Retired at 32. How he did it and the lessons learned – Part 1 of 2

Retired at 32. How he did it and the lessons learned – Part 1 of 2

For years I’ve considered investing a “get wealthy eventually” strategy.  Sure, you can get lucky on a hot stock but it’s just that – luck.  Successful investing typically goes far beyond luck.  It includes making good financial decisions; getting the big decisions in life right (like houses and cars), having a modest and sustained savings rate, and getting a solid rate of return.

Few people in Canada as young as Kornel Szrejber have built wealth so effectively.

Bio

Kornel is the host of the Build Wealth Canada Show, a top personal finance and investing podcast created specifically for Canadians. After becoming mortgage-free at age 29 (yes, 29) and becoming one of Canada’s youngest retirees at the age of 32, Kornel now helps other Canadians do the same through one-on-one financial coaching, and by interviewing other top financial experts on his show.

On his show, he also shares his journey, the lessons learned, and how he did it so that other Canadians can consider a similar path if they choose.

I had a chance to talk to Kornel recently about his investing journey, his gig at running Build Wealth Canada, and other personal finance and investing ‘stuff’.

Kornel, thanks for this.

It’s great to be here. I’m excited to share some things that will hopefully help other Canadians retire early too (if they want to).

Road to Freedom

Kornel, talk to me about your investing journey; the ‘early years’ if you will.  What mistakes did you make?  What did you learn about personal finance and investing back then?

When the 2008 crash happened, I was fresh out of school, knew little about investing and how the markets worked. Instead of learning about how to invest during this time so that I could ride the recovery, I instead saw the people that I highly respected at my new job lose tens of thousands in the market. That scared me off from investing in the markets for years. Instead of educating myself on investing, I let fear drive the decision-making process.

I kept thinking about how I could “lose it all” if I invest in the stock market which isn’t necessarily true depending on the type of investing that you do. I wrongfully defined “risk” as the chance of me losing all my money, instead of defining it as volatility.

On top of this, I hated seeing the $1,300 mortgage payment leave my account every month so out of fear and ignorance, I mistakenly decided to go with the guaranteed rate of return that paying off our mortgage provided. My wife and I agreed to only live from one salary, and use the 2nd salary to pay off the mortgage quicker. We ended up paying off the mortgage in under six years. I was 29 at the time.

After this, I was forced to learn how to invest. After all, the mortgage was paid off but now we were behind on our retirement savings. I read everything that I could get my hands on, and started an investing and personal finance podcast so that I could interview the sharpest investing minds in Canada on how to invest properly.

Taking the lessons I learned, we kept investing over 50% of our income, plus the mortgage payments that we no longer had to make. After less than four years, we were considered financially independent. My wife became fully retired at 31, and I semi-retired at 32 where I now only work on projects/hobbies that I actually enjoy.  One of those includes working at 5iResearch (partnership).

Fast forward to the present.  Let’s talk about Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).  What makes them a great potential product for investors?

Apart from rental real estate, my entire investment portfolio consists of ETFs. There are 3 things that I especially love about them:

1.Low fees. To give you a real-life example, I’m currently doing financial planning for a client who is paying almost 3% in fees on her mutual funds. I’m helping her switch to an ETF portfolio, where she will be paying around 0.147% in fees. That’s over 20 times less in fees.

What does that mean in dollars? It means she’s paying around $9,000 a year in fees on a $300,000 portfolio. After we switch her over, she’ll be paying $441 per year. That’s a savings of $8,559 per year.  Enough said.

2.I buy the same four (4) ETFs which is just as easy as buying four stocks every month. The difference though is that if I buy the same four stocks, I’m nowhere nearly as diversified as I should be if that’s all that I have in my portfolio. With the ETFs that I buy though, I’m owning thousands of companies across the entire world, and am nicely diversified among countries and industries (i.e., the opposite of putting all my eggs in one basket).

Editor’s note:  Kornel holds:  XIC: Canadian Index; VUN/VFV: US Index; XEF: International Developed Index; and XEC: International Emerging Markets Index.

This leads me to my last point…

3.They help me sleep at night. If I was investing in just a few companies I would be constantly stressed. What if their management team messes things up? What if their industry starts declining? What if there is fraud or a scandal that sends the company plummeting? Instead, by owning thousands of companies, I don’t have to care about what happens to any one company. 

Any downsides to investing with ETFs? 

Make sure you buy ETFs for free. There are discount brokerages that let you do this instead of charging you $7-$10 per trade. If you’re buying four ETFs every month after your monthly payday, that’s a $40 a month expense. You don’t need to be paying that, so switch to a discount brokerage that offers this.

You are allowed to have multiple RRSP and TFSA accounts amongst different institutions, so it’s not like you have to move everything over to your new discount brokerage just to do this.

One potential downside is that if you are buying ETFs then you’re likely a do-it-yourself investor which can sometime imply that you don’t have somebody in your corner to help you and give you unbiased advice when you need it.  You may be missing out on tax optimization, for example.

When we do get another crash, eventually, it’s also good to have someone who can help be the voice of reason and help you get through those tough moments to prevent things like panic selling when the market is at its lowest.

Lastly remember not all ETFs are passive index investment vehicles with low fees. If a passive index investing strategy is what you subscribe to (like myself), it’s critical to actually pick the right ETFs so that you are actually paying the low fees, and those ETFs are properly diversified among countries, industries and asset classes.

Impressive stuff from an impressive saver and investor.  Make sure you come back for Part 2 of 2 with Kornel Szrejber – to find out what advice he has for 20-somethings, 30-somethings and other age groups by the decade.

What comments or feedback do you have for Kornel?  Any questions for me?  Thanks for being a fan and check out more retirement stories on my site to see what can apply to you here. 

Mark Seed is the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I've grown our portfolio from $100,000 to well over $500,000. Our next big goal is to own a $1 million investment portfolio for an early retirement. Come follow my saving and investing journey by subscribing to my site. Delivered by Subscribe Here to My Own Advisor

106 Responses to "Retired at 32. How he did it and the lessons learned – Part 1 of 2"

    1. Hi Marni.

      I currently hold:
      XIC: Canadian Index
      VUN/VFV: US Index
      XEF: International Developed Index
      XEC: International Emerging Markets Index

      I don’t currently hold any bonds (I can go into why if you want), but if I did it would be ZAG.
      I hope that helps.

      Reply
  1. Sorry Mark,

    The numbers just don’t add up.

    He had no investments at age 29, then started investing one of their salaries, plus $15,600 per year that had been earmarked for the mortgage.
    Then at age 32 he is financially independent.

    In order to be financially independent, he would need to amass in the neighbourhood of one million dollars, I would think.

    So that would mean that single salary they were investing before retirement would have had to have been about $500,000 per year.

    More likely, what has really happened is that he hasn’t retired financially independent – he’s actually changed careers and become a full-time, paid blogger.

