022: FI School Lesson 1 | FI 101

FI School’s in session again! In this episode, Ryan and Chrissy give an overview of FI: what it is, what it isn’t, and why you might want to consider pursuing it. We’ll also discuss our whys of FI and bust a few FI myths (one of Chrissy’s favourite things to do!) Listen in to get the 101 on FI!

A note to our listeners: while we’ve enjoyed the extra interaction from a weekly release schedule, we’ll be returning to bi-weekly releases after this episode. At the end of the show, we recorded a special epilogue to explain the whys behind this decision and what that means for you as a listener.

Special thanks to friend of the show, Shaidah Karim, for help with the show notes!

Click to view transcript

Chrissy 0:00
Thanks to EQ Bank for sponsoring this episode of Explore FI Canada. The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account reimagines banking by offering a competitive everyday interest rate, plus the flexibility of a checking account, along with free transactions, no everyday banking fees, no minimum balances and fast, cheap and fully transparent international money transfers and more—all from a single account. Visit exploreficanada.ca/eqbank to learn more.

Ryan 0:31
Hi, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. If this is your first time listening, this is a bi-weekly show where we discuss FI in Canada, where FI stands for financial independence. FI by its very definition is the act of saving enough money and investment accounts where you’ll earn enough passive income generated from these investments that you can cover your yearly expenses so much so that you no longer need your full time job to sustain your everyday spending.

Ryan 0:56
The two most popular options for investing: in the stock market through index ETFs, or in the rental real estate market by becoming a landlord. We’ll cover these options and the math behind them in future installments of FI School. But for today, we’re going through the basic philosophy of FI and why we’re taking this journey.

Ryan 1:13
My name is Ryan Myricks, and I’m one of the three co hosts of this podcast of course, still on the path to FI. My two co-hosts are Chrissy Kay, who will be teaching FI school as well and you’ll hear from in a second, and the Money Mechanic, who won’t be joining us in the classroom. But he’s going to be recording interviews with Canadians who have achieved FI or are still on the path to FI.

Ryan 1:32
If you choose to subscribe to our channel, you’ll see those pop up in your feed as well. Together, all three of us believe the financial optimization strategy that is FI will not only help your personal finances but will also benefit your other lifestyle choices and other aspects of your life to such as happiness, relationships, and building healthy habits. If any of this sounds interesting to you stick around because you’re about to get the 101 on financial independence.

Ryan 2:03
Welcome everybody to Explore FI Canada podcast, the future of personal finance in Canada. My name is Ryan Myricks. I’m from Kitchener, Ontario and the author behind canadianfire.ca. Joining me from Vancouver, BC is Chrissy, my co host and the author behind eatsleepbreathefi.com. Hey, Chrissy.

Chrissy 2:23
Hi, Ryan, how are you doing?

Ryan 2:25
I am all fired up. How about you?

Chrissy 2:28
I am too. I’m ready to go.

Ryan 2:31
Awesome. Awesome. So today we’re covering the very first lesson of FI School: FI 101.

Chrissy 2:39
Yes, we are. This is the intro to FI and we are going to give you a general overview of FI. That is: what it is, what it isn’t and why you might want to consider pursuing it.

Ryan 2:52
Let’s get started by explaining some basic terms of what FI is and why somebody should pursue it.

Chrissy 2:59
Sure. So, everyone’s definition is a little different. But I think there are a few points that are generally agreed upon. So this is what I think FI is. So FI stands for financial independence, and for me financial independence means choice. And that’s the choice to do what you want with your time, whether it’s continuing to work full time, or working for less or no pay, or part time or side hustles. You know, it could be anything or some people just they literally choose to be on the beach or play more video games, whatever, like to me…

Ryan 3:38
What’s wrong with video games?

Chrissy 3:41
There’s nothing wrong with video games!

Ryan 3:43
Thank you!

Chrissy 3:44
Yeah, so financial independence means you get to choose what you do with your time because you’re no longer tethered to having to work for money. You may choose to continue to work for money, but you don’t have to anymore because you’ve reached financial independence, which means that your passive income is enough to support your living expenses.

Chrissy 4:04
And if you earn anything, it’s generally extra or it’s money that you you don’t count on. Your passive income is enough to sustain you. And it if you’ve done it, right, it should sustain you into the future for many, many years. So that’s in a nutshell, what I think FI is. What about you, Ryan?

Ryan 4:25
I’m a little different. So I actually use the full acronym FIRE: financial independence, retire early. And I think that can sometimes rub people the wrong way. But I’m not looking to please everybody. So that’s all right. So, the reason why I use the full acronym is because I think that if you’re pursuing financial independence, then the automatic return for your investment is to be able to choose whatever you want to do.

Ryan 4:54
And a lot of people could be running away from their jobs or they could be wanting to retire to Something else so it could be something like voluntary or it could be some sort of passion project or could be wussy-preneurship, which I think I got from the Money Mechanic which is entrepreneurship with a whole lot of money in the bank so you can fail all you want it’s no problem. But whatever your reason is, by enabling that choice, you do get to retire from your main job because you had to make money some some other way.

Ryan 5:27
You had to bring in an income for your home for your family for for all the possessions that you have you know more most importantly your home. So when you have that choice to retire, I think it’s wrong to take out the retire early portion of it. I think a lot more people want it than they’re willing to say and that’s what I think about it.

Chrissy 5:50
I don’t disagree with you to be honest. I mean, the retirement part is a big part of it for a lot of people and the reason why I cut it out is because the Internet Retirement Police comes after you. And you know, even though I just stated that a lot of us do choose to continue working after we reach FI. The Internet Retirement Police doesn’t like it when you say you’ve retired if you keep working.

Chrissy 6:12
So I just don’t like wasting time on that because that is so not the focus. The focus is on the lifestyle, where you are giving yourself a better life by reaching FI. Because you’re happier, because you have choice to do what you want with your time, you’re not obligated to do things that you may not want to do anymore. Of course, we will also have those things where we may not enjoy them that much and we have to do them.

