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New intro from Ontario, Canada
Old 11-11-2008, 11:12 AM   #1
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New intro from Ontario, Canada

Hi all: I have been reading the boards for a couple of months now and have thoroughly enjoyed the many perspectives found here. DH and I are 53 & 49 respectively and have backed into early retirement 3 years ago when we sold our business. We never meant to retire at that time, fully expecting to become gainfully employed, but it never happened. For whatever reason our ages seemed to hinder the job search and we finally said "Oh well". We have 2 kids 21 and 18 still on the payroll at home. We have sufficient investments, if we are careful, that should keep the wolf from our door. Our home is paid, we carry one small car loan, and are due for about $10,000.00 in home improvements within the next couple of years. We have suffered from the market crash, just as others have, but seemingly not to a huge extent by comparison--but it still hurts* ouch *. I find it interesting to compare the cost of living posted on these boards in comparison to ours. We have always been conservative but there is no way in H*** that we could survive on some of the small sums posted here. I would be interested in comparing the cost of living with other fellow Canadians to see if we are the norm or not. Eg. our property taxes are high by comparision to the neighbours to the south ($7,200.00) and we either eat alot or groceries are sky high Anyway I look forward to participating here.

Cheers to all.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:12 PM   #2
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:46 PM   #3
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Hi Teddy, I am new too, and not in Canada, but does the exchange rate make a difference with the money we talk about? And do your taxes mean property taxes only?

I think you are doing amazingly well for being "unemployed," and there will be lots of help for you on here. And I think the people on this forum are wealthier than most because they say they are "financially independent" which means, to me, that they can buy anything they want and pay a lot for it.

But it may mean they live simply and do not need much money, or have a working spouse, I can't tell yet. My DH and I are Financially Independent if we don't take vacations, if we buy a new car instead of a used one, and if we dress from Wal-Mart.

We eat out a lot but try to spend $5.00 a person to do that. House is paid for, but where we live houses are a dime a dozen and no one wants one anyway!

Since we have few medical expenses, we are terribly lucky. And you are real survivors, so climb aboard here and lets pick people's brains and stay FI in our RE.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:15 PM   #4
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I don't really factor in exchange rate when calculating the living expenses I was talking about although that could be a consideration.

Many folks here seem to be able to live on about $25 -30K per year.

Our expenses run around $60k net without any extravagent purchases.

I believe our income taxes are generally higher than our friends to the south also.

Our returns on investments, and they are conservative, generally run about 5.5% yearly. I couldn't sleep at night otherwise.

Our real estate market has also gone soft, but no where near the trouble u folks are having. That is ok for us as we have no plans to sell our home at this time.

I guess you could consider us financially independant but probably no where near what others have as a safety net, given our respective ages. I must confess though, always having been self employed, I suffer from pension envy especially those with COLA!
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by canadianteddy View Post
I find it interesting to compare the cost of living posted on these boards in comparison to ours. We have always been conservative but there is no way in H*** that we could survive on some of the small sums posted here. I would be interested in comparing the cost of living with other fellow Canadians to see if we are the norm or not. Eg. our property taxes are high by comparision to the neighbours to the south ($7,200.00) and we either eat alot or groceries are sky high Anyway I look forward to participating here.
Welcome Canadianteddy. Groceries vary a lot in the states too. Some forum members post that they feed their familes on $300/month. I know 100 pound frugal women who buy more groceries than that.

You are pretty much stuck paying the prices wherever you find yourself.

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Old 11-12-2008, 01:21 AM   #6
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Our expenses run around $60k net without any extravagent purchases.
I would add in another $10k a year to cover trips, maintenance on your house, the odd new car, unforeseen events, college costs. So at $70K then you add in provision for taxes and you might be at $95k gross. If you think you can maintain an investment return of 5.5% for the next 35 years, then you need a portfolio of $1.73 million to see you through.

I would say that 5.5% is optimistic as a real return with Uncle Sam printing money like Canadian Tire. It might be that you continue to get it but your real inflation jumps to over 4% as global currencies devalue. If your net of inflation return is only 1.5%, then you might need a nest egg of $6.33 million.

I suspect you are somewhere in between. But you are both young and can easily start another business if need be. Then employment and ageism will not be an issue. I took a golden handshake and pension at age 49 and worked for another 10 years starting 2 businesses.

In our case, we moved to Mexico as a hedge against inflation just last month. Our taxes are $150 a year and our condo fees are $100/mo. Other utilities add up to another $200/mo including DSL Internet and Starchoice satellite TV. We still have our penthouse in Vancouver and it is leased to a lawyer friend until we return in June.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:04 AM   #7
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Welcome from another Ontarian and have been retired for a year and four months. My taxes are a lot lower than yours but I am on a farm and most of the property is taxed at a low rate but I have no town facilities either. A lot of my food comes from the garden and I have a freezer full of home grown vegetables, pork and beef so groceries are not a good comparison either.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:46 AM   #8
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LOL - Loved the Canadian Tire Money analogy. I have about $15 of Canadian Tire Money sitting in my desk waiting for double dollar days.

