016C: Money Mechanic’s Backstory

As a holiday surprise for our listeners, we’re dropping THREE episodes at once! That’s right—you’ll be hearing all three of our backstories this week. Ryan, Chrissy, and Money Mechanic… who’ll be your favourite? 🙂

Money Mechanic’s backstory

The Money Mechanic moved to Canada in the early 1980’s. His childhood memories of money are influenced by growing up with a single mum. Money was always scarce and early on MM got a paper route and started doing odd jobs around the house to earn a small allowance. This is also where MM got his mechanical aptitude which would eventually show it’s value in his career. Without much money for luxuries, whenever something broke around the house, little MM took it apart and tried in earnest to repair it. More often than not, unsuccessfully!

By his teens, MM was working part time to earn money for any ‘wants’ in his life. His mother was excellent at providing a home and nutritious home cooked meals. But any of those teen desires, fashion, gadgets or cars came out of MM’s pocket. These formative years developed a precarious relationship with money. On one hand, there was never enough and he resented that. On the other hand, he became acutely aware of the value of money, and how much work one had to do to earn it, and keep it.

Early 20’s were pretty typical, with part time college courses ‘because everyone was doing it’ and full time work in retail, warehousing and trucking. Money Mechanic met one of his first mentors at this time. This wise business owner who he worked for provided him with unique insight and objective advice about life and career. Armed with this knowledge and confidence, MM embarked on career training at BCIT for Aircraft Electronics and Maintenance. Several years, and $20k in student loans later, MM was released to begin his career.

For 6 years Money Mechanic developed his skills, honed his craft and slowly earned more money. At this point in life, it was pretty much a paycheck to paycheck existence focused on paying off student loans, affording rent and gas, and of course some beer money. At the end of his 20’s life seemed to be in control, but he wasn’t really ‘getting ahead’. Fortunately his longtime girlfriend was offered an opportunity to work abroad, life was about to change.

Through a series of fortunate connections and coincidences MM was able to follow his girlfriend and begin a new adventure abroad. At this time he decided to use every penny available and pay off all debts and liquidate all assets. The result was leaving Canada with zero net worth, much like how he had arrived 25 years earlier! This freedom from debt, and the resulting break from a ‘consumer’ lifestyle really catapulted MM’s savings. While abroad he was able to save aggressively, live frugally, and avoid lifestyle inflation. Non of which was overtly intentional, except the savings. Those five years abroad would set MM and his now wife up for continuing success back in Canada.

Back in Canada at age 35, with some cash in the bank, but no job to go to. MM had his trades training in Aviation to fall back on and soon was working again. Ironically, it was in the job and position he had wanted before he left Canada 5 years before! Having both found good jobs and knowing how to live within their means, the couple quickly saved money, and received a small inheritance that helped get them to 20% down for a house. Things were looking good, even though we didn’t know what FIRE was yet.

While working abroad in the Amazon jungle in 2014, Money Mechanic had been told about a blogger named Mr. Money Mushtache. With time on his hands, MM went deep down the rabbit hole and read every single post. This was the spark that gave MM the direction and drive to re-focus life energy and optimize everything. That’s where the FIRE journey really started. MM was just lucky to start with some frugality, an engineers brain, an accepting spouse, a career and a little money in the bank. It’s been an amazing 5 years since then!!

Feel free to reach out in the comments below or by email if you would like to know a little more about my story. How I started investing? How I afforded vehicles? How I chose my career?

Episode links


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2 Replies to “016C: Money Mechanic’s Backstory”

  1. MM, Thanks for sharing your backstory! Similarly, I like taking things apart to learn how things work, and try to get them back together to make them work!

    Which country did you come from before moving the Canada? Also, when did you go to BCIT? I was there from 98-2000.

    1. Hi Shaidah, We moved from the UK in 1980. I started at the Sea Island campus of BCIT in 1996 and finished in 1998. Happily I am much more successful at putting things back together these days!!

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