Chrissy 6:37
But the big thing is that your job, which is a huge chunk of most people’s lives, will no longer be something you have no choice but to do. And so that’s why I want to cut out the RE. That’s just my opinion, because it just takes away all the chatter about that kind of, whether you’re working or not working and does it count as retirement is for me, it’s just it’s a pointless argument, we don’t need to talk about that what we need to talk about is helping people learn to be more financially literate and more financially stable. That is, you know, ultimately the goal of FI.

Ryan 7:13
Mm hmm. It’s funny, because when you talk about all those points you just made, you know, people need to be more financially literate. People need the choice; people need to be able to walk away from something if they so choose and have the money. Basically be able to do that and to achieve that, that, to me, is why I do include the retire early because I want that type of confrontation with people.

Ryan 7:34
I want people to say, you can’t do that. That’s not right. That’s the wrong definition, blah, blah, blah, perfect. That’s why I use it, because I want to make a new definition. I’m sick and tired of the crappy definition that’s out there. That to retire is to go down to Florida for half the year and sit on a beach and hopefully you don’t get eaten by an alligator, right? Or you know that you’re going to start exploring the Fiji Islands and you’re going to do that once a year. You know, with all the money you saved up and blah, blah, blah and, and that type of thing.

Ryan 8:03
Like I feel like it’s a very scroungy way of retiring. And I think if you were to go to, you know, this 71 year old woman who has decided that she wants to drive the local school bus because they need school bus drivers. I mean, that’s a real problem in Ontario right now, because the pay is horrible, and the hours are terrible as well. And you get her to drive this bus and she wants to do it. And yeah, she’s gonna be paid for it. Should the kids really going on the school bus point at her and say, you’re not really retired? Like, come on, right? Like, of course, she’s retired, she’s choosing to do this. She wants to do this.

Ryan 8:36
But we wouldn’t say that to someone as old as her because of her age. So I think that there’s a major age bias when it comes to FIRE and that’s both kind of a good thing and kind of a bad thing. But it the reason why I say it’s a good thing is because it kind of flips people’s societal norms and expectations right on their head. And by focusing on the retiring early, you can just focus on what makes you happy and what the choices are. And so if you tell people just straight up, you know, you just met someone for the first time at a potluck or something and someone else is in one of your neighbor’s backyards.

Ryan 9:11
And you say, Yeah, I know, I’m retired, you know, I’m 34 but I’m retired. Obviously, you’re going to turn a lot of heads and and of course, that type of confrontation might be very uncomfortable. And I’m not saying I’m going to be the one to do that. But at the same time, I’m very tempted to because I do want to change people’s minds but you know, I also don’t want to be a jerk or make people uncomfortable and I think there is a way to approach the movement without coming off as you know, condescending and whatnot.

Ryan 9:38
So I can understand that portion of the argument that it is it can create a lot of negativity and it can also create a lot of a lot of get rich quick schemes or these type of people selling the dream and that kind of crap, right? And, and under no circumstances should early retirement fall into good luck or you know, absolutely performing stock portfolio or developing the next Snapchat or something like that it should really just be about the choice and freedoms that come with it.

Chrissy 10:11
I agree. And I like I said, I don’t disagree with the points you’re making. And I I think it’s noble of you to want to open these arguments. I don’t want to waste my breath on arguing with people about what the definition of retirement is because I think it is still evolving even outside of the FI community even in the traditional retirement community that retirement is an evolving term because even the Baby Boomers, they are redefining retirement in themselves you know, a lot of them are doing what’s called a victory lap retirement where it sounds very much like FI where you continue to work part time or do other things that are of interest to you and that might earn you money.

Chrissy 10:54
So, you know, even traditional retirement, the crowd that is pursuing traditional retirement, is also redefining the word. So I feel like we’re in a transition right now with FI. And we talked about it a little bit in our episode with Phia and Mike, and we talked about how she wrote about financial freedom, how she prefers that term over FI. And it’s when she wrote about that it was a couple of years ago before FI blew up into what it is now. And they were seeing that it was very much the ERE or Mr. Money Mustache style of retirement or FI, where it was what a lot of mainstream people would call deprivation and you know, extreme frugality.

Chrissy 11:41
But I feel like the movement or community whatever you want to call it has really evolved to a point where it reflects more of what Phia termed financial freedom, which is more about focusing on living your best life and, you know, having the financial resources in order to do that. And not so focused on you know, cutting to the core and being really stringent about sticking to a certain lifestyle. So I think things are transitioning to be more open. The definition of FI or FIRE is loosening and it’s it’s a wider net now. It’s it’s not so narrow.

Ryan 12:19
Hmm. When I talk about using the full acronym FIRE, it’s not that I discount people who use FI or people who use financial freedom, or people who only focus on early retirement and, and whatnot. It doesn’t really bother me that Eat Sleep Breathe FI is written that way. Right? I don’t need you to write, Eat Sleep Breathe FIRE to take you seriously. I just assumed that people do it in their own way.

Ryan 12:42
And I think as many people under the banner is good. It’s a good thing. The movement deserves to have as many people as it can. And the fact that we have such a diverse crowd and different terminology, I think I joked about it in the intro version of our FI School series where I said I’m going to come up with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon FI. And, and it was really just to say that you know, yeah, there are going to be a lot of offshoots, but as long as we all have the same message, but just different, the different means to get there, I think that’s okay. And people want to use a different philosophy. It’s okay with me and, and I couldn’t, I couldn’t disagree with really anybody.

Ryan 13:27
I think there’s just a more fine tuned point to get to it. But what I will say though, is that as these offshoots do continue to sprout up, and people do begin to lose the terminology, I’m a little afraid that there’s going to be a influx of monetization or of kind of mainstream way of thinking about how building up a huge nest egg is supposed to work.

