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My life revolves around numbers. You can even say math is my religion. But sometimes you find a reader case in which number and logic, though revealing, doesn’t actually solve the problem. What do you do in this case? Let’s find out:
I am in my 30s and I came across you guys when I was researching FIRE. And guess what, I went to the same university as you did and on Christmas 2017 I gobbled up your website and have been a big fan/advocate ever since. I even read your “Quit like a Millionaire” book. Loved it and shared it with so many of my friends.
Immigrated to Canada from India along with my family (wife and now two young kids). I have a masters in Business and had 10 years work experience before coming to Canada. I was working for two Fortune 100 companies in Sales/Business Development Roles. Spent all my 10 years life savings on getting a $50K Canadian degree to realize I will be considered a novice (typical squeeze of us immigrants) and given a salary of $60K /year in 2019. Your website and book gave more real-life practical knowledge than my 35+years legendary Finance & Accounting Professor. (You guys should consider teaching at the university as guest lecturers)
I got a $60K/year job in Jan 2019 and got laid off during the pandemic. Thanks to EI and my wife working full time keeping me afloat, I found a job almost a year later during the pandemic.
We regretted coming to Canada and just as we were ready to pack our bags and go back home, I found a full-time job (a good one) and I think we are bracing our self for a new life for our self and our two kids.
Let me confess a Big Mistake, which I made during Pandemic:
We had $68K of savings and I was unemployed and stocks were going through the roof so I thought I would day trade to make up what I lost in my salary. I made lots of mistakes, (emotional mistakes, over panic from watching too many Youtube videos of market Crash). I lost $40K over one year!!!!! I even registered a company to trade under. We have decided to close the company for good and withdraw what’s left : $28K.
This might sound like a typical immigrant who is trying everything to somehow survive and make it in this country.
After all this mistake now I am ready to follow your FIRE guidelines. I am coming full circle. I started with your website and thought I could beat the market and day trade and lost.
Now could you please guide me and other fellow immigrants ( millions of us) who are trying to make it for themselves and their family.
I want to stick to the 60/40 plan and Vanguard S&P 500 + Bonds until we hit $1 million for our financial independence.
I came up with $1 million based on the 4% rule as our current family expense is $36K per year.
My wife thinks we should buy a home for ourselves first and avoid the stock market all together as real estate is a less risky bet. She just doesn’t trust me with the stock market any more.
Could you Math Shit Up and let us know what is the best way to reach our $1 mil goal for our family. Real estate or Index investing.
Gross Income Mine: $84,000 Fixed + $34K Sales Incentive = $118K
Gross Income Wife: $64,000
Total Family Income: $182,000
Net Family Income: $127K
· Your monthly family spending
Groceries, Vehicle Insurance and Miscellaneous: $800
Entertainment and send money back home: $800
Total expense per month: $3000/month
· For any debts you have, please include:
No Student loan
Only Credit Card debt: $2K ( 21% interest rate)
· Any fixed assets you have : Have a used Car. No car loan.
· And investments or savings you have (cash, bonds, stocks, etc.): $58k Cash ( includes $28k from the company account)
I’m a sucker for immigrant stories so this story immediately caught my attention. Watching my parents struggle when we first came to Canada, not knowing the language, having to adjust to the customs and then stressing about finding a job to support their family, I know exactly how you feel.
I’m also sorry to hear that it took 10 years of your life savings to get this entry-level position, only to lose it to the pandemic. Yes, it was impulsive to day trade and lose $40,000 in one year, especially after losing your job, but honestly, it’s not the worst thing in the world. Given that readers write in telling us about their $200K student debt, getting into $1 Million of debt for property, or losing $150,000 on a house, this is not the worst thing in the world. You can recover from this mistake.
That being said, I’m concerned about your ability to invest long term and not let emotions take over logic. Normally, I roll my eyes as soon as a spouse suggests real estate as the solution to your financial problems, but in this case, I can see where she’s coming from. She supported you by being the bread winner when you were laid off and you broke her trust by losing the family money on speculation and gambling on stocks. That’s the opposite of a safe, diversified long-term indexing approach.
So in this situation, I don’t think the issue is how to work towards financially independence, it’s gaining your wife’s trust back. After all, you can’t have people rowing the boat in opposite directions when trying to achieve financial independence. As I said before, becoming FI is simple but it isn’t easy. You need to have all hands on deck for years before you can reap the rewards. So, if you don’t have your wife onboard, forget about your plan to become FI.
