What makes you happy? What gets in your way? Don’t forget to also invest in yourself!

People are so busy in their daily lives that they don’t give themselves the time to see anything that falls outside of their routines and habits. Unfortunately, as a result, most people never achieve peak happiness. Take the time to do one of the favorite exercises that I do with my students :

– What makes you happy?

– What keeps you from doing these things?

More often than not, the first one revolves around family and friends. New experiences, travel, social gatherings and games are typically involved the descriptions.

While experiences often mentioned require some money in order to experience, they typically don’t require amassing possessions, which is most often what keeps people from doing these things. They’re often neck-deep in work so that they can pay for their amassing of bigger, better, upgraded possessions; most of which they don’t use nearly enough to ever break even on.

When I remove these individuals from their daily lives to see what they’re doing, it’s always so crystal clear to them. You see, humans tend to get into routines and develop habits. We just keep doing the same thing over and over again, even if it never helps us to, and even pushes us even further away from, achieving peak happiness. Nearly everyone keeps themselves so occupied that we don’t even give ourselves time to think about what makes us happy.

If someone finds themselves in this boat, they should block off time each week to remove themselves from their daily lives so that they can sit down, relax and just think about what makes them happy and what gets in their way. This will lead to a plan as to how to achieve more happiness while eliminating the obstacles.

Removing ourselves from our daily lives is a gift that everyone should give themselves regularly – a few hours each week and a few weeks each year – the return on happiness from doing so will be immeasurable.

As mortgage interest rates are on the rise, what will the impact be?

One of my colleagues was talking today about their mortgage. They have a mortgage of approx. $600,000 on a house worth ~$1MM in Ottawa that is coming up for renewal in the next ~8 months. (at that point he will have 20 yrs left of a 25 years amort.)

He’s been paying 3.34% interest rate and their monthly outlay is $2,945 monthly or $35,340 annually.

If he could renew right now without penalty, his current options would be in the range of 5.34% which would amount to $3,607 monthly or $43,284 annually. This would result in ~$8,000+ in additional annual expenses, or $40,000 over the next five years.

Even worse, if the rates continue to rise as they are expected to do so, he may be presented with a much less favorable option. Should that be in the range of 7.34%, his annual mortgage expenses will balloon to $51,948 annually, which is a whopping ~$16,000+in annual expenses; or $80,000 over the next five years.

Neither option is affordable to him; he’s essentially going to become “house poor”. This is the reality of purchasing the absolute biggest home that he could afford at the time when interest rates were at all-time lows.

If you have mortgage renewals coming up, make sure that you are proactive in assessing their impact on your financials. We’re beginning to snap back to reality and a lot of people are going to be faced with sobering new financial situations. Best prepare yourself for what that means and ensure that you have a plan as to how to best address your new monthly costs.