Author Topic: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(  (Read 11964 times)

oehaut

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Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum. I discovered MMM through early retirement extreme and I've got to say that discovering these two blogs was life changing.

I'm a little desesperate about my situation right now and i'd like to get output from people that have more experience about reaching FI (financial independance). I'm afraid i'm not going to be able to make it young enough (it's never too late I guess, but i'll be describing my goal further down.)

So, I am a

26 years old
Man
I live in Quebec, Canada (so it's not quite the same as people in the US, mostly tax-wise)
Recently single from a 4 LTR

Goals

I would have like to reach FI by 35, but it's not likely possible (not sure, haven't done enough calculation using various possibilities)
Once that's done, i'd like to do a one year indian motorcyle trip around Asia (given that i'm still single and can go where ever/whenever I want once I'm there).
Then i'd like to settle down and raise a family.
The reason I want to reach FI is simply to never have to be worried about money and need to work a job that I hate. My main purpose is not to be working anymore but simply to be able to use my time to do what I consider worthwhile doing with my life.

Financial ''mistakes'' so far

close to 4k spent on various books. ( I'm an avid reader and I was working at a bookstore where I was getting 35% discount on prices.... this is what resulted of it)

Getting a university degree in a bad employment field (I did the mistake of following my passion, which I now really think is a bad, bad idea) which has brought 22k in debt.

I say mistake but at the same time would I have never been poor as I am right now I might have never learned how to manage my money and most likely would have never discovered MMM and ERE, which mean I would have been doing like everyone else, living the consumurist life and working up to 60-70 y old. So at the same time, this might be a blessing.

Financial situation right now :

Monthly payments :

Aparment : 300$
Electricity : 30$

Car insurance : 18$
Gaz : 20$
Grocery : 200-250$ (depend if I need to buy utilities or not)
Cell phone : 50$
Internet : 35$
misc: 75$

778$/month // 9336$/year

Incomes:

Net i'm getting 1350$ a month. 16 200$/year

Cash at bank : 7k.

Monthly saving : 500$.

THIS IS WHAT IS SO DEPRESSIVE ABOUT MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!!! Look at this ridiculously low income... and this is with a bachelor degree, i'm being paid 12$ an hour (32h a week). Obviously I'm not going to do this forever, but right it just seems impossible to reach FI on that kind of budget.

I've studied kinesiolosy, which is a rather recent feild here in Qc, and there are only very rarely high paying (50K would be high in this feild) job, unless one start his business (don't want to). So right now i'm working in a commercial gym, a job that I have been doing for 5 years now, and that I have gotten to hate to death. Jacob from ERE put it rights when he said that making a job out of your passion would most likely kill it, and this is what has happened. I would probably not be as sad working at McDonald's flipping burger as at least i'm not wasting my passion away in a job so unfilling.

My budget shall change soon as : my student status will expire and I will have to start paying my student loan, which will come about at 180 a month, interest are tax deductible.

Right now I also can use the bus for free still being considered a student but by junary this will no longer be so. I'm already use to going to work by walk/bike but I've got to admit that I hate winter and that I'm thinking of using my car for the winter month (20$ a week in gaz + mainteance costs for using my car, which my dad gave free to me 6 years ago and that I mostly never use)

I got my first cell phone only 3 months ago, never had one before. This shit is expensive. It's a shame that Google voice is not available here in CA.

Right now my choice are :

Going back to university getting a degree as a social worker. That'd be 3 y during which I cannot work much with heavy university cost. This is a job that i'd like to do, but i'm not sure this is the best mustachian move, since I need to make good money ASAP and i'm not looking to work long term anyway (althought would I find a job that I really love I would not mind - would probably just work much less hour in the week)

Getting a degree in plumbing/electricity. This would be good, but I'm not sure I would like it that much, and If anything ever happens that I cannot reach FI really young, it would sucks to be stuck at a job that I don't really like, once again.

Right now I know I work only 32h a week, I could work more but not in my actual job. I'm really mentaly/emotionnaly broken by it, i'm looking to get another 15-20h a week from somewhere else which would make it possible, a the minimum wage, to put another 500$ of saving away per month. 

I could probably reduce my spending further, but I think right now the most important thing to do is getting a better paying job (and I think this is already a quite low-end budget - I don't see where I could cut much more - maybe you guys can help me out with this). But I don't know what. I don't have experience in any other feild that don't pay minimum wage, other than factory.

I also want to find a job that I can reach by walk or bike as working at a minimum wage if I need to use my car to get there iwould be mostly useless.

I need to learn to invest, but right now my saving are so small that I don't see how I could make any money by investing them.

I'm starting to feel old and I feel like I cannot do much more mistake anymore if I want my goal to be reached someday.

Right now I can only put about 6k a years in saving, which even after 20y (46yo) would only add up to120k, not even close to be enough to retire. 

Hence, I'm asking for some advices here. It has been long enough as it is so I'm going to give specific/needed details upon asking.

Should I get any punch? Is there any hope for a better life? Any inputs, experiences, opinions, advices would be greatly appreciated. I'm kind of depressed about my life right now - but at least I feel there is hope if I ever get a good job.

PS. Sorry for the various typos, my english is far from perfect.

Orvell

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 12:21:23 PM »
I don't know much about your field at all. Is it possible you could find self-employment in it? Consult or some such?
I make also small wages but am working extremely hard towards an illustration career on the side. Having at the very least something you can work towards as a "side hustle" or an additional passion that can produce income will help your mental health if nothing else.

Wish I could offer more advice! I'd personally stay away from more school unless you feel as strong need for it and you know it will pay for its debt, especially since you haven't paid off the first round of 22K.

But really: you're 26. You're young.  It's okay. (I say this as a fellow young person).

Done by Forty

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 12:25:03 PM »
A big income is rare right after college, so I wouldn't worry about that.  What isn't so rare is crippling school and consumer debt...so, you're actually in a pretty good spot there.

Keep doing what you're doing re: expenses and, with time (and your determination), your income is likely to increase.  My only advice is to keep your eye on the prize and keep expenses down when your income increases.

Keep it up.  Your goal is attainable.

RoseRelish

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 12:25:32 PM »
If you're more than covering your expenses, I'd say you're doing ok. Just be sure to put the excess into investments that make you money - savings account and mattresses are very good at this! You probably need to work at least 40-50 hours a week though. Get a 2nd, part-time job to get a few more hours. If you saved $1k a month for 10 years (with your current $7k) you'd have about $200k. Maybe not quite FI, but not too bad.

Nancy

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 12:50:25 PM »
The fact that you are saving $500/ month with your income is great. Also, 26 is quite young.

Clearly, you're unhappy with your job, so it sounds like you know you need to make a change. However, I wouldn't commit to a degree program without knowing if you're going to last in the career; otherwise, you'll be in the same position. You don't want to jump into a new degree program just to escape your current job.

Does social work pay well in Quebec? It is a low paying field in the U.S. Not to say that you shouldn't go into it, but I would do some research on expected pay and future employment prospects. Most importantly, I would see if there was some way to shadow a social worker for a week or two and see if you could actually stand the job. Perhaps you could take part in an internship. I would do the same with each prospective career that you are thinking about going into. Also, are there plumbing/electrical apprenticeship programs, where you learn while getting a journeyman's salary, as opposed to paying for a degree? I don't know much about your field, but have you considered physical therapy?

In the short term, keep your head up and keep saving. 

