Reader Case: Home Owner Can’t Stop Spending

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Wanderer

The Wanderer retired from his engineering job at a major Silicon Valley semiconductor company at the age of 33. He now travels the world, seeking out knowledge from other wealthy people, so that he can teach people how to become Financially Independent themselves.
Wanderer
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Hey all!

It’s Friday, and you know what that means: Reader Case time!

But before we begin, if you’re going to write into us asking us to analyze your finances, please follow the guidelines here. It’s to ensure that when we get to your reader case, we have enough information to actually come up with a meaningful response. As much as we’d like to help everyone, the days where we had the time to correspond back-and-forth with people asking for missing information is long gone. If we get to your case and see any information missing, your reader case will not get picked. This isn’t because we’re trying to be mean, but at this point there are so many people asking us for our (free) financial advice, that if your case is missing any information we have no choice but to ignore it and move on to someone who we can actually help.

Hi!

I am a Millennial Boomer – 54 years old – spent like crazy on really nothing…we do own a house with a mortgage still! Renegotiated mortgage over 5 times and it went from $250 to $450k due to renos, childcare, a couple of Europe trips and just the high cost of living in Vancouver. Bank has made millions from us in interest. Did I mention I birthed 3 boys? All good dudes, however struggling with what to do with their lives. We are trying to educate them and us with sites like yours! If only there was Internet when I was in my 20’s and I could have learned all this stuff!

Well, I have finally had the epiphany and our youngest is finishing high school in 4 years so we need to start actioning a plan.

We put our $250k combined RRSP in a mutual fund – MER 2.4% on the advice of our bank’s mutual fund advisor.

I did just open a self directed account in June 2017 and put $10K in there from the $250K much to my mutual fund advisor’s chagrin. He thinks we need to stay in the mutual he has suggested for us.

However, I have not touched the $10K yet – it is sitting there in the self directed account and I have been on WAY too many financial sites trying to determine how to start investing.

So I wanted to perform a test with my $10K but became immobilized. So I have just drifted on to your site and you are doing the $10K workshop!  So I thought I would follow along and then hopefully instil this knowledge on to my kids. I already forwarded them your web site but you know…it’s from Mum so probably they’re not reading.

Here is my question to you both.

We could sell our house today. – Worth about $1.5M We still have mortgage of $450k and we are paying $2000 a month in mortgage PLUS $900 a month in property tax!!!!  We are both still employed and combined income of about $8500 a month after tax.

I know you cannot give advice but could you run some scenarios?  I feel like we have been such idiots. We bought into the buying house, having kids, giving them music lessons, ski lessons, schooling etc. only to find out that the boys are not interested in education right now and are struggling financially themselves. They have low paying jobs. One did 2 years university in literature only to feel disgusted with the bureaucracy of university. Now he is the quintessential low paid barista hipster. My middle son (the rebel) HATED high school and is now learning the ropes doing labour jobs at $20 bucks an hour.  My husband and I did not have any extra curricular growing up so we thought by giving our kids an enriched childhood that they would go on to university, become critical thinkers and find their way. We preached avoiding mainstream popular culture as much as possible but maybe too much.

My husband dreams of having a cheap sailboat ($22K) and then $500 a month moorage plus fixing fixing fixing! I dream of FI and travelling with him.

Can you run scenarios? If it is a too tall an ask, can you just tell me if you recommend banking with Tangerine or another institution that is not so corrupt. I know!!  One extreme to another…

If we sell our home in 4 years…should we just do couch potato portfolio now with the $250k? Should we sell now and do couch potato with the $1M profit and start our travelling now? Take son along for the ride and homeschool? We will need a home base of some sort. We could purchase in another cheaper area. Comox or Gibsons (half the cost of Vancouver real-estate) or we could rent in that area. I know crazy ass questions and I don’t expect you to answer, but perhaps comment.

You much get these kind of queries from people all over the world who hit your site. Are you gobsmacked by our utter stupidity?!

Last question- Now that ETFs are becoming SO popular do you think they are at risk of  imploding? I guess not if they simply follow the index but I do find it curious how there are thousands of ETFs following index.

Thank you for your generosity and kindness in setting up your site and not charging anyone.  If there is such thing as KARMA you will get repaid one hundred fold in happiness. You both ROCK!!! I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for what you are both doing.

