Building a Core

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I previously wrote about problems I was having with my back.  At the time, I decided to go to a chiropractor and physiotherapist in order to attempt to rid myself of the back pain I was experiencing.  I did this for a few months, and the outcome was somewhat unsatisfactory.  Rather than continuing to spend money (well, my benefits provider’s money) I chose to go another route.

Starting about this time last year, I worked to get stronger and more flexible, rather than focus on having a chiropractor or physiotherapist work on little muscles.  I have been able to almost triple the amount I can squat, approaching almost twice my body weight (along with increasing my strength in other ancillary exercises) – in the process, my back pain has essentially disappeared.  I’m no doctor or anything, but I don’t think it has hurt me by getting stronger.

I plan on maintaining this level of strength as far into the future as possible in order to stay as mobile as possible for as long as I can.  This, along with a healthy diet will hopefully give me a good chance of being mobile into my 80’s.

Similarly, I have attempted to build a strong core financially.  I am repaying my only outstanding debt (my house) as quickly as possible, and I am going to invest as much as possible in order replace employment income with investment income.  At the core of my financial plan though is the simplicity of keeping my expenses low.

Low expenses, as a part of my financial plan has provided me with more financial independence than anything else I have done.  I make pretty good money right now, enough that I can keep my goal of retiring at 45 in my sights.  If I decide that I don’t want to do the job I’m doing right now (or something like it), I could find a job that pays minimum wage and I’d be fine financially.  Working a minimum wage job  would limit my early retirement opportunities but it does provide a certain amount of security knowing that I won’t be on the street if my company decides they don’t like something I’m doing or I decide I don’t want to work there anymore.

Much like building my core muscles in my body, I constantly maintain the core of my financial plan by monitoring my spending.  I don’t consider myself a miser or anything, I just ensure that if I’m going to spend my money on something, it’s not a waste.

What do you consider to be the core of your financial plan?  How do you maintain your focus on this over time?

One thought on “Building a Core”

  1. Living below our means, which allows us to achieve a 65% savings rate is the “core” of our plan. Thankfully, we don’t depend on investment performance to pull off ER. It would speed things up of course.

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