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  • Writer's picturePeter

Financial Independence Retire Early. Good, Bad & Ugly Report 2016

Updated: Jun 4

2016 in the sand
Bye Bye 2016

Well friends, 2016 is now dry cement.

However before we embark on our plans for 2017 I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2016 that was.

The Good Bad & Ugly Report

I do this at the start and end of each year to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life.

The past maybe dry cement, but I believe it’s also important to also celebrate how far we’ve come, reflect on where we could have done better and put myself out there publicly as a form of motivation to do the work I need to do in making my plans a reality.

I hope that you find my wins, stumbles, and insights help you on your own journey to getting the most in life.


Each year I ask and I answer three basic questions.

  1. What went well?

  2. What didn’t go well?

  3. What am I going to do better?

Feel free to apply a similar format for your own journal.

Good Bad and Ugly Report. What went well in 2016?

As I like to begin on a positive let’s cover the wins of 2016. Here’s what went well in the year that was.

Finances: Our biggest win in 2016 would be our improved financial position. We rented our property in Milsons Point fully furnished which has added an additional $2,000 per week to our cash flow. With this additional income our savings have rocketed and our out of pocket holding costs (strata) has been slashed by over $20,000 a year.

We also purchased and moved into a fully furnished mortgagee sale unit in Paradise Palms that originally sold for in 2010 for $506,000 for $215,000.

Relationships: After a challenging 2015 which included moving to Cairns, buying a small financial planning business, adapting to the FNQ weather and what it does to my wife’s hair. Things settled down in 2016, including my wife’s hair. Once again we are team Horsfield, with the same values, goals and respect for each other (there was a time when…). It’s a fulfilling feeling being on the same page as your partner.

Owning a small business with your partner means 24/7 discussions, planning, actioning and accountability and you can’t escape or hide. So accepting this and getting on with the job at hand i.e. running a business by leveraging each our strengths and coming together in overcoming each of our lesser abilities has ensured nothing falls through the cracks and brought more peace and certainty to the relationship.

Spirituality: You can’t help but feel part of something bigger or a spiritual connection living inCairns. We are literally surrounded by nature. Living in Paradise Palms we back onto a rainforest with beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes and access to the Great Barrier Reef is on our doorstep.

On weekends we mountain bike and collect the fruits from Natures Pantry (as I like to call it), wild mango’s, coconuts, jackfruit, passionfruit, bananas and lychees are just a few of the fruits we freely collect. Also our home has fresh wild flowers, Bird of paradise, Ginger and Orchids, all free to cut bring home.  

What resonates most with us is being spiritual beings having a human experience. We have many, many faults however forever depending relationship with Christ has lifted our burdens of guilt so that we can even more be enriched and blessed in our relationship with him.

Travel: 2016 was a big year for travel, both internationally (3 countries) January was spent skiing in Japan at Nozawa Onsen. May my wife was in Malaysia for a week long school reunion. September we travelled to the Hawaiian Islands for two weeks.

Domestically we travelled up and down the east coast of Australia for both business and pleasure (x 6). Our most memorable experience was climbing Mount Warning in the morning, swimming in Byron Bay in the afternoon followed by sunset cocktails on the balcony of our apartment on the Gold Coast. A great day!

Business: Albeit the frustrations of being new in town and a New South Welshman in Far North Queensland progress is grinding slowly forward.

In short we continue to exceed our client’s expectations as their investments grow, their debts reduce and they tell us they have greater confidence to achieve their goals and continue to meet their living expenses.

We also continue to grow our online presence with media contributions and blogs. A big thanks to our reader’s comments of appreciation.

Knowing your thoughts resonate with you lifts our spirits and lets us know our publishing efforts are not in vein.

Here are some quick stats

  • 28 articles published

  • 7 media article contributions

  • 9 google reviews

  • 8,300 Facebook page likes

  • 3,995 google+ followers

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if I write for myself, friends or a huge audience. My modus operandi is the same, are my words authentic, relevant and add value. I promise to continue writing articles to help you achieve your goals sooner.

What didn’t go so well this year?

Look in the mirror. That’s your competition!

Motivation: What’s wrong with me? Here I am living in paradise, with a 25m competition pool 50 metres from my apartment. Next to my office is a 1000 sqm fully equipped gym with hourly classes and I can’t seem to get motivated to swim each morning or work out more than a day a week. I have no excuse, period.

This lack of motivation has cascaded across many other areas including health, marketing the business and diet. My sense is that I’m still processing past echoes of burnout and at the same time I’m afraid to put a step wrong moving forward. Unfortunately taking this approach has lead me to do nothing, resulting in stagnation and a general sense of apathy.

Health: Beer, wine, sugar, chips, cheese, ice-cream, bread and bacon 1 vs Me 0. As you can imagine even the once a week exercise I was kidding myself with had no chance to offset the calories I was consuming. Naturally I have added +10kg to my scales and made it even more difficult to enjoy exercising and feel good physically. Put down that lolly Peter!

Posts: My goal at the start of last year was to write a post per week. Whilst initially motivated my posts soon ran to a fortnight then month then every now and then. My downfall was that in writing personal and revealing posts about my experiences I begun to believe it was lessening others view of me. When my intent was to share the raw and real me having the courage and strength to talk and help others through my own experiences.

New Client Referrals: While the focus squarely on adding more value to our existing clients, improving business process efficiencies, the push for client referrals took a back seat.  

In retrospect my enthusiasm for new clients was also battered by my fear of putting a step wrong, not losing clients, and a general public distrust of financial advisers being fuelled by industry scandals played out daily across the media. So instead of get out and promoting our value it was easier to avoid the rejection, surf the net for other ideas, industry news, the US election and snow reports in Japan.

I also believe that I lacked crystal clarity and vision, i.e. I was trying to be all things to all people. While I didn’t totally gave up on seeking new clients, my general malaise meant potential clients didn’t get to experience our point of difference, which is More Money, More Time and Improved Quality of Life.

What am I going to do better?

Habit over goal: Rather than setting myself a goal, failing, emotionally beating myself up, engraining with evidence that I am failure, which is never good for one’s self esteem.

The next 12 months will be about changing my habits. Letting go of the past and embracing habits that help me rather than hinder me in who I am.  For example two large glasses of water before every meal, so I feel full and don’t over eat. Exercise daily accepting that this is just what I do as well as posting a great article every week of 2017.

I have already experienced the liberation of adjusting my habits by turning off my phone when I reach home and not turning it on until I’m next in my office.

Clarity: Knowing what we stand for is empowering and satisfying. It enhances efficiencies, adds value and attracts likeminded people who place a higher value on what we do versus our competition.

We give clients the evidence they are on track or can maintain their financial independence worry free is our calling and we can quantify this with their evidence of More Money, More Time and an improved Quality of Life, this is our point of difference.

New Experiences: I am heading back to Japan this January for my annual ski, however this time I plan to travel on the bullet train, a first for me. We have also decided to stay on in japan an bit and site see Shinjuku and Tokyo. Later in the year we will be travelling to Portugal, Spain & Morocco for a month. It’s been a lifelong dream to experience Morocco and “Rock the Casbah!”  

And so draws the close on 2016. Thank you for reading my posts throughout the past year and I look forward to sharing more of what I have learnt along the way throughout 2017 with you. Have a fantastic year ahead.

This post was written by Me, as such they are my personal views and not financial or general advice.

You should always seek independent financial advice when it comes to choices about your personal finances. This is one area of your life where it’s worth paying for it to be done right.

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