Transparency

If you’re reading our blog, you are likely looking at our situation and perhaps comparing your own to ours, although we share our numbers and their growth in the hopes of inspiring rather than being a comparable that may discourage you. As such, I feel that it is greatly important for us to be transparent to our readers since a blog can be just a glimpse in someone’s life and so many factors come into play when we discuss accumulating wealth.

Specifically in our case, some things are important to keep in mind as you read along such as :

  • The history of our financial background
  • The money information you will find on this blog
  • Other information you will not find here

There are also important issues for the reader to know such as:

  • Are we making money from this blog?
  • Will we be making money once we hit FIRE?

This page is specifically inspired by Tanja at Our Next Life who’s quite outspoken about the problems with blogger transparency. I also have always made it a goal to be truthful with the readers and try as best as possible to add caveats where needed but this page will be an excellent and easy place for the reader to get a bigger picture of what has truly helped us along our journey.


Advantages that make our reality and pursuit of FIRE easier:

This specific list to highlight some of our privileges is inspired by the transparency page of the blog Us in Orlando.

  • We are both white, college educated, cisgender, heterosexual and bilingual.
  • We were both born and raised in the safe developed country of Canada.
  • Being in a couple helps us split up housing related costs as well as child rearing responsibilities.  
  • Our current household income is in the top 5% of our city (using this calculator).
  • We have a strong local family support network available to help out when needed or to spend time with our kiddoes.
  • We live in Quebec where there are great daycare subsidies programs and education is nowhere near the prices elsewhere.
  • I (Ms. Mod) have made a switch to full remote work in 2018, which greatly helps improve our work life balance.
  • Our employers have options that we have taken advantage of or planning to take during our journey to FIRE such as leave without pay while maintaining our position, paid parental leave with top ups and also the availability of remote work.
  • While I deal with anxiety issues and I’ve suffered from at least 1 major depression while in college as well as postpartum anxiety after having our kids, we have access to health insurance through our employers that has covered for therapy as well as medication. Furthermore, none of us suffers from severe ongoing mental illness, nor have addiction or gambling problems. These are all things that can severely impact your ability to build wealth and earn money.

The History of Our financial background

Mr. Mod’s parents came from hard-working and frugal middle class families and thus, had a great start to their financial lives. They did, however, separate when he was very young and had to be frugal on their higher-end middle income earnings in order to account for the costs of having two households. As such, Mr. Mod had the opportunity to see the power of frugality in action and establish good habits in that sense.

My parents had experienced some financial instability growing up and made it a value to provide some financial stability to my siblings and me. I was able to see my two working parents hustling away and eventually see my dad jump into entrepreneurship while my mom kept a stable public servant job with excellent benefits (such as medical/dental insurance, family related leaves and others). With these moves as well as favorable circumstances, my parents were able to provide for us, first through middle class levels eventually reaching around the top 10 to 5% of household income in our city. As such, I grew up in a very financially stable environment.

Our parents taught us the value of investing and they encouraged us to pick up jobs as soon as we were old enough to start working. If I wanted something frivolous, such as some crazy travel plans, it was up to me to come up with the money. I was also encouraged to put a portion of any money I earned into mutual funds in my RRSPs and not touch that money.

All of our parents made it a priority to help us through our studies and pay for the costs of books and tuition, which was quite affordable in Quebec at the time of our studies. When I decided to study in a different city, I had to cover my costs of living but my parents were always there to guide me if I was feeling financially stuck and offer support such as co-signing for personal loans. I had about 20,000$ of consumer debt at the end of my studies that I paid off in the first two years of employment.

Without this great upbringing, the financial support of our parents throughout our lives and specifically during our studies as well as the encouragement we had to save up a down payment of our first property and the timing of purchasing it, there is no way we would have a paid off mortgage today or be where we are on our journey towards FIRE while we are in our early thirties.

Things we plan to include in this blog and things that are untouchable

Obviously writing from an anonymous position allows us to share a little more about ourselves. Ideally we would prefer to remain anonymous since we like sharing our numbers on this blog but we don’t really do that with family and friends in real life since, let’s face it, finances are one heck of a taboo subject. Also, we are not very keen on the idea of our employers finding this blog.

However, we are aware that we may not be forever anonymous, therefore some information we keep strictly off of our blog for privacy reasons. We may also one day decide to change what we share. If we do, we will change this transparency page accordingly and explain what prompted the changes.

