I like my job!

Without work I would be bored!

What would you do with yourself?

I hear these and many more whenever I mention that I want to build a life free from work. Most never even consider the possibility that they can build a life free from work.

Full time work and consumerism is so deeply ingrained into our culture that even a mention of escape from it is often met with confused looks and disbelief.

My name is Pat.

Me, Pat the Shuffler

I live in Sydney Australia. I currently work full time and this blog is about working not for the latest gadget, or my next fancy restaurant meal, but working to buy my freedom.

17 Replies to “About”

  1. Hey Pat,

    I love your open honest approach to this project/life long goal/ethos. If nothing else, people need to open their eyes to the hidden costs of their lifestyles.

    I was wondering if you could do a post about the resources you used to guide you on this journey; I see you’ve read Benjamin grahams The Intelligent Investor. what would you recommend ? Have you read Ramit’s ‘get rich slowly’ ? Are there any Australian specific resources that you like?


    1. The resources are light on for Aussies, but are still available.

      I am working my way through a few things at the moment, the barefoot investor seems to be very highly recommended (though I haven’t read any of it yet), I really want to read Rich dad, Poor Dad next, though I suspect it will just reconfirm everything I already believe. Check out this (https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investing_in_Australia) as a starting resource on how to invest in Australia. and check out its American counterpart if interested.

      I lurk on the fIAustralia subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/fiaustralia/) which is great for asking questions and seeing what everyone else is doing, getting motivation and sanity checks)

      Otherwise I can very very highly recommend the American resource Mr Money Mustache for a total life makeover.

      I am more interested in spending and saving habits, that is where most people are terrible with money, I consider the investing portion to be the very simple part of building wealth for everyday Australians. In general I go by a few rules of thumb, which are stay well clear if any of the following are true of the supposed “investment”

      a: overly complicated,
      b: uses huge amounts of leverage
      c: Promises huge yearly returns (anything greater than 9% should ring alarm bells)
      d: Assumes that you can beat the system or are smarter than the degree qualified pros who have been doing this for decades.
      e: Includes exorbitant fees from professionals that promise you to give you great returns (for comparison a good index fund charges around 0.05%-0.25% pa any vehicles charging much more than this should be scrutinised carefully)

      I do boring, dead simple buy and hold index investing (as described in the bogle heads wiki). Which is exactly what the most successful pros recommend, and which the statistics over the last 3 decades show has been far and away the best strategy.

      Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy it!

  2. A young Australian money mustache!

    MMM is great but it can be frustratingly american, (buying houses at 400k in the suburbs returning 12%…not a chance in Sydney!)

    Also I like how you are on the accumulation stage makes it easier for a lot people like myself to relate.

    Would like to see an article about the details of how you invest. Im using Vanguard which frustrating has much higher fees then the US or UK but is still one of the cheapest and easiest to use in Aus.

    Anyway keep up the good work.


    1. Hey Tom

      I started this website partly because of the frustration of reading only American content. Don’t get me wrong, it is great and most of it is not region specific information but there is some stuff that is region specific. I really do love MMM’s work & ethos and source some inspiration from him. I love making this content as well. When you say Vanguard, do you mean direct through their website or buying ETF’s through a broker?

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      1. Direct through their website, it just saves having a broker account etc. The one I buy is this https://www.vanguardinvestments.com.au/retail/ret/investments/product.html#/fundDetail/retail/portId=8145/?overview

        In generally I’m against anyone who says you can beat the market or time the market (hence the passive investment), that said Australia is well overdue for a downturn (26 years since the last recession) , you’ve mentioned the overvalued property market, the mining sector is in a global decline and the other industries seem to be very Australian focused. That’s why I have decided to invest in a global share index unhedged. The other reason I invest in non-Australian specific stock is because I’m not sure if I will stay in Aus, move back to the Uk, or go to the US.

        The fees for this index starts at 90bps per year then go down to 35bps per year when you invest over $100,000. Vanguard is more expensive in Australia than the UK or US but they are always working hard to reduce their fee rate and as they grow you should always see your fee rates ticking down not up. (Tell your friends about Vanguard and we all pay less!)

        The other thing I like about Vanguard is how easy it is pay in to it. On my CBA app I have a bpay set up on for Vanguard International equity, I simply make a transfer or anything over $100 and 2 days later its in my account.

        A great 9 minute podcast about how great passive index funds are can be found here on the bbc: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p054414c

        Pat I know you are big on the disclaimers so I thought I would throw one in myself: I do not work for Vanguard or have any affiliation with them, I’m just a fan. Also the above finance strategy works for me but may not work for you. Do your research, vanguard have several great products, find one which suits your risk profile and life goals.


        1. When investing through their website you miss out on the really cheap ETFs. Vanguard codes on the the ASX are

          VTS: Total US stock market, 0.04% management fee
          VAS: ASX300, 0.14% management fee
          VGS: Global, 0.18% management fee

          You do have to pay brokerage per trade, but I feel like this is far cheaper in the long run than investing in their “managed products”. I am working on a deep analysis of the cost of each strategy over a lifetime, just trying to think of an elegant way to present all the variables. Wanting to move out of Aus eventually may pose some additional complications to each of these strategies though.

          I agree with you that Australia may face some strong headwinds in the next 10 years and hedging your bets is always a good strategy, I need more international exposure which I am working on. Though I also can’t get over the benefits of Franking credits. If you get a chance read my recent post on them This is Frankly Absurd

          1. Good luck with writing that article about ETF’s vs Managed funds. I look forward to reading it.

            I’ll take a look at that other article you mentioned in the mean time.

