Forget FIRE and Focus on Lifestyle
So many people in the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) community seem to have a one-track mind when it comes to FIRE. I’m not one of them. I would argue forget FIRE and focus on your lifestyle instead.
The again, FIRE is really nothing new.
Forget FIRE and Focus on Lifestyle
While the marketing is interesting, and so are the bloggers that popularized this movement over a decade ago via their blogs and podcasts, the building blocks for financial success existed generations before any FIRE movement.
A quick example is below from Finiki, the Canadian financial wiki, a site that shares a plethora of free financial subjects written for Canadians from a Canadian perspective.
This has been the FIRE movement for generations distilled into a simple image:
In fact, back when we made pennies in Canada, FIRE simply looked like this:
I’ve written a few times about my plans to forget FIRE, and focus on financial independence, work on own terms (FIWOOT) instead. The reason for that is because FIWOOT describes my personal path very well and I don’t want anyone to misinterpret that I’ll continue to work for some income, in some capacity, in the coming years. I just won’t be retired.
Further Reading: Why I’ll take FIWOOT over FIRE any day.
Other savers and investors, feel the same, they have always focused on their lifestyle decisions and they largely disregard the marketing machine behind FIRE.
Welcome to the site Réjean Venne from MindfulFamily.
Réjean, along with his wife Danielle, quit the rat-race and moved from Ottawa to a small Northern Ontario community to re-settle a few years ago. While they held high-paying jobs and fancy titles at the time, they realized it wasn’t what they wanted from life and sought after a more balanced lifestyle by design.
At MindfulFamily, they blog about a number of topics, including more mindfulness, and given they are from Ottawa I thought it might be interesting to learn more about their path to financial independence, what they took from the early retirement community while ignoring what didn’t appeal to them.
Welcome to the site, Réjean!
A pleasure to be here Mark, and thanks for the questions to share some of my story.
Let’s start at the beginning, tell us about yourself. I know you (and your wife) quit your jobs here in Ottawa in your late-20s and moved to Northern Ontario, but maybe share a bit more about your background?
Danielle and I are both from Northern Ontario. We met in University in Sudbury while both studying business. We moved together to Ottawa upon graduation to start our careers.
In Ottawa I worked for a large insurance company and Danielle worked for the federal government. After university, Danielle completed the CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) designation program, and I completed an MBA. Our further education helped us advance in our careers.
We got married in 2011 and then had our first child in 2014. We discovered Mr. Money Mustache in 2015 shortly after sending our child to daycare so Danielle could continue her career. We were incredibly motivated by the blog and decided to pursue early retirement.
We retired in 2018 after just 3 years of planning. Our biggest asset was our house which allowed us to downsize in a smaller town with no mortgage.
Today we have 3 children which we homeschool and live in Verner, ON. We recently purchased a 160-acre forested property and live off-grid.
That is a lot of land! So, let’s jump in. Are you a fan of FIRE? Why or why not?
Mark, I’m not a big fan of the term FIRE exactly because most people don’t understand what it means. I also don’t really like that our lifestyle and early retirement is generally described as “movement”. It makes it sound like a bit of a scheme or implies that you need to change your life drastically to achieve.
I view early retirement as simply a lifestyle choice.
Fully agree. Réjean, can you expand on that. What does that mean? How did you conclude this is what you wanted? How did you put your plan into action?
What I mean is financial independence doesn’t just have to involve retirement. It could mean needing to work less or it could mean switching careers to one that may not pay as much but allows you much more flexibility.
For us, at the beginning of our journey to early retirement, we weren’t entirely sure what we wanted. We just knew we didn’t want our careers to take the front seat in our lives anymore. Even though most people will always put their family ahead of their careers, the latter still dominates how they structure their lifestyle. It’s typically your job that will dictate when and how much vacation you take. It’s your job that will allow or not allow you to spend more weekends at home. It’s your job that will often dictate what town you will live in.
I guess what I mean by financial independence is getting to a point where you can choose that your career or job won’t dictate those things.
