Boardwalk Talks [S2-Ep7]: The Currency of Time

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Podcast Season 2 Episode 7: The Currency of Time

Are you trading time for dollars?

It’s Kenneth Yim, and thanks for tuning in to Boardwalk Talks, the Toronto real estate investing podcast where we walk and talk and go around the board, and play the game of collecting properties. Why? Because we all want to generate enough passive income to fund our life and so that we don’t have to depend on working to earn active income. This show is dedicated to discussing the strategies to help you achieve financial freedom through real estate.

Imagine in exactly 150 years from now, it is the year 2169, and people have been genetically engineered to stop aging after they turn 25, after which a 1 year countdown on their forearm begins. When it hits zero, the person “times out” and they die instantly. Furthermore, people can transfer time between each other with a special mutual twist of the arm, so then time has become the official currency in which people with a lot of years left can exchange their time for goods and services from others. Yes, this is the sci-fi film called “In Time” featuring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. If you haven’t watched the film, check it out on Netflix, it’s one of my favourite movies. Not for the acting or actors or anything like that, it’s the concept that time is the universal currency that we trade on.

Often times, when my day gets so busy and every single minute has been accounted for, I feel like I’m also living in this dystopian future. I feel as if I’m trading my time for dollars, and that every free minute that I have on days off are extremely valuable. Do you ever feel like you are living this way?

Maybe it’s that today is a special day, it’s the day that I turn 40 years old. There, I’ve just admitted my age to you all. Anyway, as I hit the peak of the hill, I don’t think I’ve done so bad now that I’m coming down the other side.

It’s not that I’m trying to boast or show off, I just want to express that I am grateful. Grateful for the way that the real estate market has taken off over the past decade, and the abundance it has created for me and for my clients as well.

You see, my story started in September 2006 when I put the deposit down on my very first pre-construction condo that partially came from $25,000 that my grandmother gave me. Since then, I’ve owned several condos and now have had over 18 properties under my name, a lot of which I have kept. On one of the condos that I have owned for 9 years, the mortgage is almost paid off. It’s producing great cashflow, and I’m paying off more principal than I am interest, so it’s only a matter of time before it is completely paid off. That condo really didn’t need much work in to it. I lived in it for about 3 years, rented it out for over 5 years for a wonderful couple that never called me for anything, and they even paid a day early just to be sure that the payments cleared. That’s around $60,000 that they paid off in principle on the mortgage, and during that same time, the condo nearly doubled in value.

During that time, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the foresight to buy other properties, a lot of it started by buying pre-construction condos which afforded me the time to save up for the down payment. I’ve taken some of that equity and have gotten myself in to a freehold triplex, a commercial mixed use multiplex, and some more condos as well. I’ve done some flips, a small assembly, and assignments as well. The flips and assignments produced some good cash, but that cash is useless unless you put it back to use. It’s so easy to spend that large chunk of change on toys or vacations, charities, and those around you that you love.

I’d rather have more assets. Cash producing assets that will pay itself down through rental income, that has an upside based on improvements that you can make to it to increase its value, and eventually refinance to take your cash out… and then do it again. It’s a slow process, but the funny thing about time is that it flies when you are having fun. 5 years passes by in a blink of an eye now, which is just enough time to for the typical 5 year fixed mortgage term, and also that’s the length of the typical commercial tenancy, or most pre-construction projects to complete from the launch date. 5 years passes by so fast, and if you aren’t putting that time to good use, meaning, planting your seeds and letting it grow, then you’re going to get left behind.

So enjoy your time, enjoy it with your loved ones, cherish every moment, but please, put it to good use. Like the “In Time” movie that you need to watch, think about time being the real currency in this market. Demand is far greater than supply, and it looks like Toronto will continue on this trend for the next 5 years at least. And what about this government? Each year they keep printing money, devaluing our currency, making hard assets go up in value.

If you’re thinking, is now the right time to get in to the market? Well, the right time is when YOU are ready. Because remember, time on the market is better than timing the market. Which basically means, the more time you own this property, that you’re on this bus, that you’re on the train that’s speeding down the railroad, it’s better than figuring out when to get on. Because what if you bought Microsoft stock 30 years ago? Or if you bought that property 30 years ago? How would that make you feel? So get in early. And what better time to start then now?

With that, I’m going to sign off and eat my delicious birthday cake. Until then, I’ll catch you next week!

If you want to share your thoughts or continue talking about this, visit, and click on the button to schedule a 15 minute conversation with me and we can go back and forth about investing in Toronto real estate.