JT

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 01:36:44 PM »
Hi

A friend of mine is a Kinesiologist and she has her own business. She has another business too. I think you sound quite responsible with your money and with that attention to expenses and savings all you need is to boost your income, happiness and optimism.  I see people on really high salaries that are worse off than you and crippled by debt.  The first thing you've done is realise you don't like your current situation and some people don't have the mental fortitude to do even that.  Be gentle with yourself and determined with your future.  At 26 you're still young enough to make change for the better that will meet your long term goals.  You'd be surprised how quickly things can change with income changes - so getting that second job sounds like a good idea.   Or move somewhere where your skills will be appreciated.  Kinesiology is a really cool field.  (You could run a kinesiology business on the side?)

fiveoh

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 02:18:53 PM »
Are you a trainer, sales or what at the gym?   I actually have the same degree as u and worked in a commercial gym for a while as well.  I'll throw some ideas at u later but give me some more info on what exactly u do now, and/or would like to do.

It Figures

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 02:33:02 PM »
Don't go back to school at this point and rack up more debt!!!  You'll just postpone FI even more.  With a degree in Kinesiology you could work for an insurance company or for a Community Care Agency as a Case worker.  I would go for the Insurance company route because you'd make more money and have more room to move up.  You could also work for a medical supplies company, in a rehabilitation clinic, in a sports injuries clinic or even in a long term care facility.  You really could be making more without going back to school. 

ch12

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 03:06:22 PM »
I agree with the other posters that you could definitely make more with your kinesiology degree.

Another option that you could look at besides plumber/electrician would be welder. It's fairly simple to do: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/16/unlock-your-inner-mr-t-by-mastering-metal/. You don't need to be licensed like an electrician would be.

There is a massive shortage of welders. The US will need 140,000 more welders by 2019 as boomers age and retire or die. The starting salary is $45,000. It might be worth consideration.

And another note on social work - it's looking like I might be going into the field. But I'm willing to postpone FI to engage in work where I get to help people hands-on. I recognize that the pay is very, very low in that field. I don't think that it would be much of an improvement.

oehaut

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 03:41:34 PM »
Thanks everyone! The answers have been very positive and warmth, this is awesome.

I don't know much about your field at all. Is it possible you could find self-employment in it? Consult or some such?
I make also small wages but am working extremely hard towards an illustration career on the side. Having at the very least something you can work towards as a "side hustle" or an additional passion that can produce income will help your mental health if nothing else.

Wish I could offer more advice! I'd personally stay away from more school unless you feel as strong need for it and you know it will pay for its debt, especially since you haven't paid off the first round of 22K.

But really: you're 26. You're young.  It's okay. (I say this as a fellow young person).

Hi Orvell, yes I could become either a personnal training or a consultant of some sort. The thing is, I'm really passionnate about fitness and critical thinking and i'm kind of an anti-BS guy, but the fitness industry is filled with myths, bad logics and selling the dream. The sucess rate that I see in the gym would be around 10-15%, most people drop out after 1-2 months. This is extremly depressing when you are pasionnate about something but you can't seem to be able to make it work. So ideally I would like to do something else that is not related to my own passion - training and nutrition. I could probably do something else with my current degree though, I just don't know what. I'm more thinking of starts-up (but unrelated to fitness) or secondary job if anything as a sideline. 

You are absolutly right about not getting into more debt for school. I'd have to be able to work enough during the summer and during school so that I don't need to touch my current 7K nor do I need to borrow monney.

Yes 26 is still young... but time is going by fast!

A big income is rare right after college, so I wouldn't worry about that.  What isn't so rare is crippling school and consumer debt...so, you're actually in a pretty good spot there.

Keep doing what you're doing re: expenses and, with time (and your determination), your income is likely to increase.  My only advice is to keep your eye on the prize and keep expenses down when your income increases.

Keep it up.  Your goal is attainable.

Thanks DbF! I've always been quite frugal and DIY-oriented and pretty minimalistic so at least I haven't got into too much trouble. This is why MMM and ERE lifestyle are so attractive to me, it really suits my personnality well.

I'm going to keep saving but actually that's one of the reason why I wrote here, I was wondering what was a good saving rate. Because I know some people make much more than me and not only do they not save, they get into debt. So I guess it's all relative and 500$ a month isn't too bad, but I just feel like it's not enough to reach my goal.

If you're more than covering your expenses, I'd say you're doing ok. Just be sure to put the excess into investments that make you money - savings account and mattresses are very good at this! You probably need to work at least 40-50 hours a week though. Get a 2nd, part-time job to get a few more hours. If you saved $1k a month for 10 years (with your current $7k) you'd have about $200k. Maybe not quite FI, but not too bad.

How is that so? I would make close to 50K in interest during those 10y? (given that I make smart investing move)

The fact that you are saving $500/ month with your income is great. Also, 26 is quite young.

Clearly, you're unhappy with your job, so it sounds like you know you need to make a change. However, I wouldn't commit to a degree program without knowing if you're going to last in the career; otherwise, you'll be in the same position. You don't want to jump into a new degree program just to escape your current job.

Does social work pay well in Quebec? It is a low paying field in the U.S. Not to say that you shouldn't go into it, but I would do some research on expected pay and future employment prospects. Most importantly, I would see if there was some way to shadow a social worker for a week or two and see if you could actually stand the job. Perhaps you could take part in an internship. I would do the same with each prospective career that you are thinking about going into. Also, are there plumbing/electrical apprenticeship programs, where you learn while getting a journeyman's salary, as opposed to paying for a degree? I don't know much about your field, but have you considered physical therapy?

In the short term, keep your head up and keep saving. 


Hi Nancy, as I said above, I was wondering if 500$ is good. I don't know what would be the average that people save per month.

Here in Quebec, more than half of the social worker work for the gouvernement, in hospital setting or others health related setting, and since it takes a master degree, it is very well paid. I'd say one must get started around 45K but can reach 75-80K after maybe 10-15y. I have a few friend that are actually social worker so I could get very concret information about the job, and I have also consulted with an orientor (is this a word in english?) and it is one of the most wanted job currently in Qc in every region. And it's going to get even better because the gouvernement has announced more jobs in the social care system.

It would be a very good idea anyway to get internship as you said for any future job that I could consider.
Actually in Qc, kinesiologist are not like in the US or in the rest of the Canada. We don't really have a social function as of yet. It exists only since 15 years or so. Most work in commercial gym or re-orients themselfs. Some are lucky enough to get into hospital but there is usually 1 per hospital, maybe 2 in very big city.

But I don't know yet :| Many people are seems to be under the impression that going back to school is not the best idea, so it has me wonder!

Hi

A friend of mine is a Kinesiologist and she has her own business. She has another business too. I think you sound quite responsible with your money and with that attention to expenses and savings all you need is to boost your income, happiness and optimism.  I see people on really high salaries that are worse off than you and crippled by debt.  The first thing you've done is realise you don't like your current situation and some people don't have the mental fortitude to do even that.  Be gentle with yourself and determined with your future.  At 26 you're still young enough to make change for the better that will meet your long term goals.  You'd be surprised how quickly things can change with income changes - so getting that second job sounds like a good idea.   Or move somewhere where your skills will be appreciated.  Kinesiology is a really cool field.  (You could run a kinesiology business on the side?)

Hi JT, thanks for your positive message. Yes I could, but as explained above, I don't want to make a living out of my passion. Unfortunatly, I had to do it to discover that it was not a good idea. So idealy, i'd like to either do another job with my current degree but that is not related to fitness (don't know what that would be - because in Qc kinesiologist are very fitness oriented as of now - we don't have much place in the health system the way that PT or nurse or social worker or other do) or change feild completly.

Are you a trainer, sales or what at the gym?   I actually have the same degree as u and worked in a commercial gym for a while as well.  I'll throw some ideas at u later but give me some more info on what exactly u do now, and/or would like to do.

