Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WMW 2012 -- Saving & Investing

Savings for my husband D and I have always meant more than just money in an account. First and foremost it is about building a sustainable lifestyle encouraging health and balance.

I am not an expert investor or day trader. We diversify our holdings with my working with an investment advisor investing in more aggressive stocks, D self managing his own value based investments and we have low fee ETFs and tax free saving accounts with ING.

The largest portion of our net worth is real estate related. We own 3 properties without any family help, lottery winnings, or rental income. And are within 3 yrs of having everything paid off.

The main reason this was possible is due to where we live. In our area of Ontario it is possible to own a spacious home for $285000, a true cottage 3 hrs away for $83000 and a ski condo (not timeshare or fractional) in British Columbia the size of a tiny hotel room for $78500.

So for the price of a moderate house in a major city center, we get to enjoy a lifestyle that a lot of people think belongs to the rich and famous and we are neither of those. It is a bonus our cottage has almost doubled in value in the last 10 yr.

I just turned 40 and D is 44. We are fortunate that D will receive a defined benefit pension. Our monthly costs aren't as much as you may think as we are pretty good with conservation. Since D can work remote, we can be up at the cottage or out west without him having to take too many days off.

Because we are able to scale our expectations we found options that are manageable financially.

If anyone out there dreams of an additional property, it is worth spending the time searching the mls and driving around new areas that aren't shown in the dramatic makeover section of the newspaper.

There are lower cost options. And if anyone is considering a move, really consider this: The less a house costs, the more money you have left over to live with. There are opportunity costs associated with each major financial decision.

It is also worth researching job opportunities in a smaller city or town center. The key is the amount of money you are left with. Don't just focus on the salary. High monthly carrying costs can eat up everything.

We still have ways to go in the retirement savings department because of the money we've imparted into real estate. We feel by doing so, we are really investing in us. A great life now and along the way versus later.

This post is a part of Women's Money Week 2012. For more posts about Saving & Investing, see Savings & Investing Round Up.

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