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Unapologetically Canadian
Unapologetically Canadian

Episode 7 · 2 years ago

Kornel Szrejber's Mission to Improve Financial Literacy

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Great to be able to interview Kornel Szrejber, the host of the popular Build Wealth Canada Podcast and the latest coordinator of the Canadian Financial Summit.


We spoke about his podcast, his investment course, his new life as a creative entrepreneur, his mission to improve the financial literacy of Canadians, the financial independence movement, his history as a Polish immigrant raised in Canada and his appreciation for our country's diversity. For the show notes, visit https://traceyarial.com/blog/kornel-szrejber.

My name is Tracy AIA and I am an apologetically Canadiandi and today we are speaking a con ass rider with my favorite podcaster. He right, he does build wealth Canada, and I just heard the podcast where you announced that you're also taking over their financial summit. That's right, it's gonna thanks for joining me. Oh Yeah, nice to be here. Thanks. So can you tell me a little bit about what you're doing and why, because a lot of people don't a lot of my listeners don't necessarily know you because they tend to be creators. Sure. Yeah, yes, I run the Buildwolf Canada podcast is it's one of the top Canadian in investing podcasts in Canada. Usually it's like the top of the ranks, you think number one, or like top you know three, or something like that. So in it I interview different experts, in a lot of them Canadian, but talking about no different Canadian topics when it comes to investing, and so it's all about building financial dependence and how to get there the most efficiently, just so that we can pay the lowest fees on our investments and pay the least amount of taxes possible. So there's a lot of great personal finance and investing podcasts out there, but there isn't that many that are specifically focused for Canadians, right, and so when you remember having this pain of try to learn all this stuff back in the day, and it was people are talking about for one case, and all these US terms, and then you're wondering, okay, well, how does that up? Does that apply to Canada? I don't know, you know, and so it becomes a challenge and so I thought, well, you know, I'm Canadian, I you know, I live here and I want things to be specific to Canada, and so that's what I did. So I interview the different experts on basically the best practices there and it's been it's been great. Yeah, it's been yeah, it's been wonderful. Well, the thing that I love about it is that you make it sound so friendly and comfortable. It's almost like you're the wealthy barber of podcasts for finance people, because, thank you. That's such a compliment. I appreciate that. It is. It's like it's just fun to listen to it and it makes it seem like it's possible for anyone to actually be financially independent. And I guess you have first hand knowledge about that too, because you also are inspiring because you've actually already well retired. You've turned from a financial guy in in a corporate job to what I like to think of as a creative entrepreneur. Can you talk a little bit about that transition, because you're pretty young too, aren't you sure? Yeah, I mean I'm thirty five right now. We hit our financial dependence number when I was thirty two and then we had a mortgage fully paid offhen I was twenty nine. So those were kind of the big, I'll say, milestones. That makes us a bit but by also I mean my wife and I. Makes us a bit unique in the space. Yeah, so it's quite an interesting journey. I mean we started off typical office workers, my wife and I, and then we started saying being fifty percent of our a take home pay. Essentially, that was sort of the one big key thing that we did. But we graduated a bit before the financial crisis of two thousand and eight so, and that happened. It was scary because I didn't know how the markets work. I don't know but index investing. I didn't know about how cyclical markets can be, and so all I was was this new guy starting his career after graduating, and I just see my bosses freaking out because they're losing literally your hundreds of thousands of dollars in their investments, right is they've been investing for so long. And so then I thought, okay, this stock market thing seems really, really risky. So I'm just going to keep saving fifty percent of our of our pay but let's just pump that into the mortgage. Lets pay off our mortgage as soon as possible, and I'll get that just seemed a lot safer at the time. Now I wouldn't do that again if I was to go back and knowing what I know now, I mean the markets tend to outperform what the mortgage rate is by far. So I definitely would have done things a lot differently knowing what I know now. But but back then, I mean that was, you know, I was just learning as we go, and so that's what we did. And so we ended up paying off our mortgage in a bit under six years, and so this was just still doing the whole, you know, kind of corporate thing. And then I thought, okay, well, mortgagees paid off. I don't want to just blow the money I would. I learned quickly that, well, it's great that we don't have this debt anymore, we now we don't have anything for our retirement. We don't have anything saved for our retirement because everything's been going to pay off the mortgage. And so that's how the podcast started. As I thought, okay, there's, I quickly learned as a lot of conflict of interest in the industry here in Canada. A lot of, you know, advisors who are sort of disguise like they're going to help you, but really they're just there to sell you product. Right. So a lot of people that come off as advisors, you know, to the untrained eye, but once you learn about how they're compensated and all that and the lack of regulation and place, you learn that they're actually professional salespeople. But you know, when your salesperson, you call yourself a consultant or an advisor, it doesn't sound like a salesperson and anymore. Right. So so I was like, okay, this is not I, you know, going to be investing a lot of money here. I don't want to be, you know, ripped off. I don't want to be paying these fees, and so...