Hi fiveoh, i'm a trainer, something I do personnal training, but must of the time I get new member that I see only once. So I always ear the same thing (I want to lose weight), do the same stuff (show them exercices, tell them to eat right), and think how pityful this is becaue I know 90% of them will not do it anyway. I know I shold work on my outlook of my job, but after all these year I have become very cynical about it. People are usually there for aesthetic reason, not for health reason per se, and the average would be 2 months of exercicing, than they quit, only to try again one year later and to repeat the same cycle a few time in their life. See how cynical :P

Again, i'd rather not continue working in the fitness part of my education, which is hard since this is the only social function we have for now (or so).

Don't go back to school at this point and rack up more debt!!!  You'll just postpone FI even more.  With a degree in Kinesiology you could work for an insurance company or for a Community Care Agency as a Case worker.  I would go for the Insurance company route because you'd make more money and have more room to move up.  You could also work for a medical supplies company, in a rehabilitation clinic, in a sports injuries clinic or even in a long term care facility.  You really could be making more without going back to school. 

Hi slowitdown, Yes, I think this is a sound advice. Ideally if I go back to school I don't want to have to take any new debt nor do I want to use my 7K capital. so I'd have to work during the summer and part-time during school enough to cover the cost of it. Fortunatly, in Qc, university are far, far behind US in term of cost. 3y of university would be close to 15k. I guess this is possible during summer and school.

Yes, again here in Qc, kinesiologist are not seen the same as in US or Canada. We don't have much role in the social and health system yet. They are working hard I think though. So these kind of job probably do exists but they are hard to get. (I still could try!)

I hope I could find a job that I enjoy without going back to school and I would be satisfy with 30-40k after taxes as a salary. I'm not asking for 100k :| With 35k per year with a 9000k per years of living cost, that'd be 26k of saving per yer, 260k after 10y + interest which maybe it seems from a previous comment would make me close to 300k. 300k at 4% would be 12k a year, way enough...

Would I have started at 22 with that kind of salary I would be a few years away from retiring :)

I agree with the other posters that you could definitely make more with your kinesiology degree.

Another option that you could look at besides plumber/electrician would be welder. It's fairly simple to do: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/16/unlock-your-inner-mr-t-by-mastering-metal/. You don't need to be licensed like an electrician would be.

There is a massive shortage of welders. The US will need 140,000 more welders by 2019 as boomers age and retire or die. The starting salary is $45,000. It might be worth consideration.

And another note on social work - it's looking like I might be going into the field. But I'm willing to postpone FI to engage in work where I get to help people hands-on. I recognize that the pay is very, very low in that field. I don't think that it would be much of an improvement.

Hi ch12. See above re: doing more with my degree. Did not know about welders, i'll look this up! Yes, same here for social work, the idea of helping people on a daily basis is very appealing to me. And as I said, here in Qc it can be done with very good salary (45k-80k).

It is interesting to see that you consider post-poning FI for a work that you would like. It makes one wonder how very important it is to reach FI if you like your job. I mean it always will be important to save more than you expend. but is FI absolutly necesary? Makes me think...

Thank you so much everyone so far! Lots of food for thoughts.

So do I get that maybe I should stick to my current job, get a second one, and suck it through for 10y? Or given the above details do you guy think I should go back to social work? 
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 03:55:27 PM by oehaut »

DaftShadow

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 03:42:22 PM »
It might seem a bit callous to say this, but I fail to see what the problem is...

You're saving $6k per year.  On a salary of $16,500, that's almost 40% savings rate!  Said another way, it's only a spending rate of $10k per year.  Most people never get that low; even most mustacians have trouble getting that low! 

Looking at the table in "shockingly simple math", your savings rate shows that even with this low income, you'll still be able to reach financial independence in 20 years.  Not when you're 65....  when you're 45!  :)

It's obviously harder to do things when your income is at the lowest of the low end.  But it won't stay there forever.  If you're only working 32hr in a week, that still leaves 30 hours extra time for you to find a second job.  Anywhere. 

Don't feel bad about your situation mate.  You're winning! 

Now it's time to tackle the crappy situations in your life that are draining you (a job you don't like, working part time when you want to be working full time).  You know the right next steps (you wrote them in your post, so I know you know them! :).   Put in the time to find that next platform.  You'll land it.  Trust yourself. 

~ DaftShadow

oehaut

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 03:52:31 PM »
It might seem a bit callous to say this, but I fail to see what the problem is...

You're saving $6k per year.  On a salary of $16,500, that's almost 40% savings rate!  Said another way, it's only a spending rate of $10k per year.  Most people never get that low; even most mustacians have trouble getting that low! 

Looking at the table in "shockingly simple math", your savings rate shows that even with this low income, you'll still be able to reach financial independence in 20 years.  Not when you're 65....  when you're 45!  :)

It's obviously harder to do things when your income is at the lowest of the low end.  But it won't stay there forever.  If you're only working 32hr in a week, that still leaves 30 hours extra time for you to find a second job.  Anywhere. 

Don't feel bad about your situation mate.  You're winning! 

Now it's time to tackle the crappy situations in your life that are draining you (a job you don't like, working part time when you want to be working full time).  You know the right next steps (you wrote them in your post, so I know you know them! :).   Put in the time to find that next platform.  You'll land it.  Trust yourself. 

~ DaftShadow

haha, thanks DaftShadow. You are right, this is kinda firstworldproblem ;) Everything you said is true.
but one information that I wanted to get here was how good 6k a year is, since it does not seem to be enough to reach my goal. So obviously I need a little more. I'd like to reach that 75% saving rate that Jacobs are ERE talks about. I know I could live very frugaly for a few years and make it would I have a better paying job. But it might be unrealistic to think about it right now.

Yes, thank you very much for these positive reminders though, actually writting about here made me realize that i'm still not in the worst of situation, as you put it, i'm winning currently so it can't be this bad. I just sometime think about how it could have been would I have known all of this before but this is an illusion anyway, and I always could have been better so it's not the right mindset to have!

Thanks for this!

Lars

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 03:54:11 PM »

Another option that you could look at besides plumber/electrician would be welder. It's fairly simple to do: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/16/unlock-your-inner-mr-t-by-mastering-metal/. You don't need to be licensed like an electrician would be.

There is a massive shortage of welders. The US will need 140,000 more welders by 2019 as boomers age and retire or die. The starting salary is $45,000. It might be worth consideration.


Please check your numbers. $45000 is not the starting salary for welders where I work - it is $25000. In fact, the average salary in the US for a welder is $36,000 per the BLS. Certain specialized and certified welders can make very good money though.

Done by Forty

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 04:06:22 PM »
The situation you are in is fairly envious, IMO.  Because your expenses are so low, you could reach FI faster than most people on this board with almost any significant increase in income.

Finding $35k or $50k job changes your life plan dramatically, while for some here, that would mean they'd have to reduce their expenses significantly to stay on track.

Assuming a 4% SWR and 10k living expenses, you'd only need $250k to reach FI. 

Maybe we should be asking you for advice....
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 04:14:47 PM by Done by Forty »

ch12

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 04:19:45 PM »

Another option that you could look at besides plumber/electrician would be welder. It's fairly simple to do: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/16/unlock-your-inner-mr-t-by-mastering-metal/. You don't need to be licensed like an electrician would be.

There is a massive shortage of welders. The US will need 140,000 more welders by 2019 as boomers age and retire or die. The starting salary is $45,000. It might be worth consideration.


Please check your numbers. $45000 is not the starting salary for welders where I work - it is $25000. In fact, the average salary in the US for a welder is $36,000 per the BLS. Certain specialized and certified welders can make very good money though.

I meant to link to the MSN article where I found those figures. The Boy Scouts are now teaching welding because of the upcoming shortage. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47615409/ns/business-careers/t/always-be-prepared-boy-scouts-start-welding/#.UG9cmrv2qTt

I checked the BLS figures and you're right. Perhaps MSN is overly optimistic about the job outlook for welders.

