052: The Pro Athlete Path to FIRE (and Beyond) | Courtney Stephen

It’s another first for EFIC! In today’s episode, we interview a pro athlete—none other than Courtney Stephen of CFL/Hamilton Tiger-Cats fame. We’re thrilled to be able to feature Courtney and his unique brand of financial education on the show!

Contrary to the pro athlete stereotype, Courtney is a master with money and an expert at teaching others. Listen in as he shares his story and discusses mindset, investing, multi-generational wealth, and more.

We hope you enjoy this fascinating peek into the life of a professional athlete—from his early years, to playing sports for a living, life in pandemic, and beyond.

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Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking through our links.

Money Mechanic
Hello, listeners. Welcome to Explore FI Canada, where we sit at the roundtable with Canadians, and share their thoughts, ideas and personal journeys to financial independence.

Thanks to Matt McKeever for sponsoring Explore FI Canada. Matt is a Canadian investor, CPA, entrepreneur, and real estate expert who achieved FIRE at age 31. Do us a favour and check out his YouTube channel by searching Matt McKeever or using the link in our show notes.

Welcome back listeners Explore FI Canada Money Mechanic is with you and my buddy from the continent Chrissy? Hello.

Chrissy
Hi, Money Mechanic. How are you doing today?

Money Mechanic
Fantastic. And I have a little known trivia fact for you Chrissy.

Chrissy
What’s that?

Money Mechanic
Back when I was young, like a little boy young. I used to go to CFL games all the time with my dad. But we didn’t have much money because even back then, you know, we’re talking 80s we’re talking like Swervin’ Merv Fernandez, Roy Dewalt time like we’re talking way back. We used to buy the Safeway packet tickets because we get two tickets, you probably remember those.

Chrissy
I do.

Money Mechanic
It was like the nosebleed section at the top of BC Place. That was the coolest thing ever. And we’d sneak down after like the first quarter because it was a little corner section near the end zone. That was like the super high price section. But nobody ever sat there because if you’re paying full pop, you sat like at the 50 yard line. So we’d sneak down get like as close and personal to the players as possible. So you know, I was a fan from way back then, of course the BC Lions and it’s a pleasure and a privilege today to have a CFL player join us on the show. And not only a CFL player but an incredible inspiration in the finance community. He’s all about financial education and Courtney Steven welcome.

Courtney
Hey, I appreciate it. Glad to be in the company of some CFL fans. That’s that’s like homecoming right there.

Chrissy
Yeah.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, it was. I just remember it was so cool. For me as a kid. You know, my biggest goal was to catch a ball, like when it came out of the end zone, but I never did because we weren’t behind the uprights, so I never got one of those right. But I did get Roy Dewalt’s signature. You’ve probably met it not even remember him that’s going way back to the 80s.

Courtney
You know what, though, I feel like the CFL is cool. Because the players you can like reach out and touch them. Right? you’re liable to run into a player at the grocery store and just be like, Hey, we’re on TV like last week. And there’s normal people who are, you know, just happen to tackle and catch for a living. So…

Money Mechanic
For sure, for sure. Well, here you are. Give us the 30,000 foot view of your story, not only the sport side of it, but we’re here to talk about the financial independence side of it too. So Introduce yourself for our listeners.

Courtney
Alright, so yeah, my name is Courtney Stephen. I’m originally from Brampton, Ontario, I grew up in the same house that my mom still lives in to this day. So really born and raised, you know, just modest family. And my parents did a lot to make sure that I was one, staying out of trouble. Not that I was like a troubled kid. But just when you’re living in a city where there’s not much to do, except play sports, if you’re not playing, you know how kids are, you know, idle hands are the devil’s playground, as they say. So, my parents, they worked really hard to give me the opportunity to play sports. And to take advantage of the talent that I had, you know, I was, I always seemed to be fast, I always seemed to be able to jump catch a ball and stuff like that. And my dad would like to think that it comes from him. But actually my mom is the athlete of the family. She ran for the Canadian national team, like way back when she was a she calls it a spring chicken when she was younger. So yeah, they did a lot for me to be able to play sports. And I was lucky to have the right mentors that, you know, guided me from a very young age and a lot of the lessons that I learned about just life in general came from wanting to play football at the highest level, you know what I mean? So whether it be delaying the gratification of playing video games now, to actually be able to be really good at football and when later or whether it be not spending five bucks now so I could save up and buy my own basketball net, right or whatever it may be. My parents just really ingrained in me if you wanted to accomplish something. All you got to do is really work for it and have a plan. So I played football. Long story short, in high school, I went to Wilfrid Laurier University, I spent two years there. And then I transferred and went to Northern Illinois University on a walk on no scholarship, I just, my parents actually remortgaged their house to pull money out so that I was able to afford the $27,000 tuition for that single year. And so nobody’s gonna gamble $27,000 on something that they don’t believe in, right. So another lesson that I learned on that path was that you got to have a body of work for people to really put something invested into you, right? You can’t just show up and ask for something. But you have to have a track record of performance so that people can understand where’s this trending are you moving in the direction that you say you’re going or are you just popping up with no history and asking for a favor so they they put up $27,000 and I was able one year later to parlay that into a full athletic scholarship at a top 25 D1 school which was amazing. I went on to play in the winningest senior class there. Unfortunately, I had a knee injury while I was in college and I blew my ACL. And for many athletes that’s like the moment where life flashes before your eyes. But it was good because as that happened I had to sit down and really think about what I wanted to do in life and not being able to do the one thing that I had always been known for whatever circle I was in, whether it was what my friends my family or at school, I was always known as an elite athlete. But when I couldn’t walk down the stairs and make a you know a peanut butter sandwich for myself, I had to think what other value can I bring and that’s when I started to think about. you know. mentorship. Teaching the kids how to leverage athleticism as a vehicle to get to other places. I started thinking about business, right, and owning stuff you know? Not just being a consumer, but being a producer and owner. I started thinking about what I was going to do with my education and how I was going to, you know, build a bridge to my next career after football. Because even a long football career of 10 years, which is rare. Even if you played 10 years you’re getting out of college early 20s you’re still gonna retire from football and early to mid 30s at the latest. If you played a really long time and as you guys know like average life expectancy for a male in canada 78 years old, so there’s a lot of useful life after that career. So that injury it took me from one of my highest peaks down to one of my lowest somber moments. But it was a moment of clarity that really laid a lot of foundation for many of the things I’m doing now. So I’ve been playing in the CFL eight years I don’t know if you can call it eight. Last year we didn’t play, but this coming up would be my my eighth season in nine years. And yeah now I’m very active in the community I started a youth mentorship program called Overtime Football Club where we basically use sports to sneak life lessons into these kids and teach them about, you know, social professional life skills through sport. And you know I’m active in personal finance, just trying to get into some of these schools and teach the students the athletes and future young professionals how they can manage their money and build wealth for their family. That’s really how I got to be where I am today and I mean at a glance that’s that’s me in a nutshell

Chrissy
That’s amazing I can’t believe how much you’ve accomplished and the mindset you develop from such a young age to not only diversify your investments but to diversify your income earning and how you can be of value to the world it’s incredible what you’re giving back now not just to these kids but also on your YouTube channel on your blog about financial education.

