freeat45Timothy Stobbs, the author of the book Free at 45 – How to Retire Early and Happy (link), may be better known to you as the blogger behind Canadian Dream – Free at 45.  Tim recently completed his book project and contacted me to help spread the word with a review.  I must admit that I’m always impressed by bloggers who have time for a full time job, a full time blog, kids AND a book.  Personally, I have no idea how I would find time to write a book with my current obligations, so before I start the review I’d like to extend a congratulations to Tim!

As I’ve been following Tim’s journey since he started his blog (around the same time as MDJ) I must admit that I was eager to dig into his latest creation.  The book, as the title suggests, gives advice on the steps required to achieve early retirement, but more importantly, how to do so happily.  You might expect that a personal finance blogger would write a book on early retirement completely based on numbers, how much to save etc, but this book includes refreshing perspective of the psychological aspects of retirement.

About the Author

In addition to the previously mentioned details about the author, here is what the book says:

Tim Stobbs is a personal finance writer who has written for the Toronto Star and the popular blog “Canadian Dream: Free at 45”.  Tim’s straightforward approach to happiness and finances has resulted in interviews with The National Post, The Globe & Mail and CBC Radio’s “The Current”.  He lives in Regina, SK.

About the Book

The book overall is a great resource for those considering retirement, whether it’s early or not.  Tim’s beliefs about personal finance and retirement align with much of my own, which is perhaps why I found the book to be such an easy read.  What topics are covered?  Out of the numerous chapters, it appears that the book has three main themes:

1. Retirement Psychology

  • Why do you want to retire?
  • Finding Happiness
  • Where’s the Money Going Now?
  • Are we Happy Now?
  • Changing the View of Your Job and Working After Retirement
  • Learning the Art of Leisure

2. The Money

  • Finding the Money
  • Compound Savings
  • Free Money
  • Inflation
  • RRSPs, TFSAs and Taxable Accounts

3. Moving Forward

  • Living and Dying
  • Pulling the Numbers Together
  • Safety is a Very Expensive Illusion
  • The Backup Plan
  • When to Pull the Plug
  • The Day after Tomorrow
  • Going to Extremes

Want a Free Copy?

The author is offering Million Dollar Journey readers the chance to win a free copy of the book.  The details are below:

  1. Tell me about your retirement plans (age, nest egg amount etc) by clicking here. (+1 entry)
  2. Follow me on twitter (+1 entry)
  • Only one comment entry per person (valid email addresses only please – privacy policy).
  • Contest will end Sat 5pm EST April 23, 2011 and the winner, drawn randomly, will be contacted shortly after!


  1. rob on April 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Almost 42. Would like to retire at 58 when youngest son turns 18.Would like something around $2 million net assets. Currently around $400,000 so is doable.

  2. RL on April 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Would like to retire by 50….45 would be better!

  3. Neil on April 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Rounding off 25. Finished school a year and a half ago. 7k in visa debt and 23k in student loan debt. Currently trying to pay down the visa debt as fast as possible while still putting $400/mo into TFSA & RRSP. Aiming to break even by the end of 2011. Trying to form up solid plans to retire between 50 and 55.

  4. A.Rajah on April 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Eager to read the book

  5. Chris on April 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    My wife & I are 39 & 41 respectively. Around $950K NW ($550K house, no mortgage / $400K financial assets). No liabilities. I think (hope) 55 is the magic number, but it would be nice to get financial assets to $1.5M before committing to that plan!

  6. Mike on April 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    37 – semi retired (doing a bit of consulting) – own several cash flow positive rental properties. The key to getting out of the rat race early is tax efficiency (RRSP, TFSA, Buiness income and write offs).

  7. My University Money on April 20, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I’ve followed Tim’s blog for about a year now and would love to win the book.

    I’m a youngin at 23, and I hope to be working part time at 45 and completely out of the rat race by 55. I value my free time more than luxury goods!

  8. iamphysio on April 20, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Looking to retire at 53 (Magic 80 Pension) with paid off mortgage and investment property.

  9. Tom on April 20, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Want to retire at 55, with paid off mortgage and modest investment for rrsp

  10. chad on April 20, 2011 at 3:33 am

    working for $12 like to retire at 55 no debt

    I sure like the no debt part

  11. lilybeth on April 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I put away rsps via mutual funds, tfsa for leisure. Hope to sell one of the houses and buy another to sell again before retiring is an added benefit. Retiring at 55 will give me more time to enjoy life Am heading towards 50 but that book will be a good piece of advice to my not so practical children.

