As I said in our 2021 Annual Review, I write with post with some trepidation. In the interest in helping financial independence seem more attainable, I want to be very open about the math behind it. At the same time, comparison is a real source of suffering, and I don’t want to contribute to that. I’m also not a passionate tracker of these things, so our numbers are inherently rough. Regardless, in the hopes that this will do more good than harm, here’s how our finances played out in 2022.
I still work full-time and my wife still works part-time. This year was our first “clean” year in the sense that we were both working for Canadian employers. You’ll note that both our salaries are lower. For me, that’s because I got a lump sum payout on my vacation time when I left my US employer in 2021. For my wife, that’s because her US employer paid more. Now that our income situations are cleaner, I’m considering taking over our Canadian tax filing. For now, I’m planning to do it alongside our tax accountant and see if I get the same results.
And note that this is just salary — it excludes things like the Canada Child Benefit, re-imbursements, and credit card benefits.
|Me||$98,871 (CAD)||$123,680 (CAD)||$84,652 (USD)||$73,599 (USD)|
|My wife||$24,672 (CAD)||$35,341 (CAD)||$20,418 (USD)||$41,581 (USD)|
Spending (minus taxes)
This year, I shifted to tracking our spending in a much simpler way. Itemizing it simply took too long. Also, I’m not trying to cut our spending, so knowing where it goes (e.g. groceries vs home repair) isn’t important. And I’m leaving out taxes because we’re now having them pulled from our paychecks. Thus, when I pull our spending from our bank accounts I’m not getting them. I’m OK with that, though, as I need to figure them in manually for our post-work phase as we’ll have significantly less taxable income then.
All-in-all, I’m happy with this spending. Would I like it to be lower, sure, but that says as much about me as it does about our spending. Using the 4% rule as a rough estimate, this would mean we’d need ~$1.5M USD / ~$1.95M CAD to retire, with the caveat that we’d need to account for taxes. We’re close to these numbers, but not quite there as our net worth dropped last year.
|All values in USD|
|Jan 1, 2023||Jan 1, 2022||Jan 1, 2021||Jan 1, 2020|
|403(b)s and RSPs||$529,604||$645,266||$548,075||$469,428|
Our net worth went down by 14% in 2022, which isn’t too bad considering the market performance. We’re continuing to hold more cash than we usually would, along with ~$42K in iBonds, with an eye towards paying down a chunk of our mortgage when it comes due in 2025. After we top off our RRSP contributions for 2022, I’m planning to put the bulk of this cash into a 2 year GIC.
We don’t count home equity as part of our net worth. We purchased our house in July 2020 for $254,000 CAD (~$200,000 USD). The value has definitely increased from there based on comps. I’d guess, if we were to sell it today, we’d be close to (if not over) $350K CAD, which is nuts. When our mortgage comes due in 2.5 years, we’ll owe ~$178K. We’ll likely pay it off (or at least down significantly) if interest rates are high then. If not, we may do another 5 year mortgage.
Even with the market downturn in 2022, we’re still in the ball park of FI. At the same time, I’m not currently considering shifting to part-time work. This is partly because my company is going through a rough patch and I don’t want to make myself appear expendable. In addition, I’ve really come to appreciate the work-life balance that my job provides, along with a salary which would be very difficult (if not impossible) to find locally in semi-rural Nova Scotia. For now, my plan is to stay as a full-time employee for the next couple of years, then re-assess.
In addition, I’ve really come to realize that full retirement isn’t my goal. It does me good to have structure and purpose, and to have projects that make me engage with other people on a regular basis. Ultimately, I’d like to create this type of structure myself through part-time work and volunteering but, for now, I’m appreciating the security of a good salary with good work life balance. At the same time, I’ve started working with someone locally on some IT consulting that could eventually become a part-time replacement for my current job. We shall see.