Building Wealth

For the first 30 or so years of working, saving and investing, you’ll be first in the mode of getting out of the hole (paying down debt), and then building your net worth (that’s wealth accumulation.). But don’t forget, wealth accumulation isn’t the ultimate goal. Decumulation is! (a separate category here at the Hub).

Mastering Monetization: A Comprehensive Guide for Podcast Owners

Image courtesy Canada’s Podcast

By Philip Bliss

Special to Financial Independence Hub

As a podcast owner, the dream goes beyond sharing your passion and insights with the world: it includes turning that passion into a sustainable source of income. Monetizing your podcast requires strategic planning, consistent effort, and a deep understanding of your audience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through practical steps, timelines, and essential tasks to help you successfully monetize your podcast.

Task 1: Define Your Niche and Audience (Timeline: 1-2 weeks)

Before diving into monetization strategies, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your podcast’s niche and target audience. Identify the topics that resonate most with your listeners and refine your content to cater to their interests. This process involves analyzing your current audience demographics, studying popular episodes, and researching industry trends. This step lays the foundation for effective monetization by ensuring that your content aligns with the needs and preferences of your audience.

Task 2: Optimize Your Content and Branding (Timeline: 2-4 weeks)

Enhance your podcast’s marketability by investing time in optimizing your content and branding. Develop a memorable podcast name, design eye-catching cover art, and create a compelling podcast description. Consistency in branding helps build a strong identity, making it easier for potential sponsors and advertisers to recognize and trust your podcast.

Image courtesy Canada’s Podcast/unsplash royalty free

Task 3: Build a Solid Listener Base (Timeline: Ongoing)

Monetization success relies heavily on having a dedicated and engaged audience. Implement strategies to grow your listener base, such as promoting your podcast on social media, collaborating with other podcasters, and encouraging audience interaction through surveys or Q&A sessions. A strong and loyal community is an attractive proposition for potential sponsors and advertisers.

Task 4: Research and Approach Potential Sponsors (Timeline: 4-6 weeks)

Identify companies or products that align with your podcast’s theme and audience. Craft a compelling pitch that highlights the value of advertising on your podcast, emphasizing your reach and engagement metrics. Reach out to potential sponsors via email or through networking events, showcasing the unique opportunities your podcast offers for their brand exposure. Continue Reading…

Financial Management Simplified

MoolahMate Dashboard

By Fauzi Zamir, CPA, CA

Special to Financial Independence Hub

I have diabetes so I am careful about eating sugary foods.  In this short statement lies the secret of simple financial management.  You may say that’s an odd conclusion, but you will shortly see the principles underlying the analogy in the first sentence and its applicability to your finances.

The first element (I have diabetes) is “knowing” that I have a problem and the second element (I am careful about eating sugary foods) is “doing something about it.”  In the same way, financial management requires that you first know what you own, what you owe, and what your cash inflows and outflows are.  The second thing is to determine which debts to pay off first and which discretionary expenses you can reduce: in other words, you want to reduce your expenses so that you can generate savings that can subsequently be invested.

Let’s use another analogy.  I need to get in shape.  I enthusiastically join a club and start going regularly.  But soon I am overwhelmed by the choice of machines and different exercises and my visits start to decline and eventually stop.  What happened?  I was probably over ambitious, didn’t have the discipline and made it overly complicated.  I could have taken a simpler approach by focusing first on my diet and then doing something simple like regular walking to create the sustained discipline  that is needed for long-term results.  The message here is, start with something simple and sustain the routine. Continue Reading…

Why you may wish to own a U.S. Dollar Investment Account

Royalty-free image courtesy Justwealth

By James Gauthier

(Sponsor Blog)  


Many Canadians are aware that you can open a U.S. dollar bank account at most Canadian financial institutions.

But did you know that you can also open a U.S. dollar investment account through many different investment companies?

The following are reasons why you may wish to consider opening a U.S. dollar investment account.


Reduce the cost of U.S. dollar conversion

Every time that you convert Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars (or vice versa), you will pay a fee to the financial institution that makes the conversion for you. That fee is known as the currency spread, and can usually be noticed by looking at the difference between the “bid” and the “ask” prices displayed by the financial institution.

For example, if the current spot exchange rate is quoted as $1.35 Canadian for each U.S. dollar, the bid (or price that you will receive for selling U.S. dollars) might be $1.32 and the ask (or price that you must pay to purchase U.S. dollars) might be $1.38. So, every time you buy or sell U.S. currency you lose 3 cents per dollar. If you are regularly converting currency, that becomes very expensive!

Buying or selling U.S.-listed securities in a Canadian dollar investment account is a common example of Canadians paying unnecessary currency conversion costs, allowing the broker to pocket the currency spread on buys and sells, dividends or interest paid. The more that you buy and sell, the more that you lose. These costs can be eliminated by simply owning your U.S.-listed securities in a U.S. dollar investment account instead since there is no need to convert currency on every transaction.

Hedge the impact of currency exchange rates

Have you ever felt like you had to limit your spending on travel to the U.S. because the value of the Canadian dollar was depressingly low? Or how about not ordering that item located in New York on eBay because it was priced in U.S. dollars which made it too expensive? The value of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar has fluctuated greatly over time. In the past few decades alone, the exchange rate has ranged from more than $1.60 Canadian per U.S. dollar to less than $1.00 – yes, the Canadian dollar has on occasion been worth more than the U.S. dollar!

But why leave it to chance? If you have a portion of your investments denominated in U.S. dollars, you can always draw from it when you need it. You won’t pay conversion costs, and the current exchange rate should not matter because you don’t have to convert anything. For folks who require the frequent use of U.S. dollars for business, travel, or shopping, a U.S. dollar investment account can make a lot of sense.

