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Podcast - Captain FI - FIRE blogger & Entrepreneur

Money Like Mike
Podcast - Captain FI - FIRE blogger & Entrepreneur
Today I'm speaking with Captain FI - a retired Air Transport Pilot who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. He is passionate about Financial Independence and writes about Personal Finance and his journey to reach FI at 29, allowing him to retire at 30.
Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:
  • Who is Captain FI and what is his financial journey?
  • How he spent $350,000 on training to be a pilot without going into debt?
  • Captains financial tips that he now follows.




Wlcome to the Money Like Mike podcast, where I can show you how to stop living paycheck, to paycheck, become debt-free and live your definition of financial freedom. I'm your host Mike Staunton, and I can't wait for you to dig into this episode. Let's do it.


Today, I'm talking with Captain FI. I wanted to bring him on because this is actually one of my very first interviews I did on someone else's podcast and he's inspired me. We connected through the FIRE movement through Financial Independence Retire Early. Finances, hung out, we've stayed at each other's places, those kind of things have happened organically, which has been amazing. He is a retired air transport pilot and he now lives in Adelaide in South Australia and he's passionate about financial independence, and he has his personal blog on his captain FI and his journey of where he came from and where he, where he got to allowing him to retire at thirty years old. So welcome. Captain

Hey big mike, good to be on the pod man at some interesting. A bit of a role reversal here.

Yeah, that's right man and it's a great time to be on this side as well, and we going to run through a few questions that I have for you. Yes for my listeners and yours just to get to know a little bit about each other.

Yeah sounds great. I must admit, though, I'm yeah I'm a little bit nervous being on the other side of the of the microphone normally, I know all the questions I want to ask. So I'm sort of I'm sort of I'm winging this Mike.

That's right, everyone I didn't send these questions through, so these are going to be raw and real and from the heart. So, let's get started.

Hopefully I don't ramble too much mate. You can always just edit me out.

If I do thinking back. I don't know five ten years ago in the beginning of your financial story, or maybe even longer when and how did you get started? Was there a moment in time that you had to go through and you realize oh shit? I can't do this anymore or you just read someone's blog and like Oh, I really want to be a millionaire. How do just start for you?

So actually it's a really good question Mike and I think a lot of people probably go down the same route that I did so I I mean for people that haven't or aren't familiar with my story. I basically got into UNI on a scholarship, so I was essentially being paid to study, so I had a massive advantage over. You know people who have to take sort of loans out for the their study. I grew up in a single parent household. My mom worked part time, big family, so she did everything she could to make ends meet. So you know we didn't we weren't starving or anything. We had everything we needed, but certainly was very good at living at that Frugal Frugal lifestyle. So combine a frugal lifestyle with you know, O feely good grades, so I was able to get a scholarship and I did always have a little bit of surplus income. I guess because everyone, when you do your budget, you know you have your incomes, yout outgoings and then the difference. Ideally you want to build that as much as possible to invest. Now when I was younger, I didn't really know anything about investing, but I always had this goal to become a pilot and unfortunately, my scholarship wasn't in flying. It was in engineering which was still really really interesting and that education has starred had stood me in very good stead for my career as a pilot. However, it was quite expensive, so I basically threw all my money and the telly is somewhere north of three hundred and fifty hsan into getting sentially an TPR and instructor qualifications. The point you know you go in and fly professional freight so that that took me a long time and I think once I got to a point where I was no longer spending every spare dollar. I heard- and you know- and I worked multiple jobs to afford flying lessons when I basically got qualified as a pilot and I started to earn my first few pay checks as a pilot going. Oh, my God, I'm getting paid to fly. I've spent the last O God as e many years paying to fly. I was like. Oh, I do need to be doing something with this money. I've never really been one to buy a lot of crap. You see my place Mike. You know it's a Ming second hand, and you know that's just me right. I realized I needed to do something with the money. Now I wentdown the route of a you know. Online financial advisor, I invested in a managed fund, and I did that for a few years with some pretty lack luster result, so I won't go into too much about where the money actually was which bank it was win with. But I got really sort of frustrated and I had, Oh God, how much it a it was a lot of money, maybe fifty zero dollars or so, and I realize it was getting me covent of about four percent yield. When you know the stock market was doing. You know ten percent. I thought- Oh my God, what's happening here so with threw it all, and rather foolishly try to buy an investment property and load up on debt, and I don't know like it felt like it was unfortunate time, but it probably was fortunate for me, the agent who was selling the house was kind of screwing me over trying to just get more and more money. I guess for there off. I mean that said job really, isn't it trying to get the highest vice price for their their client, but so I got really frustrated at that. So I was you know. I was really frustrated at managed funds with bank. I was really frustrated at trying to do properly. I had no idea what to do, and so you know I picked up. I think it was a copy of the barefoot investor and had a red had a ready, a barefoot, and that was cool. That sort of showed me a bit more how to manage money and cash flows and everything which was great, but it was a bit lack cluster in terms of actually, how do I start investing, so it really got me down the rabbit hole. I joined the blue print, the bare foot blue print and that that was actually awesome, like you know, is to give him shit because he would say: Oh you can't beat the market, don't try and pick stocks and then the blue print was a stop dipping e slater, but I learnt so much from that. So I'm actually really really thankful to Scott Pape, and you know his franchise. A barfoot investor really told taught me a lot of basic foundations about money and it really switched on a bit of a passion. For me I don't know whether it's my Scottish on my Chinese heritage, but you know I love anything to do with money. You know I love getting the best deal. I love managing my money coming and coming out so having some, I guess, joining a group of people that were interested in money. It was like great, you know. This is like I found my hobby so as you sort of a Liato as well. Yes, I discovered a whole bunch of awesome blogs online, Mr Money, mustache mad fianti t go, carry cracker rabbit, Sethie, JAL, collins, awesome, Dave, Ramsey, arsons, listening to his show, I'm pretty sure you and Elle. Can you guys can pretty much off by heart? Do the entire intre sequence that these cant you Mike?

