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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Jun 11, 2020

Even though we learn that money is merely a means of exchange, a store of value, or a unit of account, it’s so much more than this. Money captures so much of what we grapple with like hope, joy, fear, regret, and envy, yet it’s widely surveyed as being the least spoken-about issue when compared to religion, mortality, and marriage. Dr. Brian Portnoy, the author of The Geometry of Wealth, joins us today to share his view on wealth, which moves past the conventional understanding of accumulation. We kick off the show by discussing some of Brian’s research findings around the way people avoid talking about money. From there, we move onto his idea of funded contentment, which he hopes will get people to think about the different facets that go into a contented, joyful, and meaningful life. While this is a purposely loaded concept, Brian conveys the message in a simple, clear way to show that building wealth requires an assessment of many aspects of life. Then, we move onto how Brian believes financial crises affect people’s financial wellness. Although there are certainly immediate devastating effects of these crises, Brian takes it a step further, sharing a conceptual view of how these shifts intersect with people’s financial plans. After this, we turn our attention to adaptive simplicity and how it relates to goal-setting. We round the show off by discussing how the financial management industry is changing, and what Brian hopes the role of the advisor will increasingly become. Be sure to tune in today!


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Learn more about Brian’s rationale for comparing money to Lord Voldemort. [0:03:31.0]
  • Why money — contrary to what we’ve learned — is a qualitative, not quantitative. [0:05:58.0]
  • What Brian hopes to get people to think about with his ‘funded contentment’ idea. [0:06:44.0]
  • How the shapes Brian uses in Geometry of Wealth relate to the journey of achieving wealth. [0:08:36.0]
  • The three-step process to achieve funded contentment. [0:09:22.0]
  • Unpacking priorities and decisions and how they intersect with building wealth. [0:10:54.0]
  • The importance of calibrating planning with purpose and where people fall short. [0:13:50.0]
  • Where people in America are in their financial wellness journey. [0:15:43.0]
  • The four corners of the square: Exploring investment expectations and how people view this. [0:17:37.0]
  • Brian’s practical and conceptual takes on how financial crises’ impact on financial wellness.[0:21:12.0]
  • Why Brian disagrees that volatility is not a great measure of risk for a long-term investor. [0:29:13.0]
  • ‘Adaptive simplicity:’ What this is and why it’s key in financial planning. [0:32:15.0]
  • How to set financial goals, which are static, when being flexible is key. [0:35:17.0]
  • Why Brian believes — despite his hedge fund experience — that investors can’t plan for mark-beating returns. [0:38:47.0]
  • The role that hedge funds could play in investors’ retirement strategies. [0:42:47.0]
  • What investors can do to understand if they can manage their own retirement. [0:45:34.0]
  • How reframing the financial advisor relationship to a coaching one helps. [0:49:15.0]
  • What the future of holistic financial advice should look like, according to Brian. [0:54:53.0]
  • Insights into Brian’s firm, Shaping Wealth, and the work that they do. [0:55:37.0]
  • Brian’s definition of success in his own life. [0:58:02.0]