Make & Save: The importance of actionable Personal Finance habits

coins-currency-investment-insurance-128867By Hellen McAdams

Special to FindependenceDay.com

When it comes to actionable personal finance habits, earning more money and saving a good portion of it are near the top of the list. Sadly though, before you can ascend the tower of wealth, many of us need to first dig out of the basement of debt.

Escape Debt in 5 years

Did you know the average American household has approximately $137,063 in debt? (all figures $US.) That’s too much debt. But what if you were to discover it’s possible for the average household to get out from under the thumb of that kind of debt in as little as five years?

There are several ways to do this. Loan consolidation is a practice whereby you reduce the complication of managing debt by combining everything together. If you have a bunch of little debts that individually compound separately from one another, one possible solution could be to take out a small loan, pay them off, then pay off the small loan in a single payment from then on.

There are online loans of this type which can, believe it or not, be secured online, if you’re considering such.

Still, this is just a debt transition; it doesn’t truly get rid of that which you owe: it merely reduces the complexity of paying a dozen little things off in tiny increments; like cellphones, furniture, and medical bills. A better way to get your debt paid off more quickly is to downsize.

Debt Relief Strategy

This is where you have to establish good financial habits. This hypothetical revolves around $3,000 a month in earnings from the primary breadwinner of the household. That comes to $36,000 a year before taxes. Now say you’ve got $137,000 in debt hanging over your head. You need to find a way to pay that off with the money you’ve got.

In five years, you will have made $180,000 through a job that pays $3,000 a month, or $36,000 annually. If you can reduce your annual budget to $8,600 a year, you can pay off the debt in five years: assuming, of course, that the $137,000 figure is an overall projection throughout the time, which includes accumulated interest.

But how is that possible with mortgages at $1,500 a month, gas at $3 or more a gallon, and rising food costs? Well, the first thing you might do is get rid of your mortgage. If you’ve got $70,000 paid in on a $250,000 house, you can sell the house and turn the majority of that $70,000 into paying off your $137,000 debt.

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Stocktrade.ca’s Interview with me about Findependence & Victory Lap Retirement

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By Dylan Callahan, Stocktrades.ca

Special to FindependenceDay.com

We’re constantly reaching out to financial authorities we feel would benefit our audience the most. From Mark Seed, to Xiaolei Liu, to Rob Carrick, we are always looking to compile information and pick the brains of experts in the industry. This is why we were ecstatic to hear that Jon Chevreau was willing to do a little interview with us about his most recent book.

A little bit about Jon before we start

snippetpicture-150x150Jon has long had our attention here at Stocktrades from his writing on Moneysense and the Financial Post. He is the owner of FinancialIndependenceHub, the author of Findependence Day and the co-author of Victory Lap Retirement, which is what this interview will be about. He was a columnist for the National Post from 1993 to 2012 and was the Editor-in-Chief for Moneysense Magazine from 2012 to 2014. If we had to choose some financial authorities on the internet today that we’d follow, Jon would be near the top of the list.

We hope you enjoy this interview, and if you’re interested in purchasing Jons book, head on over Victorylapretirement.com to see what it’s all about or purchase it from Amazon here.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Jon: Co-author Mike Drak approached me with the idea of a book about Retirement/Victory Laps after he encountered my website, the Financial Independence Hub, and my financial novel, Findependence Day. We thought we could marry the two concepts since Findependence gets you to the point you can launch a proper Victory Lap.

COULD YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THESE FOLLOWING TERMS IN YOUR OWN OPINION, OR AS THEY RELATE TO THE BOOK?

What is Findependence?

JonathanChevreauJon: Findependence is simply a contraction of the phrase Financial Independence. And so Findependence Day is the day you achieve financial independence, which we define as the moment when all sources of passive income (pensions, investments, royalties etc.) exceed your monthly expenses nut (rent/mortgage, food, clothing, utilities etc.)

Explain a Victory Lap Retirement?

Jon: Victory Lap Retirement can be described variously as semi-retirement, self-employment, an encore career or launching a creative career (writer, artist, musician) that lets you monetize what was previously a hobby. Normally, the Victory Lap is made possible by first achieving Financial Independence. It differs from traditional full-stop retirement in that you may still be working, albeit not for a single employer.

Rather you have multiple streams of income, some of which may be passive (pensions, investments) and some of which may be active (part-time work, contracts, an online business). This allows you to pursue the inner creative dreams you may have harbored when you were young, and which you may have put aside during the decades you worked in a traditional “Job” and raised a family. In your Victory Lap, you work because you want to, not because you have to (financially speaking).

Lastly what is an Encore Career?

Jon: An Encore Career or Legacy Career is a late-life reinvention of your career, as described by the website encore.org and the book Encore by Marc Freedom. Its subtitle says it all: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life.

snippetpicture-150x150IN YOUR OPINION, HOW IS A VICTORY LAP RETIREMENT MORE BENEFICIAL THAN THE TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT?