Yeah, that's right and man. I appreciate all that, like everything you just gave us was a gold there's so much gold in the things. I started with Dave Ramsey yeah you spot on a Scott pape. I appreciate as well here in Australia and his his nine steps of building wealth over time, and it's really a beautiful thing that we can take in these things and who we relate with is who we listen to right. So whoever is listening to this right now is listening to me and you have a conversation and they're resonating on some level and it's just a beautiful way to continue to share and get the content out there.

Yeah, well, that that resonant the whole you know being in part of this sort of money tribe- and I really did resonate with me- and I was really fortunate- and I discovered a few Australian financial independence, bloggers or fire blogs. Probably one of the most influential ones for me was the Aussie Firebug. You know he runs an awesome podcast, your email newsletter, writes monthly updates and he was really who inspired me to put my money journey up online and even like it was one of my first one of my first guests when I started my podcast, and so I have a lot to think as firebug for and it really just it started, sort of getting me accountable and then through him. I discovered a couple of awesome ones in Australia as well Dave from strong money, Australia, pat the shuffler awesome online blogs yeah. I fact I think those guys even have their own podcast. Now, which is really entertaining you, listen to them rip, shitty financial products, a part, it's quite entertaining.

That's amazing! Yes, we all bring something to the table and let's just get back to the what I want to focus on, which is the financial foundations, and you had said that you grew up in the Frugal household and you watched your mom. Do these things and you actually spent up over three hundred fifty thousand dollars to be able to eventually be paid to be a pilot. My question to you on those two things was: do you believe flying later when you finally got paid would have felt different if you did not pay for that up front?