Courtney
Oh thank you no and I will tell you a lot of it came from necessity right when you’re an athlete who’s walked on right the quote unquote walk on. That’s what they call somebody who’s on the team but not on the scholarship. So in the NCAA they have 85 scholarships for the football team, okay? The team will usually have about 110, 115 players so that means that there’s going to be between 20 to 30 guys who are, you know, footing the bill on their own. Now, as one of those players you’re not getting the team meal the night before the game. You’re not getting team breakfast after the workouts. As a matter of fact, you’re the one paying for everything. Well, your parents or your OSAP if you borrowed money from Ontario government and brought it with you down to the States. So part of the reason why I got so heavily into entrepreneurship is because I had to find a way to be able to do more than just eat, you know, cereal every day so I started a T-shirt company with my friends back home. And I had access to computer labs at school and you know I always had kind of a creative eye. I love to mess around with Photoshop and stuff. So I made a few designs and I printed some tank tops and coming out of training camp after my first year, I started printing these T-shirts. I started with a batch of like 30 or 40 of these tank tops these T-shirts and stuff like that gave them to some guys on the football team. And they just leverage their social capital to make it a little bit more popular than it actually was. And we showed up at a couple parties took some pictures. And man, it was just around the time when Instagram was really starting to become popular so people were looking to social media to find out what their friends were doing. And they see them wearing these clothes, and all of a sudden they’re like, “Where can I get one of those?” And I just started to sell T-shirts out of my little apartment in college, and that helped me pay for groceries.

Money Mechanic
That’s awesome. Entrepreneur from the start.

Courtney
Totally.

Chrissy
Yeah. So how did you develop that mindset because not everyone at a young age that their parents are helping them get to school, they take advantage, and they don’t necessarily appreciate it. And they just drain the money away. And they do what they want to have fun, but they don’t think of how to supplement that and to make it better or to get to a better place. What brought you to that mindset?

Courtney
To be fair, like, I’ve always just had a hunger for more, I don’t think it’s a negative thing to really want the best for yourself, you know, and just growing up in a modest house, like I wasn’t poor, right? I wouldn’t say that. But I definitely came from a humble beginning. And I always wanted to be able to give more to myself. And my parents, they were hard working people, first of all, so I remember my mom having two jobs. For most of my life, she worked five days a week, and on the weekends, she would go work somewhere else. And my dad was an entrepreneur, he came immigrated from Trinidad, and he he worked as a courier for a long time in his own business. And so I just saw what it was to grind, like wake up and hustle to put food on the table and to go take whatever it was that you wanted. So if I wanted to be able to hang out with my friends and buy $70 video games, then to me that was a good trade off, right? I’ll sit in a computer lab for a few hours and tinker over some, you know, pictures. And then I’ll get on the phone out of research to find out who can bring this to life for me find a screen printer. All right now who has a car, I’m going to pay for your gas money to get down there. Or Matter of fact, I’m going to give you a free shirt. If you bring me down here to pick these up and just being able to solve problems, right? It wasn’t necessarily about getting rich, but it was more about how can I leverage the free time I have to create the income I need to do whatever else I wanted to do. And it’s just from that that innate hunger I got from watching my parents go and get whatever it is that they needed, or whatever it was that they wanted. It was a hard working ethic that was just built into me from a young kid.

Money Mechanic
That kind of reminds me of one of the posts when I was looking through your blog here, you’ve got the 1% perspective, do the work that your competition won’t. And I love the quote, you’ve got down the bottom here, and kind of what you’re saying reminds me of you know how to become unstoppable. And you’ve written down here, “What’s the secret to becoming unstoppable?” And when I read this, I know the context you’re putting in, but it resonated with me from financial independence context as well. So number one is consistent ambition. Right. And that’s to keep you moving forward. And you talked about this in another one of your presentations. It’s it’s your why, right? It’s your ambition, it’s your why that keeps you moving forward. And then number two is, is a game plan to keep you pointed in the right direction. And I think of FI with that, it’s like what’s your game plan? How do you invest properly? Are you in index funds have the right direction, moving forward, your savings plan, things like that. And number three, you’ve got daily practice to build your confidence and prepare you for your moment. And I think we can relate that to all aspects of life, right? It’s thinking about this engaging in the content, listen to people, learning from people reading books, sharing being part of the community, right? That’s part of the daily practice, especially for financial independence in my mind. And number four is probably one of the most important it’s patience, right? Stay committed, while you wait for your moment. And I really liked how that fits in. Because I know I can relate that to your athletic career and how much hard work it must be to become a professional athlete. But I also took that as like, Hey, I can really apply that to my FI journey as well, because those are principles that are core.

Courtney
Oh, totally. And so much of what it takes to excel in one realm is transferable to success in another. So whether your goal is to be a C-suite executive, a professional athlete, a world-class photographer, the best parent on the block, A-one bus driver, or just you know, financially independent individual who minds her own business, and doesn’t have to take from anybody because you’ve got the you’ve got the time that you’ve bought back with your patience with your plan. With all those things that you just mentioned. I think one of the biggest problems I notice young and old, the people who I talk to about money, they don’t have an awareness of where they stand, and they don’t have a clear enough picture of where they’re going. So if you’re trying to go somewhere, but you don’t necessarily know where it is, and you don’t even know where you’re beginning. Then what is the path look like? What should the first step be? Should it be left? Should it be right? Should you run? Is this a place to move with caution? Should I back up first? Right? So I always start with understanding why you want to do something because it’s going to be hard. Anything that is worth having in life is going to be challenging. And depending on who you’re around, the people who you expose your ideas to will either say you know what that’s a great idea, I think you should go for it. Or if they don’t see it as something as possible for themselves they might tell you man that’s gonna be pretty tough, I don’t know why you’re saving so much money. I don’t know why you don’t just buy a new car. I don’t know why you got wallpaper. You should you should tear this down and sand this, prime this. Matter of fact put on this this pearl lace, it would look great. You know what I mean? Yeah, so you have to know…

Money Mechanic
Consume consume!

Courtney
Please consume and be like me, but you have to know why you want to do something if you’re going to stay the course, right? And that’s where it all starts: what is the purpose? Then you have to get an awareness of where you’re at and build a plan. Because when you build a plan, you’re taking that big macro picture of what the ideal vision coming to life would look like. And you’re able to decompose that and figure out what is the first step in this staircase actually look like? Because now when I can focus on one slice of the scalpel, you know I’m saying I can just boom, make the first play. Perfectly lay one brick. You don’t have to build the whole house at one time. Just lay one brick perfect and then go on from there. Because if you rush in the beginning, you’re gonna have to end up backtracking anyways. If you don’t know you’re building a house and you think you’re you’re building a bridge, you’re not going to be successful, right? So you got to have purpose you got to have awareness of where you’re at. You got to have a plan and you have to stick to the plan, be patient. It won’t happen overnight. Anything that is built overnight can fall apart overnight.

Chrissy
Now would you say that your mindset… to me, it seems very different from the typical professional athlete. We all hear about the crazy stories of people they win a huge fortune early on and then they blow it all. Like, how, you must be surrounded by that kind of mentality how did you not let that come in and affect you and the way that you live your own life?

