Water Witching

A not so Spooky Story about the Environment and Sustainable Investing.

Halloween is just around the corner and spooky stories about ghosts and witches are all the rage, but honestly when it comes to spooky stores, I’ve got nothing.  So instead, here’s a not so spooky story about a different kind of witch that might just lead to a great investment opportunity to boot.

Back in the 1980s my family owned a cottage outside of Bracebridge ON. 

It was a rustic place.  No electricity and no running water.  But the lake was full of Pickerel, and that was good enough for me. 

We had to bring bottled water from home to drink and boil lake water for everything else. 

One summer my dad noticed a trickle of water meandering across the road behind our place and surmised their must be a spring nearby.  So, he cut a switch from a tree and went in search of the source.  When he found it, we had fresh spring water suitable for drinking. 

Have you ever seen someone use a Water Witch?  That’s what dad did to find the spring.  As a kid I was utterly fascinated that something so simple could be used to find something so vital. 

Here’s a link to a video of a man demonstrating the technique.  It looks strange but believe me, it works!

It was during those summers at the lake that I first gained an appreciation for nature.  As you know, a lot has changed in the past 40 years or so.  I don’t want to get into a debate out climate change, I’ll leave that to the scientists, but it’s clear that our planet is fragile and anything we can do to protect it is a good thing, right? 

That’s why I am please to point out the new Canada Life Sustainable Portfolios. 

When I started in this business sustainable portfolios were a niche product that in most cases were content to accept mediocre returns in exchange for a sense of moral superiority.  But as the sustainable investing industry has matured and more people have become aware of the need to protect the environment these funds have had to keep up with the rest of the market.  In recent years it has become not only possible, but commonplace for sustainable funds to compete and even outperform.  

On September 20, Canada Life finally launched a line of sustainable portfolios and I for one couldn’t be more excited! 

I am now able to help you invest in companies that follow strict guidelines pertaining to corporate governance and environmental responsibility without sacrificing returns.  Canada Life partnered with JP Morgan, a world leader in sustainable investing, to build out portfolios covering a variety of investment styles and objectives. 

Check out this link for more information.   And don’t forget to book a strategy session with me to learn how to incorporate sustainable funds into your portfolio.

Have A Great (sustainable) Day – Lauren

PS:  The deadline for my 10th anniversary promotion is only 6 weeks away.

1 – Download my eBook; “Three Steps to Financial Freedom.” and learn my system for achieving freedom and security in your lifetime.

2 – Book a FREE 30-minute strategy session and learn how best to implement these three steps into your family’s life. 

3 – Implement at least one aspect of the plan before November 30 and receive a gift of appreciation. 

My 3 Word TED Talk

If I am ever asked to give a TED Talk I already know exactly what I’m going to say.


Here it is:

In order to be successful in whatever you set out to achieve you must first Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry.

That’s it.  TED Talk over.  That is the key to a highly productive, successful, low stress life. 

Pretty good right? 

I stole it.

The phrase was coined by philosophy professor Dallas Willard of The University of Southern California.  Willard was not only a great teacher but also a prolific author and sought-after public speaker.  When asked by a young journalist how he managed to fit everything into his busy schedule he is said to have looked the journalist in the eye and very slowly said, “You must first ruthlessly eliminate hurry.” 

The eager young journalist jotted that down and then said, “Great! What else?”

Willard paused for what seem like a very long time, took a deep breath, and said, “There is nothing else.”

Over Labour Day I went home to visit my parents.  My mom and dad are both in their 80’s now and while they are still strong and active, they are nevertheless starting to slow down a bit.  

Before I went, I told dad that if he had any heavy work that needed doing around the yard to save it for me.  No need for him to overexert himself if I was going to be there in a few days.  That’s how I ended up spending my holiday spreading two yards of mulch over his garden. 

It was a big job but as I was loading the wheelbarrow for what seemed like the 1000th time I remembered Dallas Willard and I realized that no matter how insurmountable the task might seem, to be successful you must first ruthlessly eliminate hurry.  No point in rushing, the mountain of mulch wasn’t going anywhere without me.

And I brought that lesson home. 

September has always been a time of reset and refocus for me.  As of this writing there are just 14 weeks remaining in 2021.  While I’m not complaining there are still a few goals that I have yet to accomplish.  Time to refocus and push hard to the end of the year. 

But not at the expense of quality service, and my mental health. 

