Cash not working for you? Why not try a rental property?

Rental property

As you may have noticed in my Q1 2015 Net worth summary, I had a lot of cash sitting around not working for me.  With the Alberta housing market looking like it was on a downward spiral, I didn’t want to buy there just yet. So I decided to look into a rental property.

In February 2015 I was looking at mls.ca like I normally do.  I have the tendency to surf MLS at least once a month looking at the prices of homes in all of the areas I’ve lived in. It’s only 4 different areas so it doesn’t take that much time.  I don’t know why exactly I do this, mostly just from to feed my interest in homes I think.

This one particular time I was looking at places in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s where I’m from and where a lot of friends and family still live.  If there were opportunities like there are in Alberta, I would think about moving back, but until that time, it doesn’t fit into my financial plans. Or at least that’s what I thought.
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Do you want Las Vegas on a budget? Or loaded in luxury?

las vegas on a budget

Ever been to Las Vegas?

Indeed I have! It’s one of my favorite destinations for a short weekend trip or something without too much planning.  Las Vegas is a great time because it has so much for every type of person. It can be a trip filled with luxuries or it can be a pretty frugal trip with tons of free and cheap entertainment.

So what would you recommend if I’m going to do Las Vegas on a budget?

If you’re looking for a fun time in Las Vegas on a budget I’d suggest a few options like these: If you want to stay on the strip, in my opinion the Linq or Flamingo are probably the best values in terms of location. They’re both older hotels that have had some pretty nice renovations (especially the Linq). They’re both located right in the middle of the strip and boarder a new area called “The Linq” which has the High Roller Ferris wheel that has amazing views of the city and several bars and restaurants they imported from all over the world. If you don’t mind the travel time, there’s plenty of cheaper alternatives up on Freemont Street and off of the Strip.
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Do you think this is bad planning or greed?

greed

This article “A house-poor couple confronts a looming cash crunch” was posted in the Globe and Mail on May 11, 2015. It got a lot of attention on their facebook page and /r/personalfinancecanada on reddit. A lot of redditors and Globe readers feel no sympathy for this couple and think it’s nothing but greed that has gotten them to this point.

It’s extremely hard to feel sorry for this couple even as you start to read the article. Sure maybe by the end of the first paragraph you might be thinking Oh no, a new baby on the way and they won’t be able to afford it! Until you get to the second paragraph and realize that they have a combined income of 128,000 dollars a year and that they purchased a 747,000 dollar home just four years earlier. That’s 5.83 times their gross salary!
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What risks are there when investing in your employer?

investing in your employer

Should you invest in your employer?  They’re already paying your salary in return for your hard work and time. Why would you invest in your employer with your own money that they just paid you? What are the advantages or disadvantages of investing in your employer?

Whoa, let’s slow this down for a minute and maybe start somewhere else…

How can you start investing in your employer?

There are a few different ways you can get started investing in your employer. Below I’ll discuss a few options I’m familiar with and how they work:
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Are you curious about Cirque’s latest show Kurios?

Kurios Grand Chapiteau

I had the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil’s newest touring show Kurios.  I’m a huge fan of Cirque shows and this was my 8th or 9th show I’ve seen, so my opinion of them at this point may be a little bias.

I’m split about half and half on their touring shows and those with permanent residences, most of which are in Las Vegas. One thing I’ve noticed is that the touring acts “Under the Grand Chapiteau” are very similar to those with a permanent residence whereas the arena shows in my opinion just lack that little bit extra in my opinion.

Luckily Kurios is one of those touring acts under the Grand Chapiteau and it’s one of Cirque’s weirdest and most entertaining shows I’ve seen in a few years.  Read more

Are you happy about your contribution increase to TFSAs?

contribution increase to TFSAs

If you haven’t heard already, the new 2015 budget was released last Tuesday April 21st, 2015 and it has a HUGE contribution increase to TFSAs (or Tax Free Savings Accounts, for those not aware of them).  We’re talking a 82% increase to our 2015 contribution room. This brings the 2015 contribution room to 10,000 dollars, which is effective immediately!
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Financial Freedom: What does it mean to you?

Financial freedom or financial independence, it goes by many names but I think the one that people think they know it best by is Retirement. Retirement by definition is the act of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.  Most people tend to retire in their later years around 65.  This is usually when their pensions mature and old age security or whatever financial programs they have in place are able to be taken advantage of.  But is retirement financial freedom? If you could retire earlier, would you?

In my opinion financial freedom is not retirement, it’s the ability to not depend on the pay cheque from a regular job to maintain your desired lifestyle. People seem to want to make Financial Freedom and retirement the same, but they are two different things.
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Using Property Management on my first house

Property Management

If you haven’t read how about my journey to buy this house, you can check it out here – My first house – Buying in a Boomtown

Towards the end of March in 2014 I received some great news at work in the form of a promotion. Fantastic! It came with a nice pay bump, new responsibilities and it also came with a transfer to a different site for a new project. This was a camp only fly-in and fly-out site. Not so fantastic! As you know I had just taken possession of my house just five short months earlier.  Now I need to rent it completely, not just the one room.

This transfer took effect immediately. I would be in a camp an hour north of town and would be flying out of an airstrip on one of the work sites. I wouldn’t even have the chance to drop by on my way to the airport to show the house to prospective renters, nor would I be available to deal with any issues that may arise from the renters. My only option was to find a Rental Management company ASAP! Read more

Net worth Q1 2015

Net Worth Quarterly update

Here’s my starting point for tracking my financial journey of increasing my net worth to a point where I can say I’m financially free.  I’m actually many years into the journey already, but there are a lot of improvements to make over the next few years. I’m going make quarterly updates for us to see and discuss my progress on becoming financially independent.
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Chislehurst Caves – London, England

Chislehurst Caves Entry sign

In July 2014 while I was in London with my girlfriend we made a morning trip to a place called the Chislehurst caves.  This wasn’t something I had planned on doing on this trip; I didn’t even know about it until she found it on some travel website. Once she showed it to me, we added it to the list.  I have gone on cave tours before; ones that required some gear and a guide and others that were set up for walking groups like these ones. Both were great times and really interesting.

At £6 each for a walking tour that lasted about an hour lit by old paraffin lanterns, how could you not want to go?

The Chislehurst caves are limestone tunnels that network over 35 kilometers (22 miles for my American friends) of tunnels with thousands of years of history. People believe they date back over 2000 years before the Romans were even in England.  One of the things that really intrigue me is that the caves were almost in continuous use for this entire period so there weren’t a lot of artifacts to be found.  These tunnels weren’t closed off for a long period of time to be rediscovered like the pyramids or other tombs.
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