Robert’s Real Life Update

This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and works as a financial adviser. He is married, has three kids and plans to retire at age 35.  Robert and his wife then plan to return to school and become teachers, eventually living and working overseas.

I’d like to begin by thanking all our readers. It’s gratifying to write for this audience. I also appreciate the comments which are generally thoughtful and insightful. I have a lot going on in my life, so I don’t feel that I can allocate much time to today’s post. I’d like to share a few of those things, then I’ll be happy to answer questions or comments that you post.

In my church, we each take turns speaking during the Sunday meeting. I was asked to speak last week for 15 minutes. The point that I made was that there’s a lot more to life than money. I had an experience during the market crash when the market fell by over 30% and so did my income. Based on the amount of life insurance I had and the current yield of stocks in the market, I was financially worth slightly more dead than alive. That only bothered me for a couple minutes, since I quickly realized that the love in my family, the service to my clients, the service in my community are all worth far more than the income I earn. It’s those things that make my life worthwhile.

One of the things that’s really important to me is public education. I’m working to support a new political party in Alberta in writing their education policy. Although I think there’s a chance of forming government at some point and having that policy implemented, I expect that it will change the direction of discourse around public education for the better. The last couple weeks in Alberta politics have been more interesting than anytime over the last few decades.

Financially, I’m in a very good position. We decided to move over the summer, and for four months we owned two houses and carried two mortgages. That was painful because we had to sell investments for the downpayment on the new home, but especially in the impact on our budget. We cut out all discretionary spending over that time and put all we could toward debt repayments (it was structured as a line of credit, so this was possible). By the time the old house sold, we had no mortgage left. That’s a great feeling. Soon after, I sold my practice and, while I still work on contract, made some real progress toward my plan to retire at 35.

For a partial view of how I’ve been investing my money, or just to see a goofy picture of me, you can view an article on Me and My Money in the Globe and Mail. The comments on that article are pretty silly, but I know our readers can do better. So in the Comments section, feel free to ask questions, make comments or pass judgment.

4 thoughts on “Robert’s Real Life Update”

  1. Robert, love your posts, always enjoy reading them. I have a question about your ER plans. Your bio says you want to retire at 35 and then live and “work” overseas… is your definition of retirement different from mine? This is not criticism, just curious…

  2. Jon,

    That’s a good question. By 35, I expect that I’ll be able to spend about $3500 per month without working. If I were to stay put, I’d be retired by anyone’s definition. However, I want to live overseas. There are two major cost considerations: school for my three kids and housing. I plan to sell my house and rent while overseas, so that works out. But the best solution for schooling, I think, is if my wife and I work as teachers (which is something we’re interested in anyway). Then the tuition in an international school is basically free and some of the money we earn can be used for an annual trip home. At the same time, it’s nice to know that if for any reason our plan to live overseas doesn’t work, we can return to Canada, financially independent.

  3. Robert,
    I have been reading your posts on here for a while. Based on some of the things you said about yourself, I thought I might know who you were. While we have never met, I grew up with your wife in Toronto. We reconnected a while ago on Facebook.
    I am happy to see you are doing so well.

  4. Hi, Christy. Thanks for the comments. Trina said that she knows you well and hopes that you are happy. I’m glad that you’re enjoying this blog. If you want to talk one-on-one, feel free to send Trina a message. We’d love to hear about your plans for the future.

Comments are closed.