Warmest Regards,

SpendyHomeowner

Your gross/net annual family income

  • Gross: $150,000 annual
  • Net: $8500 a month, $102,000 annual

Monthly Expenses

  • $2,000.00 mortgage ($450K mortgage at 2.8%)
  • $870.00 property tax (North Vancouver!)
  • $1,500.00 Groceries
  • $300.00 Heat & hydro
  • $150.00 Cell phone
  • $150.00  House insurance
  • $150.00  Car insurance
  • $150.00 Gas
  • $90.00 Internet
  • $10.00  Net flix
  • $75.00 Clothes
  • $500.00 Vacation
  • $50.00 House repairs
  • $150.00 misc (entertainment, dinner out, unexpected..)
  • $100.00 Interest on credit line of $49K (sailboat we that we are in process of selling – no bites yet)
  • $150.00 Youngest boy activities (school stuff, piano, 1 week camp, dance – he’ll be working part time job soon)
  • Total: $6,395

Debts

  • $450k mortgage
    • 2 years @ 2.8%
    • Your minimum monthly payment: $980 bi-weekly, $1960 monthly
    • Outstanding balance: $425k
  • $49k home equity credit line (sailboat we purchased but are now selling)
    • 3% interest
    • $100 monthly payment
    • Outstanding balance: $49K ( will be done once we sell boat)

Any fixed assets you have (house, car, etc.)

  • Husband’s Honda van
  • Luckily I currently have company car but will probably lose my job soon due to ageism.
  • House worth about $1.5M right now

And investments or savings you have (cash, bonds, stocks, etc.)

  • $125k each spouse in Mutual Funds

OK so to summarize, here’s SpendyHomeowner’s top-level numbers.

Summary
Income (after tax) $8,500 per month
Expenses $6,395 per month
Assets $250,000 RRSPs, $1.5M house
Debt $449,000 mortgage + HELOC

Hoo boy. Where do we begin?

First of all, I had a sneaking suspicion I wasn’t going to like their numbers from the line they “spent like crazy on really nothing.” That’s…rarely a good sign. And they didn’t disappoint. Their savings is stuck in a stupid mutual fund with a 2.4% MER. Most of their net worth is stuck in a house. And they seem to have used the house as a piggy bank, taken out a HELOC, and then used it to buy a boat (!) which they now regret and are now trying to unload. And on top of that they appear to have a bunch of listless kids working menial jobs with no direction in their lives.

OK, good…

Now, I’m not going to comment on the kids thing. I’m not a parent, so I can’t give parenting advice. On the plus side they don’t seem to be leaching off the parents as both are earning their own money, and the parents seem open to selling the house so it looks like they’re not tying SpendyHomeowner’s location down too too much. So I’m gonna leave the kids to their own devices here.

Learn How To Invest

First of all, regardless of what you end up doing here, you’re going to have to learn how to invest. I’m glad you’re reading the workshop, because that’s a great place to start. If you’re going to retire, you’re going to HAVE to build and manage your own portfolio. A mutual fund with a 2.4% MER is not going to cut it in retirement. That fee is eating up more than half of your 4% withdrawal!

I was especially annoyed at the line “on the advice of our bank’s mutual fund advisor.” This is what I hate about bank advisors. They will never tell you what the right thing to do for you. Only what the right thing to do for them. These guys have a hand in your retirement savings cookie jar and will continuously steal from you each and every year.

That being said, you do have some time so you don’t need to do anything drastic right away. I’d advise that you take that $10k and try to implement a low-cost Index portfolio like the one we write about in the workshop. Looking at the fund prospectus (I’ve removed the fund code from the above email since I don’t want to implicate any particular bank), this fund is trying to replicate a 60 equity/40 fixed income portfolio. Which is super convenient, since that happens to be the allocation we did in the portfolio.

So when you’ve read enough and are feeling confident enough, go ahead and make your buys with that $10k in the self directed account. Then sit back and wait. If you did it correctly, you should see your $10k mini-portfolio gradually outperform the mutual fund over time. In fact, it should outperform the mutual fund by about 2.4%, which is the MER you’re saving.