Courtney
Well you know what I feel like to a degree we all we all stretch ourselves at times. And it’s a matter of going back to those same things like, what was the reason why you wanted to become a professional athlete? Was it really your dream in the first place? So for me I knew that I wanted to be somebody who could earn a living off of my skill set. Because I thought that’d be the greatest way for me to contribute to my family. That’s how it really began. You know, I remember sitting on the floor in the kitchen. Not because we didn’t have chairs, but just because I was a little kid and just saying like, man I’m gonna go pro. I’m gonna buy you a house, I telling my mom that, you know? I haven’t I haven’t bought my mom a house, but just as a kid like those are the kinds of aspirations I had. Because the people I was looking up to that’s what they were doing and I felt like when I got to the pros I had somewhat of a not necessarily obligation, but I had, you know, a focus on doing what was going to be right in the long run. Because the average career in the CFL, I also think it’s the same number in the NFL, but the average career is like two and a half years.

Chrissy
Really?

Courtney
Right, so the average contract is three years that means that most people don’t even see the end of their first contract let alone a second contract. So my mindset from the very beginning as soon as I was drafted, the mindset was if this thing is over at any point in time, I need to be able to look back and have something to show for it. And keeping that at the front of mind no matter what I did, I knew that okay immediately getting into the league I’m entering with $20,800 of student debt. If this is over I need to have something to show for it. So before anything else; before I buy a house, before I before I buy a car, I’m going to attack that. So coming into the CFL, I started out with four roommates. I was already in college, before that, I was used to having roommates. I wanted to I wanted to get money. I didn’t want to be independent. I was already living in a foreign country by myself. I was independent. I wanted to get money, so I decided to stay with the roommates, and that was one of the biggest expenses that I could possibly have cut way down. |And that allowed me to accumulate a good chunk of change on what was really a modest salary. My rookie salary in the CFL was $48,000, plus playing incentives, plus playoff incentives. So in my rookie year, I just know you guys like to hear numbers on these types…

Money Mechanic
Oh yeah for sure, yeah.

Courtney
Right so my rookie year I ended up grossing around $75 or $78,000 so I’m taking home closer to 50 right. But this is the first time that I’m i’m living on my own not in school right. So there’s no cafeteria to go to. Like you got to get the food, you got to pay the rent, you split the utilities among my roommates. But I knew that this was a great fork in the road, right where I could either decide to buckle down for a little while, now that I’m finally making money, and act like I’m broke and reap the benefits for a long, long time. Or I could go off the deep end. Now I dip my toe in the deep end now, I have to tell you I, I bought I bought some Gucci glasses $700. I eventually left them in a cab in DC. If you guys see ’em pick them up for me. But I was really focused on paying down that debt. That was a very first step for me. And I’m not sure where I got that idea from. In college, I was listening to more investing books like audio books and reading about real estate and things like that. But I hadn’t been introduced to the Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey, and those kinds of things as yet. I just to me it made sense. Like if you’re in a hole, you can’t build anything, you need to fill the hole up first before you can build a castle on top of that. So I wanted to pay that debt off. And after that year actually moved back in with my parents. I moved back in with my parents. And in the offseason, I finished up one course that I had to do for university and I got a part-time job. Like I worked at the mall, part-time and Footlocker selling sneakers as a pro athlete. And a lot of people would say, man is the CFL that bad? No, the CFL is amazing, because they give you six months of time freedom, which a lot of people would use to hit as many high scores as they can. But I wasn’t necessarily not playing any video games or not relaxing. But the time is our greatest asset. And I think if anybody’s going to take something away from this conversation, they need to understand that Oprah Winfrey has 24 hours in her day. Jay Z has 24 hours in his day, Bill Gates has 24 hours in his day. And we all got 24 hours in our day. Now some of us have kids, some of us have jobs where we work in actual physical location, and we got to commute. But the fact of the matter is that you can suffer now and live with the benefits for a much longer time, if you set yourself up in a in a disciplined manner. And that’s what I was really trying to do for those first two, three years. And I was able to knock out that $20,800 of debt within the two years of my playing career, like really getting into the first two, two and a half years and I leveled it completely and that was one of my proudest accomplishments, to be honest.

Money Mechanic
You just like set me up perfectly there just gave me like a perfect pass. Because I this is another one of your posts that I pulled up and highlighted. And you just you laid yourself right into it, you’ve got one called Money is Life: the Trouble with Trading Time for Dollars. Like congratulations on crushing that debt super early in your playing career, because that’s not a huge salary. That’s a comparable salary to a lot of people that come out of university or college and go into the workforce. Right. So having that kind of debt to hit right away is is a big thing. And I had a little bit of student loan debt myself to work on. And that’s definitely commendable. And I think you’re right, that builds the foundation, it fills in the hole and allows you to start building stuff. Now. This This money is life thing. I read through it. And the funny thing is, is that reading this, I’m like, man, I wonder if Courtney’s read Your Money or Your Life because this sounds just like that book. Like, this is awesome. Where’d you get this? I’m gonna get to the bottom like, Oh, he’s got you, buddy. You’re like, he’s got this nailed. But so without going too deep into this, just run us through this story, like your story of what this was like for you because you were living a bit of a crazy schedule. And it kind of, you know, it clicked for you that you’re like, man, how much time, what is this worth? What is this time worth? Can you do you think you can summarize it the way you did in the article? Because it’s, it’s really good. And our listeners would like to hear it, I think.

Courtney
Totally. So I like I said, I like to work in the offseason because I’m super ambitious. And if I’m not doing something I get itchy. Right. So after I can’t remember what year it was, it was right after my son was born.

Money Mechanic
Yeah. You said you had a three month old.

Courtney
Right, so my son born 2019. So this is recent. So my son was born 2019. I came home from the season and I wanted to start getting some professional experience not necessarily in the mall, like when I was when I was younger. I wanted to you know, get into sales, tech sales to be specific. So during the offseason, that was my plan. And I found a job at a great company like amazing company, great culture, great environment, great people, amazing benefits package, all that stuff, everything that you could ask for. And it was downtown Toronto, now me living in the suburbs, for me to get to work every day. It was a little bit of a hike. So after coming home a few times, you know, I only ended up working there for two months, but after coming home a few times, and my wife was literally putting my son to bed and coming out of the room as I’m coming in the door. And this is my firstborn, right? I’m missing the whole day with this guy. I’m waking up at 5:30 in the morning doing my thing and I’m out of the house and coming home when he’s going to sleep. So throughout the whole day. I’m missing my family. So it made me sit down and think like oh they’re paying me X amount of dollars to be on the clock. But it’s not just the time that I’m on the clock that matters. It’s the time that I’m away from my family that I’m really exchanging for this salary. So I ran down the numbers to see how many hours per day am I actually away from my family. And then I took my salary. And I broke it out based on the time I was away, not based on the time that I was on the clock. And so once I was able to see that, you know, I’m actually making, I can’t remember the exact numbers, but I’m actually making a couple dollars per hour at this job, and not the massive salary that they said it was, I started to see that there was a great opportunity cost here, and that I was selling myself short. And my time was not nearly being compensated for the value that actually was. So the amount of stress it was putting on me and my family being away, it wasn’t really paying off. And then what made it worse is that my phone broke. And I ended up buying a new phone and these, these iPhones, they’re pretty expensive. And once I calculated the price of that iPhone, not in a matter of dollars, but in a number of hours that I spent away from my family in exchange for that iPhone, it really opened my mind because I ended up spending two and a half days away from my family to get that phone. And it made me look at it differently. And think, really, if I’m going to spend so much time on these possessions, they better be bringing a hell of a lot of value back to my life. So I’m not against spending your money on things. But I really want to go back to the awareness of what are you exchanging for the things that you own. Because it’s not just it’s not just money carries the value, but you sacrificed your time to get that that value to transfer over to the person selling you whatever it may be. You want to make sure that you’re trading your time for things that are of value to you. And not just giving it away. Because you don’t appreciate the hours of your own life.

