November 5, 2017 0 Comments Experience Working in Alberta's Oilfield

November 2017; Month 54 in Alberta

Snow falls, life falls. In sequel to my last October 2017 post, things only get worse.

Legal bills to deal with speeding tickets are around the corner. Since my driver’s abstract needs to be clean to keep driving truck, even a minor speeding ticket requires a lawyer’s hand to keep my records clean. Lesson learned: get a quality laser jamming and radar detection system; it’ll pay for itself.

The woman I was seeing for the past 7 months decided to end things with text messages at 4AM. We had many differences, though our similarities more so drove us apart- our distance, our ease of getting angry and butting heads, and our high expectations of each other. Punctuality and keeping word weren’t her best merits and expected to be taken loosely, but taking things slowly, sensitive feelings, memory and attention span, and choice of words of much more importance. I on the other hand stressed punctuality and keeping word very seriously, but prioritized time and less so on favourable, less crude word choice and feelings; I was much more blunt and less soft. I also had a poor memory and attention span and didn’t expect her to have the best either. Unfortunately in today’s dating culture forgiveness and stability are not high priorities; finding the (at first perceived) perfect mate and romance are. The advancements in technology and Alberta being a man-dominated, trades province, makes trying new partners easy.

Previously I thought I was successful in negotiating a higher rate for running vacuum and combo trucks for my city client, but it was re-negotiated. I was to be on the same rate, but without overtime, due to truck rates being too low to sustain it in a profitable manner. I agreed to stay provided I am provided a minimum of about 50 hours/week, which is about an income of $8,147/month gross. For a city, home-every-night job being 24 years old, it still wasn’t a bad deal. Nevertheless, my schedule was to be pushed back, and my financial picture and plans adjusted accordingly.

Based on a $5,850/month income, now I expect to put away $2,297/month in cash. As previously concluded, this corporation income is taken out as shareholder loans for the 1-year time limit until they’re considered income, so no tax to be paid until the following tax season – which is beyond the timeframe I need to hit the $2,778+/month savings threshold by. This threshold is the amount required to be somewhat consistent with my 1 property/year goal- losing my footing in Year #3, but still acquiring a 3rd property in the 4th (April 2019) and hence being back on schedule. Savings afterwards then can be used to pay taxes. Based on my tax situation, each year I can enjoy about $25,000 – 32,000 of tax-free income (tax write-offs, basic personal tax credit, education tax credit). I am now $481/month behind the required saving rate, though over half a year it should only take another month and half to catch up on the gap. Unfortunately, if construction seasons in the future continue to be slow, then I may have even more problems down the road in the following 6-month season, as then I’d have to make $8,628/month net – about $11,504/month gross, given my average tax rate throughout the year.

Originally the 1-new-property-per-year strategy was to get myself a Ferrari by the time I’m 30. As a rough guideline, being 24 today, keeping this pace, the appreciation and principal contributions of all my real estate should have increased my net worth enough by then to comfortably get into one, with money leftover to still grow. I also invest in stocks, but look to riskier, undervalued companies with high earning power but low prices. They are very volatile in nature so hence are considered to be losses in the worst case scenario.

Worst case scenario, I may have to settle with just reducing my debt by $25,000 in order to successfully close on my second property (pre-construction) at closing in the Spring of 2019, which entails a much more friendly $1,563/month saving rate. But then the original 1 property/year pace is cut in half. Looking at the middle bound- to just take another 6 months after the pre-construction closing, then I’d need to save $2,083. Which I can somewhat see happening – to have 3 properties at the age of 26, though not 25.

At my horror one morning I discovered my previous set of 18″ winter rims and tires do not fit on my current M4 Cabriolet, as the brake rotors and their callipers are too large for the rims to clear. Winter tires in 275/35/R19 and 255/35/R19 are almost non-existent. After half a day of searching, I only found them from an online American retailer and another in Quebec, and at steep prices. Another sudden unexpected   hit to the pocket book; about $1,500-1,600.


The M4, despite being a lightweight, high-torque RWD vehicle, drives well in the winter accompanied by its magnificent LSD (limited slip differential). It is very quick at adjusting power to the rear wheels individually depending on which wheel is losing traction. It’s hard to have problems with good tires unless under hard acceleration, when you’d slide even on dry, warm pavement in the summer anyways.


Nov. 6: Somehow a long crack across the windshield suddenly formed on my rental vehicle my insurance ordered for me. The M4 was in the shop for insurance work having a bumper replaced from someone hitting it. Enterprise is relentless in automatically billing your credit card without your consent; needless to say I am out $217. My supervisor last week said this week should be busy; today I only had 6 hours of work. That is with me somewhat taking my time. It better get busy soon or this is not going to end well for my financial picture.

Nov. 13: I went downstairs to my parking spot to find, to my horror, a huge crack going across my windshield.

Nov. 17: These two weeks have been almost the worst two all year for income. It feels like as if all is over for making anywhere close to what I need for 2016 income. It even feels like I’d be lucky to save a few thousand this whole winter, or even close to nothing, if things don’t get busy soon. I only have about a year and half to pay down my debts by $25,000, and that’s not even to be anywhere near consistent with my 1 property/year goal. My only saving grace to sleep in my own bed whileist still making ends meet is having my company, otherwise I’d be still working up north in the oilfield full-time. And even then, the oilfield has always been an inconsistent revenue source.