“Welcome to the PlanEasy blog! We make personal finance easy.

Thanks for visiting.”

– Owen

When It Comes To Investing We’re Our Own Worst Enemy

When It Comes To Investing We’re Our Own Worst Enemy

Compounding interest is a beautiful thing. It’s like magic. Give it enough time and compounding interest can turn even the smallest amount of money into millions.

Investing CAN be as easy as that, just set it and forget it. But when it comes to investing, we’re our own worst enemy.

Without guidance, rules, plans, checks and balances, we as individuals can cause some serious damage to our investment portfolios. We’re biased in many different ways and those biases create many behavioral investing pitfalls to watch out for.

There are many different behavioral investing pitfalls to be aware of, but some are more common than others (especially now that investing is even more easy and accessible). Some can be reduced with new investment options that automatically rebalance but there is still a risk.

Are you currently making one of these three behavioral investing mistakes?!?

read more
Negotiate Your Salary And Move Employers Often

Negotiate Your Salary And Move Employers Often

One of the most important pieces of a financial plan is income. Without an income it’s simply impossible to achieve any financial goals. Plus, having a higher income makes financial goals significantly easier to achieve.

While expenses often get a lot of focus because they’re entirely within our control, the fact is that without a certain level of household income it becomes much harder to save, invest, and still cover monthly spending.

This is why income, and specifically how income changes, should be an important part of every financial plan. Increasing income over time will make financial goals significantly easier to achieve, it makes debt payments a smaller proportion of net income, and it makes it possible to juggle competing priorities.

But unlike spending, income is unfortunately not completely within our control.

Increasing your annual income can be done a number of different ways. There are “side hustles”, there are second jobs, there is semi-passive income from rental properties etc. etc.

But the best and easiest way to increase income is to get paid more for what you’re already doing. You’re already at work, why not get paid more for doing the same thing?!? No “side hustle” required. No extra work. No stress of rental properties and bad tenants.

Increasing income is quite common, especially in a persons early 20’s and 30’s. On average income increases 7% per year during this phase. Once we reach our 40’s the pace of increases starts to slow down but those 15-20 years of steady increases can make a big difference.

How do you get salary increases of 7% per year (on average)? It takes a few things to make it easier, negotiating your salary is one, and unfortunately, switching employers often is another.

How impactful is increasing your income? Massive. In our example below, over a person’s working career, it’s equal to about $585,000 or 20,000 hours of extra work.

So, what would you prefer? Negotiating your salary every few years? Or putting in an extra 20,000 hours work (or about 10 years!)

read more
Aiming For FIRE? Beware The Boring Middle

Aiming For FIRE? Beware The Boring Middle

Financial Independence Retire Early (aka FIRE) is one of those big personal finance goals that has gotten a lot of attention recently. The idea of being financially independent, choosing when and if to work, is attractive for many people, especially when there is so much uncertainty in the world.

To be financially independent means that your investments (whether that be stocks, bonds, GICs, real estate etc) can provide enough income to cover annual expenses indefinitely. FIRE enthusiasts typically use the 4% rule as a guideline for how much income they can generate from their portfolio each year. The idea being that a person can draw 4% of their initial portfolio balance, adjusted for inflation each year, and have reasonably high chance of not running out of money after 30-years.

By using the 4% rule we can generate a rough target for FIRE. The basic idea is that you can take your annual expenses and multiply by 25 and that is your “FIRE number“. This is the amount needed in investments to safely retire early (although with low interest rates and low bond returns at the moment this rule is often thought to be too risky).

But despite it being a simple concept, reaching FIRE is a difficult task. It requires a high savings rate, low expenses, and lots of time.

FIRE is made easier with an above average income, which allows for a higher savings rate, but it is still a difficult task. Reaching FIRE means living well below your means for an extended period of time.

This combination of low spending, high savings, and a long time frame can lead to what’s known as “the boring middle”.

In this post we’ll briefly explain what FIRE is, why it’s so easy in the beginning, and why “the boring middle” could be a sign that there is an imbalance in the plan, one where the means may not justify the end.

read more

Owen Winkelmolen

Fee-for-service financial planner and founder of PlanEasy.ca

“Welcome to the PlanEasy blog! We make personal finance easy.

Thanks for visiting.”

