What I am reading
• A truly sweet story about the author’s frugal aunt: Everything she needed.
• BIG OOF: 1-in-10 people in Toronto rely on food banks.
• Baby Boomers are buying up all of the houses.
• I learned the hard way that I couldn’t shop my way to a new self. “But if you’re constantly taking that break when you feel unsatisfied and insecure, you are letting the muscle that deals with the negative parts of your life atrophy.”
What I need to do
I have been lucky enough to have friends who are either a little bit older than me or who had kids when they were really young – sometimes both. My friends have raised these deeply thoughtful, intelligent and amazing people and I am so grateful to have these adult kids in my life.
One of them – who we all call Miss A – reached out recently and asked me to help her with some money stuff. While she is good with her money in the day-to-day sense (no debt, has some extra etc.), she wants to learn more about investing and the various tax-advantaged accounts. Could I possibly take some time to run her through some of it?
COULD I EVER!
Luckily, I have put together some presentations already from our Money Mondays group and I just need to add the new First Home Savings Account (FHSA) to the deck but I am super excited to meet with her!
Of course – like most people – her first experience buying any investment products happened because she walked into her bank and asked to speak with a “Financial Advisor.”
“Let me guess,” I said. “They made you fill out a little quiz that determined what level of risk you were and then recommended one of their risk profile mutual funds.”
“That’s exactly what happened!” she exclaimed.
I guess I have to give them credit for steering her towards a TFSA but it frustrates me that this is generally where most people get their financial advice – from salespeople. I guess that is also why banks in Canada are able to pay out huge dividends (because, oligarchies!). Full disclosure: I own bank stocks (because, oligarchies!).
The thing is that it is SUPER hard to find decent financial advice unless you take an interest in it. Sure, the internet is teeming with advice but while some of it can be good (pay off debt! Save for a rainy day!) some of it is horrible and could ruin your life (use leverage to buy AirBnBs!). Schools don’t generally teach it, we are raised in families that rarely speak of it, and how do we even know what advice is right for us? There are a million and one finance books on the market and while there are some core similarities some deviate wildly or the information gets outdated quickly.
I was thinking of re-creating the path of books that changed my life but one of these has to be The Tightwad Gazette and while the core philosophy is great, the info is old. The Wealthy Barber is also a fantastic summation of the core tenets about managing an adult life but some of the content may grate on a modern audience. Most of the books about getting out of debt are definitely helpful but rely on shame – sometimes bordering on abuse – to get their point across. I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending many of them. I also haven’t had any debt for so long that I couldn’t even tell you if there are any decent & recent reads on how to get out of it.
I could go on – and indeed I have a (wildly out-of-date) bibliography on this site – but I think I will stick with some core summations in our talk. It’s a good prompt because I want to start introducing my teenagers a variety of personal finance skills outside of just basic money management. So that is my plan for the rest of the week!
In other news, I may continue to update here weekdays but I grapple with it. I do love to write something daily and have indeed been a life-long lover of journaling, a practice I have maintained more or less since I was a teenager. Writing here daily has been fun but I don’t know what real value it has & it does consume a lot of time. I do know that I want to keep a writing practice because I enjoy it, I just don’t know if it will be here or in another format. Until I decide, I guess I will keep on keeping on!