I started the podcast and started interviewing basically the best experts I could find in Canada about how to do it properly, how to do it efficiently, how to pay the lowest fees, what's the right way to what's the optimum way to invest or, you know, what are the options available and what are the common mistakes? And so I envied all these experts followed their advice and then when I was thirty two, we basically hit our financial independence number and so we quit our jobs, both my wife and I. She's a full time stayathome mom now. And then for me, I was sort of it was different for me because I was afraid a little bit. I was there feel ready to go from to full time salaries to zero full time salaries, even though the you know, all the numbers and all the financial models I ran and had run said we could do it. It was a bit nervewacking, as as you can imagine, right to go from two to zero and so and so so I thought in two to one can be a challenge for families, a hundred percent. And Yeah, so I thought, okay, what if we did this thing gradually? So I actually got lucky. I got this really, really good opportunity to work sort of in this part time from home, you know, doing the kind of work that I always wanted to do, and so I thought, okay, let's let's let's do this for now as a kind of a transition step. So I went from full time to part time and then, after doing that for about two years, I said, okay, I'm actually feel comfortable now transitioning to fully full time retirement. I mean so I retire fully, like a hundred percent and that. And then that lasted for about six months at I started going crazy because it was just, you know, I'm only my s right, and so you started kind of getting antsy about you know, you want to do something more than just relax all day, and you know you want to do some productive, something creative. You want to learn something, you want some intellectual stimulation, and so that's what I decide. Okay, you know what, let's let's go. I definitely don't want to work full time in an office anymore that those days are over, but definitely not going back to that. But I thought, you know what, let's what if I just worked, went back to just doing part time work, but for myself this time. So if I don't want to work a certain day, I can just I don't have to work. I can just pick and choose when I work and what I work on, you know. So it's sort of becomes this thing where you work on passion projects and then, because you're financial independent, money is no longer the primary concern, like it's not even the top three. So it's like, yeah, it's nice if it makes money, because you know, there's always nice to have more, but at the same time it becomes about other things, like does this make me learn? Is it and to let you stimulating? Is it fun? Is it does it get give some sort of a societal benefit right where others can benefit, like in my case it's enhancing financial literacy and Canada that's like a big goal. So so that's kind of what I what I do now is I do the podcast about your part time and then I also that took over the Canadian financial summit. So I do that part time as well. Now the financial summit. When does that happen? Can you talk a little bit about that, because I think that's I've been promoting that for several years now. I love that one to a reason that I love your podcast, because I find, I mean, I wish I knew this when I was younger. I'm now fifty six, so it's long after you know, you've already retired long I didn't even buy my first house until I was thirty. Oh, yeah, that's a lot. That's more typical, right. Yeah, yeah, I'm your typical. I'm some of those people that they're going to be worried about when we retire. We all retire at once and there's no pensions left the it's amazing and I just wish that I'd known all of the stuff that you talk about in in both of these venues. So can you talk a little bit about what you do in the financial summit, when it's happening and how people can get involved? Sure. Yeah, I mean, with my generation and your generation, to write. There was no course that we took and high school or university that taught us all these things. With Ta Taught US Financial Literacy. So I remember learning a lot of useless things, not to say everything I heard in school as useless, but there was definitely a quite a bit of things that was in that you know, that I have yet to apply to this day. And yet financial literacy which can have a monumental impact on our lives, wasn't taught right, and so the financial summit helps with that. And so does, you know, the podcast as well. Just, yeah, just just teaching us the things we should have learned in school but never got to, you know. Yeah, so the the main financial summit. It runs every fall, so it was in September last year, and so, yeah, that's that's basically where it's very similar to the podcast and the sense that I interview different experts in different fields and if it's specifically for Canadians as well. So the content is highly relevant to Canadians and yet it covers a whole range of topics. So there it's investing or some people maybe aren't investing it. Maybe they're in that. So how can they get out at a quicker you know, the different sort of strategies, just to enhance our education so that when if you are in debt, that you can get out of that. And too, if you're already saving some money every month, then so you know how to invest it invested efficiently, and aren't. You know, don't fall into many of these traps, because we do have some of the highest fees in the world here in Canada when it comes to the financial services industry, and so, you know, it is something that actually a part of me. I paid those four years and years. Yeah,...