Update May 2020:

As promised, a few things have changed on the blog since I am pivoting to a more semi-anonymous position:

  • Our specific overall household revenue is no longer shared but we do indicate that we are both earning near 6 figures each.
  • Net worth is now shared in % reached of our target FI #.
  • Target FI # is not longer shared on the blog.
  • Since the blog is written by me (Ms.Mod) I try to only speak from my feelings & point of view without shedding too much light on Mr.Mod and the kids.

Money information you will find here:

As long as we are semi-anonymous, I have no issue including the following information:

  • Overall household revenue (in a range)
  • Spending
  • Net worth excluding the value of our house (in terms of % of target FI#)
Information we are not including:
  • Our names
  • Value of investment saved up for our kids’ studies (see more details below)
  • Our specific employers
  • Our specific salaries
  • Our side hustling gigs (as long as they are not related to the blog)
  • City where we live

Anything related to our kids will mostly be kept private. With regard to the money we stash away for their studies, you can know that we plan to maximize the education grants so that comes to investing 2500$ annually for 14 years for each kiddoes. Some of this will partly be funded by gifts from grandparents and uncles/aunts, but the majority will be funded by ourselves.

The reasons behind this is that these are two individuals whose entire financial lives are controlled by us for now. I want it to be their own choice to decide to divulge their own financial situation on a blog out there in the real world once they are old enough to do so. Our job is to protect these kiddoes and by keeping their lives private as much as possible that is exactly what we are doing.

Making money from this blog

While the goal of starting blogging about our journey was never to make money from it, so I’ve never felt quite right with monetizing it, I’ve slowly grown to view this differently.

I really align with this  by J.D.Roth at Get Rich Slowly – The thin green line: Why you should be skeptical of financial blogs .  If I believe in some products or things that I have used and feel it could help my readers I may accept to advertise them however any affiliation will be clearly identified and I will always put my readers first as well as never compromise the editorial side of this blog.

Coaching

I’ve found a passion in offering coaching as a way to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained on my path to FI and help people grow to make progress at reaching their goals and improve their financial lives.

I’ve helped people establish lifelong positive financial habits, approach their employers to request work from home arrangements and make progress at reaching various life-changing goals.

If you have any interest or questions related to my coaching services, you can sign up here to be on the list where I will share more information about future coaching plans and available spots: 

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    Making money after FIRE

    We are absolutely still going to make money after we quit our stable job and once we hit FIRE, it simply won’t be the sole focus of our lives. I’ve hustled since I was 5 years old so I will definitely still find ways to hustle once I have more time especially while the kids will be in school. The big difference is that once we hit our FI number, work will be optional and not essential to fund our living.

    A lot of the things that align with my values have to do with sharing knowledge, teaching languages and other, all of which would be monetized whether it be individuals that would pay for my service or municipalities/organisations that would pay for me to organize courses for the citizens/members.

    Things may change once money is no longer the main motivation to do things so only time will tell. One thing’s for sure, I will always be transparent to my readers on these things since they matter in the sustainability of this whole FIRE thing and can help put our own experience into perspective.

    This page will obviously change if our circumstances change therefore it is an ongoing work. Do you have any questions or suggestions for this transparency page?

    2 thoughts on “Transparency

    1. This post is incredibly transparent, not to mention thorough!

      I am considering moving my investments into passive index funds like Vanguard but am struggling to find any information online on how to invest self-directed. I was hoping you could provide some insight.

      I see that Vanguard does not offer direct investing here in CAN, so a person still has to have a self directed account at a discount online broker. These online brokerages charge fees per transaction as well as quarterly admin fees which would add up making the low cost of an index fund no longer feasible.

      Do you have any recommendations you can suggest here? Thanks in advance!

      1. Hi Dale,

        I know a few other Canadian bloggers have covered some options so these might be helpful for you:
        https://www.millennial-revolution.com/invest/workshop-invest/millennial-revolution-investment-workshop-intro/

        https://www.myownadvisor.ca/how-to-use-shareowner-to-invest/

        And this particular episode of the FI Garage podcast comes to mind! Check out the tools they recommend in the show notes:

        https://figarage.ca/podcast/investing-in-etfs-in-canada/

        I hope this helps!

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