Hurry leads to anxiety, causes mistakes, and almost always ends up increasing the time it takes to reach our goals.  That’s what I think Professor Willard was getting at when he said we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry. 

So, as we all refocus for the fall remember to ruthlessly eliminate hurry and pay attention to quality.  The mulch is not going anywhere without you, so to speak. 

I also just wanted to give you a quick reminder to not forget about my 10-year anniversary special –

1 – Download my eBook; “Three Steps to Financial Freedom.” and learn my system for achieving freedom and security in your lifetime.

2 – Book a FREE 30-minute strategy session and learn how best to implement these three steps into your family’s life. 

3 – Implement at least one aspect of the plan before November 30 (the actual 10-year anniversary of my employment with Freedom 55) and receive a yet to be determined gift of appreciation. 

Talk again soon – Lauren

PS:  Did you hear the news?  Canada Life has just launched a new series of Responsible Investment Funds designed to help the planet while maintaining investment returns.  Check out the press release here and get in touch any time if you would like your investment portfolio to include funds that are conscious of their environmental and social impact.

5 Reasons to Book a Strategy Session Today!

Hello beautiful people! 

I just got off a zoom call with a new client and I am pumped up!  Not because the call itself was anything special but because my new friend Ryan, truly gets it. 

I met Ryan last month, and no word of a lie, when he found out I was a financial advisor his immediate reaction was, “Do you sell Life Insurance?  We need to talk!” 

I’ll be honest, I was a bit surprised by that.  Nobody gets that excited about meeting me for the first time unless they think I’m someone else. 

I’ve been told I look a bit like the actor Andy Richter but honestly, I don’t see it, you be the judge…

Andy Richter

But Ryan was genuinely excited to talk with me.  Why?

Ryan just turned 25.  Not exactly the age that a lot of people are thinking about Life Insurance.  He just graduated from college, started his first real job and has very little debt. 

On the surface Ryan is young and vibrant, with no real obligations that would require Life Insurance. 

But Ryan knows one fundamental truth that people several years older them him sometimes have trouble grasping –

Life Insurance isn’t about you – it’s about the people you leave behind.

It turns out, Ryan is about to become a dad, and that changes EVERYTHING!

That got me thinking, over the years I have noticed that there are generally 5 times in a person’s life then they tend to engage the help of a financial advisor.

  1. When they start or change jobs
  2. When they find a life partner and combine households
  3. When they purchase a home
  4. When they have a child
  5. When they, or someone close to them, experiences a life changing injury or illness and they see firsthand how proper financial planning could have saved a lot of hardship.

When I sat down with Ryan it quickly became apparent to both of us that he easily ticked off 3 of those 5 boxes. 

Here’s the deal.  If you tick off any  of those boxes we should talk.  A 30-minute strategy session is all it takes to determine exactly how I can help you. 

Interested?  Book your strategy session here.

Not quite ready to commit?

Consider this:

  • 27,000 people in North America get hit by a bus every year.  And 43% of them have no Life Insurance. 
  • The average North American will make approximately $1.7 million in their lifetime.  And those with Life Insurance only carry about $160,000 of coverage.  That’s less than 2 years of income for their families to live on after they’re gone.
  • A $1 million life insurance policy costs on average $2.00 per day!

Is your families future worth $2.00 per day? 

And that’s just Life Insurance.  Not to mention your needs for Disability, Critical Illness or Health Insurance, Retirement and Estate Planning. 

Now can you see the value of Financial Planning? 

Book your strategy session here today.

Talk soon – Lauren

PS: Still not sure we can work together, download my eBook:  Three Steps to Financial Freedom and see for yourself exactly how I work.

PPS:  Be honest, do you think I look like Andy Richter?  Personally I think I look more like TinTin from the Belgian comic book series…

Uncle Bert’s Mansion: A Story of Dreams, Interest Rates, and Strategic Planning

My Uncle Bert built a mansion…

Way back in the late 1970s, Uncle Bert bought 100 acres of farmland near Mount Forest, ON, northwest of Toronto. 

He negotiated with a Mennonite farmer a few towns over to reclaim the lumber from a dilapidated old barn.  Tore it down and loaded all the lumper on a flatbed truck for his house. 

That house was going to be huge!

Some 10,000 square feet featuring an indoor swimming pool, a games room and a three-level deck over-looking the fields. 

Early on he planted a variety of pine saplings, as far as the eye could see. 

