My new favourite climbing song!

I play this in my head when cranking uphill for an hour to get to the top of a mountain. šŸ™‚

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Russ Hay’s Sidney Bike Shop

RH Hay's Sidney...small shop with a lot of awesome inside! :)

RH Hay’s Sidney…small shop with a lot of awesome inside! šŸ™‚

I’ve been living in Victoria, BC since 2010 so I figured it was time to give a shout-out to the bike shops that have grown near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons.

My posts are in no particular order!

First off I want to say thanks to the Russ Hay’s Bike Shop in Sidney. They are located in beautiful Sidney, BC where I frequently find myself working.

Having a solid LBS close to where I am working makes it really easy to stop in and grab something I need. They’ve been very kind unpacking new bikes so I could have a large box to ship a fatbike I sold. They’ve answered my goofy questions and taken care of special orders I’ve had. As well as being very generous with setting me up with test rides of bikes.

The shop is run by Conor Conelly who is a super nice guy that loves to ride and doesn’t even complain when he has to wait for a slow as snot rider like me.

RH Sidney Map...

RH Sidney Map…

As a bonus RH Sidney was very generous in donating some sweet prizes to the SIMBS AGM. šŸ™‚

If you have any bicycle needs and you are near Sidney, BC stop in at Russ Hay’s they are VikApproved!

Freedom to Ride!

Stoked I get to ride more!

Stoked I get to ride more!

I’m going to be 46 this year. Yikes! While I still have my health and a decent level of fitness I have noticed some changes in how long I recover from injuries as well as my energy levels that have reminded me life is not forever. Given a limited amount of time left that I can do all the things I love [bike, surf, kiteboard, camp, ride motos and travel] my thoughts have turned to the end game aka retirement.

I’m very aware that if I wait too long I’ll not be able to do the same stuff as I would right now. On the other hand I need to fund my life so it’s not as easy as saying “I’m done working. Let’s party!”

What I do know is that if I don’t come up with a plan and follow it I’ll be bumbling along for another couple decades without much hope of stopping. So I’ve been reading about retirement and personal finance online to see what other folks are doing. Based on what I’ve read and my own situation I’ve come up with a plan. I thought I’d share it since I can’t be the only person who’s been thinking they’d like to ride more and work less as they get older. šŸ˜‰

The Plan

  1. Reduce my costs.
  2. Save aggressively.
  3. Invest wisely.
  4. Move to part-time work.
  5. Allow investments to grow.
  6. Reduce work load to zero.
  7. Stay flexible.

If I was 25 I’d just save aggressively and invest while working full-time until I had enough to live off of and then quit working. However, if you are starting this process at my age and want to stop working full-time before the conventional retirement age [60-71] you have to save a ton of money in a short time to reach financial independence. If you are making a shit load of money and can reduce your costs savagely this may still be a good plan, but for most people [me included] it’s not workable.

By shooting for part-time work you can give yourself the gift of more and more time off without needing anywhere near the same amount saved before you start.

Kill your debts!

If you have any debt other than a mortgage treat it like an emergency. Do not buy anything non-essential – which includes beer, new clothes, movie tickets, eating out, etc.. If that sounds grim than see if you can get rid of debt – for example sell the car and ride your bike/take the bus. You literally can’t get anywhere if you have consumer debt.

I was lucky despite living on my own since I was 15 yrs old [and never receiving support from my parents/relatives once I left home] I didn’t have any student loans or spend more than I earned.

You don’t need all the stuff you want.

It’s very easy to let your spending grow with your salary. That means you’ll always chew through your money and never get anywhere.

When I started looking at retirement I came up with a budget I figured I could live on. I kept reviewing it and reducing it. I now realize that I can actually live an awesome life on 50% less than my initial estimate and I can be just fine on 50% less than that…this includes paying a mortgage.

Being honest at this stage is critical. If you need $50K/yr to live that’s a lot harder to fund than if you need $20K/yr to live.

I’d love a fancy new mountain bike every couple years, but I don’t want to work full-time to pay for it so I am going to get a less fancy mountain bike every 5-6 years which means I can work part-time.

$25 saved and invested = $1/yr for life!

If I had realized the above was true when I was 25 I would have been retired at 35 and never looked at money the same again. Fancy new tires for your bike cost $100. If you just look at it from the perspective of how much $100 is compared to your salary it’s easy to spend that money. If you ask yourself “would I rather have the new tires or have to earn $4 less per year forever?” it becomes a lot clearer that you want to keep riding the old tires on your bike until they are truly worn out.

Make your money work for you!

There are a number of ways to invest your money so it gets a reasonable return. You can buy a rental property, invest in the stock market, buy a business, etc… The key is to not let it sit in a savings account being eaten away by inflation. Personally I’m investing in stocks because I am too lazy to do the rental property thing while working full-time. I’m running a consulting business which is great for deductions, but it’s not scalable the way a manufacturing business would be. I’m too lazy to start a second business.

Wealth is spending investment income.

Once you’ve invested your money never take out the principal. If you have $10K in investments earning 10%/yr after inflation think of that as $1K/yr of income. Never spend more than the $1K. Ideally never spend more than part of that $1K. That way your investments will always grow.

If you make $120K/yr at a job and spend it all each year you aren’t wealthy. You are a highly successful wage slave.

If you make $30K/yr off your investments and live happily off $20K/yr you are wealthy.

Part-time work is still a ton of awesome!

