Weekend Reading – FIRE, burning mortgages, tax breaks, Costa Rica and more

Welcome to my latest Weekend Reading edition – did you miss it last Friday?

If so, I had a good excuse.  I was on vacation.  That includes time away from work and the blog.  Our vacation this winter was to Costa Rica, Tamarindo.  This was our second trip to this country and we enjoyed it very much.  It was a relaxing, beach-centric vacation for a week – exactly what we were looking for – although the neighbours woke us up each morning.  That was more than fine by us.


Picture: howler monkey, our daily alarm clock around the corner.

It was a wild week of dividend increases, no less than seven stocks in our portfolio raised dividends while I was away.  I admit it was nice getting a raise when you’re not working…

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Picture: Tamarindo beach, where I was busy surfing. 

The weather turned cold and nasty soon after we got home from vacation, so apparently winter isn’t done in Ottawa yet.  Hopefully in another few weeks we can look forward to spring.  Until then, I’ve some ideas for new material and a couple of book giveaways to launch on my site – including one later this weekend from a Millionaire Teacher – so stay tuned.  I encourage you to share My Own Advisor as often as you can with others; your continued support is appreciated.

In case you missed them, here were my latest articles:

Here are some RRSP fast facts and guidance for this tax year

Thanks to this Stats Canada infographic you can compare how you stack up with other Canadians’ spending

For the most part you probably don’t need any more money advice

If you’re looking for a fat juicy tax refund that’s not ideal.  If you get one however, especially from any big RRSP contributions, make sure you use the refund wisely.   Here are my top tips for what to do with tax refunds.

Enjoy this reading list and see you here again next week.

Cait Flanders is on a mission to cut her business expenses in half.

Sean Cooper recently burned his mortgage.  Congrats to him on that and his recent media tour to celebrate the launch of his first book.  Stay tuned for a Burn Your Mortgage giveaway later this month.

This physician is on FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). 

How To Save Money shared some ways families can get a tax break.

Freedom Thirty Five Blog believes real estate remains affordable in Canada.  I’m not convinced for some Canadians, especially in downtown Toronto or Vancouver, this is really true.  Ottawa isn’t exactly cheap either.

Andrew Hallam discusses how Captain Kirk can help your retirement.

Sure Dividend highlighted The Coffee Can portfolio – the concept that you buy and hold a basket of blue chip stocks as long as possible.  This is largely what I do although I do monitor my income holdings and I also own indexed products that cost next to nothing for extra diversification.

Canadian Budget Binder wrote about some financial sacrifices to help them become debt free.

Holy Potato wrote about planning before purchases.  I agree with him and have mentioned as much many times on this site. Unfortunately most of the business world is not helping you in this.  Few people make money when you don’t spend it; however some consumption and debt is important for trade.

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

15 Responses to "Weekend Reading – FIRE, burning mortgages, tax breaks, Costa Rica and more"

  1. re: …it was nice getting a raise when you’re not working… — sure is, and I have a great anecdote about just this. A few months ago at work (I work for a provincial government) there were some departmental budget issues being raised (aka we were spending too much money). I approached management with a few legitimate fact-based cost saving ideas. Long story short, their ultimate decision (better sit down for this) was to pay me for time not worked. Management did not want to address the actual budget stressors so they reduced my hours worked yet kept my pay the same (huh?!). Bottom line: I got an 8% raise for not working. A little insight on how the government operates.

    re: If you’re looking for a fat juicy tax refund that’s not ideal — much agreed. A tax refund is actually a 0% loan of your money to the government (and considering how they choose to spend money…see above…). A few years ago I contacted the CRA for a request to pay my taxes in a year-end lump sum instead of having them chopped off my regular pay cheques, thus allowing me use of the “extra” money throughout the year. The CRA denied my request on the grounds that my income was too high. I have a ton of issues with that “reasoning” but I’ll spare you my angst.

    re: Sean Cooper — He has some glaring insecurities which fuel his actions (as well as the endless incongruences he refuses to address). Can’t and won’t support a guy who lied to get media coverage.

    re: Freedom Thirty Five Blog believes real estate remains affordable in Canada — Yes, perhaps in the “meat” of the country, those areas sandwiched between Vancouver and Toronto, but definitely not affordable in the “bread” regions. All one has to do is examine the socioeconomic crime rate in the bubbly cities as a tell-tale indicator of affordability (including rent). He also states, “Funeral costs, health care costs, and tuition have also grown at a faster pace than inflation over the decades, but most people don’t label those sectors of the economy as becoming a bubble.” That’s only because most people don’t know how to analyze those sectors, their costs, and their place in the economy (hint: ALL of them are backed by government debt). He also says, “it appears housing is still relatively affordable.” Sure, relative to stocks, perhaps, but not relative to the ONLY thing which matters when it comes to purchase and payments — income. A very incomplete and slight article.

    re: Few people make money when you don’t spend it; however some consumption and debt is important for trade — bingo. If we all saved all our money, we would all be living a much lower standard of life. As Cullen Roche points out, “Saving money means someone else is not earning an income. And spending means someone else has an income of which some portion can be saved. The way we fund future spending is not through saving more (in fact, if you save more then aggregate spending will fall, all else being equal). Crucially, it is investment (spending, not consumed for future production) which creates saving.”

    Welcome back and have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks – we had a great trip. Back to work so I can try and save up for the next trip!

      re: tax refund – we’ll probably get a decent one this year but it will be all because of my wife’s RRSP contributions. So, we have plans to reinvest that as much as possible since she’s in her high-income/peak earning years.

      Sean has, overall, done a good job at marketing his story and if that’s important to him – who am I to say differently? His story is very polarizing. I commend him for his goal setting and discipline – not many people have the same rigour of each like he does. That certainly doesn’t mean folks need to follow his path. Ala Derek Foster. I’ve got a couple of copies of his books to giveaway later this month.

      The more I read Cullen Roche’s site, the more I like it. It’s always on my reading list now. Smart guy and quite articulate.

    2. SST, thank you for your comment. Please read my book before making any judgment. It’s not a book about how everyone should pay off their mortgage in 3 years like me. That wouldn’t make sense. It’s a book to get people thinking for ways to save on their daily spending without sacrificing the things that they love to pay off their mortgage sooner than 25 years. All the best.

  2. Good to hear you took a time out with family. Tamarindo is a beautiful, as yet unspoiled area of CR. Howler monkeys, geckos, giant iguanas, blue crabs, butterflies and wild horses all part of the texture, as well as fresh fish, mangos, and rice and beans if you like to eat native. Most tourists go to the more easily accessed and commercialization areas of CR – thankgoodness. Pura Vida.

    1. Costa Rica is great, love it there. We hope to go back in another couple of years. Hopefully for 2-3 weeks. Pura Vida indeed. Thanks for being a fan Jorge.

  3. That’s what I like about dividend stocks too. They give you raises even if you’re on vacation. Congrats on getting Alex Burrows from us. 🙂 I’m sad to see him leave Vancouver but I think he will do amazing things with the Senators in the next season. Thanks for the mention btw.

    1. It was great to be on the beach, come back to the pool, drink a Mai Tai and find out our projected retirement income increased by $100 without doing anything. Burrows had a big night last night. We’ll see if he can keep it up! 🙂


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