Categories
Investing Real Estate Retirement Spending

July 2021 Net Worth Update

I’ve been kind of hesitant to do a post like this but going forward, I will be doing ‘general’ net worth updates. I will not be disclosing my exact Net Worth, but I will tell you, it is considerably less than $1M CAD.

No, I can’t retire yet!

July 2021 Net Worth Update

  • Previous year – compared to July 2020 – I am up 24%.
  • Previous month – compared to June 2021 – I am up 1%

What My Net Worth is Comprised Of

Of my net worth, approximately half is my condo and the other half is my retirement fund and a small amount of cash. I do not keep a lot of cash around.

I keep most cash invested and use a line of credit, if needed.

Reason for Increase

While I’d like to take credit for the increase, I believe it is one thing – money printing and with that, inflation.

Since the last financial crisis, money printing, quantitative easing or whatever you want to call it, has bloated the worth of stocks and real estate. When you factor in the pandemic and the huge amount of subsidies released, this has not helped.

Real estate, especially within cities, has done extremely well over the past 10 years. There is a flight to the urban centers going on (even with the pandemic), which has bolstered market values.

This is a fairly simplistic analysis and I won’t go into further detail but I believe some kind of crash is inevitable.

What do you think?

Categories
Budgeting Spending

My Car is 11 Years Old

I drive a 2010 Hyundai Tucson. Black. It is eleven years old now and shows no signs of stopping.

I FINANCED IT

I have to confess, I originally bought the car used and financed it over 5 years. My payment was $455/per month and I hardly put anything down. I had a great job at the time and didn’t worry about the payment. I thought, heck, I can afford it. And I could.

My position paid very well and I succumbed to lifestyle inflation. I bought the SUV and as well as nice clothing and other crap in the ensuing years.

I finally paid it off by 2015 and since then I have not had any car payment.

IT’S GETTING OLD

Now that it is 2021, my Tucson is getting old but I have to say the mileage on it is very low – 90K. You see, I don’t drive much, maybe 5K to 10K km’s each year. I am fairly lucky. I know that many people have to commute every day.

OTHER OPTIONS

You’re probably wondering – why even have a car? I supposed I don’t really need it. I could sell it, pocket the money and ride transit. Another option – the multiple of car-share companies available here in Vancouver. We now finally have UBER and LYFT.

But I enjoy the convenience of getting out and going wherever and whenever I want. I also need it to take my mom shopping. She is getting older now and struggles to go out on her own.

It’s already paid off, and I as long as there are no maintenance issues, my main costs are only gas and insurance.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM CAR OWNERSHIP

Now, that I’ve had my car for 11 years here is what I’ve learned:

  1. No more car payments again. Ever. I will never finance a car again. What a waste of money (if you don’t need to commute a long distance)
  2. Maintenance is key – I do at least once or two oil changes a year. My steering once started to leak and it turned out to be a known issue – a related part needed to be replaced eventually but I decided to bite the bullet and I repaired it on the spot at a cost of $1,000. It’s never bothered me since.
  3. The dealer is a rip-off. Go find a good mechanic somewhere else.
  4. I don’t care what people think. It seems that everyone looks at your car these days and judges you based on what you have.

THE FUTURE

I don’t understand this culture of upgrading our vehicles and a $500/month car payment is acceptable. When you add insurance and maintenance costs, total spending each month can easily approach $1,000.

I don’t care what I drive. I don’t need a fancy vehicle to show off my status.

I have decided I will drove my TUCSON into the ground.

Categories
Career Side Hustles Spending

Side Hustles I’ve Done

I’m more or less an employee now, but in my 30’s, I used to be quite the hustler. I was self employed for a number of years and did anything I could think of to make money. Now, that I am in my early 50’s, I look back at that period with a certain amount of fondness.

MY SIDE-HUSTLES

Here area few of the side-hustles I used to do (and maybe you could too) with a brief description of my experience with each:

  1. Selling stuff on eBay – I used to search around and look for cool small items or collectables. I couldn’t find enough things and I got tired of the time it took to process orders (tracking bids, postage, etc)
  2. Bartender – The hours were long and the tips weren’t much. To be honest, I’m an introvert, and this probably wasn’t the best choice for me
  3. Security – At special events and bars. Again, the hours were long and the money wasn’t great.
  4. Multi-Level Marketing – I sold vitamins. Ultimately, I didn’t like the recruiting aspect and the expectation to consume so many of the products.
  5. Accountant – This was my main gig – I was self-employed for 5 years. I realized that, after a while, I did not like doing taxes and bookkeeping – most small-business owners are so dis-organized and I found it challenging to charge decent rates for any length of time.
  6. Talent contests – I did a few singing contests! Ok – this was mostly for fun! I did make some money, but not a long-term plan and very competitive.
  7. Film/TV Extra – this was more recent. I had fun and learned a ton about the film-making process, but the hours were long and the pay low.

WHY I DIDN’T LIKE CERTAIN HUSTLES

There was a common theme in many of these hustles – they were location-dependent and took too much of my time, while not paying me enough in return.

I am also very independent and don’t like to be told what to do. In some of the jobs above, I was at the mercy of some unreasonable bosses which took the fun out of the work. I was so busy back then and the last thing I wanted was some fool making my life hell.

Some hustles just weren’t the best use of my time.

I LOST MY HUSTLE

As I mentioned, I am now mostly an employee … something happened to me in my 40’s.

I bought another condo. Real Estate is one of the best long-term investments you can make, but it comes with short-term costs. In my case, I kind of lost my hustle. Because, I had a mortgage, I became more risk-averse, and stayed in a high-paying job probably longer than I should have.