    And if you’re a full-time paid blogger, you’re going to attract way more readers if you say “I’m financially independent at age 31”.

    Again – the numbers simply don’t add up. Mark, you’d do your own readers much more service, if you did a little more due diligence, and actually showed how this story really happened.

    Reply
    1. Hey Joe,

      Thanks for the questions. I have reached out to Kornel for a reply to the comments. Hopefully he’ll check in soon.

      I recall, although I don’t know for sure, he had limited investable assets at the age of 29 but he did have assets. I have asked Kornel to confirm because I can see the confusion created in what he responded to my questions.

      In terms of due diligence, yes, I could have asked more detailed questions but I trust his responses. I’m sure he’ll be able to answer them.

      He has certainly changed careers and started work he is more passionate about.

      Appreciate the comments Joe, fire more away to me if and when ready.

      Cheers,
      Mark

      Reply
    2. Thanks for the comment Joe and I’ll gladly clarify. Just an FYI too that part 2 of the post is coming up so that should shed some more light on the details. In the meantime, I’ll gladly answer any questions to help clarify.

      Regarding “no investments at age 29”: Around the time we became mortgage free, we ended up purchasing another home so that we had one primary residence and one rental. One of the things that helped a lot was that we held on to both of those properties during the real estate boom. It wasn’t as crazy as in Toronto, but Kitchener-Waterloo experienced some nice growth as well. Both of our properties appreciated in value, we sold one of them and dowgraded to a smaller home.

      The last time I checked, the rental was worth between 450-500k. The ETF portfolio (and defined contribution plan from my wife’s work) was around $350k. So the total investable assets are around 800-850k.

      We live on $25k a year.
      The rental nets around $12,000/year in cash (plus appreciation).
      If we do general 4% rule on $350,000 that $14,000
      Therefore $12,000 from rental plus $14,000 from ETFs equal $26,000.

      I imagine you have additional follow-up questions so feel free to ask and I’ll gladly answer.

      Reply
        1. Yeah, we got used to living from one salary when we were trying to pay off the mortgage and then once we did and it was time to invest we just kept doing the same 50% savings rate that we were used to. I actually thought our spending would go up after paying off the mortgage since that was the big goal/sacrifice at the time but we just got used to keeping expenses low and now it happens without too much effort (i.e. the habits have been formed). I should mention though that the $25k of annual spending is after I stripped out child care (since my wife is a stay-at-home mom now, that large expense no longer exists).

          Reply
      1. re: “I currently hold:
        XIC: Canadian Index
        VUN/VFV: US Index
        XEF: International Developed Index
        XEC: International Emerging Markets Index

        If we do general 4% rule on $350,000 that $14,000…from ETFs…”

        So…are you telling the readership that you are getting a minimum of 4% payouts on your ETF portfolio?

        Fast check of the ETFs shows that, if you did buy them ~3 years ago (c.2015), you’d only be getting a ~2.5% yield. (Perhaps 3% if you bought in 2014.) Even if you are heavily weighted to the higher yielding funds you’d only be getting 3%.

        Not buying the whole 4% thing. Mainly because of this:

        “The ETF portfolio (and defined contribution plan from my wife’s work) was around $350k.”

        Why lump the two together?! They are two completely different sources of income — zero correlation! Like me saying the value of my house and my empty beer bottle refunds is around $900k.

        Is your wife collecting on her pension?
        If yes, then you have to delineate the two sources of income.
        If no, and if you have no plans on commuting it, then why even count it at all?

        What is the straight value of ONLY the ETF portfolio? It will be less than $350,000 once you negate the weird pension inclusion, thus 4% on <$350,000 will be <$14,000.

        re: "We live on $25k a year."
        Is that a statement of total income? No other income declared? No taxes paid?

        And what of the other questions asked of your situation?
        What was the pre-retirement income of the couple?
        How big was the initial mortgage?
        Being “fresh out of school”, how did the couple afford a downpayment?
        What is the source of their current income? (And how are they taxed?)
        What is the allocation of their savings — ETFs vs rental real estate?

        Gotta love how these types of "testimonials" are rife with milky obfuscation. Very little understanding or respect for his targeted audience. Why be so withholding and beige with details? It's where the devil (and truth) is, right?

        Reply
        1. SST – The first give away (sign) that Kornel is not telling the truth is that he only replies to certain comments. Your comment above is bang on, Kornel does not make anywhere near the 4% he claims on his holdings. In fact he doesn’t even have $350K to invest of his own money. (He says some is in wife’s pension plan). To be creditable Kornel needs to explain himself and answer your questions above. Part 2 should be interesting. Lets see if his foot comes out of his mouth.

          Reply
          1. Mike, what difference does it make of what I say when you’re just going to call me a liar anyway? You say I don’t have 350k to invest of my own money. What do I have to do? send you statements of all my accounts? Even if I did you’d probably still say I’m lying for some reason. Why would I spend an hour answering your questions when you’re going to believe what you want anyway? You realize that I this point you’re basically telling me that you somehow know how much I have in all my accounts, and somehow I don’t know this and am making something up. If you don’t want to consider me credible then fine, don’t.

            Also, the comments that I’ve consistently ignored is yours and SST. Yours because to answer all your questions I’m somehow obligated to share with you what I bought the houses for, what the mortgages were, what our income was over the years, all our sources of income, and the list goes on and on and on. When I tell you what I have in our ETF portfolio you call me a lier. So to me, it sounds like I basically have to let you audit me and maybe I’ll be blessed with your approval. So how about this: Don’t give me any credit or approval and dislike me all that you’d like. I’m not going to spend an hour pulling out old tax returns, mortgage statements, and purchase of sale agreements to hopefully get your approval.

            Also SST, the reason that I haven’t been replying to yours is because your initial ones were pretty hostile (and not in some constructive sense). So, I just spent my time replying to other comments.

          2. Why the dislike? Rather then question without offering solutions, try contributing. To borrow from another online presence: complainy pant responses should be ignored so that their issuers can continue punching themselves in the face financially. MMM.
            There is huge value in learning from others success. Claims that advantages don’t exist anymore are crazy. The advantages have simply shifted. For example the marijuana stock run up over the past few years. It apears it may have legs a ltitle longer… my informal investing group combined is nearing 7 figures growth! No different then the run up in housing, the incredible gains after 2008 in stocks etc.

  2. Hey Mark,

    I have to agree with Joe here – a little more backstory here on how he became financially independent in ~2-3 years would be great. Or at the very least, what his definition of financially independent is. It doesn’t quite add up for me either.

    Reply
    1. Hi Bob.

      I replied to Joe’s answer above. Hopefully that helps clear some things up. I’ll be checking the comments in case you’d like any more info/details.