  12. Deepak on April 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Just turned 32 yesterday!!! My wife is 33 and our daughter is 2.
    My gross yearly income > $100K (Salary 90K + 15K in rental income)
    Wife’s income = $0 (currently going to school to enhance her skill sets).
    Current asset = $300K, nothing in RRSP/TFSA.

    Our retirement plan:
    – Current age: Covered ourselves with critical+life insurance policy (to avoid higher premiums later)
    – By 40: Debt/mortgage free
    – Between 40-45: Save maximum (even if we have to go in hibernate mode :),
    – Between 47-48: Pay up any additional funds needed for our daughter’s higher eduction (already saving via RESP)
    – 49-50: Sell rental property
    – 50-52: Finally retire with $2.5M+ NW and a decent critical/life insurance policy :)

  13. Thomas on April 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Age 52, a bit over 500k, no debt or mortgage, retire 75.

  14. UpTooLate on April 20, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Almost 50, spouse 55. 4 children all approaching university but fully funded RESP. Mortgage free on primary and recreational residence with RRSP and TFSA maxed. Just working for the kids and grandkids now and feel like I may wrap it up any day now but probably will hang in for a couple more years before transitioning to something a bit less stressful – teaching. May decide to carry that on for years because it is very rewarding and will keep the mind moving. Planning lots of travel and overseas teaching before settling down.

  15. Maso on April 21, 2011 at 2:22 am

    40, net worth approx $1.1M, no mortgage. 3 kids in elementary school. Would like freedom 55 and net worth of $2.5M, but it might be hard to walk away from well paying job at that age. Good at paying off debt, but need ideas for investing.

  16. Amit on April 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    36 yrs old, wife 35 yrs old, net worth: $435K, mortgage: $442K, 2 kids, realistic goal for retirement: 65 yrs; optimistic goal: 50 yrs, hoping to have around a nest egg of $3-4 mil by the time we retire ($1.5 to 2 mil each). Also have an ambitious goal of owning 1 investment property every 5-7 years, so by the time we retire we will have around 3-5 properties that we can then sell in every 5-7 years after retirement to compensate for any investment/nest-egg losses or unexpected expenditures after retirement.

    @MDJ: I follow you already on twitter as bhattu1974.

  17. Amiel B on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Under 35. Begin to take control of my financial destiny, and be mortgage free by 45.

  18. Gaurav on April 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I want to retire early and enjoying going around the world.

  19. Erick on April 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Currently 42…shooting for semi-retirement by 45…full retirement by 50 with 1.7M in investments and zero debt.

  20. I have a plan :) on April 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Age 38. Assets $850K+. $400K nest egg. No debt…own a home and vacation residence. Plan to retire at 48. Kids fully funded with RESP’s. Am a supersaver with over 50% of income going to savings.

  21. My Own Advisor on April 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

    37, run my blog (My Own Advisor), work and want to live a full, vibrant and healthy life.

    I haven’t really determined my retirement age, but 55 sounds perfect. My goal by 50 is to have a paid off home and no debt. Currently working towards building a diverse and robust dividend-stock portfolio, a TFSA portfolio, and a RRSP portfolio made up of ~80% indexed products.

    Finally, congrats to Tim. A great achievement and an inspiration!

    Keep up the good work yourself MDJ!

  22. Peggy on April 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    56 years old ~ 500K in RRSP, net equity outside RRSP ~450K – taking 6 months off next year to travel – plan to take 6 months off every 2 years until I get tired of working (I enjoy my career still)… Would like to go back to University as well as travel and write…

  23. Steph on April 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    40, net worth 750K, 2 kids, mortgage paid off, hoping to retire by 60 and work on a few contracts to keep me busy…

    Hope to learn a few things from Tim’s book !

  24. mom2two on April 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    32, married, with 2 kids under 6, plan to retire at 55-60 with 800K in investments/savings and no debt/mortgage. Defined Pension Plan will kick in at 57. Currently working hard at paying off our mortgage and maxing out our RRSP and RDSP contributions. Have saved approx. 20K each for kids education so far.