Looking at your numbers, given that you earn $182,000 gross, a net family income of $127,000 seems low. I think you’re either not maximizing your RRSP contributions or forgetting to include it as part of your net worth.
Using this tax calculator, a gross family salary of $118,000 (him) + 64,000 (wife) with RRSPs maxed out, should yield a net salary of $92,236 (him) + $51,981 (her) = $144,217/year. There’s around $17K missing from your after-tax salary in your estimate.
Also, you have low monthly expenses but a $2000 credit card debt with a 21% interest rate? Why? You have $58,000! Use that to pay off the credit card debt immediately. There’s no point in investing if you’re paying 21% interest rate. Kill that debt! Kill it now!
With a yearly expenditure of $36,120, net worth of $58,000, and debt of $2000, you’ll need a portfolio of $903,000 to become financially independent.
After you pay off your credit card, you’ll have a net worth of $56,000. and putting away $144,217- $36,120 = $108,097/year going forward, you’ll reach FI in:
Only 6.5 years!
But that’s only if you keep your expenses at $36,120/year, keep your new high salary, and neither of you get laid off or experience a pay cut.
If your wife wants you to buy a house, given that the average home costs $748,439 in Canada, you’ll need to set aside $49,844 to $149,687.80 for a 6-20% down payment depending on whether you use CMHC insurance. You’ll also need to include all the additional costs of home ownership such as mortgage interest, maintenance, property taxes, insurance, etc. You’ll be able to save the $1410 in rent but given that just the monthly mortgage will cost you $2739, plus another $600/month (property taxes), $600 maintenance, $100 (insurance), etc, that’s another $1300 for additional ownership costs. So just the throw away costs that don’t contribute to equity at all are almost the same amount as your rent.
If you buy the average $700K home, you will be increasing your accommodation costs from $1410/month to $4000/month, plus need to save extra money for the $150K down payment. You’ll also be able to save $31K/year less and increase your FI number from $900K to $1.68 Million. This will push your time to FI to:
Almost 14 years! Plus, an additional year to save the money you need for the rest of the down payment, so more realistically, 15 years. And again, that’s if you don’t get laid off or get a pay cut.
You’ve more than doubled your time to FI. If your wife wants you to buy a house, you’ll need to account for the increase in housing costs.
Unfortunately, in this case, I don’t think it’s a logical argument. You’ve scared your wife away from the stock market because you’ve confused day trading with long term index investing and it will take a while to gain her trust back. You’ll need to prove that you can successfully build a portfolio without dancing in and out of the market or day trading before you talk about becoming financially independent.
At the end of the day, this is a relationship issue rather than a mathematical one. All the math and logistics in the world can’t win someone’s trust if they don’t believe in what you’re doing.
Instead of hamstringing her into letting you invest in index funds to retire early, have a conversation about your values and see if they align first. Sit down and write down your top 10 priorities separately from each other. Then compare to see if they line up. If your priority is to retire early, travel, and world school but she prefers to settle down, buy a house, and work, you’ll have to find a middle ground that works you both. You don’t reach FI together if you don’t both agree on it as a priority or if you envision different lives.
What do you guys think? Should RegretfulDayTrader listen to his wife and buy real estate instead? Or learn how to index invest towards financial independence? Do you have any advice on how they can discuss their wants and needs together?
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44 thoughts on “Reader Case: I Lost My Job. Then I Lost Money Day Trading.”
LOL. Listen to the wife. Lots of rookie mistakes made.
I can’t figure out why he went to the expense of setting up a company to day trade?
I don’t think his problems are over though. Wait until the CRA/ IRS goes after him for the taxes and interest owed on the losses incurred.
Also if he was working full time in his day trading company maybe EI can’t be collected
..agree on the rookie mistakes, which many of us make, but not sure about tax liability if all he had were massive losses.
….on the other hand, someone “setting up a company” to do some day trading…that stinks to high heaven..one can only guess the can of worms that might exists beneath that whole situation… My guess is that some attorney convinced him an LLC (or Canadian equivalent) was the way to go, and the attorney could “assist” in setting up the entity for a nominal fee.
