I’m 57 and retired. My big-spending younger brother is still working.

[This post is in response to the Toronto Life article, “Hey, big spender“]

The night before my 60th birthday, I called my brother. “Hey little bro, gonna celebrate my big 6-0 with the wife and kids in Montreal. Wanna come? My treat.”

I couldn’t have asked him without offering it as an all-expenses-paid outing. My brother, after all, had spent his youth overindulging in a lavish lifestyle while living at our parents’ house.

He paid for it later, of course. Living with one’s parents when you’re 35 is embarrassing enough; living with them into your forties is just plain weird.

I could easily give him an I-told-you-so speech, but to each his own. In any case, it’s more fun just having him along on some of our mini-vacations. I retired at 57, and still have the income from my two triplexes coming in.

I began investing in real estate just after I turned 30. I bought a multiplex in Etobicoke, living as one of the tenants with my girlfriend. We hired a property management company to manage it for us. They respond to tenant repair calls and maintenance issues. The other tenants never knew we owned the place, which suited us just fine.

With two tenants paying off the mortgage, we were able to take great vacations every year. When the kids were born, I took time off after my wife’s maternity leave ended. We were able to make it work on one income.

We bought and moved into a detached bungalow before we were 40, keeping the triplex strictly as an investment. When we both went back to work permanently in our forties, we were able to acquire a second investment property while still paying for our kids’ educations. Not only is our retirement covered, we’ve also been able to start saving for any grandkids that might come along.

One of our tenants moved overseas last year, and I was able to offer the vacant unit to my brother, who is now enjoying the personal responsibility of paying rent and expenses. I’m proud of him; he’s realized his dream of living in a nice neighbourhood, while staying close to his big brother. Our parents have reclaimed their basement, having removed the posters of hockey players from the walls. They’re happy their two sons are together.