Tag Archives: RobinHood

“Findependence or Bust” — my interview with Pat Bolland on his new podcast

Pat Bolland, host of The Just Word podcast.

Veteran broadcaster Pat Bolland interviews me on his new podcast: The Just Word with Pat Bolland.

You can find the full interview — which dropped early Tuesday — here.  The episode is titled “Findependence or Bust.” Scroll down a tad if you can’t see it immediately on your screen. It’s audio-only (at least this particular segment) and if it appears to pause on a mobile device, simply press the Play button again and it will resume where it left off.

You can find the podcast on the usual distribution outlets, including Spotify, Apple, Google and others.

I’ve followed Pat’s career in broadcasting and investing for decades and for a time we worked as editor (me) and columnist (Pat) during my stint at MoneySense magazine. Pat was my go-to-source for Fixed Income, although of course he’s extremely knowledgeable about all asset classes.

The interview is a wide-ranging one over Zoom, spanning about 25 minutes, with a particular focus on this website: The Financial Independence Hub. Pat probes me about why and how the site got started, about its demographics and audience and we discuss the difference between traditional Retirement and the concept of Financial Independence (aka Findependence) and the idea of the Financial Life Cycle.

As the title of the segment suggests, he fully fleshes out the word Findependence, including my self-appointed title of CFO, standing uniquely for Chief Findependence Officer.

We address the difference between Wealth Accumulation and so-called “Decumulation,”  and discuss a few Canadian authors of books that focus on the topic, or Retirement in general.

Our respective forays into Cryptocurrencies

Of course, we also covered a lot of ground about investing in general, ranging from cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin and gold/precious metals to robo-advisors and investing in a post-Covid world where vaccines are becoming common enough that investors can start to think about so-called “Recovery” plays.

We chat about what seems to have been the shortest bear market in history (March 2020) and the subsequent volatile markets. I was surprised to discover Pat was an early adopter of Bitcoin, albeit a tiny amount several years ago, which he ultimately bought a set of golf clubs with.

We then moved on to zero-commission trading, young investors trading on Robinhood, and the recent phenomenon of the short squeeze on GameStop and other popular meme stocks promoted on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum.

Housing, investment real estate and REITs

We also discuss interest rates and housing, debt and financial repression, life expectancy and longevity, and what aging baby boomers like ourselves can expect in Semi-Retirement and (one day!) Full Retirement. We walk about Toronto housing prices and my long-term philosophy that the foundation of Findependence is a paid-for home (articulated in my financial novel, Findependence Day.)

We also address investment real estate and — for those who don’t wish to be a landlord — REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) or REIT ETFs.

What I’d tell my 35-year old self

Watch near the end for Pat’s question to me about what I’d tell my 35-year-old self if I could go back in time and do it all over again.

Hint: Pat thought my answer was “facetious!”

Not another GameStop explainer

The internet was all atwitter about the stock market the last two weeks, more specifically about the performance of GameStop stock, short-selling, hedge funds, and Robinhood (a free stock trading app in the U.S.). Financial journalists, pundits, and amateur investors all offered their hot takes on this ‘Reddit-fuelled’ market frenzy. My inbox also lit up with friends and blog readers wondering just what the heck was going on.

Many of these explainers were bad or flat-out wrong: a reminder that not everyone needs to have an opinion on the news of the day. The GameStop story is a fun distraction from the mundane stay-at-home routine. The stock is up 8000% over the last six months, causing short-selling hedge funds to take a huge bath on their trade.

Meanwhile, passive investors like me watch from the sideline with great amusement.


Rob Carrick summed up the story nicely when he said:

“But if you’re wondering what the GameStop story means to your future investing, the answer is nothing. Enjoy the show – but don’t take notes.”

If you’re simply curious about what exactly happened with GameStop stock and how it affected Wall Street hedge funds who were betting against the company, watch Preet Banerjee’s excellent explainer on the GameStop short squeeze:

And what exactly is Robinhood’s role in the GameStop saga? Vox explains why the popular stock trading app restricted trading on GameStop, Blackberry, AMC, and other supposed ‘meme-stocks’. Robinhood now faces a class-action lawsuit saying it manipulated the market by restricting trades.

Think the GameStop short-squeeze is the greatest ever? Not even close. Of Dollars and Data blogger Nick Magguilli tells the story of Piggly Wiggly and how one man took on Wall Street all alone.

[Added by editor: Yesterday, Gamestop shares had fallen to US$90, after a high of as much as US483 last week. See also Washington Post story on Feb. 2 entitled Game Over, describing how some first-time traders are reeling from the losses.]

Wealthsimple Trade

Here in Canada, our only zero-commission trading platform is Wealthsimple Trade. They took a different approach than Robinhood – rather than gamifying stock and option trading (only to restrict those trades due to ‘volatility concerns’), Wealthsimple allowed its users to trade GameStop and other meme stocks freely.

They sent out an education email with a useful explainer and warning about trading volatile stocks. They also included pop-up warnings to users through the app when they searched for GameStop and other volatile stocks.

Wealthsimple Trade became the number one app on Apple’s App Store this week as the company saw a 50% increase in sign-ups. My Wealthsimple Trade review was the number one visited article on the blog this week.

In addition to running the Boomer & Echo website, Robb Engen is a fee-only financial planner. This article originally ran on his site on Jan. 30, 2021 and is republished here with his permission.