And once you start seeing this and get sick of paying your fund advisor a fee for doing such a crappy job, feel free to liquidate your holdings, move it all over to your self-directed account, and shove it into your much better, low-cost Indexed ETF portfolio.

Then as those bank advisors start freaking out over the commissions they’re losing, feel free to flip them off on your way out the door.

To Sell Or Keep?

So now the big question: What to do about this house? While it’s appreciated quite a bit in value, the costs of owning this thing are substantial. On top of the hefty $2000 monthly mortgage payments, SpendyHomeowner has to shell out $870 in property taxes, $300 in heat/hydro, $150 in home insurance, $50 on home maintenance, and $100 in interest for the attached HELOC. That’s a total of $3470 a month, also known as “a lot of money”!

Right now, in order to cover their total monthly cost of $6,395 a month, they’d need $6,395 x 12 x 25 = $1,918,500.

And given their current savings rate of $8500 – $6395 = $2105 a month, or $25,260 a year, that would take…

Year Balance ROI Savings Total
1 $250,000.00 $15,000.00 $25,260.00 $290,260.00
2 $290,260.00 $17,415.60 $25,260.00 $332,935.60
3 $332,935.60 $19,976.14 $25,260.00 $378,171.74
4 $378,171.74 $22,690.30 $25,260.00 $426,122.04
5 $426,122.04 $25,567.32 $25,260.00 $476,949.36
6 $476,949.36 $28,616.96 $25,260.00 $530,826.32
7 $530,826.32 $31,849.58 $25,260.00 $587,935.90
8 $587,935.90 $35,276.15 $25,260.00 $648,472.06
9 $648,472.06 $38,908.32 $25,260.00 $712,640.38
10 $712,640.38 $42,758.42 $25,260.00 $780,658.80
11 $780,658.80 $46,839.53 $25,260.00 $852,758.33
12 $852,758.33 $51,165.50 $25,260.00 $929,183.83
13 $929,183.83 $55,751.03 $25,260.00 $1,010,194.86
14 $1,010,194.86 $60,611.69 $25,260.00 $1,096,066.55
15 $1,096,066.55 $65,763.99 $25,260.00 $1,187,090.55
16 $1,187,090.55 $71,225.43 $25,260.00 $1,283,575.98
17 $1,283,575.98 $77,014.56 $25,260.00 $1,385,850.54
18 $1,385,850.54 $83,151.03 $25,260.00 $1,494,261.57
19 $1,494,261.57 $89,655.69 $25,260.00 $1,609,177.27
20 $1,609,177.27 $96,550.64 $25,260.00 $1,730,987.90
21 $1,730,987.90 $103,859.27 $25,260.00 $1,860,107.18
22 $1,860,107.18 $111,606.43 $25,260.00 $1,996,973.61

Wow. 22 freaking years. In Canada, a life sentence is 25 years, and that’s almost as much amount of time they’d have to spend slaving away for this house of theirs. And they didn’t even kill anyone! Assuming they even make it, they would be 76 by the time they can retire. So much for sailing around on that boat of yours.

But if they were to sell their house, what then? Well a LOT of costs would drop. True, they’d have to rent instead, but let’s say then can find a place to rent for the same cost as their mortgage payment, or $2000 a month. According to Numbeo, the cost of renting a 3 BR apartment in Comox, BC (which they’d be OK moving to) is $1,633 a month. So $2,000 should be plenty.

Now we’ve replaced their mortgage payment with a rent. BUT, and this is important, that would mean we’d be able to drop the property taxes, the the utilities, the insurance, and all those other home-related costs. The HELOC would also get paid off by the proceeds. That takes their monthly costs down from $6,395 to $4,925. Their monthly savings would also jump to $8,500 – $4,925 = $3,575 or $42,900 annually.

At that lower cost, the portfolio they need to support that would be $4,925 x 12 x 25 = $1,477,500.

They would also have more money working for them. Now most of their money is no longer tied up in the house where it can’t help them retire, and is instead in the market growing or throwing off an income. After real estate commissions and clearing their debts, their $1.5M house will net them $1,500,000 x 0.95 (real estate commissions) – $425,000 (mortgage) – $49,000 (HELOC) = $951,000. Add that to their existing RRSPs balance and we have $1,201,000. Now we’re talking.

