Financial Update: April 2018

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Time for some financial voyeurism! I’ve enjoyed reading financial expenditures and net worth updates the past few weeks. I don’t feel we’re at a point in our journey where it’s super interesting for others to hear about it every month as I don’t share detailed monthly spend and we’re not close to FIRE. Having said that, it’s been a few months and so feel an update is warranted. There are a few great reasons I like doing this:

  • If our focus has strayed, it’s a great way to ensure our gaze doesn’t stray for too long.
  • It helps us get back on track sooner, if that’s needed
  • Celebrating milestones and online community support is great to keep momentum going
  • And certainly not least, accountability. Sharing creates a public commitment and thus more likely to keep things honest and provide motivation to accomplish it.

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What I Learned From My Mom’s Death

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Death and my mom are never far from my mind around this time of year. Five years ago,  we removed my mom from life support after she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. To say that it was a hard decision and it sucked was an understatement. I sat by her side until she passed. This is also what kicked off my biggest financial lesson.

This article isn’t about how she died though, it’s about everything else that happened after. You see, after a bedside vigil for 14hrs, I was exhausted and even felt a bit of relief that it was finally over. But as it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s A LOT that needs to be done. And what you do now will help determine how much harder, or easier, it will be for your family.
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Is Investing and Retirement Planning Scary To You?

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When I started learning about personal finance, I felt accomplished opening my no fee chequing account and first credit card. I was a student then. I graduated, got my first apartment, then bought a house. We’re familiar with all those things growing up, if only indirectly. It’s exciting opening a bank account — to deposit your first pay check. You want to build up your credit score — credit card is an excellent starting point (let’s assume happy path and you don’t carry a balance). Purchasing your first house is the next logical step in society — we’re familiar with mortgages. Sure there’s a lot more to it. But those first steps aren’t scary. We’ve understood the concept, if at a high level since childhood and they’re attached to exciting things in our lives.

Memories of my first foray into finances, beyond the few exciting events, is generally associated with stress and anxiety. Stressed about filing taxes incorrectly. Anxiety I’ll owe more than anticipated. What about you? Most of us have had no exposure. Most adults in our lives don’t understand it, or don’t talk about it and it’s not taught in schools. So it feels like you’re walking through a fog. You can’t see where you’re going. If you’re about to trip on something. Sound travels differently and can be distorted…
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Daydreaming Of Container Gardens

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Are you dreaming of spring? I know I am! This past weekend we were hit with another two day winter storm, which brought 2 inches of freezing rain, snow and winds. I grew up north of the city, so snow in April is hardly unusual. But I’m not living further north anymore, and even for Toronto, this is a bit ridiculous. My instagram feed is filled with wintry pictures from other bloggers. Normally it’s comforting knowing you’re not alone. But this time, no dice. So I’ve resorted to ridiculous, fun cocktails and daydreaming of container gardening. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at gardening, but are limited on space, or don’t have a yard, you’d be amazed at what you can do with containers!
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Single or Coupled: Is There An Advantage When Managing Your Finances

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Where did you learn about money? In North America, we’re generally not great at talking about finances. Next to sex ed, it’s probably one of the bigger taboo subjects –though I’m willing to bet one would seem much more interesting than the other as a teenager!

It’s considered inappropriate to discuss among friends, much less strangers. So if it’s not taught in schools or at home, how can you be expected to have confidence in managing your money? And if the lack of knowledge makes it complicated enough to sort things out solo, how do you manage things if you’re partnered? Each camp, solo or partnered, believe the other group have it easier.

“At least they have two incomes and share expenses. They have double the money to work with”.

“Budgeting is so hard. We have different opinions on where it should be spent. I’m a saver, they’re a spender. It would be easier if I had to answer to no one.”
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Road Trip Expenses

Road_trip_expensesUp here in the snowy north, we hunker down around December and mostly don’t stray too far until March or April until the snowy weather clears up a bit. So come late winter, I get cabin fever and am eager to stretch my travel legs at the first opportunity. What about you?

This year was unusual in that we planned a week in a sunny destination for the first time ever. We went to Barbados for some much needed sun and relaxation. Even so, the very next weekend happened to be easter. My Whymances home town friends have a tradition of holding a Good Friday BBQ that he hasn’t missed since it started a few decades ago. Between not wanting to miss that and the fact we hadn’t seen family and friends since the wedding in September or xmas, we booked a car last minutes… At the cost of $400!

One of my goals was to reduce road trip expenses this year, so I felt we weren’t off to a good start!
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Taking A Break: Travel

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Are you tired of winter? Have time, will travel? Or maybe taking a break just to slow down and quietly gaze around you is what’s needed… Last week, I wrote about how I felt like I was running out time. This post is exactly the opposite. It almost never fails, around this time of year, I long for the sun and warm spring days. It is warming up here. That’s to say we aren’t regularly seeing temps below -10; they’re even starting to peek over freezing a few consecutive days in a row. Somehow, in all my last vacations, I end up traveling to someplace slightly colder than where I live. I vowed 2018 would be different. For the first time, I planned ahead and gave myself exactly what I would likely need right about now: Barbados!
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Running Out Of Time

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I find myself thinking about time a lot. Not so much in how to do everything I want within a day. More along the lines I can shake the feeling that I’m running out of time.  Like I don’t have enough years left to do what I’d like. It feels like it’s slipping from me as fast as ocean waves come and go.

I’m in my mid thirties and for the past 6 months, there’s a constant low level anxiety that I’m running out of time to pursue what I want and where I’d like to be financially. Not unlike many others, I came to the party late and now I’m left scrambling; I feel I need to choose between some life goals or having financial freedom sooner.
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How The Fuck Can I Do It All?!

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What do the terms budget, minimalism, frugality and investment have in common? They’re often the first words people think of when figuring out how to do everything you want and still save. They provoke subtle feelings of discomfort, even perhaps leaving us feeling a little dirty. All the enthusiasm we had a second ago with planning how we want to spend our money evaporates and we pack it in. Because let’s face it, it’s human nature to avoid what FEELS or IS PERCEIVED to be unpleasant. It is possible to afford being social, hobbies and still save.
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International Woman’s Day

womens-day-3198008_1920Happy International Women’s Day! In honour of this day, I’m including this off schedule post to recognize International Women’s Day. The first time Woman’s Day was celebrated was on February 28 1909. A few years later, it was moved to March 8th. Between the #MeToo campaign and rampant sexual allegations against public figures, there’s been a strong focus on equality and gender parity this year. It’s clear that we’ve made some good strides but we cannot get complacent as we still have a way to go.
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