February 2017 Reflections
I do a lot of reflecting these days. Way more than I did last year. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten a little wiser, or maybe it’s because I have a lot more free time. I’d guess the latter. Regardless, If I had to describe February in one word, it would be introspective. But we’ll get to that later. For now, here are the main events that happened:
Renovations are Complete!
It was officially done on Feb 10. It was also officially rented that same day. The latter was what forced me to get the former done. External motivation works great sometimes.
I think I mentioned that the renovations took 4 months. It actually took just under 3 (from the moment I ripped out my plumbing to the moment it was cleaned and pictures were taken). Over those 3 months, I spent between 8 – 14 hours every weekday. Maybe crossing 600 hours total. I had moments of complete flow, had moments of self doubt, and a lot of moments of mindlessly working while listening to podcasts.
In fact, I finished listening to every single Tim Ferriss’ podcasts, about 140 episodes, each between 2 – 3 hours. I also finished Genius Network’s podcast, about 80 episodes, each between 1-2 hours. I listened to other things between (ie Christmas music before the holidays). But it was a great way to absorb a lot of random useful things. For those counting the hours, yes, it’s more than 600 hours that I spent on the actual project, but I listen to my podcasts at 2x the speed.
Anyway, I don’t think I ever talked about why I started these renovations in the first place, so I wrote about it.
And if you want to see pictures.
What’s up with Vegas?
So what better way to celebrate finishing my renos than taking a 3 day 3 night trip to Vegas. There isn’t really much to say about it besides I got sick for the first half and we went to the canyon and the valley of fire.
As for the casinos… I was disappointed. They were pretty dead and I didn’t find them extravagant. Granted, it was past midnight on a weekday during off season.
The most interesting part of this trip for me was being around my parents and noticing their actions. I haven’t had to spend whole days with them since our last family vacation. But, now that I’m older, and more aware, I noticed something that I’ve never noticed / thought of before. My parents are just as lost and insecure about themselves as I am. Except they try to put on a facade in front of their children. Maybe now, I can also start appreciating them more as peers trying to get through life.
I’ve been thinking about relationships quite a bit this month. Not the romantic ones, but just general relationships with people.
You see, I’m a strong believer in the quote by Jim Rohn: You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. The problem, however, is that I’ve taken that to the extreme and start deciding whether I want to spend time with them before I actually spend time with them.
It’s a problem. It’s a real problem. I’ve been talking to some people about this problem and am trying to reframe relationships in a way so that I subconsciously stop doing that. I have some ideas, and hopefully I can report back here with success soon.
Cash Flow Break Even
This literally happened on the last day of February. Before I dig into the details, let’s start with what I define as cash flow break even.
I’m expecting to be out just under $2300 / month: ~$1500 related to the house, ~500 paid to my dad (he insisted to loan me enough money so that I can get to a 20% down), and the other 300 for OSAP, insurance, phone plan.
I was expecting to bring in about $2060 a month from rental income and dividends. That left me negative about $240 a month.
However, last night, I looked at my investment options again. I was with questrade and was using a part of my margin to capture the spread between the interest rate (6.2%) and the dividend rate (~10%). I knew Interactive Brokers had a much lower margin interest rate (2%) so I plugged in my numbers and saw my monthly dividend income go from $60 to $130. I also had dividends in my TFSA that I was dripping, but when I added the actual monthly cash value, it took my total revenue past $2300!
All that’s left is to switch from Questrade to Interactive Brokers and to find a job internationally…. Speaking of which…
I’ve been saying that I will apply to Mindvalley by a certain date, and I keep missing that date completely. In fact, as I type this right now, I could be working on my application.
So why is it that it’s still not done. I’ve been asking myself this the last few days and I think this quote from Whitney Waitzkin summarizes it well: “Perfection leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis”. The application I’m handing in is more than what they ask for. But because of that, it’s more work, more things can go wrong, more people required to make.
So what I’m doing now is simplifying my ideas.
Most expensive course purchased (to date)
While looking for the right pictures of influencers that I follow and consume, I went onto Neil Patel’s website (he’s one of best thought leaders when it comes to digital marketing), and it turned out that there was 5 mins before some sort of webinar. Not really knowing what that was about, I joined and learned a boatload of new ideas for digital marketing.
He then offered his advanced marketing course at the end. It costs a pretty penny (well, 100,000 pennies) and I decided to go for it. It’s been awhile since I spent money on myself like this, and there were so many potential advantages of doing so.
That said, the program is 45 weeks long. I know I won’t be able to keep up the whole time, but it will certainly be done.
February Goal Results
In this section, I’m going to look at my goals I had for the month and see how I did on them.
Although not exactly on my initial ways to vegabond list, I did end up meeting new people, seeing a new part of the world, and spending a lot of time in coffee shops. I’m looking forward to hiking around Hamilton, but first I need to wait for the ground in that area to dry up a bit.
Create video application for Mindvalley
I ended up making the scope larger, and eventually fell into paralysis. Now that I’ve scaled back what I’m planning to submit, the video has become top priority again.
Read 5 books
It probably should’ve said finish 5 books. Regardless, I got through 3 and am working on 3
Finish Final Fantasy 15
Took me 55 hours, but it’s finished. Upset at the game’s lack of story depth though.
Write 2 pages daily
Not daily at the moment, but I have been writing a lot more frequently, and have noticed it to be easier to get my thoughts onto paper already. The only problem now is finding a way to balance free flow writing and editing something so that it can be used. Maybe it should be write 2 pages or edit 2 day’s worth of work.
Reach out to Netherlands leads
I am not going to reach out to any leads until I submit my application for Mindvalley. Trying to stay focused.
Get back in shape
It’s slowly happening. I’ve started rock climbing weekly again and it feels great!
Resume Nightly Reflection
I used list out the 3 wins and the 3 things I wanted to get done the next day every night before going to bed. Then it stopped when I started my renos. But I’ve noticed that I’m all over the place the past few weeks and think it’s because of the lack of direction.
Build Cut Home Bills Audience
There will be a lot more work on Cut Home Bills, the blog where I’m hoping to empower people to take control of their finances. CHB will be the main platform that I will be practicing everything from the Advanced Marketing Program course.
One of my biggest struggles I’m running into with CHB is not knowing what topics to cover. So I’ve created a facebook group called Personal Finance for Canadians. The goal of this group is to help those who need it, and to share the latest promos and ideas that can save hundreds, if not thousands each year. If you know anyone who might be interested in being kept in the loop, tell them to join!
Finish 5 books
My backlog is getting kind of long so I really need to spend more time reading. This is going to be a lot easier once…
Submit Mindvalley application
After simplifying the whole project, I think it’s about 70% done. But more importantly, I know what parts are left. I know what I need to do. I know who I need to bother. All that’s left is to execute.
Reach out to all the contacts in Netherlands
Once the Mindvalley application is submitted, I have a list of maybe 20 companies that I need to contact to see if what they’re doing is of interest to me. These are all candidates for my year of living abroad.
Rent out rest of house
This will essentially wrap up my time in KW for the foreseeable future.
And as always, I’m sure there will be new opportunities that will pop up. But nothing will be more important than getting that Mindvalley app in.