March 25, 2022

The Five Things


Hello, and thank you for being here. In the final episode of this season I’m going to discuss the five things I think everyone should focus on for the creation of greater wealth. Most finance talk is akin to pontificating about the future weather. We can speculate, but not even those with the most advanced instruments can predict more than a few weeks into the future. Don’t spend your energy there. Mental laps around those thought tracks are wasted. Instead, let’s bring focus to the five most important things we can control. But first, let’s settle our shoulders and take a deep breath.

Lao Tzu said “Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy”

A common misstep in personal finance is to focus on the difficult and complex while neglecting the easy. As strategies these can be seen as unexciting, bordering on dull. My guess is that as I talk through them, you will have the urge to tune out. But remember money functions under its own laws. It is pure and simple math, unconcerned about what excites human minds. 

Number One: Reduce your spending. 

It is the most powerful lever to help you accumulate wealth. Less spent means more saved. It means less income is required in retirement. This isn’t to say, don’t spend. In fact, spend big on the things you love, but be absolutely ruthless about cutting spending on the things that don’t bring you joy.    

Number Two: Avoid financial ruin. 

Money is perishable. Make no mistake, everything you have can be taken away. The two most common pitfalls are accumulating excessive debt and large concentrated investments. Avoid both at all costs. 

Number Three: Use insurance wisely. 

Insurance exists to protect us against risk. Don’t confuse it with an investment. And only match insurance to the size of the risk. If no risk exists, cancel the insurance and invest the money instead. 

Number Four: Be tax smart. 

Tax is a cost that eats into your wealth. Government-sponsored accounts, such as RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs help us to delay and minimize tax. Take maximizing these accounts seriously and make contributions to them a priority. 

Number Five: Don’t let cash build up. 

Cash has a habit of being spent — it’s money that isn’t working for you. Cash accumulation is an easy habit of starting and a hard one to stop. If it’s a pitfall that you find yourself in, make a change.

These are facets of wealth that you can control. Unfortunately, they are viewed as pedantic, boring, and dull. There is no fantasy of extreme wealth attached to ideas around maximizing your TFSAs. Concentrated bets are incredibly exciting, but we court financial ruin every time we make one. Some might say these principles of wealth require discipline, but I prefer to channel different energy, calmness. When you accept the nature of money, when you accept what you can control and what you can’t, you can experience peace in your financial situation. The strategies aren’t complicated, and if you let go of angst and drama around money, you can simply relax into them. They are concrete, and they allow your money to hold onto you, so there is no struggle to hold onto your money. 

As you move forward with whatever lies ahead, I wish you wealth.


The ideas in these episodes are not mine alone and are based on my learning of time-tested principles.  I am grateful for the work that has been done by people like Naval Ravikant, Eckhart Tolle, James Clear, Morgan Housel, Nick Maggiulli, Brian Portnoy, Derek Sivers, Carl Richards, Cameron Passmore, Benjamin Felix, Michael Kitces, and many others.

The Geometry of Wealth – Brain Portnoy


This content is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or recommendation. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Please consult a licensed financial professional before making any investment decisions.