Jul 212018
 

So you’ve just finished reading The Four Hour Workweek (or any entrepreneurial self help book) and you’re all amped up to quit your job and automate your own business. Except you don’t have a business. And you don’t have the guts to quit your job. And the other suggestions in the book, like hiring an online assistant, are a frivolous use of your meager savings.

What If You Can Almost Retire?

Let’s entertain an exotic thought. Say you’re doing pretty well financially. You have a ton of money saved, and you want to retire. But you don’t have enough to cover all your expenses passively (i.e. earning 3-4% investment interest will not cover your yearly expenses).

As you may know I find reducing expenses more effective than attempting to earn more money(link, link, link). But what if you’re at your expense-cutting limit? Cutting any more expenses would force you onto the street, or stop you from eating.

The answer is creative and extreme savings ideas!

Using Inequality to Your Advantage

Taking a note from The Four Hour Workweek, you can stretch your money significantly if you earn in Dollars but spend in Pesos. Moving to a low cost of living country could enable you to retire years earlier. And lets face it. Your life in a foreign country is likely to be way more interesting than staying at home.

The cheapest countries tend to be equatorial countries for some reason. Maybe nice weather isn’t good for the economy because people are too hot to work. But that’s a good thing for retirement! Think about the benefits:

  • Good weather year round (assuming you like it stupid hot)
  • Delicious food (assuming you like it spicy and flavorful)
  • Nature (assuming you like beaches, mountains, and jungles)
  • History (assuming you like imperialism and genocide)

Central and South American countries will keep you close to the same time zone as Canada. They are friendly with delicious food and incredible nature. Southeast Asian countries are further away, but have similar benefits. Especially if you prefer fried rice to refried beans.

So how much cheaper are these places? And how can one decide where to go? Well let’s compare some typical expenses for a typical retiree lifestyle in some typical and non-typical destinations. For more detailed comparisons there are websites like Expatistan and Numbeo

CANADA, Penticton MEXICO, Cuernavaca COLOMBIA, Medellin
2 bdrm apartment $1,500 $900 $650
Food (Restaurant per person) $15-$25 $8-$12 $5-$10
Domestic Beer (store bought) $2.70 $1.70 $1.15
Transportation (public) $45 $30 $36
Transportation (gas price) $1.21/L $1.14/L $1.06/L

Now before you start yelling at me, I know there are other things to consider besides money. Language for one, if you don’t speak Spanish you’ll be restricted to English expat communities which typically are more expensive. But come on. Learning a second (or third) language is an excellent way to spend your free time.

And I know you have friends and family back in Canada. And I know you might have Canadian real estate, and gym memberships, and library cards. Well how about becoming a snow bird? Make a cheap country your wintertime destination. You can reap all the benefits of a cheaper lifestyle for half the year, and still maintain a lifestyle in Canada during the best months.

If you want to stay in your new country longer, many countries have retiree visas. Just prove that you have retirement income, no criminal record, and provide a health check. Speaking of health care, bring your medical records, and get health insurance, it’ll probably be $100/month.

Find more detailed info at Wikitravel and check out my post on how to leave Canada financially



Mar 202018
 



I’m always on the lookout for interesting ways to save money. Unfortunately giving up luxuries like lattes or alcohol is normally the only way. Typically there is a linear relationship between money saved and quality of life. Meaning quality of life increases as spending increases. Buy the nicer car and be more comfortable, go to the more expensive restaurant and eat better.

Fortunately the world is not so predictable, or fair. There are numerous exceptions to the spend-more-get-more trend. You simply need to re-frame money saving opportunities to highlight their benefits. For example, take alcohol (and recreational drugs in general). For the low price of $9/drink you get reduced inhibitions and a generally fun time. But what if you ordered water instead? Well, aside from being that jerk at the bar who doesn’t spend money, you’re likely to have a similar amount of fun. People who have fun tend to make those around them have fun.

Beyond fun I like to focus on health. Alcohol is not healthy (Wow great insight I know). Even one drink per day has been linked to increased cancer risk, especially in women. Also vomiting, stomach aches, and hangovers are good enough reason for me to reduce alcohol consumption.

For me, the financial and health benefits of abstaining outweigh the fun of consumption. This attitude has the added benefit of sounding morally superior to all my alcoholic friends!

Remember when I took that wine making class and forgot how to drive? That's because you were drunk!

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Jan 062018
 



Welcome to 2018 chumps and chumpettes. Is one of your resolutions to save more money? Well it is now. Here’s yet another “how-to-save-money” list with three ideas.

1 – AVOID LIFESTYLE CREEP


What’s lifestyle creep? Let’s say you just got a raise or won the lottery or found a sac of cash in a dumpster. You take this cash and buy luxury items. Soon enough the items are no longer a “luxury”, they’re just normal, and you think you can’t live without them.

For example, maybe you get a raise and the next day decide to get the $3 Starbucks coffee instead of the $2 Tim Hortons coffee. Or maybe your next car is the $30,000 Lexus instead of the $20,000 Toyota.

After the “honeymoon phase” with your new fancy toy (or habit) it will begin to feel like normal. To make things worse you’ll have trouble downgrading to whatever you had before. Hence the phrase “once you’ve had X you can never go back” <Relevant youtube link>

How to avoid it? Channel all that extra cash right into your investments. By definition a luxury item is unnecessary. I’d wager that retiring 5 years earlier or with a higher income will influence your long term happiness more than owning that fancy whatever.

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Sep 132015
 

Imagine that instead of buying that expensive thing that you can probably live without, you took your money and invested it instead. Depending on your age and investment skills I’d say over a lifetime that money could easily triple. For example:

$10 invested for 25 years at 7% return = (10*1.07^25) = $54.27

Which in today’s dollars is $36.81. Lets round it down to a conservative $30.

This means that a dollar saved today will became three dollars in 25 years with proper investing. This isn’t anything new, we all realize that compound interest multiplies your cash like rabbits. So I’m going to draw the opposite parallel. Spending money is like murdering those rabbits. Not only do you murder that rabbit, but you murder all future offspring of said rabbit. This is the part most people choose to ignore (the spending part, not rabbit murdering. I don’t condone murdering rabbits unless you are really hungry). Every spent dollar is one that can’t be put to work making more dollars. Continue reading »

Aug 292015
 

Coins
FreeImages.com Jerzy Müller
Poor people tend to believe that money is meant to be spent. This is why they tend to remain poor. This is why so many lottery winners are broke. If you want to build wealth you need to save money. I can summarize my entire financial mantra into one sentence:

Spend less than you earn

I’ve come across this time and time again in books, seminars, audio programs, and financial guides. It’s also called living below your means, and sometimes pay yourself first. But before I go on lets define what I mean by “rich”

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