Uncle Bert’s dream was to become a Christmas Tree farmer. 

Now before you get the wrong idea and think that Uncle Bert was rich you need to know that the entire process, from empty fields to mansion and row upon row of Christmas Trees took him over 15 years to achieve.  All the while working full time as a science teacher at the local High-School.

He built it all, “by the sweat of his brow and his own two hands” as the saying goes.  Whenever we would visit, for years, the house was under-construction.  The finishing touches were only completed a few weeks before his daughter’s wedding, she was 13 when he started. 

Uncle Bert built slow.  Using cash whenever possible, reinvesting the profits from the Christmas Tree Farm, adding little by little and piece by piece until his dream became reality. 

But that wasn’t the original plan.

Originally Uncle Bert had a traditional mortgage on the land and a pledge from the bank to advance him more money as the house was built.  But then halfway through construction the mortgage rate went above 20% and some local politicians got nervous about this massive house being constructed with recycled lumber. 

The bank refused to advance any more money and the local government threatened to pull his building permit. 

With the stamp of approval from a structural engineer the government relented but the bank never did so Uncle Bert was forced to finish his dream house with cash.

The 1980s were a crazy time in the lending markets.  The Arab Oil Embargo of the late 70s started a period of high inflation and to cool things down central banks all over the world began to increase interest rates, making it harder to borrow and curbing demand for housing and luxury items.  By the fall of 1981 a 30-year mortgage in Canada was going for 21%. 

High interest rates put the breaks on inflation but also ushered in one of the deepest and longest recessions of the past 50 years.  Interest rates didn’t drop below 10% until the mid 90s.  When I bought my first house in 2005 the interest rate was 5.75% and everyone told me to lock in for as long as possible because we would never see anything lower than that. 

The only thing that is constant is change. 

The subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 started what has now been the longest continual decline in mortgage rates ever. 

But last month inflation hit 3.6%.

Is the cycle starting over?  Or is it just a COVID bump?

Only time will tell. 

Here is what I know for sure. 

The only constant is change…

If you want to get into the housing market, my affiliate lender, Canada Life, offers some very attractive mortgage programs. 

But more importantly, to be prepared for whatever happens, you need a strategy.  It all starts by looking at where you are now and where you want to be in X number years. 

That’s what I do for my clients. 

I write and implement strategic plans, (I call them Financial Security Reports), all day every day. 

It starts with a FREE 30-minute strategy session over zoom or in person. 

As the summer starts to wind down, I currently have room in my calendar for up to three of these sessions per week, book your session here, now.  Fall is coming and my calendar will book up fast come September.  Now is the time to get started before interest rates rise and we all get too busy. 

Here’s the link again – Log in and book your strategy session today.

Peace – Lauren

PS:  If you’re not ready to commit to a strategy session why not order a copy of my EBook; Three Steps to Financial Freedom here.  You can always try to book a strategy session later.  That is if I still have the time. 

PPS:  In case you were wondering, the politician who tried to block Uncle Bert’s construction project was arrested and charged with conflict of interest.  Turns out he was silent partner in the local lumber supplier.  Go figure…

I Was a Fantastic Baseball Player, Sort of…

Kevin Youkilis – “The Greek God Of Walks”

In my final year playing youth Softball, I had an OnBase percentage of .721! 

For the uninitiated that means that I made it to first base nearly 3 out of 4 times.  

I led the league!  And that is what made me a coveted lead off hitter. 

You would think that I had a superior “eye” and could pick up on pitches out of the strike zone.  But the fact is I had a terrible eye, I couldn’t tell the difference between a ball and a strike until it was too late.  My saving grace was that the pitchers in youth softball aren’t exactly aces.

As a result, I hardly ever swung at anything and when I did swing, I was so late that all I could manage was a weak grounder.  I was sometimes fast enough to beat the throw to first base, but I rarely hit anything in the air beyond the shortstop. 

In the days before Billy Beane popularized the use of statistics to analyze a ball player’s offensive value, I was an outlier.  When he was general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Beane once referred to his first basemen, Kevin Youkilis, as The Greek God of Walks.  But beyond my OnBase percentage, no one was comparing me to Youkilis, the fact is, I was a terrible ball player.  Sure, I walked a lot, but all that did was mask the fact that I could barely hit, run, catch, or throw. 

Baseball is a game for statisticians, and I love statistics.  I can have just as much fun pouring over a box score as I can watching a live game.  But in so doing I have learned that one number does not tell the whole story. 

