Although I’ve been blogging for over a year now, it recently dawned on me that I’ve never discussed what my general long term goals are and how they relate to my main goal of reaching financial independence. Obviously the two go together, since my ability to pay for my “early” retirement using only passive income depends a lot on what I plan to do once I quit my job. So to give this blog a little more context in terms of what I am trying to achieve, I thought I’d create a list of longterm goals that I have that require more serious long term planning.

  1. Own a small home on a small acreage close to a city of a decent size

    I’ve actually been fortunate to live in all sorts of homes throughout my life. Everything from yurts, to closets, to not-quite-McMansions. What I’ve taken away from all of these experiences is the realization that I don’t need a lot to be happy. And while I don’t think I could do the whole tiny-house thing indefinitely, I don’t need a palace either. For me the sweet spot probably falls somewhere between 500 and 1000 square feet with a basement for storage.

    What’s actually more important for me is to have some land. This is because I want to be able to grow my food, while maybe raising some chickens and bees. Having access to a small stream would be idyllic too. Owning land also means I can experiment with different things, like building a Walipini to grow vegetables during the winter or set up a yurt to live in during the summer. Owning land, at least for me, represents the epitome of independence. There’s just so much you can do with it, especially if the land is in a rural area.

    As for wanting to be close to a city, my reasoning is pretty straight forward: I want to have access to the perks of civilization. This can mean a lot of things: a job market, a social network, entertainment, goods and services, an airport, hospital, etc. Obviously the bigger the city, the more of these there are. Minimally speaking, I think I would have to live close to a city of at least 250,000 people. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few areas in Canada, living in close proximity to a city of this size means that property values are generally going to be higher than in the boonies. I could easily buy 100 acres in New Brunswick of PEI, but I’d also be a few hours from a city of 250k. So this aspect will be hard to achieve while balancing my other goals.

    My progress so far: I’ve actually been looking into this a lot lately, and may have found a property that fits my needs perfectly at a very affordable price. The property even has a stream! The only problem is that the house is pretty much a write off and would need extensive repairs. That being said, this might actually be a blessing in disguise since I can renovate the house in a way that appeals to me. I just don’t want the roof to fall on my head (it’s pretty much that bad). I’ll probably be writing about this shortly.

  2. Live part time / full time on a sail boat

    The funniest thing about wanting to live on a sail boat is that I’ve never actually sailed before (ok, this isn’t entirely true — I did sail a dinghy once during my university days). I’m also absolutely terrified of the ocean. My fear of sharks is irrational to the point that I don’t like swimming in fresh water lakes. I even ran out of my parent’s backyard pool once because I had convinced myself that there was a shark in there (to be fair, it was during the night and I couldn’t see anything). But my absurd thalassophobia aside, the dream of sailing all over the world still appeals to me.

    I think the desire stems from a couple of things. The first is that sailing really speaks to the adventurer in me. I can’t imagine a greater undertaking than galavanting off in a boat with a month’s worth of supplies to chase after trade winds across the earth’s vast oceans. Sailing also seems like an environmentally friendly way to see the world, since your principle source of fuel is the wind. On top of that, you get to travel in the comfort of your own home.

    The obvious question is why own a home if I want to live on a boat? The answer is pretty straightforward: I see my home (on land) as a home base of sorts. A place to keep my things while I’m circumnavigating the world, and as a place to return to when I want to take a break. And while I think I’d like to literally go around the globe at some point, I probably wouldn’t do it more than once. After that point, I totally see myself splitting my year into two parts, just like a typical Canadian snow bird. That is, I’ll live in Canada during the summer months, and head off to the south during the winter ones.

    Twenty Eight Feet: life on a little wooden boat from kevinAfraser on Vimeo.

    My progress so far : Unfortunately, not that much progress has been made on this front. I do, however, like to watch a lot of Youtube videos made by people doing the whole live-aboard sailboat thing. Living vicariously at its best! That being said, I have managed to put aside a few thousand dollars over the course of the year towards eventually purchasing a sail boat (I’m estimating I’ll need around $25k). But before any of that can take place, I’ll obviously need to take some sailing lessons. It had been my plan to do just that during this last summer, but didn’t have the time to get around to it. I think I’ll eventually end up doing it once I’m closer to retirement since I’ll have more time to practice it then.

