Thanks to Ms Fiery Ice for this week’s article: ETFs Strategy: Earn, save, invest and repeat.
Each week, I have asked a finance blogger or podcaster to share their personal wealth building strategies. I am hoping these will be useful to compare different strategies and perspectives to provide ideas and insight in your own investing journey.
Ms Fiery Ice runs the personal finance blog, Twotofire. She approached Empower Wealth to explore the idea of growing a property portfolio. In contrast to my own strategy, Two to fire decided property investment was not for them after all. If you are considering property investing, read both sides of the argument to see which suits you best.
So, what did TwotoFIRE choose instead? It’s always interesting to find out how finance professionals choose to invest themselves.
Name/ Online identity: TwoToFIRE
“9 to 5” profession:
I am employed in the Finance domain and Mr. Fireball works in Marketing for a startup.
We currently don’t have any side hustles, other than our blog. Don’t think it will qualify as we do not use it to generate any income at present. For us it is more of a platform to learn, reflect and share.
What are your investing goals?
The goal of all goals is to attain “Nirvana”. If only money could help with that! We are aiming for the next best thing “Financial Freedom”. That is the goal which will help us attain our aspirations to travel more, spend time with our loved ones more and do things that we love more.
What is your investing time frame? How far along are you?
Going by our current investment rate and an assumed (conservative) rate of growth of 4% our investments, we had a timeline of 10 years from when we started. We will complete 2 years in that journey shortly.
What is the most powerful wealth building tool available to you?
We believe compounding is easily the biggest tool available to any investor. We are also banking on it big time by automating our investments by utilising Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRPs) where available or manually investing the dividends. We really have to see the magic once our corpus grows and the quantum of Dividends reinvested along with it.
What wealth building habits are you utilising to reach your goals?
The main habits that we utilise are “paying ourselves first” and “restricting lifestyle creep”. By automating our investments we move a chunk of our earnings to our investment accounts so that that amount stays out of our “spend vision” which sounds like a super power but actually is the antithesis.
What is your strategy to achieve this?
Earn, Save, Invest, repeat. That would define what our strategy is in the simplest terms. How to invest then has many strategies, there again we try to keep it simple with ETF investing and maintaining a diversified portfolio. We write more about our investing strategy here.
How long have you been using this strategy?
We’ve always been savers, but our savings would just languish in our bank accounts and effectively degrow. We only started seriously investing about 2 years ago.
Were there other strategies before? If so, what made you pivot?
We never really had a strategy before. We were basically running in default mode. Our salaries would get credited to our bank accounts directly, we would spend pretty generously, but at the end of the day would still have sufficient funds still remaining in our bank accounts. We would then just let those sit around without a plan. So we were working to make money, but weren’t really letting the money work for us.
We’ve been in the workforce for more than a decade. And like every employee will tell you, the first few years of working are very exciting. Everything is shiny and new. But the sheen starts to wear off soon and you realize that you’re just a hamster on the wheel doing the same things day-in and day-out. Retirement is too far out into the future to actually be invisible and you don’t even have enough savings to think about an early retirement.
But about 2 years ago, we came across the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement. Reading articles by the likes of Mr. Money Moustache & Aussie Firebug made us realize that there was a way to step off the treadmill. Since then we have been actively investing and also blogging about it.
What makes your strategy suit your personal situation?
Personally both of us are quite easy going who don’t want to take up additional work just to get out of work! Yeah we are pretty lazy. That is why ETF investing suits us. If it was not for ETFs maybe we would not have gotten into share investing altogether and would perhaps have looked at other avenues!
Where do you stand on home ownership vs renting? Why?
We stand where we are guessing many Sydneysiders would be standing and that is “eternally hopeful” to get into the property market. Though property investing is not aligned with our personal goals, it would be nice to have a residential property sometime in the future. At the moment it is renting for us and it might turn out that it will be like that forever. If we get into travel and geo-arbitrage once we reach our FI goal. We’ve written more about why property investing is not for at the moment here.
Where do you stand on the great property vs shares debate? Why?
Carrying forward from the above question, shares in our opinion provide the kind of flexibility and “real” passive income that we are looking for. Yes it can be argued that Property is more secure along with providing stable passive income. But for us, Shares it is!
Where do you stand on investing for capital growth vs income? Why?
We believe both strategies have their own place and time. It can be a matter of personal situation and requirements. For example we are alright with capital growth as we do not depend on income from our investments at present. Also with our investment time horizon, we are comfortable with short term volatility. But once retired we might look at income more than capital growth due to the relative stability in dividends compared to capital growth.
Do you have any financial regrets?
Not having enough money to start investing and being very afraid of investing in the stock markets! That’s where we were at the beginning of our respective careers. We think that is one regret, we were actually quite good at saving right from the beginning but not good at investing. We are still not very good at investing but we have come a long way in our personal evaluation of our capabilities.
To see all the wealth building strategies shared with Aussie doc freedom, check out the Ultimate Step by Step guide to Wealth building, with wealth building strategies.
Aussie Doc Freedom is not a financial adviser and does need offer any advise. Information on this website is purely a description of my experiences and learning. Please check with your independent financial adviser or accountant before making any changes.