@oehaut
45-80k for social work? Wow! The average salary of a social worker in the US is $42,480 (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Community-and-Social-Service/Social-workers.htm) and I'm very sure that the place where I'd be working would pay me less than that. I had a friend who was surprised that I would even be getting paid to do the work.  Also, social workers tend to need master's degrees, so I may have to go back to school if I advance in the field. FI is not as urgent if you feel like you're doing meaningful work in a good work environment.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 04:28:22 PM by ch12 »

arebelspy

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2012, 05:10:20 PM »
The situation you are in is fairly envious, IMO.  Because your expenses are so low, you could reach FI faster than most people on this board with almost any significant increase in income.

Finding $35k or $50k job changes your life plan dramatically, while for some here, that would mean they'd have to reduce their expenses significantly to stay on track.

Assuming a 4% SWR and 10k living expenses, you'd only need $250k to reach FI. 

This is the same conclusion I reached reading the OP.

Here's some numbers.. spending: 778/mo.  Net income: 1350/mo.

That should leave you 572/mo savngs.  But you say only 500 savings.  Figure out where that extra 72/mo is going, because at your salary and expense level, that's a lot.

Assuming you can find that 72 (so that you actually do make 1350 and spend 778), then your 572 savings out of 1350 net = 42.3% savings rate.

I can't tell if your student loans of 22k still exist (as no student loan payment was listed under expenses), but I will assume they do.  So 22k-7k in bank leaves you in the hole 15k.

Using Networthify it will take you 20ish years to hit FI at your savings rate if you had no debt.  Current debt (assuming the student loan assumption above) will add on about 2.5 years.

So not ideal, but that still has you ERing in your mid to late 40s.

Since your income is so low, any boost you make is a large percentage.  If you can make an extra 5k/yr via random jobs (craigslist arbitrage, writing articles online, part time tutoring, whatever), that drops your FI time down by 6 years. 

You state:
Quote
i'm looking to get another 15-20h a week from somewhere else which would make it possible, a the minimum wage, to put another 500$ of saving away per month.

15-20 hrs. should let you add more than 500/mo in savings.  $12/hr x 17.5 hours/week x 4.5 weeks/mo = 945.  Minus taxes (which at your income should be negligible), you should easily add an extra 800/mo. = 9600/yr, almost double my above 5k number.

Add that second job and save 9600 more per year savings plus your current ~6k and you're out of debt in a year, and your FI time after that (debt level 0) is 11 years.  Plus this year to get out of debt and you're FI in 12 years (age 38).  Not the 9 you would like (age 35), but not THAT much more than that.  And if you could cut expenses a bit too, you could hit that 9 years.

The key is adding that extra income.  It'll cut your current 20-22 years down quite a bit.
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happy

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2012, 05:38:26 PM »
Hey OP, you're doing great.  Your expenses are very low, nearly as low as Mr ERE.  For most of us on MMM we are trying to get our expenses down... you my friend have already mastered that.

The way to do it faster is to increase income, which you already know and I believe you are capable of.  Right now you are young and should easily be able to work 50 hours a week, so find a second job asap. Keep looking for better paid jobs, a second job and options for a change in career that don't require more debt and minimal study time! If you are only wanting to do it for another 9 years (FI @ 35), it doesn't have to be the most fulfilling career ever, the main criteria is that it pays more fairly quickly.   Once you FI you can do what you really want to do.

I hope you don't find this presumptuous, but what comes across to me from your post is a negative mindset at present.......( I guess its pretty depressing having a degree and earning $12/hr). This is in my view the most important thing you need to work on. Read MMMs posts on optimism.http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/03/the-practical-benefits-of-outrageous-optimism/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/28/weekend-edition-the-magic-of-thinking-big/
Read Learned Optimism (Seligman) and generally do some personal development in this area.





kkbmustang

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2012, 05:50:46 PM »
I just read this, OP, and thought of this thread. Not that I recommend the mind-reading one, but the other ones may give you some food for thought.

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/pf/2012/10/05/six-figure-jobs/index.html

fiveoh

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2012, 07:53:23 PM »
How about a physical therapy assistant?   You should be able to get the job with your current degree(or maybe a tiny bit of specialized training added to it).  It will pay more and the people that come in there really need your help to get better and you will be making a difference in their life.  I worked as a trainer for a while in a commercial gym and I sympathize with you($12 an hour... you dont work for LA fitness by chance do you?).  Most of the people who come in aren't willing to make the small changes you ask of them or stick to it to see the results.  You really have to focus on the people that do care and let their results motivate you to keep going.  Don't worry about the rest.  If you built up a good base of these "good" clients, you can quit your commerical gym job and get them to come with you. 

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2012, 08:47:26 PM »
You mentioned in your comments that there are more appealing kinesiology jobs in other parts of Canada - would you consider moving?

Also, you don't have to wait until FI to take your motorcycle trip.  If that's really important to you, do it sooner.  Figure out how much it will cost.  Save up that much and then extra just in case, and make sure your student loans are paid off.  Then go do the trip, and get a job when you return.  Work on FI at that point.  Why wait?

Finally, you're bilingual!  Why not do some translating work?  Where I live in the U.S. it requires only a course to get certification.  You'd have to learn the technical terms needed for the type of work you do.  I know someone who worked at a hospital.  They'd call her when a patient only spoke her language, and she'd come in to translate.  She had to get certified.  I have a friend who translates books and manuals and makes a good bit of money doing it.  No certification needed for that.  She does it in the U.S. and she used to do it in Europe too.  I have another friend who does proofreading for folks.  He does it all by email.  No certification needed.  You might even be able to get students at the local universities who are studying your native language to pay you to tutor them!  This is a great asset, and even more so if your native language isn't one that's commonly spoken where you live, so you'll be more in demand.  You can make good side money with this, or even do it as a full-time job/career.

totoro

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2012, 09:32:54 PM »
And now for a contrary opinion:  I think you should go for the social worker degree. 

Yes, it is three more years, but you are in the cheapest province in all of Canada for higher education.  My understanding is your tuition costs and all fees per year would be $4000 or less: http://www.mcgill.ca/student-accounts/tuition-charges/fallwinter-term-tuition-and-fees/undergraduate-fees

You will likely be eligible for some grants (http://www.mcgill.ca/socialwork/funding) and student loans and your current loans will continue on interest free.  You can work a co-op term, work weekends, and will likely get a higher hourly paying job during your first summer.  It will be more stimulating than what you are doing now.

Given your frugal habits and the income potential in this field in Canada (and number of interesting jobs available), I think you would be well served by this course of action.

Gerard

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2012, 09:39:29 PM »
Hey OP, I feel your pain (I used to live in Quebec -- after my first degree I worked making sandwiches for eight bucks an hour!). I have only tiny random things:
*could you pick up a second job, even in a completely different area, that gives you more money or less soul-draining or some other benefit (like a restaurant job that feeds you)? Even something seasonal or part-time, like retail before christmas, food/drink on weekend, tax return prep?
*could you volunteer at something related to your expertise that helps the world and makes you feel good? Fitness consultant for a community centre or seniors' centre? Sort of as an "antidote" to your workplace?
*in Canada, there's usually better funding for a graduate-type degree than for undergrad. Might you be able to do it without increasing your debt (and postponing your repayment and interest)?
*Move to Newfoundland? Labour shortage, high minimum wage, low university tuition?


totoro

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2012, 10:20:38 PM »
Newfoundland is more expensive for school fees than Quebec: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/120912/t120912a001-eng.htm

There is good funding in Quebec for low income students - which the OP would very likely qualify for: http://www.canlearn.ca/eng/postsec/money/grants/glif.shtml
http://www.afe.gouv.qc.ca/en/pretsBourses/conditionsAdmissibilite.asp

ShanghaiStashing

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2012, 10:54:31 PM »
Hi Oehut,

As a fellow Canadian (well, one who doesn't live there anymore) I think you're doing fine given your situation. As most other folks on here have said I think you're doing great. I'm totally envious of your expense level and wish I could get mine down there!

