Category: Random Writes

How to retire? Or Financial Idependance…

So what’s the difference between retiring and financial independence? For the longest time I thought they were the same. But, it turns out, there is a difference. When you retire, you stop working. When you achieve financial independence you never stop working… but the work you do is not work, it’s passion.

For years now Honey and I would talk about retirement, the day we would have enough money set aside to last us until we die or die trying. But, in reality, as I recently discovered, that’s not what we were really looking for. What we thought was retirement (those days in the future where we could do what we wanted to do) was actually a longing for financial independence.  So, recently we’ve changed our goals. Let me break it down for you.

Our previous and misconceived goal of retirement was this.

  1.  Save up as much money into our RRSPs and Pension at work. (401 k plan in the US )
  2. Pay off the mortgage as soon as possible
  3. Be debt free. That means no debt what so ever except basic monthly expenses.
  4. Since our jobs had a great medical plan, we would get our teeth fixed, and that included braces and getting all of our old fillings taken out and fixed up as good as new.
  5. Get the kids out of the house (by teaching them to save and be independent)
  6. Sell the house, make a profit, buy a new smaller house.
  7. Put the remainder of the money into our Tax Free Savings Account.
  8. Quit our jobs and live within our means
  9. Do what we want to do. Go for walks, hit the pool, write, do art etc.

But then I discovered as we got closer, or should I say are getting closer, our goal was 55 years old. (That’s only a 5 years away as I write this.) Things started to change. I have a friend of mine who is financially independent, he buys apartment building with his company and he loves to help people understand the value of owning “doors” (every door represents an apartment or living space.) I’m pretty sure he’s close to a thousand by now… anyhow, he was telling me I should get into the market with him. “Come on man jump in the water is warm and the profits are good.” And I believe him. He’s an honest and gracious man who has made all of his money honestly, and none of it came easy. He used to live on the streets. He worked his ass off to be where he is.

The problem is that he loves what he does, sure, I could invest some of my RRSP’s into his business and make some money to get me to retirement sooner, but is that what drives me? Is this what I want? I’m not saying in the next couple of years I won’t do it, I never know what I’ll learn tomorrow. I, like him, want to do things that bring me joy and stoke the passions of my fire. So, what is my fire? Well, that where it gets complicated. My wife says I have “passions for the moment” or “I’m on fire for this subject right now”. Being ADHD I find it hard to stay focused on one thing and to tell the truth I don’t want to stay focused on any one thing… so, what am I to do?

Ok, hold on I’m getting distracted from my main goal here. What I discovered recently after talking with Financially independent friends and acquaintances is that I don’t want to retire, I don’t want to stop working, I simply want to work and do the things I have passion for and I need those things to bring me in a passive and direct income. Only then can I cut the shackles of the 8 hour work day that I call my life today. (not that there is anything wrong with that, I will write about that later.)

A friend of mine the other day said this to me, “What does success look like for you? And I don’t want you to tell me a dollar amount, I want to tell me what it is… what is life like as a successful you?” Well, I’m all like, “I don’t know I don’t want to do anything and I want to do everything”. “Tell me about he says”.

Ok, what does my life look like for me to be successful? Here goes.

I wake up in the morning, and look over to see my beautiful wife laying next to me. We get up have coffee and go for a walk and we brainstorm our day, then hit the pool to sit in the hot tub and pop into the sauna. I chat with the regulars and discuss life. We get back home around 11 am and my wife starts to work on her art (what ever that is for the day. she sculpts draws, paints….what ever). This is important because watching her do her art brings her great joy and thus brings me great joy. I on the other hand begin doing what I’m doing. What is that? Well one day I’m doing my cooking show for my YouTube channel, or maybe I’m doing my Building Crap with Chip show, or maybe I’m working on my blog or my novel or poems or short stories or I’m getting a call from some company that needs my ideas and they call me for a brainstorm session or I’m helping solve the problems of pollution and homelessness or Honey and I are working on our comic strip sketches of life or I’m helping my kids with their buisnesses or I’m working on my new song with the band I just put together or… I think you get the idea.

For me a successful life is doing what I want to do right now, but how do I make a living doing those things? I have no degree in marketing or social work, I do everything half ass cause I think that’s how it should be done. Well, not everything half ass. But, if I want to be financially independent, I must find a way to make these things happen. But, as soon as I am locked into one thing I want to do another. this is my life with ADHD, and I like it that way. I love the fact that I don’t want to focus too much time on any one thing… I love it.

So, where does that bring me? How do I do it? I will try to post on this subject over the coming days and months. I will work toward financial independence and see if I get there. I started listening to this one podcast call Choose FI and I have asked my kids to do the same, so far I like it. With friends and podcast and a little more education I may just reach my goals… I’m really starting to believe I will.