Ryan 13:54
So we in the FIRE movement know that it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of savings. It takes a lot of frugality. It takes a lot of increasing your income, it takes a lot of investment knowledge, it takes a lot of stuff to be able to build up a giant nest egg and to be able to live off of that in your 30s 40s or 50s.

Ryan 14:11
When you inevitably expand the canvas, and more and more people begin to arrive underneath the tent, that is the FIRE movement, you’re going to get the people who say, Well, you could invest in in this like, indeed to these broad based low cost ETF funds or you could check out my new marijuana portfolio.

Ryan 14:30
Now I do everything else that you do, but I do have this one marijuana thing and then bam, you have a different offshoot of FI that’s spreading out for people who believe that Bitcoin or marijuana is the next investment philosophy that you should be choosing or that kind of thing, right and, and so the, the point of that silly little example is that more and more people will begin to sell their version of FI. And that might not be a very good thing for people in the fire movement because what they’re selling might not actually be all that great.

Chrissy 14:59
Yeah, that could possibly happen and that wouldn’t be good. I would have to agree. But at the same time I, I think the strongest core of the the tenets of FI will always be there. And that is what will draw the majority of people in. And yeah, if there are those offshoots, there’s offshoots, you can’t stop it, and they will be there. But I don’t think they will ever take over the movement or change the movement. enough that it would make a huge difference to you know, what is the main philosophy of FI.

Ryan 15:35
If I can put like another example, just to kind of further paint, the picture that I’m trying to draw is that there is a seminar recently in Kitchener that I saw advertise on Facebook, it was free to join, they said and the thing there were giving you a free sample, this is totally free to try it, which is, you know, worrisome when you’re talking about a real estate seminar, right?

Ryan 15:54
So that was already a red flag for me, but for other people. I did notice that it said in the comments main page as well that, you know, like, do you want to explore the world of financial independence? Like, do you want to be a real estate investor? And it’s kind of like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on, did you just drop one of our acronyms in your crappy little seminar? Because what the seminar actually is, it’s a seminar to advertise a seminar. So they’re advertising free sample, to go and listen to this person talk about this paid seminar that you can go to.

Ryan 16:24
And it’s kind of just like, oh, man, like this is the type of monetization that I’m talking about. And I find it a little worrisome that essentially anybody can just take the acronym and run with it and create their own little offshoot. And I yeah, I’m just worried that because of the Vortex of FI information out there, that that is a distinct possibility for people to accidentally go down and I don’t know, I just don’t want to see it used like that.

Chrissy 16:51
Well, you know what? That leads us perfectly into our next topic. I think what’s really important here, what you’re telling me, it stresses how important it is for us to keep going with sharing our message and sharing our stories and helping others discover FI the way that you know it genuinely is meant to be, which is for you to save costs, you know, save on fees and not get into these kinds of products, you don’t need these products to reach FI.

Chrissy 17:22
In fact, you’re better off and you will reach FI sooner without products like that. And I think the people who genuinely do want to pursue FI will get to the right information, they will move beyond snake oil salesman and they will find the genuine information that will actually help them so I I can see your concern. And I also do worry about people being taken advantage of but at the same time, I think there are enough of us in the community that are spreading the message that it will reach the right people and you know, generally people who would fall for those kinds of sales pitches, maybe are not ready to pursue FI yet.

Chrissy 18:03
They are not educating themselves with the right kind of information. So all we can do is just keep going and keep telling our message. And that leads us into the next topic that we’re going to discuss, which is to pick out one piece of content each from FI School. And maybe I’ll start with mine. At first we were gonna start with yours, but maybe I’ll start with mine because it ties in nicely to what we’re talking about.

Ryan 18:24
Yeah, let’s begin.

Chrissy 18:25
So not because it’s great, but because it’s pertinent to what we’re talking about, I picked my own article, which is Debunking FI Myths. It’s one of my earliest ones and I wrote it in response to the Susie Orman interview with Paula Pant on Afford Anything. And that was that was that blew up in our community, clearly, because Susie had some not so nice things to say about our movement, obviously, without really knowing what it’s about.

Chrissy 18:54
And so, I feel like what we’re doing here and what we’re doing on our blogs, and you know, reaching out to people and connecting is to help people get a more realistic and accurate definition of FI. You know, people will take over the term and spread something that isn’t accurate, that doesn’t really reflect what our movement is. And so I wrote this article because, you know, you keep hearing all the same myths being spewed out in mainstream media, less and less now, but it’s, they’re still out there.

Chrissy 19:24
And I really want to set the record straight because these things keep getting repeated over and over and a lot of us are really tired of hearing these things. And I want to keep doing my part to help shut down those myths and set the record straight.

Ryan 19:38
Well, I’m excited to hear some of these myths.

Chrissy 19:42
Okay, so one of the myths that I think Susie, clearly pointed out is that FI seekers carelessly throw caution to the wind, and they retire, whether they’re ready or not. But I I think that anyone who’s in the FI community lays that myth to rest pretty quickly because we are so detailed, and we’re so careful about making plans before retiring.

Chrissy 20:06
And we don’t just go into it lightly without knowing what we’re doing. We are extremely careful and a lot of times really, really conservative. And a lot of us even fall prey to something called One More Year Syndrome where we just keep working one more year, one more year, one more year, because we’re so afraid that we won’t have enough to retire on. So I’d like to argue that in fact, we are far more prepared than most retirees to to actually take the leap and retire early.

Ryan 20:36
Yeah, and I don’t want to totally steal your thunder here. But I’m going to march right into myth number two, because it just so well correlates with your first one and it is quote: FI seekers are oblivious to the catastrophes that could befall them, end quote. In what world with somebody who is building a massive portfolio of money that is designed to give them more money, is oblivious to the catastrophes that could possibly befall them?

