Appearances

DOUG  By Guest Blogger Doug Rowat
.

When can I retire?

Never has such a simple question been weighed down by so much complication. For clients asking this question I typically respond with a couple of questions myself: 1) Do you want to leave a legacy to your family and/or friends? After all, leaving every penny to your kids, for example, means a very different retirement than having your last cheque bounce. And 2) what kind of retirement lifestyle do you want? After all, watching sunsets from the back porch involves a different set of expenses than, say, racing Porsches on the weekends.

However, in recent years I’ve taken to adding a third question: Are you willing to accept less before and during your retirement? This question shifts the focus from what one desires to what one’s willing to sacrifice. Therefore, of the three questions, this is often the most difficult to answer. Why? Because people are hesitant to give up the extravagances that allow them to present themselves to the world as “successful”. People envy the affluence of their peers and, in turn, want their own affluence to be envied—at least the outward appearance of it.

Unfortunately, appearing successful matters, and it seems to be mattering more over time.

The median US home increased from 983 sq ft in 1950 to almost 2,500 sq ft in 2018 and the average new American home has more bathrooms than occupants. According to the OECD, Canadians like their bigger houses too, perhaps even more than Americans. The average Canadian house has 2.6 rooms per person versus the US at 2.4. The average for all other OECD nations is only 1.8. Interesting as well, the lessons we (or at least Americans) initially learned about making do with less following the 2008–09 housing crisis now seems to have been completely forgotten:

Have extravagant housing desires been curbed following the housing crisis?
Number of larger US houses (in thousands)

Source: US Census Bureau; New single-family homes

But our extravagances encompass not just housing. The price of an original iPhone was about US$400—expensive for its time. Today consumers will freely spend three or four times this amount on the latest model. Even something as simple as home entertainment now involves excess. How many streaming services do you subscribe to, for example? According to the Los Angeles Times, the average US consumer has four streaming services with almost 40% subscribing to five! Necessary? Hardly. But if your neighbour tells you all about the hot new show they streamed on Crave and you don’t have Crave? Well, the jealousy’s probably already brewing.

As Morgan Housel points out in his excellent new book, The Psychology of Money, spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money. Further, the respect and envy that you believe displays of wealth will generate for you is, in fact, an illusion:

When you see someone driving a nice car, you rarely think, “Wow, the guy driving that car is cool.” Instead, you think, “Wow, if I had that car people would think I’m cool.”… People tend to want wealth to signal to others that they should be liked and admired. But in reality those other people often bypass admiring you…because they use your wealth as a benchmark for their own desire to be liked and admired…

Does this same idea apply to those living in big homes? Almost certainly.

Jewelry and clothes? Yep.

It’s a subtle recognition that people generally aspire to be respected and admired by others, and using money to buy fancy things may bring less of it than you imagine.

Countless happiness studies have shown that the true value of wealth lies not in the extravagant things that it allows you to buy to show off, but rather in the freedom that it can provide, often in the form of an early retirement.

So, when it comes to planning and timing your retirement, what do you value more? The expensive trappings of “success” or your freedom?

Doug Rowat, FCSI® is Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments and Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.

 

178 comments ↓

#1 Cheese on 01.23.21 at 9:39 am

I live like a pauper, other than a computer, every other thing is scavenged/used/repaired. You are forced to when you make very little in wages.

One must consider Sisyphus happy.

#2 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 9:49 am

An excellent post today, Doug. So full of truth, especially the ‘conspicuous consumption for the purpose of coaxing envy from others’ bit. Once you get up close to that dirty little secret it’s an eye opener. A dapper looking couple, but I don’t care for the short leash kept on the dog. It says something about how they view that beautiful creature.

#3 Basement Wealth on 01.23.21 at 9:56 am

It’s sure hard not to spend. But like many of the dogs on this blog, some of us are prodigious underground accumulators of wealth.

I’ve been spending copious hours on developing a wealth planner and calculator. Still in beta, but check it out and give us some feedback if it makes sense.

https://www.imfingo.com/onsider

#4 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 10:15 am

OTTAWA • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Friday that anyone travelling outside Canada could face considerable trouble getting back home, as new evidence suggests some COVID-19 variants are both more transmissible and more deadly.

“No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve got one planned, cancel it. Don’t book a trip for spring break,” Trudeau said outside of Rideau Cottage. “We could be bringing in new measures that significantly impede your ability to return to Canada at any given moment without warning.”

Thank you Atlantic Canada, Quebec, & Ontario for your Liberal votes in the last election. This is the peach of a guy we have as a result. “Without warning”. But hey…don’t take that as a threat.
Don G, I hope you are having the time of your life down in Mazatlan caballero.

#5 LP on 01.23.21 at 10:18 am

A few years ago an e-mail made the rounds about the concept of “enough”. Unfortunately I know longer have that message saved, nor do I remember all the details in it. However, the idea was that one does not need multiples of most things, the latest greatest isn’t necessary for happiness, having only “enough” to cover one’s needs and requirements is, indeed, all that one should aspire to.

I’ve reached the age when I don’t seek new furniture, more notchkes (sp?) on every flat surface, a better stereo system. My phone is second hand from my son and I turn it on only when I need it. But – I do spend (too much) money on books, on posters or prints of loved paintings though I get them plaqued rather than framed.

If the company helmed by our blog host doesn’t let me run out of money, I will have enough to last and maybe to leave some for the kids. Life is uncertain so they may get it all. Who knows? Who cares? So go ahead…eat the dessert first.

#6 Ian on 01.23.21 at 10:21 am

Great Read. Good points to consider.

#7 Jeremy on 01.23.21 at 10:23 am

Saving up for an awesome hair transplant by the time I’m 75.

Then the twenty-something babes will be all over me :)

#8 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 10:28 am

…he writes, from the half-lit cubicle, as Ryan passionately kisses the receptionist and roars away in his Porsche.

#9 Jake on 01.23.21 at 10:32 am

Live within your means before retirement and the post adjustment won’t come as a shock.

The biggest money pits are the obvious ones, our homes and cars. Over time, the former grows in value but the latter is the biggest indulgence and waste of capital. Over a lifetime an average person (at least in N.A) will likely go through 10+ cars, mostly just because of desire and the pressure of “appearance”.

The other big but “silent” money pit is actually the small stuff. Best financial book I ever read was the Latte Factor by David Bach. I try to pass that on every time the retirement subject comes up.

#10 Tarot Card on 01.23.21 at 10:33 am

Thanks for the blog Garth
Thanks for the post Doug

Not sure what words of wisdom I can share, but this quote was interesting
There are three types of people
Those that spend all their life and do not save and when they retire are poor and eat cat food. And complain about every one who saved.
Those who save every penny all their life and then when they retire still pinch every penny. Because it’s hard to break a habit or fear.
Those who save all their life and then enjoy their savings in retirement. The freedom to choose.

As I Look down my street (I live on an island in the pacific) all I see is Boats, RVs, multiple cars and a truck. Garages so full of stuff they park on the streets

My point is you are absolutely correct Doug.

I have come to the conclusion after 2020 we reward those who spend and punish those who save.

#11 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 10:36 am

Welcome to the self-flagellation room. We’ll be starting… now.

#12 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 10:51 am

#2 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 9:49 am

A dapper looking couple, but I don’t care for the short leash kept on the dog. It says something about how they view that beautiful creature.

————

Well, you probably think that because jaguars don’t like leashes. I see 70 lbs of coiled destruction waiting to explode. When the cat inevitably appears, because they always do, this dog would reach 147 mph by the end of a five-foot leash just as the cat disappeared under Ryan’s parked Porsche.

Then tears, screaming, crying, accusations… and not all from Ryan.

#13 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 11:01 am

Another great post.
Wants vs needs as you head towards retirement.

One comment.
I didnt realize Jane24 and hubby had a dog.

#14 Dmitry on 01.23.21 at 11:03 am

Humans are still animals for the most part, so nothing has changed. Ethology gives the answer. Start with the works of Conrad Lorenz

#15 Joseph R. on 01.23.21 at 11:05 am

“Countless happiness studies have shown that the true value of wealth lies not in the extravagant things that it allows you to buy to show off, but rather in the freedom that it can provide, often in the form of an early retirement.”

—————————————————–

I want to add that one of best purchase you can do is to buy yourself time off. One of the easiest way is by getting a maid to do housecleaning every week.

#16 Do we have all the facts on 01.23.21 at 11:05 am

When you view your home as a major component of your retirement plan and believe that the value will continue to increase until your liquidate and retire buying the biggest and most expensive house possible makes sense.

A six percent gain on a 4,000 sq. ft. $1,000,000 home is better than a six percent gain on a 3,000 sq. ft. $700,000 home. It all about the gain in capital while the prestige is an added bonus.

When you can invest $200,000 to purchase an asset valued at $1,000,000 and realize a $60,000 tax free gain in one year it seems too good to true. When capital gains cover most, if not all, of your debt servicing costs jumping on the home ownership bandwagon becomes a no brainer.

This is how all con jobs reel in their customers. Offer unrealistic gains that cannot be supported by metrics until the con is exposed and a correction occurs. Bernie Madoff relied on the inherent greed of his investors and home owners and real estate agents in 2020 and 2021 are no different. They are capitalizing on a situation that is not sustainable without a massive increase in average incomes. However any substantial increase in wages would result in inflation and an immediate increase in interest rates(see 1981 for details).

Connect the dots and the only conclusions are a reduction in the average price of homes or inflation and an increase in interest rates. You cannot inflate the value of housing beyond 2020 without a substantial increase in wages.

The tinkering toolbox is empty and the sooner we look reality in the eye the better.

When the music stops, and it will, looking for a chair will become a very interesting exercise.

#17 The other Keith from Calgary on 01.23.21 at 11:07 am

It seems clear that many Canadians are in the situation of needing next week’s/month’s/years paycheques to cover current expenses. If they don’t act to change that they will be faced with a rude awakening when someone decides for them that those cheques are not coming. Or maybe a sudden medical event will decide for them.

We all know people who say they can’t afford to retire, and it’s typically because they’ve been living beyond their means. Seduced by advertising into spending more money than they have. Buying things they don’t need. Living life on the escalator of wanting more, and more, and ever more, all to keep up appearances. I have no sympathy for them when the ride ends.

So really that third question is misleading. They didn’t really have more, since it wasn’t really theirs. They got to use it, but the bank owned it and in the meantime the interest on the debt is a leech sucking their financial lifeblood away.

Really, the question should be about facing up to the financial facts, and not caring what the Jones down the street think. If they aren’t willing to do that, then really, they aren’t serious about retirement planning.

#18 RowatNation aka Prince Polo on 01.23.21 at 11:11 am

Oh the scourge of “keeping up with the Joneses”. Why are people so daftly shallow? Be happy with health, family, and friends – not showing off your gargantuan pile of debt!

#19 Surrey Lil Fool on 01.23.21 at 11:22 am

Thank you for an excellent post. I like that you deviated from the usual technical aspects of your post and put some light on the ‘spirit’ side of the wealth.

Sure the couple looks dapper in the pic, but what we don’t see is the amount of time and energy it took those rusty bones to slide in all those costumes (not to mention the diapers that you can’t see). Lot like image of wealth; folks of means aren’t able to quell anxiety, it just takes different forms (yacht parking, inclusion into exclusive clubs etc)

What is the purpose of wealth, if it can’t give you peace and freedom? Hedonic treadmill is a certain path to never ending chase and angst.

Thank you for the book recommendation as well. I am sure it’ll be a good read once it arrives.

You raised an excellent discussion topic today and I do wish our schools integrated a compulsory course before graduation that blends the basic financial management (there is no freedom in poverty) with some spiritual advice about the purpose of accumulating wealth.

