Semi-Retirement Update – Q1/2022

Welcome to our latest Early Semi-Retirement where we share the ups and downs of our Coast FIRE journey to Financial Independence and beyond.

If you are a new reader and not familiar with our plan, you can read all about it here.

The first three months of 2022 were pretty busy for our family. Not busy in the “OMG I’m so busy” sense. There was just a lot going on. I have no idea how I ever found time to work full-time in the past!

In Q1 we celebrated Baby Flamingo #1’s third birthday with all of his friends, which was a lot of fun. We also travelled to Queensland to visit Mr. Flamingo’s family and have another interstate trip planned for next month. It has also been nice catching up with friends and being more social after things started opening up over the past few months.

After two years without seeing my family, the Australian border finally opened for parents of adult citizens late last year. We booked flights for my parents immediately, and after a lot of paperwork, Covid tests and stress, they finally arrived in Sydney in late December. They stayed for almost two months and had the best time with their grandchildren. This visit was also the first time they met Baby Flamingo #2. It was so good to see them again. Family is very important to me. Not being able to see my family more often is probably the most challenging thing about living in Australia for me.

We have booked flights to go over to Europe for six weeks later this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of my family and friends.

I have been unsure about where I want to live long-term. Australia is a great place to live, but I really miss Europe at times. At the same time, we have built a great life here that would be hard to give up.

After many, many months of weighing up our options, we decided that now is not the right time for our family to relocate to Europe. So we will stay in Australia – for now. We plan to take the kids to Europe once a year, and we might revisit the idea of moving there permanently in a few years’ time.

We have also decided to bite the bullet and buy a family home because we are a bit over renting and the lack of stability that comes with it.

Australia is not a very renter-friendly country, and it’s almost like you are a second class citizen if you don’t own your own home. This still blows my mind since there are good and valid reasons for wanting to rent. But it’s just not a great long-term option here. One-year lease agreements and frequent moves are acceptable when you are single or in a DINK couple, but it gets more complicated when kids are involved.

So after months of dragging my feet (especially considering the recent price explosion in most areas), we are now in the market for a house. We have engaged a buyer’s agent, and hopefully, we’ll find something suitable soon. I’ll share more about all the what/where/how questions in a future post.

In my recent post about our first year as early semi-retirees, I wrote about the fact that the journey doesn’t end once you reach your (financial) goal. Life planning is a continuous activity. Making big life decisions is never easy. However, we are grateful we get to design our lives based on our priorities with much less focus on financial considerations these days.

FIRE and Net Worth Update

It has been a rocky quarter for the financial markets, to say the least. However, overall, our overall portfolio has performed surprisingly well. Over the last quarter, we went from 19.6x our annual living expenses in retirement to 20.4x.

Remember that we are currently coasting to Financial Independence, which means we are no longer adding funds to our investments. We are relying on compound interest alone, so it will most likely continue to be a rocky ride to the end goal.

However, the fantastic lifestyle we get to enjoy along the way is 100% worth the uncertainty and dependence on the market.

The joy of having an outstanding work-life balance, working part-time and spending plenty of time with my family and on the things I love is priceless (and can’t be displayed in a chart!).

The chart below shows our overall net worth position displayed in years of living expenses in retirement instead of dollar amounts.

Our total net worth amounts to 24.8x our annual expenses in retirement! So technically, we are very, very, very close to FIRE (25x expenses).

While that’s, of course, nice to see, we keep our FIRE portfolio separate from our non-FI savings. As I mentioned above, we are in the market for a family home, so a lot of the additional funds will be used towards the deposit and purchasing costs.

Thanks for reading, see you back here for the next quarterly update! 🙂

P.S.: Can you believe Money Flamingo is about to turn four years old in a couple of weeks?!

What started as a small personal blog sharing our journey and approach to FI has turned into a beautiful community and an absolute passion project.

