Mark Brown


Today I'm grateful that our basic needs are covered. Our family is healthy and safe. We have good stable jobs with great maternity leave. We have the loving support of parents, siblings and close friends. We live in the lucky country. We are chipping away at our goals.

Some recent setbacks aside, we've had a very good year and I choose today to focus on that.

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
― George Carlin

Cars are a massive inconvenience

As of yesterday we are down to zero cars in our household because someone drove up the back of our stationary car. The driver got aggressive and argued that I must have snuck up behind him. Idiot Number One.

Someone else accidentally drove into the same car when it was parked a week earlier. This driver was honest enough to leave his details and a note and he's lucky that the minor damage he caused has now been properly smashed in by Idiot Number One.

Our only other car has had multiple costly breakdowns over the last year. Our fingers are crossed that a new fuel injector will be the last thing required to get it running smoothly again until the new one arrives.

Silver lining

Both of these cars were gifts, we got three years use out of them and only had to pay for the cost of a new engine, parts and some towing. Insurance have provided a new RAV4 for us while they assess things which is a much more comfortable ride. We ordered a new car with a twelve month wait but one became available nine months earlier than anticipated.

Our smashed car was considered a total loss by the insurer so we got a decent pay out for the cost of the vehicle. I happen to have a friend that fixes cars like this and gifts them to people in need. He's going to see if he can find a use for it and give it a second life. If not, it'll be scrapped for parts to benefit those same people.


Childbirth was a wonderful experience for us. No complications or health issues for mum and bub, a massive win. The first week was the best week of my life and the cake trolley was off the charts. The cheeky lad is a lot of fun, most of the time. I like his little face.

We were able to travel with the family from Darwin to Cairns in a Maui campervan, it was great! Julian loved the warm water springs, rainforests and waterfalls, a lovely time to bond and explore some of our beautiful country together. We also got to spend some time in Hamilton Island in QLD. I really appreciated that there were no cars allowed on the island, everyone gets around in golf buggies so the pollution and damage people can cause is limited. That didn't stop Idiot Number Two flipping theirs upside down near our unit.

Financial independence

Money is a taboo topic that I don't mind talking about, it's increasingly important for me. Over the last 18 months our progress to financial independence has increased from 13.75% to 22.5%. What this means is that we could not work for 82 days of the year and our basic living expenses would be covered by passive income. So far we've bought back 82 days of the year, every year.

It's true that that we still have a long way to go, this is a big goal and it will take patience to achieve. However, we're only planning to accumulate until we reach 50%. Then we'll simply need to cover our expenses, leave our investments alone and wait for compounding to do the rest of the work. That's the plan anyway. The purpose of this nest egg is to buy us our time back, I'm feeling good about our progress towards that goal.

As Forrest Gump said, not needing to worry about money is good. One less thing.

Next year

In no particular order I'm looking forward to:

  • A close friends wedding in Bali in January.
  • A Vipassana 10-day meditation course, something I've wanted to do for years.
  • Witnessing more of Julian's firsts: walking, talking, getting up to no good.
  • A new plug-in car and Australia's first 10 year warranty.
  • More time with family and friends.
  • Increased giving.
  • Getting back into a routine with work in the office and training.