For a simple illustration, consider a shrewd Canadian investor who vacations in Orlando, Florida for one week in February every year. The typical expense for this trip each year is about $5,000 U.S. dollars. This investor opened a U.S. dollar investment account and invested $100,000 U.S. dollars in an income-oriented investment portfolio that consistently earns 5% per year. This investor should never have to worry about exchange rates, or conversion costs since $5,000 U.S. dollars can easily be withdrawn every year!

Eliminate PFIC reporting (for U.S. citizens living in Canada)

Unfortunately for U.S. citizens living in Canada, Uncle Sam requires you to continue filing U.S. income tax returns. Also unfortunately, the I.R.S. requires additional reporting requirements for Passive Foreign Investment Corporations (PFICs), which may result in additional taxes owing. If you own any mutual fund or exchange traded fund issued by a Canadian company, it is considered a PFIC. Regulations require that all mutual funds purchased in Canada, must be issued by a Canadian company. Unless you enjoy the extra reporting requirements, this can be problematic for some investors. Continue Reading…

Creating your own Podcast Studio: A Step-by-Step Guide

Image courtesy Canada’s Podcast/unsplash royalty free

By Philip Bliss

Special to Financial Independence Hub

In the ever-expanding world of podcasting, creating a professional and efficient podcast studio is essential for producing high-quality content that captivates your audience.

Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or just starting out, building a dedicated podcast studio can elevate your production value and enhance the overall podcasting experience.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential tasks, equipment, and strategies to not only set up your podcast studio but also effectively promote your podcast.





  1. Define Your Niche and Audience:
  • Identify your target audience and the niche you want to focus on.
  • Research competitors in your niche and understand what sets your podcast apart.
  1. Create a Content Plan:
  • Develop a content calendar outlining topics, guests, and episode release schedule.
  • Plan for regular, engaging content to keep your audience coming back.
  1. Design Your Studio Layout:
  • Choose a quiet and dedicated space for your podcast studio.
  • Consider acoustic treatment to minimize echo and external noise.
  1. Invest in Quality Recording and Editing Software:
  • Choose reliable recording software like Audacity, GarageBand, or Adobe Audition.
  • Invest time in learning the basics of audio editing for polished episodes.
Image courtesy Canada’s Podcast/unsplash royalty free


  1. Microphone:
  • Invest in a high-quality microphone like the Shure SM7B or Blue Yeti.
  • Consider a pop filter and shock mount to enhance audio clarity.
  1. Headphones:
  • Choose closed-back headphones to prevent audio leakage during recording.
  • Opt for comfortable and studio-grade headphones like Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
  1. Audio Interface:
  • Select a reliable audio interface such as Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for clear audio signal processing.
  1. Mixing and Monitoring Equipment:
  • Include a mixer if you plan to have multiple hosts or guests.
  • Invest in studio monitors for accurate sound monitoring.
  1. Recording Accessories:
  • Use a sturdy microphone stand or boom arm for convenience.
  • Consider a portable vocal booth or isolation shield for noise reduction.

Promotion Strategies: Continue Reading…

Bitcoin & Cryptocurrencies: Still not an asset class to which investors need to pay attention

The Michael James on Money blog was skeptical about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies as long ago as 2018, as this post demonstrates. He hasn’t changed his opinion since then.

Deposit Photos

By Michael J. Wiener

Special to Financial Independence Hub

As noted above, Jon Chevreau asked if it was okay to republish this post that I wrote way back in 2018. As little has changed since then, here it is, without further changes or commentary.


The technology used to create Bitcoin comes from the field I used to work in professionally. I’ve followed Bitcoin from its obscure beginnings to its recent bubble-like rise. After fielding so many questions about cryptocurrencies, it’s about time I organized my thoughts about Bitcoin as an investment and as a currency.

To understand Bitcoin, you don’t have to understand the technology behind it. The big problem anyone can see with digital money is that after you spend it you still have a copy of it, so you can spend it again. Much of the effort in creating digital money centers on preventing this double-spending. Bitcoin does this with some clever cryptography and computer protocols called blockchain.

Another feature of Bitcoin is that more money gets created over time. Those who do enough calculation with their computers get more Bitcoins. This is called mining, and is intended to roughly mimic mining for gold.

Bitcoin as an investment

Before Bitcoin’s meteoric rise, the few people who’d heard of Bitcoin understood that it is a currency, and is intended to be used like money. Now most people have heard of Bitcoin, and they tend to think of it as an investment. Some in the financial world suggest that cryptocurrencies should be considered an asset class. This is nuts.

It makes no more sense to invest in Bitcoins than it does to invest in Somali shillings, Indian rupees, or British pounds. The typical person should think of these things as currencies, not investments. The fact that the Bitcoin exchange rate is so volatile should make us stay away, not dive in.

Bitcoin as a currency

The digital and cryptographic nature of Bitcoin sets it apart from more familiar currencies like dollars. But this doesn’t really capture the important difference. After all, most transfers of dollars are digital and use cryptography.

Bitcoin isn’t backed by any particular government. No such backing is necessary. The U.S. government backs U.S. dollars, and it can impose rules about how dollars are used. If a bank doesn’t play by the rules, the U.S. government could cut that bank out of the dollar system. There is no easy way for the U.S. government or any government to regulate Bitcoin.

One thing governments do with their currencies is demand that electronic transfers not be anonymous. A certain amount of anonymous transfer is possible with physical cash, but this is limited. For the most part, if governments want to trace large money flows, they can do so. Continue Reading…