Money Mechanic
That’s such a core philosophy of the whole FIRE and financial independence movement. Well summed up right there.

Courtney
Man, honestly, it’s much better written than it is spoken. But if if you guys are interested in checking it out, it’s on the website.

Chrissy
Yeah, we’ll put it in the show notes.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, definitely in the show notes. And it’s Courtney Stephen.com. So yeah, that’ll be there for our listeners to find. And it’s a perfect read. Because Yeah, you summed it up well, but you figured out that you’re away from home for 13 hours every day. And you know, you’re spending hardly any time with your mom, your baby son, right? And I can tell how important that would be for everybody. So Christina, let you jump in, because I’ve been running the conversation here.

Chrissy
Well, how about now is a good time to take a break to our sponsor.

Money Mechanic
Good job. You remembered this episode.

Chrissy
So let’s have a quick break. And we’ll be right back.


Chrissy
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Money Mechanic
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Chrissy
Wow, sounds like Passiv saves you a lot of time.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, no more spreadsheets! And Passiv even has one-click purchasing, which makes life so much easier.

Chrissy
That sounds amazing. I also heard that Passiv added a new goal feature to help DIY investors reach their investment targets.

Money Mechanic
That’s right. The goal feature is built right in and helps you stay on track with your investments. Chrissy, did you know that Passiv is free for Questrade clients?

Chrissy
Free is good, especially when it normally costs $99! How can our listeners get in on this offer?

Money Mechanic
Just go to Passiv.com/EFIC.


Chrissy
Okay, everyone we are back. And we are going to continue our conversation with Courtney. And something I really want to talk about with you is you have quite a presence online. And it’s a little surprising. I want to bring it back again to having a pro athlete talk about financial education and investing. And I’m just wondering who your audience is because you have so much knowledge and experience to share. And I’m wondering who are you getting through to because I think your message is a bit unique in that the source is different from what you normally see out there. So who do you normally talk to?

Courtney
You know, that’s a great question, because when this all began a little bit of a story. Basically, my father got sick last year. Right? So he’s he’s in the hospital still to this day, and he got sick right before Good Friday, or was it on Good Friday of 2020. Now, he didn’t have COVID but he did have sickness that basically, you know, put his life in jeopardy. And so the gravity of the situation was such that it really. It made me reflect on a lot. And like I mentioned earlier, my parents sacrificed so much for me, like, I’m sure everybody could say or, you know, most people have that, you know, my parents gave out the world for me, but my parents really did. So I’m thinking about everything my dad’s taught me. And then I’m looking at my kids, like, they can’t even really understand me right now. So God forbid something was to happen, I need to be able to leave these lessons, because generational wealth, which is really my ultimate goal, is not necessarily about money. But it’s about how you can understand the levers you need to pull to live the life you want to live. And money is a big part of that. But also understanding how money relates to time and understanding how your values play into the decisions you make. So I originally started writing these articles, as somewhat of a anthology I can hand down to my kids, you know, it was just purely from the heart. Like it’s not for anybody to it’s public. So obviously, it’s for people to read, but it wasn’t intended for anybody other than Lorenzo and Leah, my two kids. And so that’s that’s how it began. And the feedback was really, it was it was positive, strong, positive feedback. And that encouraged me to continue writing. And as I continued with the blog, more of my friends, you know, the younger, like, I guess, millennial generation, people who were just starting their family, people who are just getting out of school entering into this world, and realizing they had no idea what was coming for them. They started to ask me questions, and I would write about the answers. So what is it like to invest? Like, how do I buy a stock, like what actually is a stock when you break it down? You know, they, they would ask me these things. And because I was putting myself out there, I became one of the shining lights in a kind of dark space where… not necessarily it was dark as if it was bad, but it was dark as if there was nobody out there. Like Is anybody home, like is anybody speaking my language? And I was one of the people who was able to communicate to at least my my peers, people who are like me, young parents, people who have recently graduated people going through career transition, people who have student debt, people who have a mortgage, people who want to be financially free, but aren’t there yet, really just whoever wants to build something for their family. That’s the ultimate goal. And that’s what I always say on my YouTube channel is welcome to the money game where we teach you how to build wealth for your family. Because at the end of the day, if I do nothing else, I want to help people create the mindset that is necessary to have a fulfilling life. And in the world we live in the consumerism that we’re brainwashed into being a part of really stops us from having our true dream, which is living a good life, you know, so to get past the superficial and build in that mindset of how money can play into your lifestyle. That’s really who I’m trying to get to. And that’s what all my work is aimed towards.

Chrissy
Yeah, that really reflects what the FIRE movement is about. It’s not about stopping work. It’s about living the life that you really want to live and giving yourself options to do that.

Courtney
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Money Mechanic
So your own FI journey. What does that look like moving forward from here? You’ve got a few more years playing left. And then you’ve already started all these other projects. What do you see is how do you see yourself using your time moving forward on your journey towards financial independence? Or is that your end game is that you know, I mean, you mentioned, you know, athletes generally kind of FIRE anyway, and they need to figure out what they are going to do afterwards. So what is your next career? What’s it look like in the next 10 years for you?

Courtney
Well, you know, I was actually introduced to the concept of financial independence, not under the same name. But the concept of having time freedom, independent of your work, in the book, The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. So I initially tapped into that book as an entrepreneur thinking, How can I optimize my business? And when he started talking about micro retirements, I think that’s a term that he used. It made so much sense to me, because if you retire at 65 years old, I’ve already had two knee surgeries, the doctor told me when I’m 50, I’m getting a replacement, whether I keep playing or not. So I’m thinking about how can I capitalize on these prime years, and having the financial resilience to be able to, you know, stay home with your kids if you need to, like lifetime during the pandemic, or to be able to travel and go places for a week when you want to? I feel like that’s the flavor of financial independence that I enjoy, because on my path to a greater independence, I’m enjoying the process and the fruits of that labor. So once you get to a certain point you don’t have to deprive yourself of certain things in life you want to do because you’ve already paid a certain amount of dues right. I’ve already cleared out my debt and that’s that’s something that’s given me the initial stages of freedom where you know, what if I don’t want to work for six months because my employer basically essentially they didn’t lay everybody off but there was no football season. So I mean it’s it’s effectively getting laid off right now. There was some government things that we were able to apply for, but people who were not prepared for that moment had to take drastic measures. But because I was already on this financial independence journey, it gave me the flexibility to say alright to my wife, you’re already going on maternity leave. I’m going to join you at home we have two young kids. Let’s do what’s best for our family. And I think at the end of the day you know your flavor of FI and my flavor of FI, it’s whatever’s going to work for your family and your situation. So I think that’s that’s where I’m at and where I’m headed towards is a place where I can do that on a more extended period, so I haven’t been officially working since last year. But we’re not we’re not under duress right we’re we were set up for this.