Great stuff. So, are you retired or semi-retired? How do you support your lifestyle and cover expenses? How do you invest and in what?
Today I would consider ourselves fully retired as our income is strictly from passive investment. When we left our careers in 2018, our main source of income was two rental properties that generated approximately $30k-$40k of cash flow per year. We were pretty hands-on landlords and these properties occupied about 4-5 hours of our week doing maintenance and updates.
Since retiring, our investment portfolio has done very well and so has our real estate holdings. In light of the real estate boom of the last couple years, we reviewed our finances last fall and realized we could sell all our rental properties and be strictly reliant on financial investments as our source of income.
We have a financial portfolio of $900k and plan on relying on a conservative 3-3.5% withdrawal rate as our long-term income flow. We have comfortably lived on approximately $25k-$30k per year since we retired.
(Mark – amazing!)
We are very ambitious people and will likely find other projects we are passionate about in the future that will generate additional income. But right now, we are very busy parenting and homeschooling our three children.
No doubt with three children. So, you don’t like the “movement” per se which I get as well. What’s one thing about the FIRE movement you disagree with?
To be honest, I don’t like the acronym that was chosen at some point for this movement. It’s not even a complete sentence. It’s just two concepts mashed together to create a catchy acronym. I prefer associating with one of the originals in the movement, Jacob Lund Fisker and call myself an extremely early retiree.
You write about mindful living a great deal on the site. What does that mean for you and your family? What takeaways could others learn from you?
I think mindful living aligns really well with the idea of FIRE. It’s about simply being mindful of what you want in life. Being mindful that the next promotion, or bigger house likely won’t make you happy for long. So, find what will make you happy long term. Concentrate on those things in life.
I say it aligns well with FIRE because once you realize what you truly need in your life, you likely end up a lot closer to your financial goals.
Reading most of MMM’s (Mr. Money Mustache’s) early blog posts inspired us to put our goals in perspective and realize what we really needed in life to be happy.
I think mindfulness and happiness are very much intertwined. What key books, references or resources would you recommend to others – seeking a more mindful lifestyle?
I’ve always found Eckhart Tolle’s books as being very grounding and helping me put life in perceptive. I also often enjoy just watching his calm lectures on YouTube.
I always recommend everyone read all of Mr. Money Mustache’s blog posts from the beginning as you will learn a lot about yourself and what you truly need financially to live a good life.
One important book that I keep referring to lately is Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. I think one of the biggest obstacles for most people being able to live more mindfully is technology – I think it’s important that we set boundaries with our electronics. With emails, social media and especially with the news.
Réjean, as we close, any words of wisdom you have for Canadians who feel like they are on the treadmill of life – debt, working, spending – rinse and repeat? What actionable steps can folks take to better identify who they are, where they want to be – to live a life more fulfilled?
There’s a quote I included in my book when I try to convey this message to my readers.
“Nobody on their deathbed has ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” – Paul Tsongas
What I try to tell people is take the time to reflect on your life right now and not in 50 years. Figure out what you will be proud of on your deathbed. I bet you it won’t be getting that fancy car or promotion.
The first step is identifying what you want and want you need in life financially. Figure out how expensive your desired lifestyle is. It may be much less than you think. Then, calculate how you can achieve that level of income with the most flexibility possible.
My own book summarized these steps pretty well and how we went through them to get to where we are today.
I want to thank Réjean for his comments.
I’m not anti-FIRE. FIRE has always included some outstanding concepts I try and follow myself:
- Live within your means or well-below your means ideally.
- Save early and often, in great quantities if you can.
- Avoid lifestyle waste.
- Avoid long-term debt that is not used for wealth generation.
- Optimize your investing (i.e., keep your costs low and diversified).
Part of the challenge I have with FIRE is the mass marketing around it – selling a dream per se – or as this Vox article puts it: “the implausible millennial movement to save, invest, and quit the American workplace.”
“While FIRE’s seductive premise is that followers can retire early and quit work wholesale, some of the most public-facing FIRE-ers aren’t living solely off their savings and investments. Their work, often FIRE-related, translates into money — podcasts monetized through ads, blogs that earn money through ads and affiliates, speaking engagements, book deals, etc.”