That being said, you may want to consider starting a job search outside of QC for a position in your field. From what you've said it is highly unlikely you are going to find a job that pays you significantly more while working there.

A few thoughts on a pptential move:
1. OilPatch is always an option -- things are more expensive, but you could likely find a position in your field that pays more money there, or find a job in an unrelated field.
2. Large cities in Ontario -- fairly large demand for people with skills, particularly in health related fields in Toronto and the Southern Areas
3. Move abroad -- very few people trained in any form of health related field in Asia with Western quality, people will pay a substantial premium for those services here (particularly China, HK, Philippines)

You'd naturally want to consider the total cost of moving against the total net benefit, but I suspect it will still be positive.

Finally, don't let having a relatively low income get you down. From the sounds of things you're paying your bills, saving a ton of money, and generally leading a decent life. This is more than most people can say and you should be proud of what you've accomplished so far!

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2012, 11:38:22 PM »
I have a totally different perspective.

I think you should start a health and fitness blog website specifically targeted to French-speaking Canadians. Spend 20 hours a week with no out-of-pocket costs except maybe domain reg, read the hell out of ProBlogger and CopyBlogger, treat it like personal training where EVERY client is your dream client, say all the stuff you wish you could really say in the gym, cut through the bullshit, be bold, be daring, and start monetizing like crazy. Take ads, sell workout packet pdfs, put up crazy videos on YouTube showing demos, etc (with ads). See what other web-based fitness experts are doing. Do it better. Put in whatever you want about the criticality of body movements and fitness. Be your own boss. Upside: get your passion back, potential for decent passive income, work from home. Downside: you might waste a year and not make much, but all you are out is time. Read up on it. People WANT to buy into the idea of fitness, health and boundless energy. You can sell them that without actually having to personally confront the 90% dropoff rate in person. Just inspire them, and be trustworthy, have a visually appealing site, write excellent copy and an audience will come.

And if this particular idea doesn't appeal to you, maybe keep pushing yourself to think outside the box. I know the philosophy of Ramit Sethi is a 180-degree from MMM, but that dude has it figured out when it comes to brainstorming extra income-generating ideas. I think since you have the MMM part completely down, a little Ramit earn1k.com/privatelist/ action might (judiciously applied) help you get to FI earlier. (Forum, please note I am not suggesting Ramit's philosophy is better...just that this particular poster might benefit strategically from some of what he teaches...i.e., please don't yell at me.)  ;)

Good luck!

okits

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2012, 01:37:18 AM »
Hi Oehaut,

There is hope for your situation!  My thoughts:

  • at this point in time you need to worry less about investing and more about paying off that $22k loan.  It doesn't matter that the interest is tax deductible; once that interest starts it is a pure expense, money down the drain.  Your current income doesn't put you in a tax bracket where that tax deduction is meaningful.  Your $7k in savings (and everything else you save) should go towards the debt.  This is a priority.
  • your expenses are impressively low: good job!  Some areas to consider: are your parents living in town?  Could you live with them in the short term to eliminate your housing costs?  That's $4k a year, more if you can ditch the cell phone and internet and use their home phone and internet (or free wifi in public places/free internet at the library.)  Could you switch your cell phone to pay-as-you-go or bundle it with your internet to get a better price?  I got an extra 10% off from Rogers for agreeing to a one-year term on the internet.  Grocery seems a bit high but I understand that might be a catch-all for other basics.
  • kinesiology degree: how about becoming a physiotherapist?  The pay is likely better than $12 an hour, and you can bet the one I had when I could barely walk both made a meaningful difference in my life and changed my behaviors!
  • even beyond that, have you seriously considered leaving Quebec?  Being a have-not province (I believe the unemployment rate is also higher than the national average) makes for an overall more difficult environment, in terms of job and business opportunity.  You are young and unattached and could move out West (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta); you can always visit friends and family (and you don't even have to live there forever).  It's far but it's still the same country.
  • at only 32 hours a week you have lots of free time.  As other commenters have mentioned, any extra income will make a big difference.  You're already in a form of customer service, so you are qualified for a retail job, call center, restaurant/hospitality, even odd jobs.  Not necessarily jobs you would pick for fun, but something different that brings in some money and might lead to something else.  Try as you might, you can only get your expenses so close to zero, so the other part of the equation is to have more money coming in.
  • can you sell some of your gigantic library of books?  I love books but can honestly say that many, I won't read again, and they just clutter up the apartment.

Being burnt out of your current job has the nasty effect of making everything look lousier than it really is.  I second PFgal's suggestion that you take the motorcycle trip sooner than when you reach FI.  An amazing trip like that will revitalize you, and it's good to do it while you're young and haven't had a chance to develop any expensive tastes for luxury hotels, etc.  :)  And while you might not find work specifically related to kinesiology, consider that an undergraduate degree (in anything) is quickly becoming the minimum requirement for any sort of professional/semi-professional employment.  It shows a level of intellect, hard work, and dedication.  Use that as a springboard to something better, kinesiology-related or not.

Best wishes to you, please update us on your progress!

cadamsgis

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2012, 05:10:13 AM »
I don't know how it is in canada but here in the US there is an extremely high burn out rate for social workers.

From the ones I know who worked in that field and then left it for other kinds of jobs it was really hard for them to deal with the emotional stress.

Best of luck...

totoro

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2012, 06:42:32 AM »
Social work in Canada has a high rate of burn-out for some areas such as child protection. There are other jobs that are lower rate such as working in a hospital, having a supervisory position,  and doing adoption home studies.  The OP knows a number of folks in the profession so likely has a good idea of the options. There might be a way for the OP to focus on health and nutrition areas as well. 

Hope we get an update!

oehaut

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2012, 08:31:57 AM »
Good morning everyone! Feels so great to wake-up to so much positivism!

The situation you are in is fairly envious, IMO.  Because your expenses are so low, you could reach FI faster than most people on this board with almost any significant increase in income.

Finding $35k or $50k job changes your life plan dramatically, while for some here, that would mean they'd have to reduce their expenses significantly to stay on track.

Assuming a 4% SWR and 10k living expenses, you'd only need $250k to reach FI. 

Maybe we should be asking you for advice....

Well, seeing you put it this way sure put things into perspective. You are right. I should see more of the bright side of thing I guess. I'm lucky enough so that life made it that I don't have very big expenses so far. I only happen to not have any kids, don't have an house, and have a payment-free car that I never use, and enjoy living a simple, frugal lifestyle so I guess this is why things are this way. I still have wasted too much money when I was younger (that 22k could easily be a 15k) but well, who does  not do any mistakes.

Thank you very much for helping me out seeing thing in a different manner.

This is the same conclusion I reached reading the OP.

Here's some numbers.. spending: 778/mo.  Net income: 1350/mo.

That should leave you 572/mo savngs.  But you say only 500 savings.  Figure out where that extra 72/mo is going, because at your salary and expense level, that's a lot.

Assuming you can find that 72 (so that you actually do make 1350 and spend 778), then your 572 savings out of 1350 net = 42.3% savings rate.

I can't tell if your student loans of 22k still exist (as no student loan payment was listed under expenses), but I will assume they do.  So 22k-7k in bank leaves you in the hole 15k.

Using Networthify it will take you 20ish years to hit FI at your savings rate if you had no debt.  Current debt (assuming the student loan assumption above) will add on about 2.5 years.

So not ideal, but that still has you ERing in your mid to late 40s.