It’s nice to dream about giving your job the big Fuck You! and never working another day of your life, but if you can’t do that working part-time is still a pretty awesome option. If you are right now working Monday to Friday with 4 weeks off per year including stat holidays and you start going part-time here is what it means:

  • Taking Fridays off = 38% more time off per year
  • Taking Friday and Monday off = 77% more time off per year
  • Working 2.5 days per week = 96% more time off per year

So you can nearly double your free time in a year while still earning 50% of what you do now.

If you earn $40K/yr now and a can live off $20K/yr you can save $20K/yr until you get enough investments then switch to part-time and ride that bike a lot more.

If you save $1 working full-time then invest it at 7.5% after inflation and switch to part-time work you will have $2 after 10 years and $4.25 after 20 years. So you can save hard and then start enjoying your life while your money grows to whatever amount you need.

Example:

  • $40K/yr salary after tax
  • Cost of living $20K/yr
  • Save $20K/yr for 7 years
  • Invest at 10% after inflation
  • Work part-time earning $20K/yr for 10 years
  • Stop working and earn $20K/yr from investments for the rest of your life

That’s 7 years of full-time work and 10 years of relaxing part-time work with a lot of travelling and bike riding. Then no working at all if you want.

When to stop?

So you have saved a bunch of money and invested it then started working part-time when should you quit working entirely?

Once your investments are making more [adjusted for inflation] than you need to live in a year you don’t have to work. Since the stock market changes returns over time you need to decide on a safe withdrawal rate which a lot of people will tell you is 4% of your principal. That’s where the save/invest $25 = $1/yr for life comes from. You can decide to go with 3% or with 5% depending on your view of the risks.

My own view is don’t fixate on a number. If you have a few years when you make a lot of investment income maybe that’s the time to replace your roof and paint the house? When you have a couple bad years maybe that’s the time to skip buying any bike bling? If you let your spending vary with your investment performance you need a lot less money to buffer the bad years.

Now once you don’t have to work that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work. It just means you shouldn’t do any work you don’t enjoy.

Part-time forever?

I’ve made it to stage 3 and I hope to get to stage 4/5 in the next few years. I think working part-time is going to be great. I can cover my cost of living and I can let my investments grow. At 10% returns adjusted for inflation $1 = $2 every 7.5 years. So if I don’t touch $1 from now until I am 65 it will grow to over $6 with today’s buying power. That’s awesome and makes saving enough to live off of far more achievable.

I’m not even sure I will ever stop working entirely between now and 71. I don’t love what I do enough to work forever at 40hrs/week, but once I’m down to say 20hrs/week and 148hrs not working each week I may well enjoy it enough to keep going for a couple more decades at a slower pace.

No matter where you are at it’s not too late too start.

  1. Kill your debt.
  2. Spend less and/or earn more.
  3. Save.
  4. Invest.
  5. Work out a plan based on your own reality.

If you are like me the key is to never forget that $25 saved and invested today is $1/yr forever.

Resources

Here are some sites I’ve found were useful to me if you are interested in learning more:

Omnaris Review

Click on image to jump to product page...

Click on image to jump to product page…

I don’t think I have ever reviewed a drug before on my blog, but I love this stuff and it’s worked miracles for me so I wanted to pass on the info to other folks with nasal allergy problems.

Ever since I was a child I’ve been plagued with seasonal allergies as well as dust and pet allergies. Frankly when I go to do a allergy test panel I’m allergic to pretty much anything you can breathe in! For someone who likes to be active outdoors breathing is pretty important. So I’ve tried a wide variety of treatments over the years with very limited success.

That was until 5yrs ago when I got a free sample of Omnaris nasal spray. It literally shuts down my allergies in a day or so. It’s been 100% effective for me every time I have used it. I’ve seen no side-effects and it’s pretty cheap to buy if you don’t have a drug plan from work.

I basically use it when I am symptomatic and when I am no longer having issues I taper off naturally and stop until the next time.

I’m no doctor so take this only as a layman’s opinion. You’ll need a prescription for it any ways so you’ll need to chat with your doctor to see it’s appropriate for you. My doctor had loads of free samples so you may well be able to try it for free.

I currently get it free from my drug plan, but I would happily pay for it given the fast relief from very severe allergy symptoms it provides.

2015 Goals…

Good times exploring...

Good times exploring…

My 2014 Report Card

  1. Explore the ChilcotinsĀ further
  2. Ride Squamish BC
  3. Ride the North Shore [Mt. Fromme]
  4. Ride Pemberton BC
  5. Get in 1 or 2 days of MTB coaching
  6. Get a new FS mountain bike
  7. Get out for at least 4 trail maintenance days with SIMBS
  8. Get in at least 60 days of bicycle commuting
  9. Complete the Vancouver Island bikepacking route
  10. Pump up the mountain bike stoke levelsĀ whereverĀ I go
  11. Get some manualling skills dialed
  12. Keep working on the Dirt Hombres Mountain Bike Club with an eye to Global Bike Club Domination!
  13. Improve my mountain bike action photography skills [use a remote flash, moreĀ advancedĀ processing and a better lens on myĀ DSLR]
  14. DonateĀ time to support the local organizations I am a member of
  15. Make lots of time to hang out with my friends

Green means I got ‘er done. Red remains undone from last year.

Hartland...

Hartland…

2015 Goals

  1. Complete Vancouver Island Bikepacking Route
  2. Ride 2 new places [Squamish &Ā North Shore]
  3. 20 days of bike commuting
  4. Do a motorcycle dirt tour [motopacking?]
  5. Learn some basic whitewater paddling techniques

Unlike previous years I’m going to keep this year’s hit list short and sweet. It’s not as ambitious as in the past, but each item is important to me. With such a concise list I’m aiming for 100% success in ticking each one of.