            A note on franking credits: as someone who works in an international bank in Sydney and have worked in Hedge funds in London. Don’t assume other international investors don’t make use of the franking credits too. As an Australian we don’t have a free ride which others don’t get. Despite the ATOs best efforts.

            Keep shuffling


  3. Hey mate. I’m also from Sydney Australia and on my journey to building wealth. Im Enjoying reading your blog.
    Quick question have you thought about the kids question in your 10 year plan?
    How did you get to your original $200k?
    Finally it’s a bit of a personal question but it helps to understand the context of getting to that $1.2m goal, what’s your current salary?

    1. Hey Sasha

      I have thought about kids. I am encouraged by other efficiently run families that tell me they are living on under 40k per year even while paying rent! My solo figure of 40k is enough, however for additional luxuries (mostly travel) my gf and I will save more than this. I wrote about the cost of kids in What is your excuse for not retiring early?

      Enough people have asked that I am now working on a series of posts explaining my journey to this point, it will be a bit long winded but I feel the back story is important.

      I actually believe we should all share our incomes all the time. Keeping our incomes a secret only serves our employers and gives them all the power during salary negotiation. So important to maintaining their power they write it into employment contracts (that you must keep it a secret). For this reason I will be a bit vague, if I ever see you in person we can talk exact numbers.

      I am a high income earner, earning a low six figure salary + a car + what some would call an excessive amount of overtime (My industry does a lot of weekend construction). Counting the car and OT I am earning a middle six figure sum for the year.

      Note that this is a promotion/new job I got recently so the “investment plan” post, and even the “progress tracking” Page are not reflective of this new income.

  4. Hi Pat
    I am one of the old crusties! I am doing something similar to your goals. Have you read Peter Thornhill’s book “Motivated Money”. It is exactly what you are doing. Peter is Ozzie and it might be worth your while, as it reinforces your philosophy completely.

    1. I have seen his videos and look forward to reading his book. My financial book pile (figurative pile) is higher than my bed at the moment!

  5. Hello Pat,

    Congratulations for discovering what philosophers knew over two thousand years ago: that frugaility and simple living are fundamental to contentment and wisdom. It’s a shame that billions of other people around the world still don’t know this. If you haven’t already read their stuff, I strongly urge you to read the writings of Epicurus (ancient Greek philsopher who taught simple living and the pursuit of happiness) and Seneca (ancient Roman philosopher who taught simple living and the pursuit of virtue). Interestingly, Laozi, the founder of Daoism, listed frugality/simple living as one of the Three Great Treasures (the other two being compassion and humilty). Good luck with everything.

    1. ….Alain de Botton is also good on this topic, and offers a modern, more accessible take on the joys of ‘not coveting; not comparing’. Status Anxiety is a fun book and the Consolations of Philosophy too. Made me feel better!

  6. Hi Pat
    I just read the ABC article about you. I felt instantly connected to your ideas as this is pretty much how I live my life. I spend my money and time on what puts REAL value to my life and the life of others.
    The only question I would like you to raise for you is: Does aggressive investment in the share market hold up with your life values? You are talking about volunteer work. I assume this might be working for people less fortunate than you. Do you realise that the companies that maximise your return in the share market, are the ones who are destroying the lives of the very people you then want to go and volunteer for. (Same goes for environmental issues.) Just thought I give you something to think about.

  7. Have you read Old head on young shoulders by Charles Badenach? That is a great book, I found it in a op shop when I was in Hobart for a medical appointment gee I think it was at least 5 years ago and was only a recent print for a measly sum of $3 so suited me. i personally gifted a second hand one to one of my mates but unfortunately has not read it, though it may help as even though working a decent enough job just cannot get it together financially. Yet with all my unemployment stints (not by choice), I have been able to handle my limited funds and budget, such as instead of waiting for a bill to come in, I budgeted each fortnight and paid ahead so I could afford things properly such as my internet connection which was one of my lifelines while in a 1 bedroom unit. I am passionate about helping people low income get out of the merry go around and the traps that make it worse as I understand it all too well.

    People in my community back then used to come to me to know about job advice and where the jobs were and to fix computers, phones etc and help with my knowledge of financial products and solutions to get out of the debt spiral.

    Anyway any books by Paul Clitheroe, Noel Whitaker are a good aswell, and Anita Bell, even some of the older editions you can gleam some interesting philosophies and strategies. These days I live permanently with my partner who became a home owner for a modest property at a young age and has been fixing it up and paying it off for a little while, we started off with basic stuff. Some of her friends are mortgaged to their eyeballs and will suffer if both people do not work. Lucky she is independent and can afford the repayments by herself and is pretty similar with her views on finance except not quite as passionate about investing like I am. If i can obtain some work again soon I will be able to pay this off fairly quick and funnel more funds to other retirement solutions.

  8. Hey Pat

    I have recently started reading your blog and find it very interesting. Since school I have been living frugally and have started investing my money. I saw that you are employed as an Engineer and have a few questions.

    I’m about to start a Mechanical Engineering degree and was wondering how much time you get to spend building or doing things with your hands? I’ve been doing a bit of research and it seems that engineers these days spend a lot of time modelling and looking at data. Could you please give me on overview on what kind of things you do and how enjoyable you find it?

    Kind Regards