We’re on TV!

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Kristy Shen (aka "FIRECracker") is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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As momentum builds and the trajectory of this weird little blog of ours continues to careen in all sorts of crazy directions, our story has been picked by the media!

This is...The National!
This is…The National!

A few weeks ago we sat down with Sophia Harris, a reporter at CBC mostly, I assume, to see if we were actually real. After grilling us for the better part of an hour, she apparently concluded that we knew what we were talking about (HA!) and has put us on as a headline feature story for national coverage.

Looks like this little spark of a Revolution we’ve started is starting to catch fire 🙂

You can catch us tonight (Monday August 15, 2016) on The National, 5PM Eastern Time.

Thanks to Sophia Harris for talking to us, and for letting us take a tour of the CBC studio afterwards. No, I did not break into Peter Mansbridge’s office (though I really wanted to).

Will post more updates as the story develops…

Edit: Video is now up here.

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31 thoughts on “We’re on TV!”

  1. Amazing! Can’t wait to watch! I read the CBC article (and also mistakenly some comments) – so many willfully ignorant people commenting on how “stocks are gambling” .. some of the comments are even suggesting that travelling a lot is less favorable to having a home (one guy literally said ‘to spend the weekend watching his dog run around in the back yard’.

    It’s not about travelling, or about not having or having a house – it’s about becoming one of the few who are truly FREE.

    You guys are killing it.

    1. What is wrong with wanting to spend the weekend in your backyard lounging and watching your dog in the yard? There are plenty of people who are financially independent living on acreages with their children, growing gardens and keeping animals. They love it, it is their dream.

      Everyone is different. Not everyone wants to travel. I found this blog through a different forum about financial freedom (I read the CBC article first). The majority there find this blog interesting but find that it is situational, that not everyone can retire in their 30s because not everyone comes from as favorable a situation as the authors do.

      1. Your comment is exactly the type of comment I was laughing at. Your preference for watching a dog run in circles over traveling doesn’t diminish the validity of what the authors’ are trying to convey here. Likewise, just because your circumstances are different (or less favorable) and you can’t save a million in your thirties, doesn’t mean you can’t apply their philosophy and still hack life. So maybe you retire in your 40s or maybe just mid 50s… or failing that, maybe you’ll be able to start working part time in your 50s… or failing that, you’ll be able to leave lot for your children when you pass, or failing that be able to pay for their wedding. All of those things beat upgrading your car to an entry level luxury one to impress people you don’t care about.

        There’s a very valid message here about not necessarily following societal expectations for no reason other than simply what you’re expected to do. The main points here are about living below your means and reorienting your focus towards your own dreams – even if it amounts to watching a dog run in circles.

    1. Thanks, Brian!

      Don’t worry the comments don’t bother me. I just find them amusing 🙂 After the roast on Garth’s blog, my skins is Teflon now.

  2. Congratulations! I haven’t had cable/a TV for 10+ years (will try to stream!), but perhaps the people who still watch CBC religiously are a tougher crowd to please/convert. Most of them grew up in a different time and have different financial values (i.e. working for the same company for 30 years was the norm, buying a house made sense, etc.).

    1. Yeah, I don’t have much hope for converting those watching CBC on TV. But that’s okay. We got 720,000 views on CBC, so hopefully I’ll be able to get through to some people. If they don’t want to follow our lifestyle, that’s perfectly fine. But at the very least, I want them to know there are alternatives to buying an overpriced house. If we just get through to one person, I’ll be happy.

      Oh and btw, here’s our CBC video if you’re interested:

        1. 20K shares on CBC seems to indicate the opposite. And YOU clearly care so little that you’re actually here writing on my blog. Wow. Shocking.

  3. It was quite funny to check the comments on the CBC site, people really have no clue and I think that’s the only reason you can do it. Imagine if everyone started saving and did an early retirement, the economy would stop. 🙂

    1. Yeah, if everyone was financially literate, there would be no point in sharing knowledge on this blog. That being said, I don’t think the economy would stop if everyone became FI. There would be way more people starting businesses and working on things they are passionate about. The economy would change but it wouldn’t crash.

  4. Those bozos commenting on the CBC website make me laugh! Picking out negatives to suit their ‘argument’, more like making themselves feel better for sitting at work while reading about your situation LOL.

    1. HA HA yeah. It’s always a peanut gallery in the comments, but I just find them amusing at this point. It says a lot more about them than it does about me.

  5. Well you got completely roasted in the CBC comment section so you must be doing something right! Had a quick read of everyone trying to justify their positions and put you two down and it was entertaining to say the least. They clearly have no vision to scale your results as it relates to them to one day achieve FI.

  6. Yes! You’ve definitely hit a nerve (>1000 comments on the CBC website). “If you have haters then you’re doing something right”. I’m planning on doing the same in the near future.