Money Mechanic
It’s mini re-FI, Chrissy. Mini mini retirement financial independence. Mini re-FI.

Chrissy
Are you coining that?

Money Mechanic
I’m throwing it out there. I can co coin it with you too, but it just feels like well it’s kind of retirement before financial independence but they’re just mini ones. They’re the four mini ones, mini re-FIs.

Courtney
I like it.

Chrissy
I love I love how your journey kind of it sums up the way the FIRE movement is evolving. It’s more about that incremental freedom that you’re gaining along the way it’s not about hitting the big goal at the end, and then you’re out, right? It’s this little the mini re-FIs all along the way, you know? It’s gaining that freedom and you getting to stay home with your little ones during this pandemic and not have that anxiety about, am I going to be okay? You know you’re going to be okay because, like you said, you were prepared. And what a gift that is to your wife and your kids and to yourself to be able to do that.

Courtney
Absolutely, and I mean we definitely have other goals right. So there’s just plateaus you reach right. And right now we’re standing in a certain position but like I said earlier, I’m looking for what’s the next stage that I can climb to, right. And I want to be be able to say I have no student debt. I’m going to pay my house down on an accelerated path. Because while some people will argue yes, your primary residence is not a cash producing asset right, unless you’re renting out rooms inside your house. It is not an asset in the actual sense that it puts money in your pocket. As a matter of fact it’s one of the biggest drains on your cash flow. But in the mindset that I have I’m not looking at how can I get to the point of a 4% withdrawal? Because for me, my goals are different than my existence for the rest of my life, I’m trying to accumulate assets that I can leave in an estate. And my primary residence is one of those things that would be the greatest wealth that I could transfer when I go. So entering into retirement with no mortgage is going to provide me with multiple benefits. One, it’s going to reduce my cost of living. Two, it’s going to free up that capital for me to continue to invest aggressively in the later years of my working before I retire. And then three, when I do go your primary residence is able to be passed down to your kids with different tax implications than investment property or a secondary residence. So knowing where the bulk of your equity is and having a true estate plan is something that is going to be beneficial to those who are thinking two and three generations down the line. Because you know you can give your kids a million dollars. Or growing up, you can teach your kids how the equity is accumulating in their house and why it’s a great thing to be an owner of assets and how they can become wealthy by owning things and then pass it down to them when they’re ready to take over. So that’s my plan.

Money Mechanic
I think you bring up a great point there that we haven’t really talked about on the show before. When you are thinking about generational wealth or passing something on if you don’t have that primary residence then you are subject to a lot of taxes on your estate, depending which accounts they come out from. But you know, all things being equal, as if you had a million dollar RRSP and a million dollar house, you’re gonna get they’re gonna get the RRSP out but it’s gonna be taxable. right? Whereas the property’s gonna transfer to them and it’s not gonna be taxable so there are some big considerations that are that’s a good point to bring up.

Courtney
Totally, and I mean not to not to go too deep in the rabbit hole but yeah one of the things that wealthy people do is they will get to a certain point where, okay, once the estate becomes a primary focus of their investing and their wealth creation, they’re fine their wife is fine. If I’m speaking as myself, right, I’m fine. My wife is fine. Okay, right now is taken care of. Okay, the immediate future that’s taken care of. Now, if we’re talking about the legacy, how can I not only generate wealth, but how can I protect that wealth? And one of the vehicles that they use once they hit that threshold? Not before? Is life insurance policies. Because if you know how a life insurance policy works, it is exempt from tax, right? So that’s why financial advice for me and financial advice for somebody who’s just getting out of college and financial advice for somebody who’s already in retirement, it can differ. And there’s no one shoe that fits all. For somebody that who’s really wealthy, maybe a universal life policy is actually an amazing vehicle to transfer a large lump sum of money, tax sheltered from one generation to the next. And that’s a great succession plan. But maybe if you’re just coming out of college, a universal life policy would be the worst thing that you could possibly do. So it’s important to not tell people what to do, but to introduce them like, hey, look, this is the buffet over here. We’ve got, you know, savings strategies over here. We’ve got investment vehicles down there, we got income protection, how are you going to build your financial plan so that you’re good right now? In the near future? And way down the road.

Money Mechanic
Yeah. Excellent point. Excellent point. Well, like we like to say, right, personal finance is personal. And the easiest question answers are the answers. It depends.

Chrissy
I’m glad you brought up the life insurance topic, because it’s actually something we wanted to discuss on the show. So you reminded us, we need to bring an expert on.

Money Mechanic
We need an expert. Chrissy, are you ready to pivot? I want to talk about some invest.

Chrissy
Yes, I’m ready. I was gonna let you lead into that.

Money Mechanic
Are you sure?

Chrissy
Yeah. I’ll let you lead that one because that’s, that’s totally right up your alley.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, I, you know, there’s a lot of directions to go here. And I’ve been watching Courtney’s YouTube videos, because he’s got lots of these sort of 10-minute quick hits about stocks and how to start investing. And you know, you didn’t even mention, Courtney, you didn’t even pump yourself yet that you’ve got a little mini stock course on your website, which I haven’t paid for yet. But I’m super tempted. But I did also sign up and I didn’t get the email yet with my little my kit I was supposed to get. So I’ll have to ask you about that after we.

Courtney
You gotta check your junk mail.

Money Mechanic
Okay, fair enough. Fair enough. Now, listen, okay, so I made some notes here, because I want to ask you about a few things, right. So I’m just throwing them out there. But then we’ll talk a little one by one is you’ve got a core and a satellite investing strategy, which is interesting. So we’re going to talk about that. And then one of your more recent YouTube videos, you came up with the VIBESS way of judging stocks. And I thought that was pretty interesting. I like that one. And last, but not least, we’re gonna dig not dig into, we’re gonna gloss over some NFTs. Because it’s funny that I saw you tweet that because we just did an FI Garage YouTube on it, and it it blows my mind. So let’s just start at the beginning and talk about your core and satellite investing strategy.

Courtney
Alright, so I’m sure that many people were if they’re listening to this, they’re going to be familiar with Well, this is an assumption, you know, what happens? We make an assumption. Yeah. But you might be familiar with index investing, whether it be through index mutual funds, or worlds index ETFs. And the big thought behind them is whether you’re following, you know, the random walk hypothesis, or the efficient market hypothesis and efficient market theory, whatever it is, rational expectations, if you really want to get into investing theory, basically, you can’t beat the market. That’s what they say, right? Because there’s people who get paid a whole lot of money to invest, and the large percentage of them, they lag behind what the actual broad market does, as a whole on a year to year basis, maybe you can beat it here and there. But over the long course of time, the index is generally the most reliable way to invest. And this is something that has been proven in many studies. However, however, there are also a lot of people who have been able to, to generate alpha.

Money Mechanic
I knew he was gonna say it!

