005: Achieving FI in Toronto | Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution

Today we’re talking to Canada’s FI power couple—Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution! They made FI possible in high-cost Toronto, rejected the cult of home ownership and began the Millennial Revolution. They’re also the authors of the brand-new book, Quit Like a Millionaire.

In the interview, we discuss:

World schooling

  • How the community is similar to the FI community.
  • The amazing upsides of raising children this way.

Life in Canada

  • Where in Canada they might live if they ever came back (hint: one of our co-hosts lives there).
  • How they reached FI in high-cost Toronto:
    • Lived just far enough away to not have to compete with the crowd. (But not so far that it took too long to commute.)
    • Maintained a good relationship with their landlord.
    • Eschewed home ownership (unlike the rest of Toronto that’s house-crazy).
  • How their friends and family have reacted to their now-four years of retirement.
    • Chrissy also asks if they’ve managed to influence their friends and family.
  • How they went from spendy to mindful:
    • The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) strike changed everything.
    • It started a snowball of improved life habits (exercise, diet, finances).

Their book

  • How Kristy ended up narrating the audiobook version of Quit Like a Millionaire (and how she got to sit in Gandalf’s butt print!)
  • How it’s made a difference in their credibility.
    • The similarities to The Wealthy Barber (and the true backstory behind this classic Canadian personal finance book).
  • They discovered FIRE in 2012 when they became fed up with the housing market.


  • Mr. Money Mustache introduced them to the 4% rule, simple math behind early retirement, and the mindset.
  • JL Collins talked about the investing side.
  • Bryce showed Kristy how quickly they could reach FI, and they became more and more obsessed over time.
  • FIRE wasn’t a movement when they found it (they weren’t even sure if it would ever become a ‘thing’).
  • Meeting other FI-seekers always leads to long, meaningful conversations—no matter where you are in the world.
  • How FIRE makes the world a better place.
  • Travelling saved them from the fears of early retirement.
    • They were able to explore their new identities.
    • By living in low-cost areas, it allowed their income to stretch.


  • Jason asks Kristy and Bryce about their big investing mistake.
    • Kristy tells us even if you make financial mistakes, it’s okay. You can still make it.
  • In their book, Kristy and Bryce categorize millionaires into three types: the Hustler, the Investor, and the Optimizer.
    • They identify as Optimizers.
    • The unique advantage of Optimizers is that their path to wealth is the only one that’s replicable by just about anyone. It’s simple and easy to follow.
    • The other types of millionaires require some form of luck to make it.
  • Ryan questions JL Collins’ stance on 100% VTSAX, and conversely, Kristy and Bryce’s unconventional (for the FI community) 60/40 stock/bond allocation.
    • Bryce talks about how JL Collins and Mr. Money Mustache can be so comfortable with 100% equities.

Drawdown strategy

  • They use a yield shield, cash cushion, and increasing equities (after surpassing sequence of returns risk).
  • They’ll pull back from yield-focused investments as their retirement progresses.
  • After the first year, you have a much better idea of your spending, so you gain confidence in your plan.
  • They keep their retirement accounts separate from their spending.
  • Ryan’s $20,000/year spending in Kitchener shows that you don’t have to spend a lot.

Geographic arbitrage

  • Kristy and Bryce don’t recommend that everyone just jump into the digital nomad/ex-pat lifestyle. Instead, they suggest that you first try it out.
  • You can try any number of lower-cost areas in the world: Asia, South America, Eastern Europe.
  • Ryan wonders if it’s better to take the chance and FIRE earlier rather than sticking it out at a job that you hate.
    • Kristy feels that health is more important than anything, and if your job affects you that much, FIRE at an earlier age is the better option.

Notable quotes

“Usually, travellers don’t ask you what it is that you do. Travellers ask where are you going and where you’re from.”

– Kristy

“Time is more important than money. But you know what’s more important than time? Health. If you have all the time in the world, but you don’t have your health… that’s useless. Time is not valuable anymore.”

– Kristy


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