I still hung out with some of the wrong people. I look back and think I still partied a bit too much and went out for drinks at the pub more than I should have. I should have been hanging with other like-minded folks.

GOING FORWARD

Nowadays, I really try to spend as much time as I can around entrepreneurial/hustler types. I am in the best shape of my life and no longer hang out in the bars (and shop) like I used to.

I feel I am slowly getting my ‘hustle’ back. Here are my current side-hustles:

  1. YouTube – a small channel doing covers of various songs.
  2. This blog – just started it about a month ago.
  3. Acting – I’ve been auditioning occasionally for TV. Yes, I’m an introvert, but I’ve decided to push myself.

1 and 2 are location-independent but 3 is not. That’s ok – regardless of what happens, I am picking up new skills that I never would have learned by doing one ‘day job’

I think I’d eventually like to be a Digital Nomad and travel the world!

Categories
Budgeting Spending

July Spending Update

Welcome to my first spending update!

I’ve been tracking my finances since the 90’s and have always had a pretty good idea of where my money goes. I use a program called Microsoft Money Sunset Edition (Sadly, it is no longer updated but you can find a copy free online at the link – use at your own risk!) I enter everything I spend on a daily basis – if I make a purchase on my credit card, I will post it into the software immediately (Don’t forget – I’m an accountant!)

JULY UPDATE

It is now just past the middle of July and a I’ve noticed a few things. I won’t go into detail of exactly how much I spend, but here is what sticks out:

  • I’ve spent too much on eating out.
  • I’ve also spent too much on Starbucks!

The weather has been nice and I haven’t felt like cooking or ordering from my usual meal plan service. I also love the ritual of buying a Starbucks on the way to work. It is just so relaxing!

MY WEAKNESSES

My biggest weakness involves a pub down the street. They have a wing night that I simply cannot resist – yes, beer and chicken wings is my vice of choice. But cheap wings aside, after a few drinks, the bill can get to $50 fairly quickly.

As mentioned before, going out and getting a coffee is one of my favorite activities, especially at the beginning of a long walk. I do make coffee at home in the morning, but to be honest, it is not the same thing. Without a doubt, though, I still spend less on coffee than I used to.

THE PAST

In the past, when I had a good job (I still do, but it doesn’t pay as much), I suffered from lifestyle inflation – I used to spend a fortune on travel, food and entertainment, clothing – you name it! I was seriously on the career treadmill – overweight and unhappy – running to desperately keep up.

I’ve made huge strides over the years and no longer attempt to keep up with the corporate lackeys I see downtown. I’ve gotten my spending down considerably, but it’s a process, even after all these years. Sometimes, I fall back on old habits and have to adjust in the following months.

I’ll keep doing these updates periodically. See you soon!

Categories
Retirement Spending

The F.I.R.E. Movement

I’ve been reading about the FIRE movement for years – FIRE meaning ‘Financially Independent, Retire Early’ So what exactly is it? Let me start by saying, I am NOT young and certainly not ready to retire but many devotees of this movement have managed to ditch their jobs, retire young and now travel the world or do whatever hell they want.

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

From some of the stories I’ve read, these FIRE followers lived below their means, sometimes saving as much as 50% of their income (or even more) and then invested any surplus in the stock market or real estate. The stock market has been on a huge bull run the past ten years, bloating many stock portfolios and allowing some of these young savers to even retire in their 30’s! I’m an older guy and I have to tell you, I do not have the money to retire, and it is impressive to hear how they have done it.

I think the run up in values of the stock and real estate markets has surely been a help. Tech stocks have gone up by at least a factor of ten or twenty – it doesn’t take much to retire if you invested wisely have have the benefit of this. I also noticed many of the FIRE disciples had high-paying tech or professional jobs. I wonder if it would be as easy to retire early if you didn’t have the benefit of an excellent education which many of these jobs require. Does it look like much fun living far below your means as many of these early-retirees did? I guess it depends on what kind of person who are and what you can tolerate – short term sacrifice for long term gain!

IF YOU’RE OLDER AND NOT YET RETIRED?

Well, I do feel a certain amount of envy …lol … but here are a few lessons that I will take away from the FIRE movement:

  1. Discipline – it’s still not too late to keep track of your finances and keep your expenses low – it’s never too late to live below your means and not ‘keep up with the Joneses’
  2. Retirement – I’ve learned that I will always have to be doing ‘something’. I will never fully retire because I would get bored … but, it is nice to have the bank account to have the freedom to tell people to get lost.
  3. Multiple streams – the stock market took a hit early in the pandemic. I think if someone was living off one source of income, it could be a cause for concern. Multiple streams are the way to go and anyone can start at any age.
  4. Real Estate – it’s never too late to buy a rental property (cash-flow positive) or do some kind of ‘house hacking’ or renting out a part of your home if you can.
  5. Comparison – it’s not always good to compare yourselves to others. Everyone’s journey is different and maybe don’t worry so much.

I have to admit, I was a late-bloomer with regards to my personal finances. When I was younger, no one really talked about money as much as they do today. I got my first internet connection in 1996 and at the time, personal finance blogs were not as prevalent as they are today. One of the first books on personal finance I read was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” back in 1997 and that opened my eyes to the world of how money really works. Today, there are literally thousands of blogs and pieces of information on any topic you want. I think culturally, money is talked more openly now.

Anyways, onward I will continue … I think I will modify the term F.I.R.E. for myself – ‘Financially Independent, Retire Eventually.’