Canadian Pension Plan

I recently stumbled upon this excellent tool from the Canadian government that you can use to determine your retirement income. A lot of the data you’ll need may require some digging to find but it should give you a pretty clear picture of what your current situation and future situation will look like.

I came upon this will trying to figure out how much CPP I will receive in early retirement and it’s entirely dependent on how many years you have been earning and how much you earned each year. I can’t recall what I was earning before starting my career, so I can only assume I’ve been hitting the top target for 4 years. That means I’ll need to work another 16 years in order to receive 50% of the maximum monthly payment. It’s not a lot, but every dollar counts.

How do Canada’s social programs factor into your retirement?

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The Economy of You

An economy is essentially a byproduct of monetary transactions. Money comes in, money is spent on services. Money is lent, money is spent, money is paid back with interest. These are the fundamental parts of the system.

Investing relies on the economy and we hope the economy grows in a healthy way. However, every investor should be prepared to weather a storm. Unfortunately, due to extreme amounts of lending and not paying back these loans in the western world, things are getting pretty scary out there. Is a crash imminent? I can’t say. What I can tell you is, by keeping your personal economy strong you can be prepared for this.

Lately, I’ve cut spending on items that don’t produce value. I’m spending more on investments, saving more liquid cash, and seeking novel ways to grow my money. If everyone were to do this, the economy would slow. The few FIRE minded people out there can benefit if they jump on this opportunity while the economy is strong; your money will go further when it’s not.

It may sound like I’m not enjoying the fruits of my labour, but I am:

  • Getting more enjoyment out of the things that I have
  • Finding joy and new experiences in starting businesses
  • Focusing on internal growth. (Go to your local library and get a book. Do it now!)

I really enjoy seeing my net worth increase and learning, so this is easy work for me. If it’s not your cup of tea, I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and can grow your own way.

Look at your personal economy and see how you can make it stronger, more robust, and be prepared to weather any storm. When the downpour starts, you’ll be happy knowing you came prepared and can hit it full on.

-Mike

 

FIRE: Where is the excitement?!

Okay, so I’m going to humble myself really quick. I don’t know shit about Financial Independence/Early Retirement. I’m new to the idea, and I haven’t even gotten close yet. There is so much passion coming from the people involved in this idea, they study every aspect of how to make the dream the reality. These people are the sensei to my samurai; seriously. These people love the journey and the result.

However, maybe I just don’t see the raw excitement coming from some when they reach financial independence. I guess it’s sort of like winning a race; you’ve reach the end, you feel good but you’re gearing up for the next one. I really hope when I reach FI that I can showcase my passions and really share the experience with anyone who will listen. FI is when you earn true freedom and you really get to own every minute of your life. Yell about it! Tell everyone! Say everything!

I know a lot of the publications I read are tailored to their viewer, but I’d love to hear about how amazing the end result is! Listen to a podcast that makes me want to pickup my keyboard, throw it across the room and go buy motorbike and drive across south america. Maybe finance isn’t emotionally exciting, but it could be, you know?

Maybe I’m just being a dick and ranting. Maybe I’m showing my thrill seeking behaviour. Whatever. Hopefully I can bring some fire to FIRE.

Stay tuned for more heat.

-Mike

Useful Subreddits

I’ve been reading http://www.reddit.com for a long time. Typically I’d waste time reading useless junk. I mean I still do, but I used to, too. All jokes aside, there is a tonne of great resources on Reddit and tonnes of talented people. Find me at /u/torontosurvivalguide

Below are some subreddits that contain a treasure trove of useful information to help make you more self-sufficient:

Business

DIY

Finance

Food

Lifestyle

Philosophy 

Self Sufficiency

Shopping

Travel

I hope you find something you like!

-Mike

 

 

My Early Retirement Ecosystem

I’ve thought a lot about the symbiosis of so many of my alternative living strategies, and figured I would try and talk about the ecosystem and how it all works. Some of the main strategies that compliment each other:

  • Early Retirement
  • Bring Frugal
  • Minimalism
  • Healthy Eating
  • Reduced Meat Diet
  • Zero Waste
  • DIY

My main goal is early retirement, and I will do anything to get there. One of the biggest boosts you’ll get towards financial freedom is becoming frugal. Spending less means saving more; plain and simple. Once the frugal addiction hits, you’ll enjoy finding out how much junk you used to buy, and then not buying it. Literally not spending money makes me happy! Cool, right? Being frugal to me is about not spending money on the things you don’t want to spend money on. That being said..