Well, who always says this work is better when you don't need the money. I think that's A. I think. That's another American said now. That's these Canadian is Mr money. Mustache yeah work is better when you don't need the money. Look, it's a really interesting one day. I love flying okay and don't tell my old bosses, but I would have done it for free. It is possibly the most fun you can have with your pants on or maybe if they eded that out and over, let sat on the air look. I really enjoyed my flying career and some of it was really hard work. Look I'm not going to lie like waking up at three am or being still awake at three m flying through the night. You know those circadian lows: That's some of the most challenging flying I've done like if conditions through you know challenging thunderstorms or sandstorms. That kind of stuff look. A lot of the people in the aviation industry are so a lot of pilots have had flown with in the aviation industry. You know once you get to a professional level flying jet transport aircraft. You know it is relatively well paid like when you people think people always think pilots get paid. Amazingly like it's not. You know when I finished up. You know after fourteen years in the work force and having said I wasn't flying professionally that whole time I did switch jobs a few times, but you know like think at thirty years old fourteen years in work, but I was only earning about a hundred and sixty send with all my benefits and everything included, so it wasn't like a hundred and sixty grand cash in hand. It was you know it was a lot less than that, but there were perks. You know you get meal, alliances and you know you get to stay and hope, nice, hotels and stuff like that. So and you good health insurance and that through work, but so it's still for the amount of work you're doing it's not a lot of money. I think if you wanted to go and earn money, you would just you know, start a website or maybe you would learn accounting or become like an actuarial or something. You know there isn't a lot of money to be made in aviation. It's probably something more that you have to be quite passionate about something. You really really wanted to do as I sort of progress in my career and progress through towards like financial independence. There were vary things that sort of cropped up in my life. My personal health issues, my family self issues continuing to live into state with two Temanu parents was not something I could do, and so I was very very fortunate. I guess you that I had set up some solid money foundations. You know we're talking ten years ago, fifteen years ago. That meant that now at thirty, yes, I'm able to step away from the workforce and be with my parents. As you know, as I said, I've got into running my own blog and podcast and that's again because I'm passionate about money, real, really love the whole financial independence, everything it stands for, but I sort of stumbled into running other websites as well. So, interestingly enough, I have a website on aviation. I also love gardening, so I have a website on gardening and you can actually make quite a decent income from running websites passively. So I guess am I still am I retired quite unquote, maybe yes from flying. I still think her a little bit with the websites, so it's a very long long answer to your question. If I didn't have the money- Yes, I would still be flying and I would be sacrificing my family and my relationships for that for that job. So yeah work is different. When you don't need the money.

yeah, I'm with you man, I agree and that's as you were telling that story, that's how I was kind of going to tie it all back to in together, because if you would have been in a position of let's say you took out three hundred and fifty thousand in loans just to be able to fly, then you start flying get paid instead of having the feeling of Al. What do I do with this extra money you? They would have to go back to that loan of whoever gave you the loan could be the government student loans, whatever that is. It gave you choices right. I know this now. You know this now and how we continue to evolve and improve and learn and grow contribute. You are able to do that through flying now. You've taken a step back because of your personal has those tyers your family's health issues, other reasons as well- and I know your story a little bit more than most, I think is you are also planning for the family and the kids and the acreage and the build and to be there full time and that's what the beautiful thing about the whole fire moving is in my opinion. But that's why I. I came back and created this season of financial foundations, because if you can't control you, if you can't tell your money where to go, if you can't get out of debt and stop living paycheck the paycheck, then you don't get to have these options.

yeah absolutely want to do absolutely Mike. The assets and passive income give you options. Debt takes options away,

Yep! I love that

As they say, in Australia, you know, we said is to whether, as the three major religions in in Australia, what is it? Christianity, Islam and property everyone's like yeah? Let's go: Let's go get a million dollar loan bank loan for an investment property, and you know: Okay, there are smart ways to structure debt, but you don't need debt to become financially independent and I did not use debt to become financially independent. I do have about three hundred and sixty thousand of debt against an investment property that I've built, and that stresses me out all the time and I go I go. I need to make sure that I have income service that day otherwise I're going to sell that property and if the market goes down and the bank wants their money- and I can't serve is alone, I'm going to be forced to sell that property. So quote unquote, smart debt or good debt can can restrict you as well. I've got loads of friends in the aviation industry who have you know, put for Property Pot fellows with you know nearly a dozen properties in them. You know they're earning two hundred thousand dollars, but they can't leave. They can't leave their job until they sell those properties.