Because the business is closed he can now take a terminal loss against his other income . If you day trade you have to pay full marginal taxes plus CPP EI etc, by running it through the corp he saved all that would have ended up paying 15% tax plus could take out the earnings as dividends avoiding CPP EI deductions etc. Makes sense to me. Once he has a sizeable net worth he could sell puts and covered calls and open a corp then
Yep, he may still owe taxes to the CRA even if ended up losing the money in the end. I have a colleague who day-traded recklessly last summer along with the Gamestop/AMC/crypto crowd. He grew 500k to almost 2 million, bought and sold left-right-and-center, accumulating capital gains along the way, and then buying back in at market highs. Only problem was, he had bought stocks on margin (Robin Hood unfortunately lets you trade on margin very easily), so when the margin calls came in, he was forced to sell at a loss. So not only did lose that 2 million, he owes 100k in taxes this year in capital gains that he ended up losing. It’s a shame that so many people got caught up in the irrational exuberance of 2021. I am grateful every day that I have had people like Firecracker/Wanderer and JL Collins to teach me about index investing and guiding me through the years on my FI journey, otherwise that could have easily been me.
Lol. Why would he need to worry about the taxes and interest on his losses? You obviously don’t know the very basics of taxation! His losses can only be a benefit related to taxation. Maybe he has a rebate?
secular bear market may adjust those estimates
we r so conditioned to believe the bull market will never end
True, over the a short time frame, but long term the market always appreciates. In my case, my first 10 years investing, I pretty much had flat returns, then it took off for few years taking me to FI. Overall I had average ~%7 returns.
USA has been a printing money machine– see its M2 debt chart, its gone nearly parabolic. The inflation we r seeing today is not just supply issues . They CANT decrease rates now– inflation is too high. The Fed has been under politcal pressure to appease markets–was decreasing rates even during ‘growth’ phases
we r witnessing the shrinkage of the middle class.
Great advice! I enjoy reading your “math shit up” cases 🙂
Let the wife have full and sole control of any investing accounts.
This!!! If she’s prepared to go down the investing route then educating herself and taking control of the finances is essential.
Very insightful post. Seems like relationship and values should be first priority and money second. Good luck with your immigrant journey.
1) The house buying decision is at least 2 years away. Use this time to prove you have learned your lesson. Stop watching the goofballs on finance. Give up all contact with the nonsense that led you down that path. Take up new hobbies, like becoming a ninja shopper, inventing ways to save money: Read the early posts from this blog when Bryce and Kristi experimented with saving money instead of spending on entertainment. (Don’t make your own soap at home. But read about it.)
2) Like Kristi and Bryce, you both will need to decide what is important and get on the same path. But I’d suggest you focus first on your own recovery from the addictive behavior. Once you are able to get off the high of agitation and “get rich quick” or “beating the market”you will be better able to partner with your wife to figure out what works for your family.
3) In a few years, you’ll be facing a decision about whether a home is what you want to pay for, or an earlier financial independence (not necessarily retirement, maybe continued work and settle down in a home AFTER you have reached your number. Maybe you will buy a home with a portfolio behind you that gives you financial independence.) There are lots of combinations that all make sense.
4) Sounds like you are not using the retirement accounts available to you. This is the BEST way to save, and a financial bonus you are refusing to use, passing up free money. Get signed up and learn more about tax deferred savings. You can’t “catch up” with these programs, it is “use it or lose it.” You have plenty to learn, get started!
5) If someone is a screamer, they are preying on your emotions. Avoid them. You will find that people who are FI are calm, deliberate and confident BECAUSE they are prosperous. And none of us are Day Traders, and we don’t follow any screamers. Read books by John Bogle, JL Collins and Scott Rieckens. Heal and get your head in the right place.
Lot’s of good advice, especially about listening to screamers.
Just think had they bought a house in 2019 with his salary, they could be retired by now. Missed opportunities ouch.
Imagine if they had bough 1000 shares of Tesla back in 2019. It would be worth 800K$ today !
Even better, they could have sold it all at the top, and have 1.2M$ now !
Betting it all on Tesla is also the opposite of index investing.
I was sarcastic. I find funny reading those “If they did that, they could be rich” kind of comments.
But the problem is that it is always easier to say something after things have already happened. Very few people in 2019 would have told : “There will be a pandemic in 2020 which will lower interest rate to zero and will make everybody look to buy a home at the same time”.
Things just don’t happen like that. I mean, “foretelling”. That would be very helpful. We would all be very rich !! 😀
I’d definitely let the wife run your investments. Forget the stock market. The times where you could trust 8%/year are over. US is going under with the debt and the almighty dollar days are behind us. China is rising and is already the #1 by many metrics.