I personally don’t need a lot of space. I’ve slowly reduce the amount of stuff I physically have and am looking to reduce the space I need. I started my adult life in a large condo with all the trimmings. Recently, I then into an apartment to reduce my rent and expenditures. Next, I will be moving into a room in a shared house. My next move will reduce my costs significantly (almost 40% for housing). I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t have anything else I need to rid myself of. I have become MY version of minimal.

I really enjoy food and cooking but I don’t think anyone enjoys paying their grocery bill. The thing I quickly learned about myself after moving out on my own is how much I enjoy cooking. I started off simple with a couple recipes and now I have a good sized repertoire. One of things about cooking that has improved my food and my diet immensely is moving to raw materials. Raw materials are cheaper, result in better tasting food, and reduce all of the ‘junk’ that processed foods contain.

In Canada, food is fairly expensive and meat and cheese are very expensive. As a result, I have moved to a mainly meat free diet. When I do eat meat, I put more work into cheaper cuts and have been very impressed by the results. This saves me money, expands my skills, and has me eating more environmentally friendly dishes. When I go shopping for produce, I bring refillable bags and NEVER buy plastic bags at the checkout.

A zero waste lifestyle is directly related to being frugal, eating healthy, being more environmentally friendly, and eating less meat. Meat comes in foam trays, if I buy meat, I reuse the trays at least once to make them more than single use, for example. I buy only seasonal produce and put it in reusable mesh bags.

Before I buy anything, I always ask myself: Can I get by without it? Can make it myself? I have become extremely self sufficient and, if I don’t say so myself, quite handy. I walk to work/my friends/the train/the store. I carry all of my groceries in a backpack. When organizing work events, I pickup the food and alcohol myself. I repair my own things. I hunt down deals and buy used when I do need things. I learn new skills. This is a huge requirement if you want more freedom. Stop paying people to do things you can do yourself!

This was a bit of a rant, but look at ways your different passions compliment each other, and find new ways to enhance your lifestyle.

-Mike

 

 

FI/RE: Capitalism’s Best Kept Secret

It is my dream to become financially independent and retire early. For better and for worse, the average person does not and this is a huge benefit to myself. If everyone had the same mindset, the economic machine would run a lot slower and thus, reduce speed of retirement across the board.

Others are over spending, under saving, and consuming at record pace which allows my investments in most businesses to thrive. Being frugal and saving money is exciting to me, and the wait to reap the rewards is worth it. What are your goals to speed up your retirement this year? The next 3 years? How can you harness the current financial landscape for your benefit?

Now, as someone who is deeply saddened by the failings of capitalism, it is a hard thing to say that you’re glad people are prey to the system, but it is their choice. I’ll tell anyone who is willing to listen the benefits of FIRE but the majority won’t listen. Part of becoming FIRE, and especially Lean FIRE, may result in your friends thinking your a bit weird. This is a sign of progress, in my opinion. Weird is only something different than normal.

People will dismiss your ideas, but don’t let that dissuade you; keep your eye on the prize.

-Mike

The Story of O.J.

 

So I took the week off to relax and catch up on life. I’m just enjoying life, having a coffee, and listening to some music when suddenly..Jay-Z is rapping about financial independence. Woah.

“Financial freedom my only hope. Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke.” – Jay Z

The Story of O.J. tells a much more heartbreaking story than just that of financial independence, of course. The song has to be one of my favourite Jay songs and probably will go down as one of the best songs of all time (seriously, give it a decade for the rest of the world to catch up). The above lyric really stuck out to me, as hip hop as of late has become an example of excessive consumption and selling consumerism. To have such a prominent artist telling the story of investing rather than spending is a step in a more positive direction for the hip hop industry. Don’t buy chains buy bonds. Buy the Rolex that will gain value, not the one with the most after-market gems. Ball out without financial fallout.

-Mike