Following and reading a lot of personal finance blogs, I originally had the idea of starting a blog in 2013. After a long period of consideration, I finally started my blog Tawcan anonymously in 2014. I wanted to use the blog as a way to chronicle my quest for financial independence and a joyful life. I wanted to show that it is possible to become financially independent as a single income family while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. After blogging for a couple of years, I revealed my identity. In case you’re curious, Tawcan is a name that I came up with since the late 90’s which stands for Taiwanese Canadian. Check out our Q&A with Tawcan here.
Come read about the financial independence blog, Tawcan, in this great interview.
Each week at Personal Finance Blogs, we publish interviews from amazing bloggers from the personal finance space. This week, we are featuring the blog, Tawcan. During these weekly features, we are hoping to provide a way for you to interact and learn more about different blogs in the personal finance space. Below, you can read more about the story behind Tawcan, learn about the author, and learn personal finance tips from Tawcan to help you improve your financial situation. A big thanks for Tawcan for this interview! Now, we will turn it over to the author for this interview.
Tell us about Tawcan
Following and reading a lot of personal finance blogs, I originally had the idea of starting a blog in 2013. After a long period of consideration, I finally started my blog Tawcan anonymously in 2014. I wanted to use the blog as a way to chronicle my quest for financial independence and a joyful life. I wanted to show that it is possible to become financially independent as a single income family while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. After blogging for a couple of years, I revealed my identity. In case you’re curious, Tawcan is a name that I came up with since the late 90’s which stands for Taiwanese Canadian.
What makes you and your blog unique?
For one, I don’t just write about personal finance and FIRE related articles. I write a lot of philosophical and life related articles that I think are important to talk about while on the financial independence journey. Life is so much more than just money in your bank account.
What does “being good with your personal finances” mean to you?
It means that you are living within your means and growing your net worth consistently. If you can control these two things, you are already well on your way toward financial independence.
What are some habits you practice to keep your personal finances in order?
We have been keeping track of every single expense since 2011. This has allowed my wife and I to review our spending trends every six months, and we then also do a deeper analysis every year. It is important to analyze the spending trends to see where our money is going, and whether the increase or decrease trend in expenses makes sense or not. Another habit that we do is saving money every month and use that money to purchase appreciating assets like stocks.
What are your three articles people should read to get to know you and your message better on your site?
RIP. 2011-2018. In this long article I went over why we do not believe in early retirement and why we focus on financial independence instead.
For someone looking to improve their financial situation, what’s your best advice?
Short term, the easiest and quickest solution to improve someone’s financial situation is to examine your expenses and see which expenses can be cut or reduced. If you are spending $500 a month on eating out, see if you can trim this expense and use the extra money for paying off debt or investing. This little exercise will do wonders for your financial future.
Medium-term, once you have your budget sorted out, I would look at ways to increase your income. It is far more advantageous to try to increase your income than optimize the heck out of your expenses and have poor quality of life.
Long term, I would set some life goals on things you want to achieve and set a timeline for these goals. For example, it can be getting out of consumer debt in 5 years, or it can be having $1,000,000 in net worth, or having $40,000 in passive income. Make sure these goals are attainable and realistic so you can stay motivated.
In your opinion, what’s better? Renting a place or buying a house to live?
This is a very personal question and it really depends on your situation. For us it was the logical thing to own a house rather than renting because we do not plan to move anywhere for a while. We also like the idea of having a place of our own and being able to make changes to the house and property as we see fit. If we were renting, this would have been way more restrictive. Having said that, if you are planning to move around or are looking for better employment opportunities in other cities or countries, renting may be a good idea.
What are your favorite personal finance books?
Over the years, I have read many personal finances books. Here are some of my favourite books that other personal finance bloggers may not have mentioned:
The Intelligent Investor – a must read for any value investors.
The Behavior Gap – the psychology behind money is very interesting.
Wealthing like Rabits – an original and hilarious introduction to the world of personal finance.
What is your favorite investment class and why? (stocks, private business, bonds, real estate, crypto, precious metals, etc.)
My favourite investment class is definitely stocks because I enjoy owning a part of a profitable business and have my money work hard for me so I don’t have to. Profitable businesses have a tendency to reward their investors and stock investing can be very passive. So far we have amassed a sizable investment portfolio that pays an average of $2,100 per month.
If you received a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow, what would you do with the money?
Allocate $1 million to pay off mortgage, travel fund, and money for investing in small businesses.
Allocate $1.5 million for investing in a mix of dividend stocks and index ETFs to generate passive income. At a conservative yield of 3%, that would generate about $45,000 a year.
Allocate the last $1.5 million would be used for investing as well and I’d donate the distributions every year.
Needless to say, we’d be in a very good place if we were to receive a $5,000,000 windfall tomorrow. Now who wants to give me that kind of money?
What’s a non-money related interest you have and what do you love about it?
I love to take photos and have a side photography business. Photography is my way of being creative (writing on the blog is another creative outlet for me). I also love travelling and exploring different parts of the world. Last year in 2019 thanks to a combination of business and person travels, I had the chance to visit countries like USA, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Spain, France, and Finland.