How long will it take for them to get from there to their FI number? Well, let’s see…

Year Balance ROI Savings Total
1 $1,201,000.00 $72,060.00 $42,900.00 $1,315,960.00
2 $1,315,960.00 $78,957.60 $42,900.00 $1,437,817.60
3 $1,437,817.60 $86,269.06 $42,900.00 $1,566,986.66

3 years.

By unlocking their equity, eliminating those insane home ownership costs, and investing in self-directed account using the skills we teach in the Investment Workshop, they have gone from 22 years to just 3. Incredible.

Now, that doesn’t mean they have to sell right now. Again, I don’t recommend they do anything until they become comfortable with investing their money themselves. And maybe they want to wait for their kid to exit high school before they cast off. Heck, if they do that, the extra year of savings would be enough to comfortably afford that $22k sailboat! Assuming of course they manage to sell their existing sailboat first. Don’t own two sailboats.

As for their other questions, let’s address them real quick lightning-round style.

If we sell our home in 4 years…should we just do couch potato portfolio now with the $250k?

Yes, but dip your toe in the water with $10k first. Once you can see your portfolio outperforming theirs, you know you’ve done it right and can pull the trigger on the rest.

Should we sell now and do couch potato with the $1M profit and start our travelling now?

No. If you’re nervous handling $10k, you’re not ready to handle $1M. Do it once you’re confident.

Now that ETFs are becoming SO popular do you think they are at risk of imploding?

ETFs won’t implode just because they’re popular. They’re just containers. The underlying assets my fluctuate in value but that’s why we index and diversify.

Are you gobsmacked by our utter stupidity?

I don’t often get gobsmacked, whatever that means, but I do get annoyed at willful ignorance. People who read all the finance blogs, understand the concepts, and then do stupid things anyway. But that’s not you. You’re here because you realized you didn’t know what you were doing and went searching for answers. That’s the correct thing to do, so nothing to feel ashamed about.

And with that, we’re done! Questions? Comments? Let’s here it below!

 



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52 thoughts on “Reader Case: Home Owner Can’t Stop Spending”

  1. “Don’t own two sailboats.”

    This, friends, is the essence of financial responsibility distilled to simplest illustrative terms!

    1. Question as to whether you should even own one sailboat?! I’ve heard boats described as “Bring Out Another Thousand”. Why not just rent when you want to use one?

      1. Truth. My folks owned a small houseboat on the Dutch canals for half a dozen years; they called it a hole in the water, into which they shoveled money. But it made mom happy in what little retirement she got to enjoy, and they could afford it, so I’m not complaining.

  2. Hi; Mike here. Sell your house, sell your boat,pay off your debt,rent the apartment. your kid can finish high school from the apartment as well as not.NOW go to turner investments, right there in Toronto. transfer all your liquid assets to them to manage for you. at 1%. After house sells,that money allso.thay will set you free. This is what Fire cracker&Wonderer did. You have a good chance now.I wish you good luck.
    Sincerly, Old Guy in Maine.

  3. I just want to throw out there that just because you rent does not mean that you do not pay utilities. We most certainly do for our townhome. Our landlord even wanted us to pay for the water heater rental. As it wasn’t expressly outlined in the rental contract there is no legal basis for this. Lawyered!

  4. *Blink* *Blink*. Holy hell — $1500/month on groceries!?!? How could you fail to mention what an outrageous amount this is Wanderer?

    They must be eating steak and lobster for every meal.

    Yes, they have grown-up kids, but ones with jobs. The kids should be able to afford to contribute something for groceries (or even buy their own food).

    $1500 on groceries is outrageous. That’s like owning a second home! I spend about 1/3 of that and I still think we’re too decadent on our food spending!

    Besides selling their house, I think they need to learn some basic expense control and budgeting rigor.

    1. That was my thought too, Mr. Tako. With some meal planning and deal planning in grocery shopping, I’m sure they could cut that number in half. Even if the grown kids are still eating 3 meals a day with them, they could make a serious tent in that number.

      I’m thinking of starting a food blog around our FI journey. If I can feed my family of 4 for under 400 USD/month, maybe I have some things I can give back to the community. Its not like were vegan, growing tons of our own food, or doing anything else too hard.