Thanks for all the concrete numbers kcowan it really puts it in perspective.

We hesitate to open any other businesses, the stress level was just too high for too long - but if we do, the stress might just kill us, therefore there will be no need for 6.33 mill
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:29 PM   #9
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CanadianTeddy, How is college financed in Canada? Does the government pay for everything, or is it like here? There are frugal living sites on the internet that have lotsof ideas for financing college.

And your upcoming home improvements can sometimes be handled with barter, like when DH roofed a building for the (old) man who put in our furnace.

Sometimes you can appeal your tax assessment.

You might rent out a room to someone who is working in your city temporarily. (Check your insurance policies and your zoning laws?)

Around here people are earning money by sitting with aged people who want to stay in their homes. They take the evening, day or night shifts. Catering is booming too.
Security guards at the hospitals are always in demand, and hours are flexible. There are other jobs like driving the vans to take seniors to their doctor appointments. I don't think you have to endure high stress for low money, more like low stress for low money. But you only need to supplement $10K a year for a while.

Tutoring is good if you find enough clients. I'm working on some cooking classes emphasizing vegetables for vegetable-neutral people, especially kids. I think that would be a niche market. Very few midwesterners make palatable veggies these days.

Your kids can walk dogs and babysit pets. Pet-tending can support you in a larger city. And you already know how to be thrifty. I forgot to tell you to share your ideas on here. You have done a great job so far! Don't let the international news bring you down. We will all take it one day at a time. There have been recessions and even depressions before, and we have pulled through. We have to grin and go on.

Glad you are joining the FIRE House!
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:00 PM   #10
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Welcome to the Board...

I'm semi-retired in SE British Columbia, living pretty comfortably on $30k/year basic living expenses. I do taxes for H&R Block in season, and make about $5k doing that to supplement the draw from the retirement kitty. H&R Block money pays for vacations, season pass at ski area, etc.

We pay $1200/month in rent now but will build a house next year, probably worth $400k when we're done and I expect the real estate taxes to be about $4000/yr. The taxes on the lot alone are $1000/yr already.

No kids, not much eating out, drive used cars, go camping for vacations in a paid-for 16' fiberglass travel trailer, hike/bike/snowboard for recreation, no expensive hobbies, except that the spousal unit has VW OCD. She, however, pays for all the Volkswagen Vanagons and their associated parts herself!
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:28 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the great input. I liked the idea about H&R block as I am rather compulsive with accounting & doing our taxes. Also love dogs, hmm, dog walking, free exersize and income-bonus!

Regarding kids university, we have about $160k saved to distribute between the 2 of them although the value of the RESP's (registered education savings plan) has fallen a few k due to stock market tumble. Here in canada we pay for all our university costs, tuition, books, residence. If a child goes away to university u can count on it costing between $15 - 20k. I don't want my kids to get education loans, I don't want them to start out life in debt. My parents did it for me, I'm doing it for them.

Any scholarships are usually quite small but the youngest will probably get a small first year scholarship because he has excellent grades. He will probably require more than 4 years of university for an advanced degree, the cost for that will be substantial, but I'll cross that bridge later.

Just curious, Red y, deaneditor, your ages--It's ok it u don't want to respond

Red y, I think it's awsome u are building your own house, always wanted to do that, keep me posted. Also, I am in awe that u can get away with 30k annually basic living expenses, especially in BC
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:56 PM   #12
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canadianteddy, I'm 51 and my partner is 50. I retired from full-time work at 49, having spent 27 years in information technology working for Megacorps.

The house building thing was originally my partner's dream, but I have now caught the bug as well. We're planning to do a fairly small, extremely energy efficient house using SIPs (structural insulated panels) over an ICF (insulated concrete forms) foundation. Radiant heat, with hopefully most of the hot water coming from solar thermal panels on the roof. We are in the part of BC that gets quite a bit of sunshine year round: the east Kootenays.

Nothing really cutting edge, but with energy prices going much higher in the long run, we are committed to lowering the fossil fueled energy inputs to the house (and coincidentally reducing our carbon emissions).
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:36 AM   #13
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Welcome from the Canadian prairies where property taxes on 2500 sq.ft.are $4,500 annually and an 850 sq.ft. Calgary condo about $1K.
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:02 AM   #14
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Welcome from the Canadian prairies where property taxes on 2500 sq.ft.are $4,500 annually and an 850 sq.ft. Calgary condo about $1K.
And if that weren't bad enough, you have to live on the Canadian Prarie!

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Old 11-14-2008, 10:06 AM   #15
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I won't mention my marginal income tax rate, either.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:47 PM   #16
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Calgary RE prices have always been out to lunch IMO. Surprised at taxes on prairies. hmmm

Stayed in an interesting energy efficient B&B near Ottawa this summer. The house was made of straw (no big bad wolf or 3 little pigs). Walls were about 3 feet thick covered in stucco. Radiant in floor heating & 1 fireplace. A new build about 1 year old. Apparently there is is straw house website (can't remember exact address) but this is a new trend re. energy efficiency, low carbon footprint etc.
Very attractive inside too.

Ahh marginal tax rate - the great canadian gotcha
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