      Kornel

      Reply
  3. re: “I wrongfully defined “risk” as the chance of me losing all my money, instead of defining it as volatility.”
    He is still wrongfully defining risk. Risk is not volatility. He had it correct the first time — it’s the chance of losing money.
    Here’s what a couple real-life financial experts say:
    “Volatility is far from synonymous with risk.” — Warren ‘Billionaire’ Buffett
    “For most investors the “risk” of owning financial assets is not having enough financial assets when you need them. This arises primarily from two factors: 1) Purchasing power risk and 2) Permanent loss risk.) — Cullen ‘Rich’ Roche

    re: “What if their management team messes things up? What if their industry starts declining? What if there is fraud or a scandal that sends the company plummeting?”
    Um…all those same things can happen to an ETF, bud. For this reason, he is also wrongfully defining “independence”, as most PFers do.
    I don’t think I’ll be taking advice from a cloak & dagger “retiree” who doesn’t understand the structure of his own investments.

    Also super funny that an article on “financial independence” mentions exactly nothing about finances. Seems to be one of trademarks of PFers — a shroud of secrecy (makes the marketing more fun). A super fast googs shows that Mr. Szrejber resides in Kitchner, Ont. and was previously a general manager at an IT company.

    The questions:

    1. What was the income of the couple?
    2. How big was their initial mortgage?
    3. Being “fresh out of school”, how did the couple afford a downpayment?
    4. Do they carry a mortgage on their “rental real estate”?
    5. What is the source of their current income? (And how are they taxed?)
    6. What is the allocation of their savings — ETFs vs rental real estate?

    Guess what I’m trying to say is that, like every other “financially independent” working marketer/blogger out there, every instance is highly contextual. Their experience is more often than not highly unreproducible and does not qualify them as any sort of financial “expert” (maybe just to other PFers and FIRE fanatics).

    I’ll give him full creds for pulling it off, reality is reality, but in my awesome opinion, Mr. Szrejber hasn’t retired early, he’s just plying his marketing skills in a different field. That, and being an unlicensed “financial planner”.

    Reply
    1. re: “What if their management team messes things up? What if their industry starts declining? What if there is fraud or a scandal that sends the company plummeting?”

      We see this with big companies all the time and I agree, there can be big issues with ETFs as well. I’ve learned nothing is risk-free (i.e., you can lose or do harm – that’s my definition of risk in general – it’s a potential for loss based on frequency and severity of occurance).

      Back to Kornel, I think the underlying message is good: save and invest so you can tailor your own path – although I can appreciate you might not or would not want to take his path.

      Again, his path is neither a) right nor b) should be followed blindly. It’s what he has decided to pursue, is happy with that, and for that I give him full marks. If nothing more, readers can decide if what he has chosen might work for them.

      Reply
      1. Thanks for fronting all the slings and arrows, Mark. Y’know…don’t shoot the messenger etc.

        re: If nothing more, readers can decide if what he has chosen might work for them.
        That’s my point — what he has chosen is 100% contextual and no longer applicable!

        Definitely, a young twentysomething (willing spouse required) can live off one income and invest the other income. But that’s where the lesson ends. That same person/couple can no longer buy into a stock market/real estate bull market.

        Ex. House prices in Mr. Szrejber’s area have doubled since he bought his real estate*, meaning that in order to duplicate Mr. Szrejber’s accomplishment, a person/couple would have to be earning twice what Mr. Szrejber’s household was earning when he began his path. Seeing as how Mr. Szrejber already earned a presumably high income, perhaps a better lesson to teach, beyond the generic basics, would be how to land a $200,000/yr job.

        Kinda like if you profiled a sugarcane plantation owner, those who were at one time the wealthiest (and most powerful) group of people on the planet. The general idea is still applicable — be a business owner (the majority of millionaires are business owners) — but their selected mechanisms of wealth generation (sugarcane and slavery) are, for the most part, no longer valid.

        *(I looked up the rent of the last apartment I lived in before buying a house…it has doubled. So even if you were just renting, you’d still have to be earning almost twice as much as a decade ago. Even more if you were trying to save for a downpayment.)

        Reply
        1. It’s all good. Criticize away. What else is a blog for if you can’t comment about something???

          As long as the comments/critiques are respectful I’m all good… I do appreciate where Joe and others are coming from. I think it has to do with two main issues: 1) use of the word “retired” is far too loose and 2) how on earth did he do that when some of his answers don’t seem to connect the dots.

          All this to say, I think Kornel and his wife were excellent savers and I suspect, I can only assume, they had/have great jobs. That is largely what might be missing in this criticism of this post. They had great incomes AND managed to save a good portion of it (50%). That said, it is much easier to save money when you make good money – but there is some discipline there as well.

          Fire away with the arrows 🙂

          Reply
  4. Credibility is the quality of being believable or worthy of trust. Mark, I’m with Joe, Bob and SST re: their questions and look forward to the responses. SST – agree – “Kornel now helps other Canadians do the same through one-on-one financial coaching, and by interviewing other top financial experts on his show” and selling things on his website – just a different gig.

    Reply
    1. Fair comment Rich.

      In knowing Kornel a bit, I don’t think it was by design to lead people down a path thinking of “he’s retired at 32” and does nothing for a living now. Rather, he retired from his former job and now works on his own terms. Certainly the word retirement means different things to different people and needs lots of context.

      I recall when Kornel decided he and his wife had “enough money”, he had a few hundred thousand in investable assets. I don’t know the number exactly, I will let him answer that! My understanding is not all of his/their assets where/are in (4) ETFs. They also had a paid-off rental property and that nets close to $1k per month. Again, I will let him confirm because I’m not sure…

      Also, I believe he and his wife took full advantage of the TFSAs (both maxed) and RRSP as well – to the point whereby he contributes to it and optimizes his RRSP; leaving some contribution room for the eventual rental sale I assume…. He also has a non-reg. account that generates some income.

      Anyhow, yes, he earns income from the podcast, from 5i and from coaching so I would agree with you – it is a different gig to some degree; he is working; just at what he wants to do vs. what he needs to do for the most part.

      I’ve asked Kornel to respond to your (and other) questions – hopefully he will. The point of this post wasn’t to lose trust – far from it – just to profile another investor!

      Thanks for reading Rich.
      Mark

      Reply
    2. Thanks for your comment Rich.
      I should clarify that the gig is something that’s been in existence for almost 3 years now so it’s not like I started up the podcast the week after gaining financial independence and used the financial independence as some marketing pitch to start something new. The podcast started as my journey to learn as much as I can about investing and personal finance by interviewing experts across Canada. Now that we’ve hit a nice milestone with the FI, it’ll continue to be that as there are still many optimizations to be learned.

      I provided some more numbers to Joe above. Hopefully, that helps clarify things but please don’t hesitate to ask if you’d like more details.

