Weekend Reading: Half-Marathon Edition

Two years ago I decided to get serious about my physical health and so I took up running. My wife was already a fitness junkie and avid runner. It was time for me to get moving. I downloaded one of those ‘Couch to 5K’ running apps for my phone and started running three days a week. Since then I’ve entered a couple of 10K races, and this year I decided to step it up and enter my first half-marathon race.

I’ve trained for the past 16-weeks, logging nearly 570 kilometres along the way. I know all the hard work has already paid off with improved fitness and health. I’ve also finally ‘caught-up’ with my wife so we’ll get to run the same distance for the first time at a race. Our goal is to finish the race in 1:50:00 so we’ll be pushing each other to get our personal best times.

We’ll find out this Sunday at the Calgary Marathon where we’ll be competing in the Centaur Subaru 21.1KM at 7:00 a.m. Wish us luck!

Echo Runner

You know I’m taking this new hobby seriously because I’ve started a new blog – Echo Runner – to share everything about my running addiction and, like with this blog, to hold myself accountable to achieve my running and fitness goals. I even managed to sneak in a money-related post on how much running costs (because of course I did!).

I’d love it if you’d follow along, whether you’re into running and fitness or just want to check out another side of your favourite personal finance blogger. I’m also on Twitter @EchoRunnerBlog.

Weekend Reading: Half-Marathon Edition

This Week’s Recap:

On Monday I shared my financial freedom update and was pleased to see that I’m still on target for freedom 45.

On Wednesday Marie listed five ways to prepare your executor before you die.

And on Friday I shared how I manage to find the time to work 9-5 and run a successful side business.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada I explained why you don’t want to leave home without first getting travel medical coverage.

Weekend Reading:

Karen Wallace at Morningstar explains exactly how a 25-year-old with no savings and making $40,000 per year can end up with $80,000 by age 35. It can be done, folks.

I also liked how Des Odjick broke this down at Half Banked. She smartly says you can’t just save your way to retirement. You need to invest your way to retirement.

Investing trump savings thanks to the power of compound interest. Million Dollar Journey explains how compounding returns make you rich. I noticed this in my own portfolio as market returns beat my savings contributions for the first time.

Real estate investing is a subject we don’t often tackle on this blog, mainly for lack of first-hand experience. Here’s how blogger Paula Pant has built an eight-home rental property empire.

How are millennials countering a precarious job market and the dreaded office cubicle? The latest trend has them buying franchise businesses.

Larry Swedroe applies these poker playing lessons to investing:

“When it comes to investing, there are no clear crystal balls. Just as in poker, the best we can do is put the odds in our favor and invest (bet) accordingly.”

Here are some intelligent examples on when to look at the big picture and let retirement planning take a backseat to more urgent financial issues.

The whole concept of a financial market exists on the basis that taking risk can result in financial gain. Here’s PWL Capital’s Ben Felix on how much risk you should take with your investments:

Michael Batnick shares some great examples as to why you should never begin with the end in mind when it comes to investing:

“When we buy a stock, a few biases instantly kick in. We value it more than we did before we owned it (endowment affect), we look for reasons to support our purchase (confirmation bias) and perhaps most pernicious, we anchor to the purchase price.”

Here’s CFP Jason Heath on what today’s savers can learn from today’s seniors about retirement planning.

Jonathan Chevreau just turned 65 and shares how he plans to make the transition into retirement.

Michael James says you could be making a fundamental mistake with your asset allocation by not thinking of your RRSP as partially belonging to the government.

Ben Carlson from A Wealth of Common Sense answers a popular reader question: Do long-term investors need bonds?

No one can explain how cryptocurrencies work, but that aura of mystery seems to attract new money and investors. Robert Shiller explains why none of this is new, and, as with past monetary innovations, a seemingly compelling story may not be enough.

Rob Carrick says we need to stop blaming the mortgage stress test for killing the housing market.

The ‘holy grail of shipwrecks’ has finally been discovered: a Spanish ship that sank with $17B in gold.

Finally, grab a coffee and dive into this collection of terrific investing pieces by Jason Zweig.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Where Do You Find The Time?

My wife keeps an organizer and admits to feeling stressed if she can’t tick items off her list by the end of each day. She craves routine and finds that by writing things down she’s able to be more productive throughout the day – particularly when it comes to tasks she dislikes.

I don’t have a day planner and never remember to write down a to-do list to help keep my life organized. Even though I’m extremely laid back and calm about most things I can start to feel overwhelmed when there’s too much on my plate.

Where do you find the time, anyway?

Where do you find the time?

As many of you know, in addition to my day job, which runs 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday, I also juggle a number of side projects which includes writing for two blogs, plus the odd freelance assignment. I’m also running a fee-only financial planning service. Toss in a busy family (two kids ages 6 and 9), plus a new running hobby, and you start to see the need for some effective time management.

Related: How a career change improved my life

To compensate for my scatterbrained tendencies I try to be as efficient as possible during certain times of the day. People often ask me, where do you find the time? Here’s how I do it:

I’m a morning person, so I get up at 5:30 a.m. and have about 90 minutes before my wife and kids get out of bed and I have to get ready for work. That’s when I take care of all the administrative and promotional work for my blogs, which means answering emails, promoting articles on Facebook and Twitter, responding to comments, and scheduling interviews with sources for upcoming assignments. I also try to catch up on my favourite blogs and websites to see what’s new, and save any interesting articles for our weekly round-up. Oh, and I try to sneak in a run on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’m fortunate to have a short commute. It takes me less than ten minutes to get to and from work. After work is family time – which can mean anything from shuttling our kids around to various activities to just hanging out while we chat about our day and get supper ready. Our kids go to bed around 7:30 p.m. and then I’ll usually spend another 1-2 hours writing or reading at night. I put the laptop away on Friday and Saturday nights.

We’ve kept a fairly consistent posting schedule on Boomer & Echo for the past five years so Sunday night and Thursday night have always been dedicated to writing for this blog. Rewards Cards Canada doesn’t have a regular posting schedule, but I’ll try and publish something at least once every week or two.

Related: Why taking a career break can be a great investment

Writing for the Toronto Star requires a bit more work, even though it’s just one post every two weeks. That’s because I have to come up with a topic and research it, and then find one or two sources – experts who could support or refute the main thesis of the article. Then it’s back and forth with my editor a few times until we’re happy with the final product.

On the fee-only planning side, business seems to come in spurts. I get lots of inquiries and consultations during RRSP and tax season. Then I’ll go stretches without many solid leads. On average, I’m still accepting one or two new clients per month. It’s great to be able to make this work on evenings and weekends, over the phone and by email. I even had a nice FaceTime chat with a client the other day.

Related: How’s the fee-only planning business going?

I enjoy reading and talking about personal finance and investing, so it’s often hard to separate what is work and what is hobby. I’d guess that I spend an average of 15 hours per week on my side business. That may creep up to 20 hours per week when I’m working on a bigger project.

Final thoughts

I know the demands on my time are only going to increase as our kids get older and my career becomes more challenging. If I want to grow my side business and take on more clients with my fee-only financial planning service then I need to be more efficient with my time and find ways to save an hour or two every week.

Maybe it means that I need to quit reading so much, stop doing tasks that don’t add any value to my life, or just learn how to say no every once in a while.

Or maybe I should listen to my wife and just use a damn organizer.

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