Thank you again for an excellent post. Wish good health, peace and contentment to you and all the visitors to this oasis of a site (Thanks Garth).

#20 heloguy on 01.23.21 at 11:28 am

The problem is financial literacy. People believe the government will look after them in their retirement. They hear Canada Pension and Old Age Security and think that will be their retirement plan.

#21 Dogman01 on 01.23.21 at 11:30 am

Two close boyhood friends grow up and go their separate ways. One becomes a humble monk, the other a rich and powerful minister to the king. Years later they meet. As they catch up, the minister (in his fine robes) takes pity on the thin, shabby monk. Seeking to help, he says:

“You know, if you could learn to cater to the king you wouldn’t have to live on rice and beans.”

To which the monk replies:  “If you could learn to live on rice and beans you wouldn’t have to cater to the king.”

#22 Dave from Edmonton on 01.23.21 at 11:36 am

Dear Doug, possibly your best and most insightful article ever. After watching my older brother slowly die at 37, l left the material world behind. I inherited his money, invested it and I haven’t worked in over two decades. I live within my means and enjoy my time. My brother’s experiences taught me that adult toys are just like a child’s toy, they come with the same emotions. Envy, jealousy, love and hate. I’d rather have time than toys, and this comes from experience. My brother taught me so much. I’m thankful for listening to him.
You nailed it today Doug. Thank you.

#23 Tim on 01.23.21 at 11:38 am

I gave up the trappings of ‘success’ a while back….I don’t regret it because that allowed me to retire from my engineering career just before my 40th birthday. Freedom is SO much better than stuff. Yes I’ve chosen to live a more modest lifestyle but I was already living that lifestyle for years before I made the change. And yes, I did decided I wanted to work part time at a job after a few years…at the library. Way more relaxing work and I honestly never think about it after leaving. The best part…the extra money is just for fun stuff. Oh, look I got paid…I suppose I can save up for a new toy for one of my hobbies quicker. Yep, the good life is about choosing to work not needing to work.

#24 Alberta Ed on 01.23.21 at 11:41 am

Good health, family and friends and sufficient income to live happily are enough.

#25 Oakville Rocks! on 01.23.21 at 11:47 am

Ryan, always a great read on Saturday.

@#4 You are welcome! Hey, did I mention that time me and some of my friends from Quebec & Atlantic Canada snuck into Alberta wearing cowboy boots and stetsons and voted NDP in your provincial election. We still chuckle about that caper. Seriously, your comments are really trending toward dumb lately.

Personally I prefer dog owners who keep their dogs on a short leash as opposed to those retractable leashes. My 20 lb Schnoodle & I get by just fine on a 6 foot all leather leash.

#26 Dolce Vita on 01.23.21 at 11:47 am

Oh Doug, you young thing you.

Don’t you know that:

“It is better to look good than to feel good.”

If you have cash as many do here according to Garth’s recent survey, spend it when you are young and still have the body to enjoy it all.

For the many young here that read this Blog, take a quick trip to a Geriatric ward at your local hospital and view the “Golden Years”. Ya, those are the years you are saving up for.

On the latter, I’m with #1 Cheese and Sisyphus.

On the former, I’m with Dionysus (provided you have M. L. Crassus’s bank account).

#27 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 11:48 am

#3 Basement Wealth on 01.23.21 at 9:56 am

I’ve been spending copious hours on developing a wealth planner and calculator. Still in beta, but check it out and give us some feedback if it makes sense.

https://www.imfingo.com/onsider

————–

Very nice! I like the feedback comments.

One small thing: the monthly savings tops out at $10k, which might be waaaay too low for (ahem) some

#28 Paul B on 01.23.21 at 11:50 am

I love the last paragraph in this last blog post:
” So, when it comes to planning and timing your retirement, what do you value more? The expensive trappings of “success” or your freedom?”

Jacob Lund Fisker’s book “Early Retirement Extreme” is an interesting and fun read where he shares his philosophy around consumption vs making income. The choice is really as Doug Rowat says….”success” (where you are a slave to making money to consume stuff) or your freedom.

#29 Handsome Ned on 01.23.21 at 11:57 am

I will be the first to say it. “You will own nothing and be happy comrade.”

#30 Dogman01 on 01.23.21 at 12:01 pm

#23 Tim on 01.23.21 at 11:38 am

Tim – I assume you are the Tim from the Canadian Dream blog.
If so, you are a class act not promoting your blog here.

So I will:
http://www.canadian-dream-free-at-45.com/about/

Good stuff for those whom choose to no longer “cater to the king”

#31 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 12:06 pm

@#12 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 10:51 am
Well, you probably think that because jaguars don’t like leashes.
+++
No leash has been manufactured that could hold the Jaguar. Nothing to do with the design. Everything to do with years of experience as an escape artist.

#32 Keen Reader on 01.23.21 at 12:07 pm

When to retire: at the intersection of rising wealth vs decreasing years to enjoy life. Garth reminds us that Time is our most important commodity. Working too long (though I really enjoy flying) likely wastes time for yourself and with loved ones. Also, your decreasing health, energy and spirit of adventure will definitely hamper your retirement dreams.

Each of us has a best time to retire. Create your Bucket List, prioritize, plan and price it out. Then, figure out where the intersection lies between increasing wealth vs decreasing time to execute your plan. What will you regret most, as your life ends???

Good luck!

#33 LP on 01.23.21 at 12:10 pm

#2 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 9:49 am

If he were walking a Scotch Collie, there’d be slack in that short leash.

F73ON

#34 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 12:16 pm

…he writes, from the dimly-lit storage closet beneath the stairs.
Meanwhile, Ryan, waking from a pleasant afternoon nap, swings gleaming Italian wingtips off the desk, passionately kisses his personal assistant and roars away in his Porsche convertible, narrowly missing a homeless family of three collecting returnables.

#35 mark on 01.23.21 at 12:21 pm

Off Grid, no extras here, most of what I read here makes me laugh and makes me think how screwed most city dwellers are, as I sit in my mountain community.

#36 Nosferatu on 01.23.21 at 12:21 pm

#3 Basement Wealth – love the site, excellent job! Much better than the high level fluff provided by the big 5.

#37 Steerage on 01.23.21 at 12:26 pm

All I need for happiness is reading this blog….it’s priceless.

#38 TurnerNation on 01.23.21 at 12:29 pm

Risks of owning a house in Kanada:

– Social: of the people I know and meet they’ve lost about half of their friends, family and relationships: the people who’ve fully embraced the New System, the 24/7 fear over an omnipresent all-seeing all-powerful enemy.
Harkening back to the days of witches, devils and what-have you. Science not so much.
These people do not want a normal life; Big Brother’s foot slamming their faces is welcome. Rights are no longer important.
Communism cannot succeed without a legion of boots on the ground; those would be your snitches, yellers, and Block Captains. Everything old is new again.

– Political. I don’t know much about politics and history. Can somebody tell me, are we missing any elements of a COUP here , in Kanada? Home prices always are lower in QC due to overhanging threat of separation, political unrest. So what about elsewhere:
Facts:

– We are under wartime military curfews.
– Rationing is heavy, ‘non essentials’ are taped off.
– Dozens of elected leaders and heads of important organizations have been stripped of power or removed from office in January. Travel, we were told.
– The highest symbolic leader of the Queen, our GG, was just deposed.

– Borders are closed; interprovincial soon, too.
– Our central bank was hijacked and is printing money like paper – Wartime spending levels. Hopeless debt levels too.
– Personal Travel is curtailed, banned in some provinces (‘stay at home’)
– Provinces openly declared a never ending ‘State of Emergency’.

– We have no real opposition leader or party; government power is unlimited and unchecked.
– All rights re suspended: travel, assembly, outdoor protest. Speedy trial? Courts were closed. Global tech giants helpfully stifle online free speech.
– Many of our uniformed people, supposedly here to help us and keep the peace, will enforce this crack down. Hey they got mortgages to pay too you know.

– Have I missed anything? By which measure(s) is this not a silent Coup, our Colour Revolution (Red)??
– Bank of Canada stands read with its new E-currency. What’s that all about…
– Stand by for our next election to be rigged; mail in ballots etc.

– Let’s face it since 1970 – that’s 50 years ago – we will have had a T1 or T2 in office for 16 years. 32% of time.
Tell your kids ‘anyone may become PM’…
– Since 1995 there’s been a Ford in a public office in Ontario. Doug Sr, Jr and Rob (RIP).
Notice the trend?

#39 Barb on 01.23.21 at 12:30 pm

Husband and I are the same. Throughout our careers we cared little what anyone thought of how we lived our lives. Even less now that we’re retired.

Be a kind and decent person.

#40 Linda on 01.23.21 at 12:31 pm

An excellent post Doug! As you correctly point out, peoples lifestyle choices will indeed dictate how/when/if they retire. In my own case, I chose to work a few extra years in order to 1) maximize my eventual pension benefits; 2) pay off any outstanding debt; 3) repair/replace/upgrade various house related expenses, like a new roof & a new furnace. This added to the debt to be paid off before retiring, but I felt it worth it since the last thing I wanted to hear on a fixed income was ‘your ‘X’ needs replacing NOW’. Basically I did not want to retire until I could feel confident that my income would cover my expenses with enough left over to have some fun with. That having been achieved I took the plunge & highly recommend it! Do not miss the hamster wheel existence in the slightest. Every time I see the mad morning traffic rush I feel a surge of pure happiness that I’m no longer a part of it – especially when the road conditions are horrible:)

#41 Pizzaguy on 01.23.21 at 12:41 pm

Great topic! It perfects align to all my retirement reading over past 2 years. I’m 51 and intend to retire in 18 months at my 53 bday. Looking my all spend over past 7 years + fixed costs I concluded 36K after tax is enough for me (my spouse 9 yrs younger will keep working). Basically 12K for fixed costs + 12K for variable + 12K for travelling.

Lifestyle ? I own paid up condos in downtowns TO and one by the beach in South America where we’ll spend winters. Much cheaper cost of living too. No car, no kids, no dogs (sorry). If I need any extravaganza I can always rent so it gives me flexibility to adjust.

Income will be 18K from my DC + 24K mainly from dividends (thanks to covid 6.5% YLD). Aiming to get a severance to cover at least 2 yrs, otherwise I have 18 months to build a 50K cash reserve. By 60 yrs I’ll collect CPP. By 65 I should have reach 50K yearly.

Cut the excess ! Live simple ! Travel more !

#42 Dragonslayer on 01.23.21 at 12:47 pm

Early in our marriage my wife was always pushing for brand new cars until I wised up and shut that down.

Now our vehicles are 13 and 15 years old respectively and I’ve made it a mission to keep them going myself until they literally aren’t saveable any more.

I owe the local Mazda dealership a huge debt of gratitude for being such a pain in the ass to deal with as it drove me to YouTube and started me doing my own repairs. An OBD scanner and some basic software allows you to diagnose 90% of the problems that come your way.

We’ve saved thousands on depreciation by sticking with used vs new, and saved more by doing our own repairs.

Eventually when one of our vehicles goes we’ll buy a 3- 5 year old car with low mileage- that’s the sweet spot.

And how shallow does one have to be to link your self worth with a luxury car brand? For one thing everyone and their aunt is driving a Mercedes or BMW these days and for another they’re actually LESS reliable than a standard brand. Standing by the side of the road with your hood up and flashers going- yup, that’s social status.

#43 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 12:56 pm

My my my.
Mr Navalny’s return to Russia seems to have heated up the temps a bit.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/alexei-navalny-protests-1.5885179

Or was it the 69 million views of “Putin’s Palace” on the Black Sea that enraged protesters?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8J2dW-QYQY

Billionaire Putin has built quite the gilded cage for himself.
He cant leave Russia and it’s looking more and more like he wont be able to stay…..