If you want to leave your current job and do something else for income, that’s great. Kudos. If you want to be a part-time entrepreneur via running a blog, podcast, membership site, stock channel, manage a forum or beyond, awesome as well. Go get it!
Just don’t tell others you’re not working or hustling for some amount of money and it’s all about “retirement”. Some people might not believe you.
I wish Réjean, Danielle and family all the best and their take beyond FIRE.
I look forward to your comments.
Related financial independence reading:
This couple wonders if they can retire at age 52, and spend $4,000 per month. What will it take in their bank account?
As millennial, how can you find financial independence? Check out this case study and essay from a Canadian 30-something that has some answers.
Some financial planners seem worried about FIRE. In this article, I push back on that. Financial planners shouldn’t be worried about FIRE.
FIRE is fine, but financial independence is better. Why you should strive for financial independence and not early retirement.
Very interesting interview and it amazes me how happiness can be achieved in a short period of time when goals are aligned.
I have a question regarding “We have comfortably lived on approximately $25k-$30k per year since we retired.”. This number looks so small to me. Does this include any entertainment or traveling? We are travelers and our heaviest spending is on traveling. For example, we spent $20K on traveling last year vising the Middle East, Turkey, and Greece in 2.5 months. How do you keep your numbers so low?
I mean with 3 kids, grocery can’t be below $1000 a month. That alone is $12K. Then comes the bills, property tax, clothes, insurance, car maintenance and all kind of other expenses.
I believe Rejean will write back. I think his taxes are quite low as is his insurance, given a low-cost of living area. For sure, food would be close to $1,000 per month and that leaves about $1,500 for other stuff.
Travelling is expensive and I can’t wait to get back at it 🙂
Wow, I’m kind of embarrassed to have considered myself a part of this community after reading most of these comments.
I wish Rejean and his family well, and feel sorry for a lot of the commenters here.
Thanks for your kind comments James.
Very interesting story. I do know of a few other bloggers who rely heavily on CCB to fund their day-to-day spending. Unfortunately with the CCB program, our government has introduced a huge moral hazard in that highly productive Canadians are choosing to forgoe working to receive the maximum benefit. I can see how others look down on that (“welfare queen” comes to mind). You also see this abused by many “poor” satelite families in B.C. who earn CCB and free school meals all the while owning $2M+ homes.
The only point I would make is that anyone relying on CCB or other government programs is certainly not “FIRE” or financial independent at all. These programs could be significantly altered at any time with a change in government. The previous version of CCB, for example, was much less generous.
Only relying on government is hardly FIRE for sure in my book, but I know Rejean is not doing that. They’ve made money on rentals as well.
TBH, all these government programs have some flaws and need to be significantly overhauled as a system. There is so much waste.
An easy win is scrapping GIS and making OAS what it is – basic income security for seniors. Nobody making $100,000 per year in retirement needs “income security” in “old age”. That is bonkers.
I double checked this interview to make sure but it appears we didn’t mention ccb once in the entire thing.
I don’t understand why it has become a focal point of this conversation. For us, not only was it not part of our plan, we’ve actually received very little of it. But regardless that is besides the point. Most people choosing to forgo working 40 hours a week are not “wasting their time”. They likely contribute to society in a variety of other ways.
We didn’t forgo work so we could get CCB. We stopped working to become full time parents and to stop paying other to babysit our children. We stopped working so we could focus on projects that we feel fulfill needs in the world and provide us with a true sense of purpose.
We worked extremely hard for 10 years to build this lifestyle. It wasn’t handed to us. We paid our fair share of taxes and continue to do so even today. We live on $30k per year but we have still earned and paid taxes on substantial incomes since retiring.
I suspect readers saw 3 kids, early retirement, live off $X low-cost living and jumped to a number of conclusions.
I don’t know Rejean, people will think what they will think. I personally believe you can contribute to society and your community, beyond full-time work.
