top of page
  • Writer's picturePeter

Financial Independence Retire Early. Good, Bad & Ugly Report 2020

Updated: Jun 4

Daintree Sign
2020 Felt Like This!

Well friends, 2020 is now dry cement. Yeah!!!!!!!

However before we embark on our plans for 2021 I’d like to share the ups and downs, successes and failures of the 2020 that was.

The Good Bad Ugly Report

I do this to keep myself accountable and inspired on this journey called life. As a reference point click the 2019 Benchmarking Success link and a link to previous years here.

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 out of your life.

Each year I ask and I answer three basic questions.

  1. What went well?

  2. What didn’t go well?

  3. What to do better?

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

What went well in 2020?

As I like to begin on a positive let’s cover the wins of 2020. Here’s what went well in the year that was.


 Business: 2020 was a standout year for our business.

2020 was always going to be a difficult year for every financial planning business in Australia.

New regulations, additional education standards, and essential changes to our client base being just a few of the challenges that we would have ahead of us.

Back in 2015 I was fortunate enough to see Alisa Camplin present an inspirational message of her rise to being Australia’s 2nd Winter Olympic Gold Medallist in 2002.

Our 1st Winter Olympics Gold Medal was won by Steven Bradbury in the short track speed skating event just days earlier. I was also fortunate enough to meet Steve a few years ago and hear him share his equally inspiring message of hard work, sacrifice, smarts, commitment and luck.

What I’ve learnt from every sporting, business and everyday mortals with regard to their success stories, is that they have a goal, backed up by a plan and beyond that they stay patient and simply do the work.

Since Alisa’s inspiring message our team has integrated this same philosophy. Believing that the work itself ultimately yields our results and regardless of external events. By simply doing the work we give ourselves a higher chance to achieve our goals than turning up and winging it. Rather than most businesses and people do i.e. they simply react.

So looking back, while 2020 was a year of massive challenges, the foundation we’d built over the previous 4 years not only carried us through, it helped us to remain on track and ultimately grow our business 20% and position us for continued growth in 2021.

Lifestyle: I continue to believe Cairns is the lifestyle capital city of Australia.

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all our lives. Fortunately living in Cairns (so far) we escaped the severe lockdowns we’ve witnessed across the world and in countries capital cities.

While we are still not able to travel overseas and were unable to travel interstate for months, life pretty much carried on unchanged for us up here in Cairns.

Added to this were the advances in technology and their boarder acceptance that have helped us to maintain and deepen our existing client relationships as well as free up even more time and even more efficient ways to communicate and assist our clients.

I may change my mind after spending a full summer here this year.

Today is 35c and 90% humidity. So we will be living in air-conditioning for the next few months. The stingers are out so we can’t swim in the oceans and the heat is so oppressive that it saps out all your energy if you try to do any form of physical exertion after 7am in the morning.

At least we have wild mangos, jack fruit, lychees, coconuts and more to make our cocktails and help us through the heat.

Investments: What crash?

What has surprised me the most it the resilience of the markets i.e. direct shares and properties. Their rebound after falling 38% on the announcement of covid-19 pandemic has been the fastest recovery in history of records. This at a time when millions of people are out of work, hundreds of thousands of people have died and countries world wide travel has all but come to a grinding halt.

The reason? Simply borrowing interest rates look set to remain low for the next few years. This feeds into to more borrower confidence. In addition to this, the governments around the world have united in spending whatever it takes to get their economies through this pandemic and crisis.   

What didn’t go so well in 2020?

Where do I start?

  • Travel = None

  • Health = Comfort food

  • Relationships = Tested

  • Book = Not written

  • Family and friends = Weird that we are all communicating online/ facetime etc. not in person.

I could write about each point in more detail, however your and my time is more important. We all know why and how it affected each of our lives and how we dealt with our challenges.

What I will say, is that because of 2020 and what we have all experienced, I have a deeper connection and appreciation for my closest friends and family. Supporting each other though these challenging times has enriched my life and I hope I have enriched theirs too.

While life at time can get busy, I’ve come appreciate the true joys of life is found when we can share our moments (good, bad, richer, poorer, sickness and health) with those most important to us.

What am I going to do better in 2021?

Honestly the year of 2020 has been one of such flux and emotional fatigue that at the moment I’m finding it a challenge to commit to anything requiring a massive effort or a significant change.

Given there are still many unknown’s ahead of us i.e. vaccine’s, travel restrictions, continued rollout of regulation changes in financial planning and what our new normal will be. My approach is to only focus on the things that are within my control.  

2020 has taught me the importance of self-care and the damage effect self-judgement can have on us. I’m learning to let go more often when I realise I’m talking down to myself and do the little things that are within my control. i.e. go for a walk, appreciate nature, be more present, connect with a friend, call a client, write a blog and say thank you and mean it more often.

Maybe this is a sign of maturity (finally) albeit I will always be young at heart. Next year in April I will be fifty years old. Wow!!! Really, but I feel thirty years old inside?

We have built a great business with wonderful clients. We’re going to keep it that way, growing organically and by referral only.

My passion helping others achieve and live their own ideal lives has never been stronger. The challenge for me is finding balance, when I enjoy giving so much of my life to my clients and staff.

Interstate and international travel restrictions till mid-year mean travel plans will need to remain flexible.

That said, while my annual Japan ski trip in 2021 is out, I remain hopeful to travel later next year to Japan and experience a few onsen towns including Minakami, Kusatsu and Hakone. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I may even get around to finishing my book in 2021. 

Why do I do this?

The value of sharing my success, failures and intentions is layered.

Firstly it holds a mirror up to my recent successes and failures. It also reveals to me the repeating patterns of my successes and failures. It also helps me to clarify my wanted future goals, if they are wishes or are they truly important enough to me to become lifelong habits.

Secondly my hope is that sharing with you my past years successes, failures and future goals also helps you on your own journey while encouraging you to keep moving toward achieving a better future for yourself and those important to you.

Do the work: Importantly this is not the achievement of any goal I may set. It is the commitment to do the work i.e. small, regular, repeatable actions and by doing so the probability of me achieving my goal is heightened, without the added pressure of overbearing expectations and judgement.

Enjoy the process: In short; enjoy doing the work, trust the process and let go of the outcome. It also means turning up, not giving up, maintaining focus on the task at hand and not being distracted by the noise of others airing their frustrations and fears. It’s letting go of the past successes and failures and being more present, so to be in a better place, state of mind and readiness to face the future.

Value myself more: As the famous John West add says ‘it’s the fish that John West rejects, that makes John West the best”. No longer can our business or my health afford continuing to be all things to all people.

No longer can we afford to service disengaged clients. Our time like our clients is important and I must invest it where it is most appreciated i.e. engaged clients.

Be Better not Bigger: Since 2014 this has become my mantra.

With all the changes in financial planning there is no better time than now to re-evaluate how and where we can be better. Most importantly we need to acknowledge and reinvest back into our paying clients because of who they truly are i.e. direct investors in us. Without our clients we have no business.

Reinvesting in our clients is not an option, it’s mandatory for both our and our client’s future.

If these experiences and aspirations of mine can help you realise a better quality of life and go on to help others, then we’ve all done our part in making the world a better place. This may sound cheesy, however it’s the lens I choose to see life through. 

And so draws the close on 2020. 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 2021 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.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page