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Retiring at 40 FIRE!

Yes, I have finally decided to retire at 40, and I am really stoked about it. When I was younger, I only dreamed about this, but now I think 40 is really going to happen. FIRE is real and you can do it too!

Before you check the link, yes you are reading The Canadian Personal Finance Place. No, I have not lost my mind, I am just having fun. Finally, the previous statement is true and will hopefully happen soon.

Wait! You are over 60! This cannot be possible!

My age is over 60, but this all depends on your perspective on age. No, I am not saying, you are as young as you feel. I am saying from an Arithmetic perspective I can still retire at 40.

Decimal is the normal counting base accountants and such work with. Computer Scientists tend to be able to count using many different bases. Binary, Octal and Hexadecimal arithmetic are skills I still have today. I am quite proud of this skill. Allow me to demonstrate:

  • 20 in decimal is 10 times 2 (two groupings of 10)
  • but 20 in octal is 8 times 2 plus 4, thus is 0o24
  • and 20 in hexadecimal is 16 times 1 plus 4, thus 0x14

When I was in my twenties, I wanted to retire by 40, but I was hoping it was in Octal, thus 32 in decimal.

When I reached 32 (decimal) I hoped to retire at 40 (decimal)

Now I am over 60 (decimal), I think I can retire at 40 (hexadecimal) (or 64 decimal).

Not what you expected? Sorry FIRE folks, but also remember values and numbers can be represented a lot of ways. Always ask if you don’t understand the values being presented to you.

And: Never give up on your dreams!


Sometimes a Tweet can turn into something more.

Happy Anniversary

Yes, I started this back in 2005, hard to believe it. Still Crazy after all these years, I suppose.


Investing: And He’s an expert!

Back in 2006, I read a lot more columns on investing. Garth Turner was an expert then, but he got the Nortel thing very wrong. Always take this kind of advice with a large grain of salt. He was also a former Minister in charge of the CRA as well.

“If you own Nortel, or a mutual fund holding it, don’t bail out now… If you do not own Nortel, then this is the time to start accumulating it.”

– Garth Turner November 27th 2000

So Garth Turner is a respected Canadian Financial person, and he got it so wrong, it hurts, so remember that when someone gives you a “sure-fire” stock tip. There are no sure-fire stock tips (yes, from me too).

Oh, and in case you were wondering what other exciting things Garth has said:

“I am constantly amazed at the assumption people make that they can manage their own finances… most people can’t. They don’t have a clue how to pick stocks.”

– Garth Turner in a 2002 personal investment column regarding those unfortunate enough to have lost on Nortel

Just remember that anyone can TELL you what to do with your money (including me), but eventually, you have to live with the decisions, so you had better be doing some research of your own!

Of course, there is the “legend” of J.P. Morgan:

Legend has it that when the elevator operator in Baruch’s office building started asking him for stock tips in August 1929, the financier knew it was time to get out of the market. He was dead right!

I found these quotes on Rick Mercer’s Blog, a great blog with lots of interesting information (I think).


Chutzpah in Job Interviews

I have written before about Chutzpah (see for Joys of Yiddish full explanation). The phrase is used to describe a specific type of person. Audacity would be the closest English equivalent word.

Many years ago I was interviewing for a job in a very interesting group. I had heard of the leader of this group but didn’t know him personally. When he called me for an interview, I was very happy to come in and chat.

The interview seemed a little stunted in the discussion. It was mainly this person pontificating about his views on how technology would go in the future, but having been to many interviews, I didn’t think much of it. I asked a few questions to keep my interviewer going. I think the more an interviewer talks, the better the interview seems to go. I asked open-ended questions as follow-ups to his statements, and time seemed to fly by, with me saying very little (of substance).

There was a pause, so I felt obliged to ask my interviewer another open-ended question. I asked, “What kind of person are you looking for to fill this job?”.

Ask “The” Question

This is an excellent time-wasting question for an interview. Most interviewers don’t really have a clear answer for that question. If they are very confident like this chap, the answer can take up to 10 minutes. All you do as a candidate is point out how you are that exact person (a trick I learned long ago).

