If you are new to the blog and not familiar with our plan, you can find an overview here.
Things have been pretty calm in the Flamingo household over the last month or so, which has been nice for a change after a pretty busy start to the year.
My parents flew back home in early February after spending six weeks with us in Sydney. The kids love spending time with their grandparents, so it’s always a bit sad to see them leave.
In February, we also went on our first mini-cruise as a family (three nights from Sydney to Brisbane) to “test the waters”, so to speak. Mr. Flamingo and I used to love cruising before we had kids. Our favourite ever cruise was a month-long voyage from Vancouver to Sydney (part of our relocation from Europe to Australia).
The cruise was nice, and the kids handled being at sea fine. However, we’ll definitely wait until Baby Flamingo #2 turns three before we book another cruise. Age 2 is probably still a bit young, in my opinion, and trying to handle a wild toddler was a challenge at times.
We are also looking at options for our annual trip to Europe at the moment. Baby Flamingo #1 recently started community preschool, so we now have term dates and school holidays to consider, which is a new experience for us.
Work-wise, there are still a lot of changes going on, and I am still not sure if/how this will affect my part-time role. There will probably be a few conversations happening over the next couple of months, so for now, I’m in “wait and see” mode.
I actually really like my job and appreciate the flexibility and variety it provides. One major benefit has been the ability to scale my hours up and down to suit our lifestyle and family requirements. A little while back, I increased my hours a little to get a mortgage approved (banks really don’t care about share portfolios…) and was then able to scale back without any issues.
I find this type of flexibility is really underrated and a major perk for anyone with a young family. As I mentioned in the last update, losing this flexibility would be a deal-breaker for me, but let’s see what happens.
Lastly, I wanted to join in on the “EV flexing” that seems to be going on in the FI community at the moment. 😉 No, we have not bought a Tesla, but check out our new ride:
It’s a Tern GSD Cargo E-Bike described as “a mini-van on two wheels”. Mr. Flamingo has an older (non-cargo) e-bike that he rides regularly, but we’ve wanted to get a second one for a while, especially since the kids won’t both fit on the old one for much longer.
We’ve decided to go with a subscription model for now. This gives us the chance to test the model out properly. So far, it’s been great for childcare runs, longer family bike rides, etc.
These cargo e-bikes have become really popular in our area, and there are always several parked outside the local playgrounds, childcare centres, etc. It’s great to see the e-bike wave has finally arrived in Australia. Now the government just has to put some more thought into the suboptimal bike infrastructure!
FIRE and Net Worth Update
I have to admit that updating the spreadsheet regularly has become a bit of a chore over the last year or so. We are coasting to FI and don’t add any fresh funds to our FIRE portfolio. So our nest egg really just follows the ups and downs of the market, slowly bobbing towards the finish line. Not exactly exciting!
However, I know that many of you look forward to these quarterly updates, so I will keep publishing them until we hit our FI goal.
Someone recently shared this US podcast episode that touched on Flamingo FI. One of the people on the show mentioned that our Flamingo progress chart reminds her of the yodeler from The Price Is Right, which I found so funny. She said that she finds watching the flamingo move up the hill really motivating, which is nice to hear. 🙂
Anyway, here are our stats for Q1:
At the end of March, our FIRE portfolio sat at 20.5x annual expenses (up from 19.6x). So we are now 82% of the way to Financial Independence.
Reminder: Instead of using dollar amounts, we display our net worth and portfolio value in years of living expenses. Real wealth is about time, not money, so I find this way of looking at things much more helpful. I also increase our FIRE number with inflation on a quarterly basis to account for the ongoing living cost increases.
To be honest, it feels like this whole FI goal is becoming more and more irrelevant the closer we get to “our number”. We already have a lot of choice and flexibility in our life (as much as you can have with young kids, I guess). It really is all about where you are on the FI spectrum, not the actual numbers.
The final 18% that will get us to full FI doesn’t mean nearly as much as the first 18% we saved and invested when we first got started.
Our overall net worth position – which includes our FIRE portfolio and all other funds and assets) – increased from 25.5x annual expenses to 25.8x.
We will focus on building up some more cash savings outside our FIRE portfolio this year as we are weighing up a few medium to longer-term lifestyle and location options for our family and preparing for a possible mini-retirement in 2024.
And that’s it for our Q1 2023 update – thanks for reading! 🙂