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 the last year, 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 we both 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.

Mr. Mod stayed home during his studies and the first two years of being in the workforce and his mom had him pay a “rent” which ended up being the money that went directly to his RRSPs, growing in tax free investments to become a large part of our first down payment. This is what his mom considered to be a part of his inheritance received early when it would be most helpful for him to start off his life on the right foot. This is a large reason of why we were able to have a down payment of 20% on our first property that we bought in 2010 when the real estate market in our city was a buyers’ market during the Great Recession.

Without this great upbringing, the financial support of our parents throughout our lives and specifically during our studies as well as the help 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.

Money information you will find here:

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

  • Overall household revenue
  • Spending
  • Net worth excluding the value of our house
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.

We prefer to keep private our specific side hustling gigs, at least as long as they are not related to this blog since our friends and family are very aware of these. We feel that in the rare chance that one of them would happen to stumble on the blog that could be a way to put 2 and 2 together and figure out who the Modest Millionaires are. As mentioned above, for now we prefer to remain anonymous and thus, we want to avoid this.

Making money from this blog

You’ve probably noticed that there aren’t any ads on this blog. 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 do have some amazon associate links on the blog when I recommend books for example, and I’ve looked into affiliate programs, but have never found specific ones in alignment with how I would feel about monetizing the site.

Perhaps if I allocated more time to this I would find things that do align with sharing our journey on here but for now, the bottom line is that it is more of a hobby then anything. On this subject, I really relate this post from Angela over at Tread Lightly, Retire Early : Why My Blog Is A Hobby – Not A Business.

Does it mean that the blog will always have no ads or banners? Maybe not! 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.

I’m also really interested in money coaching, and have toyed in the past with the idea of making this one of my side hustle. Of course our trajectory could be a nice portfolio to demonstrate my knowledge with regard to helping potential clients with their finances. However, currently my time is limited, I’ve even cut down on my side hustling and may even consider some leave without pay next year so it would make no sense to launch any new activity right now.

I do feel that it is fair to let my readers know that I may eventually offer coaching services and it’s also fair to those potential future clients to know about the privileges that have allowed me to get to the financial position of where we are now.

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. Bottom line is I have a lot of ideas, but as of now they’re just ideas!

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?

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