      Kornel

      Reply
    3. I just noticed Mark’s comment so I’ll clarify and confirm his points. Sorry for missing it earlier:

      To clarify, my wife is now fully retired, and I am semi-retired (i.e. I work part-time). I’ve included some numbers for you down below (it was from a comment I answered earlier on this post). Assuming that our tenants continue to pay rent and that the markets continue to do okay (i.e. I’m using the 4% rule as a general guideline), the ETFs and rental property are enough to cover our expenses (we have 25k in expenses and income from the above is at 26k). As a backup, we still have my part-time job and 2 sites that I run when I have time so that there is a cushion so that we aren’t forced to sell-off investments at less than favourable times.

      Regarding Mark’s point: Yes, we maxed out TFSA, RRSP (to an extent as we’re saving room for when we sell the rental), and now we invest money in a non-reg account.

      Here’s the comment I left earlier with more details. Hopefully, I didn’t miss anything from your and Mark’s comments. If I did just let me know.

      Around the time we became mortgage free, we ended up purchasing another home so that we had one primary residence and one rental. One of the things that helped a lot was that we held on to both of those properties during the real estate boom. It wasn’t as crazy as in Toronto, but Kitchener-Waterloo experienced some nice growth as well. Both of our properties appreciated in value, we sold one of them and downgraded to a smaller home.
      The last time I checked, the rental was worth between 450-500k. The ETF portfolio (and defined contribution plan from my wife’s work) was around $350k. So the total investable assets are around 800-850k.
      We live on $25k a year.
      The rental nets around $12,000/year in cash (plus appreciation).
      If we do general 4% rule on $350,000 that $14,000
      Therefore $12,000 from rental plus $14,000 from ETFs equal $26,000.

      Reply
  5. Mark,
    You said “I don’t think it was by design to lead people down a path thinking of “he’s retired at 32” “.
    Look at the title of your blog post!!
    “Retired at 32 – How he did it…”

    Rich mentioned credibility. Be aware, that this credibility issue spills over to you as well when you post these articles with sketchy claims.
    I know my own view has certainly been tainted.

    Reply
    1. To be fair Joe, lots of folks consider themselves “retired” but continue to work. Sure, if you take “retired” literally, as in no work for any compensation at whatsoever then agreed, he is not retired and the title of the post is misleading if that’s your context.

      Using the definition to cease to work, he did retire from one job, only to take a few others right now.

      Sorry to hear about your tainted and credibility view. I do get fully where you are coming from. I was only trying to share a story that some might find interesting in order to learn from to tailor their own path. I would expect others to have different views than Kornel, than me too. Different views are a good thing. I appreciate your honesty with this post.

      Reply
      1. Hey Mark,

        I get rankled when I read about these people who claim to become financially independent by doing “this or that”. But when you dig a little deeper, you realize they’re not being truthful – they have a hidden agenda.

        Your post about Firecracker back in April fits the same bill. She said she got “financially independent” by renting instead of owning. The reality was, she became financially independent by landing a $60,000 a year “entry level job” and then somehow parlaying it into a $130,000 per year job in less than 3 years. Her husband did the same. They lived frugally.
        I applaud Firecracker for saving and investing her money rather than living high on the hog. But the idea that “renting” caused her wealth is poppycock.

        And it’s the same for Kornel.

        Your personal story and blog are excellent and seem 100% factual. You are following the tired and true philosophy of “Get Rich Slow”. You have a long term plan. You should be applauded.

        Sadly, the stories of Firecracker and Kornel fall into the realm of “Get Rich Quick” – and we all know who gets rich from those types of schemes.

        I love your blog – I love your posts – you are giving sound advice to the people who read your personal posts. It is advice worth reading!
        That’s why I get concerned when you post these “get rich quick” type posts. Even though they’re coming from people other than you, someone reading those posts with any sort of critical eye, will soon see they’re garbage, and sadly, your blog – which is anything but garbage – will get painted with the same brush.

        Joe

        Reply
        1. Joe, thanks for reading the blog. The main goal of it as you know is to share my DIY story to some level of financial independence in hopes of learning more myself but also share what I know (and don’t) with others. This way, folks can figure out what can (and might not) work for them.

          Firecracker was an interesting story. What folks missed in that one is they already had well over $500K saved up while renting, so by not buying a home, they simply kept saving. The outcome is the same, they are living off their capital, but I can appreciate the annoyance of the “news spin”. At the end of the day – that’s the story they decided to tell. There are obviously pros and cons in marketing any story!!

          I also applaud Firecracker for saving and investing her money so well – that’s what they wanted – just like Kornel. But I appreciate you and others don’t necessarily like the headline/story!

          As for me, you are correct. It’s a very boring “get wealthy eventually” strategy and one I can 100% defend. Short of showing people our account statements – everything is legit. We have a house, but we owe >$100k mortgage on it. We have cars, both of them are paid for thanks to good savings habits. (I nearly choked as I handed over the bank draft for $16,000 this summer to pay for my (newer) car in cash – but it was paid for all the same.) Our investments are doing OK. The stocks are churning out income and that’s going to be a good cash cow for us when we get older – living off some capital.

          I hope to run the blog for years to come, even if there is the odd story that ticks people off. In those (rare?) cases, it makes people think, question, ask more questions and decide what value that provides to them. Therefore at the end of the day, making people think and reflect is a good thing even if the trigger is (not purposely done by me) a story they aren’t a fan of 🙂

          Cheers!

          Reply
  6. Hi Mark,
    I’m also with Joe, Bob and SST. I was shaking my head while reading Kornel’s message! There was something I could not understand. I’m glad I’m not the only one in doubt.

    Reply
    1. Hi Nicole.

      I’ve provided additional details higher in the thread. Hopefully that clears things up. If not, feel free to ask away and I’ll gladly answer.

      Kornel

      Reply
  7. Hello Mark, blog bashing aside . . .
    I truly appreciate the effort you make to help all of us reach some sort of financial independence via other peoples’ stories, and I enjoy reading insights/ideas/concepts/opinions from the financially independent/retired or somehow wealthy person/persons whom you have interviewed/chatted with/engaged conversation . . . I learn a little bit of information from each and every interview/conversation you have . . . thank you!

    Reply
    1. Thanks Monalisa. That’s the plan, share what I know, what others knows, and let readers think and decide what is right for them. Even though I haven’t followed Kornels’ path (we have our own plan) I do find it very interesting to learn from others – why they make the decisions they make. Every little bit is a learning experience even if I would never done something myself.

      It’s really what a big part of life should be about – learning. Just my $0.02!

      Reply
  8. MARK YOU’VE BEEN BUSTED BY THE IRP GO IN THE CORNER AND HANG YOU HEAD IN SHAME! insert laughing gif.

    I don’t know why but people just can’t get their head around the idea that people who achieve FI still want to work. 3 years ago, after several years of unemployment I announced to the world that I was retired. I had no desire to work again. It was an amazing feeling to go from unemployed loser to successful early retiree.

