Finding Your Financial Independence Number and How to Live Off Your Portfolio

John Kalos - 101 -Finding Your Financial Independence Number

It’s RRSP season here in Canada. Remember that March 1 is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP, and have it count towards your 2022 tax year. 

Also while we’re on the subject, remember that your TFSA contribution room grows every year, and for the 2023 calendar year, you now have an extra $6,500 that you and your partner can contribute each. That’s $13,000 total if you both max it out.

Last year the limit was $6,000 per person so the government did increase that by $500 per person for this year. 

I find that these are things that are easy to forget as life gets buys, but I always have reminders set up for these things as, especially in the case of the TFSA, it’s always nice to put in the effort to max that out so that you can get that tax-free growth on that new money invested, all year long.

Since it’s RRSP season, and tax season is coming up, I thought it would be worthwhile to have another successful Canadian Financial Planner on the show, so that we can get a good second opinion on:

  • How much do you need to be financially independent and have the option of retiring?

  • What are some of the sustainable withdrawal strategies that you can use when you’re ready to start living off your portfolio?

  • What is the process and calculations that should be done annually to ensure that you are withdrawing a sustainable amount from your portfolio?

  • And, since our guest has been in the financial planning industry for decades at this point, I ask him if he’s noticed certain patterns when it comes to clients that are successful both financially and in life, versus those that are not. This way we can pick some lessons learned from others, apply them to our own lives, and hopefully avoid some completely avoidable mistakes that others endured before us.

Live RRSP and TFSA Q&A with the founder of the TFSA:

Before we get into the interview, I wanted to invite you to a free webinar and Q&A that I’ll be doing with the actual co-creator of the TFSA.

He’s the former Chief of Staff for the Minister of Finance in Canada. His name is Kevin McCarthy, and if you’ve ever had TFSA or RRSP related questions, or would just like to ask the creator of the TFSA your questions, you can do so at this webinar.

I’ll be there too obviously and so after Kevin goes through his educational presentation where he goes over the RRSP and TFSA fundamentals, as well as the tax deductions and tax credits available to us as Canadians, we’ll then have a live Q&A with him and I and so you can ask him or me your questions when it comes to personal finance, investing, financial independence and retirement, living off your investments, etc.

The session is on February 23, 2023, and it will be recorded so even if you can’t make it live, you can still signup to be emailed the replay once it’s released. 

Also, Kevin has informed me that anyone attending live will receive a downloadable version of his and his team’s proprietary Income Tax and RRSP Tax Savings Calculator.

The link to sign up for free is

I look forward to seeing and interacting with you there, and now, let’s get into the interview!

A Big Thanks to Our Sponsors:


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BMO ETFs: ETF Market Insights

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There are so many opinions on how to invest your money today, but it can be hard to find credible voices to rely on in the world of finance and investing.

One resource I turn to every week is the ETF Market Insights YouTube channel, led by today’s episode sponsor, BMO ETFs.

Market Insights brings in industry experts and their weekly episodes cover the hottest themes like inflation, infrastructure, healthcare, and more. Tuning in helps me stay up-to-date on what’s happening so I can be a smarter investor. You can also submit your own ETF questions, to be answered on the show.

Do yourself a favour and subscribe on YouTube to ETF Market Insights, or visit so you can be notified when future episodes go live.

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Resources from the Episode:

John has been kind enough to offer to answer your financial questions. You can book some free time with him on this page.

Questions from the Episode:

  1. To start, for anybody hearing you for the first time, can you briefly tell us about your experience and area of expertise?

  2. When somebody is trying to determine how much they need to be financially independent and have the option of retiring, what is the process that should be undertaken to figure this out?

  3. What are some of the sustainable withdrawal strategies that you recommend, for those looking to live off their portfolio?

  4. Have you ever used some type of variable withdrawal strategy with your clients where the amount withdrawn every year to live off the portfolio varies depending on how the markets did that year?
  5. What is the process and calculations that you do annually with clients to ensure that they are withdrawing a sustainable amount from their portfolio every year?

  6. When it comes to tax planning and making sure that we’re paying the least amount of tax when living off the investment portfolio, are there any strategies or approaches that you’d recommend?

  7. Would you be able to recommend some resources online that you find to be reliable and reputable sources of information, for those that like to continue to educate themselves when it comes to financial planning, retirement planning, and investing in Canada?

  8. You have been a Financial Planner for decades at this point and I’m sure with that level of experience you’ve noticed certain patterns when it comes to clients that are successful financially and in life, versus those that are not. Can you give us any insights in terms of the best practices or patterns that you’ve noticed from those that are financially successful and also appear to be happy and fulfilled in their day-to-day life?

  9. Tell us more about where we can see your work and tell us more about your practice.


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