About Me

My name is Michael and 25 and Free is my outlet to help educate people about personal finance. I want to use this platform to help others reach financial independence, build financial knowledge, manage their money more effectively, and to lead happier, more fulfilled lives. This platform was created as a place to tell my story and share my wisdom for the benefit of others. So, what is my story?

Quick Facts About Me:

  • I am Financially Independent (FI) and Retired Early, which I achieved at the age 24. This makes me Canada’s Youngest Self-Made Early Retiree. 
  • I achieved financial independence through frugality and astute real-estate investing
  • I am currently 25 years old.
  • I am Canadian born and raised in the province of Ontario.
  • I am married and have a nearly 2 year old daughter.
  • I graduated top of my class from the Richard Ivey School of Business and Western University with a degree in Finance & Accounting and a minor in psychology.
    • I’m very interested in human psychology related to happiness, money and personal finance.
  • I graduated university debt free! Yes, I had no student loans upon graduating, in fact, I even had some savings and a little equity in our first home which we purchased while I was in university.
    • I was able to achieve this due to a few great scholarships and a lot of great jobs. I earned the scholarships with a lot of hard work: a stellar academic record, many essays, and strong extracurricular achievement. I had great summer jobs (which I worked my butt off to get!), as well as part-time jobs (20+ hours a week) while I was in University.
    • I figure I earned roughly $40,000 in total scholarships over 4-years, and another roughly $70,000 in income from my summer and part-time jobs (often making not much more than minimum wage). Who says you can’t pay your own way through school? It’s totally do-able.
    • Lastly, my parents did put a little away for me to go to school (which is amazing given their low income). This was of great help since I moved out on my own to go to University at the age of 17. Thank-you so much for your help in covering about 25% of my education costs! I am very fortunate.
  • I have had quite a few jobs in many industries: I’ve worked for credit unions, the Canadian Government, at KPMG (accounting), the University, Tim Hortons (as a baker & storefront supervisor), as a Tutor, as a business coach, and in several capacities in Real-estate, and within an IT Consulting & Advisory Firm.
    • I worked as an Analyst in IT consulting for a year upon graduating from university, I was promoted to Senior Analyst in my second year, and promoted again to Manager in Leadership & Development Research in my third year with a small team.
  • I grew up in a single parent family home with an income below the Canadian poverty line. I credit a lot of who I am today to my upbringing and I am so thankful to both my mom and dad for their wisdom and sharing of experience. Suffice it to say I grew up poor, but, thankfully this is a Rags to Riches story!
  • I earned an average salary: in case you are wondering…no, I didn’t make any extraordinary earnings, my salary including bonuses was as follows: Year 1: $50,900. Year 2: $55,500. Year 3: $60,000.
  • I have always had side-hustles. I am a big proponent of the side-hustle. Get one!
    • I love creating multiple streams of income and at my core I am a serial entrepreneur.
  • I have acquired 15 properties by age 24. 
  • I bought my first property at age 19
  • I currently am working on disposing 2/3rds of my property portfolio. My goal is to downsize my real-estate portfolio to a very manageable, extremely part-time, pretty well passive one. I currently have 9 properties, but will have 6 within the next month hopefully. Also, I’m fairly bearish on Canadian Real-estate prices, so I’d like to lock the gains in.
  • I plan to diversify more than 75% of my net worth into a properly allocated ETF equities portfolio (90% equities, 10% bonds). I will use my real-estate portfolio as “fun money” once I’ve set this up in January 2018.
  • I am no stranger to hard work. During my grind to Financial Independence from age 18 to 25, when I first discovered Early Retirement Extreme – the godfather in opinion, I could be found working 60-90 hours a week regularly and occasionally 100+ hours per week.
  • I saved like a Fiend – at my peak I was saving (and investing) 91% of our income and living on only 9%. When our incomes were lowest, in our first few years, we maintained 80%+ savings rates through RENT HACKING & HOUSE HACKING.
  • I love anything MONEY or personal finance related – I just love talking about it. I welcome the opportunity to learn and to share.
  • I am very frugal. I make money stretch and am focused on living a middle class lifestyle on a poverty class budget. We currently spend about ~$2000/month to support our family of 3 (after you remove RESP contributions and mortgage principle repayment).
  • I ‘House Hack’: we live in an amazing duplex property in a great area of the city with my family – we couldn’t be happier. If ever you are in London, Ontario – I have a TINY HOUSE in my backyard that I rent out on AIRBNB – hit me up I’d be happy to host you!
  • I currently have a 7 figure Net Worth (which is well over 25x my annual expenses and near a 2% SWR -Safe Withdrawal Rate). I don’t feel any different being a part of the 2 comma club. The cost of my freedom is only 25x.

Check-out more about ‘My Story‘.

Anything else you want to know about me? JUST ASK! I’m here to help and I want to engage with you. I’m going to try to lace my experience & earned wisdom into the articles I write. Reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you. Since I get paid nothing from doing this, my only motivation is seeing others gain value from this content. Please let me know in the comments if you enjoyed an article or if you didn’t. I’m open to write what my audience thirsts for: send me e-mails or messages on articles you’d like to me write. Ask me a question or send me a comment and I promise to respond.

If you have any opportunities to create value you would like to discuss with me, please contact me.