#44 Doug Rowat on 01.23.21 at 12:59 pm

#16 Do we have all the facts on 01.23.21 at 11:05 am

When you view your home as a major component of your retirement plan and believe that the value will continue to increase until your liquidate and retire buying the biggest and most expensive house possible makes sense.

A six percent gain on a 4,000 sq. ft. $1,000,000 home is better than a six percent gain on a 3,000 sq. ft. $700,000 home. It all about the gain in capital while the prestige is an added bonus.

—-

There are other, more diversified investments besides housing. But regardless of the merits of housing as an investment, a reluctance to liquidate a big house (take profits) solely because impressing others is more important is a problem.

The point I’m making is that the need to impress will cloud judgment, delay retirement and not make you one bit happier.

—Doug

#45 Ustabe on 01.23.21 at 1:06 pm

When one retires or whatever you chose to call it you face certain things.

You have your go-go years which meld into your go-slow years. In my early 70’s I’m seeing more go slow than go go now…our kayaks are no longer pick up off the racks, carry to the vehicle, place on roof, strap down and go. Each of those segments is now its own process with its own planning, foot placement and rest period.

After your go slow years become the norm, all to often it becomes your no go years. I have friends and acquaintances who are in the no go years. My fervent hope is I never get there.

I have a neighbour who took down a large fir that was becoming too much over roof liability. He gave me the wood. Sledge and wedge the rounds into chunks I could carry, load up my trailer and dump at the head of my driveway took me a week when it would have been a 2 day job just a short few years ago.

Moving the pile to my wood shed utility area should have been a day’s work but I managed it in 3.

Splitting to firewood size and stacking it up could have been done in 2 days by younger me, it took me a week.

Just shy of three full cords of wood. With a full 128 cubic foot cord of wood selling around here for $150, I “saved” just shy of $450. Go slow though.

I guess my point is your needs/wants/ability changes.
You accept, adapt or begin to die.

Most things that consume my time have nothing to do with money any longer. Being able to put up my own wood and still go ocean kayaking are more important.

#46 Indigirl on 01.23.21 at 1:09 pm

One of the best things about this site is the reminder to live within your means. It’s not a message that I hear anywhere else in my circle, yet it continues to serve me well. My affordable crappy post-divorce townhouse, is only crappy when I think of the awesome home I left. If I don’t compare, and instead think of what is good about my townhouse and new neighbours, it becomes awesome.

#47 Linda on 01.23.21 at 1:13 pm

Something I just thought i’d share is the paying off debt prior to retiring benefit. Basically by paying off debt prior to retirement you are already living on less. So when your income drops it isn’t such a big adjustment. If your debt payments were high, could be your debt free retirement income is actually as high or even higher than what you were living on pre-retirement! Trust me, that makes a huge difference.

#48 KNOW IT ALL on 01.23.21 at 1:19 pm

I just want to drive around in a nice big BOAT full of hot babes from now until D-Day.

Small order….I think

#49 Doug Rowat on 01.23.21 at 1:19 pm

#26 Dolce Vita on 01.23.21 at 11:47 am

Oh Doug, you young thing you.

—-

Nice of you to say. But I got more rhymes than I got grey hairs…

—Doug

#50 Beetman on 01.23.21 at 1:26 pm

Very good post. The two biggest problems in our society is envy and greed.
I knew a farmer that couldn’t keep his eyes off of the next toy (as I’d like to say). He was forever buying things he couldn’t afford. Long story short, his wife left him and he lost every thing. He just turned 65 and is now living out of his beat up pickup. So sad.
I personally believe when there is a correction millions of people will go from perceived wealth to utter poverty. It’s a comin and socks won’t be there for you.

#51 TurnerNation on 01.23.21 at 1:29 pm

Are they trying to forment an ethic civil war here too? Why buy a house.
Never forget who H8s our freedoms.
We’re one year into this and it’s ALL about control over our Feeding, Breeding and Travel/Movements. We are like animals to them. This isn’t going away. This is a permanent, planned state of war – against us and our way of life.

—-From CTV ‘news’:

“My message to Canadians remains clear, no one should be taking a vacation abroad right now,” Trudeau said at his briefing Friday. With March break around the corner, the prime minister emphasized: “Don’t book a trip for spring break.” Approximately 1.2 million people in Canada spent at least one night away from home between Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, according to the Environics Analytics findings. Compared to travel rates in the week before Christmas, young people living in urban areas and Canadians from wealthy, predominantly white areas both increased their overnight travel over the holidays by around 20 per cent.”

——Do not even THINK of exiting this h-ll- hole open air Kamp for Spring Break.
Been saying for many months in here, No fun is allowed in the New System. Just bleak work and taxes Comrade. Breaking our well. Now go and line up in -15 windchill outside a grocery store. For your HEALTH comrades!!

WOW I typed almost 6 months ago: in AUG. What has changed??

#95 TurnerNation on 08.15.20 at 10:24 am
The risk of buying homes – anything = in Ontariowe is that they extended the fictional ‘state of emergency’ into 2021 already. The clear timelines for the rollout I’ve been mentioning forever.
Last year the premier bellowed ‘We’re open for business’ – almost a licence plate slogan it became.
Flip what our leaders say 180 deg…we are Closed for Business – he shut down the province earlier.
Perhaps by 2021 the Certificate of Vax ID (COVID) system will be ready? Hey it’s in the name already will you look at that!
Another caste system are they planning – the clean vs. unclean? Believers vs. Heathens? In this WW3 we are made the enemy. Families, friends broken up – do you beleive or not the insane CV religion?
6 feet away enemy! Again ‘Distancing’ is a combat term – per Wikipedia – the rules make no sense. That’s not the point. CHAOS into a new system is the point.
Wasting no time they rolled out “Keep your rent” the first week after the media strikes against us. Asymeterical warfare, natch. . Public health, really??

All fun has been stripped from the New System: If you go to a rip club, a bar/club, church, or to the beach you WILL get CV and you will get it the next day. At big box stores or in boring offices, never.

#52 Don Guillermo on 01.23.21 at 1:31 pm

Owning a Porsche 911 is about having one of the finest and best handling daily driving machines ever made. It shouldn’t matter if other people love it, hate or are indifferent. Of course buying anything that compromises ones lifestyle or retirement just for show is a huge mistake.
******************************************
#4 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 10:15 am
Thank you Atlantic Canada, Quebec, & Ontario for your Liberal votes in the last election. This is the peach of a guy we have as a result. “Without warning”. But hey…don’t take that as a threat.
Don G, I hope you are having the time of your life down in Mazatlan caballero.
*****************************************
Thanks Jag, we definitely are. This the 7th winter we’ve spent here and it has been the most enjoyable by far. We are fully prepared to stay the summer if need be. Might have to have our AC units overhaled. I would miss driving my car though. ;<)

#53 Mickey on 01.23.21 at 1:32 pm

#25 Oakville Rocks! on 01.23.21 at 11:47 am
Ryan, always a great read on Saturday.
@#4 You are welcome! Hey, did I mention that time me and some of my friends from Quebec & Atlantic Canada snuck into Alberta wearing cowboy boots and stetsons and voted NDP in your provincial election. We still chuckle about that caper. Seriously, your comments are really trending toward dumb lately.
Personally I prefer dog owners who keep their dogs on a short leash as opposed to those retractable leashes. My 20 lb Schnoodle & I get by just fine on a 6 foot all leather leash.

—————————————————-

Ha, only visitors from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, & Ontario show up in Alberta wearing cowboy boots and Stetsons so we smiled and took your tourist dollars – please visit again but after the virus. Oakville is ok…crowd of us stayed there when we flew in to boost the vote for Doug.

The Jaguar’s excellent comments all promote common sense. No surprise that’s a JT voter would perceive as dumb.

#54 BillyBob on 01.23.21 at 1:33 pm

#31 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 12:06 pm
@#12 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 10:51 am
Well, you probably think that because jaguars don’t like leashes.
+++
No leash has been manufactured that could hold the Jaguar. Nothing to do with the design. Everything to do with years of experience as an escape artist.

===========================

I really hope we meet in real life one day.

With my luck I’ll run into Faron in Fairfield instead, but one can hope.

#55 JSS on 01.23.21 at 1:36 pm

One of the best articles I’ve read on here in a long time, thanks.
It typically takes a crisis in ones life in order to change the mindset. My wife and I have been laid off in the past, sometimes even changing careers mid way. The crisis leads one to think and plan for themselves. Our family friends who have very stable jobs and pensions, or some family money backing them up, tended to not save for anything, but spent way more than they made. Because they haven’t had a financial ‘crisis’ yet. And many go through life with no hiccup. Even my parents had stable employment all their working lives, so they figured everyone else must have the same luck too.

Had we not gone through job loss there’d be no reason to save and invest. We’d just follow the herd.

The crisis can create a dream snd a plan to get out of the rat race. So sometimes bad things in life can turn out to be good

#56 Bill on 01.23.21 at 1:39 pm

#43 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 12:56 pm
Billionaire Putin has built quite the gilded cage for himself.
He cant leave Russia and it’s looking more and more like he wont be able to stay…..

Trudeau is lining his socks in a different way…multiple scandals and full steam ahead.
Nothing will happen to these guy’s. Putins untouchable even more so.

#57 Toronto_CA on 01.23.21 at 1:46 pm

My parents (divorced, both remarried) are still working in their early 70s and no plans to retire. They work for themselves though and run family companies.

I think if you run your own shop there’s a lot less desire to retire; that sense of purpose in life is a reason to get out of bed. If they retire, they may as well be dead.

With that in mind, even though I plan to be in a position to retire early; I will probably keep working in some way that is meaningful to me until 70 or health prevents me from doing it.

What always annoys me is those calculators that say you need 80%/75% of current income in retirement without any reference to current or expected expenses. For people who save 50+% of their salary (FIRE types) it gets annoying to read…why not link to expenses rather than gross income? Just because people all know what they earn but are too stupid to calculate what they spend?

#58 Don Guillermo on 01.23.21 at 1:50 pm

#15 Joseph R. on 01.23.21 at 11:05 am

I want to add that one of best purchase you can do is to buy yourself time off. One of the easiest way is by getting a maid to do housecleaning every week
******************************************
I have always believed this. Time off is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Maybe not if you’re dirt poor though. Taking care of your finances is critical.

#59 Ali G on 01.23.21 at 1:52 pm

“ People envy the affluence of their peers and, in turn, want their own affluence to be envied—at least the outward appearance of it.

Unfortunately, appearing successful matters, and it seems to be mattering more over time.”

How pathetic this all is? People buying cars, brand name junk to feel they are better. So misguided.

Comedians tend to be excellent observers and Sacha did it flawlessly with Ali-G …big up yourself!

Yeah, drown out that knowledge inside that really you’re no more important than any other person. “But I have this flashy Porsche!” “Check out my AMG Bro! We’re so bestest!”

#60 Wrk.dover on 01.23.21 at 1:58 pm

Excellent post Doug!

I tell people beyond fifty to start living on retirement level income right now like we did, to create more wiggle room funds for later on.

Then I watch their eyes glaze over in the “you don’t know me” vibe.

We’ve been saving 25% of a low net income since well before the second one of us retired 15 years ago.

Why? because we are 67 and 70 and know we will have to pay people to do stuff later on.

We do plan to bounce the last cheque though.

The travel lockdown has freed up another 25% of our net income. I feel inflation-proof.

