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Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Change in Venue (For Me)

Posted by Dave on December 30, 2014

It was over 5 years ago that Tim requested applications for guest writers on this site (my very first post is here). At that time, I had been reading this blog for over a year or so and thought that maybe people would like to read about my story. Now, I’m approximately 1/3rd of the way through my 15-year retirement plan, with a paid off house and investments that are starting to trickle additional income to our household (although at a much slower rate than I would like).

I want thank Tim for the opportunity to have a place for some of my (hopefully) interesting thoughts and viewpoints somewhere. My wife is thankful as well, otherwise she would have been my entire audience over the past five years, and gotten the brunt of my excited and sometimes uninformed rants on personal finance matters (she still gets to hear A LOT about non personal finance stuff).

I also wanted to thank all of you for engaging me in conversation over my early retirement plans. Talking about early retirement and financial independence is usually not something that’s brought up in most of my daily conversations. Having a place to be able to discuss my ideas with like-minded individuals is much appreciated.

And Now The Good News!

Maybe you’d like to see how my story goes over the next few years? One thing about the Internet that is somewhat distressing to me, is that people who I have either been reading in blogs, watching on YouTube, or listening to on podcasts, just abruptly disappears. Rather than just disappearing, I have decided to set up my own website / blog to continue my online story. For anyone who is interested, please follow me / add me to your RSS feed here:

www.myexitplans.ca

On my new site, I plan on writing a couple of posts per week, similar to what I have been doing here for the past 5 years (approximately 275 posts!). I would guess that I will be getting into more of the investing side of my early retirement plan, as that’s basically what I’m doing with the vast majority of my available funds for the next decade.

Thank you again, I hope to talk to you all soon!

And Then a Funny Thing Happened

Posted by Dave on December 23, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about my wife’s and my decision to not give Christmas or birthday presents to each other (We both have December birthdays, on the 13th and 16th). Normally, the act of both searching for and then going to purchase presents causes a fair amount of work and time, and usually leads to both of us getting things that we kind of don’t want and causing quite a bit of unrequired stress in dealing with people at shops and malls, for the sake of consumerism. For my birthday, we went to our favourite pub for lunch and a few drinks (it fell on a Saturday this year). My wife chose a lunch at a new sushi place to celebrate her birthday when we took this past Friday off to relax for the day, before family Christmas insanity takes over the next few weekends.

I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks, rather than fretting over presents, I’ve been having a much better time. I’ve made a few (admittedly small) donations to charities, something I normally wouldn’t do (Heifer International and The Salvation Army), because of my limited budget this time of year. I donated to Heifer International after reading a very passionate request for donations from Patrick Rothfuss, one of my favourite authors. He felt so strongly about the charity that he agreed to kiss whatever kind of animal people voted on that the charity provides to people they are helping (llama, pig, heifer, or goat….he ended up kissing a llama).

Over the years, I have slowly but surely tried to minimize most things that cause me annoyance. My wife and I have started spending more time at home, rather than running all over the province every weekend – we liked the visiting, but we didn’t enjoy being exhausted for the first few days of the week. We also made our “budget” as easy as possible to follow – in the attempt to eliminate money issues coming up monthly.

Our Early Retirement plan is sort of the last “problem” we’re attempting to overcome. We’d like to do exactly what we want to do, rather than trading a good portion of our time working. There are hobbies and interests that we have to set aside for the 10 hours a day we’re either working, getting ready for work, or getting home from our jobs. We’d much rather have this time to ourselves.

We’ll continue looking for areas to make our lives a little easier, either by doing more of something, or a much less. Is there anything you’re planning on changing in the coming year to make your life a little easier?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, all the best to you and your families!

Catch the Trade Winds?

Posted by Dave on December 16, 2014

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

This quotation showed up on my daily comics feed on Go Comics*, drawn out by one of my favourite illustrators – “Zen Pencils”. The quotation is attributed to Mark Twain, but may have been written by H. Jackson Brown, Jr (Mark Twain’s Estate can’t source it). For whatever reason, out of the 165+ comics that this illustrator has done, this one seems to apply the most to my life.

I am a cautious individual by nature, I keep my head down and do my cushy government job and don’t stray too far away from what would be considered “the norm”. My retirement plan, although aggressive in comparison to most of the population has been set up to be as conservative as possible in order to ensure that it was do-able – Instead of an “Early Retirement Extreme” plan [link], I have more of an “Moderately Aggressive way of Attaining Financial Independence” plan.

I think the thing that most people really worry about missing out on something. Even being a cautious individual who dislikes significant change in my life, I still wonder once in a while if there is something more rewarding or enjoyable that I could be doing with my time, instead of grinding out a corporate career.

The question I ask myself is how comfortable I would be, making a significant career change that may pay substantially less money but give my day to day life more enjoyment. A different way to look at my current life is how comfortable would I be to trade the possibility of being financially independent at age 45 in order to work a lot less now, in order to have more time to pursue some of my interests right now. Maybe if there was a project that I felt really strongly about, like writing a book or excelling at “beer-league” golf, I would think harder about my current life.

My current financial plan will hopefully allow me to “Explore, Dream, and Discover” some more of my hobbies after age 45, and I am hoping that at that time I don’t have any regrets about how I lived my years of early to mid adulthood.

Are you worried about missing out on anything? Have you made a significant career change and been happy you did it?

 

*I have read the comics almost every day of my life, since I was able to read – I am more than happy to spend the $12 a year that Go Comics charges in order to support this type of entertainment, which brings 5 minutes of entertainment to me every day.