Réjean Venne of Sturgeon Falls wrote a book to help Canadians on a path to early retirement – a path he himself has blazed. He wants you to live the good life while you’re still young enough to enjoy it! His book, 5 Years to Freedom: A Canadian Guide to Early Retirement, available on Amazon in either print or E-book format, is an easy to read, easy to understand description of how he and his wife, Danielle, left their high stress but well-paid positions behind, retiring at ages 29 and 28 to a healthier and happier family life in Sturgeon Falls.
The book isn’t just about finance, it’s about a mindset focused on a more fulfilling life outside the traditional framework of frenetically increasing acquisition through career choices that require constant attendance. The financial portion is about generating passive income and growing net worth, which they did as a couple, allowing them to spend time with their growing young family. Venne says his book is “pretty successful so far. It’s getting quite a bit of traction and I’m pretty happy overall. The reception has been positive.”
A good portion of the book is dedicated to simplifying one’s life. “That was a big eye opener for us. We had a complicated sort of life with a big house and new cars. We got rid of a lot of things and moved into a smaller house, got rid of our second car. We actually became happier!” The book is geared towards material well-being through sound financial management, with a strong subtext along the lines of adjusting one’s entire approach to personal identity and lifestyle, a different kind of well-being not dependant on status or excess.
Réjean grew up in Sudbury, but his family is originally from Verner, as is the family of his wife Danielle (née Jodouin). The couple worked in Ottawa. “Danielle had a good job in federal government. I worked for an insurance company. We had good careers, with promotions. When we had our first child, our ambitions changed.” Réjean started to research advice of people who retired early. “I was always pretty smart on the personal planning side. I learned about these concepts, discussed them with my wife. We realized, yeah, maybe we could simplify our lives, give up the idea of having a successful career. We started putting the pieces together where we would have a lifestyle where we wouldn’t need to work full time.”
Réjean’s parents had moved from Sudbury back to Sturgeon Falls, so the two investigated and “It was a natural fit. We started to look into Sturgeon Falls, housing prices and investment properties.” They realized they could sell their house in Ottawa for $600K, buy a house mortgage free, and invest in other opportunities to create passive income. By making the switch, “We essentially went from annual expenses of $80-$90K a year to under $30K a year, [eliminating] mortgage payment, car payments and daycare payments. That’s how we got to where we are today.”