#61 Mr Happy on 01.23.21 at 2:02 pm

About 10…maybe 15 years ago our neighbours got new, his and her Mercedes on their driveway. My wife asked: “why can’t we drive Mercedes?” I replied, no problem Baby, but I know they are paying almost $3k a month for the lease of those two cars. I paid cash for your new Toyota 4Runner (limited). But if you want to spend that amount? I”ll get you a Mercedes. Thankfully, she said NO WAY and we continued to save that money and invest. I retired at 58, Spending our winter in our tropical home, summers in Canada’s north on our lake front cottage and in between in a small condo (no kids). No debt, near 3 mil in the total portfolio. Financial guy says we have money until we are 90. One last thought…we always lived WAY below our means. Saved and invested. I mentioned no kids and never regretted that decision which helped the path to financial success. My Buddy is 67, still works because he just bought his spoiled two kids a condo each and has to help with the mortgage payments. Sigh… The path less travelled….and that has made all the difference.

#62 BillyBob on 01.23.21 at 2:04 pm

My first flying job flying piston twins paid $1000/month (gross). At my peak earning, $23,000/month (net). In a year with profit-share from my benevolent employer, in one of those horrid tax-free places, my best month was $48,000 (net). Hard to comprehend for a thoroughly middle-class background so hardly knew what to do with it but saved and invested as hard as I could. This site deserves much of the credit for my “success”. (Figures are for employee income, investing experience is a whole other post.)

I lived within my means at the former, and only made modest adjustments at the former. Saved and invested the surplus. Never, ever, felt hard-done by in either circumstance – hardly lived like a monk. Watched in amazement as people burned massive fortunes, over and over. I mean Sheik Whatsizname fortunes, not “hey I made a bundle on TSLA fortunes”. One does get a sense of numbness to it all after constant exposure to that kind of wealth.

One’s personal values are not to be underestimated in their importance to accumulating or retaining wealth. And the latter is far, far harder than the former.

#63 KLNR on 01.23.21 at 2:06 pm

I thought ‘keeping up with the jones’ was an sub/urban
thing due to proximity to one another. Spending most of my time in rural ontario these days, everyone seems to be trying to out truck/atv/tractor each other.

Years ago my boss, an older gent told me health is the real wealth. Take care of yourself and enjoy every day.
There’s a good chance you won’t make it to retire healthy, if at all.

#64 KLNR on 01.23.21 at 2:13 pm

@#60 Mr Happy on 01.23.21 at 2:02 pm
About 10…maybe 15 years ago our neighbours got new, his and her Mercedes on their driveway. My wife asked: “why can’t we drive Mercedes?” I replied, no problem Baby, but I know they are paying almost $3k a month for the lease of those two cars. I paid cash for your new Toyota 4Runner (limited). But if you want to spend that amount? I”ll get you a Mercedes. Thankfully, she said NO WAY and we continued to save that money and invest. I retired at 58, Spending our winter in our tropical home, summers in Canada’s north on our lake front cottage and in between in a small condo (no kids). No debt, near 3 mil in the total portfolio. Financial guy says we have money until we are 90. One last thought…we always lived WAY below our means. Saved and invested. I mentioned no kids and never regretted that decision which helped the path to financial success. My Buddy is 67, still works because he just bought his spoiled two kids a condo each and has to help with the mortgage payments. Sigh… The path less travelled….and that has made all the difference.

haha, nice humble brag. It’s nice to see my fellow Canadians doing alright in life.
If your buddy is still working to help out his kids maybe he just likes what he does. Its a fact that folks get more joy in life from giving than getting. Personally I can’t imagine going through life without children. Hopefully one day I’ll be in a position to help out my kids just like your buddy is.

#65 BillyBob on 01.23.21 at 2:14 pm

#55 Bill on 01.23.21 at 1:39 pm
#43 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 12:56 pm
Billionaire Putin has built quite the gilded cage for himself.
He cant leave Russia and it’s looking more and more like he wont be able to stay…..

Trudeau is lining his socks in a different way…multiple scandals and full steam ahead.
Nothing will happen to these guy’s. Putins untouchable even more so.

——————————————-

We shall see.

I think the video CEF referred to is this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipAnwilMncI

And it’s 72 millions views, in 4 days.

As I do not want to stretch my post count to Faron-like Chihuahua shrillness, this is it for me today.

But apropos of nothing, I miss Smoking Man.

#66 Joe Schmoe on 01.23.21 at 2:43 pm

I was tire kicking a new vehicle…realized I was wearing 8 dollar sweat pants, a hoody I have had since 1995 and moccasins. Maybe visibly sporting a nice hangover to boot.

Oddly, sales person didn’t bat an eyelash. They must see it all. Selling high value tools/toys.

I imagine financial investors would see even more.

Peeking under the robes of many.

#67 Uncle Charlie on 01.23.21 at 2:52 pm

I’ve lived on around 2k per month or less after business expenses (or taxes) my whole adult life, so retiring won’t be much of a change. Buying things I couldn’t afford has never been an option, but I was never into keeping up with others anyway. I lost family and close friends way before their time and it made me realize my priorities: health, and the simple things in life. All we have is NOW. Tomorrow is borrowed time.

#68 gimme stuff on 01.23.21 at 2:53 pm

We all can’t have tugboats.

#69 R on 01.23.21 at 3:04 pm

95% of my wealth was spent on booze, women and drugs. The rest I just wasted.

#70 Also in Cowtown on 01.23.21 at 3:07 pm

“He who knows he has enough, is wealthy” Lau Tzu

#71 Stoic1 on 01.23.21 at 3:11 pm

What an excellent post! Very much true and subtlety deep. I have often felt this way and ignoring others’ displays of “wealth” at times make me feel like I am wrong but deep down, ignoring superficial displays of wealth is a truer measure of wealth and wisdom.

#72 just a dude on 01.23.21 at 3:26 pm

Doug, fantastic post. Some excellent food for thought.

Personally, freedom is what I’ve always been after. Thanks to excellent financial guidance provided freely on this fantastic forum, the missus and I will be getting there much sooner than originally planned.

Thank you and the entire Turner team. I’ll have to figure out a way to repay you good folks one day!

#73 Doug Rowat on 01.23.21 at 3:34 pm

#58 Ali G on 01.23.21 at 1:52 pm

People buying cars, brand name junk to feel they are better. So misguided.

Comedians tend to be excellent observers and Sacha did it flawlessly with Ali-G …big up yourself!

—-

Or Chris Rock on wealth versus rich: “Wealth is handed down from generation to generation. You can’t get rid of it. Rich is something you can lose after one crazy summer and a drug habit.”

—Doug

#74 Don Guillermo on 01.23.21 at 3:34 pm

#68 R on 01.23.21 at 3:04 pm
95% of my wealth was spent on booze, women and drugs. The rest I just wasted
************************************
Heard Burt Reynolds use that line on Johnny Carson years ago. Burt was a beaut!

#75 Tarot Card on 01.23.21 at 3:36 pm

To Linda
Not picking on you, just you made an interesting point on paying off the mortgage.

Everyone has a different comfort level and different reasons for paying off a mortgage.

My story I am 60 and retired
five years ago we bought a house and We had 300,000 mortgage We had $100,000 in TFSA. My wife said pay down the mortgage.
I said no let’s try and leave the money invested. Give me a five year chance to prove investing is better. Gotta love my wife as she agreed. If I failed I would be in the dog house.

Five years later my mortgage is $250,000 through normal monthly payments and our TFSA is over $300,000
My wife said again pay off the mortgage
I said no I can borrow at 1.68 percent and stay invested.
If everything goes right in five years I will owe $190,000 and have 400,000 to 500,000 in investments giving me $40,000 a year tax free income.
This calculation is based on 8 to 12 percent annual investment return

Everyone is different I do laugh as I have talked to three men friends and they all say the same thing, the wives want no mortgage.
One last point a friend of mine is 80 and buying a new house his first words were I am getting a mortgage at these rates and investing the money and yep his wife is dead set against a mortgage.

Good luck with your decisions everyone needs a good advisor that fits their personal needs.

#76 Bezengy on 01.23.21 at 3:40 pm

#2 the Jaguar
———-
Just back from my 5 k walk with the weimaraner along the bow. I tend to keep him on a short leash too, especially when there are deer around.

https://twitter.com/weird_sci/status/506245872804700162?lang=en

#77 VicPaul on 01.23.21 at 3:45 pm

#1 Cheese on 01.23.21 at 9:39 am
I live like a pauper, other than a computer, every other thing is scavenged/used/repaired. You are forced to when you make very little in wages.

*********
The kid’s Mom and I lived like this for many years when they were little (and not so little) – used items from friends repaired/refashioned, Mom shopping thrift stores for good used clothes for the kids, very few extraneous items (other than my golf clubs/guitars and Mom’s craft supplies and gardening implements). Raising three kids and paying a mortgage in Victoria was not an inexpensive proposition (even when the first house price was $103,00 @12% in 1990).
While the kids were preschool age, Mom stayed home – it was her wish and I agreed, feeling no one would care for our children like we would – so, one regular income for many years.
Our expectation was never to collect stuff, but to enjoy family adventures and develop as a family. Although Mom and I separated many years ago, we continued to have family dinners together on Sunday’s (to this day – last week was chinese vegetables and wontons), I chauffeured hockey boys four/five times/wk, at the park with softball girl each weekend, a driver to every out-of-town tourney over fifteen years and every Christmas morning and birthday dinner over the years. My gracious parents provided many extras over the years to embellish the experiences of our children – a couple Disney visits, vacations to extended family vacation homes, et al.
Having lived well below my means for most of my life, I will enjoy a comfortable retirement with the ability to help (but not disincentivise) my independent 29, 26 and 22 y/o adults.

Keeping pride and ego in check helped a lot.

M57BC

#78 Linda on 01.23.21 at 3:48 pm

#20 ‘helo’ – maybe the problem is just plain literacy. Because if these folks were able to read & bothered to read what they might get from CPP/OAS come retirement they for sure would know that at best it would be barely enough to live on IF you qualified for ‘the max’ AND waited to age 70 to collect so you’d receive the enhanced amount to boot. Very few folks qualify for the maximum & even fewer are willing to wait to age 70 to collect.

#79 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 3:56 pm

#65 Joe Schmoe on 01.23.21 at 2:43 pm

I was tire kicking a new vehicle…realized I was wearing 8 dollar sweat pants, a hoody I have had since 1995 and moccasins. Maybe visibly sporting a nice hangover to boot.

————-

Nothing wrong with wearing your Saskatchewan Sunday Best to look at vehicles.

So no, you were not overdressed. Good work also in not being actively drunk; the salesman probably appreciated the gesture.

#80 Diversified in Mississauga on 01.23.21 at 3:58 pm

Great post today!
Early on I was definitely spending to make myself feel good, and I guess to be somewhat admired.

Now? Who cares! Retired on my own terms at 60, with only the pension I planned for the last 30 years. Just waiting to get my RV out of storage to start my 2021 travels. Safe of course, no other provinces or countries.

#81 WTF on 01.23.21 at 4:01 pm

Financial and physical well being. Both equally important in my view. Waaay to much obesity these days.

Always squirrelled away 15-20% of working income annually. Brown bagged it for 35+ yrs. Had second hand vehicles, did all my home repairs blah blah. Invested. 5-10-15 yr planning was back of mind to help keep focus. Always aware of mortgage principle VS Interest VS amortization to make sure it was paid off ASAP.

Better to proactively manage your life as opposed to being whacked later by a lack of discipline. The instant gratification VS deferment for later is a concept you either get or not. The big epiphany comes after the sacrifices, long after, many don’t look that far down the road.