Ok, that’s it for now, see you soon. Hopefully? 😉

Reducing the impact of homelessness

Ok, so, before I go to far I’ll start by saying that “I don’t think this will end or cure the homeless problem. It’s just a start to ease the homeless problem.”

When it comes to homelessness there are a variety of issues that need to be dealt with and there are a number of reasons why people end up homeless. Some people have mental issues some are severe and others are mild. Some people mental issues are so great that holding down a full or even part time job is almost impossible. Others may be able to hold down jobs but need some help and guidance when working.

My “solution” is targeted at those people who end up homeless due to circumstances, like loosing a job, a divorce, a death in the family, violence in the home etc… These people end up homeless and a lot of time end up using drugs and alcohol to cope with the situation. With a little help these folks can make a comeback and be productive members of society. Can the mentally ill be helped? Of course they can, but my focus today is on the latter.

The cost of dealing with homeless drug and alcohol infested humans is great. I’ve read some articles that the cost is somewhere around 50 to 100 thousand a year. These costs are associated with emergency hospital visits, ambulances, crime and policing, increase in drug trafficking and more.

So, how could a city better use tax payers money? Here’s one idea I had.

Imagine a building in your downtown, this building has four separate areas.

  1. Sleeping quarters: This part of the building would house a specific “type” of homeless people. This “type” would be people who have the ability to hold down at minimum a part-time job, say, 15 hours a week or more. These folks would be given a room the size would be big enough to hold a bed, a dresser and a small table. Bathrooms would be shared. There would be a sleeping quarters for both men and women.
  2.  The recycling depot: This area would be where people could bring in their bottles for recycling and collect their money.  The recycling center would offer two things.
    1. You could get money for your bottles at the going rate.
    2. You could get “credit” for your bottles at two time the going rate. (more about the credit system later.
  3. The thrift store: One way to fund the project would be through the sale of used goods.
  4. The restaurant: The last block of the building would be used as a restaurant. Where people could come support the building and where homeless people could come and eat.

A little more details about the whole works. The idea would be that the entire building would be run with the help of those living there. Before I go to far, I would like to says that the numbers are throwing out are just examples of time and money, and that I use them for illustration purposes only. More time may be needed for different folks.

Each of the departments will need staff, the recycling center would need about 7 employees with  3 managers, thrift store would need say 10 employees and 3 managers and the restaurant would need 15 employees with 3 managers.

The entire operation would be run by the homeless people living in the sleeping quarters. These people would be trained in every department. First they would start at the recycling center, then move to the thrift store then to the restaurant. Each person would have 6 to 8 months training in each of the departments. This would give them life skills and help them build self worth, confidence and a resume. For the first eight weeks they will be paid by “credit” and then make the move to real money.

Each individual will be given a “Credit Card” with their picture on it, so that it can’t be used by others. The account will be monitored so that if they lose their card they can get a new one without loosing the credit they’ve earned. This credit card can be gotten by anyone who returns bottles at the recycling center and credit can be earned by doing other things. (bringing in used needles or trash off the streets for example)

The restaurant will be used as a restaurant and a soup kitchen, if you can’t afford a meal, it will be given to you. If you have credit you can use it to support the staff. The restaurant will used daily a la carte menus that will change depending on supplies that are available. When homeless people come in they will be seated at the table and asked what they want. They will be served by bussers and wait staff. I believe this will give them a sense of value and lift their spirits.

The thrift store will offer clothing in the same way, free if you can’t afford it and the use of credit. The store will also offer a laundry mat. This will allow people to come and have a shower, and wash their clothes. Small lockers will be available for storage of clothing and some small supplies.

As people learn and are able to move out of the building new people will come in and be trained on a regular basis. What I’ve given here is just a basic blue print for the system. I have not mentioned the training, schooling, reading, writing and public speaking courses that will be need to ensure the success of all people.

Sometimes all you need is just a little boost, someone to show you love and compassion, and then miracles can happen.

Chip and Honey Toodee

I’m the bad driver.

I just realize something for the first time the other day, I am that bad driver. I mean I must be… I have made my share of driving mistakes, like: not seeing someone in my blind spot as I try to merge into another lane or seeing cars move next to me and they have a turning light and I start to move forward because I think the light is green or I start backing up and don’t see the car behind me right away etc… So, I must be the bad driver that pisses you off.

Every day I hear people tell me about how no one knows how to drive, how everyone should stay off the road, how blah, blah, blah, blah… No one ever admits to being a bad driver. So, I guess it’s me.

I just wanted to say I’m sorry and I’m working on it.