Yeah and that's why that's what you've heard through this podcast, as where you always hear me say for the rest of my life. I've been debt free for ten years now at this point in time, and I will never go back because of the feelings that are associated with that now. I know there's other people that do believe in good debt that did me personally, I don't believe any debt is good debt, that's my views and you may be opposed to that and that's okay. This is my life. This is why it's called personal finance, because each of us or individuals, each of us are personal now I wouldn't take it as far as the people that you just described, of having twelve properties and making two hundred Sandolas a year. Yet they can't leave because they're still living paycheck to pay check because of all of those loans that they have to continue to service and man. Thank you for sharing this story, and hopefully that opens up a few people's eyes of instead of having twelve just have one paid for, or you know, one paid for whatever that means get rich slow is what I want to share with others.

I found it very interesting as well that my business mentor on the moment, Matt Radd, he had quite a large property portfolio. He often has said to people. Just try, try living bet, free, try. You know you to sell the house, sell your investment properties and rent or pay your house in full and just see what it feels like when you do. Don't have any repayments news around your neck, stressing you out- and you know I don't know how much I should really say about Matt. I don't know how much he wants me to talk about, but you know he's certainly in a position where he's not holding det any more he's he's told me that he is now more interested in things like real estate investment trusts, rather than individual properties, with a mortgage with a bank because he's just sick of dealing with the banks yeah- and this is someone who's very, very wealthy and and very influential and successful in business and and if he's at that level- or he saying he doesn't want to deal with the banks, then it's worth at least considering listening to.

I agree with Matt and I don't even know him, but I agree with him because it's what I teach my clients just try and get rid of the credit card for three months six months, whatever it is, try it and then take next to tribeenee, because we know mat note you can always go get another credit card. You can always go get another debt. Another mortgage banks are there and that's why they have the biggest buildings is because we continue and they lend the money out quite easily.

It's interesting isn't that the bank's always got a bigger building than year. There's a reason that.

So all to my next question man. Why do you believe that someone should gain control of their finances today?

Well, if you aren't in control of your finances, that means effectively someone else's. I wouldn't just jump out of the cockpit and go and sit down in the first class cabin and have a champagne and and just let it fly itself right that doesn't sound the Sella rescue for disaster. No, you know again going back to what we said early. You know passive income and assets give you options and choices and debt takes them away. So if you get in control of your finances now, your future self is going to be high five and you it's going to say gee, I'm really glad that you had that delayed gratification. I'm really glad you didn't Max out your credit card, I'm really glad you routinely invested because look at look at me. Now, I'm financially independent! You know, but if you don't get your shit sorted, you're, never going to break out of that cycle. You're always going to be working to make someone else, rich you're always going to be working for your monthly repayments or your for nightly payments. It's just absurd. Like I mean I don't know, you could have call me taking a bit taking it back back, ta question because it's almost just like. Why would you not want to be in control of your life, like how I mean unless people just genuinely don't care, then- and you know I've seen you know- I've seen friends and family who, for example, struggle with mental metal, illness and addictions, and when people are in that stage of life and they're depressed, they literally just don't care, and I think that can be how people can sort of get started to get trapped in these cycles, but I mean who doesn't want to be healthy, wealthy and in control of their lives.

Beautifully said I couldn't agree more and like when I came with a question or someone asked me the same thing I'm like well, why not now like whoever is listening to this? Why not you? Why not now you're hearing something you've stuck through the podcast to hear me with a note at or her captain with a nugget like there's something that you're still listening and you want to take away so why not now? Why not try it? Why not go sign up for my free guide or go read captain's blog about the money side of things, the financial independence in side of things, and the reason that I'm really enjoying this conversation is because he- and I can both show you that it is possible we're both in our 30's now and we're financially independent right. It's not that we have a ten million dollar net worth at the moment. Is it coming? Yes, I know that about each of us that that is coming down the road, but for us right now, we've reached a level of wealth, confidence and control. We both know we're both frugal, but we also both can look in the mirror and tell ourselves now right. Captain mentioned he had everything in his house was second hand that's how I live my very minimalistic style and why? Why is it for myself? The reason is because it's opportunity cost that's less money for me to invest. That's less money for me to go and travel with US less money. For our experience is that's what I brings need joy. So, if you're listening, answer this pause right now answer this question. What brings you joy? Is it fortnightly repayments? Is it living paycheck to pay check? Is it being so scared? You can't sleep at night, because you got you're scared, someone's going to call you for that mortgage repayment. What is it or would it be getting rid of a credit card? Would it be even getting dear free? Would it be learning and reading about investing and being able to create these acids and eliminate the debt? You've got to answer that for yourself.

