After the Fork

I cling to milestones. Not the expected ones, like birthdays, but those slightly ‘off the beaten path’ ones like ‘our first date’, or ‘do you realise it was five years ago today that we …’. And so it should come as no surprise that I awoke today feeling that 1. I haven’t contributed to my blog in a while and 2. Hey, it has been exactly 6 months today that I officially started my retirement and set foot on this beautiful property.

I am, as I mentioned, useless at market timing – although I do endow myself with a certain prescience, as you will see in some years to come – so I base much of what I do on history. I am quite capable of spending hours building spreadsheets to review past data, to build charts and mark up those charts with trend lines, all in an effort to what ultimately becomes ‘reading tea leaves’. I may be compulsively obsessive in this bent.

And so it is that I am here. 6 months ago today we turned away from the only home we have known, leaving behind 22 years of neighbours, family and the most spectacular – and unaffordable – city on this planet. All this because of a series of interviews that were thinly disguised consulting sessions, one fatefully disastrous interview (“So. Tell me why you’re here”), and a deep conviction that my existing funds and the equity in my home were enough to see me to a simple but comfortable retirement.

So today, I reflect. It was a 9 hour, 800-some-odd kilometer drive – 500 miles for my metrically-challenged friends south of the border, and across the pond – from Vancouver to footstepsthe Columbia Valley. Before my furniture even arrived, I was advised that I would shortly need to say good-bye to my companion of the last 10 years, my ‘special little boy’ – canine lymphoma (10 years to the week that we brought him home). My wife, and sole breadwinner through her online business, left just before New Years Eve to help find an assisted-living home for her elderly father, returning just this past week. And I needed to act on the strength of my conviction and deploy the proceeds of the sale of my house, known in my circles as ‘shit, or get off the pot’. I had to quickly (very quickly) learn the difference between ‘reasoned second thought’ and ‘second-guessing’. Looking back I have my past successes to guide me, and reassure me that all is as it should be, and that the last six months are in fact largely meaningless.

During this time I decided to share this journey through social media, not entirely narcissistically, but with the hope that some will take that step, if not a leap, away from the Financial Industrial Complex. If, in reading this, just one person sees their advisor getting richer than they are, or sees their mutual fund MERs (management expense ratios) exceeding their meagre returns, then I will feel that I have given back.

In exposing myself through this platform, I found myself exposed to the writings of others, and amazed by their abilities. Whether fiction, technical or deeply personal, this medium brings to light writers and topics to which I would have otherwise been oblivious. As you read this, know that I aspire to communicate as well as you!

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