Maybe buying a house and work until you die is all what we have left unfortunately.
Where did you learn to predict the future so accurately? And what are you doing on this comment section? Get out there and spend all those well-predicted gains you’ve achieved!
These are a lot of claims without support. What exactly are you basing your claims that the days of 8% are over, and all we have left is buy a home and working until we die?
The us market has persisted over and over again. And 100+ years of evidence indicates we can expect 8% or more. What evidence do you have to claim otherwise?
I am looking at our property tax bill, my leaking fridge and my roof that will need some new shingles in the next year…. and I pick door #1 – Rent and get to FI much earlier! I know we are very lucky to be home owners in this crazy Canadian market, and I am certainly not complaining. However if I was in their situation I would certainly pick renting for $1410 a month. I also realize this is a team decision, and I wish you luck in deciding what is best for your family.
I also wonder, with the current negative return on bonds, and unusual market conditions if projected returns should be lowered?? However, looking at the scenarios relatively, the renting and investing would appeal to this post FIRE reader.
He’ll have to show his wife that index investing is better than buying a house at ridiculous prices and increasing their cost of living substantially.
I doubt that he has even talked to his wife about early retirement. I suggest letting her read the book and then discussing the pros and cons of the book’s message.
They’ll have to discuss homeownership, their future living in Canada, what they will do, and where they’ll go if they leave Canada, and there was no mention of kids at all. Kids would change everything.
I get the feeling that his wife wants a house, two cars, and children. That would make his dreams of FIRE a lot more difficult.
I don’t think the fact that he is an immigrant or lost his job have anything to do with day trading. I know non-immigrant, working and even wealth people that have tried day trading. Everyone has failed.
I think the idea of day trading comes from a poor understanding of capital markets as well as an overconfidence in self-capacity to do better than everyone else.
To take better financial decisions in the future, I think this will be important for both of them to educate themselves more about finances, so they can have a better idea of what they are doing.
For example, it’s important to understand that day trading is a zero-sum game. In order to gain money, someone else has to lose money. Or in other words, you have to outsmart a majority of the population, also knowing that those who are successful also end up with a bigger pile of money, increasing their share of the average competition, making your chances of success even lower…
That’s a particularly bad set-up to be in, especially when you have little knowledge and few experience in financial markets.
Investing, on the other part, is the idea that your money can be more useful to someone else, either through borrowing (bonds) or by sharing a part of future earnings in a company without any guarantee (stocks). When done carefully, it is reasonnable to expect a 5-6% average return over a long period of time.
This is logical, since nobody would willingfully take part in this activity if they were expecting to receive less money in the future. Companies and investors are both winning in this activity.
Knowing – and understanding this – I don’t think anyone would take part in day trading. But the temptation is so high that many people can’t resist and eventually get burnt trying it…
I think they should take their financial decisions together. I agree with you when you say he can’t be trusted with money after this experience. But to his defense, we could also argue that his wife failed to understand what he was doing and put a stop before that happened. So, they are both to blame in this situation.
For example, they could have agreed to put 5% of their assets toward day trading for the first three years, just to try it. That would have been 3400$ in capital, and we would have lost 2000$ instead of 40000$. Maybe the amount would have appeared so ridiculous that he would have put this idea on the side, which would have been a good thing anyway.
Finally, I like the calculation you do in table 1. It clearly shows that saving a lot of money early in your journey is much more important than the return you can get on your investments. If they follow that path, they should do well over time.
I think the house is out of question at this point. They don’t even have enough for a 5% down payment. Save a few hundred thousands first, then they can think about a house. When you don’t have money, a house can end up being a true money pit.
Actually, these folks aren’t in all that bad of shape…assuming they can avoid impulsivity. I say pick option #1…maybe even shave a year off with some side hustling. In 5/6 years they can decide on preference to return home to family or stay where they’re at.
….regarding the 10 wasted years….pfffft !! Here in the U.S. most people are still buried in $50K+ student loan debt ten years out of college, plus car loans, tens of thousands in credit cards, mortgage, etc, with no hope of retirement until they’re deep into their 60’s or early 70’s.
..stick with a plan and you’ll make it for sure !!