You know another really big one Mike- and I know this is really important to you- is that you know I've seen you build your financial independence and be incredibly generous, and I don't know how much you've talked about this on, your pod, but you know for people there. Listening you know Mike is Sponsoring schools in Africa and he's had no close friends come out and stay with him and he's working towards essentially helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world and he's only able to do that because he's because he started, he became financially independent and now has a surplus to give. You know if you, if you build your budget and cash fules in in a deficit, you're, never going to be in a position where you can give and help. So you know that's a big, that's a big thing for a lot of people. You know I talk, we talk about how to reach financial independence. The first step is starting with why so you know you've got to figure out. Why do you want to do this? Think of what do you know already? What are your values? What are your goals? What motivates you? Because, if you don't know, understand or know what is driving you, it's going to things going to be a lot harder. It's going to be a lot easier, just just sort of give up, so I think probably starting with wire, and why not I mean I literally cannot think of a single reason. Why not to get started.

Amazing. I appreciate that and in that so hard I do appreciate that I haven't talked about the giving side of things in the bad yet so great great time. I mean we're actually recording this two days before Christmas, one of the best biggest GIVING periods of every single year and man is just spotting like what I teach my clients is just start giving. all right and that's what ten percent of your income? That's what I do you don't have to start five start with one percent just start doing it something, and if it's not with money, use time, that's Okay as well. I have been able to give the level of wealth that I've been able to give on the money side of things, including my time. Actually. Now I think about it, is in the last five years once I got started on exercising my giving muscle man I've given more in the last five years than I had my previous thirty combined. It's been unbelievable and all because I got started right. Why not now I got started learning about money fifteen years ago and I've continued to grow every single year every single month, every single week, and even now I'm learning and I'm growing right. It thanks captain for the shout out of my generosity and me being on the board of a charity that is going to be building schools in Tanzania. I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had not got started- and I don't know who has to hear this, but you don't have to build schools and dams in a maybe you just want to be nice to your family. Maybe you want to buy extra Christmas presents. Maybe you want to help your neighbor cook meals. Do it locally and that's beautiful as well. You don't have to go international for these types of things. So I appreciate that wisdom, which I think, anyway ties into the next question of what is the number one thing of where to start, when you don't know anything about money, and if I can paraphrase what you've said is just start exactly make just start.

You know, I would say, is if you could just you know: If people want okay, they can say. Oh that's! Well what should I actually do, then? Okay, log on to your bank and print out your last three months of your bank statements, gravy self or pen and a highlighter and a ruler and just old fashioned, go through go through it, Lombal, okay. There are plenty of APPs and cool money trackers and there's a lot of really cool tools out there, but when you're first getting started, nothing beats just printing off your bank statement. You know, make sure you using your card to pay for everything like because then that way, it's all captured all right and then just you know do that for a few months and then go through go through your statements. Have a look have a look exactly where your money is going, because I think once you've actually started yeah and you've found your Wi, your wire fire. You then, can basically move on to the next step, which is budgeting. So you have to you have to understand some of your couch for s and look when when I was in engineering, you know we there's this concept of an iterative procedure right. So no one is ever going to get the perfect solution on the first run and that's why we have drafts and that's why we have new iterative procedures. So you know the first time you're going through your bank statements. You might miss a few things or you know you might categorize some things in wrong areas or you know, but the next time you do it and the next time you do and the next time you do it and you know yeah, you might you might blow your budget a little bit when you go shopping because you really want to buy some prawns for Christmas because it's you know it's US Christmas. The next week, maybe you're not going to go as for on, so it's just all about testing adjusts testina US iterate, iterations, iterations iterations, as you get more proficient you'll, probably tend to rely less and less on the budget and more on just tracking the expenses so and look again personal finite, very, very personal. I categorize my expenses into basically three levels of purchase. It's like the essentials to survive stuff that you want to have to live comfortably, that's to thrive, and then your luxuries right and that's living your rich life. If you want no example from me, you know I don't do this anymore, but for you know, as long as I can remember my my survive. Essential Budget for food was thirty bucks a week and it might not sound like much, and I know a lot of families are like horrified when I said that. But you know I was a single guy all right. No, I worked a lot, so I did get some free meals, but basically a whole food pant based. It cost me about thirty bucks a week now when I wanted to start to thrive and live a bit more comfortably that went up to about you know fifty sixty dollars a week rid by a lot of fresh fruits, tropical fruits and all sorts, and then you know these days. I I'm living my rich life, my go, I'm you know I spent about a hundred Dar a week now on groceries, and you know I do buy some cheese every now and then, and sometimes some convenience foods or, like you know, living in the city here in Adelaide I've gone hit up a local cafe. So you know it's all about what works for you and the reason why I'm able to go and live that rich life with my food budget now is because I live my essential budget for for many many many years so yeah. So that's probably my second second step about laying your foundation is, is budgeting.