Courtney
Yeah, hey, look, if I’m gonna come on here, let people learn some. So if you’re, if you’re in the investing world, there’s something called alpha, and that is, the amount of return you’re able to generate on top of what the index is doing. Right, to put it in simple terms. So there’s people who generate alpha every single year. And the way that you’re able to do that is by putting a little siracha on top of your index funds, if you will, right. So really, I would like to just break it like this. The core in a satellite strategy is somewhat like the solar system. Okay. In the middle of our solar system, we have the sun is the biggest bright warmest object in all of the solar system. It keeps us warm, okay? It provides us with the energy of life that is the main thing that we go to and we rely on. These are your indexes, okay. Whether they’re mutual funds or ETFs, the core of your portfolio, the biggest portion of your portfolio, is going to be the indexes and that’s going to give you the stability and you know the “sleep at night” factor. So for most people that’s going to be between 60 to 90% of their portfolio, 60 to 80% of their portfolio depending on your personal preference. And then the satellites, those are like the little planets that rotate around the sun. And those are going to be the other auxiliary investments that you make that will put you overweight in whichever stocks that you believe have the best chance to outperform the index. So just as an example, you could say alright the S&P 500 index has 500 companies. But I really think, for whatever reason, I don’t know, Roku, I don’t even know if they’re in the S&P 500. But Roku is gonna be…

Money Mechanic
Probably NASDAQ. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Courtney
Right, exactly. I just didn’t want to say Apple because that’s every example, right?

Money Mechanic
i was just hoping you weren’t gonna say Tesla, that’s all.

Courtney
Oh my gosh. Okay, so yeah, let’s just say whatever company you pick, you think that they’re going to do really well. You would add that to your satellite, right. And so you’re gonna pick between, you know, a handful, maybe five to 10 securities. Maybe a couple more that are going to make up these satellites in your portfolio. But you’re hoping that overexposure to those is going to create that alpha that we were talking about. That’s going to give you a little bit more of a return than the overall market. But of course this is a strategy for people who are looking for a little bit more risk, you know. If risky assets always gave a higher return they wouldn’t be risky, right. So people who generally do this are the ones who have a greater risk tolerance or a greater risk capacity. If you’re getting closer to the point where you’re going to need to withdraw your funds, you don’t have a capacity to take on risk because you don’t have the timeline to make up for a loss right. But if your personality is such that you have a greater risk tolerance and when there’s a drawdown, you’re able to hang in there and not sell at the low. And if your timeline is such that you have a great enough risk capacity then this is a strategy that you can consider applying in your own investing.

Money Mechanic
Okay, I want to I want to hone this down just a little bit. As you’re speaking there, I was thinking about it. Now let’s just refer to the Canadian market just because we’re Canadian content, right. So I’ve got my typical index fund in, let’s call itVGRO because I know everybody likes that one, or VEQT. They hold similar Canadian holdings right now. The example I’m trying to get to is that if you look at the Canadian holdings in those index funds, those ETFs, you’re going to see that they hold the majority of the banks. They kind of hold the majority of the utility companies. They’re gonna hold the biggest companies in Canada, right. So for my satellite picks I guess this is my question, is what kind of pick am I thinking of. Because in your example there, you used a fairly large company. But that company is going to be already well-represented within my index, so if I hold the Canadian index is one of my satellite companies going to be TD, or is one of my satellite companies going to be sort of like a smaller mid-cap that’s not represented in there, but that I’ve done the research on, I think there’s growth and alpha there. That’s just sort of what I was thinking what you thought about that.

Courtney
So, in general what you’re going to… now obviously, this isn’t specific advice right and it’s going to vary based on it’s going to vary based on your your appetite for risk right. So what you’re looking for is stocks that have a high beta. Now I’m going to break this down too, because I want people to really raise their IQ up higher than they thought it could go today, okay? So basically beta is a measure of how correlated an asset is to the index right. So at a beta of 1.0 you’re moving in lockstep with the index. At a beta of 0.5, for every dollar that the index goes up, you’re only going up 50 cents. Those are like, you know, your utility companies, the defensive stocks. Because at the same time, if the index drops by $1 they’re only dropped by 50 cents. But high beta stocks tend to be more volatile. Now volatility is not only when stocks go down you can have volatility to the upside. So volatility just means that if the index goes up by $1 and I have a stock with 2.0 beta that means that it’s going to go up by $2. So generally speaking, to get back to your point, what is going to be in the satellite, if you’re looking for something that’s more conservative, maybe they’re low-beta stocks, and you’re going to have you know, an overexposure to Enbridge. Because you know that the way that their business model is, they have multi-year contracts, they have reliable cash flows. And regardless of if we’re in a recession or not, people are going to continue to need gas to heat up their house. So you’re going to buy Enbridge and make sure your portfolio is more conservative. Or if you want your, your portfolio to be more aggressive, then maybe it’s the small healthcare companies that are working on the cure for cancer. And maybe these companies will fizzle out in five or 10 years, and you might actually lose money. But on the chance that that company gains massively, there’s going to be a huge upside for you putting a small amount of money into that investment. Now, of course, these are both ends of the spectrum. And there’s every option in between. So you could invest in a Shopify, that is a proven company that’s growing at a rate faster than that overall index. But I think we can rest assured that Shopify is not going to disappear in the next six to 12 months, right, maybe in 10 years, it’ll be gone. But you’re going to pick what assets fit your risk tolerance, based on what you’re looking for as a return. And one last thing I would just say too, is, it can be dangerous to measure your portfolio’s performance based on the index, just for the simple fact that if you look at how a real Portfolio Manager measures their success, if I’m running an endowment for a university, maybe I need to get 8% per year in order to provide scholarships and upgrades to the buildings on campus, right? The endowment’s large enough, we have enough money in Treasury that all we need to do is hit 8%, don’t be a hero, get 8% protect the money, right? I don’t care what the index does, I just need to get a percent. But if I’m, you know, say, for example, in a hedge fund, where I am measured on absolute performance, then it’s a different measuring stick. So that’s why they’re trying to beat the index. Now, if you’re just trying to retire by a certain age, maybe the index is exactly right for you. But you have to first of all, start out with your own measuring stick of what’s the goal. And based on your savings rate, and how much you’re able to contribute and how long you’re going to be in the market is 10% enough to get you to your goal, then there’s no need to take on extra risk, because that’s going to be unnecessary extra risk, without a reward that is going to actually benefit you hitting your goal, right. And that’s where you got to really just make sure you understand what vehicle or what assets are going to get you safely to your goal and not necessarily taking on more risk than you have to.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, good response. I like that one. And this kind of leads me into that part B of my question anyway. Because I see a lot of people within the community that follow the index strategy. And that’s fine. But I also see a lot of people that are starting to branch out. And of course, whenever there’s excitement in the market, or a little bit of rationality, or irrational exuberance, whatever you want to call it, people think, well, I can’t go wrong picking stocks, because they just keep going up. And sometimes it will, and sometimes they won’t. And again, good point, thanks for bringing up this is entertainment purposes only and just our opinions. Thanks for that. But the second part of the question was, you came up with a little acronym that I liked from your video, and folks can go listen to this whole video. It’s good, you don’t have to regurgitate the whole thing. But just briefly, we can talk about VIBESS because exactly what you just said, if people are going to go and pick these satellite companies, it’s pretty important that you have some basis of understanding of how to make an evaluation of those companies. So give us a quick breakdown on on your VIBESS.