...yeah, and I mean there's so well hidden, right, and it's it's difficult to find and learn about when you don't know what what to look for, right, and fortunately now we live in it. Sorry, I'm just Oh, no, please go ahead that. I just going to say that I used to work for the Ontario government and so when I moved to Montreal to become a full time writer, I did something like what you did in terms of making your dreams come true. Then I had this sort of a necessary pension fund that I had to put in, a locked in something, and so I went for one of those things that you actually rail against quickly and it it and I realized after I don't know, it was four or five years, and I didn't seem to be earning anything. Yes, yeah, and that happens and it's terrifying. Yeah, how can I be learning this much percentage a year and in my my final amount doesn't look any higher? Oh, for sure. I mean it's smart enough to notice that. Yeah, these stories are terrifying. I had. I was helping a family member with this recently where same story. They've been putting money into this for years. You know, the last year we had a really good year in the markets, right, I mean a lot of up, like twenty over twenty percent, a lot of them, right, a lot of the indexes. So this amazing year and she comes shows and comes to me with the statement and is like, why did I earn one percent? I mean that doesn't even cover inflation. What's going on? Right? And so and then then you get into the whole conversation. While well, first of all, you know. So you know you're in these you're in basically almost all fixed income. So interest rates are out of story close and your have most of your money and that, plus they're taking off fees which are basically higher than the interest rate that you're getting on this fixed income. And so yeah, you're or close to it, right. And so you get into these situations. Yeah, it's very unfortunate where people are putting in the money in four years. You know, you didn't learn this in school. You know a lot of parents don't have an educated their kids on this eide or because they themselves a lot of times don't know. And then, yeah, you get these situations and you're wondering, why can't I retire yet? But fortunately now we live in an age where it is possible, you know, to do these conferences and do these podcasts where there isn't the sort of gatekeeper, you know, holding you know, restricting a media usage and things like that, right, and the sponsored by the companies that are charging these high fees, and so the message never gets out right. And so fortunately now, you know, it's much easier to have your voice heard if there is something that that is pretty sketchy, for lack of a better word. Yeah, yeah, well, and I know the you know, there's constantly hearings at the government level about these things. But then most of the people who have time to participate other people who are actually charging the fees. Right, right, is not a hire I would like. And they make so much money off it to write. I mean they can go, they can all team up together and do some pretty intensive lobbying, right when it comes to these things. So it is it is pretty hard to you know, to compete with right. But fortunately, with Internet now things, you know, it is possible to learn about it. If you want to learn about it right, like the informations. They're out there now and it's free, like the PODCAST is free. tooking even acial. Some it's free. So the information is there. You just have to want to learn about it right. And I often tell people it's the best highest return on investment in terms of your time because if you learn about these right, because none of us, probably none of us, are going to be making thousands of dollars an hour, you know, over in our careers. But for you know, the thousands of dollars for an hour of work, let's say you know. But if you think about how long does it take to actually learn all this stuff, I mean it's you know, it's you could learn it. You could learn all the fundamentals, I would argue, in less than a week right. So in the hours you dedicate to that, it can literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your investment lifetime, because these fees can actually accumulate to be that much. And I've I didn't believe those high numbers at first. I thought over a hundred thousand dollars in fees over your life and that sounds like way too much. That's clearly an exaggeration, and so I actually did the math myself on a spreadsheet. I was like, Oh the AAR, it actually is true. This is this is, you know, banandas right. So, because the compet the compound of growth. This is why your podcast is so fun, because you're such a nerd about numbers, very much so. Literally, until like before, I mean when I moved to Montreal, there was no real internet. I mean I did my first web page using html, using notepad code. I remember those days. Yeah, it's so ridiculous, but and so my only real we're books, and the wealthy barber with the one that we that I found fun enough to read, to read every year, but it didn't even go into these kinds of investments. At that time, mutual funds where the things that you bought. That's right. So that's right. Yeah, like you know, yes, there in exist, right, or at least they weren't. Definitely weren't available the way they are now. And so I in it. He actually promotes mutual...

...funds, right, because I mean that was like your best option. It was either mutual funds or real estate investing, right, those were the two avenues I remember having. Really like you can do much with anything. Yeah, yeah, I mean it was kind of like, well, you're better off payin these fees then not investing at all and like, you know, blowing all your money. So okay, fine, pay these fees, at lea show get something right. But I noticed in the second book he definitely addressed etfs and index investing and doing things that way. And now you've got the asset location etms, which make these warrior read the first one. What's that? Sorry, the second book is so boring to read in comparison. Yeah, the verson was very, very entertatd for sure, but I I find the second one is required reading if you read the first one, because it does updated a lot of these things, primarily the whole mutual funds versus ETF thing. I mean that that that you, any investor really needs to know about that. Well, you live near or maybe you can convince them to do a new version of the first one. I think he's embarrassed because it's such a it's such a flaky sort of book, but it's so much fun to read. It was. It was really impressive how he did that. I mean to turn anybody that can turn personal finance into like a fun enjoyable thing for a nonmoney nerd, is is very impressive. Yeah, I really I can't do that. So it's yeah, well, that either, and I'm a writer. So but yeah, I know. So. In terms of the other thing, I we should actually tell people how the summit works, because some people aren't used to that kind of a format. But the way I understand, and you can correct me, is you basically sign up for the summit and then you get to listen to it free for the period that it's done. Usually it's a week or two. I don't remember the exact timing, and then, but you can buy subscription and then listen to them over time if you want. Is that how you're still going to be working at on the coming exactly. Yeah, so every it's free for everybody to sign up. So in if you were you could watch all the talks for free, and you're not. Just yeah, you could totally do that. The the reality, as though, is that, you know, not everybody has the time to do that all at once. And so yeah, so people do purchase the the all access pass, which lets them essentially, like you said, a stream the videos forever, as long as they want, and then they can watch them at their pace whenever they want down the road. So you know, if you do on that option, you have it. But if you're short on money and you still want to learn, then you can totally learn everything for free. You just have to set fair but a time aside to actually consume all the content, because there is, there was a lot of it. Yeah, or if you're someone like me and you just want to pick and choose, then you can usually get away with they all without the all axis pass, unless year schedule happens to mess up with when that you really want to hear exactly, exactly? Yeah, that's right. Yeah, no, it's great service. So it's great. I mean it helps with financial literacy and if someone is struggling with money, let's say, then you know, to ask them just to pay more money, do you know, get rid of the money troubles can be a hard thing to do right because they're already short on money. So this way, for those that don't have the money, they can still learn everything for free. And the one that do, people that do have it and who want to actually support you know what we're doing and you know they can buy the all access pass and then they beat things become really convenient on there and then they get a bunch of bonuses to things like that, and then everything is basically on the man, like you know, the way Netflix says. They get to access at whenever they want, over whatever device they want. What do you think for that too? Anyway, what do you have? A service? Do you do use the limbs in or what do you use for the for the summit? Oh, fight for the whole thing, listening our creative entrepreneurs. So they shure in this technology the way. So, so I just took over for it now. So this coming year will be the first year that I'm that I'm running it, and right now they just they would prerecord the videos and then they would launch them based on the schedule that they set out, and they would just host them with I believe it was Whistia, and then it's just hosted on the site. So that's pretty much it. Okay, yeah, yeah, so, so nothing, nothing fancy, no fancy. You know, course to a no fancy summit tool and all those those exist out there as well. It's basically just everything is free on the site. It's just hosted through Stee, I believe it was. Anybody can watch it and then ones that's done, then people can buy the pass and then there, I believe you use wish list. whish list member is what I believe that they were using. And then there you can actually have like username and logging and you log in and you can now access all the videos if you bought the all access pass. Okay, because I do a couple of courses and I use teachable. So okay, finding that okay, and I know bunch there Zooko, and there's also think tfic. I mean there's a lot of teachable type platforms nowadays. There's so many choices. It's they're really are really under life. Now. Do that's teachable take a cut of every sale or how does it work? How does the Revenue Model? No, you pay an annual subscription. If you pay for the...

