I had Tanja Hester from Our Next Life on the show back in November 2017 for episode 133. Back then, Tanja was still an anonymous blogger who hadn’t yet quit her job yet to retire early with her husband. Well, a few months after we recorded that episode she left her job and has been officially retired ever since!
Not only that, she finally revealed her full name on her blog and the news literally went viral, being picked up by MarketWatch. Because of this, Tanja has had a very busy retired life, that includes doing speaking, writing for MarketWatch, and of course publishing her first book Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way.
Since so much has happened with Tanja since that first episode, I wanted to have her back on the show to talk more about what life is like in early retirement, and how you can strategize to retire early too!
Planning to retire early doesn’t start with the number crunching (or at least it shouldn’t). You need to figure out the “Why” before the “How”. Most people just think retiring early is a way they can finally opt-out of working, or subtract something from their life. Instead, you should think about it as a way to add more to your life.
As we discuss in this episode, most early retirees aren’t just chilling on a beach reading. That’s nice for a vacation, but that can get boring quick if it’s your every day. Instead, think about what things you want to do now that you don’t have to focus all your time and energy on earning an income. Maybe it’s volunteering. Maybe it’s starting some new hobbies. Maybe it’s writing a book like Tanja.
No matter what it is, retiring early isn’t about opting out of work, it’s about opting into a life that’s more fulfilling and meaningful to you.
Another thing we discuss is the idea that by retiring, that doesn’t mean you have to stop earning money…or working for that matter. Early retirement or financial independence means you don’t have to work to earn an income anymore. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t if you want to.
From talking to so many early retirees on the podcast and in real life, all of them are working in some way. Usually not full-time, but they are definitely staying active and contributing to society in some way. And yes, this means they earn money. Earning money doesn’t negate the fact that they are financially independent or retired. It just means they have extra fun money to play with.
I see and hear so many conversations about F.I.R.E. (financial independence, retire early), most of which are negative. Many people believe it’s a dangerous idea because most people will either run out of money or it’s just completely impossible because they aren’t high income earners.
As Tanja mentions, early retirement isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. Moreover, one person’s path to early retirement shouldn’t serve as a template you should try to mimic because it may not work for you. Personal finance is personal after all, so if early retirement is something you want to do, do your research, learn from other people’s journeys, then carve out your own path that’s unique to you.
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/185
I’ve got another repeat guest on the show, who first appeared on the Mo’ Money Podcast this time last year in episode 151 to promote her first book Worry-Free Money. I’m talking about the lovely Shannon Lee Simmons, and she’s back with her second book all about debt called Living Debt-Free.
Since her first book was essentially the feel-good personal finance book we were all looking for, Shannon’s second book does the same thing for debt. There are so many negative emotions surrounding debt, such as shame and guilt. Debt is bad right? Well, guess what…real people have debt. And they shouldn’t feel shame or guilt for having it. Shame and guilt aren’t exactly motivators to doing anything, so why would we think making people feel bad about their debt will help them get out of it.
Instead, Shannon shares stories and advice on how to tackle your debt by adopting a new positive mindset and asking yourself some of these helpful questions:
Having clear answers for these questions will help you stay on track to paying off your debt. Yes, strategies like the debt snowball and debt avalanche are helpful too, but from my experience and Shannon’s, people are more likely to get back into debt or stop their debt repayment plan because they lack positive reinforcement and motivation.
By thinking with a more positive mindset, such as “What could I add to my life once I’m debt-free?” instead of being critical of your current situation like “You’re not as well off as your peers because of your debt,” you’ll be able to change your financial picture quicker than you ever thought possible. Not only that, you’ll be able to stay out of debt because you’ll have a clearer vision for your overall finances.
Recently, there was a question that popped up in my Facebook group asking whether it was a good idea to use Emergency Fund money to pay off debt. Shannon and I both agreed that Emergency Funds should be reserved for emergencies only, not debt. Lack of emergency savings is one of the main reasons people fall into debt. Something unexpected happens, like their car breaks down, they don’t have the money to pay for it, they use credit to fix their car, now their in debt and can only afford the minimum payments.
To avoid this cycle, save up 3 to 6 months of your living expenses and put it in a high-interest savings account. Then don’t touch it until a real emergency happens. And once you touch it, make sure to pay that money back so it’s never empty.
Shannon also suggest having two Emergency Funds. One is for real emergencies that you don’t touch unless you absolutely need to. One is more of a slush fund that you are constantly contributing to, but dipping into when you need cash for unexpected expenses (that don’t fall into the emergency category).
There are only a few ways to avoid over-spending with your credit card. One way is to use debit or cash for all of your variable expenses, and just link your credit card to any of your regular fixed expenses like your cable bill, phone bill, and utilities.
Or, if you do like to use your credit card for your variable spending, set its limit to the exact amount you’ve budget for variable expenses. Then, as soon as you make a purchase with your credit card, move money from your chequing account to pay off your credit card.
That’s it! There really isn’t any other magic way to do it. Believe me, I’ve tried them and so has Shannon and these are the ones that work!
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/184
It’s that time of year again. You know, the time to start thinking of getting your taxes done. Most people dread it, I love it (because I’m a weirdo), but as the saying goes taxes is one of the two certainties in life.
