Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Vortex of FIRE Information

The FIRE Vortex

If you've recently stumbled upon Financial Independence or have been a willing participant for years now you will have noticed that A LOT of people talk about it.
It is quite liberating and perhaps a little too easy to type away on a laptop about how happy I am and how much money I have, increasing said happiness.

The problem as a reader or listener is when you find multiple sources you like. And then they recommend multiple sources they like, so you click ahead to get all that good stuff too. Then you discover all the different FIRE blogs around and wait a minute what was that first one you liked before? What was it I truly valued before I received input from 20 or so different bloggers and podcasters?

I happily call this the FI Vortex. There's simply too much out there and even worse too little of it useful. I don't say those words lightly, I think everybody has something to share but when too many people are in elevator, it ain't moving. Something has a got to give so here's my criteria for selecting my FI content and at the end I'll fill you in on the FI content yours truly will read and listen too.

The 3 Needs:
1. Simple & Relevant Information
2. Motivational & Entertaining
3. Community

Without these 3 requirements, financial content simply falls flat and goes nowhere. Think about it, why would you (a Canadian) bother trying to learn what a ROTH IRA is? Would you listen to a podcast where nobody laughed? Or would you read a blog where you can't comment or reach the author?

When I wrote my article on the Dividend Tax Credit, I kept the article with only 3 scenarios and only talked about eligible dividends. That is to say, I've kept it Simple. A lot of financial nerds out there writing blogs forget this necessity and it's incredibly damaging. Nobody wants to read 15,000 words on the Dividend Tax Credit... just show me how to make my damn money! Elevator pitch, please!

Okay, as promised here is a list of Canadian and American FI content I read/listen to when archived or new posts or podcasts become available:

  • FI Garage Blog + Podcast
    • These guys talk Canadian FI and are hilarious to listen too. Plus, they're active on there blog and on the ChooseFI Canada Facebook Group. Check, check aaaaand check.
  • Explore FI Canada Blog + Podcast
    • Sorry to plug my own brand but remember I'm not in every episode. While I do have an advance copy of every episode being released I purposely wait and join everybody else so if discussion does arise I'll be completely fresh to talk about it. I'd like to think we hit the same boxes as FI Garage.
  • Canadian Couch Potato Blog + Podcast
    • Dan of PWL Capital has stopped podcasting but all 26 episodes are very valuable. His blog focuses on DIY index investing and his information could not be more valuable. Checks all three with flying colours. It's also worth saying that even though Dan and a few others on this list don't actually associate their content with the FIRE movement, that really doesn't matter to us. Good financial information is hard to come by with my "3 Needs" standards.
  • Million Dollar Journey Blog
    • FrugalTrader has some of the most relevant and informative articles out there in the Canadian Financial Landscape. Even though I crave simplicity, I actually wish his posts were longer but maybe that's why they're so good in the first place. I'm going to review a few of his articles right here on Canadian FIRE.
  • Eat Sleep Breathe FI Blog
    • Perhaps I'm biased but Chrissy is just wonderful! She has helped me piece together my financial future through IRL conversations and while she is new to blogging + podcasting (with me on EFIC), I'm certain you'll see her brilliant mind at work and checking all 3 of these boxes for Canadian and international FIREwalkers alike.
  • Prairie FIRE Canada Blog
    • Mr. Prairie Fire writes in-depth about his personal journey to FIRE and brings me a different Canadian perspective to achieving FI using real-estate. His philosophical posts are quite motivating and he's very approachable. Another 3 boxes checked.
  • Common Sense Investing YouTube Channel
    • Ben Felix of PWL Capital has actually mastered a way to present a complex argument in simple terms using visual effects on YouTube. His content is fairly advanced but if you are into that kind of thing, his channel is a no-brainer. Check x3.
On to the American content:
  • Mr Money Mustache Blog
    • MMM originally hails from Canada and it comes through in his writing. He won't himself discuss the Canadian Financial Landscape specifically (like TFSA's or RRSP's) but he does have guest postings who do. Of course, his blog is the most valuable on the internet concerning spending habits and his motivation and entertainment provided are off the charts. By far the best blog I've ever read and has set the high standard for all the other content appearing on my screen or in my earbuds.
  • Early Retirement Extreme
    • Jacob typically offends most people when you read about his ultra-efficient lifestyle. People usually call this extreme frugality (as he himself did when naming his blog, a mistake he later admits too). His writing focuses non whatsoever on Canada but he will outlines in the most pure and simple sense of the word about how to live with what you need and not what you want. All 3 boxes checkaroo'd.
  • ChooseFI Blog + Podcast
    • Brad and Jon have a contagious thought process behind discussing FI and bringing it to each listener. They often repeat that they are regular middle-class Americans trying to super-hack their life and achieve early retirement (even though they say they don't strive for RE, they actually talk about it all the time so really they do). They miss first box every now and again with American focused Finances but that's not a critique, just more of an understanding. Due to my nationality, I can't always win. 2.5 boxes then.

Okay I think this list is long enough. These are the content creators who I believe any reader of Canadian FIRE should add to their list. There's a few honourable mentions I'd like to make before ending this post.

  • Millenial Revolution Blog
    • While I enjoyed their book "Quit Like A Millionaire" and interviewing them on my podcast, they really haven't finessed the same amount of class and calibur of story telling on their blog. It's just hit and miss for me. A lot of the time it really sounds like they're just bragging about travelling the world. I'd also mention that with their book and their "Investment Workshop", they for some reason don't split the American and Canadian content all that well. You can group us North Americans together in the philosophy of FIRE but having skip and scroll through American financial content is frustrating. I'm sure it's the same for Americans.
  • Afford Anything Blog + Podcast
    • Paula Pant is a pleasure to listen too but she fails to provide relevant information to the Canadian listeners. She mostly focuses on American real-estate and entrepreneurship with a focus on the American tax system. Again, not a critique but an understanding. She's a master at what she does, but without all 3 boxes, I feel as though I'm tuning out of each podcast. Sorry Paula!
  • The Rational Reminder Podcast
    • I want so badly to listen to Ben Felix and Ben Passmore of PWL Capital's podcast. Unlike Ben's fantastic YouTube channel, this content fails miserably at being at all interesting or simple. If I were to listen to this podcast and watch paint dry at the same time I would actually fall over unconscious in a matter of seconds. Until they liven it up a little and talk about more actionable content, I'm gonna have to pass. 
  • FIRE Drill Podcast
    • I haven't listened since Gwen left the show but I'm still not willing to risk my time. Last time I listened they casually mentioned that FIRE and family might be controversial or incompatible. I don't remember exactly what was said but I know that if I take proper responsibility over my financial future that having kids is incredibly easy. Another episode I listened to was just a series of voicemails all strung together talking about the same topic. It was one of the most terrifying echo chambers I've ever stumbled into so I've jumped ship and haven't swam back.

Thanks for reading, I've purposely left out books since this article went way longer than I planned.

See you tomorrow as the October Challenge marches on. We'll be discussing how to finance your FIRE lifestyle!

Ryan Myricks
Email me here:
Listen to me here: Explore FI Canada


  1. Aww, thanks for the mention Ryan! I think this is an excellent list and am honoured to be part of it. I look forward to more content during your October challenge!

    1. You're quite welcome... whoever you are!