Feb 2019 – Net Worth

Welcome to my net worth posts where I try to prove to myself and you that I wasn’t crazy for leaving work in the fall of 2017 to start my early retirement.   A few important notes:  we are mortgage free and our goal is have our income/investment gains exceed our spending by 102% on a 12 month rolling average (the extra 2% is a buffer for inflation).

Investments

Accounts

RRSP $58,720
LIRA $17,770
TFSA $95,330
Pension $176,160
Wife’s RRSP $93,950
Wife’s TFSA $86,050
Wife’s Taxable $43,410
High Interest Savings Account $36,490

Investment Net Worth $607,880 ($13,250 increase over last month from investments)

Home Equity

Estimate $395,000

Income

To keep things simple I’m only going to track what income comes into our main ‘house’ chequing account.  I won’t be tracking my wife’s or my businesses income as those don’t really matter until the money moves over to the ‘house’ account.  Also I won’t track investment gains since that is covered above.

  • Wife’s Monthly Payment to House: $550
  • Child Tax: $340
  • Interest $38
  • Tim Odd Job: $125
  • Total Income: $1053

Spending

Last Month $1608

A very quiet month for spending.  Basically we just paid the bills, bought gas and groceries and the usual day to day stuff.

Results

Net Worth ~$1,002,880

This Month Investment Gains & Income/Spending Ratio = (13250+1053)/1608 = 8.9 (Target 1.02 or higher)

March 2018 to Feb 2019 Invest Gain & Income/Spending Ratio = (-6518+18473)/35324 =0.33 (Target 1.02 or higher)

Commentary:

Well this month had a few oddities.  First up a friend needed help with a quick job one afternoon so I helped and got paid $125 for 4 or 5 hours of work.  Not too bad for a last minute thing.

The second more fun oddity was the markets kept bouncing back from the low in December 2018.   We have gain over $30k in the last two months which turned around our numbers nicely.  Our ratio of investments and income to spending is now back to positive at 0.33 for the last 12 months which while behind target our target of 1.02 is not bad.  More importantly, when I tracked our investment gains since I retired we are now back to being $8k higher than I started after being negative for the last few months.

Then finally this month I’ve made significant progress on the new book.  I wrote about 10,000 words this month which equals around 40 pages of text.  I’ve finally got a good routine with my writing and I’m hoping to finish the first draft roughly by the end of next month.  The bad news while a first draft is good I still have to hire an editor, get the layout done, get  cover designed, get the ISBNs registered, and everything else to get the book published.  So you likely won’t see the book until this fall at the earliest.  Once things are progressing on that front I’ll let you all know the planned publication date and where you can get a copy of the book.

Any questions?

(click to make bigger)

Hobby Time Results

So a few people have wondered how exactly my miniature terrain building hobby is going after I mentioned starting it a few months back.  So I thought I would show you what you can do with just a bit of cardboard, insulation foam, a hot glue gun, craft paint and a lot of time (see the gallery below).

This isn’t even everything I’ve built but rather a sample as I have even more projects in progress right now.  I take all my pictures with the same 28mm miniature to help people get the scale of everything.  But for those of you not familiar with those minis that the beer on the bar is smaller than my pinky finger nail.  My personal favorite projects have been the camp fire and the smoke clouds as they use LED lights with a flicker effect.

So what is the point of this hobby? Well I enjoy doing something with a bit of an artistic component and a bit of problem solving which building terrain fits the bill nicely. Most people don’t really care about it but I enjoy the process of making things and then seeing my kids’ faces when I use the items in our game.  So it is worth it to me even if society at large won’t really ever know much of anything about it.

Which I guess is the main point.  I do this hobby because I care and honestly you don’t really need more than that for your hobbies in retirement.  So what are some of your odd hobbies?  Why do you enjoy them?

Rebuilding Your Identity After Retirement

Who are you?  It is a simple question but the answers can be complex .  Yet often when you are working you just use your job title as a proxy of an answer.  So for me the answer was: I’m an engineer.

Of course it is more complicated than that and when you look at all the roles you have in your life you start to get an idea of what your identity is.  For example, yes I’m an engineer but I’m also a father, a husband, an uncle, a son, a brother, a bibliophile, a brewer of wine and beer, a gamer (video, board and role playing games), an author, a blogger,  a friend, a life long learner, a cook, a volunteer and so on.  All of these things combined are your identity and each of them contribute to it.

Yet for a person entering retirement there is a big shift that occurs with your identity.  You have likely made your work-related identity one of your key roles that defines you and after you retire that role becomes less relevant.  And here is the trick of having a successful retirement: you need to build a new role of retiree and let your previous work role diminish.

In short this is why many retirees, men specifically, have issues with retirement.  We are more often heavily identified by our work role and when we lose that role we feel adrift without another role to help support us as we slowly build up the retiree role.  And when you are feeling a lose of identity you can feel worthless, be irritable, wonder about what you values and question who you are.  If you stay in this state for a period of time it is entirely possible to slide into feeling depressed.

I didn’t personally suffer too much with my identity when I retired as I have been slowly letting my role related to work diminish leading up to retirement for close to a year.   I even started introducing my self differently by saying I work as an engineer but I’m passionate about writing. That way when I left work for the last time I was already started on the process of letting go of my old work role and could then focus more on building up my other roles.

Related to that is why I often point out the need for a focus or passion hobby or interest in retirement.  You need to know what matters to you and do something that will make you feel needed.  That will help you build up that role into a more dominate part of your identify and contribute to you building out your retiree identity.  You should also consider leaning more on your other roles in your life as you make this transition for work role to retiree role.  So yes, spend more time with friends and your family (if you like them), help out in your community, and get more into your existing hobbies.  For example, find a club about one of your hobbies and join it (or at the very least try it out).

A note of caution.  This process can take a LONG time to complete and if you don’t know what you want to focus on in your retirement you might have a prolonged period of trying out various interests.  It can be easy to say to yourself: what’s the point?  After trying idea number five but don’t give in and keep trying as you will find something in the long run.  The answer might not be just one big thing but rather several smaller things together that works for you.  So perhaps your build your retiree identity with parts of being a brewer, writer and friend rather than just one dominate item.

So have you ever had issues with your identity for example during a career change or after a move?  If so, how did you get pass it?  Please share any other tips you have found that worked for you.

A blog about early retirement and happiness