One of the most common questions I get from people when it comes to investing is "Am I even doing it right?" It was also a question that my next guest Pauline Shum Nolan (Finance Professor) also gets, which is why she co-created Wealthscope, a website that helps investors understand their investments so they can feel more confident about what they're doing.
It’s not every day I get to chat with a professor of finance! But that’s exactly why I sometimes have to pinch myself because my job as a podcast host can sometimes be so unfairly fun.
For this episode of the Mo’ Money Podcast, I sit down with Pauline Shum Nolan, Professor of Finance at the Schulich School of Business at York University and the co-founder and CEO of Wealthscope.
Basically, when it comes to investing, she really is an expert. She not only teaches finance at York University, she also manages the school’s pension program. And if she wasn’t busy enough, she developed an website called Wealthscope to educate and empower investors.
We talk a lot about investing strategies in this episode, and big point we both keep bringing up is the lack of confidence so many people have when it comes to investing. That’s why so many of us just want to hand everything over to an advisor to deal with it, even if that might actually be the worst thing we could do with our finances.
You see, investing isn’t that complicated when you break it down. And once you truly understand the basics, it’s easy to slowly build up your investing knowledge to a point where you feel completely comfortable managing your own investment portfolio, buying and selling stocks, and knowing when to call out someone for spreading misinformation.
Here are a few key points we discussed in our interview together.
Stay Diversified & Ditch High Fees
Investing doesn’t just mean dumping your money in stocks and hoping for the best. It also shouldn’t mean handing over your money to an advisor and praying they manage your money properly. The best way to invest is to be an informed investor, staying diversified (investing in multiple investment products), and saying no to high fees.
Let’s first start with staying diversified. There’s nothing wrong with investing in individual stocks, real estate or cryptocurrency. But you would be making a mistake if that was the only thing you’re invested in. A better way to invest would be to invest in index funds or index-based ETFs, then some individual stocks and/or real estate. And if you really wanted to dabble in something highly speculative, throw some money at cryptocurrency. Basically, following the rule of thumb to not put all of your eggs in one basket is the best way to do it.
As for fees, the less fees you pay, the more money in your pocket. That’s why a lot of people are moving away from actively managed mutual funds in favour of low fee ETFs or index funds. You could be saving 1-2% in fees, which over a few decades could equal to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Keep It Simple When Rebalancing Your Portfolio
Now, if you’re on board with becoming a DIY investor (which I think is awesome!), this is actually one of the top questions I get asked after what ETFs should I invest in (which I usually suggest checking out the Canadian Couch Potato’s model portfolios for a start).
Rebalancing your portfolio isn’t something you should fret over. As mentioned countless times in Andrew Hallam’s amazing book Millionaire Teacher, you only need to rebalance your portfolio once per year, or when there is a big market correction.
All rebalancing means is either sell/buying some of your equities or fixed income so it goes back to your initial asset allocation goal (ie. 80% equities, 20% fixed income), or buying more equities or fixed income to balance things out.
To learn more about how to rebalance your portfolio, read this article from Investopedia.
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/164
For this episode, I talk with Gwen Merz, the blogger behind Fiery Millennials and the co-host of FIRE Drill Podcast. As you may have guessed, we go in-depth about FIRE, chat about Gwen achieving financial independence in her 20s, and some terms you may not have her of from the FIRE community.
For this episode of the podcast, I chat with a new friend I made recently at an event called Statement. It was a women in business retreat for women in the financial blogging space, and I can’t even tell you how life changing it’s been. But that’s not what I want to share anyway. I want to share that at this event, I got to meet the amazing Gwen Merz who was able to achieve something not many 20-year-olds can! I’m talking about achieving financial independence.
We chat in-depth about what that actually means, and no, it doesn’t mean she’s retired. For her, it means she saved up enough money to afford to leave her corporate job, move cities and then focus on her blog (Fiery Millennials) and podcast (FIRE Drill Podcast) full-time. It also means she saved up enough money that by retirement age, it will have grown to an amount she could easily retire on.
So I know I’ve had a lot of guests on the show in the FIRE community that have been able to achieve financial independence and retire early, but Gwen’s story might actually be a bit related. She didn’t save up a million dollars and is now living an easy life. She was able to save up $200,000, bought an income property for about $80,000, but still intends to work to earn a living.