    Now here’s the bit I want everyone to hear. After a very long stretch of not working I am back at it. Started my own company and I can’t believe how much fun it is having purpose again.

    Early retirement for many means quitting a job they don’t really like to do a job they love. One that may or may not make any money. The reason for working is no longer financial. What I would like to know is how the guys at 5i pulled it off. Financial planning is one of the most competitive markets out there, very tough to make any money

    Mustache just got busted on the same point.

    https://twitter.com/mrmoneymustache/status/907423680061304832

    BTW IRP stands for Internet Retirement Police

    Reply
    1. Oh and can you keep posting articles like this. I was convinced that in Canada FI at an early age is impossible, due to a weak dollar hire costs etc. You sir, are proving me wrong and I’m lovin it!

      Reply
    2. re: “…I announced to the world that I was retired.”

      That’s another irk concerning the FIRE crowd — why do you have to go public with your early retirement?! Seems rather self-absorbed and narcissistic. Perhaps the only reason is so that people will pay attention to you…and hoping eventually they will just pay you.

      Reply
        1. That’s unfounded bias if ever I’ve seen it.

          Have you counted the pro vs con readers on this page alone?!

          I’ll give you a hint: 6 con vs 2 pro. That math works out to 75% of readers who did not enjoy this.

          Perhaps that’s my problem (one of), I’m not fantastical enough.

          Reply
          1. It’s the same as the commenters on Greater Fool, 1% of readers comment and the vast majority are SJW complaining. Not representative of the blog demographics at all.

    3. Thanks for your message Rob. I appreciate the chuckle about the IRP 🙂

      I appreciate you sharing your story. In my case, hitting the financial independence milestone allowed me to search for the type of part-time work that I was actually passionate about, plus have more time to spend with the family. In my wife’s case, she always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom so it allowed her to do that. Your path is unique in its own way too. People can call the paths different things but at the end of the day, I think it’s about having the freedom to have the life you want, instead of having to work at something we don’t want, just to get by.

      Kornel

      Reply
      1. Kornel, I left the (paid) working world when I had my second child, but never, ever would I have called myself retired, as you call your wife in other comments. (You say she is retired, you are semi-retired) Somehow this word is being used inappropriately, not just by you, but many. The correct term is “stay at home mom”, or something similar, as you say above. Some envy a stay at home mom, some think it is a terrible thing, all subjective. You are not semi-retired, you are working part time by choice.

        But I will give you a bit of advice: children are extremely expensive. Even with a very good medical plan from my husband’s work, we have spent over $10,000 in one year on medical costs for our children. No wonder I always felt broke, that took up a lot of our one income household’s cash. Maybe you will be lucky with health, but maybe not.

        Your assets are really low. Rental income can disappear quickly when tenants refuse to pay, vacancy rates soar, etc. Tenants can also cause disasters, repeatedly. I just sold my rental property, YAY!!!! You really need to be working and adding to your assets, not being “retired” at your age.

        I hope you have a large life insurance policy to protect your family. With such a low level of income, yes, you get plenty of tax breaks and payments from the government; one year when our net income was really low, I couldn’t believe how much “free money” we got. But you really shouldn’t rely on this.

        Reply
    4. IRP – funny 🙂 LOL

      I think you know by now Rob that anyone calling themselves “retired” by age 32 will be a target.

      Sure, he’s not “retired” in the traditional sense but he did “cease to work” at his former job. Anyhow, if Kornel likes running his site, sharing what he knows, etc, then good for him.

      Back to you, it must be VERY gratifying to start your own company and enjoy it when you don’t need the money.

      I wouldn’t rule out being a fee-only advisor eventually, but not right now. I will consider it however in the coming years, with a CFP, if folks will take me on?

      All the best.

      Reply
  9. Hey Rob,
    You said “Early retirement for many means quitting a job they don’t really like to do a job they love.”

    But everyone has the ability to quit their job and do a job they love. The problem is, if that new job doesn’t pay the bills, they have to quit that job and go back to something that pays the bills.

    That’s where FI steps in. FI allows you to quit the job you don’t like, and do the job you do like, with no concern as to whether the new job pays the bills of not.

    Kornel claims he’s financially independent. By my definition above, I doubt that he is. I suspect his blog is his new career, and claiming he is Financially Independent boosts his readership, and thus his income. But if the blog went South somehow, he’d be back doing a job he likes much less.

    Perhaps in the future, Mark should start these interviews with a couple of pointed questions – What’s your net worth – and Specifically, how did you acquire that net worth.

    Joe

    Reply
    1. re: “FI allows you to quit the job you don’t like, and do the job you do like…”

      This has never made sense to me but it seems to be the bedrock of the PF/FIRE community. Why would a person work, let’s say 10 years, at a job they hated in order to save up enough money just so they could do a job they loved? Why not spend those 10 years working at and developing the job you love? I suspect a great many ‘job haters’ approach their jobs in a VERY traditional manner, with a VERY traditional mindset, and finally break when they have a “really bad day” at work. Then starts the tunnel vision of money.

      re: “…with no concern as to whether the new job pays the bills of not.”
      Then it’s a hobby, and not a job, business, vocation, or career. It’s an excuse to not put in the work required to make “the job you do like” financially viable.

      Reply
      1. I’ll be honest, for some folks in the FIRE crowd, I don’t understand the strong desire to “run away” from a job. I get you want to “retire” young and maybe do different work but working at a job you absolutely hate for years on end only to wait until you’re older to do what you love is wasted time. You’ll never get your years back.

        Personally, I don’t hate my job to the point where I want to quit and run a blog or something else full-time. I couldn’t do it. Not wired that way. So, I work at the job I do largely because I like it and it pays good money and provides with learning opportunities and freedoms outside of work I enjoy doing.

        If people hate their jobs that much they should really invest in themselves and do something they love instead. I have bad days, bad weeks, hell, bad months at work but the positives outweigh the benefits including my total compensation. Just me.

        Reply
        1. I think perhaps the “hate working” (esp for a boss!) mentality is so strong in some of them that they are completely blind to all else.

          Consider the subject matter of this article, who claims he lives on $12,000 a year (half of the household income). So people will put in 100 hour work weeks at jobs they don’t like just to save 80% of their income and “retire” in 5 years. When all the while they could still be living on $12,000/yr and working 100 hours a week building and creating a career/life they love and never have to quit!

          In Scenario A they trade 5 years of misery and sacrifice just to be intrinsically and forever tied to their money.
          In Scenario B they trade 5 years of sacrifice just to be intrinsically and forever tied to their passions/likes/enjoyments et al.

          Reply
          1. It’s possible SST. I just don’t follow that crowd “hating work”. Life is too short to “hate” anything and keep that energy inside.

