Our Choices Spread Jobs Around

Of late, my wife and I have been actively looking at where and how we want to live  from now until retirement and then hopefully long into that next stage. There are a lot of tradespeople and others who will ultimately gain or lose work based on what we decide. Ever thought about that yourself?

So we live in a bungaloft; a home with a main floor, finished basement and a second storey that overlooks the living room on the main floor. Outside we’ve got many floral gardens; 95% of which are filled with perennials; so there’s less work than it looks at this stage as the bulk of the work is done. The folks at garden centres have a lot of our money!

The thing is, we can’t at the moment, decide on what to do between the choices we’ve presented to ourselves. We could:

  1. Stay put and do some renovating to make a really nice home even better
  2. Move to some property with a great view, and a house that ticks off all the things on our ‘dream’ list
  3. Buy a lot and have a home built from scratch just the way we want it
  4. Move to a smaller place; like a condo and buy a recreation vehicle and travel weekends and on our vacations

Now I’m not just sharing our discussions for the purpose of garnering ‘likes’ such as one would on FB. No, I’m sharing because there are a lot of working people who will make money or lose opportunities based on whatever we decide. And who knows; there could be more options yet that come to light.

There’s the RV sales people; and if you’ve not been inside some campers and trailers for years, you should think about taking in such a show. Things have come a long way in comfort and options. Bigger isn’t always better, but it sure is nice to have some comforts when you’re coming in after a day on the trails, white water rafting or having been out doing pretty much anything active. Yes the RV sales people will be happy to know that we’re potentially in the market – again.

Now we’ve moved 8 times if you include the first three years of our marriage where we were in 3 apartments in the first 3 years. 5 different houses representing 10 real estate commissions, 10 lawyer’s fees, 3 home inspectors and way too many people in administrative roles to count giving buyers and sellers approval for this and that. In the last house, we stood and watched it go up right from the foundation. So many builders! There’s the tradespeople; the carpet layer, the hardwood installer, the trim team, the counter top manufacturer’s, the roofers, the framers, the dry waller’s, the landscapers who brought in the armour stone and made the waterfall, the plumbers, electricians, asphalt team, city inspector, gas, hydro, cable and water installers, the people delivering turf. Forgot to mention the heavy equipment operators, window installers and manufacturer’s, and of course all the people who produce and sell all the contents from lighting and bathroom fixtures to painters and HVAC people. Then too there’s the movers who transport all the ‘stuff’ from one house to another. So many people!

That’s a lot of jobs for a lot of people and we’re only one couple. When the housing industry is booming, it’s not hard to see that for every time you pass a new development going up, a lot of people are benefitting from the work created.

And what of that RV? There are owners of campgrounds hoping we’ll be among the many who frequent their sites. There’s the gas station employees and owners who hope we’re on the road, the people who build, sell and install the appliances contained within. Then there’s plumbers, electricians, framers, again. There are folks on automotive assembly lines who work at construction, engine installation, wiring, lighting and depending on the model, even the kitchen sink and toilet!

Then we’ve got to find a place to store the vehicle perhaps, for if we stay put, that new RV can’t stay in the driveway. Nope, by-laws forbid that. So someone makes money storing and maybe winterizing that RV.

I see a lot of Mitchell money going out. Oh, and to pull it unless it’s self-driven? Yep, that’s one of our cars to sell and replace with a vehicle with better towing capacity. I just keep thinking of all the people happy to take my money; our money. Oh well, it is only money. Right? Then again, I’m about 7 years (give or take) from retiring and then the money coming in drops. That bears thinking about.

That we’re in this thought process isn’t the thrust of the piece, but a look at who in the world of work will be affected and receive income/work from our choices. Say, what if we stayed put and just did some traveling of a different sort? Then the people taking our money might be airlines, hotel owners, restauranteurs, theatre owners, valets, RV rental agents, train operators, etc. What about all the souvenir creators and vendors relying on us, the servers, hotel staff, bed and breakfast operators and tour guides? What of the amusement operators – why even the road crews who pave the roads we’ll drive on?