      1. 5 people for 1500/month is high but I feel like for canada a normal high lol. I’m happy when we are less than $200/week excluding liquor but have more frequent than I’d like to admit 300-400 weeks! That said Bring on your FI food blog baby! I’m constantly trying to figure out how to cut food costs (and waste – 2 small kids means giving them same leftovers till they’re not fit or the buggers actually eat it lol). Give cost containment is key to many FI strategies there would be interest id think!

      2. That’s a great idea. I would love to find a place to share hacks for reducing ongoing groceries spending.

      3. Wow, I think that’s the encouragement I needed! I’m going to write up a few of our main hacks and recipes and launch an FI-themed food blog. I’ll post back once it is live.

    2. Hi Mr. Tako, food prices are much more in Canada than the U.S. Even as a frugal mom in Toronto doing my best, for three people including a less than two year old and a vegetarian husband, we are easily at $800-1K/month. Food is crazy cheap in the US. North Vancouver I imagine is more expensive due to more transportation of food?

      1. Milk, eggs cheese, meat, and vegetables are all more expensive in Canada, that is why we cross the line just to buy a jug of milk.

        1500 doesn’t seem like a lot to me… no way we could eat on 400 a month.

        1. Yes, A few things are more expensive in Canada, but not $1500 expensive.

          If North Vancouver is truly that expensive, then they should simply take a weekly shopping trip into Bellingham, WA.

          They can fill up on cheaper gas at the same time. Tawcan does it all the time.

      2. Hi Tigermom,
        I feed a family of five in Ottawa and we finally got our budget around $800/mth for groceries:) from over $1200.
        I don’t spend hours planning but I am more organized than I used to and we still eat well (but not steak on a regular basis!).

        1. Great job Caroline. I got Tigerdad on board and he is cooking (miracle!) and I made snacks that I am eating (paleo brownies) as well as packing my lunch for my grey cubicle (albeit with a sweet window). I will say that it has been a challenge with very incapable (dementia and broken hip/femur) parents-just one broke the bones as well. Lots more planning and teamwork, and unexpected time away, trying not to give up too much of the needed salary. My goal this week is no snacks or coffees out, it crept up to $50 per week, even with packed lunches!

          1. Snacks and coffee out are a killer! I used to do it and now I only buy one once in a while and enjoy it so much more:)
            It’s tough to find the time to plan when you have to take care of aging parents. We did that when my kids were younger and I wasn’t trying to save on groceries!
            Good luck:)

    3. Bet you didn’t know that “lip” on the bottom of the shopping cart that’s close to your shins hold 12 litres of milk. When my 3 boys were is their teens they drank at least 20 litres a week, just saying:)

    4. 1500 is around my budget for food. I finally see numbers that are real. I cannot conceive people spending just a few hundred dollars. What are you people eating? Cereal on every meal?

      1. Girlfriend and I spend on the order of $400 or so in Montreal. Steak, fish, pork chops, chicken, burgers on the grill regularly, year-round. Add potatoes, pasta, or rice as a side prepared any number of different ways. Frozen or fresh vegetables – salads, spinach, tomatoes, canned beets. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, or bagels, yogourt, oatmeal or cereal if we’re less hungry. More unhealthy snacks than we should – potato chips, nachos, etc.

        I don’t know how big your family is to be spending $1,500, but we basically feel like we’re eating almost whatever we want.

        How would one go about spending a few hundred dollars a month on cereal, barring buying a horse?

      2. It’s funny that those of us who spent little on food can’t imagine what you buy spending 1500$. Though I imagine 3 teenage boys would be hard to budget for. But you asked what we eat…so I thought I’d share a bit.
        Breakfast. We make a cereal of oats, raisins, chia, flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds. We don’t cook it, eat it raw with coconut milk or almond milk. One day a week I make a big breakfast with pancakes eggs etc.
        Lunch often have leftovers from dinner, sandwich wraps, homemade soup n biscuits, salads.
        Dinner-stir fry with rice, hamburgers(summer), pasta, burritos, tacos, fajitas, curries, and typical meat, veg, potato meals.
        I think things that keep costs low is we don’t eat a ton of meat. We eat a lot of beans n lentils, we try to eat in season produce as much as possible, we buy little to no processed foods. We eat loads of veggies ( I grow a garden and feel that EVERYONE should grow something if they have any outdoor space). We make everything at home (we are FI, so I have luxury of time)
        In canada, I use the flipp app to get the cheapest price on everything I buy. I also use checkout 51 and caddle apps to get rebates. Pc points too.
        Our grocery costs this year average 200$ per month. Cheapest it has ever been. However without flipp rebates n pc points it would be more than double that I’m sure.

