Monday 1 July 2024

Net Worth - JUN 2024

Chart updated to end of June in sidebar.

Stocks/cash increased $2,505 (+0.96%) to $262,336.

Retirement savings (SMSF etc) increased by $24,638 (+1.39%) to $1,791,141. My total SGL contributions into my employer's super fund was $14,862 for the FY, leaving $12,638 remaining concessional contributions 'cap space' based on the $27,500 cap for CC last FY. I had made $13,300 personal after-tax contributions into my QSuper fund account (a small regular monthly contribution plus re-contributing the $12,000 TRIS pension payment I withdrew from our SMSF in June), so I have put in the notification to QSuper that I will be claiming a tax deduction for $12,638 of the contributions. This will result in the super account paying 15% contributions tax on $12,638 (ie. $1,895 tax) but I will not have to pay personal income tax (at around 32.5% marginal tax rate) on that amount (ie $4,107), so this will save a net total of about $2,212 in tax overall. Not a huge amount, but also not a bad return on just spending an hour or so doing the necessary 'paperwork' and transactions.

Est. valuation of our home (my half) increased by $5,700 (+0.49%) to $1,172,996. The 'Other real estate' (my 'lake house' and the investment apartment) increased by $10,206 (+0.48%) to $2,148,987. A rise in the estimated valuation of my lakeside rural property offset a decline in the estimated valuation of my investment apartment in Sydney.

The outstanding balance of the investment property mortgage remains at $999,993 during the 'interest only' period of the mortgage. Another ~4 years remain of the 'interest only' period. During that time I will accumulate as much cash as possible in the offset account to reduce the effective loan balance.

Other assets (my online depository bullion account at Perth Mint, and the bullion value of my gold and silver proof coin collection) decreased by $768 (-1.76%) to $42,901.

I received confirmation of my withholding tax rate variation from the ATO last week and forwarded it on to the HR department to pass on to the outsourced payroll service. The payroll service *should* receive a direct notification from the ATO, but last year they had to be chased up and sent a copy of my notification from the ATO before taking action. Hopefully this year they will update the withholding rate straight away.

Overall, NW increased by $42,281 (+0.96%) to $4,426,368 during June.

For the full financial year, NW increased by $562,948 (+14.5%) which was quite impressive. This was around 5X my annual gross salary. It will be interesting to see what the next 12 months brings...

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Friday 28 June 2024

Physical transformation update

Decided I might as well do my quarterly post update re weight loss and body transformation progress today, as it is already almost the end of the second quarter of 2024. Since hitting my all-time maximum weight (122.8 kg) on 5 July last year I have managed to reduce my weight by just over 30 kg (67 lbs) so far, to about 92kg. My goal from here is to lose another 10 or 15 kg of body fat without losing any more lean body mass (muscle). To do so I will need to increase my daily caloric intake slightly, and be more consistent about getting to the gym three times a week for weight training sessions, and doing some short sessions of HIIT indoor rowing (at about 85%-90% MHR) on my non-gym days. I have managed to get into a routine of walking 16K-24K steps/day, which seems pretty effective at maintaining a caloric deficit and ensuring most of my weight loss has been due to fat loss. I have found that not having my first meal of the day until noon has been quite easy (I don't feel particularly hungry when I wake up, so 'breakfast' was more of a habit that an urge to eat something), and it isn't too hard to stick with a rule to not eat anything after a reasonably early dinner around 6pm or so. This results in an 18:6 'intermittent fasting' regime that I find is easy to stick with, once you get out of the habit of 'snacking' after dinner. Apparently most of the longevity benefits of caloric restriction found in rodent studies may actually be achieved by simply restricting the food consumption period, rather than total calories per se. So having a daily 'fasting' period of 75% of every 24-hours may provide similar health benefits as 20%-30% caloric restriction, and may not have some of the adverse side effects (eg. sacropenia and increased sensitivity to the cold) that higher levels of caloric restriction might impose.

I had made little progress with my attempt to lose excess body weight up until 12 Feb, when I commenced the '90-day transformation challenge' that I had signed up for towards the end of 2023. While there was nothing revolutionary about my approach to diet and exercise since then, it did make me more aware of the need to consume quite a high level of protein while maintaining a caloric deficit (around 1g per lb of ideal body weight), and I switched from tracking my daily food intake 'on paper' (and then having to use a spreadsheet to calculate macros - which was quite a chore) to using the free version of the myfitnesspal app. Being able to just scan barcodes or search for a food item within the app, and then record the total macros at the end of the day made it much easier to keep an accurate track of my daily macros and keep an eye on my weekly averages. The impact of this change of approach is quite apparent in the chart of my daily morning weigh-ins:

I had been a little concerned that (according to my bathroom scales) my body fat percentage was remaining quite high, despite the constant weight loss. And using the body fat readings to calculate lean mass it seemed as if around 1/4 of my weight loss was due to decrease in lean mass. However, I had a new DEXA scan done last weekend, and it reported my actual body fat percentage as 17.9% (a *lot* better than the 27% being reported by my bathroom scales). The DEXA reading of body fat seems more realistic, as didn't seem to have lost any muscle mass since February, due to more regular weight training sessions and higher levels of protein intake.

