Stumbling upon articles documenting the trials and tribulations of women my age reminds me of how incredibly lucky I’ve been. Certainly, hard work and sacrifice have factored into my career progression, but it would be impossible to discount the role that luck has played. Graduating pharmacy school during a massive pharmacist shortage and beginning my investing career in 2009 when markets presented tremendous value, has provided a huge boost. I was able to land my first “grown-up” job at 24, and not 32 and I’ve never had to dance burlesque to make ends meet. Even Garth Turner spoke succinctly of the lack of savings among many in my demographic: “The liquid assets among 35-year-olds who have been working for seven or eight years is breathtaking. There aren’t any. Instead, all the cash has gone into lifestyle, a soul-sucking condo or repaying student debt.”
The financial head start that I have is of particular importance these days, when I find myself uncertain of my future. Layoffs and prolonged unemployment are quickly becoming the norm in my field. Even those of us who have jobs struggle to keep them in hectic, short-staffed environments and are forced to meet outlandish quotas designed to maximize corporate profits. My own body, often the first harbinger of my cognitive dissonance has displayed increasing weariness. On my days off, I am often up before 6am, excited to get a jump on my day. I exercise, read anything I can get my hands on, watch documentaries, catch up with friends and spend time with my mom. On the days I’m working, I’m sluggish and uninspired. I drag myself out of bed and down stimulants to provide the energy to head out the door. Stumbling upon this book has reminded me that you may be able to put up with a sh*tty job for a while, but not forever. Eventually, your desire to self-actualize and / or inability to tolerate anymore BS will push you out.
Be it my immigrant work ethic or my parents’ propensity to disown me, but I can’t just walk out on a job without an sufficient safety net. So here’s what I’m thinking:
My next payday is September 1st, which happens to be my rent cheque cashing day. The financial boost will allow me to make another lump sum mortgage pre-payment ($10k), bringing my total mortgage debt obligation to 250k (on 3 properties). Given the average interest rate of 2.04%, I’ll then let the mortgages run their full course as they are tax deductible and at a rate approximating inflation. The other point worth mentioning is that my rentals are worth $1.25MM according to MPAC. Not that I plan to sell, but having $1 million in equity is a nice safety blanket. Based on current projections, I can reasonably expect about $30k per year in rental income, increasing gradually as the mortgages are paid off. Next, my investments are worth approximately $550k today. I’ve been very inconsistent with my investment allocation / tracking / re-balancing so this will be my next order of business. Using FIRECalc’s 4% withdrawal rate, I can expect to withdraw $22k per year today without depleting my capital. With my rental mortgages on autopilot, I can redirect any monthly surplus to my investments. I’ll continue maxing contributions to my employers pension plan (15-18k per year in forced savings) but redirect any excess to my unregistered investment accounts.
I’m not sure if anyone ever feels fully ready to escape the daily work grind, but at least I’m giving it my best shot.