Since your income is so low, any boost you make is a large percentage.  If you can make an extra 5k/yr via random jobs (craigslist arbitrage, writing articles online, part time tutoring, whatever), that drops your FI time down by 6 years. 

You state:
Quote
i'm looking to get another 15-20h a week from somewhere else which would make it possible, a the minimum wage, to put another 500$ of saving away per month.

15-20 hrs. should let you add more than 500/mo in savings.  $12/hr x 17.5 hours/week x 4.5 weeks/mo = 945.  Minus taxes (which at your income should be negligible), you should easily add an extra 800/mo. = 9600/yr, almost double my above 5k number.

Add that second job and save 9600 more per year savings plus your current ~6k and you're out of debt in a year, and your FI time after that (debt level 0) is 11 years.  Plus this year to get out of debt and you're FI in 12 years (age 38).  Not the 9 you would like (age 35), but not THAT much more than that.  And if you could cut expenses a bit too, you could hit that 9 years.

The key is adding that extra income.  It'll cut your current 20-22 years down quite a bit.

Thank you very much for dissecting my numbers this way. You make me realize that I could manage my money even better. I'm gonna reassets my budget : actually i've decide to diminish my internet connection (-15$ per month) and I'll get a cheaper cell phone plan (-20$ per month) so that is 35$ more saving there, close to 400$ a year in saving.

Yes, the student loan will add up very soon as I'm still being consider a student but not for long.

Damn, this is getting me really serious about being fully commited to this!

Hey OP, you're doing great.  Your expenses are very low, nearly as low as Mr ERE.  For most of us on MMM we are trying to get our expenses down... you my friend have already mastered that.

The way to do it faster is to increase income, which you already know and I believe you are capable of.  Right now you are young and should easily be able to work 50 hours a week, so find a second job asap. Keep looking for better paid jobs, a second job and options for a change in career that don't require more debt and minimal study time! If you are only wanting to do it for another 9 years (FI @ 35), it doesn't have to be the most fulfilling career ever, the main criteria is that it pays more fairly quickly.   Once you FI you can do what you really want to do.

I hope you don't find this presumptuous, but what comes across to me from your post is a negative mindset at present.......( I guess its pretty depressing having a degree and earning $12/hr). This is in my view the most important thing you need to work on. Read MMMs posts on optimism.http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/10/03/the-practical-benefits-of-outrageous-optimism/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/05/28/weekend-edition-the-magic-of-thinking-big/
Read Learned Optimism (Seligman) and generally do some personal development in this area.

Hi Happy. You are right my mindset isn't the most optimistic as of now. Recently single, unfilling job, some debt, don't know where I'm going (well, finding ERE and MMM has given a new meaning to my life recently) I know this might sound firstworldproblem but well, yes, I was a bit depressed lately. I need to work on that. Thanks for the link.

I clearly need to find another job and work around 50h a week. Actually I'm thinking of finding something in the ballpark of 30-35h and keep only like 20h at the gym. That would give me a mental break and make it possible to make more money.

Thank you for your input!

I just read this, OP, and thought of this thread. Not that I recommend the mind-reading one, but the other ones may give you some food for thought.

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/pf/2012/10/05/six-figure-jobs/index.html


Hi kkbmustang, you mean that I should try to come up with an interesting idea to do with my skills/knowledge?

How about a physical therapy assistant?   You should be able to get the job with your current degree(or maybe a tiny bit of specialized training added to it).  It will pay more and the people that come in there really need your help to get better and you will be making a difference in their life.  I worked as a trainer for a while in a commercial gym and I sympathize with you($12 an hour... you dont work for LA fitness by chance do you?).  Most of the people who come in aren't willing to make the small changes you ask of them or stick to it to see the results.  You really have to focus on the people that do care and let their results motivate you to keep going.  Don't worry about the rest.  If you built up a good base of these "good" clients, you can quit your commerical gym job and get them to come with you. 

I know that some kinesiologist work into PT clinics; there are not much tho' and it is usually a question of knowing someone in the inside (as it's usually the case with most job). I could go an give out a few resume that certainly would not hurt, but it's not a job that you see often.

Yes, I've got a few private client that are getting good results, and it sure feels good, but in one year, 5-10 clients out of the 800+ I've seen (not all private obviously), you probably know as I do how that feels :(

Again, I'd rather not train people anymore for a living. Especially not as a consultant. I would not bet my paycheck on people willing to train and willing to pay good amount of money for it. Not with people's attitude that I have seen daily for the last couple of years.

I also believe that people are being overcharged when it comes to training and nutrition. This is my ethics and moral beliefs so not everyone would agree with it but I personnally feel bad charding such high fees for something in essence so simple. Some people does not care to sell overcharged BS to other in order to make money, but I won't sale my soul to make a few bucks :/

What are you doing these day as a kinesiologist? Are you in the US?

You mentioned in your comments that there are more appealing kinesiology jobs in other parts of Canada - would you consider moving?

Also, you don't have to wait until FI to take your motorcycle trip.  If that's really important to you, do it sooner.  Figure out how much it will cost.  Save up that much and then extra just in case, and make sure your student loans are paid off.  Then go do the trip, and get a job when you return.  Work on FI at that point.  Why wait?

Finally, you're bilingual!  Why not do some translating work?  Where I live in the U.S. it requires only a course to get certification.  You'd have to learn the technical terms needed for the type of work you do.  I know someone who worked at a hospital.  They'd call her when a patient only spoke her language, and she'd come in to translate.  She had to get certified.  I have a friend who translates books and manuals and makes a good bit of money doing it.  No certification needed for that.  She does it in the U.S. and she used to do it in Europe too.  I have another friend who does proofreading for folks.  He does it all by email.  No certification needed.  You might even be able to get students at the local universities who are studying your native language to pay you to tutor them!  This is a great asset, and even more so if your native language isn't one that's commonly spoken where you live, so you'll be more in demand.  You can make good side money with this, or even do it as a full-time job/career.

Hi PFgal, I could move, but i'm kind of close to my family - obviously one has to make a living and get on with life eventually so if I really need to that could be considered.

One thing that I always keep in mind tho' is that right now i've got the chance to live in a realively big city (200K+) which have much of practical services (such as the bus, a university, etc) but life-cost is very low. I'm wondering how much a job should pay so that it is worth it to move to a bigger city where things are more expensive. Like I could move to montreal or quebec city, which are much bigger and have better change of having good job, but housing price is 2x higher, even more in some case. So this has to be considered I guess when making a choices.

Well I don't know about making the trip right away. I want it to be long enough so that it's worthwhile (at LEAST 3 months). I'm not quite sure it's the best idea right now to use my 7k capital and not work during one year at this point of my life. I feel pretty stressed out by not having much capital with 22k in debt. As proposed further down, I think paying off my debt comes in priority. What you think?

Yes, I don't live in a very bilingual region tho', so I would need to look up online if there are transcription service that I could get paid to do. Thanks for the idea!

And now for a contrary opinion:  I think you should go for the social worker degree. 

Yes, it is three more years, but you are in the cheapest province in all of Canada for higher education.  My understanding is your tuition costs and all fees per year would be $4000 or less: http://www.mcgill.ca/student-accounts/tuition-charges/fallwinter-term-tuition-and-fees/undergraduate-fees

You will likely be eligible for some grants (http://www.mcgill.ca/socialwork/funding) and student loans and your current loans will continue on interest free.  You can work a co-op term, work weekends, and will likely get a higher hourly paying job during your first summer.  It will be more stimulating than what you are doing now.

Given your frugal habits and the income potential in this field in Canada (and number of interesting jobs available), I think you would be well served by this course of action.