I know we’ve messaged a few times in the past and like Chris already mentioned – and as you already know – we support your lifestyle, plan, and use of CCB so please don’t let these negative comments get to you. The system is what it is and you’re simply living in it. You made the decision to save a majority of your income instead of spending it. That’s really it.
Our family of 4 shares MANY similarities in our spending/lifestyle as you (even when it comes to schooling – we’re leaning towards unschooling/worldschooling at this point). Big fan of your website, book, and interview on the ExploreFI Canada podcast.
I’ve thought about it a lot in the recent months and I honestly think a lot of the negative comments comes down to jealousy. I know it sounds rude and crass for me to say that but I really do think that’s it. If someone else decided to save 50-80% of their income for ~10-15 years straight and put themselves in a position similar to yours, they would not be thinking you’re milking the system. They will have known how much effort and dedication it took to get to where you are. All the years of delayed gratification.
I applaud you for thinking out of the box and giving yourself the best gift of all – options. You’re spending your time on what you and your family truly value. That’s what FIRE really is all about. Stay weird and wealthy!
Thanks for your detailed and insightful comment Court. Nice to hear from you.
Thanks Court! Happy to hear from you and I appreciate your comments.
I love the idea of staying “weird and wealthy”!
I am so disappointed and frustrated with the attacks here and the I pay my share you shouldn’t get anything attitudes being thrown around here. I think it is amazing we have programs like CCB and a healthy maternity/paternity benefit system in Canada. I happily support parents and Canadians that ue these systems as we live in a country that prides itself on social support programs and to me is a great use of taxpayer money. I personally am pushing for free daycare in Canada, free prescriptions, free post secondary and senior care across the country. I believe our trajectory should align even more with the Nordic states and we will get there, we are a caring country but have more work to do.
Love your efforts and path Rejean (have you checked out my friend Court at Modern FImily yet?) Myself I am a mustachian and have always been a huge fan of ERE. Don’t worry about the pushback here and keep being you.
Cheers ~ Chris
I think it is great that we have social programs that help us give everyone an opportunity to do well. But not everything needs to be free. Post secondary education should be means tested, as well as senior care and child care. Government funded daycare should strictly be a direct payment to parents that need it. Then they can can choose whether to stay home and raise their kids, or find a place with the money. What we don’t need is governments using child care as an election promise and dictate how these daycare centers are run. Regulations yes, but let free enterprise run it. The way it is now most on the money is wasted on bureaucracy. Take care of the truly needy, and give meaningful jobs to everyone else. Please, no minimum guaranteed income. We need able people to go to work.
I’m with that: “government funded daycare should strictly be a direct payment to parents that need it. Then they can can choose whether to stay home and raise their kids, or find a place with the money.”
I would also consider removing all the bureaucracy associated with many government programs and simplify the tax system. The current Canadian tax filing system causes much unneeded suffering…..the entire system needs an overhaul. I would vote for any politician that cleans up this mess.
Guaranteed income to some seniors, that need it, is beneficial IMO. I don’t mind paying for some social safety net.
Well, somebody have to pay the bills and Canada already has the highest debt among the developed countries. In order to pay the great safety net provided in Canada, just as @DivInvestor pointed out, we need able people to go to work.
Thanks for your comments Chris, appreciated. I always welcome different views here. There are certainly ways to contribute to society without a steady, or large, paycheck.
BTW – I’ve been meaning to ask you, are you going to run for office again? 🙂
For the comments in reply to me, many should really dig into how we are taxed as a whole in Canada when you dig into property, provincial & federal taxes then subtracting the amazing programs we don’t pay for monthly like our American counterparts. Happy that I don’t pay $600-1000/month for healthcare..that is one hell of a “tax bill” they pay.
Yes, bureaucracy is terrible and bleeds out money in a bad way, no matter if we paid a little or a lot in taxes it will and is a problem that exists. This is always attached to social programs but even is a reality in the most conservative and austerity aligned governments. So we might as well look after one another.
For clarity it should be noted my comments come from a position of having made a sizeable income in my life and owned several small businesses. I have paid my extremely heavy fair share of every type of tax and program to all levels of government. I understand the good it does, how it helps others and improves my quality of life so I don’t worry other than work ti ensure governments and organizations remain accountable.
