Episode #43 – Steve Canesso -Financial Freedom by Consistent Design

“When I look at all these different companies, and they’ve been quite different, real estate is the one thing that’s been consistent, and it’s been the simplest… because you just buy and hold.” – Steve Canesso

Born in a small-town west of Venice, Italy and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Steve Canesso had a single-minded goal which drove the decisions he made throughout his early life: to be financially free and to retire by the time he was 50 years old. It was quite early on, that Steve figured out real estate was a game he wanted to play and by the age of 24 he had invested and purchased four properties within the first two years of having a job.

Steve has always been just a bit ahead of the game from graduating as a computer programmer before personal computers existed, recognizing the trends and investing in real estate, creating a profitable digital audio/video company before JPEG and MPEG, right through to realizing his goal five years early and retiring when he was just 45.

Through his involvement in a completely different industry – bridal gown design – Steve met Bonnie and they were married in 2005. Recently, Bonnie and Steve bought an acreage where they are enjoying being in the country, working on the house and caring for Steve’s Mom. Today Steve is an Angel investor with several companies and lives his vision and intention for retirement: to live a life unencumbered by the need to make money and to choose to spend his time exactly how he wants.

  • Show Notes
  • [02:02] Patrick introduces his next guest on The Everyday Millionaire: Steve Canesso
  • [04:14] Patrick and Steve get started by chatting about their mutual connection, Steve’s wife Bonnie.
  • [05:19] Steve’s elevator pitch is fairly fluid now, but currently involves an acreage and two senior citizens.
  • [07:17] Steve describes his realizations and decisions early on that have led him to his current financial position. One of the best investments he made was getting involved in real estate.
  • [09:07] Steve takes us back to his early beginnings from Venice, Italy to Ottawa, Canada and the difference he sees between he and his Dad.
  • [11:22] Steve’s willingness to take risks consistently funnels into to one clear goal.
  • [12:43] Steve’s success with real estate investing started at a young age when he recognized what the Ottawa housing market was doing; then he acted on it.
  • 14:03] Steve explains his mindset when he purchased his first property and who his early influences were.
  • [16:00] Being a life-long steadfast saver allowed Steve to fund the down payments he needed to purchase four properties in two years.
  • [18:00] Although Steve was an early adopter of technology, his interest in keeping up with it now centres on being able to talk with his new Tesla!
  • [18:55] Steve shares a bit about his respect for Elon Musk and the consistent way he shows up, Steve’s philosophy about making and spending money and how he came to buy his (new to him) Tesla.
  • [23:45] Getting back to real estate, Steve hits home the reality that there is almost never a “perfect time” to buy real estate but when you hold it long enough you will do well.
  • [26:11] Steve delves into his serial entrepreneurship and the first business he started with a partner – creating digital video and audio in a time when there was no internet and modems were 14KB.
  • [33:00] The company does well, and they take it public which ultimately leads to a rift within, and Steve taking his exit.
  • [35:26] What was Steve’s mindset during that time? What was the tipping point of his decision to leave?
  • 37:45] Being able to separate from the details and “story” of the events that led up to his exit was helpful for Steve to move on.
  • [39:13] Although it’s the slowest investment, Steve has found the most consistency and simplicity in real estate.
  • [39:56] Staying in integrity, assuming honest intent, and not dwelling on the past or the future are foundational values for Steve. “Worry doesn’t add a day to your life.”
  • [42:08] Through his charitable work, Steve meets his next partner in a new, very different world: bridal gown design. Serendipitously, this company is the catalyst for meeting his wife Bonnie.
  • [46:08] Steve and Patrick discuss the double-edged sword of partnership.
  • [48:47] Steve and Bonnie have a sound philosophy within their marital partnership; they don’t keep score! Focus on doing what’s best for your partner.
  • [52:55] As an Angel investor, Steve describes what he looks for within companies: people and perseverance.
  • [54:37] Understanding the increased risk-bandwidth that wealth creates.
  • [55:58] Steve considers the characteristics he looks for when he invests with people.
  • [57:30] Does Steve feel single-minded focus is now a fundamental part of success?
  • [60:37] Steve’s vision for retirement has always been simple and very effective.
  • [62:20] The complementary relationship Steve and Bonnie share [complementary is not always complimentary!] and Bonnie’s desire to continue to be in contribution.
  • 65:22] Steve’s realization that providing guidance to entrepreneurs doesn’t always result in the satisfaction of that guidance being followed.
  • [68:24] Patrick echoes Steve’s experience and invites listeners to consider whether they are coach-able.
  • [70:19] What are the biggest surprises for Steve in his retirement so far?
  • [73:03] Patrick and Steve share the grounding effects that living in the country provides for them. Not to mention the big tractors that come with it…
  • [75:00] Let’s get into some Rapid Fire! Favourite English swear word [most versatile of course], bonus: favourite Italian swear word, message from the pearly gates, Steve’s weirdness scale, what he’s not very good at, what’s true for him that nobody else believes, favourite books, room-desk-car, Zeppelin tunes, and favourite movie.
  • [79:52] Steve’s gratitude.

Connect with Steve Canesso:

Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:
Real Estate Investment Network (REIN)
Elon Musk
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

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