Ryan 21:03
Like, unless you are choosing a very narrow minded investment philosophy that is stock picking, you know, penny stocks or or, or something that’s like considered super high risk. So you’re not diversified at all. You’re just going with something that’s crazy. Yes, I can understand that that is incredibly bad. But the FIRE movement and just goes to show her her lack of understanding of it is that we over, like, we diversify the living crap out of our portfolios. And we choose super low cost options to pay for this type of diversification.

Ryan 21:36
I mean, most people are invested in every single stock in the world with like, you know, VEQTor something like that, right? So it is amazing that how somebody could possibly think that an individual, let’s say, let’s paint a example right, so we got a 40 year old woman, you know, with a wife and kids and all that kind of stuff, and she has this whole family that she is providing for. And she has a million dollars in the bank and she is choosing not to work because they don’t need to bring in any type of full time income.

Ryan 22:10
How is she any worse off than the person who could be like this and another Canadian who is, on average 20 grand in debt, right? Like their net worth is negative 20 grand. And because that person has a full time job, that they are more secure than the person who isn’t working. That is nuts. To me, that makes absolutely no sense that that literally does not make mathematical sense. Of course, the woman with the million dollar portfolio is the one who’s in a much better position financially.

Chrissy 22:42
And it’s not even just the portfolio. There’s also all the planning that we put into insurance and you know, making sure that we have the cash flow in order to fund an emergency you know, your car breaks down or you have a medical emergency, you know, we are prepared in that way too.

Chrissy 23:03
And even before we reach FI along the entire path, we have got the things in place to make sure we and our families are protected against these humongous financial catastrophes that could happen. We, we are more aware, I think, than most people that these things can and do happen. And we actually planned for them and put the plans and the funds in place to take care of it if it happens.

Ryan 23:27
Mm hmm. And think about the person that is able to do all this. I mean, like, this is no small feat. I mean, we talked about it all the time, so maybe we’re a bit desensitized to it. But imagine somebody who makes like saves like a million dollars in their 30s or their 40s or whatever their portfolio grows to. Even if it’s just like $600,000 and they’re still on their journey to FI because they want you know, more passive income coming to them.

Ryan 23:51
I mean, that type of person is so set up and so fine tuned and so gear like that is a special individual. It really is. That is not a small thing to accomplish and to achieve. And let’s say they pulled the trigger on early retirement, and they decided they don’t want to do their job anymore and then something horrible happens and you know, the passive income goes away or something like that.

Ryan 24:14
Like something like really catastrophic happens and they need to go back to work. So what? So what if they have to go back to work? Like this is, this is a very accomplished individual, they will see through the stormy weather and be able to come up with a solution and if the worst thing they have to do is return to their job, or find another job, that’s not at all bad. You can prepare for this right?

Ryan 24:36
So I’m a truck driver. I’ll use my own personal situation right now. I’m a truck driver. When I pulled the trigger on early retirement, I’m going to keep my AZ license that is the license and Ontario required to drive a tractor trailer, I’m not just going to be like, well, I won’t need that anymore and just let it expire, cut up my license or anything like that. I’m going to keep it I’m going to pay the money to do the tests and I’m going to keep current on it because I know in Ontario that there is never enough truck drivers.

Ryan 25:03
And if there’s ever a reason for me that I realize I need to go back to work, or I choose to go back to work that I have that option available. So I am much, much better than than the average Canadian who is, you know, 20 grand in debt or whatever. I think that’s an actual stat somewhere on Stats Canada. But yeah, so that was just I, that was my favorite myth of your article.

Chrissy 25:26
Yeah, and I there are a lot more listed in the article. So you can go to FI School Lesson One, and you can click through to the article and read more. And a lot of them are also addressing Internet Retirement Police and you know how they argue that certain things aren’t retirement. So, again, you can go through that and read more.

Chrissy 25:44
And I have another another article that follows that up, Volume Two that are debunking FI myths, so that’s something I really enjoy. I think it’s fun to tackle these myths, because a lot of them are really silly, and they obviously are once once you really think about it. But yeah, so that’s why I’ve included them in FI School because I think it’s important for us to really shut down what mainstream media wants to say about us, but it’s untrue.

Ryan 26:12
Yeah, I know those are my favorite articles on your site by far. I really enjoyed them. Yeah, I love I love the fact that you go after the cherry pickers. So I definitely recommend that people will take a look at it. And if they really liked the you know, the first two minutes that we talked about, then they’re going to love the rest of your article because it gets even crazier.

Chrissy 26:31
Brown bananas, I’ll just say that!

Ryan 26:36
I don’t think I could afford the 50 cent per pound yellow bananas or green bananas I could buy. Give me a break. All right, guys. I think we need to take a quick break. And we’ll be right back right after this.

Money Mechanic 26:54
Hey guys, I think you’ve heard of EQ bank before?

Ryan 26:57
Of course, we’re all customers.

Chrissy 26:59
Yeah, happy customers. I love using their EQ Bank Savings Plus Account as an all in one checking and savings account.

Ryan 27:07
A savings account that offers an everyday 2.45% interest rate with no everyday banking fees plus no minimum account balances. Count me in.

Money Mechanic 27:15
Right? And I’ve already used TransferWise, who they’re now partnered with. You can send international money transfers for a fully transparent fee that are up to eight times cheaper all from your EQ Bank Savings Plus Account.

Chrissy 27:28
Canadians on the path to FI will love the simplicity of EQ Bank. To find out more, head to exploreficanada.ca/eqbank.

Ryan 27:48
Okay guys, welcome back.

Chrissy 27:51
Okay, let’s move on to your pick for from FI School Lesson One.

