Christopher Guest Post: Family Money Plan



Welcome to the latest Christopher Guest post. This is the second Q & Eh to come from north of the border in the question and answer series.

Today’s guest is Andrew of Family Money Plan. Andrew is a hockey-playing, big-smiling family man with a plan. He paid off his mortgage to become 100% debt-free and is doing his part to help others do that same.

Let’s see what the good man has to say, eh?

 

What’s a Christopher Guest post?

 

Family Money PlanInspired by Nigel Tufnel, the character portrayed by Christopher Guest in Spinal Tap, I took Mr. 1500’s ten questions, and amped them up to eleven. If you’re not familiar with the scene, take 50 seconds to watch this video and enjoy the dialog between Nigel and Rob Reiner.

 

I decided I’d start a Q&A of my own. Not satisfied with just ten questions, this one goes to eleven. Just like Nigel’s amplifiers.

 

Presenting: Family Money Plan

 

As a Canadian, what unique money challenges do you face? What are the key differences compared to us Americans living South of the Border?

I would say that the biggest difference is the Fintech stuff. Our banking system is different here and we seem to be a few years behind in the technology that comes out. As someone who loves technology it would be great to see more US companies consider Canada in the early stages of development.

There’s other things that come to mind, but that’s the one that sticks out the most. The nice benefit is that our Canadian dollar is lower so when you earn US money you are getting another 20-30% bump. That’s nice!

[PoF: It’s also nice to be able to visit Canada and have our dollar go 30% further! Bummer you’re lagging behind in the Fintech department — echoes Canadian fashion, no? #HockeyHair

You’ve also got some obvious differences when it comes to the types of retirement plans, taxation, etc…]

 

Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.

.

Hi, my name is Andrew and I am the main writer for Family Money Plan.

Family Money Plan is about finding financial freedom with a family twist. The last 6 years were about getting our expenses under control. In that time we paid off our mortgage last year and became debt free. So if you are looking for a way to pay off your mortgage quicker, I’m your guy. If you are looking for ways to cut expenses and save money, I’m your guy.

Now that we find ourselves debt free and moving towards financial freedom, there is a lot of new learning to share. I’m starting from the beginning of building passive income. If you are looking for someone that is figuring things out as they go, then I’m your guy. If you are looking for someone who is going to make mistakes so you don’t have to, I’m your guy.

I guess what I’m saying is I’m your guy.

[PoF: That last sentence sums up your approach quite nicely.]

 

What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?

For the longest time, I wanted to start a personal finance site. I love everything about improving our money situation and the site seemed like a natural thing to do. The reason I didn’t do it sooner is that because we were saving every dollar we could to pay off our mortgage in 6 years I couldn’t justify $4 a month for hosting. Probably my biggest regret is that I didn’t start sooner.

I think the moment that I felt my blog had arrived was when I was approached by MoneySense magazine for an interview. That was a turning point that made me realize that maybe my story could help others. This is a weird situation because you tell your story and you have no idea what kind of impact it will have on others. Plus money is a long game, so someone can read your writings and take action but not see results for months.

As for the future, I have several plans in the works. I’m going to be offering a course at some stage that is geared toward helping people improve their financial situation. I also plan on sharing a lot of practical tips that can be done and implemented immediately in it.

[I remember seeing that MoneySense article. The picture cracked me up, so naturally, I had to include it here. Reminds me of “Brian” in Office Space with 37 pieces of flair.]

 

 

Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.

Our Paid Off Mortgage: How We Paid off $320K in 6 Years

28 Things We Gave Up To Be Mortgage Free

How To Set and Achieve Your Financial Goals

Dad What is Money

How to Save Money On Utilities

Debt Free Isn’t What I Thought It Would Be

What’s Your Daily Spending Rate?

The Budget that Changed My Life

Dad How do I do money?

My First Blogiversary and Income Report

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage In as Quick as 5 Years

[PoF: I don’t know many physicians who could pay off their mortgage in five years — I think it has more to do with the size of the mortgage than the income.

I can see the family aspect shine through just reading the titles. It definitely takes more discipline and money to reach financial indpendence as a family than it does an individual.

