What happened to my piggy bank?!

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Welcome! This post is the official inauguration of the blog! So what got this started?

Around 2014, I raised my head out of the sand and started what I’ll call a financial health journey. Like the best journeys, this one is lifelong. My financial closet needed major de-cluttering and I even found a few skeletons! Before I get too far ahead of myself…

Who am I?

I live with my husband in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. Yay Toronto! I started out in IT and eventually ended up in project management; in his words, the Mr created a career out of drawing pretty pictures. We’re fortunate to make good salaries. I recognize that’s not the case for everyone, no matter how hard they try.

My big goal growing up was having financial stability. I didn’t have that growing up and though it might have been within my parents grasp, as much as they tried they didn’t have the best financial habits. Being a kid, I had no control influence over that. So, yea, my goal for when I was ‘grown up’ was pretty modest. Thanks to choosing IT, I achieved that and then some by my mid 20’s.

Next logical step?

Investing and retirement planning of course. At the time that sounded as exciting as running into a bear. True story but we’ll tackle that another time. Whenever someone suggested it though, my reaction went as follows:

EWWW! BORING! COMPLICATED.

Promptly snooze until convo over.

Sound familiar?! I KNOW I’m not the odd one out here! If you don’t make your own plan, life and others will happily make plans for your money. The world is full of people hawking opinions on what you need, the next trend, identifying your challenges and goods and services to solve the problem you never knew you had.

So there I was, warily delving into my financial reality. At first sight of those skeletons, everything in me wanted to bolt straight back towards the safety of my sandbox. Facing your less than ideal financial reality can be scary. I probably would have fallen back into my habit of willful ignorance if I hadn’t stumbled onto financial independence blogs.
WTH is that?!   Simply put:

  • Reduce expenses, consciously spend only on what ACTUALLY brings happiness
  • Save lots, invest over time, let compound interest work in your favour
  • Live off your investments WAY before 65. Sometimes by early thirties.

I went on a reading binge, every once in a while nervously looking over my shoulder at The Skeletons… And then I had an aha! moment.
It had been easier to ignore some ugly financial truths because I had no plan/motivation beyond doing the hard work to fix it. It’s like asking someone with a height phobia to climb Everest. They don’t give a damn about standing atop the tallest mountain! It’s NOT fun! I was ready to face the truth that I had smashed my own piggy bank to pieces. Slowly a plan emerged, income wasn’t just for the sake of survival and the stress of avoiding the financial mess was worse than facing it.

What have I  accomplished so far?

It’s been almost two years now and aside from taking a few trips to Europe without credit and establishing a 6 month emergency fund, I’ve also worked on increasing salary and eliminating debt.

Salary: Almost doubled my salary into the 6 figures by switching from full time into a contract role. It’s wasn’t a question about being unsatisfied with the salary I had but I realized that higher salary would mean more saving potential. Assuming I avoided lifestyle inflation and monitored spending.

Debt: Paid off $15,000 of debt in four months. Higher salary helped with this but I also cut my spending down to housing and food until it was paid off. Nothing was more important than piece of mind of being debt free and accumulating a 6 month safety net.

So what now?

Juries out on whether FI is the end goal. But that’s not the point. It’s having financial health that’s aligned to your goals and making active choices by:

  • Understanding the relationship between the financial triangle and how to orchestrate them: income, spend and savings
  • Actively spending money on what matters most (values | happiness)
  • Self-discovery of what your own goals are
  • Challenging society’s perception/indoctrination on what things have to cost

We love what the city has to offer, so we’re staying put. We own a condo, take yearly trips to Europe, weekend road trips, drink good coffee, enjoy craft beer, scotch and our hobbies: painting, swing dancing, leather work. And have awesome weekend brunches and dinners.

That’s great, what’s in it for me?

I’d like share my financial journey, with all it’s skeletons, how I crushed them and how I manage to live in a big expensive city while saving so others can do the same too. Hope you can join me on this ride, as a spectator or forging your financial journey in a way that makes sense for you.

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