Now retired and financially secure.
Still feel like I’m in my 40’s without the commute or idiot ladder climbing bosses to endure.

The plan worked

#82 SOMETHINGS UP!! on 01.23.21 at 4:04 pm

The Great America….

Crumbling before our very own eyes.

The people have had enough of the corruption between government and large corporations!

https://www.foxnews.com/us/washington-citys-mayor-rushed-to-safety-after-homeless-advocate-rioters-storm-city-hall

#83 Bezengy on 01.23.21 at 4:14 pm

How much money does one need to retire? That certainly seems to be to question of my generation. I doubt most realize that money will only be one of their problems they’ll face in retirement, and it probably won’t be the most important one either. Like other retired posters here I see myself slowing down, although I’m a very young 57 year old. Things like that cross country trip with the ST 1300 don’t seem as important to me as they once did, a nice walk will suffice, and doesn’t cost nearly as much. As ridiculous as it sounds, I know many people with too much money. They become bitter knowing much of it will end up in the hands of irresponsible offspring, or worse yet the government. Some of the most sorrowful people I’ve met are the very rich who regret not spending their money while they had the chance.

#84 VicPaul on 01.23.21 at 4:23 pm

#33 LP on 01.23.21 at 12:10 pm
#2 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 9:49 am

If he were walking a Scotch Collie, there’d be slack in that short leash.

F73ON

*********
Word.

My childhood Rough Collie (sable) and our family’s Lab/Ridgeback cross were the most loving, intelligent dogs I’ve ever known. The consistent, compassionate training in the early years pays enormous dividends of loyalty and affection throughout our lives with them.
There is an investment with an amazing ROI!

M57BC

#85 cuke and tomato picker on 01.23.21 at 4:30 pm

The best post yet. We had a very good employee who
stayed home due to not feeling well on Nov.28th 2005
and passed away at 4:20 at the Penticton hospital. He was 66 years old. My perfect wife said “see what can happen especially someone like you who works from 5am
to 10pm” We put the word out that we were selling our business and handed the keys over to new owner at 12:30 Dec.3rd. We sold our 5400 sq ft home on acreage
and moved to Victoria BC on Aug.29th bought a one level 1830 sq ft home got the travel bug and have seen everything we wanted to see in the world. No regrets number 69 also in cow town well said.

#86 Kato on 01.23.21 at 4:44 pm

#78 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 3:56 pm
#65 Joe Schmoe on 01.23.21 at 2:43 pm

I was tire kicking a new vehicle…realized I was wearing 8 dollar sweat pants, a hoody I have had since 1995 and moccasins. Maybe visibly sporting a nice hangover to boot.

————-

Nothing wrong with wearing your Saskatchewan Sunday Best to look at vehicles.

So no, you were not overdressed.
———–
Hey, I represent that remark!

At my work, one of the managers drives a 20 year old Chevy truck with a white cab and dark green box (a.k.a. Saskatchewan two-tone). In a row of Audis and BMWs, it sticks out (in a good way, in my opinion).

It’s a statement of its own that he’s got nothing to prove (or has crushing debt and I’ve misread the whole thing).

#87 VicPaul on 01.23.21 at 4:46 pm

#42 Dragonslayer on 01.23.21 at 12:47 pm

Eventually when one of our vehicles goes we’ll buy a 3- 5 year old car with low mileage- that’s the sweet spot.

And how shallow does one have to be to link your self worth with a luxury car brand? For one thing everyone and their aunt is driving a Mercedes or BMW these days and for another they’re actually LESS reliable than a standard brand.

*********

So right on the used Merc/Beemer comment – horrifically expensive to fix.
When you’re ready, may I suggest a five/six y/o Lexus.
– great reliability, ride and safety and reasonably-priced repairs by the neighbourhood mechanic. I’m on my second – Dad’s old RX350. My middle child (eldest son) took the old RX300 to Cali with his girlfriend a few years ago and blew the engine. He learned that, apparently, engines need oil. C’est la vie!

M57BC

#88 Katherine on 01.23.21 at 4:46 pm

Great post Doug! I learned a long time ago that material things brought temporary happiness. Ex husband thought we would be happier if we moved to a large and fancier house. He always bought the expensive cars too. Turns out that I’m much happier now living in a smaller house and with a new hubby who has same financial habits. We both socked away money for retirement but still had fun travelling, going to sporting events, concerts, etc. I was able to retire at 55….no regrets. Am 61 now, very healthy and get to see my family more and enjoy new grandson. Can’t wait to get vaccine and start travelling again. Life is good!!!

#89 Al on 01.23.21 at 4:46 pm

I would say by the lifelong behaviour of the contributors to this blog that the trappings of success outweigh freedom, as is the case with the majority of society.

I will descend from my pedestal now .

#90 BlogDog123 on 01.23.21 at 4:52 pm

Those same “spend for appearances” folks may also be “waiters”:

Waiting for their house-rich parents to die and “will them” their estate. C’mon don’t over-spend on that luxury LTC home… Hurry up… y’know,… I want your money now mom… Elder abuse…

Know anyone like that? Can’t earn enough but spendy foolishly… Just waiting for their inheritance to delay the bill collectors?

A worthy and scary topic for another GT blog or survey.

#91 willworkforpickles on 01.23.21 at 4:54 pm

The erroneous thinking among many in this comment section is that the national debt can be increased and pushed higher with no limits on it and can be pushed higher endlessly so to save them and everyone after them from now on to forever.
Really.
That bubble is actually going to burst sooner than the many of them can imagine.

#92 Willem on 01.23.21 at 5:01 pm

Hello everyone I don’t post very often and this excellent post by Doug provoked me. I am 68 and I still work part-time. I don’t have to, but it’s nice to keep busy doing some useful work that provides a useful service. My Philosophy after all these years is based on R’s. Live small; Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Reduce, Repair.
Yes I know if everybody did this our economy would be in shambles however somehow we all have to collectively get off the addiction of consuming junk and filling landfills.
Also we all need to get back into investing in real productive businesses, infrastructure, and Inovative Manufacturing instead of chasing inflated asset bubbles and the latest speculative growth mania themes.

#93 Ron, Second of the name on 01.23.21 at 5:01 pm

Thanks Doug for a great post today.
Experiences are worth so much more than things.
Another book recommendation is “ Die with Zero “ by Bill Perkins.

#94 tbone on 01.23.21 at 5:02 pm

I quit working last year because it wasnt fun anymore.
Could of quit much earlier if i wanted to.
Have more than i need thanks to [email protected] … lol .
Returns are more than respectable even after mers and my wife likes her so she stays .

#95 Penny Henny on 01.23.21 at 5:04 pm

Hey IHCTD9.
All this talk about rocket stoves made me want to get one to use as a fire pit substitute.
I got this one

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-fishing-camping-outdoor/kitchener-waterloo/trg-rocket-stoves/1546522731

and he is going to weld a 3/8 plate on top of it. I’m thinking I can place a couple of patio stones on top of that and it will be a decent heat sink

#96 Wrk.dover on 01.23.21 at 5:08 pm

Is the photo Crowdy and Jane, together at last?

#97 Mean Gene on 01.23.21 at 5:11 pm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeping_up_with_the_Joneses

It is a interesting how truly wealthy don’t buy status vehicles it is the fake rich that do, lol.

#98 DON on 01.23.21 at 5:13 pm

@Ustabe

Thank you for sharing that info. I reinjured my old wrist/hand injury doing normal opening the screen door while carrying a load of wood in the other arm. Basically down to one hand for a bit – instanrly have to plan my tasks. I guess I am going through one of those stages a milestone birthday coming up. All I want is good health and mobility. You sound like you are taking it in stride.

#99 DON on 01.23.21 at 5:21 pm

#42 Dragonslayer on 01.23.21 at 12:47 pm

I go with the 5 year low mileage as the sweetest of spots. The warranty is over and the bugs have been worked out. Slowly accumulate the tools. Putting a new turbo in my vw when it warms up and i get my hand motion back. My wife is not afraid of the grease…just don’t ever take a tool out of her hand in any joking manner…rubber hammers hurt.

#100 Mr Happy on 01.23.21 at 5:25 pm

#64 KLNR on 01.23.21 at 2:13 pm
@#60 Mr Happy on 01.23.21 at 2:02 pm
About 10…maybe 15 years ago our neighbours….and that has made all the difference.

haha, nice humble brag. It’s nice to see my fellow Canadians doing alright in life.
If your buddy is still working to help out his kids maybe he just likes what he does. ……Hopefully one day I’ll be in a position to help out my kids just like your buddy is.
================================

Ya, I knew that kind of reply was coming… I am used to the haters…lol

No, my Buddy is nowhere near happy… it bothers me how he suffers for his kids. I have seen that so many times over. Be careful what you wish for. If you have kids today I can guarantee you one thing… Freedom 95 !!

I always heard the “but our kids bring us so much joy” Ya, that s#@t ends when they turn into teenagers. Then they are moaning in our living room with me and my wife giving each other the thank goodness look….

Sorry…but a harsh reality that no one likes to admit.

#101 Linda on 01.23.21 at 5:26 pm

#75 ‘Tarot’ – sounds like you have an excellent strategy that allows you to pass Go & collect $200:) However, your post seems to indicate you are still working, making payments while building a portfolio? I take it the plan is to have that portfolio generate enough income to cover all expenses, which allows retirement even if there is still an outstanding balance owing on the mortgage. As long as interest rates stay low sounds like a winning strategy to me!

#102 Flanneur on 01.23.21 at 5:30 pm

We’re all ants! Good self confirmation post:)

Dogs should be free, off leash, or on a short leash. No pulling. I think people with long retractable leashes have no clue how to manage their dog.

#103 Gramps on 01.23.21 at 5:30 pm

Good post Doug
About the picture, I noticed the short leash too, but at least they have a dog…I also noticed the lady seems genuinely concerned about the mans opinion. I’d say they are well off.
(Lose the scarf tho)

#104 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 5:41 pm

@#82 Somethings Up!
“The people have had enough of the corruption between government and large corporations!”

++++

Pffft.

Hardly.
Professional anarchists burning and smashing with impunity.
Thats not news….its the drivel these attention craving idiots learn from the media….
Then the govt has enough and sends in the troops with orders to gas, club, arrest, shoot, etc……and the protesters miraculously……disappear.

Imagine that.

#105 Dogman01 on 01.23.21 at 5:57 pm

Tip: use your library, save money buying books, saves space not having read books hanging about.

Just today I got holds on:
Die with Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life – Book by Bill Perkins

The Psychology of Money – Morgan Housel

I can get electronic version, and they email me when it is in.

F-R-double E.

#106 Joe Rosser on 01.23.21 at 5:59 pm

Italians generally don’t sell land/housing. They marvel at Canadians and Americans who spend years paying for a property and untold thousands in interest, only to sell the same property to someone else who does the same thing, and the banks collect interest forever on the same property. Italians pay once and pass the property through the family over generations which is an amazing wealth generator for families over time reducing their housing costs to next to nothing. Selling and upgrading to a bigger house is a foreign concept and seen as a wealth destroyer.

#107 Out Of Work CEO, Will Travel on 01.23.21 at 6:00 pm

The latest updated “Suze Orman” advice for retirees and the young is: Don’t Spend. Suze Orman mantra now is “spend less” and she has removed the “save more” attitude from her big message. Suze rocks in my book. After ten months of covid lockdown, my fashion spending has narrowed to 2 pairs of sweats from Bluenote (total budget $30) and Loblaws post Xmas PJ’s at $15. No hairstyles as salon is shut (savings $80 per style); nail Spa (I got my spouse to do them). No starbucks so that’s $25 per week; no house decor (0) so all in all Covid has a really BIG upside. As the yogis at the Sivananda Ashram
on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas like to point out on the billboard as you enter: Your Health is Your Wealth.

