Interview with the Canadian Capitalist

The Canadian Capitalist has been around for over two years now and is considered to be one of the best objective personal finance blogs in Canada. I recently got a hold of this blogger to discuss his blog.

CD: Your blog has been mentioned in Moneysense magazine, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail and too many blog rolls to count. How does it feel to be a respected Canadian blogger on personal finance?

CC: It is a humbling experience. My blog is still small, so it is very nice to be recognized.

CD: A few of your readers have commented on the quality of your writing and suggested you should write for a magazine. Would you?

CC: I haven’t considered writing columns for magazines so far but maybe I should consider such a part-time gig.

CD: After reading your blog for about a year now I can’t help but notice how easy you make writing a blog entry every weekday. After trying to do the same for a few months now I’m starting to understand the work involved. So how much time do you spend a week working on your blog?

CC: I spend at least an hour each day on the blog, so my weekly commitment would be at least five hours. It also depends a bit of how easy it is to write. Sometimes thoughts just become words effortlessly and sometimes I stare at the blank screen for an hour and couldn’t put two sentences together. I also spend a bit more time reading books, newspapers, online columns and other blogs, but I would be doing this anyway, so it doesn’t count as blog work.

CD: Do you find maintaining a balance between your family/work/blog difficult with the time commitment involved?

CC: I don’t find maintaining the work/blog/family balance difficult at all. I typically spend an hour writing after the kids have fallen asleep. I do find it difficult that with two young boys, a blog and a two-career family, I have very little time for other activities.

CD: Do you feel that your are more educated after writing this blog for just over two years? Why?

CC: I feel that writing the blog has been a good learning experience. I love blogging because I have a dialogue with my readers and I have learnt a great deal from their comments. For example, one reader pointed out that I could avoid currency conversion charges with TD Waterhouse, which would help me and others avoid those pesky fees.

CD: Do you think your blog has made a difference in other people’s lives? Why?

CC: Surprisingly, I have to say that I am not sure that I have made much of a difference in my reader’s lives. Most, if not all of my readers are themselves financially savvy and they would do just fine even if my blog never existed. Perhaps, in the future, as more people read the blog, I would be able to make a bit of a difference.

CD: With over two years of posts what are some of your favorite ones?

CC: Diversify, Diversify, Diversify highlights the perils involved in over weighting a hot sector and In Every Little Bit Adds Up, I share a story on how small amounts saved can lead to a serious chunk of cash.

CD: Numerous bloggers start a blog than burnout or go inactive in a few months. What advice do you have to bloggers just starting out?

CC: One advice I can give bloggers who are just starting out is to write because they love to and not for any other reason, especially money. I also suspect that most bloggers who start out underestimate the time commitment needed to write even one post every day. In a few months time, as the effort required becomes clear, most people get discouraged and quit. I would also suggest trying out blogging on one of the free sites first to see if it is something they would like to do.

CD: An in closing I have to ask, so when do you want to retire early?

CC: I want to retire (in the sense that I don’t have to really work for a paycheck) in my mid-fifties. I am 33 now and though I am pretty sure that I will be retired in another 20 odd years, I am not sure that I can plan for such a long term. I figure that if I set short-term goals for the circumstances I am reasonably sure about, the long-term will take care of itself.

CD: Thanks for your time CC. Tune in tomorrow folks for another blogger interview.

Year End Check Up: Net Worth Update

With the end of the year approaching I think it is time to take a snap shot of my net worth and find out how I’m doing. In general practice, even if you do nothing else for the entire year of tracking your net worth it is useful to get an end/start of year snap shot of your financial health so you can track your progress at least yearly.

Assests
House $198,000 (I recently did a survey of house listings in the area, apparently my last estimate of $195, 000 is a bit low since a house with 500 sq ft less that mine is selling for $198,000.)
RRSP $11,600
Wife’s RRSP $4800
Old Work Pension $10,500 (I’m almost embrassed to say I forgot about this in my first net worth calculation)
Wife’s Investment Account $4200
ING Savings Account $1000

Debt
Mortgage $149,900
Line of Credit $0 (As I mentioned before, I keep this as part of my emergancy fund.)

Therefore my net worth now stands at: $80,200.

Even with my ‘lost’ pension money that is still a nice little increase from my first net worth check back in Nov. See you in the New Year.

Book Review: How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free

As par of my vacation I’m getting caught up on some reading and I came across a great little book. How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski is a must read, but not for the usual reasons.

Typically I read books for investment advice, spending reductions and taxation. This one is different in the regards it focuses on that old question of “What are you going to do with all that time in retirement?” Ernie actually gives a great read on how to plan your leisure time to ensure you have a rewarding retirement.

It a pleasure to read a book that addresses the idea of how to have satisfying leisure time. I think most people spend far too much leisure time at passive activities such as watching TV. One example in the book is if you reduce your TV time by just one hour a day you will gain about 365 hours a year or about 20 extra days a year (based on a 18 hour day awake time) to do something more meaningful, such as reading or another hobby.

So next time you think you don’t have time for anything. Try to just find one hour a day and see what happens. (Yes, I know that an hour can seem like an impossible goal some days, but try for just 15 minutes and you still gain an extra 5 days a year on something.)

A blog about early retirement and happiness