...pro platform, then you then they don't take any cut. But if you, okay, if you for that, then you they do take a cut. Okay, have like a free with them taking cut, and then they have the pro version where you just do it yourself. That's great. That's really, really convenient. That's wonderful. Yeah, yeah, I actually I've been really loving them. It's a very good platform. I've heard good things about scientific to and think, think, if it is actually Canadian and teachable isn't. So it's like a guilty yeah, I understand. You always want to support the key of the Canadian entrepreneurs. Yeah, yeah, but I already had teachable that I don't want to learn a new platform and plus I love the way it functions that I've used both platforms and I like. I like teachable is better now. So, but I think it might be just cons to it. Yeah, there's that too, right, and then, and then you get in that question off because it's still timpting to switch services, right, because there's always like the new shiny object thing. But then it's like, well, how much check Straw growth is your business going to experience from switching over? And is it? If the answers not that much or none. Right, then it's like okay, well, is a good time investment. Right. Care are generally and lets the students don't generally care unless they already have a teachable thing that they're signing into frequently and then they don't that that doesn't work anymore. That would really irritate them. Well, odd a person. Yeah, so now you get customers that are unhappy and and you have to deal with the support issues and such. For sure. Yeah, I know that. I'm using one of the web hosts. That's your webhost as well, because you had I think you did. They must have been a sponsor of your show for one point. The I can't remember what it's called, can space. Anyway, one of my is can space. You know, I'm probably sorry. Yes, it was can space. That's right. Yeah, so I actually one of my nonprofits us. Is that just because you happen to have that as a sponsor? Right when I was looking for somebody? Guys? Let me go. Yeah, Canadian too, I believe. So that was a good yeah, it's good to support the Knadian yeah, they are. Yeah, yeah, and nowadays is trying to stay out of the US. So but if you use I mean I need to get Google. So there's no I'm already in the US. Oh yeah, but do you have any other comments about how this new lifestyle of yours is because now that you're creative entrepreneur, you move over to the artsy side of the world. It's fun, but you know, it's you kind of challenge. So it wasn't like, I guess I thought I would be a lot easier once you hit the financial dependence number and you kind of retire and you can just do whatever you want. But what's interesting is that you still have to decide what you want to do and you get you have this ability to sort of create you this the lifestyle that you want, but it's not like there's a book written on it where it's like here's exactly what you should be doing right. So in a way it's comes with it, and I'm nothing, not complaining, because I'll pick this over having the work in a cubicle any day. But but it does come with it with a set of challenges, I find, because you know, with on one end it is a little it can be easier if you have this routine where you wake up every day and you go to work and you go to the office and your buss tells you what to do and you do those projects and then you go home and then you're done. Right, it's it's get you kind of have the structure and you know we have to do and and I mean you need to pay check, could pay the mortgage or wherever the case is, and so you don't have to necessarily ask some of those hard questions about fulfillment and things of that nature. I mean, you still should write, but you don't really feel that pressure because you're like, look, I'm just trying to survive here, I'm just trying to my mortgage and feed the kids. Right. But I find when you hit that number and you don't actually have to do the regular job thing anymore, I will I find it like right now I'm still trying to figure it out as okay, well, what kind of projects do you want to be working on? What don't you want to be working on? Because there's so many. You have this time now and there's all these opportunities and it can be difficult to prioritize them, right and so and yeah, so it's kind of trying to it's that then, that diagram of trying to find the thing that okay, it, it's something I actually enjoy doing and has some sort of societal benefit. I know that that's really important to me. Actually teaches you something. It challenges you, right, all these like does it check all these boxes so that you're actually happy at the end of the day? And so that can be a little bit challenging to figure out, but fortunately you know, you have time, right, if you're actually retired or financially depending, you have the time to figure that out. So just try not to put too much pressure on myself and just say, okay, just track what makes you happy, what does it and focus on that and just make sure it checks those boxes of fulfillment and education and societal benefit. Like there's a certain criteria that I try to put every project against before I decide to do it or not. So so it's been interesting. It's been very, very interesting. Not as easy, basically, not as easy as I thought it would be, because the requires a lot of discovery and plitization. I guess you still have to deal with imposter syndrome and some of that kind of thing too. Yeah, I guess I've...

