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Canadian Investor podcast co-host Braden Dennis worked for several years in manufacturing and renewable power before founding an investment research platform.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Stock options, short selling and meme stocks? If you ask podcast hosts Braden Dennis, 26, and Simon Belanger, 36, young investors engaging in risky trades have it wrong.

Despite being young investors themselves, their series, the Canadian Investor Podcast, does not endorse the kind of trading that is trendy among millennials.

“The reality is that neither of us have any interest in doing that whatsoever,” Mr. Dennis said. “I try to own the best businesses on the planet and then hold them for a really long time. That’s basically it.”

The podcast recently topped the Apple charts for Canadian business podcasts and has proven particularly popular among young Canadians. Of the show’s one million listens, the median listener age is 32, with listeners in their 30s being the largest demographic. Listeners in their 20s are the second-largest demographic, followed by Canadians in their 60s in third.

Long-term holds are a simple approach, but one that Mr. Belanger said was missing from the podcast world when they started their own show as a hobby two years ago.

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“There were a lot of U.S.-centric podcasts out there, but none specifically for Canadians,” Mr. Belanger said. “Talking about Roth IRAs and 401ks, I think it can be hard for Canadians to relate to that.”

Meanwhile, they found there were enough Canadian companies and a sufficient difference between the RRSP and TFSA and American investment accounts to make a distinct podcast worthwhile.

Prior to hosting their series, the pair were strangers who only knew each other through a social-media connection. While finishing his bachelor of engineering at the University of Guelph in 2016, Mr. Dennis hosted a part-time podcast where he interviewed authors who had written books of interest to him. Mr. Belanger heard an episode of the podcast, and the pair connected over LinkedIn.

Several years later, during the summer of 2019, Mr. Belanger was in Toronto for a pension conference near to where Mr. Dennis now lives, and they decided to meet up for the first time at a bar downtown to talk about running a podcast together.

“We just had a drink, chatted a bit and said, ‘okay, let’s give it a shot,’ ” Mr. Belanger said.

Canadian Investor podcast co-host Simon Belanger gained his experience through various human resources-roles and currently advises on pensions and retirement planning.Ashley Fraser/The Globe and Mail

The podcast’s tone is conversational, with each episode discussing investment strategies, company research and relevant market news. Ideal for investors who have at least a basic understanding of the markets, the 45-minute podcasts feel dense with research.

The pair both describe their investing styles as largely fundamental: looking at long-term growth a few years or even a decade out. Developing a stock portfolio is more complicated than just picking stocks, Mr. Dennis said: Finding good businesses requires patience and research.

This is where new investors make mistakes, they said. On TikTok, they see how young people at the beginning of their investment education are encouraged to buy meme stocks and take on undue risk.

The last two years have seen momentous growth in most of the world’s markets: To date, the S&P 500, for instance, has grown by more than 100 per cent since the lows of the early-pandemic crash in March, 2020. This presents new investors with an unrealistic expectation of what markets will look like over the long term, they said.

“What we find is that many new investors throw their entire portfolio in a company they’ve never heard of. The allure of making a lot of money quickly – I think that’s attractive for a lot of people. I think it’s just human nature,” Mr. Belanger said.

In demonstration of their contrasting approach, the hosts are open about their holdings. In a December episode, the pair walked listeners through their whole portfolio weightings.

Among them are Canadian large-cap companies (Constellation Software, Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Canadian National Railway, The Home Depot, Inc.), tech stocks (Google LLC, Apple Inc., Amazon.com, Inc.), payment platforms (Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc., Block Inc.) and some lesser known companies, cryptocurrency and ETFs.

Mr. Dennis and Mr. Belanger say bitcoin makes up about 5 per cent and 20 per cent of their portfolios, respectively.

“I started investing in bitcoin after the 2017 crash, and have been dollar cost averaging since. It might seem like a large portion of my portfolio, but it has become that over time because of the great returns it has provided me,” Mr. Belanger said, noting he was attracted by the cryptocurrency’s decentralized protocol and capped supply.

While Mr. Belanger did not disclose his returns, Mr. Dennis estimates his portfolio up to November earned about 2 per cent better than the S&P 500 last year, but was behind by 4 per cent in 2020.

After graduating, Mr. Dennis worked for several years in manufacturing and renewable power before founding an investment research platform, Stratosphere Technologies Inc., which now employs three people and runs out of Toronto.

Mr. Belanger, from Chelsea, Que., gained his experience through various human resources-roles and currently advises on pensions and retirement planning.

They don’t hold certified financial planner or chartered financial analyst designations, but they believe that being self-taught investors makes them more relatable to a wide-ranging audience.

Mr. Belanger says that being a francophone also helps him relate to listeners whose first language is not English.

“There are other podcasts where, if you don’t have a strong financial knowledge base, it can be really intimidating. We try to explain everything as best as we can – we don’t try to assume that people necessarily know what we’re talking about,” Mr. Belanger said.

Mr. Belanger also acknowledged that investing always comes with inherent risk – and balancing that risk is a learning process. When he was around 20, Mr. Belanger said, he invested $2,000 on a junior mining company – a lot of money for him at the time – and lost the entire amount when the company went bankrupt shortly after.

“It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me, because it taught me that I should always do my own research before investing in a company. That’s something we constantly say on our podcast,” Mr. Belanger said.

When asked by listeners or friends for stock tips, they say they refrain from naming individual companies. Instead, they promote the power of compounding interest and encouraging new investors to take advantage of easy instruments such as index ETFs, if even with a small investment to start.

“The biggest advantage younger investors have,” Mr. Belanger said, “is time.”

Are you a young Canadian with money on your mind? To set yourself up for success and steer clear of costly mistakes, listen to our award-winning Stress Test podcast.