Semi-Retirement Update – Q3/2021 – Coasting to FIRE

Our quarterly updates chronicle our adventures in semi-retirement and our financial progress from Flamingo FI towards complete Financial Independence (and probably Fat FIRE as well). Since we reached Flamingo FI in late 2020, we have not added any funds to our investments and are instead coasting to Financial Independence. You can read all about our overall plan here: Coasting to FIRE (Without Saving Another Cent!) โ€“ Our Semi-Retirement Plan.

Money Flamingo Semi-Retirement Update - Coasting to FIRE - Q3/2021

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

How is it October already!? The last three months have been a blur. Lockdown here in Sydney has meant that our days and weeks looked pretty much the same for the whole three months, but we made the best of the situation. We spent a lot of quality time as a family and enjoyed a great variety of outdoor activities.

Like last time I’ve broken the update up into three parts – a financial update, a life update and a blog update.

FIRE and Net Worth Update

I honestly can’t believe the progress we’ve made since we reached Flamingo FI and semi-retired a year ago. We have not added any money to our portfolio since then, but our net worth keeps increasing at a rapid rate. The markets have been going really strong, and our progress is 100% dependent on market performance now that we are in the coasting stage of our plan. Of course, this above-average performance can’t continue forever, but it’s really reassuring to see the power of our snowball in action.

Coasting from Flamingo FI to FIRE

Over the last quarter, we went from 15.4x annual living expenses to a whopping 18.5x!

Money Flamingo Coast FIRE Progress October 2021 - coasting to financial independence

The coasting chart above also shows our projected FIRE date (based on average inflation-adjusted returns of 7%). This projected date will change all the time as markets go up and down, but it’s nice to see what’s theoretically possible.

I have actually received a few messages and comments from readers who felt that our projections are too optimistic. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. We work with the 7% number because that’s the average return the stock market has returned over time. If we only achieve 5% returns this will push our FIRE date back, but it’s no biggie. In fact, we’ll be ok if we only achieve 3% returns over the next 20+ years. With our plan, we basically hope for the best but plan for the worst.

FIRE Nest Egg Asset Allocation

Over the past three months, we have continued dollar-cost averaging into ETFs (IOO and IOZ) using the cash component of our portfolio. As you’ll see from the asset allocation chart below, our cash position now sits at only 4%. This was not planned, but I am comfortable with this low cash percentage at the moment as we have a lot of cash outside of our FIRE portfolio.

This is what our current asset allocation looks like:

Money Flamingo FIRE asset allocation October 2021

The majority of growth has come from our investment property over the last quarter. It’s in a high-demand location and prices have been going through the roof (like in most areas) lately. I am sure this trend will slow down at some point soon, but I certainly won’t complain about the positive results we’ve had lately.

Total Net Worth

I have added two new charts to the regular updates on popular demand: total net worth and net worth composition.

We see our FIRE portfolio as separate from our non-retirement savings and assets. So our overall net worth is quite a bit higher than the value of our FIRE portfolio. The additional funds that sit outside of our FIRE nest egg are mainly cash savings and investments for our children.

As with all of our numbers, our overall net worth is displayed in years of living expenses rather than dollar amounts:

Money Flamingo total net worth October 2021

And here is the composition of our total net worth (inspired by Aussie Firebug’s awesome new net worth charts):

The only debt we have is our investment property mortgage. As you can see our overall net worth sits at 22.1x annual expenses, so really close to our FIRE number (25x annual expenses using the 4% rule).

Life Update

I have decided to make some changes to the way I share our personal updates.

After our last Semi-Retirement Update was hijacked by some rude and ignorant Xenophobes I don’t feel comfortable sharing too many personal details and what we are up to as a family on the blog anymore.

I write these updates because I want to motivate and help others in the community. It is always a nice feeling to hear from readers who tell me that our story has inspired them to make changes in their own lives or rethink their plans. I have actually made quite a few personal connections with people in a similar situation this way.

Moving forward, I will keep the “life update” section of these quarterly updates very brief and general. I will share our personal updates via email with a smaller group of readers who share a bit about themselves with us as well. This way it’s less of an anonymous one-way relationship but more of a genuine connection.

The sign-up for our personal updates is currently closed. I’ll share a new sign-up form in our Q4 update.

Blog Update

The last three months have been a busy time for our little blog:

  • I managed to publish 7 articles, which is quite a lot for me.
  • I was a guest on the Aussie Firebug Podcast. This was one of my first podcasting experiences and it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed chatting to Matt and it’s crazy how similar our stories and general attitude towards FIRE are.
  • Money Flamingo was a finalist for the 2021 Plutus Awards (the US financial media awards). This is something I didn’t expect at all and it was really nice to be recognised in this way.
  • Some of our more recent articles were featured in various “best of” roundups like All Star Money, Women’s Personal Finance and The Sunday Best – Physician on FIRE.

I have really enjoyed writing more articles and going more in-depth on the topics I care about. Corresponding with readers has also been fun and it’s so nice to see that more and more people are considering alternative FIRE strategies and/or semi-retirement.

The feedback I’ve received for our Semi-Retirement Calculator has been really good and I’m glad that a lot of people find it useful.

I have really paid attention to which parts of running the blog that I like and dislike lately. I really enjoy writing about topics I find important, interacting with readers who are in a similar situation, working with people directly and having genuine conversations. That’s also where I feel I can add the most value. The things I dislike are spending too much time on social media and anything to do with SEO, marketing and the technical aspects of running a blog. I have some ideas about how I can focus even more on the things I enjoy and that benefit others in the community moving forward, but for now, I’m just happy I enjoy writing again. ๐Ÿ™‚

And that completes our Q3 Semi-Retirement update. Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “Semi-Retirement Update – Q3/2021 – Coasting to FIRE”

  1. Hi Money Flamingo!

    You are doing such a great job, you deserve all the recognition. Keep at it!

    Look how steep that “Coasting from Flamingo FI to FIRE” chart is. You should hit FIRE any day now! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  2. Wow, just wow! Congratulations on your fantastic progress. I LOVE your blog. I completely understand your decision regarding private information, I just filled in the form. Keep up the good work ?

    Reply

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