Thank you for all of your support over the years, it really means a lot! 🙂

17 thoughts on “Semi-Retirement Update – Q1/2022”

  1. Wonderful you were able to catch up with family. My family also live in Europe and haven’t seen my mum for 3 years. Dad passed away last year and I was unable to be there so hopefully I will be able to see the rest of the family soon. I told them if things get worse over there jump on a plane and come to Australia!!
    Great to see you looking to buy a house you can always rent it if you go to Europe for a while.
    I own my own home and the rental income of investment properties covers my expenses but I choose to still work part time. Semi retirement is fantastic!
    Congratulations on the 4 year anniversary love reading the blog.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your dad, that must have been so touch not to be able to be there.
      I told my parents the same – just jump on a plane. I’m glad at least that’s possible again now with the borders open.
      Yes, semi-retirement is fantastic, I agree. You are in a great position with the rent covering your expenses.
      All the best!

  2. Great update as always. Can’t wait to hear more about your property purchase and decision making process. Thanks for sharing, your story continues to inspire me. Family of four looking to semi retire in the next 5 years.

  3. I see you have deleted some of your charts. This AFIC stuff sucks. Good to see you are still publishing content. Keep going!

    I can so relate to your emotions about Europe, we are in a similar position. My wife is from Sweden and we are constantly thinking about moving to Europe to be closer to her siblings and extended family. It does seem like families are closer in Europe, my family here is pretty disjointed.

    • I think almost everyone with roots elsewhere constantly thinks about this. I don’t think it will ever stop. And I hear from friends who have moved back to Europe that now they are constantly thinking about moving back here…

  4. I have a beautiful friend who moved to England 10 years ago with his husband. He said, “If we were bringing up a family we’d stay in Australia, because it’s the best place to do that, but seeing as we’re not, we’re going to England because it’s near everywhere we want to travel.”

    There’s something very sweet about owning your own home. You’ll love it.

    • I hope so! The thought makes me a bit nervous, to be honest, but I’ll give it a go. It feels like such a big commitment. Renting permanently with a family definitely doesn’t seem like a good option long-term, so we’ll give it a go.

  5. Congratulations at nearing your FIRE number.
    I look forward to following your journey.
    I especially love the idea of traveling to Europe once every year.
    With your travel plans do you plan to keep working part time to fund the extra cost in travel or will this be budgeted and included in your yearly expenses?

    • Thanks Nyah! We plan to keep working part-time for the foreseeable future, so we’ll just factor the travel in. Our FI number does allow a generous yearly amount for travel, but we’ll have to see how expensive flights etc. are by then. We enjoy this semi-retired life so much that we don’t think we’ll stop working anytime soon, so it’s not a concern at the moment. I’d also happily top up our portfolio income with some casual work to make the travel happen, it’s definitely worth it for us.

  6. Yes I agree about Australia being an extremely hostile place to rent with a family. The short leases, the frequent inspections, the constant rent increases and selling the house out from under you. Europe is so much better for stability and being able to feel like your house is a home. We had to move 3 times in 2 years with a family here and nearly ended up homeless once. We were so over it so bought a house. It did not make financial sense at the time but we were much happier and have been since Now we have put down roots though we are in the same position as you. We think oz is a good place to raise a family but miss family and other things from our previous country. Worried though if we go back we will sorely miss our life here too. Feel sorry for you buying in the Sydney market though. I really resent the lack of value from big city property. The only people that win are the banks and the agents.

  7. Wow, so lucky. Do I need to save 25x of my current expenses or 25x of my retirement expenses? Looks like u r buying house soon, does the money you put into your house included in the net worth? If so, isn’t it misleading since you won’t be selling your house to pay for groceries? Please clarify?

    • Lucky? Don’t worry, I get jealous too. Why would she be selling her house to pay for groceries? Please clarify? 😉 I think it’s been made pretty clear that their house is not part of their FIRE numbers.

    • You don’t have to save anything, it depends on your goals. We are saving 25x our retirement expenses. I think you have the terms net worth (all assets) and nest egg (investments for retirement) confused. The house will be part of our net worth but not of our nest egg.


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