Happy Holidays! (and a bit about the stock market)

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope 2018 found y’all becoming increasingly healthy, wealthy, and wise.

2018 was our 6th full year of early retirement and world travel. Do anything long enough and memories start to jumble together… Did we visit Paris this year or last year? Was Jr walking when we were in Chiang Mai? Thankfully our financial records and photos cleared it up in an instant. (Another good reason to track spending?)

This year we meandered through 11 different countries (Taiwan, UK, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the United States.) If my math is right, this brings Jr’s country total to 35. Our Instagram shares some fun photos of each.

We’ve now started to ask ourselves, “What is next?”


Twenty Pounds of Pasta

In Spring of the last 3 years I have stepped off a plane in Europe, wearing stylish skinny jeans and a classic neckline T-shirt. 3 or 4 months later, I was sporting a budding double chin and elastic waistline “athletic” shorts.

Upon returning “home” I would slowly shed my substantial souvenir, slip back into my favorite jeans, and board another plane to carb heaven.

It is the holidays… perhaps you can relate.


Bonus Season!

The holiday season is quickly approaching, a time when many are hoping for or expecting a hefty year-end bonus.

Without traditional employers, alas, nobody will be sending us a check to install a new swimming pool or even a membership to the jelly of the month club. (The gift that keeps on giving.)

So not wanting to go without, I decided to just go ahead and create my own bonus season. I ended up leaving $425 on the table and one bank is still holding some funds hostage, but this year we are getting another $2,575 worth of holiday cheer. (As an added bonus, only $825 of it is taxable.)


Enjoy the Journey

GCC: We first met Bob and family at an expensive import coffee shop (aka Starbucks) in Osaka, Japan, where we enjoyed some tasty treats as a globetrotting respite. So clearly this was after they had found balance and inner peace :) Check out this personal story from the trenches of hard saving, and the important reminder to enjoy the journey.

Lately, Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) is getting a lot of attention. The concept is literally spreading like a wild fire as more main stream medias are publishing FIRE related stories. This is certainly true for Jeremy and Winnie, as their story has appeared on many different media outlets.

The core concept of FIRE is simple – Increase your savings rate by decreasing expenses and increasing income. Invest the savings in appreciating assets. Once these assets produce sufficient passive income to cover your expenses, you are financially independent. You can retire early if you choose.

Although my dad retired from full time work when he was 43, my wife and I didn’t fully grasp the key benefits of financial independence (FI) until 2010. After reading many personal finance and investing books and blogs, we began to take charge of our own finances. We simplified our investments and learned to take advantage of the tax-free and tax-deferred accounts.

We are now 8 years into our own FIRE journey. Thanks to our passive income streams, various side hustles, and our house in the hot metro Vancouver housing market, we can be financially independent today if we choose to. We also feel blessed that we could retire today if we wished to. But we realized that we have more to do than just be ready financially.