Hi tororo! Thank you for playing the devil's advocat. I also believe that it is a blessing to be at a place where school fees are so low. You're number are right, we are looking at usually around 4-5k of fees a year, + expenses obviously so that would ask me to be able to make around 13-14k a years with my current lifestyle. Seems a bit high considering that I can make only 16k a year right now working 32h a week, but I could try to work 50h+ during the summer and keep a good 15-20h of work during school time, and maybe make it in 4 y instead of 3. I'd be loosing one year of work, tho'.

Thanks! So far this is what I feel the most like doing, because I know I would feel very good in that job.

Hey OP, I feel your pain (I used to live in Quebec -- after my first degree I worked making sandwiches for eight bucks an hour!). I have only tiny random things:
*could you pick up a second job, even in a completely different area, that gives you more money or less soul-draining or some other benefit (like a restaurant job that feeds you)? Even something seasonal or part-time, like retail before christmas, food/drink on weekend, tax return prep?
*could you volunteer at something related to your expertise that helps the world and makes you feel good? Fitness consultant for a community centre or seniors' centre? Sort of as an "antidote" to your workplace?
*in Canada, there's usually better funding for a graduate-type degree than for undergrad. Might you be able to do it without increasing your debt (and postponing your repayment and interest)?
*Move to Newfoundland? Labour shortage, high minimum wage, low university tuition?

Hi Gerard. Yes, I'm actually looking for another job. Hummm as far as volunteering, I don't know never looked it up. I guess there is always a need for free help. Graduate degree are university right? Yes, I need to make sure I can do it without increasing my debt, otherwise I won't feel good about doing it If i know it's making me further down the debt road.

Thanks for your suggestion i'm taking everything in note that has been suggested here!

Hi Oehut,

As a fellow Canadian (well, one who doesn't live there anymore) I think you're doing fine given your situation. As most other folks on here have said I think you're doing great. I'm totally envious of your expense level and wish I could get mine down there!

That being said, you may want to consider starting a job search outside of QC for a position in your field. From what you've said it is highly unlikely you are going to find a job that pays you significantly more while working there.

A few thoughts on a pptential move:
1. OilPatch is always an option -- things are more expensive, but you could likely find a position in your field that pays more money there, or find a job in an unrelated field.
2. Large cities in Ontario -- fairly large demand for people with skills, particularly in health related fields in Toronto and the Southern Areas
3. Move abroad -- very few people trained in any form of health related field in Asia with Western quality, people will pay a substantial premium for those services here (particularly China, HK, Philippines)

You'd naturally want to consider the total cost of moving against the total net benefit, but I suspect it will still be positive.

Finally, don't let having a relatively low income get you down. From the sounds of things you're paying your bills, saving a ton of money, and generally leading a decent life. This is more than most people can say and you should be proud of what you've accomplished so far!

Hi SS! Well, don't know what your current situation looks like, but that would ask you to have a payment-free car, no kids, no house, live in a small apartment with a mate, and don't spend much money on anything :P

i'm not sure about moving out of Quebec mainly, as explained above, for family reason, but that would be something to look for if I don't now what else to do.

Well, thank you very much for the postive note! You are right as many other here, I might be a little too negative at the moment. At last i'm saving and my spending are well under control. This is already a big step in the right direction.

oehaut

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2012, 08:33:06 AM »
Continued...

I have a totally different perspective.

I think you should start a health and fitness blog website specifically targeted to French-speaking Canadians. Spend 20 hours a week with no out-of-pocket costs except maybe domain reg, read the hell out of ProBlogger and CopyBlogger, treat it like personal training where EVERY client is your dream client, say all the stuff you wish you could really say in the gym, cut through the bullshit, be bold, be daring, and start monetizing like crazy. Take ads, sell workout packet pdfs, put up crazy videos on YouTube showing demos, etc (with ads). See what other web-based fitness experts are doing. Do it better. Put in whatever you want about the criticality of body movements and fitness. Be your own boss. Upside: get your passion back, potential for decent passive income, work from home. Downside: you might waste a year and not make much, but all you are out is time. Read up on it. People WANT to buy into the idea of fitness, health and boundless energy. You can sell them that without actually having to personally confront the 90% dropoff rate in person. Just inspire them, and be trustworthy, have a visually appealing site, write excellent copy and an audience will come.

And if this particular idea doesn't appeal to you, maybe keep pushing yourself to think outside the box. I know the philosophy of Ramit Sethi is a 180-degree from MMM, but that dude has it figured out when it comes to brainstorming extra income-generating ideas. I think since you have the MMM part completely down, a little Ramit earn1k.com/privatelist/ action might (judiciously applied) help you get to FI earlier. (Forum, please note I am not suggesting Ramit's philosophy is better...just that this particular poster might benefit strategically from some of what he teaches...i.e., please don't yell at me.)  ;)

Good luck!

Hi Erica! I thought about the idea of a blog, I learned photoshop, css and HTML a few years back and I know how to integrate a photoshop template on wordpress, so I could get a very good looking, professionnal blog for 0$. The things about this idea is that I feel that :

The fitness web-o-sphere is already saturated with blogs about nutrition and fitness. The french market isn't as much, but there still are already a few big one. From what I read, it is far from sure that a blog will brings in money. Usually ppl say to do it for the sake of doing it, and if some money comes out of it it's fine, but not to expect it. I know a blog is really time consuming and given that I want thing to move fast, I don't know if spending the next 6 months working my ass off on a blog without being sure that I will bring in money is the best use of my time. You're having me consider it again tho'.

What is your opinion on this?

I'm going to look at Ramit ideas, I did not know this guy. I'll look it up. I have a few idea for starts-up but I just don't know where to begins.

Hi Oehaut,

There is hope for your situation!  My thoughts:

  • at this point in time you need to worry less about investing and more about paying off that $22k loan.  It doesn't matter that the interest is tax deductible; once that interest starts it is a pure expense, money down the drain.  Your current income doesn't put you in a tax bracket where that tax deduction is meaningful.  Your $7k in savings (and everything else you save) should go towards the debt.  This is a priority.
  • your expenses are impressively low: good job!  Some areas to consider: are your parents living in town?  Could you live with them in the short term to eliminate your housing costs?  That's $4k a year, more if you can ditch the cell phone and internet and use their home phone and internet (or free wifi in public places/free internet at the library.)  Could you switch your cell phone to pay-as-you-go or bundle it with your internet to get a better price?  I got an extra 10% off from Rogers for agreeing to a one-year term on the internet.  Grocery seems a bit high but I understand that might be a catch-all for other basics.
  • kinesiology degree: how about becoming a physiotherapist?  The pay is likely better than $12 an hour, and you can bet the one I had when I could barely walk both made a meaningful difference in my life and changed my behaviors!
  • even beyond that, have you seriously considered leaving Quebec?  Being a have-not province (I believe the unemployment rate is also higher than the national average) makes for an overall more difficult environment, in terms of job and business opportunity.  You are young and unattached and could move out West (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta); you can always visit friends and family (and you don't even have to live there forever).  It's far but it's still the same country.
  • at only 32 hours a week you have lots of free time.  As other commenters have mentioned, any extra income will make a big difference.  You're already in a form of customer service, so you are qualified for a retail job, call center, restaurant/hospitality, even odd jobs.  Not necessarily jobs you would pick for fun, but something different that brings in some money and might lead to something else.  Try as you might, you can only get your expenses so close to zero, so the other part of the equation is to have more money coming in.
  • can you sell some of your gigantic library of books?  I love books but can honestly say that many, I won't read again, and they just clutter up the apartment.

Being burnt out of your current job has the nasty effect of making everything look lousier than it really is.  I second PFgal's suggestion that you take the motorcycle trip sooner than when you reach FI.  An amazing trip like that will revitalize you, and it's good to do it while you're young and haven't had a chance to develop any expensive tastes for luxury hotels, etc.  :)  And while you might not find work specifically related to kinesiology, consider that an undergraduate degree (in anything) is quickly becoming the minimum requirement for any sort of professional/semi-professional employment.  It shows a level of intellect, hard work, and dedication.  Use that as a springboard to something better, kinesiology-related or not.

