Life Update - September 2020
The start of the month marked the end of our family camping adventures for the year. Overall we had a blast and will most likely camp just as much next summer, maybe even more!
With the warm weather slowly disappearing and the trees starting to shed their leaves, it's now time to prepare ourselves for what's to come... and that my friends, is winter! Well, sort of... it's not "technically" winter until the 21st of December (how weird is it that this side of the world starts it's seasons near the end of the month?!).
Let me tell you, it will be bloody cold long before the 21st of December. In fact, we usually get our first glimpse of snow halfway through October. I don't know about you, but as soon as snow hits it's basically winter for me.
We do get to experience four seasons though, however short some of them may feel. Fall (Autumn) presents us with some of the best scenery you're likely to ever see in the world. The trees go from pure green to beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange in a matter of weeks! It really only lasts for about 2 months though, September and October, and then we're hit with the long slog of winter which feels like a 6 month season for us.
There will be two firsts during this winter that we're pretty excited about. Both the kids are enrolled in ice skating lessons and Addi has joined girl guides. How cute!
Callum LOVES hockey and has always wanted to play but would refuse to learn how to skate, a common prerequisite for the sport I believe. This was mainly due to one bad experience he had on the ice at a friends birthday party where he got his legs in a knot and "couldn't get up".
He had a meltdown, but he was completely fine with no injury, other than a bruised ego. But this year he's decided to give skating another go, and his sister decided she would join him. Their first lesson starts in October.
As for Addi, she's super excited to be a part of the girl guides group with all of her friends. We've bought her the whole uniform, which comes with a neck scarf. It's just the cutest. They have meetings once a week on a Wednesday for an hour. She's looking forward to learning new skills and earning all of her girl guide badges.
We'll be sure to post some photos here next month when it all kicks off.
We saw our savings rate jump back up this month as our spending returns to "normal". There were a few unplanned expenses of the skating lesson signup and enrollment for girl guides that I hadn't planned for the month, but that's ok. These things happen.
Although we missed our goal by a few hundred dollars, we still managed to save of 40% of our income for the month, which we still consider to be pretty good.
We're still on track to meet our goal of 50% of our combined income saved by the end of the year. Christmas is fast approaching and to make sure we smooth out the cost, we've planned a few hundred dollars to spend every month up until the start of December. This way it's not a huge hit to the budget in the month that the jolly fat red man arrives.
NET WORTH SNAPSHOT
Not much to report on for net worth updates. It has gone up which is great, but this is from investment contributions to our RRSP and cash savings growing, the same story as previous months. We're nearly at $320K net worth which is crazy to think about, as only 10 months ago it was around $230K.
My Australian Super went down a wee bit this month, but this is to expected with the turbulence in the market of late. It doesn't concern at all if it goes down some months or even some years though because I don't need to access it for at least another 35 years, and with that long of a timeframe it's pretty much guaranteed to go up.
One thing I thought worthy of a mention is that we are not aggressively paying down our mortgages, yet. Our focus is on fully funding our emergency fund (done), bumping up our RRSP retirement contributions which are from pre-tax dollars (done), and saving enough to pay back our final family debt and some other larger expenses (almost done).
Even once the above goals are complete, we still may not choose to pay down the mortgages aggressively. The main reason being the interest rates on our Canadian mortgage is 2.9% and our Australian mortgage is around 3.5%.
With mortgage interest rates that low, we could earn a higher return through investing in low cost index funds instead, which we could expect an average annualized return over the long term of 8% or higher. What does that mean? Basically, the money we'd earn through investing would be greater than the money saved on interest payments if we paid the mortgage off instead.
However, paying down debt (i.e. the mortgage) is a guaranteed return, meaning we know exactly how much money we'd save by paying of the houses quicker. The same can't be said for any other investment. That's probably the main reason why we haven't chosen one method over the other.
Let me know if you'd like to dive into more detail for some of these topics a bit further, I'd be happy to do another post of something more specific if that would be of interest. Just give me a shout!
Blake - FIRE with a family