007: Jolie from Calgary, AB | Taking a Slower Path to FI

In this episode, Chrissy and Money Mechanic chat with Jolie Viguers from Calgary, Alberta. Jolie and her husband have chosen a slow-go path to FI. She’s also a financial coach, and is part of the ChooseFI high school curriculum review team.

Jolie’s Background

  • Jolie is from Saskatchewan, and grew up on a grain farm.
  • Growing up on a grain farm meant that they didn’t know if next year’s crop would yield enough so they had to think ahead and budget appropriately to live on last year’s income.
  • She moved to Calgary for post-secondary school and studied finance to become an accountant.
  • She wanted to be CFO of a large company—then she had a baby and her priorities changed.
  • Jolie’s husband currently works for municipal government. They’ve been together 24 years and have a 15-year-old daughter and almost-13-year-old son.
  • She’s an accountant and financial coach and is able to work from anywhere with her laptop.

Slow FI

  • Slow FI is a more sustainable way to reach FI and allows Jolie and her family to enjoy the journey along the way.
  • They’re not fancy people and don’t need flashy things.
  • Jolie and her husband bought a house that could be paid for with just one income so they could manage the payments when their children arrived.
  • She prioritized staying home with the kids, and was a SAHM for 8 years while doing a few contract jobs.
  • Flexibility to work part time has significantly improved her quality of life.

Well Bean Coaching

  • Well Bean Coaching is Jolie’s financial coaching business which she started in December 2018.
  • Jolie helps with debt management, provides the tools to manage finances, teaches how to read investment statements, and helps couples get on the same page financially.
  • She is happy to tell her clients about FIRE and the resources available to reach FIRE.
  • Her program was originally targeted to teens in high school, but she pivoted to provide services to professional women.
  • Older clients feel it is too late for them to apply the Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement. (So Jolie no longer mentions it to them.)
  • Well Bean Coaching is available to anyone in Canada—Jolie can meet clients in-person, or via Zoom/digital meetings.

Housing in Calgary

  • Jolie would consider renting with today’s housing prices—even with the softer market.
  • With salaries in Calgary, it’s very easy to buy more house and more car than needed.
  • Nothing in Calgary or Canada will meet the 1% rule for rental real estate.

Mindful spending

  • Jolie and her husband drive their vehicles for as long as possible.
  • They bought a house well within their budget.
  • They also buy what suits their lifestyle.

Travel

  • Jolie is considering buying real estate abroad in the future, such as in Belize. This will allow her to be a snowbird and avoid winters in Calgary while also using it to create rental income.
  • They also own a camping trailer that they tow all over the place.

Investing

  • As they learned more, Jolie and her husband changed their investment strategy, and wanted someone on their team.
  • After a long search, they moved on to self-directed investing through Questrade.

Teaching money management to her kids

  • Jolie gives each of her kids $20/month allowance (which isn’t much but they don’t need to buy much):
    • $13 to bank for savings,
    • $5 for whatever (such as slurpees),
    • $2 for donations.
  • Before the next allowance is given, her kids need to prove their spending through a free app: Spendee.
  • She’s leading her kids to second generation FI by being an example.

ChooseFI school curriculum

  • Jolie has been involved with the ChooseFI School Curriculum Review Team.
  • The US course has been developed for K–12 and will be free for any teacher who wants to use it. (The curriculum will be tweaked for Canada.)
  • Should be ready in late 2019 or early 2020.

Calgary ChooseFI group

  • Meetups are about once a month and have been: library meetups, potlucks at members’ homes, or park picnics.
  • Jolie loves sharing and learning from locals and their journey.

Chrissy’s ‘soliloquy’

“A lot of us are trying to address in the FI community that it’s not about being extremely frugal, it’s about spending in line with your values and being smart with your choices, your money choices, life choices so that you can live a happier and more optimized life. It’s not just about trying to save as much money as possible, there’s all these other things that connects to living a better life.”

The plan

  • Jolie’s husband will continue working at the municipality and get his pension at 55.
  • She is an accountant and is able to work on payroll from anywhere with her laptop.
  • Part-time work gives her the flexibility to enjoy life and spend time with family.

Being flexible

  • Willing to readjust if necessary
  • Kids will be off to post-secondary school in 5 years and perhaps she will go back to work full time or focus on her coaching business full time

Signature questions

  • Team FI or Team FIRE?
    • Team FI, unless 55 is considered early.
  • DIY? Anything saved you a bunch of money?
    • Did all the car maintenance on her first car.
  • Tim Hortons order?
    • Chai Latte, bacon breakfast wrap, and apple juice.

Episode links

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