So, anyway, how do I money?]

 

 

At what age are you most likely to retire (or at what age did you retire) from full-time work? What are you doing to help realize your retirement target?

I’m hoping to crunch the numbers a lot more (I find if I use the words “Crunch the numbers” I will look more bada**). Right now the aim is to be done in 10 years, or at least the ability to be free in 10 years should we chose. It’s interesting because a lot of people I read that are financially free are either high earners, or they don’t have kids. [PoF: I’m guilty of the former, but not the latter]

Trying to do all of this with kids makes for a lot more challenges. You realize that your time with them is limited. Because of that, you want to make the most of your time while you have that chance. Your relationship with them grows and is ever-changing. So we want to give them these great memorable experiences, while not sacrificing our financial future. It’s a balancing act, but our family is up for that challenge.

The most important part for me is enjoying the process on the way to financial freedom. If I can do this with a smile on my face then I know I will have succeeded.

[PoF: Do you ever not have a smile on your face?

Didn’t think so.]

What does an ideal retirement look like for you? What will you do with your time when full-time work is in your rearview mirror?

My retirement will look much like it does without a job. I love the online lifestyle of blogging and figuring new things out, and educating others as I learn new things. So when I transition out of my job, I plan to spend more time online doing the things that interest me.

The only difference is that I will be location independent. I have really grown to love my site and working online in general. Another huge plus will be getting to spend more time with my family. I find that the older they get the busier life feels.

On a day to day basis, I will get up, eat breakfast, get the kids off to school, then work a few hours, go play hockey, work some more, go for a walk, get the kids from school and do their activities in the evenings.

[PoF: That location independence piece is huge for us. It’s a great big world out there, and anesthesia is a profession that cannot be practiced from any kind of distance.

School can keep you tied down, but there are growing options with both home and online schooling if you choose to be completely location independent as a family. We’ll be examining those options in the coming years.]

 

I’ll give you eleven sentences to dish out advice to a young physician. Any and all advice is welcome. We talk about personal finance, so money is fair game, but if you have advice on being a better doctor, a better parent / spouse / friend / human, we’re all ears.

 

  1. Start saving your money, and when you make more, put it aside. Watch out for lifestyle creep, it’ll getcha!
  2. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  3. Everyone has a story, respect their story and where they are coming from. Many have had it a lot worse than you.
  4. Deep down inside everyone wants to help, and be heard, it’s important to make sure both of those happen. [PoF: Everyone? Everyone?!?]
  5. Nobody has any real clue what they are doing, but we are all playing pretend really well.
  6. There is so much more to life than sitting in front of a television. [PoF: I was going to say except fall Saturdays and Sundays and then I realized it’s more fun to go to the games and also you have the CFL up there.]
  7. Do your best, forget the rest and move on.
  8. You are a giant to your children, make sure you are of the friendly variety.
  9. Being right doesn’t make you smart, there are plenty of people in the cemetery that were “in the right” at the wrong time.
  10. You can be right or you can be rich, you can be right or you can be happy. Choose one
  11. You may want to avoid becoming a proctologist. [PoF: check!]

 

You’ve got eleven days to visit anyplace in the world with an $11,000 budget. Where do you go and what do you do?

The next place up on our travel destinations is Disney. We have been saving for it for a few months and that amount and timeline fits perfectly with our budget and travel plans.

But then again… (here I go again on a tangent)… if I’m already saving for that and I have a new budget and place to visit I would pick somewhere new. I haven’t been to Australia yet, so I would go there and tour around Sydney, Melbourne, Ayers Rock and all the amazing places down under.

[PoF: I’ll see you there! I should have more than eleven days, so I’ll scout out the lay of the land beforehand and show you and your family around.

You bring the shrimp; I’ll have the barbie.]

 

Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.