I've never really had the the imposter central for some reason. I don't know why, but but yeah, but there's definitely still yeah, there's definitely still challenge that that's not like, Oh, you had this milestone and you never have any problems ever. Right, it's just you still have problems. They just they're different kinds of problems, but they're better. I pointed just to give people an idea of the kinds of mindsets that you're dealing with. Sure, yeah, yeah, I think the big one is just this August opportunity cost and you get faced with all these different opportunities and there's all these things you could be doing, and so how do you select what to actually you work on? And then I find to like, once your business starts taking off, like the podcast has done, has done really well, and now you're just one of my big struggles has been just getting bombarded with different opportunities and different people pitching things to me constantly all the time and people asking questions from the show and it can be really overwhelming because there's just so much of it and there's only so much time that you have and you know, and I could definitely spend all day just answering emails every day, and that would not really service anyone that well, because it's like well, I could create a podcast episode or some or like an educational webinar with someone that can benefit thousands of people are if hads of thousands of people, or I could answer these one on one emails to help people one on one, and it's like well, which one do you pick? Right? So so I'm kind of I've kind of recently decided to say, okay, look, I can do these one on one sort of basically free consultations anymore, because our or something going to just spend all day doing this and meanwhile podcast episodes aren't getting published, webinars aren't getting published, the you know, the financial summit, I'm not interviewing as many guests because I'm doing these sort of you know, one on one on one answer people questions all the time. So that I found that's kind of been one of the challenges. Is just and I think I guess a lot of entrepreneurs recently listen to your podcast, so I guess that's something probably they've all experienced. Anybody who's had the business grow is and the audience grow as well. How do you actually deal with these things right, because you don't want to miss on opportunities, but at the same time there's so many and you can't possibly accept all of them. So it was just trying to figure out good screening criteria to decide what to do, I want not to do and what to ignore, and putting the systems in place so you can still scale. See, I've been really struggling with that piece because I like to be nice. I like to help people and if someone asks me for help, in the past I've always answered that. You know, I've answered the emails, but now it's like there's just too many of them. So you know there, you heard of a Eurostrac there? Yes, you know, he does a pot for entrepreneurs. Yeah, yeah, he's like this nes copy guy. Yeah, Mel Buck done service where you can actually pay someone to run your mailbox for you. Oh, that's interesting. That's really that's interesting. Yeah, I haven't. I haven't. I've heard of him, but I haven't tried that, that service. I think it's him that actually does that. It maybe. Anyway, I know it's a it is a Canadian. I know he's a Canadian. Who I know that in me it may actually be one with that guy, one company that in Vancouver, because I know I'm it was funny because I was looking into that I thought, oh my gosh, having someone to look after your inbox is so cool. Anyway, it's called inbox done or something like. Anyway, if you starch for Inbok Services, I know that all of the people that there were three different podcasts in a week that all talk. So he must have done some sort of launch or something, and so I heard about that inbox done for I don't and I was definitely craving that. Yeah, that's a wonderful service, but I decided not to go with it for now because I'm a little bit controlling and I'm not facing with I'm not facing enough of the same kinds of questions. But you probably are. One of the things that we do for the first several months, because he said that, even if you don't want to do it forever, it's worth doing for a while, because what they do is they set up the typical answers that you actually have, like a system to answer all the typical questions that you get so that you can just, you know, they have these templates to answer all the typical questions and they take care of all that for you and they only give the stuff that you actually can answer or that you choose to answer. Okay, okay. Yeah, so it's like having a secretary basically, but they specialize in in dealing with these. Yeah, there's and and they actually train people to look after people's inboxes. That's what the very interesting that's they have. That's very fascinating, but a fascinating service. Yeah, I think I have some control all the shoes over just letting someone do that, but I can see that being really, really valuable. Yeah, I just yeah, that would that would take some getting used to to get past that. Yeah, well, listening to those podcasters, I got lots of ideas. Actually created a bunch of templates just after listening to the PODCAST. That actually has reduced my inbox problems. That's great. What I've just because all sort go ahead. I learned amids them, you know for sure? For sure. Yeah, I've been experimenting with these templated answers. I know one software...

