Archive for Financial Independence

4 Places I Wouldn’t Want to Retire In

I have been thinking about retirement a lot lately. It seems that retirement is only associated with people in their 60’s, but now a days, with so many people earning a living online, it is much more attainable. Many people have travel blogs where they talk about their adventures of living abroad while earning online income.

It got me thinking about some of the places I wouldn`t retire in simply because of the cost of living. Check them out!

1. Toronto

As much as Toronto is a very nice city, it’s not one where I would retire. Although I was born here. I can never get use to the cold weather and how expensive things are here. Even food is very expensive here. When things are so expensive it causes much more stress, because people feel like they constantly have to keep up with the rising costs, and in a way we do if we want to survive. I mean unless you want to go on welfare, which is not going to happen in my boat, so I just have to find a cheaper place to retire.

2.  New York City

I have been to New York countless times, but I would not live there. The high cost of living, the traffic and the cold snowy winters are just some of the things that make New York City a big no-no for me. If it`s more expensive or colder than Toronto, it’s not for me. Living in a low cost of living area means my money will stretch that much further, and that won`t happen in New York.

3. London

I visited London England when I was a teenager, and I remember leaving that city saying I wouldn`t return. I was there for 3 weeks and it rained every single day until the day I was about to leave. The sun finally decided to poke its head on my way to the airport. It was as if the city was telling me to leave and that I was not wanted. Lol! Although shopping is great in England, it`s also another expensive city and the rain is just way too depressing for me. I am an optimist and I need sun to be happy.

4. Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for their beautiful beaches and their year round sunshine, but I have heard that the traffic there is horrendous. Although I have never been and definitely plan to visit one of these days, I am not so sure it`s a place where I would want to settle. I have heard good and bad things about the city and of course I would have to go and make my own judgments, but again it`s another expensive city that I would likely just visit.

Where are some places you wouldn`t retire in?

 

3 Tips To Save Money And Maximize Profits On Your Investment Property

Today we have a guest post. Enjoy!

With interest rates being so low, many people are purchasing investment properties. Although rates are low, there are still some other things an investor should be aware of before venturing out. Here are some tips to be aware of when buying an investnent 

1. Plan

Before you purchase your property it is important to plan ahead. Surveyors can be your best-friend in this initial stage because they will provide a concrete report of land-measurements, foundation structure and potential problems or opportunities for both renovations and resale. It is important to also consider the age and condition of the property. Investment properties should always be chosen based on analytical research not personal preference.

Don’t pick a suburb that has sentimental or stylistic appeal to you, instead factor in whether the location will attract quality tenants, will provide the gains and returns you require, and if it will appeal to the market that sustains prices in the long term.

Research the local area, the amenities, the average price of rent and how much the properties have appreciated in value over the past 5 years. Once you know the facts and figures about the property you can begin to plan ahead. When budgeting, remember to factor in everything from agent’s fees, legal fees, insurance, depreciation, and repairs.

Be very aware of tax deductions and know your legal rights. Identify what you are really trying to achieve. Are you chasing short term yields or long term capital growth? How can you best control your cash flow? 

2. Be renovation savvy

If you have purchased an investment property and plan to do it up for a quick resale, cutting costs on the renovation is crucial to making it a worthwhile project. Your mantra should always be “don’t overcapitalize” as this is the biggest mistake you can make.

Once again, make sure that you don’t renovate a property that you yourself would want to live in. Instead trade crazy colors or interesting details for neutral color palettes to attract a broader range of tenants or buyers. Don’t give in to trends, instead opt for timeless features so you won’t need to renovate or refurbish twice.

Focus on kitchen and bathroom renovations, since they will give you the best return on your investment. Other improvements you may want to consider will be the number of bedrooms, an updated outdoor living space, storage, such as built-in wardrobes, off-street parking and air-conditioning or heating. It is important to take into account the style of the surrounding properties as well as the local demographic.

If there are a lot of families, consider making the garden child-friendly. If your tenant or buyer is likely to be elderly, perhaps it is important to renovate your bathroom accordingly. Know which services to outsource and which to DIY. Remember that fixtures and fittings, as well as their installation, usually make up about 50% of the total cost of a renovation so source cheaper materials online to save dollars.

3. Timing is everything

Budding investors often make the mistake of acting impulsively and buying on a whim or being too cautious and missing out on fantastic opportunities. It is important not to fall into either category; make educated decisions and don’t sign anything until you have received adequate advice. But alternatively don’t be paralyzed by analysis; if everything tells you it is a worthy investment then don’t delay.

If you’re looking to sell your investment property always aim to sell in a financial year when your income is lower or you have sold other assets at a loss, which you can then use to offset your capital gain. Be ready to provide all the right documentation to your lender, such as proof of employment and anything that proves the rental property is a good investment so that you don’t miss out!