Politicians and economists should know this better than anyone.  But more often than not, they will seize on one economic indicator and use it to build an entire narrative.   

  • Gas price goes up?  The economy is in the crapper, and we’re all going to be on food stamps by Christmas!
  • Jobs numbers go up?  We’re all whistling dixie!
  • Last week it was reported that inflation hit a 10 year high (3.6%) and suddenly the sky is falling! 

Never mind the fact that we are coming out of the worst pandemic in modern history, and the other things I mention, gas prices and jobs numbers too, are all true. 

The fact is, like baseball, you can’t measure the strength of the economy by one number.  If you could, politics would be easy, and I’d be in the hall of fame.

Needless to say; I’m not a professional baseball player.  Neither am I an economist, or heaven forbid a politician. 

I am a financial advisor.  I spend my days analyzing balance sheets, and the goals and dreams of Canadian families. 

Like a baseball box score, your balance sheet tells a story. 

It’s a story about what you value and gives clues about where you are headed.  It also helps define a path to the life you wish to live.  It’s a dynamic story, with a lot of moving parts.  One that requires careful analysis and a wholistic approach that doesn’t fixate on any one number.

A few months ago, I started offering everyone a free 30-minute strategy session, where we sit down over zoom (or in person) and talk about the story your balance sheet is telling.

Here’s what Don had to say about the experience:

Wow, just Wow!  I never realized how much my love of coffee was affecting my future plans.  Now that I have helped secure Howard Schultz’s [founder of Starbucks] retirement, let’s get to work on mine.

Is it time to look closely at your balance sheet?  Go ahead and book your strategy session here, and let’s get to work on securing your retirement too.    

Have a great week – Lauren

PS:  Not ready to commit to a strategy session?  Download my eBook; Three Steps to Financial Freedom, instead.

PPS:  Back in the early 2000s, Billy Beane changed the game of Baseball forever.  Check out the book Moneyball, to understand how he used some of the most insignificant stats to turn the Oakland Athletics into perennial contenders and led the Boston Red Sox to finally break the Curse of The Bambino and win their first world series in over 80 years.

Who Takes Financial Advice from a Figure Skater?

Who remembers the 1988 Winter Olympics? 

That was the year the world was introduced to a young man from Rockie Mountain House AB named Kurt Browning.  He finished 8th overall, not a bad showing for a 22-year-old considering what it takes to get the Olympics in the first place. 

A few weeks later his place on the international stage was cemented when he landed the first ever quadruple-toe-loop in competition at the world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Browning went on to win the world championships 4 times and represented Canada at two more Olympic Games, retiring from international competition in 1994.

Kurt Browning was, and no doubt remains, a great figure skater, he is not a banker!

Today Kurt Browning is best known as the spokesperson for Home Equity Bank where he pitches the idea of a reverse mortgage to seniors. 

What is a Reverse Mortgage? 

Simply put, it is a way to turn the equity in your home into tax free cash.  At least, that’s the pitch. 

In reality, people who take advantage of this offer end up deep in debt at a time when they need all the assets they can get.

I recently read an article in The Financial Post that pointed out how, after a year of lockdowns and limited spending options one third of Canadians are still feeling “house poor”.  Low interest rates have helped encourage people to spend on their homes, driving up the value of real-estate and increasing our overall debt levels.  Now, as we come out of the pandemic, many people are starting to worry what might happen when interest rates inevitably rise. 

While a reverse mortgage might look attractive to some, there is a better way. 

All-In-One Banking is a newer concept in home financing.  Not only does it give the owner access to the equity in their home, but also functions as a bank account, mortgage, and line of credit, all in one.  Unlike a reverse mortgage you don’t have to be 55 or older, anyone can set it up, and you can receive up to 80% of your home’s value instead of the 55% that is advertised by Mr. Browning.

I mention All-In-One Banking as part of the Three Steps to Financial Freedom in my eBook of the same name.  For more information you can download your copy here.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Right now, I have room in my calendar for four 30-minute strategy sessions within the next week.  If you are interested in learning more about All-In-One Banking or want to discuss any other aspect of your financial plan, request a meeting here.

Talk soon – Lauren

P.S. I have nothing against Mr. Browning personally, I even had the opportunity to meet him once, he’s super nice guy, just not a banker.

P.P.S. I am considering writing another eBook called “How to Turn Your House into an ATM, the smart way, no figure staking required” if I do you will be the first to know. 

