Hi, I’m Bob Lai from Vancouver Canada. Tawcan.com is a Canada personal finance and dividend investing blog dedicated to chronicle my quest for joyful life and financial independence. My wife and I started our financial independence retire early journey in 2011 after a financial epiphany.
We realized that we needed to take charge of our finances. By investing in US and Canadian dividend stocks, we are aiming to achieve financial independence in our 40’s and living off dividends.
A Little About Me
Growing up, money has always been a topic that my family and I discussed openly. Raised by frugal parents, I have learned the long-term benefits of being frugal and having money working hard for me. When I was younger, I did a lot of weird things to save money.
I demonstrated my extreme frugality while working in Germany for 8 months. Despite the low monthly income, I managed to travel all over Europe. I learned a lot of things about myself and what I wanted to do in life from this experience.
I started investing when I was in my early 20s. Back then I didn’t have much investing knowledge, so I invested in mutual funds or stocks based on other people’s advice and hot tips. The returns never matched the fund performance reports that I received semi-annually and the stocks always performed poorly. Then I realized the high management expense fees (MERs) were eating into my returns – I had to pay the high MERs regardless of how the funds were performing! I wish I had known about these 10 lessons back then!
After my financial epiphany, I decided to take charge of my own finances. I started reading books on personal finance and dividend investing to increase my knowledge. I also started my own self-managed dividend portfolio while focusing on being as tax efficient as possible. As a dad to two young kids, I plan to teach them about personal finance and continue to openly discuss any money topics. My goal is to raise them to be financially responsible individuals.
My family and I immigrated to Canada from Taiwan in 1995 when I was 13 years old. Back then I knew a very limited amount of English – the 26 English alphabet letters and a few basic phrases. The first year in Canada was tough. For many months, I didn’t understand anything that my teachers and classmates said. To improve my English proficiency quickly, I studied English on my own after school every day. After an intense year of learning English, I was removed from the English as Second Language (ESL) classes. Through this experience, I realized that determinations would always lead to success.
I met my wife, Ayoe, in 2009 at a Movember party. Somehow she fell in love with me, probably because of the fancy mustache I drew (not grew) on my face. She was an exchange student from Denmark exploring Canada. For some reason, the mix between a Dane and a Taiwanese was inseparable. Although we came from places half the world apart, we shared many similarities.
I proposed to Ayoe at her birthday party, in front of many of our friends. I was pretty sure she’d say yes!
She was expecting a sewing machine as her birthday present.
Nobody at the party expected a marriage proposal.
She was beyond shocked when she opened her eyes and saw me kneeling on the ground.
We got married three times and spent less than $9,000 altogether. This was 27.8% of the Canadian national average wedding cost in 2014. Needless to say, frugality runs deep in both of us.
Since starting our quest for joyful life and financial independence, we have added a son and a daughter to our family. They are our sunshine.
My Plan For Financial Independence
Financial independence retire early is not an unfamiliar concept to me as my dad retired in his early 40’s, one of my cousins retired in his early 40’s, and another cousin reached financial independence in her mid-40’s but decided to continue working.
Looking back, I really appreciate that my dad had the time to attend a lot of my school and sports functions. In the summer, the whole family was able to go on several 2-months long cross-continental road trips. My love for travel was born. To me, the term early retirement means sitting on the beach drinking piña colada or playing golf all day. Full leisure is not something I want to do, I would get bored pretty quickly. Rather, I am aiming to reach financial independence where our passive income exceeds our monthly expenses.
When I am financially independent, I can continue to work because I choose to, not because I have to. This is the power of being financially independent. Through frugality, dividend stock investing, and other passive income streams, I am targeting to reach financial independence in 2025 or earlier (in my early 40’s).
My wife and I want to become financially independent to gain more freedom and choices in life. When financially independent, I plan to continue working. My ultimate dream is to one day travel around the world and live in different countries for extended periods of time to learn about the local culture and explore the surrounding area.
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Why Joyful Life and Financial Independence?
Why do my wife and I want to become financially independent? It comes down to our desire to have more freedom and choices in life. We want to have an extraordinary life, not just an ordinary one.
While being financially independent is important, it is just one of the many goals that we have in life. We put a high priority on having joy and happiness every day. Hence, we regularly ask ourselves if the choices we make in life make us a happier person. For some ideas to start, here are a few of our popular posts:
- How We Increased Our Net Worth by 250% in 5 years
- How Much Do You Need to Retire?
- Why I Practice Being Financially Independent Despite not FI yet… And Why You Should Too
- Weird Things I did to Save Money in My 20’s
- Have-Do-Be or Be-Do-Have? That Is The Question
- Using Google Spreadsheet for Dividend Investing
- The Early Retirement/ Financial Independence Spreadsheet Calculator
- Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make a Dividend Portfolio Spreadsheet
- FIRE. RIP. 2014-2018
What Is Tawcan
Tawcan is a name I invented when I first started using the internet in the 90’s. It stands for Taiwanese Canadian. Since nobody uses this username, it just stuck with me ever since. 🙂
When I started this blog I simply wanted to share my knowledge on personal finance, investing, and life philosophy. I also wanted to chronicle my financial independence journey and keep myself accountable.
After a few years of blogging, I have managed to connect with many like-minded people and received many encouraging emails from readers. My mission for this blog is to show that financial independence is indeed possible and provide support and guidance to all my readers. As a millennial, I am here to share my knowledge but also to learn from my peers and readers.
Learn More About Me
- Bob Lai in the Media.
- My Life Philosophy
- How & Why We Got Married 3 Times
- I am a part time professional photographer
- I co-authored two cookbooks
Get In Touch!
Disclaimer: All content posted on this blog represents my personal opinions and views. I am not a licensed investment advisor. I am also not a life coach. You should do your own research and consult with a professional before you make any decisions that may impact your life.