            Would I like to be able to live off dividends and not work? Sure, but it’s not realistic for us yet and I’m happy to work. It provides more compensation and rewards than just monetary ones.

        2. Those are some wise words Mark. In retrospect, I should have left the job earlier to find something else that I’m actually passionate about and enjoy doing, instead of sucking it up to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. When I read MMM and Firecracker, it sounds like they were also in a similar position where they didn’t necessarily love their jobs, but they were good paying jobs so it was a matter of grinding it out to get to the target. I’m glad that I finally have the freedom to find those things I enjoy, but it would have been a much more enjoyable journey if I just found something enjoyable like you did early on.

          Reply
    2. Hi Joe.
      I answered your question earlier and provided some numbers so hopefully, that helps. I agree with your definition of FI and we’re happy to be in that position now. I should clarify that the blog isn’t my new career. The blog/podcast has been around for 3 years now so this isn’t some thing that I just started where I’m using FI as some sort of launching platform. Yes, the show has sponsors and makes some money but it’s far from being enough to replace a full-time salary. Hopefully the numbers I provided show how we were able to make the math work despite that, but I’m happy to further clarify and/or provide more info if you’d like.

      Kornel

      Reply
  10. Claiming to be “retired” is just part of the marketing that Kornel is using to promote his new business. I am glad that many readers saw through this quickly.

    Reply
    1. Phoebe,
      The “business” has been around since August 4, 2014 (over 3 years). It’s not a new business that’s being launched and promoted. The financial independence is a recent milestone on our journey that I thought would be nice to share as we’ve made our share of mistakes and successes during the FI process. My hope was that other Canadians would get some value from that.

      Kornel

      Reply
      1. Kornel,
        Yes I would call a business that has been around 3 years and a month new. But that doesn’t really matter, and I think you have the right to market your business or financial endeavours as you wish – I am more concerned about what appears to be a lack of transparency on Mark’s part.
        Mark, I suggest that in order to maintain your credibility it is important that you are transparent about your partnerships, income streams related to this blog, and relationships. This thread illustrates that your readers demand it. Looks like Kornel works at 5iResearch, and your logo appears at the top of that webpage too.
        For my part, looks like Kornel may had some seed money, and invested at the start of a bull market, has rental income, and a wife who works full time and has a pension, and they live frugally – that is great and I congratulate them – I am especially impressed by the living frugally part. And I hope his wife writes the blog post #3.

        Reply
        1. Hi Phoebe,

          Thanks for asking. I purposely put the word “partnership” after the 5i link:

          “My wife became fully retired at 31, and I semi-retired at 32 where I now only work on projects/hobbies that I actually enjoy. One of those includes working at 5iResearch (partnership).”

          Also, on my disclaimer page you will find the following: “Compensation includes the words “affiliate” or “partnership” in the article. You are welcome to contact me to ask me any questions about how I am compensated for my time, maintaining the blog, posting articles, or other.”

          I think that’s pretty clear.

          Kornel lives quite frugal. It seems many readers find that hard to believe.

          Reply
        2. Haha. That would be an entertaining post. I’m definitely the frugal one in the relationship and it drives her crazy at times so I’m sure she has some interesting stories where I think I’m behaving normally, but it’s actually a little excessive from the frugality side.

          There wasn’t any seed money, but I was a partner at the company I worked at before FI which worked out well financially. So yeah, ultimately the dual salaries with good jobs + only 25k in expenses per year, and we got to ride the real estate boom with 2 properties. The ETFs haven’t blown things out of the water for us per se, but it’s where we put our money now since I love the passive nature of them and the diversification compared to investing in rentals.

          Reply
  11. If you removed the word “retired” I’d be fine with the story. I’m old school – retired means stop working. “Financially independent” or “semi retired” – maybe but we don’t have enough context to even truly know that. Lots of us were “retired” at young ages by these loose definitions.

    Agree with the great comments above from Joe, Rich, SST above. IMO, too many of these “retired” at young age tales with some sketchy details that really are at least partly ways to further a different career path. Often from folks who in addition to having had great jobs also lucked into investing only during this recent bull and in real estate markets that exploded, or have spouses continuing to work with strong wages. Good for them but not so sure there’s a whole lot to be learned or related to by most people.

    Reply
    1. Well, Kornel did reply so it will be interesting to see your take. Certainly living off of $25k per year helps accelerate any financial independence journey. The Part 2 of 2 post title will be changed – already planned on that but now I will most certainly make that adjustment!

      I certainly think Kornel and his wife were aggressive with their savings. I know I couldn’t do it or wouldn’t.

      Reply
  12. I’m surprised this young man has nothing to say in his defence! is this post just a business promotion or is he really trying to help? sadly, i have to agree with the comments above.

    Reply
  13. Me thinks this is going to be one o’ them “viral” posts on MOA!

    The (short) trajectory of which has been an interesting social commentary. For starters, being that’s it’s only Pt. 1 of 2…perhaps readers should wait until completion before causin’ a stink; let the story be told. On that note, I’ll apologize to Mark (and Mr. Szrejber) for any rash and bombastic commentary on the matter.

    However…if it walks like a duck… 2008 wasn’t THAT long ago, and “financial fraud” is still very fresh in people’s minds. In other words, the public at large still does not trust the actions and/or words (esp. the words!) of anyone in the financial world. It’s also the innate nature of the internet at play — if you are going to use social media as a marketing device, you had better be bang on or else you’re going to get thrashed. (Pretty sure there’s some kind of biological ‘BS detector/threat to the herd’ thing going on, too.)

    Reply
    1. Well Part 2 of 2 is more about advice and thoughts he has for various decades: 20s, 30s, others. He does get into what helped: “Doing side hustles like creating the personal finance podcast and creating other online courses helped too, along with really minimizing the fees that we were paying by buying low cost investments like ETFs where we could cheaply invest in the indexes.” You’ll read more in Part 2 this week.

      BTW – I think many readers on this site have a great BS detector and that’s good – you should question everything. Well, most things, unless you’re SST where everything under the sun is up for discussion and debate 😉

      Reply
  14. The article should have provided how he obtained his wealth and his current income (all income – like what the blog also brings in). To be truly financially independent you have to have passive income that supports your current and future lifestyle (without having to work). Is he able to live on just the dividends? and what happens if some of the Divs get cut, can he still pay for his lifestyle? Is he having to cash in some stocks for capital gains income to LIVE or say buy a car every 4 years? What is his lifestyle? FYI: the timeline and number of years do not add up. Not transparent.

    Reply
    1. Mike, FWIW, this is what I am striving for: passive income > expenses. I’m certainly not there yet because my/our expenses are rather high with the mortgage. But I hope it won’t always be that way. I will always work (run a blog, volunteer, maybe work part-time) but it may or may not be without the compensation I have today. That’s fine. I won’t mind that in another 5-10 years, hopefully before age 50.