Do you remember “Boomerang Kids”?

No, that’s not some 80s era toy, like Cabbage Patch Dolls or Transformers. 

(Although seriously, we had the best toys in the 80s didn’t we? I can still remember how jealous I was when my cousin got a Megatron like this one for Christmas, so cool!)

When I was in my 20s, Boomerang Kids were what we called people who moved out of their childhood home to go to school or start their careers and then, through a series of mistakes, bad planning, or difficult circumstances, found themselves moving back in with their parents a few years later. 

They left, and then they came back, just like a boomerang.

My sister and I were both Boomerang Kids.  She went away to school, I moved to Calgary for my first a job.  But we both ended up coming back home when our circumstances changed, and the opportunities dried up. 

It took me 3 years to find another job, reestablish my credit and be ready to move out again.  If memory serves my sister was a bit more efficient, maybe only staying for 2.5 years.

The point here is that after our first taste of freedom moving back home was an adjustment for everyone.  Living with your parents through your childhood and teen years is one thing, it’s a whole different ballgame when the household now consists of four independent adults.  We made it work though and my last 3 years with my parents turned out to be the perfect time to launch my first real business without the added pressure of making rent on a regular basis. 

The COVID19 pandemic has created a whole new generation of boomerang kids. 

The Pew Research Centre in the US recently published results of a study showing 18 to 29 year-olds as the cohort most impacted financially by the pandemic.  The survey reported over half (52%) of them currently living with their parents.

I work a lot with people that I would classify as recent graduates.  For the most part these are young people between the ages of 22 and 30 and within about 2 to 5 years of finishing their formal education. They are generally under-employed, saddled with debt and now, partly thanks to COVID and partly due to a much larger long term trend, facing an uphill battle to establish themselves financially in the areas of home ownership and retirement planning. 

Three Steps to Financial Freedom,  the program I built to help my clients, Eliminate Debt, Build Wealth and Leave a Legacy, was created in part with needs of these recent graduates in mind.  The earlier you can start establishing good financial habits the better, especially in a difficult time such as many young people find themselves today.

So, for all the recent graduates, boomerang kids, parents, and grandparents, I have set aside a block of time over the next week to provide free 30-minute strategy sessions to anyone who has been affected by COVID19 and is interested in Eliminating Debt, Building Wealth and Leaving a Legacy.   Book your free session here.

There is no shame in being a Boomerang Kid, especially now.  Take it from one who’s been there. 

Check out this article  from Business Insider for some interesting tips on how best to deal with kids that move home during the pandemic.  These are the kinds of things my parents did for me and it really helped. 


P.S. For more information on the Three Steps program request a free copy of the ebook, Three Steps to Financial Freedom; The No Reddit, No MLM, No Crypto, No BS Path to the Financial Freedom Most of Us Only Dream Of, here.

I Think This is What You Call ‘Normal’

I’m just back from my first vacation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Starting on Canada Day and running until this past Tuesday, for a total of 6 days I changed the channel on life and spent my time visiting museums, eating out, and swimming in Lake Ontario, all in the company of family and close friends. 

Like a lot of people, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the company of others until it was all taken away so abruptly last year.

On Tuesday afternoon, while enjoying a lovely lunch on a patio in Picton ON, I paused for a minute and took in the scene.  Here we were, a group of friends who haven’t seen each other since the summer of 2019, sitting maximum four to a table, outside of course, wearing face masks, signing contact tracing forms everywhere we went, and just loving the fact that we could be together. 

Two thoughts occurred to me simultaneously; it felt so strange, and yet so right.

And then a third thought, in 2021, this is what we call ‘normal’.

I’ll be honest, I hate the phrase ‘new normal’, but I can’t really come up with anything else that adequately expresses the reality we find ourselves in.  The world is never going back to the way things were in 2019.  Some things, like movie theatres, live sporting events and indoor dining will return, hopefully sooner rather than later.  But facemasks, open spaces that encourage social distancing and the signing of contact tracing forms may be with us for a long time. 

As things reopen there is another aspect of normal that I think could stand a bit of adjusting; the way we look at, plan for, and manage our spending on non-essential items. 

According to Statistics Canada, in the second quarter of 2020 consumer spending fell off a cliff.  There was nowhere to spend your money.  As a result, household financial assets have been steadily increasing ever since. 