...that I used to use a lot with. It's called Phrase Express, and that one was pretty useful because you can basically type in your metal work for them or anything like that. I just found it useful. You can type in sort of the response you want and then you can actually create a shortcut on your keyboard. So, for example, like an acronym, for instance, right, and so you could put in like three numbers or three letters that you remember and then that will automatically generate that response based on what you wrote. So it's a rout is. Oh, yeah, I think thunderbird does that too. I've been member. I've been thinking I've got to explore how it actually does it, because that's a really that's sort of the next step. It's a mine. All, I have got all of these what I call like my mailbox templates. Yeah, I just pull up when that's suitable for that person and then revise it accordingly. You know, it's not mandated as it would be if someone were doing it for me, because I still want it to be personalized for sure. And what I found, what I've also been experimenting with, just what we're on the subject, was just using Google, as I use Gmail for my email, and just using google drafts, like in the email drafts. So I would put in something like tea, so like template. Would start, since for template, you know, and then I would put in the keywords that I would realistically search for if I was looking for that template. And then I write the email, but I don't save it. So then so the subject line I'll say something like te podcast inquiry, let's say, for example, right, and then I that's saved. I minimize that and then if I'm ever looking, if I get a question and I'm looking for that templated answer, I just go into my drafts folder, I search for it and it quickly finds it because it's Google and Google's obviously pretty decent a search so that I just copy and paint they wrote or what I wrote into that email and then I'm done. So I've been experimenting with that because I've been using phase express for shortcuts, but I found the formatting doesn't transfer over into Gmail perfectly. But I'm like, well, if you are I'm using Gmail and I do have am I, all my templates are within Gmail, then that's what she works really you know. Obviously I fre's not going to be a formatting issue because I'm using the same system. So that's useful. They have and responses to in Gmail, which I've been using for a while, but I find it, it's like it's not searchable. So I find that's the issue. Right, so that can't have you done that one through the can't responses feature and you know what? Okay, I get because it wasn't searchable and it was just easier for me to know because I know what I'm looking for. So it is easier for me to file it myself on my own hard drive. Okay, okay, and then you just search it in for right, like a like a word document. You just stretch for a window and yeah, well, it's not like I use leaver office, but yeah, it's it's still libre office document and I just pull it up when I want that particular okay. Okay then, anyway, because there's nobody who has the exact same answers, right, this person. Yeah, and that's the that's the challenger. We have to customize each one. Yeah, it depends on your line o work, right, like not everything is always automated. It's it depends how custom each answer has to be. Yeah, but I mean I the more automated you can make it definitely helps for sure. And I can if the show like yours, you're getting a lot of the same questions over and over again because so many people are confused about similar issues, you know, like you're I mean I can almost say your rent about I'm making sure that you use exchange funds and you know, follow this and there's so funny. It's like it's really entertaining, and especially when you have somebody who disagrees with you, you know, like there's a couple of people and you had somebody on who with a dividend investor and that was a really fun discussion. Have, I guess, that guy named John who actually takes calls from some of your your listeners, to which he's always entertaining to. Yeah, yeah, people like him a lot. Yeah, so I end up preferring a lot of questions over to him because, like, I'll get questions like hey, here's my financial situation, what do you recommend? And it give me all these personal details about their investments and the life all the stuff, and it's like well, like you're ask you're asking me for like a one on one financial plan, which is like hours and hours and hours of work if you want to do it properly, right, and it's like well, I can, I can, just it would be responsible for me to even give you an answer because I don't know all the variables and those can change the answer depending what those variables are, right. And so yeah, so John, he's the fight. He's the financial planner that I use before we pulled our retirement trigger, because I wanted to have like an unbiased second opinion on my numbers just to make sure to mess anything up right and make sure I didn't overlook anything and and so on. Now I just see. I refer a lot of those questions over to him and and he's able to help those those people properly, you know, as opposed to just throwing out some like general rule that you know, which can be really dangerous, right. I mean it can be good if you're getting started investing, just to get your feet off the ground, but once you're, you know, making some progress, I find the financial servit that just financial planning in general is such a field would or so many variables. You need things custom made for you. You can just follow blanket advice because everyone's a little bit different, like whether you have kids...

...or not, wherever, your own company or not, how much you spend versus how much you earn. I mean there's so many things and they can totally change the answer or the optimum answer, right. Yeah, yeah, so it's an interesting thing. Well in there and one of the other things I didn't know before listening to your podcast is I didn't know that there were these fee for service financial planners that you can actually pay someone who's just the bias and they're not trying to tell you something. Yeah, but is actually a service to I'm glad. I'm glad you learn about it from there because, yeah, that's kind of the big takeaway because a lot of people, I mean the traditional way, right, is you have some money to invest and you think, okay, I should probably start saving for retirement and then you so, you were what's the default will? The default is you go to your bank, right, and you say, Hey, I want to invest some money, and then that's typically that's where you get sold the high fee mutual funds. Right, actively manage mutual funds, you know work. Like I said, that could cost you a hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime in fees and and so, yeah, it's it's important to to learn about if you for service financial planners, where you pay them the way all you would pay a lawyer or an accountant, right, where you pay them further time and they're not trying to sell you anything, right, whereas a lot of these financial advisors out there, I mean they're just so like, oh, yes, we'll crunch the numbers for you, will do everything for you for free, you know, and as soon as someone say's free, it's like that's a big red flag, right, because no one's going to work for you for hours for free. So the question is, well, how are they getting paid? And while they're getting paid through these fees, and then it can be really difficult to get out. I mean I've helped people that, you know, have to spend thousands of dollars to get out of these mutual funds because because of the contract that they got entered into. But it was still worth for them to pay the thousands of dollars to get out because the fees that they would be saving over the long term or so substantial that after a year or two those fees would be basically negated, you know, because of all how much money they were saving by just switching over to ind it's fun. So I so etfs well, isn't that? I mean? Yeah, so, before I get to the last question that you know about, was there anything that you had prepared that I didn't get a chance to ask you? I know I asked you about your successes. I asked you about your recent challenges with there anything that you wanted to mention that I didn't that I didn't get to talk about? Well, you asked about if the one of the questions I remember you sent me was if I have any tips for other entrepreneurs and so, oh, the