Sure enough, this interviewer ran on and on about someone who could create symbiotic technology concepts, and show an ability to create a fused capability delivered cross-domain in the pike position,etc., etc., etc.,. I noted the catchphrases being used. I was formulating my follow-up to this statement when the interviewer completely de-railed me with an idea.

Don’t get “The” Answer

It started off with the phrase, “If I could sum up what I am looking for in a candidate for the team, I’d have to use a word I learned a while ago. It’s a Jewish word…”. I fought the urge to point out that it would have been Hebrew or Yiddish. I figured that as long as he didn’t say “Schmuck“, I was ok, but what he did say was entertaining.

“The word that describes it best is someone with CHOO-TS-PUH…”, (I spelled the word phonetically so you could get the gist of this story). Now the word chutzpah is pronounced HH-oo-tzpa (along those lines at least), and the CH is most definitely not pronounced as CH. I must have had a bewildered look (it was actually the look I have when I am attempting to not burst into laughter), because the interviewer proceeded to give me an explanation of chutzpah (a relatively correct one).

I sat there using all of my inner strength attempting to:

  1. Not correct this individual on pronunciation because he seemed positive that he was correct.
  2. Not burst out laughing at the mis-step (terrible form for a job interview)
  3. Figure out whether I wanted this job.

There was a long pause at the end of the interviewer’s ramble and I felt he was expecting me to respond, so I carefully responded how I fit the bill of this kind of person without actually saying the word out loud, for fear of offending this individual. After summing up, the interviewer then had to recap by saying, “So you think you have this CHOO-TS-PUH, do you?”, again, I fought hard to not burst out laughing.

Am I That Guy

My only way to respond was, “Yes, I think I am that guy.”.

I didn’t get the job, but I did get an interesting anecdotal story that I tell sometimes.


How to Motivate Savings

Consumers rarely do anything unless they feel they get something out of it. I keep wondering what savings motivating system banks could put in place?

Canadians are notorious for loving rewards systems, where they can accumulate points for later purchases, maybe something like that? A points system that would pay more monthly, the more money you had in your savings account?

I think I am on to something here, if banks paid people these points that they could use to purchase things, that might motivate people to save more money.

A Savings Motivating Refinement

What if this point system allowed you to swap points for money? Better still what if you didn’t accumulate points for having more savings, you accumulated money? Money that would be added to your account balance, and then the next month you might accumulate more money because of this added money?

This is possibly the greatest idea ever to motivate consumers to save money, isn’t it?

Click here to find out more about this Interesting Idea

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Who Green-Lit this Tom-Foolery ?

This is a homogenized version of an expression I have picked up from Letterkenny Problems, and I feel it is something that you can use in your financial life as well. So many times folks try to explain to you about financial things that you know are wrong, and this turn of phrase works for me.

Wayne is curious who Green Lit this Financial Tom-F**kery ?

Who Green-lit this financial Tom-F**kery ?

  1. Selling an 85 year old woman a leverage hedge fund? Who Green-lit this Tom-F**kery? Most likely the investment sales-douche who needed to make their commissions for that quarter, is my guess. “Give your head a shake“.
  2. You bought a Corolla and signed up for 7 year financing. Who Green-lit that Tom-F**kery ? The car is a good one, but you really want to amortize a $22,000 car over 7 years? If you can’t afford it in 4 years, you shouldn’t be buying it at all. “That’s a Hard No!“, on that contract.
  3. An acquaintance claims they have made a fortune on a pyramid-sales scheme, and wants you to join in and be rich like them. “You want to blow smoke, go have a dart“, don’t include me in your pyramidal sales stupidity. I buy my soap at the Wal-Mart.
  4. You plan on getting married so you ask the invitees for cash only as gifts to pay for the wedding, or worse you set up a GoFundMe page so that you can pay for it.  “Oh I’m stomping the brakes, put that idea right through the f**king windshield.”
  5. The government allowing various firms to claw away more than 20% of someone’s disability tax credit? If they did it themselves it would have cost nothing, so what services do they offer that can add up to over $10K in fees? “What’s the nature of that, David Suzuki?”

Still Have Issues Squirrely Dan?

As you can see this turn of phrase is quite useful in your day-to-day financial dealings. I encourage folks to use it, if not just to see the reactions of the folks your saying it to. If you still have a problem, go have a Puppers.


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