Look at that! I finally have a post without the word "miscellaneous" in the title! It was cute to start with but it was getting old fast. The last couple of days I was talking about some of my big financial boo boos. Today, it's time to look at a few of the things I've done right over the years.
1. I started an RRSP when I worked for a company that offered a match.
I may have started late, but when I became eligible for a company pension plan with an employer match a number of years ago I jumped at it. After a while, the company changed to mutual funds and, with our contributions from the previous plan, bought everybody annuities. So, if nothing else, I know that I will have $98/month coming in when I retire! When I was downsized I had the annuity and 2 RRSPs. One contains my employer match and is locked in until I turn 62. The other contained my contributions and I had access to that money.
2. I used my RRSP for a down payment on a condo.
I cleared out my RRSP to the tune of $7,200 and used that as a down payment on a very small condo. I paid $96,900 ten years ago and sold the condo last year for $176,000. Not too shabby. As I wrote the other day, I've been repaying $10/week into my RRSP all along and have about 5 years to go, even though I'm back up to $5,000.
3. I paid off our consumer debt with the money that was left after the mortgage was paid out.
We had 2 credit cards and a car loan and I paid all of them off when the condo was sold. We're back in credit card debt now, but think how much worse off we'd have been if we'd just treated the money as a windfall and taken a trip overseas.
4. We went looking for land in our chosen retirement location and ended up buying a manufactured home in the area.
It felt really good to pay cash for our place, which has 3 bedrooms and is within just a few minutes of several of the parcels of land we've looked at. It provides us with a base of operations and was a much smarter solution than continuing to pay $100/night for a motel every time we came to look at a property. Now we have a decent sized fenced yard and have planted a bit of a garden. We travel back and forth pretty regularly although we can't stay for long most of the time. Eventually, we hope we'll find our dream property and build our home on it. But this works for now and, in a worst case scenario, provides us with an adequate home in a pleasant area in the event that we find ourselves moving there permanently. It's also very economical.
5. My husband and I share child care with my daughter and son-in-law.
No, we don't share a nanny! We live in the same house and have all our schedules worked around to enable one or another of us to be home with all three preschoolers at once. That is a saving right there of about $700/month per child over having to pay for day care! The benefits to the girls are tremendous too.
So, there you go. I haven't done everything wrong. There may not be a fortune tucked away in our retirement accounts but we own a paid-for place in the area where we plan to retire, have a paid-for car and we do put away money every month into both RRSPs and an RESP for our 5 year old's eventual post-secondary education.