There are a lot of people potentially taking our money. Stay tuned contractors, agents, builders, vendors, assembly line workers, …


Invest Earned Income In Your Retirement

I can only speak for myself, but I when I was in my 20’s the last thing I wanted to do was sock away some cash for retirement. Come to think of it, I probably never thought that far into the future. I mean back then, retirement – even thinking about retiring wasn’t even on the radar screen.

However, one of the key mantras Financial Advisors preach is the benefits of compound interest. You know, invest money on a regular basis and not only does the interest build on your invested money, it also builds on the interest as well. Over 4 or 5 decades, that regular investment that you probably don’t miss much all along really adds up.

I am happy therefore that while I wasn’t much interested in the investing side of things, my wife  was and still is. Oh at the time I balked at the idea, just as I balked at the notion of needing a will all those years ago. Of course, I’m still living and the will could have waited, but as it gave her piece of mind…

Come to think of it, without a will or investing in our futures, I’d be looking at an unstable retirement. Now it’s not that I am a big spender by any stretch of the imagination, but when retired, it would be nice to still have funds in the bank to do things now wouldn’t it? I mean who knows what friends you’ll make along the way in life and how awkward it will be if you have to keep declining doing things together because you’re nervous about running out of money when the earnings stop.

Time certainly does fly by quickly. Can you clearly remember 5 or 10 years ago? What about those babies you snuggled in your arms that are now graduates of high school and post-secondary institutions? Time goes fast and so does the cash! Don’t catch yourself lamenting, “Where did the time go? Where did the money go?”

So what’s this got to do with employment? Good question and thanks for asking. When you get a job; your first real job or a job after lengthy unemployment, you’ll be relieved and thankful you have some money that’s going to make your present life more comfortable. You may either be so happy you spend it frequently, or you may want to store some away to guard against money troubles that might arise until you feel entirely secure in your job. Both are reasonable behaviours when money was scarce and is now coming in thankfully.

Give a little thought though to socking some of this money into your retirement. I’m not an investment guru, won’t make any money whatsoever from this post for giving this advice; it’s just prudent planning on your part for the inevitable future. Look barring a complete disaster in which your life is terminated, you do plan on getting older don’t you? I mean few people actually plan on dying before they retire unless they have a medical problem. So you’re going to retire, the money from employment will stop, your government pension could be there to some degree, but plan for yourself and anything you get from an employer or the government will add to your income, and not make you solely dependent on them.

Now in my case, it was my wife as I say that really got me moving. She announced one day that she’d contacted the bank we deal with and we had an evening appointment with one of their Investors. This was years ago mind, and at the time I probably rolled my eyes and like a child lamented, “Do I really have to go?” Well maybe I did and maybe I didn’t, but it wasn’t something I jumped at in any event. Still I went and am glad for it.

You can do the same thing; without rolling your eyeballs. Every financial institution has these investment types. They essentially find out what you envision your retirement to look like and then figure out how much money you’ll need to live that kind of life. Working backwards, they figure out how much money you’ll need to invest regularly in order to retire with the funds you want. I mean it makes perfect sense. The earlier you get this kind of investing going, the less you need to invest regularly. Do it in your 20’s and you’ll hardly notice the small bit of money that goes to your own retirement and it compounds to higher amounts. Wait until you’re in your 50’s and you have to set aside larger sums and the compounding interest doesn’t add up as much because you’re doing so over a smaller period.

We still meet with this Investor a minimum of once a year. We get these statements all along where my wife and I can see how much money we are accumulating, and because she started with greater amounts than I did, I’m playing catch up to her. I get it though; not her money, (and this would be where the wills come in I suppose), I understand the process.

So my advice to you is to get your own investments going for your retirement especially if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s. You can have it removed from your pay  automatically and won’t even miss it. Planning ahead makes you so responsible and you’ll thank yourself years from now.