Best wishes to you, please update us on your progress!

Hi okits! Lots of good thoughts.

I was wondering about how fast I should pay that debt. You think my capital should go toward it? I was under the impression that I should start investing with it. Most people choice to pay it per month on a few years since the interest are given back to you in form of a deduction at the end of the years - so yeah, you pay for it, but it's not completly lost.

My parents don't live in the same town that I do. My dad offered me to come back home and he would not charge anything but seriously, at 26 years old, I would feel very odd to do so. I left house when I was 19, and i'm use to making my own cooking, taking care of my own stuff, etc. It would be a smart money move, but probably not a smart life one. Plus, I really like my life here, except the job part. I have a great apartment and I like this city.

Yes, i'm going to drop my cell plan and internet plan right after i'm done answering all those wonderul post! hehe

Becoming a PT would be a full 4y of university. And actually I already tried, I don't have good enough grade. It's a very popular job here, university received around 1000 appliance a year, and they take around 70 people, so it takes really high grade, mostly as high as MD. Unfortunatly, I was not that serious at school when I was younger, hence i'm about average when it comes to grades.

Yes, see above about moving out of Qc. More like a really worst case scenario. I'd move to bigger city within Qc first I think before leaving Qc completly (althought I do plan to leave Qc completly at some point in my life, once FI is reach. I hate winter that much.)

Yes, i'm definitively looking for working more.

About the book, well I'd like to. The more I grow, the more minimalistic I become and I wish to have as little material possession as possible. Damn I wish I would have been like this before! Now I always only buy e-book, when I buy one, which is very rare these days. There are so many free informations on the web that I can save my money this way. The thing is that most used bookstore will usually gimme 1-5$ for a book. I think it,s possible to sell 'em throught amazon? I need to look this up.

What do you think of what I said to PFgal about the trip? I feel like it might not be the best monatary move right now, and until I'm FI, i'm thinking of letting money comes before a lot of things - maybe even before how I feel (might not be the best idea, i'm trying to remember that life is a journey, not a destination, and if I ever die before becoming FI, or just close after, it would suck to not have enjoy life right now in the hope of a better future.)

Yes, I can applied with a graduate degree to work at the gouvernment. This is something i'm highly considering, but it's not easy to get in.

Thanks, i'm thinking of starting a journal! That would make it possible to keep track of progress.

I don't know how it is in canada but here in the US there is an extremely high burn out rate for social workers.

From the ones I know who worked in that field and then left it for other kinds of jobs it was really hard for them to deal with the emotional stress.

Best of luck...


Hi cadamsgis

Yes, a social worker can work in a large area of fieild, some are defenitvely very hard to do as a human being. I can't predict the future, but all that I know is that : i'm really strong emotionnaly, I have a strong desir to help other feeling better and do something constructive out of their life, and what i'd like to do as a SW would be to open my own clinic and act as a therapist (same job that a psychotherapist would do) So it's kind of hard, but not as hard as working with dement old ppl in hospital for example, or abused and poor child, etc. Otherwise I can work in a hospital-related setting where you provided services for various situation (immigrant that need to find a place to live, etc etc) so this is not too hard on the emotion!

But some part of the job can definitively be really harsh and it's clearly not for everyone. I'm well aware of what the job is about tho', i've got 3 closes friends that are SW, so I know very well what are the jobs possibilities and recquirement.

Thank you for pointing this out, tho', it must not be forgotten.

Social work in Canada has a high rate of burn-out for some areas such as child protection. There are other jobs that are lower rate such as working in a hospital, having a supervisory position,  and doing adoption home studies.  The OP knows a number of folks in the profession so likely has a good idea of the options. There might be a way for the OP to focus on health and nutrition areas as well. 

Hope we get an update!

Yes, exactly, some area of the job are very hard (child protection, dementia in hospital setting) but some are very fulfilling and you really can feel that you make a difference in people life!

Thank you everyone again so far! This is beyond what I was expecting and i'm already seeing things in a much, much brighter lights thanks to all of you!

Please keep any further comments you could have coming!

I think short-term :

Get another job and make as many money as possible for the remaining year;
Apply for the SW, see first off if I can get in, and then make calculation to see if it's possible to do it debt-free;
Othwewise try to find another job in my feild and start making some buck to hopefully be able to retire in 5-10y, which would be possible with a 50 to 25k after taxes salary, given that I maintain my current lifestyle, but my desir to do so has never been stronger. I'm even going to try to save more than I currently am.

totoro

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2012, 12:24:17 PM »
Don't forget about the grant for Canada student loans.   Your income is low enough that you would qualify for $3600 per year I believe - non-repayable not counting any other grants.  Yes, your other income would drop - but I bet just being in this program would increase your access to higher paying weekend jobs and co-op terms.  Your interest free status on your student loans would continue longer too and immediately upon graduation you could likely pay down your debts.   I think in two years you would recover and in four be far ahead of where you are now.  Plus SW school might be a nice place to meet someone compatible!

fiveoh

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #31 on: October 06, 2012, 08:42:03 PM »
Yes i'm in the US, but I got out of the kinesiology field after 4-5 years.  I work in the oil industry now.  lol.  I actually kind of miss working at the gym and training people.  I think once I reach FI, I might go back to training a few people that are really into it for some extra side income. 

Cass

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Re: Is my situation bad? I'm kind of cynical about reaching FI someday :(
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2012, 04:51:57 AM »
First of all, congrats on your low cost and high saving rate! In my opinion, you're already pretty badass.

Some things to consider: I'd strongly caution you to reconsider the Social Worker job. You say you turned your passion into your job with kinesiology, and it almost ruined your passion for it. If I understood you correctly, the main thing you find frustrating is how people are unwilling to make the small changes you suggest to improve their life, and that even the people who are determined to turn their life around will fall off the wagon after two or three months.

This is *exactly* the thing that's frustrating about social work. People will be determined to change their life at first, and after a few months, you'll have to watch many of them backslide into alcoholism, addiction, or whatever else was ruining their life. Is the job bleak like that all the time? Of course not! Helping people can be enormously rewarding, and there will be success stories, too. But the gym sees success stories, too, and obviously they're not fulfilling you right now. If the thing you want to get away from is people ruining their own life or body through lack of willpower and poor choices, I think being a social worker will make you miserable in *exactly the same way, for the exact same reasons* that being a trainer does right now - but by then you'll be older, no closer to financial independence, and possibly saddled with additional loans.

I thought about becoming a psychotherapist, myself, but when I actually interned in the field, I realized that I found it immensely frustrating. Yes, sometimes I could help people, but more often, they just weren't mentally in the right position to accept any help at all, even if small changes would have improved their situation enormously, and it drove me crazy. Think seriously about whether this would be a problem for you, too, because from what you've said, I think it would.

If helping people is important to you, I think you should focus on the way you can do that with the degree already have, which seems perfect for it! You said, to get a job as a physiotherapist at a hospital, you have to know people on the inside - well, time to get to know people on the inside, then! I'm a medical student, so I've had to do a lot of unpaid internships, and I know that at least in my country, hospitals don't usually turn down an extra pair of unpaid hands. I'd try to get at least two or three unpaid internships, maybe for a week each, in different hospitals.

Tell people you're thinking about becoming a physiotherapist and want to see if the work is for you. Be polite, enthusiastic, and go above and beyond - and if you like the job, tell everyone you meet that you'd love to get into the field. By the end of those weeks, if you do well, you'll know several dozen people in the field who'll be happy to work with you or recommend you to their colleagues.