      3. Cereal is crazy expensive! It never ceases to amaze me how people will list foods I consider luxury items (cereal, kraft dinner) as “cheap food”.

        Food is: pasta + spaghetti sauce + (if not vegetarian) ground meat
        Food is: chili (control cost by choosing amount of ground meat)
        Food is: rice and chicken with yummy cheese sauce
        Food is: sandwiches (if you live in an area with a discount bread store)

        And that’s just if you’re lazy like me! If you have a cook in the house then recipe books have an endless supply of things one can eat for less than $2 CAD / person / meal

        5 people * $2 CAD * 3 meals a day * 30 days a month = $900 CAD / month

        If you’re feeding 5 people or less and spending more than $900 / month, you have low-hanging fruit in your grocery spending for sure.

    5. That is on the high side, though the damn boat and the damn house dwarf it. They could do better though, I agree. Hopefully they’ll pick up some good grocery tips and recipes from your site.

    6. Hi Mr. Tako,
      I am a big fan of yours and always amazed with your low grocery bill but, while I agree with your comment about $1500 being high, I also can see how easy it would be to get to that amount with three grown boys and not taking (having) the time to shop around. I was spending $1,200 not that long ago and we weren’t eating like kings.
      People forget that it’s not the same to feed teenagers/young adults vs. young kids.
      Getting them to contribute to the food budget could be an option.
      I have since then worked on my budget and happy to report, it is down quite a bit:)

  5. Just want to point out, if they move to Comox, BC, Canada for the first few years before FI, won’t they need to find new jobs because I think the commute will be hellish. If they do, hopefully they would be able to find jobs with the same pay rate.

    Really enjoyed this post and I bet a lot of Babyboomers would agree that they wish the internet existed in their 20s…

    1. If it’s before FI, the reader would have to work out some sort of work from home arrangement–maybe going into the office only a few days a week. But yes, valid point.

  6. Agree on the groceries but have you shopped in North Van? I think it’s illegal to buy anything non organic 😉 Expensive. What also stands out is gas at 150. Isn’t that like 2 tanks of gas these days? And 50 for home repairs? Boy, that number could rise drastically.
    Good luck with the future. Sell the house – Rent – Freedom

  7. Taxes seem high to me, my bung is worth close to $700,000 and I only pay $2800 in tax.

    If you tighten the belt, cut the 500/mth for holiday (thats what I spend all year) and tell the kids to get to work instead of paying for piano lessons (mine sits collecting dust) you can easily net $3000 a month.

    No mention of pensions? Lots of companies now match your RRSP contributions.

  8. Suggestions. Create a web page with a template to capture the bulk of the required party’s data to ensure nothing gets missed. Those data fields should be somehow automated to populate a spreadsheet or financial calculator that spits out generic financial calculations for Wanderer/Firecracker to review without any extra manual labour.

    Second, offer an optional pay for use financial analysis either by fixed fee or donation. The user can select an option to either keep the analysis private or share it on the website. I realize you want to keep it free for the masses, but the reality is you are actually doing a public disservice by ignoring most of the requests being sent. Satisfy the obvious demand and get compensated as a result and generate an additional revenue stream.

    After doing hundreds of such cases, I am sure you have enough content and insight to begin a SECOND book about the troubled people you read about!

    1. I was thinking the same as the first point… But instead of the output just going to an internal spreadsheet for FC/W, why not turn it into an online tool? I’m thinking it should also output the cannonical list of time to retirement that accompanies almost every reader case. Should also be easy to edit input numbers so the impact of changes in budget can be quickly seen. Maybe a few of the other commonly suggested ideas and outcomes, like “sell my house and instead rent for $X” or even simply “reduce my expenses by $Y and invest it in indexed ETFsB” or “increase my income by $Z and invest it.”

