A brand new week, brings a brand new interview from someone pursuing FIRE around the globe! This week, we’re going Down Under and hearing from a fellow FIRE enthusiasts, Adventures with Poopsie.
We’re an Australian couple, aged 43 and 29, pursuing early retirement and a life of travel. We both work for the government (that’s how we met) and, while we don’t hate our jobs, we want a life of freedom and choice. We chronicle our journey on our blog and are hoping to retire on 1 July, 2023… six years to go!
Q1. How did you first hear about/become aware of the concept of FIRE (financial independence | retire early)?
In my early 20s, I started reading The Simple Dollar. I enjoyed the money saving articles and this led me to other blogs. One of the blogs I read mentioned Mr Money Mustache. I didn’t click on the link until I was rereading the blog post a few years later, when I was about 25. I’m so glad I did! Mr Money Mustache completely changed my views about money, life and retirement. When Poopsie and I first met, about a year before we started dating, I introduced him to Mr Money Mustache and he too quickly became hooked. When we eventually got together, we knew early retirement was the kind of life we wanted to pursue together.
Q2. After becoming aware of it, how long did it take for the idea to take hold and become a plan?
For me, it probably took close to two years after initially finding MMM. At the time, I liked my job and (shock!) my SUV, so I didn’t really consider early retirement as my goal. I did take some great money saving tips away from him though, and immediately began to apply them. Around the time I met Poopsie, I was beginning to consider it as a possibility and when we got together, we decided to aim for it. However, it probably wasn’t until about a year into our relationship that we made a solid financial plan, and another year before we set our date.
Q3. Why do you want to achieve FI?
We want the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want. With full time jobs, we’re not able to do this. We love each other and love spending time together, yet spend at least eight hours a day apart (even while working for the same government department). We’d much rather spend our days together, doing whatever we feel like on that particular day. We don’t hate our jobs, but they’re not compatible with the lives we want to live. There are so many other things we want to do, and work kind of gets in the way of that.
Q4. What’s your own personal strategy for achieving FI (stock market investing, real estate, extreme frugality etc)?
We are lucky that, at 55, we both will receive a defined benefit pension. While we have worked for these pensions, we still consider ourselves lucky as they’re no longer available to new joiners of our government department. Our retirement will be funded, prior to the pensions, by Vanguard Index Funds. We intend to have a paid off home in our retirement location (Newcastle, Australia). We would like to keep the current home we live in as a rental, however, we are willing to sell it if we need to in order to reach our goal of retiring in six years.
Q5. Do you know how you’d like to spend your time in ‘retirement’?
A lot of travel, learning, exploring and what Poopsie calls “pottering”. Poopsie would like to make our retirement home fully sustainable and I’d like to write a book- published or unpublished. I don’t think we will struggle to fill our days!
Q6. If you could achieve FI in any country in the world, would you stick with where you are or relocate? (Do you look at anyone in another country and think their path seems a whole lots easier than yours given their location?)
I do think it appears easier to retire in the United States, mainly because of their much, much, much lower real estate prices, and generally lower cost of living. However, while we enjoy visiting the USA, we have no interest in living there.
We do hope to one day spend some time living in France, the United Kingdom and maybe New Zealand. However, we will always return to Australia, a country we both love.
Q7. Do you think your country has a well represented community of FIRE folks?
It’s definitely growing. When we first started blogging, I only knew of one other Australian FIRE blogger. However, I’ve since discovered many, many more and the list seems to grow everyday. It’s awesome to see this movement growing in Australia and, as we have a few unique aspects to deal with here, great to get the Australian tailored advice and tips from others.
Thanks to Adventures with Poopsie for sharing details of their FIRE journey. When I first learned of FIRE in March 2016, I thought it was such a niche thing and at first it took me a while to try and uncover others pursuing it also. Since starting my blog and becoming more active on Twitter, literally a whole world of FIRE folk have opened up to me. Stay tuned for next week’s interview where we’ll be transported from Australia to somewhere in Europe!