Dec 19: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

December 19, 2022

Writer offers six tips on how to achieve financial independence

Financial independence, writes CTV’s Christopher Liew, “is when an individual has accumulated enough wealth or has a passive income stream capable of covering all of their living expenses for the rest of their natural life without needing a paycheque or salary.”

While the idea of never having to work for a living again sort of sounds like full retirement, Liew’s article suggests that this financial independence can be attained through “hard work, planning, and consistent action.”

First, he writes, you need to increase your savings rate.

“Your savings rate is the percentage of your total after-tax income that you save,” he explains. By doing a thorough audit of what you are actually spending your money on, you may be able to find areas where you can cut back, he continues. “By saving more money, you’ll be increasing your savings rate.”

Next, Liew recommends that we start investing early. “Investing your money is one of the most common ways to achieve financial independence,” he explains, adding that “the earlier you start, the better, due to the magic of compounding returns.”

Make sure, the article continues, that you are taking full advantage of your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). “TFSA accounts are best used as investment accounts, and none of the earnings within the account are taxable,” he notes. You should also “maximize the value” of your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) and/or registered education savings plan (RESP).

Another tip is to look for other sources of income, to boost your overall earnings and free up more money for savings, the article notes. These “extra” streams of income can include dividends from investments, freelancing, rental income, starting a business, negotiating a raise, or finding a higher-paying job.

Another great bit of advice in Liew’s article is to “live below your means.”

“If you spend all the money you make, it will be difficult to achieve financial independence. Living below your means can be one way to spend less. For example, if you get a promotion at work and your salary increases, try to keep your spending at the same level instead of immediately increasing your living costs. The value of delayed gratification will mean reaching your financial independence goals earlier,” he writes.

Finally, you’ll have an easier time of achieving financial independence if you have a “like-minded spouse,” Liew writes. If both of you are on the same page, your drive towards financial independence will be doubled, he concludes.

These are all great tips. When we were working full time we did “live below your means” by simply paying the bills based on the prior year’s salary and earnings, and banking the difference. This indeed boosted our pre-retirement savings.

One of the nice features of the Saskatchewan Pension Plan is its flexibility on contributions. You decide how much you want to contribute (currently, up to $7,000 annually) and SPP contributions can be done through pre-authorized debits, can be paid like bills online, and can even be paid using credit cards (including, as we found out, pre-paid gift credit cards). Check out SPP today!

We’d like to extend our happy retirement wishes to Bonnie Meier, Director of Client Service, who steps down at the end of 2022. We all thank her for her many years of dedicated service to SPP, and wish her all the best in the life after work that awaits her!

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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