That's amazing and I'm very similar, I would say I'll probably eat more than you now.

I know I know exactly how much Mike eats, so if any, if anyone who hasn't actually seen Mike he's about six foot a hundred- and he and he's- I think- he's- got hollow legs and say it's impossible to satisfy this guy.

I would say that Elle and I definitely have a decent budget, it's not on your level, but we spend six hundred dollars a month on food for the two of us and we believe that we in Elle and I had a conversation. She could easily survive on two hundred dollars a month easily, so I'm eating four hundred as a month of our budget. So yes, I'm with you and I I appreciate you sharing that you know you went from thirty s a week with yeah, okay meals. Some meals were provided at work. Then you graduated to fifty l a week and now a hundred. So I want you to hear if all I can never live on a hundred dollars a week of home food bullshit captain and I have both done it- I've both both of us have been through those seasons. It is possible. I mean you even mentioned that you had a you love the garden. You had a garden block. I know you eat from your garden captain and someone else can do the same. It's not impossible! So, don't tell me you can't eat on a hundred dollars a week. It's bull it we're telling you you can't it is possible now. Is it forever? No captain just told you he went from thirty dollars week to a hundred. There is three times he's increased as his food budget. As beautiful we're not saying this, I forever it's temporary to me to goal near goal may be to get out of debt. Captains goal was to become financially independent right. Whatever that goal is you can do it as well now. This leads me to the final question and be as open as you want to be. I know you're quite open on the blog, but what do you share where you are now or share where as much as your comical sharing with the audience of how you went from thirty dollars a week and to to a hundred and what's happened over the last ten or fifteen years?