Ok ok but they have kids and realistically can they keep their rent at $1400 for the long term? I also have 2 kids and have been a long term renter. I have never found these amazing deals on rent or rentals that don’t go up exponentially each year. How do people find those? Is there a way to get mostly to FI and then get some stability with a house in 5 years or so? Obviously reaching FI in 6.5 years is the most appealing but with 2 young kids myself I don’t fancy the cost/hassle of having to move around every couple of years to keep rent low. Is it just a fantasy to have it both ways? Short time to FI and house?
Consider the savings lost to day trading as your education fee of something that doesn’t work. If you choose to experiment with something start with a small amount of money. I started with $50 per month for a couple of years to see how indexing worked and to see if it something that I wanted to do. I decided to try it because read a lot of books on various ways to invest before making a decision. It seemed logical with a lot less hassle and tending needed. This was before FIRE and all that information was available on the internet.
Firecrackers’ advice is very important. You and your wife need to work together and come up with a shared plan that you can both live with.
I don’t think you should buy a home until you have saved up enough down payment so that the mortgage is no more than 1-2 years of one earner’s salary. Sometimes you can work an extra job and bank that money towards savings. Or just live off one of your salaries. Yes, I know it’s hard.
I am not sure if Canada has depressed housing areas but here in the US we have economical rundown housing in somewhat to very dangerous areas. If you are able to live with the safety precautions required for those areas and be very alert you might be able to live in those areas. I won’t say that it’s safe or fun. Then after 2 years sell the house (In the US need to live there 2 years to avoid capital gains) and move to a slightly better area. Then keep doing that until you are where you want to live.
Another option is if you work in the trades and are handy is to buy a house that needs repairs, then repair it while you’re living in it. Also will need to live frugally so you can buy supplies to make repairs and be willing to live in a less perfect house. Make sure you can afford the expensive repairs which you need to do right away, like a leaking roof. Again not fun but doable.
Whatever you do make sure you know what you are getting into. If you want to do this type of investing make contacts, perhaps through local real estate groups and learn from other people before doing anything. Learn from other peoples mistakes. Maybe work for free or very low pay so you can learn on someone else’s dime. Study and possibly work for others at least a year before coming up with an investing plan.
In their 30’s and a Gross Family Income: $182,000,
I think they are doing okay, plus they have time on their side.
If they are desperate for a house, another possibility is to move to a different province/city where houses are more affordable.
Agreed. I’d like to see the breakdown if they bought a house in a province where they could spend less than $600,000. I can’t believe average houses are half a mill+ across the country. Sick.
‘I am not sure if Canada has depressed housing areas but here in the US we have economical rundown housing in somewhat to very dangerous areas’
Canada has lost its way. Its children cant buy homes, they are too expensive. Do some research you would laugh, ..or cry for its citizens. In the province of Ontario even in smaller towns houses go for $750,000 and up. There are often bidding wars. There is NO goverance, and no one cares. Basically debt slaves for life.
im DEAD serious
Australia is even worse in major cities, average house prices over $1million, impossible for young people starting out earning $60-$70k for first few years.
I just want to point out that Canada has major cities that are not in Ontario or BC, where the most insane house prices are. There are plenty of nice single family homes in Calgary (1.4 million people) for around $500k with a big yard and garage, walking distance to amazing parks. Sure the politics can be infuriating at times (where is it not) but if home ownership is important there is a lot to look at outside of Ontario.
I second the motion that the wife should have control of the family portfolio.
The husband appears to be too emotional and impulsive (based on the information presented).
Perhaps a route to gaining the wife’s trust in index investing, and to tackle a potential lost opportunity for tax deferral, is to make the initial investments in company retirement plans. If one or both of their employers offer a defined contribution retirement plan, the initial investments could be done through this vehicle. Then it’s not just the husband pushing the wife into this route, it’s also the company, which the wife might have more faith in re: investing, advocating this route. If there’s an employer match, that may seal the deal.
Once the wife sees that index investing is different from day trading, she may have enough faith to agree to a family portfolio.
And once their portfolio reaches the amount needed for a down payment, than they can discuss whether they want to go down that route.
I sincerely hope that the wife has the courage to, and is able to, stand up to her husband in regards to the family finances, if not for her sake, than for the sake of her children.
I don’t agree with you on the control over finances. If she allowed this to happen in the first place, she is also responsible for what happened. In the end, she will be impacted by the decisions, no matter what they are. So if she chooses not to participate, she will have to live with the consequences no matter if they are good or bad. I don’t think it is the best. It is better to have both individuals in a couple making the choices together and live with the consequences thereafter.