Chip

How I know a pack of smokes hasn’t gone up in price in at least 30 years.

Living in Canada and hearing all the complaints about the price of cigarettes and how they’re always going up in price… and the damn government making so much money on it etc, etc, etc…

Well I’m here to give you some good news. The price of cigarettes really hasn’t gone up like you think. But before I get to that let me clarify a couple of things about the taxes the government collects on those smokes of yours, and the cost of smoking.

These numbers are from 2012 so you can imagine the costs have gone up. Smoking costs Canada about 16 Billion dollars a year with 40% of that being direct health care costs. See, in Canada we have universal health care, that means you can walk into a hospital and get treatment with no bill to follow you. Ok, so, 6 to 7 billion dollars a year just for health care.

Smoking and fires? Yup falling a sleep in bed while smoking, tossing that smoke out the window? Yup, that costs about 75 million dollars a year. We can add all kinds of other costs, like sick days missed, early death etc…

So, how much tax money does the Canadian government bring in? Well, about 8 Billion dollars a year. As you can see, not enough to cover the costs that come with smoking.

Ok, my point was that the cost of a pack of cigarettes really hasn’t gone up in 30 years, here’s how I see it. It usually costs one hour of minimum wage to buy a pack of smokes. When I was making 4 bucks an hour back in my younger days I paid about 4 bucks for my smokes. Today a pack is anywhere from 11 to 15 bucks a pack and guess where minimum wage is across the country? I’m sure you can guess.

If you don’t want to pay for smokes quit. I don’t smoke anymore, but I do like to indulge in a drink. If the government taxes that sin to the point that I start complaining, well guess what? I’ll just shut my mouth and quit drinking. I’ll put the money somewhere else.

A final word for ya, if the Canadian Government wanted to break even on the cost of smoking, they would have to charge you $40 a pack, and that’s where Australia is heading. Think about that.

Canada votes 2019, and I’ll make a bold prediction.

Well kids, it’s time to vote… that means about 60% of you will stay home binging Netflix and wonder what “some” people are talking about the next day. Get off your lazy privileged ass and get out and vote, that’s all of you out there from 19 to 99 (or older if you can make it). It sickens me to see adults of all ages to lazy to vote. I have rarely heard of a good excuse. Go out and ruin your ballot if you want to, but go out and express your rights.

Ok, calm down Chip! Here’s my prediction. I see a probable Conservative minority government with the Green party holding the balance of power. I also predict that the Green party will achieve historic representation in the house. I wouldn’t have dreamed of voting Green, not even in my worst nightmares… but, it so happens that I am seriously leaning that way. Why? Let me just say that I usually vote based on who will probably be finance minister and how the Leader of the party looks at budgeting and financing. That said my vote is not owned by any one party. I see it as my right to vote for who I think will do the best, or the least damage. I’ll be clear I did not vote for Trudeau, his incompetence was clear from the beginning.

So, why a Conservative minority with a slight chance of a small majority? It’s simple. Trudeau is useless, the only reason he got the job is because of his dad and he’s pretty. That’s right, kids voted for him because he’s pretty. My daughters couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t vote for him. Now, their are readying to vote for the first time and guess what, they’re not voting for him now that they’ve seen the light. Or, they’re just lying to me. Both are a strong possibility.

Ok, back to why I think the Cons will win. My theory is as follows… Conservative voters rarely change their ways. Liberal voters may go back and forth between parties. I think that a lot of people who would’ve voted NDP and or Liberal will transfer that vote to the Green party. Why? Because they don’t like what the Cons are bringing to the table, they don’t think Pierre’s son is doing anything other than traveling, surfing, jogging and photo bombing. The NDP? Who? Singh has a long way to go to get anywhere? I have no idea who is? I think the greens will be the cry in the wilderness, they’ll be the vote that says, enough is enough.

Now, I did throw out the idea that they might even form opposition, if there is enough of a rebellion in the country… but Canada is no Quebec. See the election when the NDP took over that Province… That’s a rebel move. If Canadians stand somewhat together, like we did behind the Raptors. We might and I say might be able to send a message to all the parties of Canada.

Voting Green has never been my first choice hell, it was even a choice. Sure I like one or two things in their mission statement, but as a ruling party they would destroy our country. That said, it’s always easier to promise everything when you have no power. So, I will probably vote Green, not because I like them, but because a strong message needs to be sent to all the parties. Enough is enough. It’s time to scare the crap out of them.

 

Chip Toodee

Loud and rude neighbour…

So, we have this loud and rude neighbour, well, I shouldn’t even call him a neighbour because they live about a block away. Our house is set on a hill so we can see them from our back yard, and we can hear them.

