How To Structure Your Investments For An Early Retirement

Mark Seed - My Own Advisor - How to Structure Your Investments for an Early Retirement

In this episode, we’re going to cover how you can retire early, or at the very least, semi-retire early so that you have more time for friends, family and recreation.

My guest for this month is Mark Seed, who instead of rushing to achieve some giant investment portfolio number and fully retiring to never have to work again, he is instead taking what I believe, is the more efficient, sustainable and fulfilling approach of fully embracing an early semi-retirement, instead of a full stop early retirement. 

Mark is very much a DIY Canadian investor like myself and has a lot of knowledge when it comes to financial planning here in Canada as he’s actually executing his own early semi-retirement.

We have an absolute blast geeking out on these subjects in the interview, and I truly believe that by you listening in, you’ll get some really great actionable insights on how you can optimize your own financial independence and early retirement journey (to get there quicker).

Free 1 Year Subscription to Canadian MoneySaver Magazine:

A big thanks to 5i Research for giving Build Wealth Canada listeners a free 1-year digital subscription to Canadian MoneySaver Magazine (Canada’s largest personal finance magazine). 

You can get the free 1-year subscription by signing up for free 30-day access to all of 5i’s investment research (there’s no credit card required, or anything like that). 

When you signup for free, you’ll receive access to over 70 company reports (perfect if you like to invest in individual stocks too), you’ll get 3 optimized model portfolios, and answers to over 90,000 investing questions, along with the ability to ask your stock and ETF questions directly to the 5i Research team of Analysts.

The team at 5i don’t sell any investments and they don’t get any commissions or bonuses from suggesting stocks and ETFs. I’ve been using them for years as they are one of the VERY few companies in Canada, that are truly unbiased when it comes to their research and suggestions on stocks and ETFs.  

You can get free 30-day access to all their research and resources over at, and as I thank you for trying them out, you’ll receive a free 1-year digital subscription to Canadian MoneySaver Magazine, Canada’s largest personal finance magazine.

I encourage you to check 5i out, it’s a great place get some truly unbiased insights on your investments (especially if there is a ETF or stock that you’re considering, and you want an unbiased opinion from a professionally trained financial analyst that isn’t there to sell you anything. You get free access for 30 days, and you’ll learn an absolute ton.

Top ETFs in Canada Guide & Best High-Interest Savings Account:

In this guide, I go over what I personally invest in and why I invest in it. The investments that I talk about ​are literally where we have almost our entire net worth (apart from our house), and is what we are primarily living off right now in our early retirement.

At the very least you’ll learn about some great ETFs to consider for your portfolio, and if you are new to ETFs, it’ll give you a nice list of some top ETFs to consider from the thousands that are out there. 

The guide is available for free to any listeners that that use my special link to sign up for a free savings account with the bank that I personally use, EQ Bank

The reason that I personally use EQ bank, is that they have one of the highest interest savings rates in Canada (up to 30 times more interest than other banks).

It’s also free to sign up and keep an account with them, so you’re not paying a monthly fee like you do with many of the other banks out there. You also get unlimited transactions, unlimited Interac e-transfers, can take out your money at any time if you need it, and there are no minimum balances.

Because of those reasons, I’ve been with them ever since they launched in Canada years ago, and it’s where I keep my entire emergency fund and spending money. 

To get the free high-interest account and the free guide on the top ETFs in Canada, just go to, open the free account, and once you’re done, forward any email that you get from EQ to and I’ll send you the full comprehensive guide for free. 

Links and Resources

Mark’s Site:

We talked about several free tools that you can use to experiment with the 4% rule, and run analysis to see how sustainable your portfolio is in worst-case scenarios. Here are the different free tools that we talked about on the show:


  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your site for anybody that hasn’t heard of you before.
  2. Where are you right now in terms of your financial independence, retire early journey?
  3. I consider you as part of the FIRE movement, but I know that you also have some problems with it. Can you take us through these issues or concerns?
  4. How are you structuring your portfolio for your early semi-retirement?
  5. Once you pull the trigger and quit your day job in a few years, what is the process and structure that you’re going to follow to allow you to live off your investments? (ex. VPW?)
  6. When it comes to living off your investments in full or semi-retirement, you and I are big fans of the variable percentage withdraw method. Can you talk about what that is for anybody that is not familiar, and why do you like this approach over a more static approach like the 4% rule?
  7. There are many different ways to structure a variable percentage withdraw strategy (ex. Using different spending floors and ceilings, incorporating it with a bucket strategy, etc.). How are you personally structuring your VPW process?
  8. How do you plan on dealing with sequence-of-returns risk in your early retirement? And for anybody not familiar, can you define what sequence-of-returns risk is?
  9. The last time you were on my podcast, I think you mentioned about potentially moving away from your dividend stocks in retirement, and focusing on just a total return approach, and maybe migrating your dividends stocks to passive, broad market index ETFs. What are your thoughts about that now?
  10. I’d like to stress to everybody watching and listening that when it comes to living off your portfolio in early retirement or early semi-retirement, there isn’t one silver bullet solution that’s perfect for everyone. So, a good process is that when you are approaching your financial independence number, start learning about all the different ways that you can structure your portfolio for your early retirement, and then pick and/or modify one so that it’s a good fit for you. Then share that with a good fee for service financial planner to get their take, as you really want a professional 2nd set of eyes on something like this before you pull the early retirement or early semi-retirement trigger.

    Do you agree with that approach Mark?

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