Index funds are really a great way to build wealth. But it’s also possible to make mistakes with them. You would be surprised how many people buy at the top, and then sell when the index goes down -10% or -20%.
It’s only when you understand well what you are doing and you are confident with you choices that you can take the right decisions.
I think they both have some work to do to improve their knowledge and take better decisions together for their future.
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The great thing about life is that you don’t have to make all the decisions for the rest of your life right now. As a wife myself when I have to suffer the consequences that my spouse brings on us it’s very hard on the relationship. It will take time and care on his part (maybe some family fun and dates) to begin to repair the damage. I think gathering as much cash as possible over the next couple years or so and healing your relationship with money and your partner is enough. Then you can assess where best to invest. And definitely pay off that credit card😆
This is not an immigration story, it is a typical mindset of the 90Percenters around the world…
The top 10Percenters have successfully indoctrinated the bottom 90Perencters that with certain amount of money accumulated, life will be perfect…
Grass is not always green on the other side!
Listen to your devoted wife (and DO NOT BRUSH HER ON THE SIDE because you are a man), invest in a home…
Enjoy your family in a free and high standard of living in Canada for the next 15 years (as shown by the solid Math Firecracker has done for you).
Emotionally, you will be ready for the FI marker in 15 years.
As an immigrant myself, I understand the value you put on a house. Pieces of thoughts:
1) Kill of the credit card debt. Use it only if you can pay off each month – in full.
2) Buy a house – only if you can afford to spend $3-3.5k and be comfortable with FI in 10-14 yrs time. Buy in a city where housing is still somewhat manageable. We factored in our home resale value over and above the FI number, which will be a nice bonus!
3) Max out your RRSP and TFSA room – without fail each year. This is by far one of the best ways to grow your FI income
4) Minimize spending if you do eventually buy a home. Optimize mobile bill (below $80 for the family), internet bill (below $60), insurance (both home and auto – shop around), grocery (Costco, Walmart etc.), new appliances (scratch and dent, floor model etc.) Optimizing works wonders.
5) Leverage investing is the hen that lays the golden egg. However, it isn’t for everyone.
6) Stop trading and focus on long-term investing. True for both real estate and the stock market. The highest value is created when you simplify investing.
For many Canadians, geo-arbitrage is a wonderful option. Once you are FI, consider this as it will really help with spending less and yet enjoying a wholesome FI way of life.
So many immigrants will move back to their own countries once they are done with work in Canada. How does these tax deferred accounts work in that regard? Will I have to pay taxes in my home country (Chile) and Canada when I move back and start withdrawing?
People like you always say to max them out but I’m not sure if it’s the best idea for the majority who will move out in the future. Thoughts?
Great advice. I was wondering why there was no mention of safety net for this reader which I have seen mentioned in your other articles. Seems like something this family needs to have, which hopefully the husband doesn’t blow off when needed.
I am pleased that this story appears to be heading towards a happy ending.
My personal experience and what I have seem repeated many times is that highly experienced and talented immigrants often have to take initial position that are significantly junior to those they held elsewhere. However, due to this experience and talent, they quickly establish themselves and obtain more senior roles.
Of course, it can be frustrating at first!
It should be forbidden for people to immigrate !!! And who wants to live in the fridge, I mean, Canada? Crazy
Kudos to the guy though for 1) admitting his mistakes and 2) if he could turn around and turn the painful mistake of addictive day-trading and reform into a longer term investor.
I definitely agree though to get rid of the 21% in debt. That’s like free money they’re leaving on the table. If someone told me I can get a 21% ROI on my money right now, guaranteed, of course take it.
Here’s my suggestions for this couple:
1. Watch “Playing with Fire: The Documentary” together, and talk about it. The trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD8uNm5ck0Q
2. Seek out a fee-for-service or advice only financial planner who espouses FIRE principles, especially low cost index investing for this couple. This should leapfrog them onto the right path within a month.
3. Look at the full picture when it comes to home ownership. We’ve spent close to $100K on a fixer-upper, plus about 950 days planning, buying, and installing the repairs/upgrades ourselves. Today, we spend on average about $4,000 a year maintaining the home. Also, we spend about 15 days per year cutting grass, trimming hedges, and clearing snow. But at least it’s all ours; our own little time and money pit! We are happy to be where we are today, but now we’re considering selling up and renting wherever the mood takes us.
And always always remember: Happy spouse, happy life!