By Blayke Leclair
My financial awakening happened at a very weird time. It was a couple of months into 2020, Covid-19 was taking over the world, everyone was being told to stay home, and the financial markets were crashing. At the start of 2020 I would have called myself a financial simpleton. I knew I had an RRSP, only because it was a forced contribution through my employer, but what that really meant? I had no Idea…
After a long life of using credit cards and racking up debt I was thrown a curve ball in the way of my health. I was no longer able to work in the field I was in, and as a result lost the best earning job I had ever had. I went on disability and took the adjusted monthly wage hit. After just a few months I noticed that my outgoing expenses were more than my new income. Not only was I living in my overdraft, but my credit cards were maxed.
This is where I started to wake up. 25% interest charge on one credit card, 20% on another and 19% on my overdraft! I looked at my statement and it told me that at my current rate of payment, it would take 400 years to pay off my debts. Talk about a stressor! I knew just enough about money to get me into trouble and I had no idea how slippery the slope was. At this point I had no Idea what to do. Who to turn to, or even the first step to take.
Enter Drew and Colwood Shores Financial. Drew is a close family friend who saw something in me that I didn’t. With my new medical situation, I needed to find a new career and Drew suggested that I look into becoming a financial planner. A financial planner? I thought. What do I know about finance? The answer was nothing! I was no star in math when I was in school and my financial situation was dismal. But this idea took hold of my mind. Why don’t I know anything about this stuff? I wondered. How is this not something that is taught in school?
I come from a lower middle-class family. Money was not something we had a lot of, or usually even enough of. I worked from a very young age doing a paper route to help pay bills and to afford some of the things I wanted as a kid, so saving was not really a thing. Money was always an issue, not a luxury, and everything that came in, went straight back out. I had no clue about saving for something because there was never enough left over to “save”. So, when I started looking into the prospect of becoming a financial planner, I was already discouraged.
I looked up and read a couple of books on finance. The Wealthy Barber, The Millionaire Teacher, and The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. These books along with the members at Colwood Shores Financial woke me up. I decided to put in place some of the things I had learned, and before long I had consolidated my debt, cut up my credit cards and started to put away a small amount of money each month into an emergency fund. The best part? I was able to do all of this on the same fixed income that was putting me deeper and deeper into debt just months ago.
Although organizing your financial life can sound complicated and scary, it can also be very simple given the help of the right person at the right time. As I write this, I can tell you that I wish I had started saving much earlier, but the fact is I can still achieve very real financial freedom for myself even though I started later in life than I wanted to. Not only have I completely changed my financial outlook, but I am much happier with my position going forward and I’m here to tell you that you can do it too! It can be a reality that is not that far off, given the right advice and the right plan, no matter how bad your situation may be. I am also happy to say that I have decided to go forward with my career as a future Financial Planner and have registered for my CFP course beginning this summer. I plan to blog more about my journey going through that process and I invite you to join me, together we can travel the road to financial freedom and achieve our goals!
Written by a client, sharing experiences and the journey towards financial freedom.