These people tend to play their music very loud, so loud in fact that even when all our windows are shut and we close our doors we can still hear the music… did I mention my bedroom is in the front of the house?

What to do? Well we’ve asked them to turn the music down, but this pretty much resulted in a “go fuck yourself” moment. Another neighbour asked and the neighbour pulled is pants down stuck out his bare ass and said he could kiss it. Calling the police worked after 11pm, but the cops don’t show until after midnight some nights.

And so night after night we all call the cops and eventually the music and screaming stops, but sometimes not until 2 am.

Anyhow, we noticed that for the past week, the music and noise had stopped. Maybe calling the cops worked? Yesterday a cop shows up at the door. WTF? He says… “You know that loud and obnoctious person living down the street? Seems someone went into their yard last week and stole all of their gazebo furniture.” The cop had this huge smile on his lips… “Someone left a note; it said, We’ve got your furniture, when you stop partying every night and turn your music down, we’ll bring it back.” I love it, this neighbour who every they are, are my heroes. Well played Moriarty…

Happy New Year 2019

So, what will 2019 bring us? What will it bring you? If you have goals, write them down and remember to break them down into “little wins”, many “little wins”, brings on big change. If you fail or fall back, ti’s ok. Failure is the number 1 way to reach success.

Don’t fear failure, fear being at the exact place you are right now next year.

Henry ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

So, if you want to quit smoking, lose weight, smile more, have better relationships with those around you, exercise… the list goes on… start by changing your habits, by creating new ones. When you realize that you are back to your old habits, stop, realize it, then start your “new” habit again. Keep doing this and eventually your new habit won’t be new any more, it’ll just be.

Good luck, with all your dreams this year! I’ve got a few of my own I’m working on…

More than anything else though, I wish all of you to have good and healthy relationships with those around you. I think Jesus said it well when he said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Happy new year to all of you.

Help the homeless and reduce litter!

There are things I do and don’t do. If I see a homeless person sitting there day in and day out just asking for a hand out, I don’t hand out. But, when I see a homeless person walking the streets and picking up crap and bottles from the streets and ditches, I’ll stop them and hand them a few bucks and thank them for the hard work they are doing and encourage them to keep it up. Surprisingly enough (to me) I have received a few hugs for this gesture and that’s ok with me… (considering I’m not much of a hugger).

Anyhow, the reason I’m here today is to talk about an idea I’ve had for years. The idea is simple, when you go the store, be it a 7/11 or a coffee shop or what ever and grab a drink or bag of chips or a chocolate bar etc… there should be a deposit fee. I know this will upset a lot of people out there who don’t want to pay more for the crap they eat, but it’s time you suck it up. I am so tired of seeing all this stuff in the ditches and if there was a way to charge a deposit on this stuff, not unlike the bottle return fees, image how clean the city would be.

A cup of coffee 5 cents, the lid 2 cents, bag of chips, chocolate bar or candy wrapper 2 cents. I know a few people in my neighbourhood who collect bottles for extra income/ living income who would be making some good money, due to all the lazy people who prefer to toss their crap in the streets. I could go on… like, charge me 5 cents for a bag at the grocery store? You better refund me 5 cents when I bring it back, straws, cigarette packs on and on and on.

Think of all the things we could add fees to? Like I said, this will piss some people off, but, it may also prevent people from littering, and maybe even slow down the amount of junk food you eat… did I mention fast food wrappers, I need to stop here, but you think about it.

 

Chip and Honey Toodee

Times they’re still changing.

Sung to the music of Bob Dylan’s Time they are a changin’

 

Come gather around people with all your cell phones

Your texting and tweeting but you’re really alone

And your uploads and downloads to slow you bemoan

and the faster speeds you are cravin’

You think that you’re living except you’re really a drone

It’s your life you are exchanging

 

Come trollers and haters, you’re not women not men

It may never change, if so, I ask when

And you judge everything, by the color of skin

It’s your own lives that you are now maimin’

You think that your clean, you’re living in sin

It’s your life you are exchanging

 

Come sinners and righteous, the big and the small

It’s time that we stand, and start feeling appalled

There’s an upgrade here that must be now installed

We are all disengagin’

keep charging you cell phone that’s how it forestalls

It’s your life you are exchanging

 

Come users and losers let’s make a stand

It’s our minds and our hearts we need to expand

Not data or memory of that thing in your hand

Your future is what you are waging

Raise your head look around please don’t misunderstand

It’s your life you are exchanging

 

Don’t wait for the time, when we stand aghast

Posing questions that should have been asked

Time is precious, you can’t live in the past

I despair that I’m not persuading

Because time moves and it only moves fast

It’s your life you are exchanging

Written by Patrick Clermont