good one. There was that one. Yeah, so the way that I've the way that it's worked out for me, and it's not not the only path, but I find there's sort of these two schools of thought when it comes to entrepreneurs and starting a business, and that's the one school of thought is find whatever sort of niche is profitable or hot at the moment and try to capitalize on that. So there's that pool of people. And then there's this other school of thought where it's like well, you should do a business that it revolves around something that you actually enjoy, that you're passionate about, right, and so you can make money and be successful in both using both schools of thought, I think. But I if I went so, I've always gone with the work on something you're actually passionate about approach. I've always done that and I don't know how someone could go through all the ups and, you know, the downs of being an entrepreneur by just following sort of the hot trend and just focusing on the money piece, because it's so much work and there's going to be failure and there's going to be things where you're trying really hard and it's just not working. And if, and if all, the only reason you're doing it is just purely from a monetary perspective and you're not actually interested or passion about the subject, I don't know how you could perseve your I mean some people can, I couldn't. I would just go crazy. So my whole thing, the way I've always structured the businesses that I've started, was I made well, first I made them not very capital intensive, because that takes a lot of pressure off. So my things, my things were always in information products, things like the things of that sort, and then the second thing was, well, what is the question I ask myself is what something that I'm really into, really passionate about, really want to learn more about, and then make the whole sort of business around that, so that even if the business fails, the things that I've learned I can still apply to my own life and it will make me better off, you know what I mean? So it's sort of like a contingency plan where it's like, even if I fail, it's not really a failure because I can still apply the lessons to my own life. So I mean, that's right. With the PODCAST, I didn't know it was going to be as successful as it is. But my whole thing was, well, you know what, even if no one listens to it and people just hate curing my voice or whatever and it never pick any steam, what I was like, well, what's the worst key scenario for having invested on this style, for having invested all this time? And the worst key scenario was, okay, I would have gone to interview the top experts in Canada and even the world, you know, about these best practices when it comes to investing in the proper way, to invest in the most efficient way and all that, and I'll be able to apply those lessons to my own investments, you know, to grow my own investment portfolio and retire early. So that to me, that...

...was the worst case scenario. Was I get to learn all these things from these top experts for free, because I'm not paying them to come on the show, you know, and and I get the applied to my own life and retire early because of it. So I mean, to me that sounds like a really good worst case scenario. Right where? Right? And then the best kise scenario is like I get all that, plus it actually succeeds and I get to bring on even you know, better and better guests and actually maybe make some money. That kind of a thing, right. So that's the way that I've always structured it and I found it sustained me through the low periods were like you're feeling overwhelmed and burnt out or tired or or whatever, and it's like well, you know what, I'm still benefiting from it. See, I don't know, that's kind of my advice. It's not not for everyone, but I find it's worked well for me and it takes a lot of the pressure off because you know you're still going to win, even in the worst case scenario. Where you talked about your path and how you got where you were, and it seems to me, if I remember correctly, you had said that you were initially started by investing in it. You actually had a second property that people were renting from, yes, and then you decided that that with like the the worst of all world. You had to serve these and they would damage your property and you know. So they were actually really good tenants. I got tremendous yeah, so, I mean. Well, so the thing. So what was interesting is that excetence will become landlords, right, and then they have these horrible tenants and then things get broken and they're like they swore off real estate investing, and I'm going fair enough, because they things can get pretty bad in those cases. But in my case the tenants were actually amazing. But still, even despite them being amazing tenants, the property still had issues, right, like the furnace broke down in the middle of winter and they had the young children, so I had to basically take a vacation day off work to rush to the property getting every heater I could get my hands on so that their family stays warm into winter while I'm waiting for the furnace guy to show up. You know, things like that, right. I mean this is a real thing that happened, right. So I compare something like that to index investing, where I literally don't have to do much at all. Right, you just you just buy and hold and it's just yeah. So once I've discovered that world, the you know, passive index investing world, I just went all in on that and never look back. And it's been it's been great, off real estate, because you definitely can if you do it right, but it was way more stressful. It was definitely not passive, like not even close. And you can hire and you can hire a property managers. Kind of the common argument I hear. But then the thing is then, now, how how positive cash flow will the property be if you've a property manager? And the answer is not very much, right, because they do they are expensive, right. So it's it's a tough it's a tough game. It's it's not easy. You can definitely make money off it, but it's that. Anybody that says it's passive, you know, to me that's that's that's that's no, that's just not not correct, unless you're willing to spend all your positive cashtown a property manager. But then you still have to manage them and you're still going to have the issues and stuff like that to deal with. So anyways, I ran. But yeah, well, it's funny because I'm a friend, Gary, who has a bunch of properties and I think he would find doing spreadsheets of numbers much more challenging this and then looking after his property. So I think you're advice to go with what you love is actually a brilliant that's that's a really bad point. That's a really good point because, yeah, you're right. I mean if someone is like, I'm not a natural handy man guy, right, like I love my spreadsheets. I'm a spreadsheet guy. Right. So rebalancing in a spreadsheet, no problem. Right, I can do that all day long. Geeking out and doing analysis, not a problem, right, like it's fun for me. Right, I just totally no doubt about that stuff. But like you ask me to go fix a furnace or leaking pipe, like that's a chore. Right, I don't want to do that, and so but it. But some people are the opposite, right. It's like if your friend so in those key says, yeah, that might be a better fit for them. Right, if they enjoy doing that and they enjoy working on the property and maintaining it, that that's great. Or enjoy hiring people to me and managing that. Sure, I mean that's that's great. I guess, like you said, it's it's about whatever is a fit with what you like to do. Yeah, and that's and then that's what. That's why I think that, you know, talking to people who are all different kinds of entrepreneurs, it's really fascinating because you find out that there is somebody for every specific job there is and it's a matter of finding those people saying you can work with them. I think exactly exactly for sure. Yeah, and I mean not to say that, not to say that to be an index investor, you it's you have to be in spreadsheets the time, and those prejects, because I'm you definitely don't. I just take it to the next t level. I'm enjoy UN nerd, but of course is actually I we should it. We didn't mention this, but you have course is to show people exactly what you do and how you do it, so people can actually even copy you. I do. Yeah, yeah, so it's over at a buildelf, Canada, dot see alas, in invest yeah, and it's literally a course...