Yeah absolutely so I kind of mentioned earlier how I'd sort of changed lanes a few times sort of was investing in these managed fund, which sort of tears it turns out, was quite high fee. You know, tried property, try to Ken, invest some property and it didn't so. I didn't work once I'd laid my basic foundation and I had surplus income. I actually started stock picking, you know, Chakara don't, and this was so silly like. I bought nearly thirty zero of a stock, because I read in this newsletter that it was a by and it was called AFECTION Foundation Investment Company. I think it and, as it turns out, so it's called a listed investment company. It's you know not not a bad way to invest. You know, I'm not endorsing it or recommending or not recommending it. I held it for a number of years, but when I first bought it, I had no idea I was doing. I thought it was actually like a concrete manufacture like like a cement like. Oh there, the Foundation Investment Company. So maybe they you know they build all the foundations for l. The buildings like I had no idea and I look back and I think I was so silly and naive and I can't believe I just made a huge investment without doing proper village due diligence, but I'm glad I did because it got my foot in the door and again it's never going to be perfect the first time. So that was not my finest out, but it got some skin in the game and I became more and more interested. I kept reading for all the blogs we mentioned listening to the podcast reading more books. You know to the point her out. You know I l, I e said I felt like I found my tribe. I was really passionate and learning about money have sort of read over a hundred books on personal finance, and you know some people like their ice closes over and they go. Oh, I couldn't think of anything worse. But for me I was like no. No. I have some skin in the game, I'm an investor. Now I need to learn how this works, so it was really just I throwing myself at it basically jumping in with my two left feet, so I thick as it turns out, pays you know like a dividend, and I can't remember how much my first dividend from them was. It wasn't a tremendous amount of money, but you know I think it's usually around three or four percent, so whatever that is, maybe it was like five hundred dollars or something- and I was like I was just- I thought it was that was like you re Wid, my brain MICAS. I jus got free money for doing nothing, and so, as I slowly incrementally learned a little bit by a little bit by a little bit- and you know I am not an expert- I am not a guru. Okay, I am just a like a just a dude like Yep. I had a professional job, didn't have any formal training or qualifications with money, basically making it up as I go along had a blog where I basically explained what I'm doing, because you know the old adage. If you ask for help people, you know most people ignore you, but if you post something that's wrong or they'll, be super quick to correct you all right. So I was posting all of my money mistakes. All of my money moves, and essentially I was getting like free critiques from like financial advisers on the line. I was like, Oh yeah, but may it just it was just years and years of slow, incremental investments. You know these days. I now focus on exchange traded index funds, which are you know and sort of low cost managed funds through through Robo Advisors, and you know, talk all about it on the blog and I play basically published all of my investments. All of my money moves. So if you know if people are stuck and they go oh, what should I do? You can come and have a look at what I've done. Like I said you know, I'm not a financial advisor, I'm just a guy publishing what I do. So you know be careful if you copy me- and I don't know if something goes wrong, we could all holy our money, but I think this probably if we lose all your money and you're investing in index funds. It probably means a Zombie apocalypse or something but yeah Mike. So I just kept consistently investing and slowly that surely the dividends got bigger and bigger and bigger, and I got it to a position where I could cover. I call it lean fire or single fire where I had enough money to basically cover my bills on a very basic basic existence. All right and look not everybody wants to live a basic frugal existence, but the longer you stay working and the more money you save and invest the higher your passive income. So you know you can then sort of have a bit more disposal income in early retirement. What really accelerated it for me- and this is probably opening a whole new pandorus box- was, as I mentioned earlier, websites and online business. So I started my my pilot blog years ago just talking about aviation, because I was very passionate about it. Then I started captain fire and started a few other sites and they actually do provide me in ough income. Now that I am able to continue saving and investing, even though I'm not flying full time, that's allowed my dividend investment to continue to grow, and it's also allowed me to diversify into an investment property which was it the best money move, not sure leave that one up to you to decide. It's certainly been a lot more work than the index funds, but yeah, that's basically where I'm at today. You know I'm able to basically cover my rent cover my cost. My car cover cost my food. I can go out and do fun stuff, and I can also help out family all because I made some sacrifices earlier on in my career.

Man. I love that and very similar my story of opportunity to cost and, like you said sacrificing for the now and the order self will appreciate it and you're already griefing the benefits. As Am I right, I'm glad that we got started early enough and wherever you are on your journey today is the day to get started whatever. That means, if you have to go to captain fi ikam and readers blog, a figure out what he's been doing and see the mistakes that he's made, but also the things that he's done right and pick out what you like right. That's the whole point of blogs. The whole point of listening to this podcast pick out the things you like and discord the things you don't like because we're all individuals, man and we're here to serve- and we are here to share our story and that's why I really love this conversation and my final question I mean, after all, of these amazing tips that we've that you've shared with this captain. My closing question is: What does freedom mean to you?

So freedom to me means being able to spend my time. However, I want and look it does sound. Maybe that sounds a bit selfish, but when you think, if I want to spend my time helping someone, I can go and do that today. So, actually, at the moment, my nephew- I have my nephew over and my dad is staying with me over Christmas, because I don't have to go, I'm not beholding to an employer. You know I'm not living in a share house. I can have family come and stay with me and it's not an issue and I can go and help other family members build build their garden. I can go and help people sort out their finances. I can write about what I'm passionate about. I can focus on my health. I can focus on eating good food and I can focus on putting myself out there and and hopefully meeting a partner that going to spend the rest of my life with that's what that's what freedom means to me? That's what financial independence has given me back amazing.

I love everything that you just mentioned and defined I'm right there with you. I love that, and I love having my time- freedom and and flexibility to be able to do the very same things that you're doing right now.

I think financial independence to me means laughing at someone when they ask you to be somewhere before nine, a m,

I'm with you, man, I'm with it, and the funny thing is I've never gotten up earlier now that I don't have to be up, I'm up with the sun, where, before I sent an alarm for eight thirty to be at work at nine.