#108 Dwayne on 01.23.21 at 6:08 pm

Great post, thanks for sharing your time and talents. I continue to tell anyone who will listen, to “stream” Garth and Co. for perspective and to know what’s really going on.

In yesterday’s post it was apparent that most of the peeps who read this blog do well. I’d be willing to bet there are more than a few in that camp because they started reading this blog. What a gift to those who choose to accept it.

#109 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.23.21 at 6:39 pm

Great salesman job, Doug.
Got them all eating out of your hands.
Now go for the coup de grace.
As Smokey would say, “watch and learn, Grasshoppers”.

#110 Nonplused on 01.23.21 at 6:41 pm

Canadians need larger homes because we are stuck inside for 5 months of the year.

Does make you wonder how they did it in 1950, raising up to 4 kids in 983 sqft. Mind you in 1975 I was sharing a bedroom the size of my current closet with my brother. Looking back on it it was like being in prison.

My house is only 1950 sqft, so I suppose I am less of a showoff than some. To be fair it is a bungalow with a walk out basement so it lives a lot larger than 1950 sqft with only one flight of stairs.

Other than the house, we don’t really keep up with the Jone’s. My wife’s car is a 2006 but it is still going. My truck is a 2011. Both obviously paid off. I just don’t have any desire to sink a lot of money into fancy German metal, or replace them while they are still serviceable. (By serviceable I mean it can be repaired for 1/2 its’ blue book value. After that it is time to scrap it. So if the tranny goes in my wife’s car she’ll be getting a new one. At some point you have to give up.)

But whew, even living somewhat frugally it’s still expensive. Just covering taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs, new appliances every 10 years, utilities, and saving for the kids to go to college, it adds up! So when I am driving around in my truck, I kind of know what other similar trucks on the road cost, mostly because the dealer I bought it from keeps sending “deals” whereby I could trade my old truck in on a new one at a great trade in value because of “high demand from the US”. I don’t understand where these people are getting the money. Now I understand for many people their truck is also the family car so they come with absolutely all the options, but tricked out they are darn near $70,000! $100,000 if you want the diesel! How in the heck did they get to be so much money??? (Oh ya the dollar partially collapsed) And how can people afford them? Around here they are everywhere.

Back when I bought my truck you could get the trimmed out diesel 3500 for what the trimmed out 1500 gas goes for now. I wonder what the inflation rate is when something goes from $70,000 to $100,000 in 10 years. I don’t think it is 2%. It is closer to 4%.

When you understand that real world prices are inflating at close to 4% and have been for some time, while the cost of ownership has been suppressed due to low or zero interest rates and extended finance periods, at lot of things in the world start to make more sense, including the housing market.

#111 Nonplused on 01.23.21 at 6:54 pm

#15 Joseph R. on 01.23.21 at 11:05 am

“I want to add that one of best purchase you can do is to buy yourself time off. One of the easiest way is by getting a maid to do housecleaning every week.”

An absolute necessity if both spouses are working or you live alone and work. But once every two weeks will suffice. And you’ll save a ton of money if you can find one who works for herself, cash. He/she will earn more too.

And they are “cleaning professionals”, not “maids”. Get with the newspeak.

#112 Nonplused on 01.23.21 at 7:03 pm

#52 Don Guillermo on 01.23.21 at 1:31 pm
Owning a Porsche 911 is about having one of the finest and best handling daily driving machines ever made. It shouldn’t matter if other people love it, hate or are indifferent. Of course buying anything that compromises ones lifestyle or retirement just for show is a huge mistake.

——————————

Well, if you have the money (for the repairs and maintenance), why not?

#113 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.23.21 at 7:07 pm

#104 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 5:41 pm
@#82 Somethings Up!
“The people have had enough of the corruption between government and large corporations!”

++++

Pffft.

Hardly.
Professional anarchists burning and smashing 
——————-
Professional Anarchists?
Do they have an umbrella organization now?
Like Engineers and Accountants.
John Smith, PA
Do Colleges now offer courses in burning and smashing?
Do Proud Boys receive credit for practical work experience? Like storming the Capitol.
Trump will probably hire most of the summa cum laude graduates.
In uncertain times like these, the world needs the services of a PA.

#114 cristian vasilache on 01.23.21 at 7:11 pm

One of the best blogs in the last long while !!! Thanks!!

#115 Joe on 01.23.21 at 7:13 pm

I’m free, I’m free, I’m free at last!!

#116 Freedumb 55 on 01.23.21 at 7:20 pm

So, when it comes to planning and timing your retirement, what do you value more? The expensive trappings of “success” or your freedom?

Sorry… Not sure why this is an either or question.

Our portfolio is now paying us nearly 55K (includes anticipated gains based on estimates and past track record, pre-tax of course) …. Per MONTH. Modest inheritances.. Two medium commuted pensions… No big Tesla type stock returns. Just laser focused investing for a few decades!

It appears we misunderstood what they meant by Freedom 55 when we signed up for the plan!

#117 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 7:23 pm

@#111 Nonplused
“And they are “cleaning professionals”, not “maids”. Get with the newspeak.”

++++

Ahahahaha
I’m sure they feel much better knowing that while scrubbing your toilet…..

#118 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 7:26 pm

@#113 Protesters Pal
“Do Colleges now offer courses in burning and smashing?
Do Proud Boys receive credit for practical work experience?”

++++++

After the past few months……it certainly seems like it.

#119 BikeCop on 01.23.21 at 7:29 pm

Ok I admit I don’t need the $6000 bike but I do love it and like to think the 6 year old Subaru makes up for it! Plan to keep the Subaru at least until it is worth less than the bike I am ridding!

#120 Man of the cloth on 01.23.21 at 7:33 pm

Not too many people admitting the are deadbeats today.

#121 KLNR on 01.23.21 at 7:36 pm

@#100 Mr Bitter on 01.23.21 at 5:25 pm
#64 KLNR on 01.23.21 at 2:13 pm
@#60 Mr Happy on 01.23.21 at 2:02 pm
About 10…maybe 15 years ago our neighbours….and that has made all the difference.

haha, nice humble brag. It’s nice to see my fellow Canadians doing alright in life.
If your buddy is still working to help out his kids maybe he just likes what he does. ……Hopefully one day I’ll be in a position to help out my kids just like your buddy is.
================================

Ya, I knew that kind of reply was coming… I am used to the haters…lol

No, my Buddy is nowhere near happy… it bothers me how he suffers for his kids. I have seen that so many times over. Be careful what you wish for. If you have kids today I can guarantee you one thing… Freedom 95 !!

I always heard the “but our kids bring us so much joy” Ya, that s#@t ends when they turn into teenagers. Then they are moaning in our living room with me and my wife giving each other the thank goodness look….

Sorry…but a harsh reality that no one likes to admit.

hehe, not hating just a gentle poke.
damn your friends are in a sorry state.
maybe rubbing off on you a bit?
But, what ever floats yer boat dude.

here’s my humble brag.
my kids indeed bring me joy (most of the time), freedom 55 on the horizon if I want it, sail around the world upon retirement with the kids of course.

The way you are on the inside is usually how you perceive the world on the outside.

#122 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.23.21 at 7:37 pm

Freedom, Oh freedom!
It’s just somebody talking.
Your prison, is walking
In this whole world, alone.
——–
is this a limerick?

#123 SoggyShorts on 01.23.21 at 7:39 pm

#116 Freedumb 55 on 01.23.21 at 7:20 pm

Wow, it sounds like you really screwed up.
I mean if your portfolio is paying 600,000 per year you clearly should have went for Freedom 50 or 45, or 40?

I went with freedom 40 and a more modest stash.
I figured out that we spent about $60k after-tax each of the last few years including multi-month vacations, so as soon the PF hit those kinds of returns on a “safe withdrawal” level, it was time to pull the trigger.

I tried my best for “stealth wealth” instead of flaunting anything since things can get awkward when people without any portfolio get a good idea of how big your is.

I’m actually trying to come up with a plausible story that doesn’t involve a portfolio as to why we don’t work anymore. I think I’ll try claiming it’s a pension from the company I sold since it’s kinda true…

#124 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 7:48 pm

Doug Rowat! You hit one out of the park today, Babydoll!

@#33 LP on 01.23.21 at 12:10 pm
++ I am unfamiliar with the term “Scotch Collie”, but everyone knows they (Collies) are the smartest dog breed. Leg up on a few humans I know, seriously. A look into the eyes of a Collie dog, one immediately feels contrition knowing they are on a higher spiritual level. Given my significant Scottish heritage and connection to Robbie Burns Day, I might look into this…..

@#53 Mickey on 01.23.21 at 1:32 pm
Thanks for your support, Mickey. I actually lived in Oakville a lifetime ago. A beautiful town. There was a fantastic German deli that made the best potato salad I have ever tasted, one block off Lakeshore Road. Sometimes people in other places in this country don’t understand how soul sucking it is to contribute so much to Canada’s GDP and have such a small voice (vote) in final decisions. One feel devalued, but maybe they don’t get that.

@#54 BillyBob on 01.23.21 at 1:33 pm
“I really hope we meet in real life one day.”
You never know, BillyBob. One of the reasons I read ‘Fate is the Hunter” was because there was so much ‘synchronicity’ and other spooky stuff happening in my life. I don’t know where Fairfield is, but I have a feeling Longview, Alberta is right up your alley. Eastern Europe also seems to be the place to go these days as it has retained its ‘authentic self”. I like that about a people and a place.

@#52 Don Guillermo on 01.23.21 at 1:31 pm
” Thanks Jag, we definitely are. This the 7th winter we’ve spent here and it has been the most enjoyable by far. We are fully prepared to stay the summer if need be. ”
++ No worries, Don G. NonPlused and I will sneak you in through the Coutts border if necessary. I got peeps down there who accepted an offer they couldn’t refuse, so it might be time to call in the favour. NonPlused has a boat, and we could also squirrel you across Waterton Lake.

Saturday Night. Who wants to be serious? Not me. Sending this one out to Don G in Mazatlan, Mexico.. Buenas Noche, Amigo a mi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO5CV3IKAMk

#125 Steve on 01.23.21 at 7:53 pm

Retirement planning is hard, because you don’t know when you going to die. Also no control of future level of government taxation. Sitting on a bunch of unrealized capital gains as part of my retirement savings, now there’s rumours about changes in inclusion rate.

#126 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 8:15 pm

Well, well well

Canada’s big six banks are beginning to testify at the BC Commission into money laundering.

It appears that the testimony will be provided “in camera” ie “not public” to avoid teaching money launderers where the gaps are in the Canadian banking systems and how to launder money…………..?

Kinda like closing the gate after the horses have bolted.

https://theprovince.com/news/ian-mulgrew-blame-banks-for-147-million-in-anonymous-casino-drafts

Anywho.
We poor schmucks will have to wait to see the final
( heavily redacted?) report in 1 – 2 years to hear what was said behind closed doors between the Commission and those lofty bankers.

#127 kommykim on 01.23.21 at 8:17 pm

The key is that when you get a raise or better job, to invest the extra money instead of spending it. Then you get used to living on less and retirement becomes a continuation of your life and not a hardship.

#128 Doug Rowat on 01.23.21 at 8:26 pm

#116 Freedumb 55 on 01.23.21 at 7:20 pm

So, when it comes to planning and timing your retirement, what do you value more? The expensive trappings of “success” or your freedom?

Sorry… Not sure why this is an either or question.

Our portfolio is now paying us nearly 55K (includes anticipated gains based on estimates and past track record, pre-tax of course) …. Per MONTH.