  3. Save around $200-300k :

    This is obviously a biggie, since my early retirement obviously depends on having some money to live on. My goal is to have this money saved up before I reach the age of 45 (in roughly ten years). I have a feeling I’ll get there sooner since I’ve been pretty good at putting money away. The other thing I’ve got going for me is my company pension, which I’ll be forced to cash in if I choose to leave my job before the age of 50. While it would certainly be nice to have a pension, I can’t touch it without some kind of penalty unless I work until the age of 65 — and there’s definitely no way I’m doing that. I want to live my life while I still (hopefully) have my health.

    So why $200-300k? That’s a good question! I figure if I can earn 5% in dividends per year, that will give me around $10k to $15k to support myself  per year. That should easily cover my expenses, since I could realistically live on as little as $500 a month once my (eventual) house is finally paid off. I’m not sure this is as feasible while living on a sailboat, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

    Furthermore, I still plan on working when I official “retire”. I actually enjoy working and could totally see myself doing odd jobs to supplement my income. It would just be on my own terms. For example, I could take on a casual job doing something for less pay, but that I actually enjoy doing (and quit when I don’t anymore). I could also sell things online or find other sources of income. So long as my basic needs are covered passively, I’ll be happy. The rest is just icing on the cake — to use the old cliché.

    My progress so far : I’m actually really happy with how things are progressing on this front. If you take everything into account, I’m probably a third of the way there already. So long as I keep putting money aside and investing it, I’m pretty sure I’ll have my “freedom fund” (to steal Jason of Dividend Mantra’s term) in the timeframe I’ve given myself. I may even choose to work longer to increase the pot to $400k.

  4. Earn income online

    My rationale for wanting to create a handful of online-income streams is twofold. The first is that I want to make money faster in order to reach my first three goals in less time. Obviously the more money I make, the faster I can pay off my debts and put money into my portfolio. This doesn’t require any further explanation, so I’ll leave it at that.

    The second is that, provided I feel like maintaining the assets (i.e. they aren’t too labour intensive or distracting), I could use these online sources of income to supplement my post-retirement income in order to afford myself a more comfortable lifestyle. What I don’t want, however, is to rely on online income in order to pay for my general expenses, since this type of income can be pretty fickle. All it takes is one Google update for the whole thing to come crashing down.

    So what sort of online assets do I plan on creating? I really like the idea of niche websites that rely on affiliate links to generate money. I have a bit of experience doing this (not a lot mind you) and know that it can work with a bit of effort. In fact, I met a guy once, barely in his 20s, making roughly $30k a month linking to online gambling websites before the laws had changed! While I wouldn’t complain if I managed to make that kind of cash, my goals are actually a little less lofty. If I could make an additional $500 a month, I’d consider this goal fulfilled. I don’t think this is entirely impossible and just requires a bit of dedication on my part.

    My Progress so far : To be perfectly honest, I haven’t worked on this very much. Other than creating this blog, which I’m pretty sure hasn’t even generated $5 in income, I haven’t actually gotten around to creating any online-assets (niche websites, etc). I’m a little reluctant to start at this point because I have another potential project in works that might be taking a lot of my free time in the future (fixing said house mentioned above). In other words, I don’t want to start anything until I know I can devote myself 100% to it. But it is something that I plan to do within the next year. I also plan to document my experience creating online assets in quite a bit of detail here, since that was one of the main reasons why I created this blog in the first place. This is possibly the one goal that I’m the furthest behind on.

I wanted to share this little list with you in large part to give this blog a bit of context. It’s one thing to blog about my working towards early retirement, but without defining what early retirement looks like to me, it doesn’t give you (or me) any kind of benchmark to use in order to measure my success. For some, like Jacob from EarlyRetirementExtreme, FIRE means living as frugally as possible in order to live on the least amount of income possible. While I’m sure the free time he has is nice, I’m not sure living in a trailer year round is something I’d be happy doing. That being said, I don’t necessarily desire the typical traps most people end up in when pursuing the middle-class dream. I’m sure I can achieve my goals without necessarily having to be a millionaire while respecting the time frame I’ve given myself. It definitely won’t be easy, but I hope to make it!

As always, thanks for reading!

André