Courtney
Yeah, so the stocks got to feel good. If it’s gonna go in your portfolio, that’s gotta have vibes. No, but really, it just stands for value, industry balance sheet, earning potential special sauce, and significant news, right. So the value is what you get for what you pay. And that’s going to be looking at metrics such as price to sales, price to earnings price to cash flow, right? So what is the business actually giving you for what you pay? Industry, you want to invest in companies that are leading their industry and not companies that are following in their industry. You also want to invest in industries that are growing, right? Because then the addressable market as a whole is wider and there’s more customers available for everybody, as opposed to being in a shrinking industry, where the big conglomerates are pretty much just gonna swallow up the small fish because there’s no new customers to get. The only thing they could do is eat each other. Right? Then you’re going to look at the balance sheet. Now as individuals, we’re going to want to look at our balance sheet too because the balance sheet tells you what assets do they own? What liabilities do they owe to other people? And once you subtract the liabilities from the assets, what equity remains, right. So it’s going to let you know how is this business capitalized? How did they get these assets? Did they offer a lot of shares and raise money and dilute the existing shareholders? Or did they borrow a lot of money, and if they borrowed a lot of money, at what interest rate did they borrow it right? Because we want to know, is this business in jeopardy when interest rates rise? So then after you look at the balance sheet you got to look at their earning potential. And this could be measured a number of ways. This could be a whole own podcast of itself. But yep if you ever look at an income statement you got revenue, the sales, at the top line. You got the EBITDA. You’ve got the earnings per share right, and these are all different measures of how good is this business at selling whatever it is they have to offer? How efficient is this business at keeping the most money when they make money? So like if I make $1, am I keeping 10 cents when I make $1? Or am I keeping 50 cents? You just have to look at these things as if it was a business you owned right. And once you understand it in those terms the spreadsheets and stuff don’t seem to be as intimidating. And then the special sauce, these are things that are intangible, like what is their competitive advantage? Do they own patents, right? Do they have regulatory approvals that are gonna be hard for other people to get, such as you know laying down pipelines? We’ve we’ve seen how that could be tough in the recent news right? Not everybody could just lay down a pipeline and start pumping oil through the countryside right, Yeah do they have a network effects, such as a social network where when one person gets it it’s more valuable for the next right. Maybe they have hard switching costs right. Like if I buy a Peloton, it’s going to be hard for me to all of a sudden just switch to a Bowflex unless I buy another Bowflex. Or even a better example is if I’m using an iPhone and I have them I the MacBook computer and I have the Apple AirPods and the Apple Watch. I don’t I don’t want to leave Apple now because now my ecosystem is broken. So you’re going to want to look for the competitive advantage and the leadership because that’s an intangible that really matters. And then lastly, the significant news right. What are the headlines? Are they acquiring companies? Are they coming under political fire? Did the CEO just make a blunder and do something they really should not have done? You’re going to want to look at all of these things and it’s not a complete list but I promise you if you go through that VIBESS, you’re gonna have a good sense of if this is a company you’re gonna want to get involved with.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, I love it. I think it’s great it’s an easy one to remember and you know all the points all the important points there for sure. Chrissy, I gotta let you jump in here because my last my last question is it might just go off on a tangent.

Chrissy
i just want to say I that’s the first time I’ve really understood how to evaluate a company. It’s all mumbo jumbo to me. It’s not something I’ve ever been into, but having that VIBESS acronym that really helps a lot to break it down in simple terms.

Courtney
Well you know what I actually I took the Canadian Securities course and they the studying is two volumes because I was thinking about becoming a financial advisor, at a point.

Chrissy
You should! You’re good at this.

Courtney
You know what? Honestly I wouldn’t write it off but one of the big things that’s holding me back is just the compliance regulations. Like it would be hard for me to get on here and give out this information even though I’m not recommending stocks or anything I would have to get all of this cleared by somebody who really is not caring if people are learning but they want to make sure that they don’t get in trouble for somebody coming back. So simply because of those regulations I didn’t want that to stop me from being able to teach as many people as possible.

Money Mechanic
Yeah that’s a super good point because I’ve looked into it as well and it’s like you it’s hard to become an educator on one hand and then a finance professional on the other it’s the the two don’t really mix very well so.

Courtney
Not at all.

Money Mechanic
Okay before we wrap up here I just got to get this in here NFTs. And I guarantee you not many of our listeners are going to know what we’re talking about. I mean they might in a couple weeks when this comes out, but these are non-fungible tokens and I’m going to take a shot at describing them but I hope you can clear it up for me because Chrissy have you heard of these?

Chrissy
No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Money Mechanic
i bet you I bet you your kids probably have. Your husband probably does know, but so a non-fungible token is a… I’m gonna struggle with this. It’s it’s a digital digitally signed authenticated it can be artwork or it could be a collectible right. So we’ll talk about collectibles here because that’s what Courtney knows about. But it it’s it kind of blows my mind this is like a new far-out there asset class. Like, we remember, I remember being the kid buying packs of hockey cards and you know football cards right. That’s what what’s what that’s what I think of it. That’s kind of what we’re talking about with non-fungible tokens is they’r digital trading cards or digital collectibles. And go ahead, Courtney, help me out here because you’re like, you’re on this.

Courtney
Yeah. So you really hit it like it’s a digital collectible, right. So to understand what’s non-fungible, it makes more sense to talk about what is fungible? Right. So if I have a $20 bill, if I have two $20, dollar bills, right, they can have different serial numbers on them, but because they are fungible, I can give you either one. And it doesn’t make a difference. Yes, that’s what it is to be fungible, right, it can be replaced with a look alike, and nobody cares, right. Whereas, if I had the Fleer Michael Jordan, rookie card, there’s only a set number of those. And each one has a serial number ordering it from one to whatever, one to 100. And you know that this is the 23rd Michael Jordan rookie card, this one is the most special because the serial number on this matches his jersey, this is worth quarter million dollars. Yep. Right. So it’s the technology of the blockchain, which I can explain in one second, which is allowing people to create digital collectibles that are authenticated, right, so you can verify that this, this is the one that it says it is, they are easy to transfer back and forth. Because they’re digital, so you’re not going to damage the corners on the trading card or drop the ancient vase and break it. They’re transparent. So meaning that every transaction that led up to this becoming yours, before this was in your possession, you can go back and look at how much it sold for and which user it was sold to. So it’s transparent. And then it’s a objective scarcity, like you can see the serial numbers on all of them. And that’s all of this is powered by the same thing that is powering Bitcoin. And all of these other cryptocurrencies it is this technology known as the blockchain. So I don’t know if you wanted me to talk about that.