It appears we misunderstood what they meant by Freedom 55 when we signed up for the plan!

—-

Do people walk away from you at parties like Stuart Damon did with Eric Roberts in Star 80?

—Doug

#129 SW on 01.23.21 at 8:30 pm

Keeping up with the Joneses?

Quentin Crisp said it’s cheaper to drag the Joneses down to your level.

#130 Doug t on 01.23.21 at 8:32 pm

I know a very wealthy man in Victoria – he looks like a farmer, drives pickup that’s 18 years old – owns much of the water front industrial areas in Victoria – if you spotted him on the street you would not instantly be thinking – “oh he’s worth multi millions of dollars”

#131 Linda M Youell on 01.23.21 at 8:38 pm

“When I have a little money, I buy books. If any is left over, I buy food and clothes.”
– Erasmus, 1466 to 1536
Among my favorite books is, “Enough” by John Bogle. True Measures of Money, Business, and Life.
John Bogle, bless his memory, was the founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group.

To all the Blog Dogs: Stay safe. Be well. Be happy.

#132 cramar on 01.23.21 at 8:46 pm

So average people spend their money to “show off”, eh?

As far back as 1996 Thomas J. Stanley’s watershed book, The Millionaire Next Door showed that average people spend their money to look good and hence don’t have any, while the millionaire on the same street just spends enough money money as need. They live in a normal house below their means, drive a used Toyota, wear a Timex watch. Their net worth is not in flashy material things.

Not much has changed in 25 years!

#133 tax and spend on 01.23.21 at 9:07 pm

To many 3’s dressed up as 9’s. Pretty expensive game to
play. Rather be 9 dressed up as a 3 and have my freedom.

#134 SoggyShorts on 01.23.21 at 9:07 pm

#3 Basement Wealth on 01.23.21 at 9:56 am
It’s sure hard not to spend. But like many of the dogs on this blog, some of us are prodigious underground accumulators of wealth.

I’ve been spending copious hours on developing a wealth planner and calculator. Still in beta, but check it out and give us some feedback if it makes sense.

https://www.imfingo.com/onsider
**********************************
I like it, I’d rank it #2 of the dozens and dozens I’ve used.
What’s missing for me are the investment returns.
The default of 5% with 2% inflation is OK but could be better. A more robust estimate based on historical safe withdrawal rates could be achieved Like the one on
http://www.earlyretirementnow.com
His is a google sheet, so it’s not nearly as pretty or user-friendly, but I like the methodology.

#135 Earlybird on 01.23.21 at 9:09 pm

Wow…great post! Frugality is a sport in our household and our lives are better for it….the more you spend, the more you have to work….the extra free time is priceless…

#136 Sail Away on 01.23.21 at 9:33 pm

#123 SoggyShorts on 01.23.21 at 7:39 pm

I’m actually trying to come up with a plausible story that doesn’t involve a portfolio as to why we don’t work anymore.

————–

Just say it’s ongoing settlement from that sorry business with priests and choirboys a few years back.

Then start to cry. Bingo- problem solved!

#137 Fortune500 on 01.23.21 at 9:34 pm

Good post today. Morgan’s new book is great. So much respect for him. And you too Tim! Love your site and have appreciated your willingness to share.

#138 Tyberius on 01.23.21 at 9:36 pm

My way of flaunting my ‘success’ is a witty quote from Greatetfool.com now and then. I’ve lied about the cost of subscription…

#139 yvr_lurker on 01.23.21 at 10:07 pm

I am happy to keep working for another 10 years maximum, not for the $$$, but because I actually really like my job. It is interesting, always has new challenges, and I have some freedom to create and innovate (STEM it is). However, based on how I grew up where it was normal to have a run down sofa sitting inn front of a shack of a house (similar to my wife), the idea is to be really frugal and not be caught up in consumerism. The idea will be to leave a large chunk to my kid so he does not have to start behind the eight-ball. We are economic
immigrants in this household. Really good at being careful with $$, but need to learn more about investing and Garth’s blog has been good for this.

#140 Doug in London on 01.23.21 at 10:23 pm

I think I was born about 40 years too early as I was way, way ahead of my time. I was born in 1960, and even back in my teens and twenties I couldn’t see the logic of working harder to buy more stuff and need a bigger house to put it all in, or having an expensive car. I always thought it would make more sense to have less of everything, and have more time to enjoy taking a cheaper car on road trips, do many other fun things, and ultimately retire earlier. Most people I knew back then simply didn’t get it and probably still don’t now.

According to the OECD, Canadians like their bigger houses too, perhaps even more than Americans.
————————————————–
No doubt it’s a contributing factor to the outrageously prices of houses these days. A lot of people reminisce about the supposedly good old days when a working person could afford the American Dream which includes owning a house. It’s harder to do now, and that’s probably more to do with more expensive housing than wages not keeping up. I still don’t know why the hell I need a 2500 square foot house.

#141 westcdn on 01.23.21 at 10:42 pm

I have been playing around with options because ownership is too expensive. Some great companies out there but they don’t sell at a discount anymore. I haven’t bought preferreds or reits for a while.

My experience with options is every winner comes with 3 losers. Fortunately my Call winners have covered my losers and plus. I can’t remember a Put of mine paying out.

I think the players are using them as insurance rather than stops and willing to pay the price. I remember the GFC where stops failed because of gaps where the price opened lower than the trailing stop.

I think the less than 1% should concentrate on cash flow and be wary of cheap credit. The BoC and T2 say they have your back… empty words when the rubber meets the road. I despise people who can look me in the eye and lie – takes me a while to figure out rot. I know is my life is not reality TV/media and won’t measure myself by it.

#142 Loonie Doctor on 01.23.21 at 10:54 pm

Great post today Doug. Comparison to those around us is a key driver of the link between happiness and money. There was a good study in Nature a couple of years ago that showed increased happiness with increased money to a certain threshold and then a plateau or even decrease. The level of income for that satiation point was strongly related to the wealth of the region.

We actually lived in an affluent area and had the house others dreamed of. I wrote about it here.
https://www.looniedoctor.ca/2018/06/22/physician-too-much-house/

We sold it and bought a regular house in a more average income community. Not because we couldn’t afford the massive house. We could by any measure. We did it so our kids could gain better perspective on what matters to be happy. It isn’t a larger than needed house. Everyone is much happier. The neighbours have fun together because they aren’t all working overtime to pay for or maintain their stuff.
-LD

#143 Steve French on 01.23.21 at 10:56 pm

Well I admire the old dude in the photo.

Dapper, fit, well put together. Got some arm candy and a cool dog.

What’s not to like?!

#144 IHCTD9 on 01.23.21 at 11:06 pm

Guilty.

4 streaming services. Netflix, then Crave because we wanted to watch the G.O.T. HBO series, then one of the kids got Disney Plus, then Ms. IH got that free Amazon deal going. We’ll be down to two soon though, just Disney and Netflix.

#145 Steve French on 01.23.21 at 11:14 pm

“I want to add that one of best purchase you can do is to buy yourself time off. One of the easiest way is by getting a maid to do housecleaning every week.”

—–

I disagree totally. In fact I would say hiring a house cleaner is the first step to self-centredness and egoism, which is perhaps the greatest of the deadly sins.

The moment you stop cleaning your own toilet bowl, is the moment you start to fall under the impression that you are “special”, that you’re better than other people, you deserve things because, well… of how special you are. Your excreta doesn’t stink.

Then you start making mistakes.

You become haughty, superior, disdainful, arrogant.

You fall into self-deception.

The lies one tells to oneself are the most dangerous of all.

One path leads to enlightenment.

The other path descends into self-deception and fantasy.

No matter if I was worth $100 million, or $100 billion, I would still clean my own toilet bowl. And so would my children.

Stay humble, be thankful for the gifts you have received, be mindful of your good fortune. Live quietly amongst the masses. Support others less fortunate in your society.

That is the path to happiness, health, wealth, and wisdom.

#146 Steve French on 01.23.21 at 11:20 pm

ps: If your house is so large that you really want a house cleaner so you can stay fit and active, ok, I can understand.

But tell the cleaner to leave the toilet.

You still need to clean that yourself.

#147 Me again on 01.23.21 at 11:38 pm

#128 Doug Rowat on 01.23.21 at 8:26 pm
#116 Freedumb 55 on 01.23.21 at 7:20 pm

So, when it comes to planning and timing your retirement, what do you value more? The expensive trappings of “success” or your freedom?

Sorry… Not sure why this is an either or question.

Our portfolio is now paying us nearly 55K (includes anticipated gains based on estimates and past track record, pre-tax of course) …. Per MONTH.

It appears we misunderstood what they meant by Freedom 55 when we signed up for the plan!

—-

Do people walk away from you at parties like Stuart Damon did with Eric Roberts in Star 80?

—Doug

Actually, they do. But unlike you, I don’t care. Nor do I feel the need to pander to the masses on this pathetic blog to support my income. Thanks for pointing out our differences.

#148 Faron on 01.23.21 at 11:51 pm

#49 Doug Rowat on 01.23.21 at 1:19 pm

I got more rhymes than I got grey hairs…

Thats a lot because i got my share

#149 Screwup on 01.23.21 at 11:55 pm

#123 SoggyShorts on 01.23.21 at 7:39 pm
#116 Freedumb 55 on 01.23.21 at 7:20 pm

Wow, it sounds like you really screwed up.
I mean if your portfolio is paying 600,000 per year you clearly should have went for Freedom 50 or 45, or 40?

———-

No, sorry… No screw ups as far as I am concerned. I chose to work and for the most part, I enjoyed it. Not to mention my work allowed me to travel and live overseas for a few years. Visited more countries and have had more adventures and “experiences” before I was 30/40 than most do in a lifetime. In fact, I still apply to short term gigs overseas which could take me to some pretty exotic destinations. It’s called “writing your own ticket!”

If that’s screwing up.. So be it!

#150 Jon B on 01.24.21 at 1:28 am

Very good post. I worry that opting for freedom might be a fleeting aspiration. It would seem most Canadians easily surrender their freedom if given a good scare. Freedom and the pursuit of it just doesn’t have the cache it enjoyed in the 20th century. Maybe another armed world conflict would fix that for the youngsters.

#151 Nonplused on 01.24.21 at 1:35 am

#117 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.23.21 at 7:23 pm
@#111 Nonplused
“And they are “cleaning professionals”, not “maids”. Get with the newspeak.”

++++

Ahahahaha
I’m sure they feel much better knowing that while scrubbing your toilet…..

—————————-

I’ve scrubbed my toilet before. No big deal. And I spend a lot less time at it per week at it than I spend wiping my ass, which is probably more gross.

Scrubbing the toilet: Little Lysol squirty spray, little scrubby scrub with the brush, flushy flush, Lysol wipe for the top, done! 2 minutes.

Wiping my ass: My Dog how many hot wings and beer did I have last night??? Oh shit I should have checked the toilet paper first. (But it did seem kind of urgent.)

#152 Gman on 01.24.21 at 2:34 am

Great post today. Envy does keep the economy going though. Consumer spending is important and you can’t take your money to the grave.

#153 fishman on 01.24.21 at 2:40 am

All these comments about appearances on here are fine & dandy for the ROC. But out here in Lotus Land & west of Granville the kids drive Lambourghini & Porsche SUV’s to Cypress for a day of sking. Their gear & sunglasses are 2 or 3 months salary of the average wage slave. They return to their 10-15 million dollar houses & play video games. But hey, don’t believe me. I’m just a Trumpster Troglodyte snorfling up whatever trail of crumbs these people leave behind. Don’t panic, you all will get your chance. Like a slinky at the top of the stairs this money is working its way east. Snorfling up the best farmland & R/E & natural resources & cash flow & family businesses that,well, money can buy. Its not that these people don’t care about your appearance or even if you have money. Its just that the’ve got so much wealth they don’t see you. And their only a piece of a jigundo tidal wave that keeps building.