Ryan 27:55
Yeah, definitely. So I’m going with the undisputed thought leader of the movement, which is Mr. Money Mustache, and he wrote an article titled, If You Think This is About Extreme Frugality, You’re Missing the Point. So we do have a separate lesson on frugality and saving, but I thought this one was pertinent to FI 101 because when people look at FI from the outside, they do think that it’s austerity, deprivation and extreme frugality.

Ryan 28:24
And while these are certainly elements that people can incorporate to their story, I’m not saying that they haven’t. And I’m not saying that there doesn’t come an element of sacrifice, because we are humans and in mainstream pop culture, consumer society. So yes, there are sacrifices, and some people might say those are sacrifices, and some people might not agree that those are sacrifices. But anyways, the reason why FIRE gets a bad rap is because spending intentionally gets lumped into austerity and deprivation.

Ryan 28:53
So if you don’t spend your money, you are depriving yourself. Hands down. That’s what’s happening. And that’s just simply untrue, and not at all the same thing as the article that I’ve picked points out. And I just want to read a couple quotes because I think it’s probably the most important part of the article. And it should really, hopefully, make me come off as a smart person by reading what Pete has written. Pete, by the way, is the author behind Mr. Money Mustache, for anybody who doesn’t know.

Ryan 29:20
“The only unusual part by American standards is that we could afford to spend many times more and yet somehow we choose not to. This is a lifestyle of choice, not a sacrifice we make just because we don’t want to have to go back to the office. And therein lies the reason this blog is of any use to anyone. Learning to separate happiness from spending money is the quickest and most reliable way to a better life. The side effect of this is that your life becomes much less expensive, and you will therefore become much more wealthier very quickly. But it’s not all about money. And as long as you think it is about money, you’re still (bleeped).”

Chrissy 29:57
Quintessential Mr. Money Mustache.

Ryan 29:59
100%. If I could wrap up his entire blog into one quote, I think I would choose that one. Because it isn’t about money and Chrissy, I want to give you a chance to weigh in here. What do you think of that?

Chrissy 30:12
I think it’s exactly what FI is, you know, what he said about separating happiness from spending money. That is key, you know, having that mindset where, you know, your money is buying, buying you happiness in a way, that’s different from what our culture tells us, you know, spending money on things versus spending money on your freedom and having choice. It’s completely different and being able to separate that is a huge mindset shift for a lot of people.

Ryan 30:45
Yeah, what I’m basically saying is that the things that really matter in life, the important parts don’t ever cost any money. Because while you can certainly pay for a trip to Banff and go look at the National Park. The actual looking of it doesn’t really cost much money and the amount of money you want to spend to get to Banff National Park really is ultimately up to you.

Ryan 31:07
It’s the same thing with having kids, it’s the same thing with building important relationships in your life, with your parents, with your spouse, with your children, none of that really cost money at all. The only thing that costs is time and a lot of us don’t have any time because we spend all our money so we have to keep working to pay for the time that we want to consume. And instead of the money that we’re spending on stuff that doesn’t actually make us happy. That is the fundamental paradox of time and money and how we how we think about especially in Canada, and

Chrissy 31:41
Well said. That goes back to what FI really is for and I think it leads into our final topic, which is to just discuss why we personally are pursuing FI and what it means to us.

Ryan 31:54
You go first.

Chrissy 31:55
For me. I feel like I’m already FI. I don’t like saying that because my husband’s still working. And I don’t think it’s fair to say I’m FI because really, we are reaching it together by working as a team towards that. Even though he’s the one that’s working and I’m at home, I try to do everything I can at home in order to further that goal.

Chrissy 32:16
You know, whether it’s by managing our investments or making sure we’re saving money the right way, and making sure that things just are running at home and you know, I cook and do all the things so that he can go to work, worry free, and earn the money so that our family can be better off. And so for me pursuing FI is so that my husband can eventually stop working.

Chrissy 32:39
But to be honest, he will probably continue for, you know, a year or a few years because he really loves his job. So, you know, reaching FI is for us a number but eventually once we reach that number, it’ll just become a lifestyle choice. You know that we are choosing to do the things that beyond our number because we want to not because we have to.

Chrissy 33:01
So, for me, FI is about, you know, my husband, getting there and having a choice whether he wants to work or not. And, and then for us to be able to spend more time together if he does choose to stop working, and if he doesn’t, you know, they’re… we know it’s a trade off that we’re making, because we want to not because we have to.

Chrissy 33:20
And so, you know, my life may or may not change a whole lot after after FI because it depends if my husband stops working or not, and even if he stops, you know, I think he’ll just join me with what I already do, you know, which is spending a lot of time with our kids, volunteering at school, going for walks, you know, during the week, or, you know, my life is not super exciting.

Chrissy 33:40
But, you know, for me, it’s meaningful and valuable because I am here, trying to keep things you know, calm and not crazy in our house that we have a happy life that’s not scheduled to the max and I’m able to do that because I’m at home and you know, I have the time and the freedom to take care of things so that we have our weekends free to enjoy being with family and friends and doing what we want. So, as I said, FI for me, I feel like I’m already living that lifestyle, even though though I don’t consider myself FI. And once we get there for my husband, it, it’ll mean a lot of choice for him.

Ryan 34:18
I think that’s speaks a lot to the integrity and character that you have. Because, like you said, it’s all the same to you essentially, like you would have a very similar lifestyle, whether or not you were aggressively saving, whether, you know, whatever your savings rate happens to be, right. I mean, like, if it’s 80% if it’s 10% I mean, really, it’s kind of all the same to you.

Ryan 34:41
So I think it’s, I think it’s really notable that you you put in so much effort to contribute to the household kind of financial game plan, you know, and, and I know that you do a lot of house hacking and you do a lot of DIY stuff and I think that’s really noble that you’re, that you’re doing everything in your power to perhaps get your husband out of work. If he chooses that he doesn’t want to be there anymore. Because I’d imagine just from the stress of being a provider, I guess I’m using quotes here, I don’t want to, you know what I mean? Like right?