      Anyhow, back to Kornel, hopefully he answered some of your pointed questions.

      Reply
  15. How much did he pay for his house? How much was the mortgage that he claims to have paid off in under 6 years at age 29. How much money was it that he invested to be able to be semi- retired and his wife fully retired. He claims he was 32 when retired. So he pays off the mortgage at 29 and then saves and invests for 3 more years to age 32 and then has enough income from these investments to retire? Come on, Really? Tell us how much money you were able to make in these 3 years to be able to invest and retie in 3 years. He even stated he was new at investing and forced to learn….. My experience is that I made many investment mistakes in my first 10 years of investing before I was able to build a solid cash flow portfolio. This guys does it in 3 years without making any mistakes.. WOW, either you were really really really lucky or Part 2 to this story is your parents gave you a chuck of money or your full of sh;t.

    Reply
    1. Hopefully Kornel answered many of your questions Mike. The summary:

      1) the rental = 450-500k. The rental nets around $12,000/year in cash (plus appreciation).
      2) an ETF portfolio (and defined contribution plan from my wife’s work) was around $350k. So the total investable assets are around 800-850k. He assumes 4% yield on $350k = $14,000 per and every year.

      I can appreciate the tough questions. Good of you to ask!

      Reply
    1. Hey Rich….if you ask for feedback, what do I expect right? 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. Critical thinking makes this blog a better place and enjoyable to run. Even with a little controversy now and again.

      Reply
  16. “One of the things that helped a lot was that we held on to both of those properties during the real estate boom. It wasn’t as crazy as in Toronto, but Kitchener-Waterloo experienced some nice growth as well. Both of our properties appreciated in value, we sold one of them and dowgraded to a smaller home.

    The last time I checked, the rental was worth between 450-500k. The ETF portfolio (and defined contribution plan from my wife’s work) was around $350k. So the total investable assets are around 800-850k.

    We live on $25k a year.
    The rental nets around $12,000/year in cash (plus appreciation).
    If we do general 4% rule on $350,000 that $14,000
    Therefore $12,000 from rental plus $14,000 from ETFs equal $26,000.
    ** Kornel holds: XIC: Canadian Index; VUN/VFV: US Index; XEF: International Developed Index; and XEC: International Emerging Markets Index.**

    I was waiting for Part2 but thought I’d comment on the above quotes:
    Not many people could afford to purchase 2 properties at their young age without taking a large mortgage. But they were lucky to have been able to sell and apparently show a $350k gain. They now have the funds invested in VUN, XEF & XEC, Unfortunately the distribution from VUN is 1.66%, XEF provides 2.17% and XEC 1.8% or a average of 1.8%. Not quite 4% and as one knows distributions are not all dividends but can include ROC.

    I don’t object to one getting a large capital gain on sale of property but it’s not something I’d want to recommend others to follow as a guide to early retirement. If his rental property is worth the $450k what would he net if sold? $250k? If so he combine it with his $350 in etf’s and he could invest the funds in solid DG stocks and get $24k (and growing each year) with much less worry. Real estate is not guaranteed to continue to rise and renters are not always reliable.

    Being able to live on $25k is great, but I don’t see his current income from investments will not generate $14k, unless he sells shares.

    Reply
    1. Fair enough Cannew. Yes, I agree there are lots of arguments that can be made against the 4%. As you know, the “4% Rule” comes with a lot of assumptions and has gained a lot of followers as well as critics over time. I feel it’s one of the more well-known and accepted guidelines for determining the amount needed to retire, and felt that it’s fair to use to get a general idea if someone is financially independent.

      I say “generally” because the size of the investment portfolio is also only one part of the equation. Obviously, there is spending, but also other sources of income. In my case, I still collect royalties and commissions on side businesses that I started years ago so those do help with the expenses when I don’t want to sell off the investments. Also, I still work part-time to further help offset the risks in the markets.

      At the end of the day, lots of arguments can be made. For example, what if the tenants stop paying? what if they trash the place? what if the markets plummet? what if the passive income that I get from the side businesses dries up? If you throw enough “what ifs” at someone’s assets, I’m sure 99% of portfolios will eventually start to unravel. In our case, I feel very comfortable saying that we are financially independent from the income that is generated via our real estate, stock market investments, and side businesses. Since I don’t know what is going to happen to the markets in the future, I use the side businesses and part-time job as a backup in case we can’t hit the 4% with our investments.

      Hopefully, this helps you and others see where I’m coming from, and I do agree that based on one’s definition of financial independence and assumptions, one could argue for or against if we fit their definition.

      Reply
      1. @Kornel: I don’t think the 4% rule or any other forecasting yardstick is important. If you look at some of my other posts you’ll find that I’ve preached “It’s the Income that ones portfolio generates, not the size of the savings that counts, and is the income growing”. Once the income covers living expenses and continues to grow than I would say one has reached fairly secure position.

        You’ve managed to “Live on Less than you earn” and save considerably more than most. Great and good work. If the income from various sources meet you living I’m happy for you.

        However to suggest this is a path available for most is a bit much to accept. There are two many variables and most would not be able to save 50%, purchase one, least two houses and pay off the mortgages within three years.

        My other bias is that owning more or being fully diversified does not provide the security or future growth many believe. Sounds great to say one owns the entire market with just a few ETF’s, but owning all includes many of the dogs as well as the good stocks. If there is a crash, as in 2008 all stocks will go down and ETF’s will probably go down more. I don’t believe it takes years of experience or time to identify quality companies and those companies will suffer less and recover quicker than the dogs. Again just my opinion.

        Reply
  17. So now we are to believe that he bought 2 properties at the age of 23? One he lived in and another as a rental? How did he get down payments for 2 homes at the age of 23? And his rental brings in 1K monthly in $$$ for him to keep! He must be renting to 8 college students in that rental, LOL. Then he sells his principal residence and clears $350K, downsizes to smaller house and invests the $350K. Never used any of this $350K towards the downsized house purchase??? So how did he buy the new downsized home? if you are living in the Kitchener area – property taxes on an average home is overt $5K and with all other monthly expenses, you would need more than $25K (including food, car etc). and.. how did your wife get a pension like that at age 31? My son is 23 and works for a bank making 43K and laughed his head off when I told him this story. Unless, I help my son, he could not raise the down payments to purchase 2 properties or even qualify for 2 mortgages as his income would not support it. This is not believable!

