facility. The best I got a while back was 4.55% with Leveraged.

    1. becomingfire

      Hi thanks. 4.3% is current standard rate with NAB EB. It does fluctuate with NAB repo rate changes.

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