That's the other thing its done wonders for my mental health, like not being jolted away with some horrible ring tone or alarm, and just waking out with this with the CICADA rhythm.

man. Is there anything else that you want the listeners to know about you where to find you those kind of things please here?

Oh yeah, look! If you guys want to find me just wack it into Google, I do I'm on social media. So also just you know, just Google captain fire or look up captain fire, AI'm sure I'll pop up before we finish up. I just want to reiterate to become financially independent. It's it's not difficult. It's not easy. It doesn't happen overnight. There's a very few simple steps and I just want to outline those steps for people. So the first step is understand your. Why? Why are you doing this? The second step make a budget, so we said print it out at least three months of your expenses, so make all of your expenses on a debit card, or, God forbid, a credit card. If you have one as long as you pay the balance off people, don't don't carry a balance months and month print out your statement and have a look use that to start building your bud, Shit and tracking your expenses third step make sure you've got a buffer. Okay have an emergency fund if at least a couple of thousand dollars at least okay. The fourth step cover your bum all right, make sure you've got insurance and protections in place now. This is something that's not really talked about a lot in the personal finance community, but insurances are important. Okay, specific, especially if you have dependence or you're caring for vulnerable people or if you do have death in your living, paychecks paycheck. You better hope that you have got income protection insurance, because if you, if you lose your income, you screwed yeah so make sure you've got appropriate insurances, and you may need to talk to a financial advisor about that. The fifth step, dipeso become an investor, as Mike said, start now, just dip a toe put a small amount of money into an investment. Even if that's, if that's five hundred dollars through a conventional chest, ponto broker go for it. If that's five dollar through a micro, investing platform, do it. Okay, five dollars is enough to get you interested and have some skin in the game and that 'll link back to your first step. The wide fire it'll get you motivated, okay, step. Six, reduce your expenses linking back into the budget and step to what you're going to do now is be mindful about your expenses. You know, but still have fun, try play game. Try cutting him back five percent a month, ten percent a month until you reach your target budget. There are so many tips and tricks online that you can get, which is going to teach you to reduce your expenses. Okay, step, seven boost your income, the most simple way to get in it to bosher income is to work more and negotiate a salary negotiated, Payris, a promotion. If you want you can double down and get a side house there of some lucrative side hustles. But to be honest, a lot of side houses will distract you from: U Your main income producing activity, which is the job that you've trained and are qualified for. Okay. Now those last two steps: Reducing your expenses and boosting your income. That's going to widen what we call the wealth gap. That's the the the income that you're going to have left over at the end of the day, to start investing, okay, which is what you used to step, Ay, paying off dit. Okay, you want to pay off debt as soon as possible, and Mike has got some really good resources on his website and on. I social media about paying off debt, so have a look at the debt snowball or the dead avalanche techniques and work out what is suitable for you step. Nine is boost that emergency fun, get it up to about six months of living costs, O case you're, going to start with a couple of grand, then you're going to boost it up to about three to six months of living costs. Then the last step is gets serious about investing okay, so you got to keep learning about. Investing you've really got to start, boosting your savings rate, and that's really all there is to reaching financial independence and don't forget, go back to step one and start the process all over again. If you need, because it's an iterative procedure, no one's perfect, the more practice we have the better we're going to get at it. That's that's really. All I can say on how to reach Financial Independence Mike. I'm really thankful that you've invited me on to onto the pod today. May I really hope your listeners have have got something out of it and it's always good to have a shot. You guys going to have to come visit me in Adelaine mate.

Now I've got money that Shell had set up, and I appreciate all the noes that you shared with everyone and tearing a little bit more about your background, your story and everything and man. Certainly, we definitely want to come visit and I think it's overdue. It's been quite a few months now,

absolutely there are some beautiful, beautiful cycling tracks around around Adelaide, and I don't know about cycling up lofty, that's that's that's pretty intense. I reckon you'd probably be able to do it, but I don't think I could. we'll be able to find out and do a time o man yeah awesome at well. What's get thanks very much. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this show or found value in this episode, the number one thing you can do is subscribe rate and review this podcast. I can't wait to see you in the next episode.

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