How about you, do you have any investment properties?

 

 

Bye Bye 2012!

I still can’t believe how fast 2012 came and went. So much happened in 2012 and I am really looking forward to a fabulous 2013!

Just to recap on some of my 2012 highlights

  • I got engaged
  • I planned a somewhat stress free wedding in 7 months
  • I got married
  • My site traffic was the highest it has ever been
  • I visited 5 countries
  • I taught myself how to use WordPress, which is huge since I am not techie at all. I did get some help, but I discovered a lot on my own
  • 2012 was the year I started to make some consistent online income. YAHH!!

I also had some goals in 2012, which were also my goals that were included in the millionaire club over at Budgets Are Sexy. Check them out below!

1. I’ve decided to save my old bi-weekly mortgage payment of $809, actually I’ll just round it up to $1000/bi-weekly – PASS

I actually exceeded this goal and saved a bit more. I was a bit nervous about hitting this one because I knew we were planning a wedding and I wasn’t sure if I was going to hit my goal, considering I never planned a wedding before. But thankfully we budgeted for this and stayed on track. I think what helped was we started saving for it before hubby proposed. I knew he was going to propose since we kept talking about how much we wanted to spend, so every pay we would both put money aside for our big day.

2. Max out my TFSA contribution of $5000/per year – PASS

I actually completed this one in March, this year the maximum contribution is $5500, so I plan to max it out again. I do need to find a better investment though, because I just have it sitting in a saving account. I will definitely change it up this year, so I can earn some more interest on my moula since I am only getting 1.40%.

3. Start and grow my side business (which is my online business) - PASS

I am most proud of this goal because I just started earning a steady side business income in October, exactly 11 months after staring my blog. I had some money coming in here and there, but nothing consistent, so I am extremely happy that I passed this goal. I am really looking forward to 2013 to grow my business even more.

4. Always spend less than I make – PASS

I definitely spent less than I made, thankfully in 2012 I was able to live way below my means.

5. Continue to contribute to my companies pension plan – PASS

This goal probably shouldn’t be here considering I have no choice on this.

Thank God I was able to stay on track in 2012. This year I am keeping things simple. I have one goal in 2013 and that is…………

  • To replace my full time income with my side business

That should keep me more than busy for 2013.

How did you do on your goals and what do you hope to accomplish in 2013?

Work From Anywhere In The World!

Have you ever thought of what your life would be like if you can earn money from any where in the world? How liberating would it be if you were location independent. Think about being able to stay in a country for a month or two just because you feel like it. Then leaving that country and going on a world cruise for another 6 months. All while money is coming in because you are able to work from anywhere.

If you’re a blogger the thought may have crossed your mind that if you can really monetize your blog, you may make enough money to actually do this. I know it may be hard to write a few articles while sitting on a beach, but it sure beats sitting at home in -20 degree weather writing an article.

Living in a country where cost of living is low, can really help if you want to live a location independent life. There are third world countries that have a much lower cost of living than North America which means you don’t have to make a wack of money to live comfortably.

Not having a mortgage, car loan, credit card, or line of credit debts can also help to live a location independent lifestyle. If you have no debt, your expenses are minimized, plus most of the money you make will be yours versus having to split it with creditors. I think many people stay with a job they hate just because they have debt. It really is bondage! It seems like it’s a master slave type of relationship with your creditors. I guess that’s what Proverbs 22:7 means when it says the borrower is slave to the lender. I see it time and time again where people feel trapped by their debt and don’t end up living the life they truly want.

What would it take for you to live a location independent life?

A New Life, A New Beginning!

Have you ever thought of living in another city, or even another country? Where would you live, what would you do? Would you only move if you had a secure job lined up, or would you just take a chance and move?

I happen to live in a very multi-cultural city where I get a chance to meet people from all over the world. It’s very rare when I actually meet people who were born in Canada. I love meeting people and am often fascinated to hear their stories on why and how they came here.

I have met many people who moved here with the shirts on their back, these people just wanted to get out of their country. Then there are others that just took a leap of faith and moved here with their whole family, with no job lined up. They had a few dollars in their pocket and made the decision that they were going to start over and make the best of it.

It amazes me when people do this. It can be scary, but so liberating! Often times these people are the ones that obtain much success in life. They take a chance and are determined to make something of their lives.

What makes a person give it all up and move to another city or another country without knowing anyone and having no clear picture on what they’re going to do. I’ve asked several different people this and have gotten several different responses. The most popular are:

  • They wanted a better life for their children
  • Living conditions were not safe in their country 
  • They knew more was out there and just took a chance 
  • They just wanted a fresh start

There are of course individuals who move here to go to University or have a job opportunity, but I wanted to focus on the individual’s who didn’t have a job lined up or an acceptance letter to go to school.

Would you pack up everything you have and just move to a new country?

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