...that I wrote that. It shows everything kind of what we did, what we continue to do step by step. So what we buy. You know how I did it. It's basically I'm literally in my questrate account doing the transactions, using my own real money to show how to actually do everything. So it's definitely not like a get rich quick thing. It's not one of those things where I'm like, Oh, you can be furniture dependent to by doing what are you doing? What I do like. It's definitely not like some sleezy sales thing. It's basically if you want to be a passive index investor, which is what I am, and it's worked out, you know, really well for us and if you do your own research, you know, separate from you, you'll find that that's really the optimum way for the overwhelming majority of people. Then yeah, you can go in there and you can see literally exactly how how I do everything and how I did it and using my own real money. So it's not some theoretical thing, it's it's literally what we did to become financially independent. So, yeah, it's a bill with Canada D C slash in vest stuff. Anybody wants to try it out. Yeah, so, but yeah, so, thank you for that plug. Yeah, yeah, you're welcome, and I actually we should mention we've been talking about financial independence, retire really quite a bit, but we haven't actually mentioned that movement and I know you've actually had a few interviews with with some people from that movement as well, and I highly recommend those particular podcast episodes as well and I'll try to put in the show notes one or two of the episodes that I enjoyed the most and so that people can experience that too. Sure of things that that sounds good. Yeah, the one of the Bryson Christie, I think, was the most recent one I did. It was it was pretty pretty fun. So we're it was they retired like a bit before they hit their Frenchial in dependence number, kind of close to what we did. So like I can't say we're the Canada's youngest for tires because they beat us by like, I don't know, a year or something. So but they were kind as youngest retire so I didn't interview with them and that was really, really cool. So that was that was awesome. And Christie, she like coached me, that coach, but she was my emotional support when I was quitting my job and stuff like that, because it's such a big thing right to do that and in your s and everything. So though it was, it was great. It was great. Yeah, yeah, and you really do need mentors for almost anything you do in life. Is think that's the line. Yeah. Well, one of the things I earl was that I mean when people retire, just not early retired retire, but just retire in general. I was I read somewhere I can be one of the most stressful times for people because you're used to having a paycheck, right, and all of a sudden it's gone and the benefits used to have are gone and you know all these things, right, and so it can be pretty stressful to the well, I've got this pot of money, but is it going to last me? How much can I spend? You know, it's it's it can be pretty nerve racking, right, and going this new chapter. So yeah, I think for sure it's good to have someone there to I definitelyan done on, you know, and John and another other people in the field, just to kind of help me psychologically, you know as well, right, just to get through it. Yeah, yeah, and you know, my last question is, do you can still consider yourself a Canadian and, if so, what does that mean to you? Sure, yeah, so I do consider myself to be Canadian. I'm actually Polish. I was born in Poland but I was raised in Canada. So I was six when we came here. So definitely my, you know, overwhelming majority of my life has been in Canada. Yeah, so, I mean what does it mean to to be Canadian? I think it's just being part of the Canadian community. So one appreciating all the opportunities that we have here, because we do have it really, really good here, even though my not always seem like it. Like when we the reason we have Poland was because it was communist at the time and it was just, you know, not a very good place to live. You're so that that, you know, my parents basically escape Poland with me knowing the back seat of the car, you know, trying to find somewhere else to live in such so and we move to Belgium, though you went to you know, came to Canada eventually. So I mean definitely we have a really, really good here. So I think a big thing is just appreciating that and all the opportunities that we have here. And then also, I think it means giving back in your own way, whatever that that may be. So I mean in my case I find it's focusing on enhancing financial literacy in Canada. That's I find a good way that I can give back in my own way, but for other people that's it's different. Right, I don't know, if I was better at biology, I would probably want to be a doctor or something like that. Right to help others, and so there's lots of everyone's got kind of their own way that they can give back, but I think it's, yeah, just appreciating what we have and then finding out what we're good at, what we're naturally gift to that, and then using those gifts to help the Canadian community as a whole. For sure. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that and I really appreciate your time. I know that you're busy and this was just a great recording. Thank you very much. Well, thanks for having me. It was great chatting with you. Thank you for listening to an apologetically Canadian. Please consider supporting our podcast. forewound hundred and ninety nine a month. 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