#154 The West on 01.24.21 at 3:42 am

12/10 Mr Rowat.

In this blog you have delivered a concise headshot to the narcissism and greed that hollows out the western world.

I have archived this one to my Library of Alexandria that I’m building for my grandkids to learn “what happened”.

Very impressed.

#155 Regjeg on 01.24.21 at 8:14 am

In the long run, it’s not what you make or keep that counts. It’s what you share.

#156 SOMETHINGS UP!! on 01.24.21 at 8:31 am

CANADIANS Gone Wild.

I think there Canadians anyways….. Is Saskatchewan part of Canada? Not to sure actually.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/premier-moe-condems-protest-shahab-1.5885638

#157 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.24.21 at 8:55 am

Dutch authorities , acting on an Australian warrant, arrest a Canadian, who is an alleged, drug kingpin.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-australia-drugs-arrest/dutch-police-arrest-alleged-asian-drug-syndicate-kingpin-idUSKBN29S0KL

And the BC money laundering hearings drag on……..

#158 KLNR on 01.24.21 at 9:19 am

we came into the world empty handed and we all leave empty handed.

“What you do for yourself dies with you when you leave this world. What you do for others lives on forever.”
— Sir Ken Robinson.

#159 Another Deckchair on 01.24.21 at 9:57 am

Out for a walk this sunny, cold morning in Ottawa.

One of the newly-woke suburbs. Tons of money flooding in.

Hint: Solar panels on 2 story rooftops. Bathed in sunlight, except a) 15cm of snow on top, and b) even in the summer, nobody cleans them. How can you? 2 stories up, sloped roof, panels right to the gutters.

*THAT*s an absolute waste of money.

#160 I. M. Cicero on 01.24.21 at 10:06 am

Shall I sum up the article in a succinctful twitteresque kind of way
“Omnia mea mecum porto ”
You’re welcome. I’m here all week, try veal.

#161 Dharma Bum on 01.24.21 at 10:14 am

#45 Ustabe

Most things that consume my time have nothing to do with money any longer. Being able to put up my own wood and still go ocean kayaking are more important.
——————————————————————–

The point is well taken.

I now realize that very few people have any appreciation whatsoever for how quickly one’s physical abilities begin to wane once a certain age is reached.

Of course, those that took good care of themselves over the course of a lifetime are more likely to extend their physical and mental capabilities beyond the average age of when deterioration, weakness, instability, lack of coordination, and pain begins to intensify. Sometimes fate deals us an unfair hand whereby we can hit the wall before our time regardless of our past diligence with regard to physical fitness. Sometimes it’s the opposite – we’ve all seen the carefree types who smoked, drank, ate, and drugged it up their whole lives, and are now in their mid nineties, still smoking. In general, though, care needs to be taken in the early years (diet, exercise, etc.) to increase the odds of a healthier time in one’s “golden” years.

The same lesson applies to financial health. Prudence in one’s early years – the discipline of consistent systematic saving and investing from the day of receiving one’s first paycheque goes a long way toward ensuring a financially stress free retirement. And also an “early” one, for that matter, should that be the goal.

Spending money for appearances certainly doesn’t bode well for any of those goals. It merely displays a symptom of insecurity, jealousy, narcissism, deep seated inferiority
and underlying discontent.

Personally, I craved the concept of early retirement from the day I started working. I always viewed work as a means to an end. It’s somewhat unfortunate that I never really enjoyed any of my jobs. So, I guess you can say that I was motivated to systematically save and invest early on, so as to be able to escape the rat race as soon as possible. Thankfully it worked out that way.
I read a book a long time ago called “The Millionaire Next Door” (a 1996 book by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko). It taught me that people that were actually wealthy do not spend frivolously to display their wealth. They mostly live in modest houses, drive basic cars (usually good used ones), wear good quality but not necessarily “designer label” clothing, and don’t really eat out that often. Real millionaires don’t show off.

So, I am grateful to have learned and follow the lessons of similar minded people, who are far, far smarter than myself, in pursuit of my goal of early retirement.

You need to stay healthy and wealthy in order to retire.

That effort starts when one is very young.

Check http://www.mrmoneymustache.com to learn how to live healthily and frugally.

Retire early. Retire wealthy. Retire happy.

#162 Sail Away on 01.24.21 at 10:45 am

‘Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek. When the gods created mankind, they also created death, and they held back eternal life for themselves alone. Humans are born, they live, then they die, this is the order that the gods have decreed. But until the end comes, enjoy your life, spend it in happiness, not despair. Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, bathe and anoint yourself, wear bright clothes that are sparkling clean, let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand, and give your wife pleasure in your embrace. That is the best way for a man to live.’

-The Epic of Gilgamesh of Uruk, translated from Old Akkadian, 2700BC

#163 Doug Rowat on 01.24.21 at 11:22 am

#144 IHCTD9 on 01.23.21 at 11:06 pm
Guilty.

4 streaming services. Netflix, then Crave because we wanted to watch the G.O.T. HBO series, then one of the kids got Disney Plus, then Ms. IH got that free Amazon deal going. We’ll be down to two soon though, just Disney and Netflix.

—-

News of the World, Greyhound. ‘How bad do we want to see Tom Hanks’ seems to be the business model of the moment.

—Doug

#164 Paul on 01.24.21 at 11:29 am

Canadian band for Canadian hipsters!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQhn2sy8r5g&feature=related

#165 Damifino on 01.24.21 at 11:49 am

I do my own housekeeping. It’s because I don’t trust anyone else to do it right. As it turns out, I’m the only one who does things my way. Besides, I don’t mind picking up after my wife. She doesn’t mind either.

#166 Doug in London on 01.24.21 at 12:02 pm

I have more to add to this topic. Is anyone here actually stupid enough to believe we live in an individualistic society? If you are, I’ll sell you some Nortel shares for the bargain price of 100 grand each, and that’s U.S. dollars. I’m a true individualist, and I’ll explain why. It was 1987, I was working and making a decent wage. One smartass coworker said why don’t you get a new car? I didn’t see the point, as the 1978 Mustang I had was in very good working order, and almost in showroom condition. Many times over the years I’ve received comments on why I should buy more stuff that I don’t want or need and stop “depriving” myself. I never felt deprived and never will. So what did I do with the money I saved? We had a system where if you had overtime you got paid for it, and could take equivalent time off later without pay. I would keep track of it, every 8 hours was another day off to travel and do fun things. I was the only one in the department that took advantage of it. I could afford it, so why not? I would travel, as well as take part in many fun things to do.

In my early forties, I had 2 guys ask me what someone my age was doing skydiving. I don’t know how my age affects how I’m affected by gravity and aerodynamics and never will. So many people do what some marketer says someone their age, gender, education, racial background or whatever else should do rather than what they really want to. I don’t get it and never will. That’s why many people have this ridiculously stupid midlife crisis. You still think we live in an individualistic society?

Fast forward to more recent times, I’ve travelled many places and done many fun things. I’m retired, and because of COVID not been on any big travelling safaris lately. Not like 5 years ago when I was in Mumbai, or 6 years ago SCUBA diving in Ko Tao Thailand. I none the less keep busy doing many things these days, and haven’t exactly been depriving myself over the years.

#167 The West on 01.24.21 at 12:12 pm

12/10 Mr Rowat.

Excellent piece.

Garth, this guy needs a monthly. Well written, insightful and gets to the heart of our socio-economic deluge.

We have consumed ourselves – and this quiet argument makes an impactful case.

#168 Don Guillermo on 01.24.21 at 12:16 pm

#124 the Jaguar on 01.23.21 at 7:48 pm

@#53 Mickey on 01.23.21 at 1:32 pm
Sometimes people in other places in this country don’t understand how soul sucking it is to contribute so much to Canada’s GDP and have such a small voice (vote) in final decisions. One feel devalued, but maybe they don’t get that.
*******************************
Had this convo last night with friends from Gatineau. They were understanding but mostly unaware. Very sad.
___________________________________
Saturday Night. Who wants to be serious? Not me. Sending this one out to Don G in Mazatlan, Mexico.. Buenas Noche, Amigo a mi.

****************************************
¡Eso fue increíble! ¡Gracias hermano!

#169 jess on 01.24.21 at 12:24 pm

“Envy does keep the economy going though. ”
========================
embellished lifestyle especially beware of people who write with sharpies or rewrite history

insecurity = vanity could bring it down
https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/19/trump-1776-report-plagiarism-460464

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/trump-white-house-recruited-climate-science-critics-work-noaa

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/19/trump-1776-report-plagiarism-460464

#170 GAV on 01.24.21 at 12:46 pm

“95% of my wealth was spent on women, booze and drugs. The rest I just wasted.”

The original quote is from the legendary George Best.

George will be the next Saint.

#171 IHCTD9 on 01.24.21 at 1:19 pm

I find for me, retirement is a moving target. I’ve always planned to keep slogging away till 65, but over the last 2 years, I have learned of the deaths of 4 ex-coworkers of mine, all in their mid to late 60’s. This has affected my thinking, especially since two of these guys lived really healthy lifestyles.

#172 IHCTD9 on 01.24.21 at 2:05 pm

#163 Doug Rowat on 01.24.21 at 11:22 am
#144 IHCTD9 on 01.23.21 at 11:06 pm
Guilty.

4 streaming services. Netflix, then Crave because we wanted to watch the G.O.T. HBO series, then one of the kids got Disney Plus, then Ms. IH got that free Amazon deal going. We’ll be down to two soon though, just Disney and Netflix.

—-

News of the World, Greyhound. ‘How bad do we want to see Tom Hanks’ seems to be the business model of the moment.

—Doug
——-

Crave basic package let us watch G.O.T. – except as we found out, for the last two seasons… Had to get an upgrade for more $$ to see season 7+8. Buggers. They shuffle things around all the time trying to squeeze more money out of you, they did the same crap with the “True Detective” series. That’s why they’re getting the axe at the bunker complex. Well, that and most of the stuff on there is Schitt outside of HBO.

#173 Bartman on 01.24.21 at 2:53 pm

Hey Darma # 161
I can’t get no. satisfaction. Smoke the same cigarette as me.

#174 Anna on 01.24.21 at 3:08 pm

Excellent post and message, Doug! You’re preaching to the choir in my case. Care much more about the freedom and choices money can bring than using it to show off!!!

#175 Bartman on 01.24.21 at 3:15 pm

#166 Doug in London.
Actually it relates more to your thoughts. You are right on the mark.

#176 Jem on 01.24.21 at 6:53 pm

One exception: A new, high priced vehicle while also a consumption item is also an investment in safety if you pick the right vehicle. Car accidents kill or leave you damaged goods. You can’t put a price tag on your personal safety, esp if you are a parent raising children.

A question for retirement I’d like to see asked: what will you do (are you doing?) to help humanity/future generations/the planet?
Some (many) retired folks these days (like “cuke and tomato picker”) live their golden years at the expense of the planet and its living things…carbon emissions thru travel, ever indulgent lifestyles and activities, gluttony that sees no end, looking the other way when there are drug addicts and homeless people all over V.Island. Baby boomer exploitation of the planet ad nauseam…

#177 Boy-zee on 01.25.21 at 12:35 am

Nice looking WEIM

#178 OttawaRetired on 01.25.21 at 7:57 am

My Dad’s advice growing up was always the same, he’d say:
“There two things that will spend a man’s money faster than anything else: women, and cars”.

He was right.