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August 18, 2016 | No Lid

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.


Sheesh. Some people lead literal lives. They trust what government employees say (“I’m here to help you…”), or actually believe everything written on this blog. What a mistake that would be, as the CBC just found out.

Some days ago I referenced Kristy & Bryce, who until this week operated under the mysterious anons of Firecracker and Wanderer. They emerged from the primordial goo of this blog a few years ago after saving the huge sum of $500,000 by their late twenties and said they wanted to be millionaires. Four years later (more or less) they were, helped along by stuffing their money into the 60/40 balanced and globally-diversified ETF portfolio this blog is always yammering about (because it works).

So when they hit seven figures they came to my office with bubbly and we tossed a few. It was a happy moment, and then they embarked on a non-stop, semi-debauched tour of the world. Core to becoming millionaires by 30 was the fact this couple was never house horny, nor succumbed to the family and peer pressure telling them real estate was the only path ahead.

Instead they plowed it all, every dollar they could land, in the portfolio which exactly resembles the one I have described here. (17% in a mix of government, corporate, high-yield, real return bonds; 5% in REITs; 18% in preferreds; 17% in Canadian equities; 21% in US growth; 18% in international markets; 4% alternative strategies.) So when that mix hit a million, it was completely liquid. No need to engage a realtor, hold open houses or pay commission – they just started drawing off income, quit their day jobs, and hit the road.

So what went wrong?

Only this – they didn’t shut up about it. Inspired by their own success, K&B decided they could grow even wealthier by finding a way to monetize their message. (This is what ambitious, successful people so. They breed money.) So they started a web site for other Millennials who have been suckered into the real estate/debt vortex, dishing out homespun financial advice and eyeing a future advertising or subscription revenue stream. All good. Then came the publicity.

After hearing their pitch, the CBC took the bait and ran a big story which I referenced here some days ago, peppered with dreamy pictures of the kids cavorting with each other and their conquered world. It ended up being the most-read, most commented-on piece in the corp’s history, because (a) everybody wants to get rich, (b) Millennials only believe what they read online and (c) the anti-house message was mesmerizing.

Of course, of the thousands who commented, huge numbers crapped all over K&B because they are, well, Canadians. We’re all supposed to get mortgages, talk only about our houses, dis other assets and hate 1%ers. Lots of people also accused the CBC of giving the kids way too much attention, and of turning their news site into an infomercial for ‘Millennial Revolution.’

Naturally, there was an overreaction. The CBC recoiled in horror, doing a quick follow-up piece in which they helped spread the hate against K&B and managed to weave me into it. Of course, in the meantime I’d written about this brewing little tempest, pointing out that my young clients were easy to trash because they self-promote on the same epic scale as T2.

So here’s the story:

B and K modified

It said: “Turner, their adviser, praised the couple’s commitment to generating a $1 million portfolio in his blog. But he also finds them “nauseating,” referring to them as “tireless self-promoters and reasonably irritating juvenile 1%-ers.’” This was also repeated in the headline: “Their own advisor calls them ‘nauseating’…”

By the way, the reporter didn’t call. Worse, the poor thing believed I actually meant what I wrote, while everyone wo comes here routinely knows the only serious topics are canines and hormones. The rest – all that financial and real estate stuff – is façade.

Well, Kristy was not amused. “Would you mind confirming for Sophia from the CBC that you meant those statements as a joke?” she asked. So I did, once the reporter contacted me. “If you read my blog for a few days you will see that irreverence, sarcasm, snarkiness, self-deprecation and general pathos are key elements,” I pointed out.
Hours later, this edit appeared: “Turner, their adviser, describes them in his blog as “nauseating,” and “tireless self-promoters and reasonably irritating juvenile 1%-ers.” He tells CBC News he meant the words in a light-hearted way and emphasized that the two “are examples of what vision and guts, plus the ability to be creative and contrarian, can achieve.”

See how nice I can be when pushed?

The moral of the story: lobsters.

A fisher dude walked down the pier away from his lidless lobster pot, full of catch. ‘Why no lid,’ he was asked. ‘Won’t they get out?’ He looked back, then replied, ‘No way. They’re Canadian lobsters. When one reaches the top they all pull him back down.’

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August 18th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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