    Reply
    1. mike, it’s not polite to ask too many inquiring questions. All we need to do is believe.

      p.s. — quit trying to steal my crown! Or maybe now I can take a vacation…

      Reply
  18. I think I am one of Canada’s youngest retirees. I paid off my home at age 35 and retired for good at age 48 with more than enough Divs to support my lifestyle. No pension plans (just my own investments) and not old enough yet to collect CPP or OAS (that money, i plan to donate). Maybe I should start a blog…

    Reply
      1. Thanks Mark. I will pass for now. But enjoy reading your blog and watching your progress. I will try to add to the comments here and there. What I have learned over time is that “TIME” is more important than “MONEY”. But having lots of “Money” allows for more “Time”. In my journey, it was not money that I was after. It was the time that money gave me. I am enjoying my “Time” doing the things I enjoy 🙂

        Reply
    1. Just because somebody works part-time (or even full time), that doesn’t automatically mean that they aren’t financially independent. There are many people much wealthier than us that still “work” even though they don’t need to.

      Reply
  19. “The last time I checked, the rental was worth between 450-500k. The ETF portfolio (and defined contribution plan from my wife’s work) was around $350k. So the total investable assets are around 800-850k.”

    I was wrapped up on his Income but over looked the above statement. Sounds like he doesn’t know what “Investable Assets” are or is confusing it with Net Worth. Also if there is a mortgage on the property than it’s not worth $450-$500k as an investment. Wonder what he means by “defined contribution plan”? Is that money paid out when his wife quit or is funds in a plan with a certain value invested by the company?

    Lots of questions which I don’t believe will be answered in Part 2.

    Reply
    1. I think he needs to explain the wife’s income of around $14K from her plan each year. How the heck can a 30 something be drawing $14K from a retirement plan today? First, i do not believe the wife has worked enough years to reach this amount. Never heard of a person 31 yrs old being able to collect this type of pension so early. Your story does not add up.

      The defined-contribution plan places restrictions that control when and how each employee can withdraw these funds without penalties.

      Reply
  20. Kornel, can you please give simple and straight-forward answers to the simple and straight-forward financial questions (you can find them posted in the previous 70 comments). Thanks.

    Reply
  21. Great life story. Unknowingly, If you have an understanding and willing partner to join in the financial journey, attaining retirement early in life is possible. This is like a Canadian MMM story. Many young Canadians will not be even settled in life by age 32. He is already ahead of others. Having a rental property is another great achievement. Now, the podcast and the rental income can cover most of the day to day expenses. Most of the dividend investors are taking a bit more risk than investing in ETFs. The most interesting thing is he and his young family can live with $25,000/year!!! Does Kornel has a blog about how he makes that possible?

    Reply
    1. Div investors take on more risk? Depends if you are a trader or an investor. If you know what you are doing then you can manage the risk. ETFs charge a fee to lower your risk but this fee is not necessary and adds up over time. Most ETFs do not pay Divs or if they do, part is sucked out to cover fees.

      Reply
    2. Thanks Pellrider. Mark included a link to the podcast above in my bio but I can include it again here since you asked, and hopefully he doesn’t mind: buildwealthcanada.ca.

      Mark will actually be coming on the show in the near future so it’ll be a lot of fun to discuss his journey and strategies in more detail. As you know, I took the ETF route so I’m eager to hear more about his hybrid approach of stocks and ETFs. There isn’t much there yet about the financial independence piece as that’s a pretty recent milestone, but there is a fair bit there about how we paid off the mortgage by 29 so I think you’ll find that useful (a lot of the tips and habits are transferable too). What I think is even more enjoyable is listening to the guests that come on the show as it’s great to geek out and learn from each other (that way you get multiple opinions too). I hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
  22. FWIW, our costs are rather high in Ottawa.

    Property taxes = $4,200
    Home insurance approaching = $2,000
    Hydro = ~$1,500
    Gas (Enbridge) = ~ $1,500
    Water (well and septic maintenance) = ~ $300

    Those are just some simple operational costs….let alone other housing costs. It adds up Dan!

    Cheers,
    Mark

    Reply
  23. Sir Bobby Charlton made his Manchester Common launch 60 years ago today (Thursday), when he scored twice in a 4-2 supremacy all through Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford.
    Charlton joined Amalgamated in 1953 as an England Schoolboys prodigy with a bulky noted and was yearning to filch his trait in Matt Busby’s free-flowing team. With Tommy Taylor away with England on international job object of a round against Northern Ireland, his hulking chance arrived, five days limited of his 19th birthday.
    The famous footballing Knight spoke to MUTV some on occasion ago less his curtsy in grand detail as he offered his recollections of the start of an incredible odyssey.
    “It was the longest time I’d for ever been off the sling injured,” recalled Sir Bobby. “There was a gamin called Keith Marsden who played centre-back in behalf of Manchester Urban district Reserves and we both swat the ball at the same organize and my ankle swelled up. Three weeks later, Sir Matt Busby asked me how I was.
    Manchester

    Reply
  24. Wow – this is quite the comment section. First, my big takeaway from this. Was look what a high savings rate was able to do and set up for the future. Without having the high savings rate, there is no way that they would have paid off their mortgage or been in the spot that they want to be in now. Crazy stuff. The one point I want to make from all the comments is that there is a difference between retiring in the normal sense and FIRE. FIRE allows you to quit your passionless job and pursue what you want. That can be a part time job, consulting work on the side, whatever. FIRE does not necessarily mean that you are hanging up your working shoes for good

    Great debate though. Interesting reading these comments. Take care.

    Bert

    Reply
    1. Agreed. In fact, I have yet to meet a single FIRE person that actually did a traditional full retirement. I tried it and it actually gets boring and unfulfilling. There’s only so many shows you can watch and hikes to go on. That intellectual stimulation from some kind of work you enjoy actually adds a lot of fulfilment that I find is hard to replicate through just a pure life of leisure. What I noticed too is that for people that reach FIRE, they have to work a LOT to get there, and they seem to be wired to work a lot and enjoy working. So if somebody has the temperament to work their tail off and be financially independent, then they are pretty unlikely to one day just hang up the hat, and live a life of 100% leisure. I think this is also why when we see financially successful people in the media and news, notice how they actually continue to “work” on what they enjoy, even though technically they could just retire to a beach somewhere. Human psychology is an interesting thing. 🙂

      Reply
  25. FIRE allows you to quit your passionless job and pursue what you want.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to make a better decision in the first place rather than staying in a job you don’t really like?

    Reply
    1. Probably. I know in speaking to others who desire FIRE and this whole movement, it seems they are running from their jobs so to speak only to find work they really enjoy. Nothing wrong with that certainly, you have one life, you want to be happy throughout but I’m not sure it makes too much sense to work at something you don’t enjoy in the first place.

      Reply
    2. Yes, you’re right. I definitely noticed that “running away from a job you don’t like” to be a common thing with FIRE people (me being one of them). In retrospect, I should have just switched careers until I found something enjoyable. Sometimes though it’s pretty tough because you start earning good money, perks, vacation time, etc., which makes leaving pretty difficult (especially if you’re leaving an industry and starting over elsewhere). But yes, that was a mistake and I definitely should have left earlier even if it meant delaying the FIRE.

      Reply

Post Comment