Archive for the 'life' Category

Oh hai

Yup so clearly I didn’t follow through on that goal of mine to update this blog once a week for 3 months. I got distracted with a new purchase that was supposed to help me start a business, and the learning that came along with it. As it stands, I’ve grossed about $160 from that venture, and had a lot of fun learning new skills. There is potential for more of course, but I’m not working very hard at it.

In the larger picture, I keep going in circles about what to do about growing my income. Do I focus on trying to grow said business on the side? Do I focus on my career (and if so, in what direction)? Do I focus on learning more about investing and generating passive income? All of the above? All of the above would probably be best, but let’s face it I just don’t have enough hours in the day to go full throttle at all of the above and still have some kind of semblance of a life I enjoy.

I definitely need to learn about investing and take action. Our savings keep growing and sitting in a high interest account and that’s just not doing anyone any good. I did open an RRSP since my last post, with automatic contributions deducted from my paycheque. So at least not all of my money is sitting in savings. But I still haven’t contributed anything to my TFSA. Need to get on a plan with that!

Reflecting on silence

It’s quite by accident that I logged into this blog account, but then couldn’t help but start reading my old posts which got me started reflecting on the things that have changed in my life since my last post, and the things that have not. Reflecting on the journey I have taken since I stopped updating this blog regularly has provided me with insight and it’s something that I’ve always liked about keeping a written log of my progress.

I had an accident a couple of months ago and waiting for my injury to heal has left me with too much free time to sit and contemplate my life. Funny enough one of the big things I decided I need to get a better handle on is money. Perhaps it would be helpful for me to start keeping a record of my efforts again in this blog. So I’m going to make it a goal to update this at least once a week for the next 3 months.

A Revelation

It’s been about a year since my last update, truth be told PF had fallen to the wayside over the past year. However, today I opened an account at wesabe.com to try and get a clearer snapshot of our financial situation. It’s a pretty neat tool, but it took me for ever to tag all of our transactions. However, it was worth it to get a better picture of our spending. For example we spend a lot less eating out than I figured we did. Interestingly enough we have about 25% more money saved than I thought, but save 20% less than I thought we were saving. I thought we were saving close to 45%, but it turns out that our YTD is closer to 25%. Granted that I was jobless for 2 months of the year so had I been working that figure would probably be higher. 25% is a good amount, but it’s not amazing considering how hard we work at saving!

Basically, I realized that no matter how frugal we are or how much we save we just aren’t going to get ahead unless our income increases significantly.

And that is where I need to focus my efforts.

Why financial independence?

Some people call it retirement, but I call it financial independence because people look at me funny when I say I want to retire ASAP. I am after all only in my late 20s and haven’t even started on a career path. Retirement also has connotations of sitting around doing nothing and that’s the last thing I want to do. In fact I have a ton of things I love to do, but I just don’t find I have enough hours in the day because I spend the bulk of my time at work.

When I’m feeling cheeky and someone asks me what my career aspirations are, I say “Retirement.” And they laugh, but don’t take me very seriously.

In fact, I haven’t taken that goal super seriously because I had other things I wanted to do, like travel the world and live in other countries. But for the past year or so I have been back in Canada and putting a lot of serious thought into identifying a career path for myself. And still no dice.

Actually, I’ve been trying to figure out a career path in some capacity for the past 10 years ever since we had to start mapping out career plans and taking aptitude tests in early high school. I don’t feel much closer to figuring it out than I did 10 years ago and I’ve finally decided it’s time for a new game plan and that game plan is definitively financial independence. So let’s see if I can make it happen in a timely fashion.

Fast track to early retirement inspiration

I randomly came across the blog Early Retirement Extreme today while not even looking for anything to do with the topic, but wow is it ever a good extra push for me!

The points on maximizing savings are good ones. I always thought my 15%+ guideline was good enough, but I can definitely push it higher if that means reaching financial independence sooner! I worked with my numbers and while I can’t do the 75% without some major life changes (moving would be one big one, I do after all live in downtown Vancouver and rents are what they are), I figure I should be able to easily do 41%. If my math is right, that means I should be able to reach financial independence by 50. Not quite the 37 I’m aiming for but better than 65.

That is a good start and I am happy with that. If I were willing to spend the next 19 years without leaving Vancouver, I could do 51%, but life is for living and I’m willing to postpone financial independence another 4 years for a vacation once in a while.

So this is how I’m going to be dividing my pay cheques:

  • 45% on all monthly spending – including regular expenses and splurging (previously it was 60%)
  • 10% on long term savings – vacations and other life enhancing goodness (previously 20%, half of which was supposed to be for education and other knowledge enhancing activities)
  • 4% on gifts – could be readjusted but i want to see how this goes (down from 5%)
  • 41% savings and investments – (previously 15%)

Let’s see how this rolls!

Reflections

I think another reason why I have been neglecting this blog is because the state of my finances has been a bit depressing. I just don’t feel like I have been building any kind of savings and that bums me out. It’s like everything that comes in goes back out.

It’s been a little tough because I had a huge expense a couple of months ago (a once in a lifetime thing) so that wiped out what little savings I had. And next month I am moving and that’s never cheap.

I also feel a little frustrated with my income. I need to find a better paying job or a way to gain additional income.

Sunshine and lollipops

The weather has just been so nice lately and I have been taking full advantage of it. And also neglecting this blog.

I’ll be riding my bike to work tomorrow and will have met my goal of riding to work at least 3 times a week, exceeding it even because it will have been the 4th time this week. I’m actually a little bit surprised at how much I am enjoying riding my bike to work. The bike ride involves a bit of a hill right before getting to the office, and a whole lot of uphill on the way home. But I’ve actually kind of grown to like it because it really makes me feel like I am getting some exercise.