Money Mechanic
Well, I think we could really get sidetracked with this. Chrissy will just like, leave the room out and leave us talking. But I think the thing that’s interesting, and this is probably enough for listeners to just go, huh, interesting. I better I wish I should Google that. The thing that’s catching me is that the money that’s changing hands on these is absolutely astonishing. Astronomical. Astronomical, like you, you tweeted, and I looked it up. So there’s NBA Top Shots. So I went in there and I had a look at it. I’m like, Oh, well, I’ll buy a pack of these, right? Why not? For $9. Of course, I’ll buy a pack. I’m like known as the guy that invest a little bit in everything. So I go in there, and they’re sold out. So I’m like, well, I’ll check the marketplace. And like, you go in there. And it blows my mind because there’s a clip of a player making a fantastic dunk, and you can buy it for $25. But there’s 477 sellers. And there’s also a guy that’s listening in for $250,000. And I’m going there’s something crazy going on here. And Chrissy, you wouldn’t believe it like it’ll blow your mind. And this isn’t just sports collectibles, it can be art. There’s other non-fungible art out there that are being created, like look up Crypto Kitties.

Courtney
Absolutely.

Money Mechanic
It’s the same thing. It’s digital art. But it’s like it’s but there’s a bidding. It’s like, it’s this marketplace is crazy.

Courtney
Yeah. And so I’ll just say this, like, a lot of people are gonna ask, why would I pay $10 or $10,000? For something that I could watch on YouTube? or download? Right? Yeah, it’s the same concept as Why would I pay $150 for a piece of cardboard with Michael Jordan on it. It’s because there’s a story attached to it. And because other people find value in that item, either sentimental or social value, I can trade that card for somebody and they’d be willing to give me a lot because, you know, they grew up watching Michael Jordan. And this card represents the first time that he stepped on the hardcourt. And he let the world know that he was there. So as long as there’s someone out there who has that story, if there’s a collective agreement that this certain thing has value, then it has value. Right? Like I can make an argument that a gold bar has no value. Yeah, like a gold bar has no cash flow. It has no customers like it doesn’t know, like one gold bar to the next. Who cares, right. But we have all agreed that since from the beginning of when they had money, people were breaking off chips of gold and trading them for valuable items. That now gold is something that we agree has value. But if you really look at it, it’s a metal that comes out the ground is no different than nickel is no different than palladium, platinum, silver. Maybe its scarcity is different, but we can’t prove exactly down to the decimal how much gold is in the world. The reason people love these NFTs is because you know exactly where it came from, you know exactly how much people are willing to buy it for right now and how much they were willing to buy it for in the past. And really, the technology is just so new that I think that’s really what people are getting excited about. There’s other applications of blockchain technology that really would affect our whole daily lives, right? Imagine now knowing exactly where the carton of milk that you’re drinking came from, and going to the grocery store and scanning a QR code or barcode, and it shows you, you know, this came from Calgary, or scanning a carton of eggs and saying this egg was laid seven days ago, right? Yeah, but it’s the same technology that people are using to track the value of these digital assets that we’re going to be able to see is going to be embedded in our driver’s license, maybe in your health card, so you can see every doctor appointment that you’ve ever had, and all the prescriptions that you’re supposed to fill. Right. It’s the same technology. And I partially believe that’s why the excitement, people have been seeing Bitcoin, but they want to see what’s the next application of blockchain technology and these digital collectibles are that,

Money Mechanic
Yeah, it’s super interesting. And I’m definitely not a tech guy at all, I’m too busy digging into like, traditional finance. But I find these things super fascinating, because it’s just amazing. And, and you’re right, these are going to start working their way into the rest of our lives. And I was walking my dogs and my wife yesterday, and I was trying to explain to her about these NFTs and she’s a lot smarter than I am and and I sent her I said, for example, your house could become an NFT. Right? It could have the tracking of its every owner it’s ever had. It’s it’s kind of a one of a kind thing, if we could eliminate a lot of systems that are required to track you the houses title and all the rest of it. And if you tracked it in a blockchain method you create like this one storehouse has secured of all the data for that that’s ever existed. It’s pretty amazing.

Courtney
And it goes peer to peer. That’s the main thing, right? It doesn’t have to go through any intermediary other than the marketplace itself, which is literally just a computer algorithm. So I don’t have to go to a broker and say, Hey, can you get this to somebody else, there’s there’s no need for that. It’s literally from me to you. And software, if you will, basically facilitates the movement of that value. That’s what the blockchain is, it’s the Internet 3.0. Yet 1.0 was the movement of information. You can go online, you can look at, you know, instead of going in your encyclopedia, you go online, right? Or you could send a message to somebody, Internet 2.0. That was when there was a decentralization of influence, right, because we had high speed internet and Internet 2.0. So we could do things like a podcast, we could have a live video stream, we could have YouTube, you can now have people who are not on TV, becoming celebrities, because now you have the means to produce at the high level. Now, Internet 3.0.

Money Mechanic
He’s laughing he’s laughing because I’m pointing myself.

Courtney
But you are, you are, right, think about how many people are going to hear you and only because of Internet 2.0, you’re able to spread your message. Now, Internet 3.0 is the decentralization of value. Right? So now I can send money to you, or valuable items to you. Without having to have anybody in between I don’t need to go through TD Bank, I don’t need to go through Royal Bank, I don’t need to go through Questrade. We can do it one on one. And that’s because of the blockchain. So if you guys are interested, definitely Google it, it will be a serious rabbit hole, get some water and a blanket, you’re gonna be sleeping in there. It’s hard. It’s hard to get out of that rabbit hole, I’ll tell you.

Chrissy
Well, I think what people should do is follow you. Throughout this conversation, you’ve just shown us that you have this crazy amount of knowledge, and you just have this knack for breaking it down into terms that people can understand. And I’m so glad you’re out there to spread this kind of knowledge, because not everyone has that knack or that ability to be able to explain something super complicated and make it explain it in a way that anyone can understand. And I think you’re you’re just an expert. I have to say.

Courtney
Thank you very much. That’s the biggest compliment I could get.

Chrissy
It’s true.

Money Mechanic
Well, before we go, please let us know all the places, because there’s a few, where our listeners can follow the Courtney Stephen.

Courtney
Well, to be to be honest, the main place is just on my website, Courtney Stephen.com. And that’s Steven with a “ph”, and on any social media, I’m just thecstephen, with a “ph”. Yeah, just try keep it simple, but I’ll be writing, I’ll be recording videos, I’ll be posting whatever the platform allows. I’m putting it all out.

Money Mechanic
Yeah, you’re pretty quick with the YouTubes. You’re coming out with those fairly regularly. And I know that’s a big source of media for a lot of people these days. Even I’m trying it. Well, I can’t thank you enough for joining us on the show and the conversation was even deeper than what I expected. You’re an amazing guy. You’re very knowledgeable in the finance area and like you’re also an awesome math It’s been a real privilege to talk to you. Thanks so much.

Courtney
It’s been a it’s been a pleasure of mine. I’ve been listening to you guys for such a long time. It’s cool to be here and chat with you live.

Chrissy
Yeah. When I saw you tweet about one of our episodes like, he listens to our show. Bring him on.

Courtney
Man, I’m so glad we connected. It was cool. Yes.

Chrissy
Thank you, Courtney.

Courtney
My pleasure.

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All of our show notes can be found at exploreficanada.ca. You can also find us at figarage.ca or eatsleepbreathefi.com.

Our show was edited and mixed by Max Demarais at Fix Audio with episode transcripts provided by Otter.ai.


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