My Friend, The Rastafarian


In my previous life as an Artist Representative at an independent record company, I used to hang out with some interesting characters. 

One of my friends was a Rastafarian named Dee. 

Dee is quite possibly the only person I have ever met who completely embodies the saying “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  I have never once seen Dee stressed or agitated in any way.  He is a true example of Jamaican cool. 

Dee made Reggae Music, toured the country in a ramshackle old van, sold CDs and other merchandise from the side of the stage and when money got tight, he would take the odd gig writing web code until he’d saved up enough to head back out on the road.  

After a few years of this gypsy lifestyle Dee had saved up enough money to buy a farm in Prince Edward County, down by Belleville, where he built a recording studio, got married, and became a dad.  To this day he continues living solely on his terms, making music, touring, writing the odd bit of code, and generally loving life. 

Dee is 45 years old, and you might say he’s been retired for at least 10 years now.

How does he do it? 

Dee is a proponent of what has been termed The FIRE Movement.  FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retired Early.  In his twenties Dee made a conscious decision to live a minimalist lifestyle on a fraction of what he made, invest heavily in both his art and investment markets, and look for opportunities in unusually places.  By following this strategy, he was able to quit his day job before he turned 30 and within few more years, he had built up enough assets to live comfortably, (yet still frugally) for the rest of his life.

What is FIRE?  According to financial blog Hardbacon.ca, FIRE is a mindset that starts by looking at money as units of time.  If you make $15 per hour and spend $150 on something, you have really traded 10 hours of your time for that thing.  When you start to look at money this way, you start to view all purchases, whether for necessities or luxuries differently.  You start to think of goods and services in terms of the amount of time they cost, and your priorities begin to shift.  You also start to look at money and investments not as a store of value, as the economists define it, but as a store of time. 

When you embrace the FIRE movement the goal of investing becomes how quickly can you store up enough time, in the form of money, to become financially independent? 

Back in the early 2000s, when Dee would take a coding gig, he would talk about in terms of how many days it would buy him.  A few days of coding could buy him up to a month on the road.  Today he talks about his investments in much the same way.  He knows that if he keeps making an 8% return, he only needs to spend 10 weeks on the road and do 4 or 5 coding gigs to live comfortably and not deplete his savings.  COVID changed the math a bit, but he’s not worried, last summer he got to stay home more, played with his daughter did a bit more coding and recorded a whole album’s worth of new songs.   

I met Dee several years before I became a financial advisor, he introduced me to Reggae music and showed me how to ride a long board, but I remember him most often now when I’m working with my clients.  He is a living example that with the right attitude and a little planning, early retirement, or at least financial independence is possible. 

To put FIRE to work for you, you need three things.  You need to be debt free you need to be willing to live frugally, and you need a broad base of good growth investments.  I am here to coach you in all those things. 

Check out this blog post on hardbacon.ca (https://hardbacon.ca/en/financial-independance/financial-independence-retire-early-in-canada/) and get in touch if you want to learn more about FIRE, my previous life in the music business, or general financial planning.  We could even put on some Reggae and chill like we’re Buffalo Soldiers, but sadly, my long boarding days are over.

Lauren

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