    2. All great ideas. We do have an internal calculator we use to save on manual work. All the other suggestions are great, but we just don’t have the bandwidth to do it–book writing takes up a LOT of time. Maybe in the future once the book is done.

  9. Considering how bad these people are with money they should count themselves very lucky that the ridiculous housing market in Vancouver bailed them out. I have many friends in Vancouver living this same lifestyle – using their house as an ATM for lifestyle ‘upgrades’. As interest rates creep up and the housing market cools (both of which are happening) a lot these type of people could be serious financial trouble.

  10. Reading this case gave me chills! Seriously. I am a mother to an 18-year old high schooler who will graduate next year and go to (thankfully free) university.

    And yes, I did spend $250 each month for the past 5 years for private schooling (and it’s a lot for the country we live in). And yeah, he does not really know what he wants to be doing when he grows up (he did mention something around early retirement though so I wasn’t too concerned).

    I am at the top range of the millennial generation, and hope to retire by the time I’m 40, but in no way I assumed I will have to financially support my offspring after university. Now this would be a total disaster, that would definitely make my plans change. Creepy!

    1. “he does not really know what he wants to be doing when he grows up (he did mention something around early retirement though so I wasn’t too concerned).”

      His interest in early retirement sounds promising 🙂 Hopefully our upcoming early retirement book will help (it’s geared toward Millennials).

  11. Great advice guys. Look at big picture. They have net worth of around $1.2 million to work with, have good paying jobs and a solid future. Don’t be so hard on yourself! I just left full time work at 56, raised three boys and taught school for 28 years so I can speak to the child part. Kids first, you second. Help child #3 get through high school-those are tough years. Get them all launched and then it’s your turn. If you implement too quickly that may negatively impact the kids. Stay a couple more years in the same situation and gradually implement the fantastic advice given here. Learn to invest for yourself, reduce silly expenditures, sell the damn boat and rent one when the itch needs scratching. Please don’t rush. Three years or less to get kids launched, three years or less to implement retirement plan. One or both of you will be 60 so early CPP now comes into play. Assuming you get about $1500 combined for CPP that’ll cover 20-30% of your expenses.

  12. Yikes, this scenario sounds like the common American/Canadian dream. People spend way too much. These guys definitely need to cut back and learn to live more frugally. That’s the first step.
    The kids are fine, they can live their own lives. The middle kid should look into construction or learn the HVAC business. There are a lot of good paying blue collar jobs.
    Get #3 through high school and life will be much easier after that. Cut the cord…

    1. Good point, Joe. It’s not all about the STEM jobs. As long as you have skills that few other people have and/or are willing to do work others aren’t willing to do, there’s money to be had.

  13. Can I ask you to reduce the number of Ads in your articles. I calculated that this article had 25 ads, among them a couple of full screen ads. Sometimes you can not see where your text is as one Ad directly follows another with 3 lines of text between. I know you earn money with that but you have to think about their experience too. It reminds TV channels when a serie of 30 min becomes 60 min with 30 min of Ads inbeetween. No disrespect, please fix your site if you are not aware of the issue.

    1. I’ve brought down the # of ads to the lowest setting for desktop and mobile and decreased the ad frequency. Hopefully that helps. Are you seeing full page ads on mobile or desktop, because I can’t reproduce it. Any full page ads have been disallowed.

      1. I am on my iPad and it’s definitely better. The ads are smaller and easier to recognize. So great that you fixed it. Yours is not the only site with this issue that uses Mediavine.

  14. Spendy Homeowner, please don’t be too hard on yourself about the lessons you bought for your kids. Even if they never do music or ski again, those are things that they enjoyed doing and helped them become more competent people. I did several years of music lessons at high school and gave it up afterwards, but 15 years later I’m playing again for myself. Those things that your kids learned will be useful, but differently from how you imagined.

  15. I know I’m not the first comment to say this, but for the love of god, what are you eating for groceries to be $1,500???? Even if you have all 3 of your kids living with you, that’s insane

  16. I finally took a chill pill on spending money on fragrances because now that my closet is stocked up with fine cologne, I can focus on spending money on PPC advertising to grow my “side hustle millionaire” agenda. 🙂

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