Again, I am happy Rejean and his family can focus on their kids and homeschool them with the help of the CCB, all the best to them.
As for me running for office, I believe it will be at the municipal level. Running to be an MLA was extremely stressful and with the way social media is, not sure I want to endure that again….but who knows, maybe 🙂
I think you have a lot to offer Chris, re: municipal.
Yes, any bureaucracy is essentially waste. In personal life, in corporate life, in government processes, etc. We should be always striving to maximize the best outcomes with the least amount of resources (human, environment, financial, other). We don’t collectively think that way in society.
I too, pay my share of taxes and I know you do the same, re: small businesses.
Keep me posted on your political endeavours 🙂
Thanks Chris! Yes I’ve spoken to Court. I’m a fan of their blog and really relate to their lifestyle as well.
I’m with Emily on this one and think that our Canadian gov’t really contributes to a bunch of free loaders and taxes the hell out of the working stiffs. They should be filtering things like the CCB limiting to tax paying parents only.
I also agree that this couple really seems to be bragging about beating the system. They seem like the typical young FIRE couple, talking up how great they are!!
I can appreciate that take. I like to offer different perspectives and opinions on this site Don but I can see that such profiles might not always reasonate with some!
I was thinking about this a bit more on our walk and I wanted to clarify my comments a bit. I have absolutely no problem with some of our taxes going to the less fortunate. What I do have an issue with is able bodied people deciding not to work and then sponging off our taxes (and then to add insult to injury, bragging about it and encouraging other potential free loaders to do the same).
Please take the time to read the detailed response I took much time writing.
I’m definitely not “sponging off of your taxes”
I hope you abide by your own rules and don’t ever choose to stop working until you are no longer “able bodied”.
I hope you reflect on your comments and realize that people can contribute to the world or society in other ways than the workforce.
I totally see where you are coming from Don, since I feel I work very hard and make sure I can do my part. I struggle with OAS and GIS in particular to be honest, I don’t like the design of those programs at all.
Amen. The GIS for wealthy people dodging the system comes to mind as well.
The GIS is means tested, You only get it if you a very small income.
Thank goodness but it is still incredibly complex…
I think OAS and GIS needs to be totally overhauled.
No retiree earning more than $75,000 needs “income security” from our government, let alone over $100,000 per year. Really?
You might be surprised but I mostly agree with you, other than the inaccurate assumption about my tax status. I even agree about your take that we like to say how “great we are”. Lol. I do think my life is pretty great.
Like I mentioned in other comments I have paid more taxes than receive ccb in the last few years for sure. I think the social systems such as the CCB are too generous but they are part of the tax system and I will always try to optimize my financial situation. Just like you may optimize your deduction and allocation to a TFSA in order to pay less taxes. I won’t attempt to create more income than I need just so that I can contribute more taxes. So I’m sorry if your offended that many early retirees have found a way to live on $30-40k per year and will likely end up paying very little taxes long term. We can’t change the tax system. But you will never hear me say I need more government money or more tax breaks. I just play by the tax rules established.
I don’t agree with the broad statement that only tax payers should get CCB. Unless you scrap it entirely. Because it would defeat its purpose which I believe was intended to help those who likely have a low income and then likely don’t pay taxes.
When you have three kids at around 6K/ kid, that is 18K per year of inflation adjusted, guaranteed, tax free income. Especially when a family lives on a small earned income like this family.
Something as guaranteed as that could be considered a 2% safe withdrawal rate. And don’t forget this thing lasts for 17 years per kid.
And unlike a pension, they never earned it.
So that is like 900,000 TFSA portfolio with ZERO risk. Who gets this with investments?
I am a woman who gave birth to my children. But my taxes are used to support anyone who chooses not to work with young children.
Go ahead and not work but don’t use our tax dollars like this.
Or at least have the good sense to not broadcast this for us who work hard to read.
So yeah, anyone could “retire” with just a million. And then also get almost another million tax free, risk free, adjusted to inflation just because you chose to have children.