With most travel, entertainment and other non-essential businesses closed people have been able to turn their money toward debt repayment, investing and home improvements.  That’s a good thing. 

The government has done its part by keeping interest rates low and flooding the market with cash for those who lost their jobs due to the closures.    

But now, with low interest rates, pent-up demand, and ready cash, it’s starting to look like a perfect storm.  Now that things are starting to reopen there is a real danger that, for many, the temptation to over-spend may be too great.  Check out this article from CTV News for a sombre take on what reopening might mean to some household balance sheets.

Getting on and sticking with a budget is key to achieving life long financial security.  Budgeting is never easy and coming back from almost 2 years of restrictions and lock down I understand the desire to make up for lost time, but the fundamentals haven’t changed.  You still need to be mindful of both sides of your balance sheet.

As things open back up and we all start to get back out there, tell me what your summer plans are.  I hope to see all of you in person again soon. 


P.S.  Now is the perfect time to strategize your comeback, why not book a 30-minute financial strategy session here?

P.P.S  My E-book “Three Steps to Financial Security:  The No MLM, No Crypto, No BS path to the Financial Security Most of Us Only Dream About” has been getting rave reviews, get your copy here.

How To Supplement Your Retirement Income Tax Free!

Why are we working so hard if we can’t have a little fun once in a while?

My old boss and good friend Fred used to ask me that on a regular basis.

Fred was a partner at the record company where I worked 20 years ago.  He was a real “Jack of All Trades” kind of guy.  He did graphic design, built the website, packed deliveries, met with artists, wrote and co-wrote songs and produced records. 

At first glance you might think Fred was just your typical aging rock star, come business owner.  He wandered into the office most mornings around 11:00 and left again by 4:00 pm but his 5-hour workday only told part of the story.  What most people did not see was what happened after he left the office.  Most days, after he picked his daughter up from school, Fred started his second shift working from his home office/studio well into the night, often not getting to sleep before 3:00 or 4:00 am. 

Fred made very little distinction between work and play, it was all just life.  More than once I walked into Fred’s office to find him playing video games.  He did everything with the same level of intensity, and he got results. 

When it came to managing money, Fred was not a saver.  He wasn’t what you would call rich, but thanks to a few hit songs he co-wrote back in the 80s he received enough residual income on top of his business interests that he never felt the need to think about such things.  Nevertheless, in 2009, when the government introduced the TFSA Fred immediately saw the value in setting aside some of those royalties in a tax-free account, just in case. 

Fast forward a couple of decades and Fred is now in his sixties.  While the royalties he still receives are likely to act as a nice retirement annuity for several more years, he recently retired and approached me to help plan what to do with his money. 

On a recent zoom call the conversation came down to this, how should he spend money in retirement?

Fred has three potential sources of income, the quarterly royalties, CPP/OAS and about $125,000 in his TFSA.  He figures he needs to supplement his current income by about $1,000 per month to maintain his current lifestyle and smooth over the irregular payments that come with the quarterly royalty cheques. 

We crunched some numbers and decided that if he is able to keep putting about $5000 a year back in to the TFSA as he takes it out, that money should last him at least 25 more years. 

That is the real beauty of the TFSA.  As you take money out, (tax free!) you can recontribute the same amount next year, on top of any additional room the government gives you.  In Fred’s case, if he takes out $12000 this year, he can put it all back next year, in addition to the $6000 room the government is probably going to release on January 1st.  If all he does is continue to contribute $5000 from his royalty cheques and take out a steady $1000 per month, as long has he can maintain an 8% return on investment, he won’t deplete his nest egg until he’s 90 years old! 

Granted, Fred’s is a unique case.  How many people are receiving royalties from songs they wrote when Regan was president, really?  But if we think about Fred’s royalties like a standard pension, then more people can relate. 

Regardless of how good your pension is, a lot of people are still going to find themselves having to supplement their income with investments to some degree.  Like I was able to show Fred, TFSAs are one way to do this without incurring extra tax. 

For more information on how to take money out of a TFSA check out this article from Canada Life and let me know if you need any help managing your spending in retirement.    

Have a great day – Lauren

P.S.  Download my new e-book “Three Steps to Financial Freedom; The No Reddit, No MLM, No Crypto, No BS path to Financial Freedom Most of Us Only Dream About.”  – click here.

P.P.S.  Fill out my Financial Facts survey to receive your own personalized Financial Security Report and get started on your journey to Financial Freedom today – click here.

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.