    Reading everyone’s comments is inspiring me to save even more!

  25. Steve on April 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    51 years old. I started saving at 31 years old. At the time, I had $73.00 in a savings account and approximately 93K in debt. My motivation for starting to save was simple. I was laid off from my job. Currently I have $450K in RRSPs, 17K in TFSA, 700K in rental real estate, and 850K of investable money. Our princiapl residence is valued at 500K. No debt. I’m considering spending some money in early retirment, rather than leaving it all to our two adult children, or possibly my wife and what will be her new found and much younger male companion. Also, I’m too damn cheap to cough up the money for the book myself. :)

  26. Diana on April 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Too late for 45, but I read these columns with interest nevertheless. Currently going the TFSA route, with some slim RRSP savings and no mortgage or debt.

  27. Marcel on April 23, 2011 at 1:05 am

    46, net worth 1M. Don’t know when I’ll retire. Would need 2-3 M to retire with current lifestyle. I actually really like my job!

  28. Shaun Somers on April 23, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Retired (or have the option to retire, as I love my job currently) at age 50. I have no debt now other than a mortgage I want to be done with by age 45. For retirement, a combination of rental properties, a dividend-stock portfolio, TFSA and RRSP, combined with simple living.
    I fully intend to continue helping people get control of their personal finance and achieve financial peace, as I do now part-time. I doubt there will be any lack of people in need of such help twenty years from now (unfortunately).

  29. Ping on April 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    age 42, 1.5million net worth. Will retire at 55 b/c I want my pension and medical/dental benefits. max out on TFSA. No room for RRSP b./c it went to the pension plan. Just hope I live long enough to enjoy it. People are dying off all around me.

  30. c. on April 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Age 45,retired ,”freedom 42!”.My hubby still works,47,but only 6 months of the year.NO mortgage,paid a couple of years ago.We paid $120,000 off as quick as humanly possible:6 yrs.Maxed out rrsp cont.Lived below our means.Just got back from down south.Been spending winter there last few years,4 months.One teenager.Mixed bag of investments.Self taught in stock market.Avid reader.Husband makes less than $100,000.Not what you make…it’s what you SPEND.AS our friends say…we are living the dream.

  31. EJR on April 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    39, married with 2 elementary school kids. $1.6M portfolio plus a principal residence worth $500K. We have been debt free for 8 years. Would like to retire in 4 years at age 43 with $2.5M portfolio. Portfolio has a yield of about 2.5%, want to bump that up to around 3.5%.

  32. J on April 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Age 35, Family of 4 (me,wife, 2 children aged 8 and 10). I work full time, wife is part time.
    Planning for early retirement. Exact age not yet set, but at latest 55, with the options open for earlier. 50 sounds good.
    Maxed out RSP, TFSA, RESP
    Mortgage/Loans to be done in 5-10 years
    Living frugal, keep expenses low, and continue with steady debt repayment.
    We work/live/play all in the same town to keep transportation to a minimum.
    Spend less than you make… <50% !

  33. Kurtis on February 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    31, both my wife and I have pensions which kick in at 55, but neither of us plan on working that long. knowledge is power, read and learn with every opportunity, learn what others have done and found to work. many millionaires live well below their means, its not always what you make but what you dont spend – live simply, small house but its enough, live a little further away from a major employer, bit more of a commute but housing prices are less than half. Entrepreneur on the side, take advantage of all available tax deductions and options available, part of what you dont spend is only giving the gov’t what you really need to. Opted to focus on TFSAs instead of RRSPs for now as income after retirement will likely be higher and taxed heavier.

  34. SST on February 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    One thing I find incredibly absurd is how vast swaths of (educated!) people enter the work force with the dream of leaving it as soon as possible. Bizarre.

    The first chapter in this book is “Why Do You Want to Retire?”
    Perhaps before that people need to ask, “Why Do You Want to Work?”.

    If the answer is “just for the money so you can retire as fast as possible”, then simply choose the career/job that doles out the greatest amount of money. Anything else is the wrong choice. If you are working just for the money, it doesn’t matter what you do, right?

    Instead of struggling to fight your way out of a position in which you don’t want to be, in hopes of entering incredibly rare air space (millionairedom), why not start off doing something you truly want and work as hard at that as you do at escape?

    That plan would involve far greater, prolonged, and diverse wealth to all.

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