  1. Water
  2. Emerils Big Easy Bold coffee
  3. More Water
  4. Innis and Gunn Beer Rum Casket
  5. Guinness
  6. Rum and Ginger-ale
  7. Apothic Red Wine
  8. Kronenbourg 1664
  9. Coffee, it bears repeating
  10. Monte Cristo Coffee
  11. Scotch (Favorites are Glenmorangie, Oban, Macallan and Glenlivet)

[PoF: This might be the widest variety I’ve seen in these interviews yet, even if you did repeat a couple. Water, coffee, beer, wine, and scotch. But no soda.]

 

Now, eleven foods.

  1. Pizza
  2. Steak and Potatoes (preferably dirty mash or home fries)
  3. Chicken Fingers (because I’m still 11 at heart)
  4. Perogies
  5. Fettucine Alfredo
  6. Cookies
  7. Pizza
  8. Cookies
  9. Ice Cream
  10. Cinnamon Buns
  11. Cake (any kind, not fussy I just need cake)

I’m going to go eat now before I answer the last question, might have a coffee too.

[Tell me more about “dirty mash” in the comments. Sounds like a hip hop dance. Everything else, I’m totally down with. We’ll take the shrimp off the barbie and toss them with the fettucini.]

 

How did you first learn about PhysicianonFIRE.com? What one piece of advice do you have for me?

I think I came across your site in my internet meanderings, or we commented on something together and it led me here. Either way, I’m happy to have found this site. One piece of advice is this:

“Find what you love to do and organize your life around it. Life’s too short for it any other way.”

As a bonus to your readers I have an ebook called “How to Hack Your Mortgage And Save Thousands” in it I go through the small things you can do to pay off your mortgage faster. They can get to that special offer here when they sign up they will get access to our Member’s only area and our other guides and workbooks.

 

[PoF: Well, that was fun! I think Andrew has proven that he’s no hoser, despite living about four hours north of Fargo.

Have you got any additional questions for our friend up there? Do they really eat French fries and gravy? Is that what “dirty mash” is? I’m so confused. I suppose I could google it, but I’ll let Andrew fill us in.]

 


What, you’re still not using Personal Capital? Track all your accounts in one place like I do.


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14 comments

  • “We are all playing pretend really well”. Gotta love the honesty!

    You’re absolutely right about not having kids and high incomes, Andrew. We’re in the former group. Had we had children, our timeline to FI would have been longer but, like you, we would have wanted to enjoy memorable experiences with them.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • It’s a struggle, on one hand the focused goal of FIRE is always on my mind. But at the same time the kids are only young for a little while and I need to makes sure I get these great experiences in with them now while the gettin’ is good!

  • Thanks for letting take part in this great series. Dirty mash is when you leave the skins on the potatoes. Put in some garlic and it’s the perfect side for your steak, or chicken. Hmmmm

  • Nice to see another dad financial blogger. Great post and congrats on paying off the mortgage.

    As a fan of lifestyle creep, I am only 66 years from paying off my mortgage. At that time I will be 103 years old and figure the bank will want to give me a reverse mortgage!

    In all seriousness, great work. Paying off that mortgage is not easy to do and probably the biggest hinderance in achieving financial independence.

  • Nice to meet you, Family Money Plan! I heard that the Canadian national parks are free this year. We’re not planning to go this year, but what would be your top 3 picks for Canadian national parks for us Americans?

    • Nice to meet you WSP. Definitely Banff tops the list. Anything in the mountains is amazing and breathtaking. If you have never been it should go on the list.

  • Hi Andrew, Great job on paying off the mortgage!

    PoF – Funny about the 37 pieces of flair. I actually started a draft post about that a few weeks back… this reminded me that it is probably time to finish and post!

  • Another great guest post. I have six kids. I can attest to the difficulty to staying on budget and paying things down.

    I also love eating potatoes, skin and all, but had never heard of that being called “dirty mash”.

    :O)

    • Thanks Chris! Wow 6 kids, that’s gotta keep you running. Apparently “dirty mash” isn’t as common as I thought it was. haha. I wonder what people call it? Just a potato?

  • Drsan1

    Great post! The advice about paying off the mortgage is great! Even something as simple as paying every 2 weeks instead of bimonthly. Andrew I like your style of writing it actually reminds me of another awesome blogger…PoF! I love the joking and whitty nature. Keep doing what your doing.

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