My goal for the next six months is to lose the remaining 10-15kg of body weight to get down to a 'healthy' BMI value (and body fat around 10%-13%), while also (hopefully) putting on a bit of muscle mass via regular weight training. If I do manage to retain muscle mass during the next six months of more gradual weight loss I should end up weighing about 78-80kg with 10% or so body fat. I'll get another DEXA scan at the end of the year to see how things have worked out, and then for 2025 will focus on maintenance caloric intake while continuing with weight training, walking, indoor rowing, and sticking with the intermittent fasting routine. I'll also do another DEXA scan at the end of 2025 to check on progress. My long term goal will be to stick with 18:6 IF and maintain a health body mass of around 78-80kg with ~10% body fat.

My DEXA scans and key metrics from 2019 and 2024:

Still quite a way to go, as I have previously managed to get my weight down below 90kg on several occasions over the past 40 years, but then didn't have a plan for the transition to a long-term 'maintenance' program.

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Monday 3 June 2024

Net Worth - MAY 2024

Chart updated to end of May in sidebar.

Stocks/cash increased $1,009 (+0.39%) to $259,831. Mostly due to making the quarterly contribution into the Investment Bond account, so not due to the market per se.

Retirement savings (SMSF etc) increased by $34,725 (+2.01%) to $1,76,503 pretty much just bouncing back from last month's market decline.

Est. valuation of our home (my half) increased by $16,583 (+01.44%) to $1,167,296. The 'Other real estate' (my 'lake house' and the investment apartment) decreased by -$52,954 (-2.42%) to $2,138,781. This reversed most of the exceptionally large rise last month, so is just a reversion to more typical price movement over the past two months combined. Goes to show that individual monthly estimates are quite 'noisy' so it is really only worthwhile looking at the general trend over periods of several years.

The outstanding balance of the investment property mortgage remains at $999,993 during the 'interest only' period of the mortgage. Another ~4 years remain of the 'interest only' period. During that time I will accumulate as much cash as possible in the offset account to reduce the effective loan balance.

Other assets (my online depository bullion account at Perth Mint, and the bullion value of my gold and silver proof coin collection) increased by $437 (+1.01%) to $43,669. Part of this rise was due to resuming my monthly 'savings plan' contributions -- adding $100/month to purchase $50 each of gold and silver. As I won't have to fund the monthly overhead expenses for my financial adviser registration/AFSL/ASIC levy etc. I will have some extra cashflow available. I will transfer most into my mortgage offset account every couple of months, but can afford to allocate a small part to my asset allocation into bullion.

I lodged my income tax variation application for FY2024-25 last week, so I should get the official response from the ATO by the end of June and will then have to pass it on the my employer's HR department to ensure payroll takes this into account and adjusts my PAYG tax withholding for next financial year (last time it took several months for them to eventually get the correct tax rate applied and had to have two attempts to make the correct payroll adjustment). I won't get as large a reduction in withholding tax as this FY, as I was fairly conservative regarding likely tax deductions for doordash business expenses, and didn't bother adjusting for the 'work from home' hourly rate deduction. So I'll probably end up with a small tax refund when I do my FY25 tax return.

Overall, NW decreased by -$200 (-0.00%) to $4,384,087 during May.

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Thursday 9 May 2024

'Passed' my PhD 'confirmation of candidature' milestone -- with conditions

Since I have been enrolled as a part-time PhD candidate now for just over 12 months (time flies!) the 'confirmation of candidature' milestone was due. The normal timing is within 6 months for full time PhD students, but as a part-time enrolment mine was due at the end of 12 months. I had to prepare of more detailed 'research proposal', with a decent literature review and outline of the methods and data analysis techniques to be employed, the main research question(s) and hypotheses, and also present a short (20 minute) 'seminar' (powerpoint presentation) summarizing my research project.

The 'mock' presentation I did last month went OK, so I did the actual online seminar presentation today, which went quite well. I then had a meeting with the 'confirmation of candidature panel' (HDR admin and school staff, my princiapl and co-supervisors, and another 'independent' university academic) to go over my research proposal, do some Q&A, and get feedback from me (about my supervisor team) and from the supervisor and co-supervisors (about me).

There were some very helpful questions and suggestions on how to improve my research (some extra questions to include in my survey questionnaire), and some difficult questions (about the theoretical basis for my research, and about obtaining a random sample of survey participants rather than just a self-selected or biased sample). All good questions that I don't have all the answer to just yet.

Ultimately I "passed" the confirmation -- but with a couple of conditions. Mostly to do with including a more substantial (or any!)  theoretical basis/framework for my research in the research proposal, and to address the issue of possible sample bias with the approach I had proposed for obtaining survey participants. At least I have another 6 months to "dot all the i's and cross all the t's".

As I was sort of planning to do a 'thesis by publication' (where the core of the thesis is three or more published peer-reviewed academic papers based on the research) rather than a 'book' style thesis, the confirmation panel also indicated that I need to work out with my supervisor team the gist of what the papers should be about, draft titles and so forth. Shouldn't be an issue, but it seems a bit odd to be planning the title and content of research papers before having any data or results. But I suppose I already know the specific questions I *expect* my research to answer, so expressing that in the form of a series of paper outlines should not be too hard. I think I had the 'thesis by publication' route as my 'plan A' option (with the thought that if I didn't get the required number of papers accepted for publication I could revert back to the traditional 'thesis as a tome' option (with the results subsequently being published in one or more academic papers).

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