Ryan 35:10
Like from being the main source of income in your home that it’d be very stressful if, if I decided that I didn’t want to drive a truck anymore. Like that’s not an option. Like I have to be able to pay mortgage and put food on the table and that would just stress me right the heck out if I had absolutely zero option and save with what I could do. And it would put a lot of stress on not just my money, but in turn on my marriage and on my relationship with my kids and whatnot. So I think that’s wonderful, Chrissy.

Chrissy 35:40
Well, I feel it’s there is a lot of guilt. A lot of stay-at-home parents or at-home spouses, do feel this way where you want to contribute you you don’t want to be just laying on the couch and taking advantage of your spouse working

Ryan 35:57
Eight hour Netflix days?

Chrissy 35:59
Yeah! Never, no Netflix at all. For me, I mean, I, I respect that, that my husband is giving me this opportunity to be at home with their kids and raise them the way that I want to. And I know that not everybody can afford to do this. And I know I’m very fortunate and I never for a second want to forget that. And so I use every second I’m at home wisely.

Chrissy 36:25
You know, I do not, like I said, I do not watch Netflix, I rarely go shopping. I will go for walks with my friends, but I try to avoid, you know, going for coffees and lunches, things like that, because I feel it’s almost disrespectful to my husband to be doing those kinds of leisurely things when he is hard at work. So the least I can do is to contribute in all the ways that I can when I have time at home when he’s at work. So you know, you say it’s noble, but I think it’s, it’s the least I can do and it’s doing my fair share of what I can for our household income.

Ryan 37:00
Chrissy I’m just going to give you permission now go get a coffee. I do. Now every now and then you know, go get the vanilla, chai tea, whatever I know you like one of those drinks from Starbucks. Go get it, you deserve it.

Ryan 37:14
Just for behind the scenes a bit for the listeners like having worked with Chrissy for a while now on this podcast and just communicating back and forth about our blogs and other things on ChooseFI Canada and she is such a hard worker and you have just this can-do attitude that you can just accomplish anything and I hear it all the time of just all these objectives and meetups and financial goals and like it the list never ends and I don’t doubt for a second that you watch zero hours of Netflix at all like I don’t doubt it.

Ryan 37:49
You’re just a wonderful machine if you will you just keep going and going and I admire that about you and I don’t think I’m as persistent and talented as you but it’s wonderful, but honestly you deserve you deserve a chai tea. Go get one.

Chrissy 38:04
Aww! Thank you, Ryan, you’re making me tear up! I know I I bite off more than I can chew. But you know I love it I’m very driven. I want to succeed and I want to help people. I want to do it all so it’s hard for me to contain it all and you know, not go too far where I’m burning myself out so and thank you to you because you keep me in check a lot of the time.

Ryan 38:28
I think it’s my turn to say why I’m pursuing financial independence. I think it just mostly has to do with the fact that when my daughter was born, I began taking finances a lot more seriously. And I started involving myself in the community. And I started pouring my time into things that I had sworn off that were you know, too time consuming or just not profitable enough or, or anything like that.

Ryan 38:58
And it kind of it outlined to me very specifically that when my daughter was born, that I had to go back to work and that I couldn’t be at home. I mean, my wife, you know, to all her credit, she’s, she was a wonderful new mom and she was doing everything right. But I could see like, there was almost like a little bit of terror in her eyes. Like, please don’t leave me with this baby! You know, I think most moms go through that, right?

Chrissy 39:20
Oh, yes, I did.

Ryan 39:22
I had to take all that away, I had to take away my entire support network around raising my kid because I have to go back to work. As I said before, I am the primary breadwinner for my family. And it kind of didn’t it doesn’t sit right with me even to this day as I speak right now, I still have the exact same feeling where it’s like, why am I serving my company’s interest when I could be serving my own interest?

Ryan 39:44
And the reason why is that they put the food on the table. They really do. It’s not me. It’s the it’s the company that I work for. And this could be solved by financial independence. So now I’m totally kicked high gear into saving aggressively and I think I mentioned before that there are a few things that I did. So for example, my cell phone was paid by my company, but I had to pay for for the year and then I would eventually get like a tax deduction or something like that off my my income taxes by the time I claimed everything through the CRA.

Ryan 40:10
But then it occurred to me I was like, but why am I spending so much money financing this phone on a monthly plan that’s like way higher when I could just choose something way, way cheaper, buy out the phones, and then use that money to not only lower my own standards and my own expectations of what I think a cell phone plan should be, and my own lifestyle accordingly. And then I could just invest that. So I reduced the expense.

Ryan 40:33
And then I invested the difference into the stock market. And I did that with a lot of other things. Things that I also thought were too time consuming to do. So that could be like switching internet plans or churning a different credit card, you know, every three months. I mean, these are things that take a little bit of time but in the grand scheme of things, they don’t take that much time and they were saving me like a ton of money.

Ryan 40:57
I was increasing my income in certain ways. I was reducing my expenses in a lot of ways and every single penny I was saving was going towards repaying my mortgage and investing in the stock market. And these were the exact things that was going to get me to be able to provide that support network for my wife. So my wife isn’t a stay at home mom. She wants to pursue a career in teaching. And so I want to be the stay at home dad. That’s my goal. That is why I’m choosing financial independence.

Ryan 41:22
There is no other reason, because I don’t care about the accumulation of money. Well, I think it’s kind of neat. And I think we all kind of get a little greedy from time to time. I don’t actually care all that much. I mean, I forget what my portfolio size is half the time and have to go in and look and be like, Oh, yeah, okay. You know, like, it’s just, I have my own goals. I have my own understanding of money that comes in and money that goes out and I’m very, very aware and keen on that kind of thing.