Canada makes it very easy to “early retire” with that kind of plan.
That’s a pretty good analysis. I’m sorry again that this program wasn’t around when you had children.
I actually consider myself a fiscal conservative politically and don’t necessarily even agree with how generous these programs are.
But I don’t think it’s fair to criticize those who do receive these benefits to offset having children. Children are future tax payers and likely strong contributing members of society so in essence the CCB can be considered a good investment in the future. I’ll also mention that I homeschool my two school-aged children so I hope you appreciate that I am saving on some of your tax dollars there if that helps.
But as I mentioned before, if you read my book I came up with a plan that would work in retirement even if the CCB disappeared tomorrow. And in our first four years of retirement we haven’t relied on the CCB at all. We got a fraction of what you are describing and most of it went into an RESP for the children.
I will continue to encourage everyone to file their taxes and plan their investments with the CCB in mind. Just like they should strategize their RRSP and TFSA contributions to minimize taxes paid.
Emily, that’s a fair take on taxes – in that anyone (like me as well) that does work supports anyone who chooses not to work with or without children.
I will say this is one thing that makes Canada great but also very challenging some days: our social safety net and therefore government using the funds wisely.
I admire their frugality but it’s hard to see how they can live a comfortable life on an income that is below the US poverty level for a family of 5 and have any room to handle college expenses for the children or an unexpected major cost in their lives. Doesn’t seem like there is any cushion available in a bare bones budget like that.
It might be hard to see, but we are pulling it off. I document our expenses in my book down the last dollar. When we took out the mortgage, car payments, commuting costs and daycare, our expenses dropped drastically.
As for our children’s education, we have saved up a pretty large sum in an RESP for the children. We could not add a single dollar to it for the next ten years and it will be more than enough to cover their post-secondary studies.
As for major unexpected costs, the common strategy for early retirees is to keep your options flexible. In our first four years of retirement we haven’t had any unexpected setbacks and actually came out ahead financially in every year so we have a surplus in our savings that we could use in the event of something unexpected. But before retiring our plan was to deal with the unexpected by simply finding extra work if we had to. There is a labor shortage in our country and if I needed an extra $10,000 in a given year, my wife or I could secure employment temporarily to make up for a shortfall. I discuss this strategy as well in my book.
You are doing a great job! And yes, going back to earn money would be easy. I’ve continued to get job offers through my 60’s even. And do some very limited hours of expert witness work for friends. Congrats, you obviously have this figured out!
Nice work Steve. I hope to do some part-time work/semi-retirement work for sure, to keep my mind engaged.
Yes, although I think Rejean and Danielle are rather frugal and they live in a low-cost of living area generally speaking. I know our expenses for semi-retirement (between my wife and I) are about $40,000-$50,000 CDN per year or about $4k per month. We intend to have more than that coming in as a buffer for sure, re: inflation and life-happens.
What’s your spend rate if you don’t mind Steve – do you have that profiled on your site?
My spend rate is right around 100K in pretax income. In basing that on my part time consulting income the first five years w. e were retired. We kept a 0% withdrawal rate and stayed in balance. Now I only work a tiny bit and we pull 3% to fund our lives. In fou years we will draw Social Security and our withdrawal rate will drop to 1%.
That’s pretty impressive. A 3% withdrawal rate assuming you’ve saved a bunch should last for generations 🙂 Kudos!!
This couple just hacked the generous Canadian child tax benefit.
I resent that since I had two children as a working professional woman and never drew a penny from the government.
Thanks for the comment. I assume you may have read my book where I elaborate about how generous the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has become for Canadian parents. I also mention that I did not rely on this benefit for my retirement as it could be changed at any time. Although I have benefited from this program just as much as any other parent today, unfortunately (or fortunately) I haven’t come close to maximizing my eligibility for the benefits as I have made extra, unexpected income since retirement.
I am sorry if this program was not around (or wasn’t as generous) when you had children. As the program is designed now, it is not one that someone can take advantage of. Canadians don’t even have the choice to receive or not as it is included in the tax filing process.
