014: FI School | Intro

Welcome to the inaugural episode of our new series—FI School! This series was put together to help beginners as well as those who have been walking the FI journey for a while. Listen in to learn the basics and brush up on your FI skills.

These show notes were written by friend of the show, Shaidah Karim. Thanks, Shaidah!

What is FI School?

  • Chrissy and Ryan are excited to bring FI School content to the EFIC audience in audio format .
  • Chrissy wanted to share FI content with her family and looked for a beginner’s guide.
  • She couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she created her own resource of useful content.
  • There is an overwhelming amount of information out there and she wants to keep the content current and relevant.

FI School Curriculum

The full FI School curriculum can be found at Eat Sleep Breathe FI.

FI Basics

These lessons will help you get started, progress through the stages of FI, and reach your goals!

Lesson 1: FI 101

What is FI and why do we want to pursue it? This lesson will help you determine if FI is right for you. FI means different things to different people and Ryan and Chrissy will likely have different viewpoints of what FI means to them. They want more people to be awakened to the possibilities of what FI means for them.

Lesson 2: Frugality and Saving

Living a frugal life is Ryan’s speciality as he lives on less than $20k/year in Canada. He puts intentional thought into each decision that will impact his finances for the next few years, like choosing a low-cost cell phone plan.

Lesson 3: Budgeting and Tracking

Learn what is coming in, what is being spent, and how to use the leftover money to have the highest impact on your finances. YNAB, Mint, Wealthica, and spreadsheets will be discussed.

Lesson 4: Income

You are your own greatest asset. You can make a lot of money depending on your skills and how hard you want to work for you money. Learn the importance of increasing your income, reducing your expenses, and growing the gap.

Lesson 5: Early Retirement Planning

Think about your dreams and goals, and check out The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement by MMM. Know what to aim for, understand The 4% Rule (or as we like to call it—The 4% Assumption) how to create a retirement plan, and how much you need to save.

Lesson 6: Index Investing

Individual stock picking is very hard. This lesson will teach you how to invest in the broad market indexes, and will cover the Canadian tools, such as robo advisors and VGRO. There’s a lot to say about this, including withholding taxes and high MERs.

Lesson 7: Investing

To be the best index investor, you need to learn the basics on how to invest in general. The most educated investors are the best investors. This lesson will cover RRSPs, TFSAs, and non registered accounts. We’ll also cover your behaviour and what to do when the media talks about market crashes, and index investing not being sustainable.

Lesson 8: Tax Optimization

Learn when and why to use your RRSP and TFSA, and how to deal with tax implications that come with taxable accounts. Also, the importance of asset location to optimize your taxes will be discussed. This will be detailed and specific information for Canadians.

FI Boosters

These lessons aren’t necessary for FI, but will help to speed up your journey.

Lesson 9: Side Hustles

Although not necessary, a side hustle will speed up your FI journey. The sky’s the limit on your potential income. You could install an app and start making extra money right away when you start hustling.

Lesson 10: Real Estate Investing

Learn how to assess cash flow and how to determine good investments. This lesson will be about checking your own bias, what you want your home to do, and what you want to actually get out of it. Real Estate is a popular way to grow your money in the US and is more challenging in Canada.

Lesson 11: House Hacking

Learn to use real estate that you already own or rent to create an income for yourself. You can cut your housing cost to zero so you are living for free! Various forms of house hacking will be discussed to show you how to turn your home into an income-generating asset.

Lesson 12: Travel Hacking

Canadians don’t have the opportunity to churn and travel hack as much as our US neighbours but there are still opportunities for us to earn rewards. You need to be ok using credit cards and pay off your balance at the end of each month before you take on this lesson. The best part is that these rewards are tax-free income!

FI Extensions

The incredibly important—but often overlooked aspects of the FI journey.

Lesson 13: Happiness

This is a starting point for FI to live a happier and more fulfilled and efficient life.

“We all have different reasons for FI, but they all lead to the one true why: happiness. Without happiness, there’s no meaning and fulfilment in FI and all the money we’ve saved.”

– Chrissy

Lesson 14: Personal Growth

Learn from a lot of other Canadians successes and mistakes. Established bloggers and podcasters are moving into discussions on personal growth such as how to make yourself happier, healthier, and optimize your life since you have already optimized your finances. Ryan and Chrissy will be sharing their own stories as well.

Lesson 15: Estate Planning

This is a topic that needs to be tackled as soon as possible. Even though no one wants to discuss this, it is so important to think about how we want to leave our wealth behind to ensure that our loved ones are taken care of. Estate planning is very selfless and you should be planning for it well in advance of ever needing it.

Lesson 16: Conclusions and Resources

We are all students walking this journey, and this episode will recap everything we learned and discuss community feedback.

“Don’t focus solely on the finish line because once you get there, you may be disappointed. The journey is the important part…”

– Brandon the Mad Fientist

Our goals

Ryan and Chrissy will be setting goals and working on them over the course of FI School. Let’s see what they’re starting with:

  • Ryan is going completely to cash for one month because when spending with credit card, there is a tendency to overspend. Ryan wants to see if spending with cash for a month will change his spending habits.
  • Chrissy is working on revising her retirement plan. She wants to look at her family retirement number since they have been on this journey for a few years and have experienced lifestyle inflation. She wants to review their drawdown strategy, and learn how to optimally draw down their portfolio.

Episode links


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8 Replies to “014: FI School | Intro”

  1. So exciting that this has finally started. Really looking forward to it. So much great information. I was really interested to hear about why Chrissy wrote this in the first place and the upcoming episodes will be an invaluable resource to refer friends and family to (even if, like me, they’re not Canadian!).

    1. Hi Sam—as always, thank you for your support. We love hearing from our friend across the pond! There is no higher compliment than knowing our listeners have shared our show with others. Thanks for making our day with your comment!

    1. Thanks Maria! I’m also one who consumes a ton of FI content—there’s never enough, LOL! Glad to know our fellow Canucks appreciate the Canadian content—that’s exactly why EFIC exists. 🙂

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