Chrissy 41:51
I think that is an amazing why for FI you know, for your family and your daughter. It’s amazing that you want to be a stay at home dad to her and that you want to be there to raise her. How lucky Is she that she will have this in her life, and that any future kids you have will have a dad at home, you know, having one of their parents at home full time with them to experience all their firsts and to do the things with them that, you know, that just can’t happen if they’re in a setting where there are, you know, there’s one caregiver to many children. You know, you’re it’s a gift that you’re giving to your daughter and your future children. And I think that’s incredible. And I can’t wait for you to reach that goal. I’m so excited for you to get there.

Ryan 42:36
Well, thank you. I really appreciate that. I’m certainly excited to be able to raise my kids, it’s coming soon. My FI goals are definitely late 2021. I think at the very latest before I can pull the trigger on early retirement, at least in a form of it called Lean FIRE, which I think we’ll have to get into later.

Chrissy 42:57
It sounds like you know even now you are enjoying your life, you’re not living a life of misery just to get there. And that’s another thing that’s, you know, needs to be addressed in the FI community that we are not living lives of misery until we reach our goal. And I think that’s one way that the community is evolving.

Chrissy 43:16
We’re trying to take the focus away from you know, just being hardcore, but reaching your goal, and then everything that’s good will happen. That is not the way it should be. And no one should live that way. If you’re that miserable, that you’re hating your job, you’re hating your life. Something’s got to change now, before you reach FI because FI is not going to fix those problems.You need to get happier now, and not wait for FI to bring that to you.

Ryan 43:42
Listeners and readers on my blog will know that I do live on less than 20 grand a year and to a lot of people that could be just a substantial sacrifice and have to be deprivation no matter what but it’s not. And I think the easiest way for me to prove that is true is Chrissy, you and I have known each other for quite a long time. And I’ve been posting on the Facebook group to a lot of other people and I’ve, I’ve had meetups and blah, blah, blah.

Ryan 44:07
And I don’t think anyone has ever thought of me as a surly person or someone who is deprived or you know, like, I feel like if, if you sacrifice sacrifice sacrifice, and you do that long term over and over and over again that you’ll eventually end up with a fairly miserable person and someone who is unhappy with their choices, and I am far from anything that unhappy, right? I’ve been, I enjoy my lifestyle, I splurge on certain things from time to time, and I definitely save and cut corners on other things. I mean, even this morning, my family was talking about getting a joint Disney+ account.

Ryan 44:43
So and I was totally and I was like, You know what, I want that right? Because I know, being able to stream things like the original Aladdin, you know is going to be like a huge, huge value to my family and I definitely want my little girl to be able to see a few of the Disney classics that I’m my wife and I grew up with so, you know, these are things that I spend my money on. And I’m happy with that.

Chrissy 45:05
Yep. And I think we’ve gone on a lot of tangents in this episode. But I think that’s because FI is, it’s there’s no hard definition for it. But there, it encompasses many things. And at the core of it all is choice, and happiness and freedom to have that choice to pursue your happiness and to do the things that will give you a better life.

Ryan 45:31
Hmm, and I think before we sign off here, because we’re right at the end, guys, we didn’t really talk about, you know, do you need like 25 times your expenses and like, kind of like the math and, and a lot of the actions that are very much ingrained in the definition of financial independence. And we will get to that in future episodes because we do talk a lot about investing, which is a huge, huge part.

Ryan 45:53
So I think for now, it’s fine that we had a very philosophical conversation about if I want to because it really does matter to each individual person. And I don’t think any of our listeners today have the exact same goals that we do when it comes to financial independence. But if you’re wondering what actions you can take to realize your own set of goals that’s going to be coming up in FI School so sit tight and we will bring that content to you as soon as we can.

Chrissy 46:19
Yes, we will. So should we wrap up?

Ryan 46:22
So we do want to end each of our lessons with a quick summary Chrissy? How would you summarize this one?

Chrissy 46:28
FI means choice, and that’s the choice to choose a life that will bring you more happiness.

Ryan 46:34
I love it. Well, students, I hope you took notes, but in case you didn’t, and let’s face it, I’m sure most of you are commuting or doing chores. I’m not just sitting here with a pen and paper. That’s not how it works. You can head over to exploreficanada.ca where we’ll have links to Chrissy’s blog and the resources that we talked about today. The next lesson is number two: frugality and saving. We will see you next class. Until then, take care.

Ryan 47:02
Hey guys, if you’re a regular listener of Explore FI Canada, stick around till after the credits. Chrissy and I have a quick epilogue for you just explaining our switch from weekly releases to bi-weekly. Thanks for listening, talk to you in a bit. Thanks for listening.

Ryan 47:14
You can find all our show notes at exploreficanada.ca.

Money Mechanic 47:18
If you like what you’re hearing us grow by sharing the show with friends and family. Please subscribe and leave us a comment or review on your favorite podcast directory. You can also find us at our own blog, figarage.ca, canadianfire.ca, or eatsleepbreathefi.com. Our music today was provided by Purple Planet. . We’ll be back with another episode soon. We’ll talk then.

Ryan 47:45
So Chrissy, we said at the top of the podcast that we’re going to be dialing back our release schedule. So with the addition of the Online Meetups and a bunch of our other original content, we were able to release weekly because really we had a giant backlog of episodes. And we had a lot of time to put our time and energy into this podcast.

Ryan 48:06
However, you’re going to be taking a trip to Japan soon. The Money Mechanic has his own podcast and blog to deal with and I am getting a brand new schedule at work that is going to be able to really change the way that I approach how I want to live my life and what I want to spend my time on. And while I love our listeners, and I love our podcast and my co hosts particularly, I really enjoy the relationships I’ve gotten.

Ryan 48:32
But right now I need to be there for my daughter. She’s going to be 20 months old. I want to make sure that I am there for her and then I’m not trying to raise her while looking over my phone that’s in my lap. Right I don’t want to. I don’t want her to see me on my phone all the time.