She’s set things up so in the future she will earn passive income from your property and her $200,000 will have compounded into a way bigger amount she can live off of in retirement. But, she still needs to earn money for her present needs. Which is why now she’s exploring some different entrepreneurial avenues such as making stained glass art and selling it, selling courses on how to start an Etsy store, and monetizing her popular blog and podcast.
You see, FIRE isn’t a straight road. You can actually apply the principles in any way you want. There’s no right or wrong way to FIRE!
Here are a couple other things we talked about when talking FIRE.
Lean FIRE vs. Fat FIRE
These are terms I recently learned about when I was actually at a FIRE meetup in New York City last month. Lean FIRE is when you’ve saved up enough to live on for the foreseeable future, but you’d be living a fairly frugal life. You’re living in a low cost of living area, your expenses are minimal, and you don’t need that much to live off of. It’s sounds fine if you’re more of a minimalist, but obviously it’s a bit restricting
Fat FIRE is when you’ve saved up enough to live the life you really want with little to no restrictions. For instance, I met a woman at the meetup who was on her way to achieving Fat FIRE and she told me her goal was to save up $7 million. Albeit, she wanted to continue living in New York and travel a lot, but it’s a big difference when compared to Lean FIRE.
Why the FIRE Community is Exploding
My only comparison to the FIRE community is the debt-payoff community. Two communities that are massive and members are diehards for. With FIRE, to me at least, it’s a bit more exciting. The end goal is to have enough money to live whatever life you want. And that’s exactly why Gwen also thinks the FIRE community is exploding right now. It gives people purpose with their money. Instead of just being responsible with your money so you can eventually afford to buy that car, that house or some trips in the future, it’s way more exciting to save up for early retirement or the freedom to quit your job to start your own business!
That’s sort of why I consider myself a bit financially independent. I don’t have enough to retire on or anything like that, but I did have the financial security to be able to leave my job to focus all my energy on my own business.
FIRE Resources You May Want to Check Out
For full episode show notes, visit https://jessicamoorhouse.com/163
It's been a few years since I had Jen Hemphill on the show (episode 48, check it out!). And a lot has happened since that first interview. Jen is now an author, having recently published her first book entitled Her Money Matters, and we discuss three big components in her book for this episode: finding your "Why", financial confidence and practicing value-based spending.
For this episode, I’m bringing back a guest who hasn’t been on the show since 2016 (episode 48 if you want to check it out), and boy has a lot happened since then. I’m talking about the wonderful Jen Hemphill, who is a money confidence coach and Accredited Financial Counselor®, as well as the podcast host of Her Money Matters.
But she also has a new title she just added, and that’s author. She recently published her first book, also called Her Money Matters, and we dig in to some of the big topics she discusses in her book in this episode.
Finding Your “Why” Is Key for Your Money
I am a big believer that money isn’t just about money. It’s so much more than that. Money is also about your hopes, dreams and goals. And the only way to achieve any of those is by figuring out your why. We all know we shouldn’t spend too much, should save and invest, and should get or stay out of debt. But without a clear why for doing any of these things, we don’t do any of them. That’s why determining your “Why” is key for financial success. It’s a huge motivator and will keep you on track and grounded.
Financial Confidence Is Something We Need to Work More On
This may not be a big issue with men, but it’s a big issue with women. I talk to so many amazing women that from the outside look like they are doing so well! And then they explain how they don’t have that much confidence when it comes to managing their own money or asking for a raise. This is a big problem, and something we all (men and women) need to work on. If we’re all confident in ourselves, we’ll naturally make better decisions and be able to live lives that are more joyful and fulfilling.
Value-Based Spending Is a Better Way to Spend
For years (and sometimes even still), it felt like every book or newspaper article I read, the advice was the same: “Stop spending your money!” or “Stop buying expensive lattes!” Well, when you keep hearing those things over and over, you start to feel bad about spending anything at all, and that’s just ridiculous! Money is meant to be spent. The money you’re currently saving up? You’ll eventually spend it. That’s the purpose of money. But, it doesn’t mean you should overspend. It’s important to practice value-based spending, so you are spending on things that align with your values and bring you joy, while staying conscious of your budget.
For full episode show notes, visit: https://jessicamoorhouse.com/162