– Owen

New blog posts weekly!

Tax planning, benefit optimization, budgeting, family planning, retirement planning and more...

When It Comes To Investing We’re Our Own Worst Enemy

When It Comes To Investing We’re Our Own Worst Enemy

Compounding interest is a beautiful thing. It’s like magic. Give it enough time and compounding interest can turn even the smallest amount of money into millions.

Investing CAN be as easy as that, just set it and forget it. But when it comes to investing, we’re our own worst enemy.

Without guidance, rules, plans, checks and balances, we as individuals can cause some serious damage to our investment portfolios. We’re biased in many different ways and those biases create many behavioral investing pitfalls to watch out for.

There are many different behavioral investing pitfalls to be aware of, but some are more common than others (especially now that investing is even more easy and accessible). Some can be reduced with new investment options that automatically rebalance but there is still a risk.

Are you currently making one of these three behavioral investing mistakes?!?

read more
Negotiate Your Salary And Move Employers Often

Negotiate Your Salary And Move Employers Often

One of the most important pieces of a financial plan is income. Without an income it’s simply impossible to achieve any financial goals. Plus, having a higher income makes financial goals significantly easier to achieve.

While expenses often get a lot of focus because they’re entirely within our control, the fact is that without a certain level of household income it becomes much harder to save, invest, and still cover monthly spending.

This is why income, and specifically how income changes, should be an important part of every financial plan. Increasing income over time will make financial goals significantly easier to achieve, it makes debt payments a smaller proportion of net income, and it makes it possible to juggle competing priorities.

But unlike spending, income is unfortunately not completely within our control.

Increasing your annual income can be done a number of different ways. There are “side hustles”, there are second jobs, there is semi-passive income from rental properties etc. etc.

But the best and easiest way to increase income is to get paid more for what you’re already doing. You’re already at work, why not get paid more for doing the same thing?!? No “side hustle” required. No extra work. No stress of rental properties and bad tenants.

Increasing income is quite common, especially in a persons early 20’s and 30’s. On average income increases 7% per year during this phase. Once we reach our 40’s the pace of increases starts to slow down but those 15-20 years of steady increases can make a big difference.

How do you get salary increases of 7% per year (on average)? It takes a few things to make it easier, negotiating your salary is one, and unfortunately, switching employers often is another.

How impactful is increasing your income? Massive. In our example below, over a person’s working career, it’s equal to about $585,000 or 20,000 hours of extra work.

So, what would you prefer? Negotiating your salary every few years? Or putting in an extra 20,000 hours work (or about 10 years!)

read more
Aiming For FIRE? Beware The Boring Middle

Aiming For FIRE? Beware The Boring Middle

Financial Independence Retire Early (aka FIRE) is one of those big personal finance goals that has gotten a lot of attention recently. The idea of being financially independent, choosing when and if to work, is attractive for many people, especially when there is so much uncertainty in the world.

To be financially independent means that your investments (whether that be stocks, bonds, GICs, real estate etc) can provide enough income to cover annual expenses indefinitely. FIRE enthusiasts typically use the 4% rule as a guideline for how much income they can generate from their portfolio each year. The idea being that a person can draw 4% of their initial portfolio balance, adjusted for inflation each year, and have reasonably high chance of not running out of money after 30-years.

By using the 4% rule we can generate a rough target for FIRE. The basic idea is that you can take your annual expenses and multiply by 25 and that is your “FIRE number“. This is the amount needed in investments to safely retire early (although with low interest rates and low bond returns at the moment this rule is often thought to be too risky).

But despite it being a simple concept, reaching FIRE is a difficult task. It requires a high savings rate, low expenses, and lots of time.

FIRE is made easier with an above average income, which allows for a higher savings rate, but it is still a difficult task. Reaching FIRE means living well below your means for an extended period of time.

This combination of low spending, high savings, and a long time frame can lead to what’s known as “the boring middle”.

In this post we’ll briefly explain what FIRE is, why it’s so easy in the beginning, and why “the boring middle” could be a sign that there is an imbalance in the plan, one where the means may not justify the end.

read more

New blog posts weekly!

Tax planning, benefit optimization, budgeting, family planning, retirement planning and more...

New blog posts weekly!

Tax planning, benefit optimization, budgeting, family planning, retirement planning and more...

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