We review books that deal with everything from financial independence topics to politics, and anything in between. We may sometimes stray into films and music if there is a “Findependence” angle.

Paycheque to paycheque: the fate of half of Canada’s employees

Living paycheque to paycheque? You’re hardly alone. As my latest Financial Post blog reprises today, almost half of Canadian workers (47%) told the Canadian Payroll Association’s 2017 survey that they’d find it hard to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque were delayed by even a single week.

You can find the full blog by clicking on the highlighted headline here: Nearly half of Canadians would face a financial crunch if paycheque delayed by even a week, survey shows. The  article also appears in the Thursday print edition, page FP5, under the headline Nearly half of Canadians walk financial tightrope.

As I point out at the end of the FP piece, there’s some irony in that the way out of this savings conundrum is to make an effort to save paycheque by paycheque: a strategy the CPA and other financial experts generally term “Pay Yourself First.”

That means using your financial institution’s pre-authorized chequing arrangements (PACs) to automatically divert 10% of net pay into savings the moment a paycheque hits your bank account. Just like income taxes taken off “at source,” the idea is that you won’t miss what you don’t actually receive.

Pay Yourself First

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How to plan for a Victory Lap Retirement: Advice from the authors

By Richard Eisenberg, Work Editor, Next

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Mike Drak and Jonathan Chevreau, authors of the new book, Victory Lap Retirement, are on a crusade to change the way society thinks about retirement. Their book is actually, as Drak says, “a retirement book about not retiring.”

A Victory Lap Retirement — Drak, 62, coined the term — means spending years combining work and leisure between the time you quit a full-time job and stop work entirely. In the book, the authors say a Victory Lap Retirement lets people change from a “surviving mentality” to a “thriving mentality.” The Toronto-based duo would know: They’re both taking Victory Laps right now.

Previously, Drak spent nearly 40 years working in commercial banking. He quit in 2014 to protect his health and personal well-being. Now, when he works, he  is a retirement coach, public speaker and writer (next up: a retirement transition guide). Chevreau, 64, is a veteran financial columnist, blogger and author of the book Findependence Day; I interviewed him for Next Avenue in 2013 about “findependence” — his term for having enough money so you can work because you want to, not because you have to. He still writes about personal finances, but on his schedule.

I recently spoke with Drak and Chevreau about how and why to have a Victory Lap Retirement. Highlights: Continue Reading…

4 books to prepare for Your Victory Lap

Image result for retire wild happy and freeImage result for the essential retirement guideImage result for your retirement income blueprintImage result for it's your time by donna mccaw

A question that frequently comes up is what books we would recommend people read to help prepare themselves for a successful VL (Victory Lap). I think this happens because many of our talks are held at libraries and people there are accustomed to doing their own research. There are a lot of good books out there, including Victory Lap Retirement, but the following four will do the job getting you both mentally and financially prepared to launch your own VL.

1)   How To Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie Zelinski.

This is the book that helped convince me it was ok to leave my stressful banking job. If you are in a similar position, you know it is hard to leave a well-paying job late in your career. However it is just as hard staying in a job that makes you miserable just to save some extra money for a retirement that you have no idea what it will look like. When you are in a job you hate, something has to give and I hope it’s not your health. If you lose your health,  does it really matter how much money you have? You might want to think about that one a little before it’s too late.

We give out a copy of Ernie’s book at our presentations, as there is usually at least one person in attendance who is willing to admit they are struggling with the “should I stay or should I go?”  decision.

Having been there myself I feel for them and know Ernie’s book will help them, just like it helped me.

2)    The Essential Retirement Guide, by Frederick Vettese

I like to sleep at night and after reading this book I was able to sleep a lot better. Most of us are stressed out about the possibility of running out of money in retirement. I can’t speak for any of you but I worried about money, making the mortgage payment, getting the kids through school for most of my life and I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste any more of my life worrying about money during my Victory Lap. Life is too short for that and I have better things to do with my time.

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Millennial Money: Can Money buy Happiness?

By Brandon Hill, CFP

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Do you believe the saying money can’t buy you happiness? Most people laugh at that notion, while some of the wealthiest people sing its praises …

I recently read a book called Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton.

The book set out to tackle the question – “Just because money often fails to buy people happiness, does that mean that it can’t?”

Luckily it can:  it just depends on how you go about spending it. It turns out that our everyday spending choices releases a variety of biological and emotional effects – either positive or negative.

This book covers five specific spending strategies to spark positive effects and increase happiness. You may have heard of some – such as buy experiences, not “things.”

The goal is to maximize the amount of happiness you get out of every dollar you spend.

Some of the wealthiest individuals have mastered these tactics (Bill Gates / Warren Buffett) and don’t let their wealth become a source of anxiety or stress.

It’s important to note that these ideas aren’t supposed to encourage you to spend your way to happiness. All strategies are meant for your discretionary spending, after your needs and future savings goals are taken care of (see my previous article on Guilt-free Spending).

All of the ideas written about here are completely attributable to the authors of this book and include paraphrased ideas and/or direct quotes from the authors. I don’t take credit for the concepts written here. The full book is a quick read and if you are interested in reading more in-depth, you can buy a copy here.

Buy Experiences

A study found out that once an individual makes $75,000 or more (in the US), any increase in income has no effect on their everyday general happiness. Isn’t that crazy?
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A cure for the Retirement Blues

Whaaaat? Is it possible that this whole retirement thing can be a letdown once you finally get there — that some people may experience the Retirement Blues?

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at the problem of having too much free time in your golden post-employment years, which you can find by clicking this highlighted headline: Retiring frees up 2,000 extra hours a year.

In the piece, I describe at least one senior who felt in retrospect that he retired too early: he had a great pension so money wasn’t a problem but he soon realized he had started to miss the many benefits of work. In short, he had a mild — or not so mild — case of the Retirement Blues.

As you’ll see, the column references an RBC program called Your Future by Design (See

The 2,000 hours is the result of a simple calculation: 50 weeks multiplied by 40 hours a week equals the amount of “found” leisure time freed up by no longer working full-time. The 2,000 hours figure was referenced in a survey by the Royal Bank last year. Those with long commutes can add a few more hundred hours a year of “found” time.

Keep in mind that if you don’t work at all in retirement you’ll have a lot more than just those 2,000 hours a year to fill. Subtracting 3,000 hours for sleep, you’ll have a total of 5,840 waking hours every year. So if you live 30 more years after retiring, that’s 175,000 waking hours to be occupied.

Little wonder that 73% surveyed by RBC aren’t sure what they’ll do with all that time. We spend more time planning vacations (29%) or weddings (19%) than on retirement!

5 top retirement activities, plus a sixth that should be considered

RBC finds the top five activities for replacing work are health & fitness, travel, hobbies, volunteering and relaxing at home,  but I suggest in the column that many recent retirees may discover they want a sixth activity: work, if only on a part-time basis.

Imagine that: doing a little more of what you may have done too much of during your primary career, but enjoying it for its own sake, its networking properties and social stimulation. And, incidentally, adding a little to your retirement nest egg while you’re at it.

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