Ryan 48:47
And unfortunately, the amount of effort and time that I’ve been putting into this podcast has really shaped how much time I spend on my phone and how many times I need to duck downstairs to head to the laptop to fix an edit here and, and record a little extra something there. So yeah, I’m going to be taking a bit of a backseat for a while here and pressing pause on the podcast because there are things that I need to accomplish in my life.

Chrissy 49:14
And I couldn’t be happier for you. I am fully supportive of this decision because this is the decision I made when I chose to become a stay at home mom. I basically hit pause on a lot of things in my life that were extras and I poured myself into being a stay at home mom. And I admire you for being able to take on a blog and podcast while your daughter’s so little.

Chrissy 49:38
I just didn’t have the bandwidth for anything like that when my kids were that age. So I think you’ve done an impressive job of juggling all this up to this point. And I get that it’s hard and it’s challenging to make sure you have enough time for the things that really matter in your life. And, of course this should take a backseat to your real life and your family. So yay for you. I’m glad you made this decision. And I am fully supportive as is Money Mechanic.

Ryan 50:08
Well, thank you so much. And I’d like to add just a little bit of context for people wondering what it actually looks like. So, right now my daughter’s in full time daycare. And this is because I work evenings and my wife works during the day as a teacher. And when I say I’ll work evenings, it’s not just like 3pm to 10pm or something like that, like I can typically be done work out about 4am.

Ryan 50:30
And if anybody has ever done that type of shift work, you know that when you get home, you really need to sleep. And there’s no watching a tiny little one year old who’s growing and becoming much more curious about everything that’s on the countertop. You know, I can’t safely watch her if I’m that tired. So we made the decision to put her into daycare.

Ryan 50:53
With my new schedule at work. I’m going to be only working Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, and it’s still gonna be 40 hours. So it’s a lot of work only in three days. But it gives me the option to have Monday to Thursday off. And there is no point to having my kid enrolled in daycare, when I can be watching her Monday to Thursday, I want to be the one to raise her and I want to be the one to watch her grow up and to teach her all these things.

Ryan 51:16
I don’t put my nose up at anybody who has to use daycare or if your kids are currently in daycare right now, and you feel a little bit bad. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that this is the life that I want to lead. And this is the decision that I want to make for myself and for my family. And that means dialing back the amount of time that I spend on the podcast.

Ryan 51:35
So rather than work on it, as I get up in the morning, say around like 11am or noon, because I’ve worked until 4am the previous day. Now I can get up and just be with her. And I definitely don’t want the backdrop of all these things that Explore FI Canada is seizing the opportunity in the Canadian financial landscape right now. I want to be able to be there with my daughter and intentionally be there for her and not just looking over my phone.

Chrissy 52:04
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I think this time with your daughter is precious. And I saw that with my own children. And I am so glad we made the choices we made so that I was able to stay at home. No, it wasn’t easy in the early years, and we did host students in order to supplement my husband’s income so that we weren’t just paying the bills and not saving.

Chrissy 52:27
So you know, we all make the decisions that we need to to live the life that we want to live and again, there’s no judgment passed on anybody, and I realize that not everyone can afford to do what, make the choices that we’re making and but that also ties back to why FI is so important because even when you’re just on the path to FI, you’re already giving yourself a better life because you are creating financial stability for yourself and your family.

Chrissy 52:56
And even before you reach 25 times your annual spending you will have a lot more freedom and peace. And just the ability to make decisions that you might not be able to if you did not have that financial stability and knowledge.

Ryan 53:11
Not everybody can choose to stack their 40 hour work week on Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So I realized that I am in a very unique position to be able to seize control of this. And I could just put my newfound time into this podcast. But again, that’s just the choice I don’t feel comfortable making. I’d rather spend it with my daughter.

Ryan 53:30
So what does this mean for our listeners? What it means is that I might be a bit harder to reach because like I said, I’m trying to put down the phone and put down the podcast and put down the social media that comes with it. But I won’t be gone and forgotten. I will just be much more intentional about the time that I do spend on it.

Ryan 53:48
So right now, and this is still up in the air, but just just what I’m thinking off the top of my my head for the last bit of planning that I’ve been doing for this is that I’m going to try and devote Wednesdays. Wednesday evenings is when I told my wife, you know, if I can just have a few hours in that evening, and then I can get some recording done, get some editing done, and produce some valuable content for people out there because it is a huge passion project of mine.

Ryan 54:12
I want to see this succeed. I want to see my own blog succeed. I want to see Canadians and our listeners become more financially literate and get involved and so riled up and happy about the FIRE movement. I really want to see that and I want to be one of the community leaders in it. So I appreciate everyone giving me the chance to do so. You’ll be listening to FI School probably once a month and we’ll be releasing podcast episodes twice a month or bi-weekly schedule so you should get about 26 a year I guess by our estimates.

Chrissy 54:45
So it translates to what we would call bi-weekly-ish. We will mostly release bi-weekly but there will be times if we have something bonus we want to share, we may be able to release something extra. I don’t think we’ll ever drop below bi-weekly because we have enough content to do that. But just so you know, there may be times when there may be an extra episode that will release. And if you join our mailing list, you will be notified when there are bonus releases.

Ryan 55:14
Well, thanks, everybody for listening. I hope you stay subscribed and give us some feedback. If some comments I’d love to hear from you. I know we all do. You can comment on our site via the show notes of this episode, or on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you find us anywhere, just let us know.

Chrissy 55:31
Thanks for listening.

Transcribed by Otter.ai

Thanks for listening. You can find all our show notes at exploreficanada.ca.

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You can also find us at our own blogs: figarage.ca, canadianfire.ca, or eatsleepbreathefi.com. Our music today was provided by Purple Planet.

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2 Replies to “022: FI School Lesson 1 | FI 101”

    1. Maria—it’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed the episode. Finding your why is so important in the FI journey, and something that should be revisited now and then. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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