I can Retire Every Winter, This Year I did…
I can Retire Every Winter, This Year I did…
Yes you did read that right. I am lucky enough to have the option to work 9 months a year or 12. If you have been following me for awhile or went to my about me page, you would know I’m a landscaper by trade. I absolutely love what I do! Its fantastic working outside, the sun beaming down on me, (well that can be bad too…..) doing some nice landscape projects, working for great clients and leaving a job a lot nicer than when we started. Its one of the most rewarding jobs I can think of.
Unfortunately its seasonal here and I hate snowplowing. I have been a landscaper for the past 20 years and am blessed with a salary job now. Work like crazy spring, summer and fall. Do whatever you want in the winter and come back to work in the spring. Clearly salary I make less in the summer than I could but get carried now all winter while I’m off, it averages out.
I used to snowplow during the winters, driving backhoes or Bobcats etc. (Our company doesn’t clear snow so I work for someone else) When I first started you would get a set amount per month and extra $ based on the amount of hours you actually worked. One winter I averaged a hundred bucks a hour! Over the years companies have been getting rid of standby but will pay you a higher wage per hour. That’s great if it snows, sucks if it doesn’t!
I haven’t cleared snow for about 5 years now, although I always get asked by companies. Mentally its a really hard job, if they are calling for even a centimeter of snow you wake up every hour to check if you need to go out. Ive been called out on Christmas day. New years? yup that too. There’s no way I can go away for the weekend ice fishing with some buddies. Vacations could be negotiated at contract signing. Something I always did as we love to go away somewhere warm for a week each winter.
So what do I do?
In the past I have done lots of stuff for the winters only. Stacking cheques and piling up the money. I have done concrete forming – building a massive mosque, Indoor renovations, or any odd day jobs I could find. Last year I was doing a full house renovation with some guys. After a while I started to think the guys were kinda sketchy and quit. They owed me 2 days pay and kept tagging me on and finally I went to the house and they weren’t there. The homeowner was though, he told me how they took his money and ran. Clearly I wasn’t getting the money for those 2 days, but the homeowner hired me to renovate his whole house by myself, worked out even better!
This winter was different though. I finished the landscape season around the 7th of December. My wife was getting big and was about to start maternity leave in a week. Our daughter was due the middle of January. The baby room still needed a full renovation. We decided for me to not work until after she arrived. It would be nice to hang out together all the time and finish the baby room, go away a bit with our son and just enjoy Christmas and New Years. I would go back to work a week after our daughter was due.
That was the plan anyways….. Well here we are mid March and I didn’t work at all this winter! Sure I did some projects around the house but I had nowhere to go or anything to do by a certain time. We ended up needing to do a C section for our daughter and it beat my wife down more than when we had our son. To top that off, our daughter doesn’t take a soother for the life of her. Such a simple thing, but yeah it makes you realize how good our son was as a baby. 2 kids is a lot of work. One stays with the baby all the time and the other (me) is with our son constantly! He go’s to school thankfully, so I can walk the dog and help clean up etc
Money, Money, Money
Of course the money is a issue. My wife will be going on Mat leave and her income will be drastically less. I like investing, so I want to continue that. We haven’t experienced the lack of income with our new house, its mortgage and property taxes are a lot higher than our old townhouse. You know when you buy a new house and crunch numbers like crazy? It should be tight, but it be aigght. I was relieved to see, we will actually be fine with no extra income. The investing may be less this year, but that’s o.k.
Right now we don’t even touch any of our passive incomes. They all get moved to the investment account to continue to work for us. Actually with the additional kid we will get roughly another 150-200 per month in income from the Government as part of the child care benefit. This will get put into their resp accounts anyways.
Its crazy for people to think how we are doing it. Our friends may come over and talk about their money problems or something. Here we are 2 adults with 2 kids in a big house and neither of us is currently working! I’m sure the neighbors are like wtf! I think and have stated before its the cars. Both of ours are completely paid for, one look around our neighborhood and our cars stand out. Heck they are 12 and 13 years old. Everyone around here is within 3 years old, unless its their kids cars. New cars cost a lot and would change the whole conversation we are having.
Debt – No we don’t have any. (sorry we do have a mortgage) Its simple. Debt stresses me out, when I see a balance its paid! You know what, sorry I lied. We have a 5000 line of credit I used for rrsp contributions last month, it will probably be paid in a week once we get our tax return.
We also don’t spend a tonne, we might go eat out once or twice every 2 weeks. Bars? What are those? I like to keep my fridge stocked, 2.50 a tall can vs like 7 or 8 bucks at a bar. Groceries, well no way around that. They are dam expensive, but we shop at walmart. Rollbacks and price match’s!
If you keep your expenses low, you don’t need to work as hard or as much. Its simple.
Good and The Bad
Now, some of you may say shit whats wrong with you bum! While others may think wow that’s amazing. There is definitely some good and bad things that happen when you don’t work.
Bad – I’m a guy who likes to work, I get stir crazy inside all the time. I find I lost a little motivation to do stuff, I gained weight this year and feel a little shittier about myself right now. I laugh as I write this, because I still feel pretty good, just notice a minor difference. More money = more passive income! By not working clearly I made less money.
Good – I got to hang out with our son for 3 months, watch him grow and excel. Hanging with the wife, its nice to hangout during the day and not just the evenings at dinner time and for a couple hours after. Of course seeing our baby be born and watching her chunk up from less than 7 lbs to 14 now! haha. I’m sure my wife liked me helping around the house and taking our son to school/ pickup. Went on nice hikes with our dog almost daily, she definitely loved that! Got some minor house projects done. The best part, probably those huge snowstorms when I didn’t even need to drive anywhere. Just had to go outside and toss a snowball at my son.
OK lets be honest, I’m blessed to have this opportunity. Not many people can take 3 months off a year and not worry financially. We all know about the term Fire. (Financial Independence Retire Early) I have stated before how Id like to just be Financially Independent. I like my job. This was the first time since after high school Ive ever took this much time off. While there was a lot of benefits, there was disadvantages as well. Would I do this again? Maybe but not anytime soon… Ultimately having a job to work for a couple hours each morning to get your day going would be ideal.
We are not Financially Independent yet, but there’s no question its getting closer! A couple years ago there was no way we could do this.
What do you think? Amazing or Bum? haha! Do you think you could take 3 months off work and enjoy it?
1493 words, that’s a record! Sorry