  7. Congratulations! Now you did it! You rose up against the natives. Watch out for their pitch forks! Lock your doors!!

    There are over 1,100 comments on the cbc site. Many are not financially savvy ppl making negative comments when they have no clue on how to be financially independent. Funny how they think you guys are lying to them or that your parents are helping you. Many can’t believe you saved 500K or how it grew to 1M. Many don’t believe that you only spent 30-40K traveling to so many places. It must be trickery!

    If ppl buy a house for 2-3 times their salary then it is affordable but when a house is too expensive then they will be trapped with a 25-30 years mortgage in which they will need a job for one third of their life.

    A lot of traditional home buyers just won’t understand your POV unless they think about it instead of putting you guys down so quickly.


  8. Also that you guys are spreading the good word. I agree with you about not overpaying for a house and renting can be a better alternative depending on where you live. If I had the option of $800 rent vs $800,000 house, the choice is obvious. I live in the NYC area and the discrepancy is not that big…rent is a pretty big expense as well when you do a apples to apples comparison. In any case, just wondering if you guys plan on settling down at some point or traveling continue to travel in perpetuity like the Go Curry Cracker family? And if settling down, I’m assuming you’ll live in a lower cost of living area near Toronto?

  9. Congratulations FC and W. So THIS is what you guys have been up to!

    I was browsing on CBC and I was like, “Wait a minute… Is this who I think it is?? THEY ARE IN AN ARTICLE!!”

    Very happy to see that you both are doing very well!

    ~ Your housemate in Waterloo 🙂

    1. Thanks, Christina! Long time no see. How are you?

      Yeah, it’s been a crazy couple of days. We’re about to go on a radio interview in 3 hours…*eep*

  10. That’s fantastic – good luck on the radio interview! Which radio channel is it for?

    Let me know when you both are available for catching up sometime!

    1. It’s CIBC Radio noon, going live in about 2 hours. I’ll post a link on this site when I get it.

      Sure, let’s catch up the next time we’re back in Toronto! We’ll be travelling for the next 6 months…

  11. I saw your CBC news article as it was “flipped” into Flipboard and saw a lot of negative comments. Flipboard and I have a love/hate relationship. You try to discuss something then people just ruin the conversation at some point. I tried to defend your side and took a lot heat for it…

    I think a big part of the negative comments is coming from more of a lack of your fully explaining how you can live of the proceeds of $1M worth of investments. The article does not go into the details of actually how you can live off 3 or 4%. (Breaking it down)

    You don’t explain how dividends are taxed very favorably, or a portion not at all in Canada. I assume you both have no “work income” to declare. So I would imagine you are taking some tax money you may qualify for that adds to your investment income? Some people may not appreciate that “millionaires” may possibly still qualify for tax breaks… But are you going to say no to free money? Another famous Canadian blogger “millionaire” who was also featured in a paper received substantial “child tax credit” money. He thought it was quite humorous in a post on his blog…

    I only have one thing I disagree with. Much like a famous blog in the US “Retire at 40” (who claimed he retired, but his wife continued to work and bring in $US60K + health benefits) the jury is out if you can truly called yourself truly “Retired”. Are you “retired” if you are replacing traditional work with for example – “This blog” we are typing on? Now that you are more “famous” it will generate more income for you as traffic heats up. You mention you do freelance, and have other income generating sidelines. I see that you respond back quite frequently to comments, that is work to keep your site interactive and generate more traffic. Your still doing work albeit “alternative” work.

    I like your story, I applaud your discipline and totally agree with you are doing and I understand the “choices + freedom” your situation brings. I’m in a similar situation as you, but prefer to work. (but really don’t have to) I’m still an advocate of NOT using the word “retired” unless your simply done with clever ways to generate income other than passive investment sources to live off of. I think “financially independent” or the buzz word “Findependant” better describes you two. But those terms are not as sexy, and controversial as claiming one is “Retired at 34″….

    Good for you guys in making smart choices early in life so you can reap the benefits early.

  12. I enjoyed this. I agree that most Canadians are financially illiterate. I grew up in Canada on a grain farm and there were years that we had no income…I learned very young to buy what you need and limit your WANTS, we were not “poor” but certainly had to manage our resources wisely. I retired @ 56 and now enjoy doing the things I want to do.
    I agree that today the price of housing is grossly overvalued, the thought of paying over the listing price actually is ridiculous and financially a black hole.
    Books like the Wealthy Barber, the millionaire next door and one on pensions Whose money is it anyway have been around for some time but many people refuse to adapt. I have a friend who has always had a higher income than I but is still working and is still always broke and will be working until the day he dies.

    1. Yup, that’s why we say “”If you figure out money, life is incredibly easy. If you don’t, life is insanely hard.” Use money as a tool to give you freedom. That’s the best way to spend it.

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