To give you a head start this tax season, and to help you change your mindset so you don’t hate it, I’ve got Lisa Zamparo (CPA & founder of The Wellth Company) back on the show. You probably remember her from episode 137 where she joined me to discuss how to be responsible with debt and credit.
Well, she’s back and is sharing some amazing tips on how to do some tax time prep like a pro! Also, as Lisa mentioned, if you want to get one of her tax season self-care kits, sign up to work with Lisa before February 21!
Tax prep is super easy, you just need to give yourself some time and know what to do. Here are 4 steps you can take to get prepared like never before!
Step 1 – Download my tax prep checklist.
Step 2 – Get some stationary, boxes and tools that are pleasing to the eye to get you excited.
Step 3 – Actively try to switch your mindset about tax time. Remember that by taking the time right now to make a system for tax time, you won’t have to do all this heavy lifting next year. Once you’ve got a system in place, it’ll be 10x easier next time!
Step 4 – Start preparing tax return. If you want to do it on your own, use online tax software like SimpleTax, UFile, TurboTax or H&R Block’s Online Tax Software. Make sure to Google for a promo code to save money. If you need some help with your taxes, hire a professional tax accountant to help you (like Lisa!).
Step 5 – If you’re self-employed, make things easier for next year by using some online accounting software like Freshbooks, Quickbooks or Wave.
Step 6 – After you’ve filed your taxes, if you get a tax refund, be smart about it! Don’t just spend it. Use it to pay down debt or invest for your future.
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/183
Since it’s launch week for Season 8 of the Mo’ Money Podcast, I’ve got a bonus episode for you!
Last season, CoPower sponsored my podcast. So, I thought it would be fun to bring on Trish Nixon, Managing Director & Head of Capital of CoPower, to discuss impact investing with me.
You may or may not have heard about impact investing before, but that could be because it goes by so many different names: socially responsible investing, green investing, sustainable investing, ethical investing (you get the picture). No matter what the name, what this episode is about is being a more mindful and conscious investor.
You see, with every dollar you invest you are saying you want the companies you’re investing in to become more profitable and successful. There’s nothing wrong with that…unless the companies you’re investing in aren’t actually very ethical or don’t align with your personal values. That’s why we need to be more aware of what companies are in our mutual funds or ETFs. We need to see if there’s something we don’t like, then do something about it.
One thing you can do is negative screening. It’s basically a way to take out the worst offenders in your portfolio, or find a portfolio that doesn’t include them. This is obviously easier if you’re a DIY investor because you have more control with what companies you invest in, but as you’ll see below there are a ton of big banks and robo-advisors that are offering more SRI portfolios now too.
To give you a better sense of what kind of socially responsible investments exist, here’s a quick list of model portfolios and investment products that are considered SRI.
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/182
Welcome to Season 8 of the Mo’ Money Podcast y’all! I know, I know…where have I been? For the past 3 years I’ve always started a new season of the show the first week of January. Well, to tell you the truth, I only had this episode recorded before I took off to Vancouver to enjoy Christmas with my family. In other words, I wasn’t ready! And I didn’t just want to put a season together quick, I wanted to make sure this season is one of my best yet! I believe it is, starting with having the amazing Melissa Leong on the show for my first episode.
You probably are already familiar with Melissa. She was my favourite financial journalist at the Financial Post for years, then transitioned into an entrepreneur herself as a speaker, host, TV personality on The Social and now personal finance author with her new book Happy Go Money.
This book has been a decade in the works because although Melissa shares some great advice and research in it, it is also very personal. What inspired this book was her husband’s depression that got her exploring the world of happiness.
I think it’s no surprise that we’re dealing with a major happiness problem today. So many of us (myself included) are dealing with depression, anxiety and feelings of failure and unfulfillment. But that doesn’t mean we should just throw our hands up and give in. We need to get our happy back! Especially when it comes to our money.
Here are some of my favourite gems from this episode.
One of my favourite parts of the podcast was when Melissa shares her tip for keeping accountable when trying to focus on the positive, instead of complain about the negative. I find I get especially down during the winter months, so I’m going to practice this whenever I, or my husband, catch myself complaining for no real reason.
How does it work? If you find yourself or someone you know focusing on the negative, say “Give me 3!” and share 3 good things about your life, your day, or whatever you want!
Focusing on the positive takes practice, so start practicing with me today!
I find this a lot with people who I deem “negative”. You know who I mean. Those people that no matter what, everything is always the worst and nothing is ever their fault. Life just happens to them, and they sure are unlucky. Umm…no! The only way to change your life for the better is to stop acting like a victim. You need to take control of your life, your circumstances and your future. The only way to do that is to stop being a victim, take responsibility, and then take action!
This is 100% true, and not just because it’s a claim backed by research. I know so many people who swear that meditation has been the fix they’ve been looking for. I myself have even experimented with it, and when I do it regularly, I do find myself so much more happy with my present.
There are some great apps you can use to get started too like Calm and Headspace, or you can simply practice on your own. But try it out and see if you start to feel a change.
If you want to continue learning about happiness, money or both, here are some book recommendations mentioned in this episode:
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/181