Regardless of if you think this program is too generous or not, I recommend all Canadian maximize their eligibility when filing their taxes. It’s the same concept as minimizing your taxes paid by investing intelligently in RRSPs or TFSAs.
Thanks for your comment. While I will let Rejean comment of course, I doubt that is the case when he and his wife has amassed almost $1 M in investments for their retirement plan.
The CCB is good but not that good I don’t think.
Mark, the CCB works well in their case as it is income based, and even if they have $1 M in investments but they withdraw only $30K a year their income is still low. The lower your income the higher your CCB and it gets completely cut off at something like $200K household income.
This family might be officially Canada’s youngest retirees (under 30!!).
Inspiring, checked out their blog, a lot of time spent with their kids, reading 80+ books per day to their 2 year old, wow! 🙂
Ya, I think in context they have read 80 books overall over the last few years to their youngest but Rejean can clarify 🙂
I didn’t know CCB was a dividend paying stock for parents. Ha. Kidding. I am aware of the benefit of course but don’t have it for us. For sure, a family with a lower cost of living can take more advantage of CCB but certainly you can’t to where you are/they are without saving and investing and being very frugal beyond CCB.
I believe there are others in Canada that have “retired” in their 30s but many don’t blog or talk about it. Just a hunch.
Thanks for your comment and best wishes!
Lol. The 80 books a day might be a slight exaggeration but not by much.
We go to the library once per week and we normally take out about 20 picture books for the two year old. She makes me read most of them everyday. But to be fair they take about two minutes each.
Yeah, our family have decent income and never be able to get any CCB or whatever before that, only the Universal Child benefit which is $100 per month. Liberal government canceled that and established CCB. We might retire before the kids leaving home, but we need to melt down RRSP fast, so maybe never CCB for us, LOL.
My feeling is complicated about this. I completely understand Emily. I think it’s not fair that we don’t get any help from the government for raising children. I think CCB should not be income based. In the other hand, all the parents raise the children for the society and our future, so I don’t mind to help them if they are really in need. I know we are fortunate to have good paying jobs. In Rejean’s case, I am not sure they really need this. Personally I never consider working as rat race. Rejean and his wife are both highly educated and can be contributing a lot to the society if they choose to continue to work.
I just want to say, if everybody choose this life style, then this society cannot continue, CCB cannot continue.
I’ll state again that I did not choose my lifestyle based CCB and would still be on the exact same path if it didn’t exists at all. I likely receive a similar amount as most do right now. Just because I plan on living on $30,000 a year doesn’t mean that is what we ended up earning. I’ll assure everyone that my wife and I paid much more income taxes than we received CCB since retiring.
Yes, educated people like me could contribute more to the job market if we wanted to but that’s not the lifestyle I chose. I chose to spend most of my day teaching and raising my children. Believe me we don’t spend our days watching TV or playing video games. With 3 young kids, we barely sit down until 8pm. We contribute to our community in many different ways as well.
I’m sorry if this does not count in your books as properly contributing to society. But I think there are many more ways than working that one can help the future of our country.
I really do appreciate that you and your wife have three children and be responsible parents, knowing how much effort required to raise kids no matter what’s the income.
Of course everybody is free to choose their life style, and I am sure your family is contributing to the society a lot, even just by raising three children. Just saying a country like Canada cannot run properly without people paying enough tax. I just feel it’s a waste for people like you and your wife leaving the working force.
I think leaving the workforce has allowed me to contribute enormously more to the world. My own community and my children likely agree as well. So I don’t consider it a waste.
Good sharing and insights May. I’m not as conflicted, maybe becauase I don’t have kids? I feel everyone can contribute to society in different ways although taxpaying dollars is a big one to keep our social safey net going for those that are less fortunate.
I have never worked to just leave the rat race per se, moreso to work at something I enjoy but maybe less, in a lower level of capacity or income as to maximize my free time. Almost there really. Which is good for me/us. I don’t want to work 8-9 hours a day when I can work less and have some freedom of time. Life is very short – I know you agree with the value of time!
All my best,