Jon: We think it’s crazy to go from the 100% work mode of traditional salaried employment to 100% non-stop leisure, which is the traditional “full-stop” retirement that often occurs at age 65. By the way, I turn 65 next April and don’t expect to slow down much if at all. I’m in the fourth year of my own Victory Lap and am as productive as ever, and probably in much better physical and mental health.

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How to reach your Victory Lap Retirement

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By Richard Eisenberg, Work Editor, Next Avenue.org

Special to FindependenceDay.com

Mike Drak and Jonathan Chevreau, authors of the new book, Victory Lap Retirement, are on a crusade to change the way society thinks about retirement. Their book is actually, as Drak says, “a retirement book about not retiring.”

A Victory Lap Retirement — Drak, 62, coined the term — means spending years combining work and leisure between the time you quit a full-time job and stop work entirely. In the book, the authors say a Victory Lap Retirement lets people change from a “surviving mentality” to a “thriving mentality.” The Toronto-based duo would know: They’re both taking Victory Laps right now.

Previously, Drak spent nearly 40 years working in commercial banking. He quit in 2014 to protect his health and personal well-being. Now, when he works, he  is a retirement coach, public speaker and writer (next up: a retirement transition guide). Chevreau, 64, is a veteran financial columnist, blogger and author of the book Findependence Day; I interviewed him for Next Avenue in 2013 about “findependence” — his term for having enough money so you can work because you want to, not because you have to. He still writes about personal finances, but on his schedule.

I recently spoke with Drak and Chevreau about how and why to have a Victory Lap Retirement. Highlights: Read more

5 steps to a Victorious Retirement

Step 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 numbers on blocks or cubes to illustrate instructions, guidance or priorities to follow

Who doesn’t want a Victorious Retirement?

Just in time for the long weekend and Canada’s 150th birthday, MoneySense.ca has just published a 5-part series on retirement, going from deciding what you want to working longer, the Ages & Stages by decade, being a snowbird, and finally what to do once you finally reached the hallowed land of Retirement/Findependence/Victory Lap.

Here’s a summary of each piece, and links to the full articles:

1.) The first step: What do you really want?

Take a custom approach to retirement planning. There’s no point fretting too much about retirement and how much to save if you haven’t first determined what you want to DO once you’re retired. For starters, how are you going to fill those 2,000 hours a year you use to spend in the office and commuting? Click here for full article.

 

2.) We live longer. Why not work longer?

Ask questions about a retirement plan that’s right for you. Life expectancies are on the rise: more and more Baby Boomers can expect to become centenarians and that probably goes double for their children, the Millennials. Makes sense to consider working a little longer, if only part-time. Or if you really dislike your chosen profession, go back to school or retrain and find something you’d really enjoy doing in your golden years: preferably something that pays! Click here for full article.

3.) Snowbird? Learn the “substantial presence” test

Learn the tax pitfalls of retiring to the sun in the U.S. It all depends on how long you plan to stay down south each year: the formula isn’t simple. If you don’t relish the thought of paying tax to two countries, you may want to make sure you’re not considered to have a “substantial presence” in the U.S.  Click here for full article.

4.) Your retirement plan has a life cycle

Retirement planning strategies for every age. Every decade from your 20s to your 70s and beyond should take you a little further along the journey to financial independence/Retirement. Just like we all share the same fate in our human life cycle, so it is with the financial life cycle. Click here for full article.

 

5.) Retirement planning —after you retire

The plan doesn’t stop when you stop working.

My co-authored book Victory Lap Retirement features on its cover what appears to be a sprinter breaking through the finish line of a long marathon. But that doesn’t mean we’re saying Retirement is a literal finish line and with it the end of striving and purpose. In fact, we’re saying a “Victory Lap” really only begins when you reach the “finish line” of financial independence, or Findependence.

There will still be a big adjustment as you move from Wealth Accumulation to the De-accumulation or “Decumulation” phase: less earned income and more passive sources of income. And you’ll need to master the tax aspects because Tax may be one of the biggest expenses in Retirement. Click here for full article.

Retirement STILL Rocks!

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By Heather Compton and Dennis Blas

Special to FindependenceDay.com

Since retiring in 2004, we’ve learned a thing or two.  Foremost, a rockin’ retirement requires more than a bucket list: it’s not a given, it’s a statement of intention. A satisfying retirement requires finding new ways to satisfy our needs and utilize the skills and talents that give us the greatest satisfaction. Like a working career, a retirement career unfolds, develops, progresses and changes as life circumstances unfold. This doesn’t mean some front-end planning won’t be useful. Our cornerstones for a rockin’ retirement include Lifestyle, Relationship and Finances.

Go-Go to Slow-Go to (sigh) … No-Go

Many of us will have a third act lasting 30 plus years and few will plan for the full-stop retirement of a previous generation.  All play and no work also makes Jack a very dull boy! We may think of retirement as one long time frame, but those who study aging divide it into three distinct phases: the go-go, slow-go and no-go years. Certain Victory Lap careers, travel destinations and budding interests must be pursued in the go-go years; others might wait until the slow-go. Either way, you’ll want to mind-bank lots of great life experiences to relive in the no-go years! Read more

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