Below is my personal journey when it comes to wealth and personal finance. I would like to start off by saying that I realize that my life is far from difficult compared to many, many, of you out there; and I honour and respect each of you and your own journey. Many would look at my struggles and think I have it easy, and living in Canada, I believe the same could be said for most of us. Compared to other places in the world we live a life of luxury and I don’t want for one minute to take away from the struggles people have. My purpose to starting this blog and launching this site is to help people learn, through my experience and knowledge, a better way to manage the money they have and understand the financial world we live in. Like it or not, money makes the world go round and we need to respect that if we want to live a truly wealthy life.
Some define wealth as fame and riches but that is not how I see it. Living a wealthy life means to me, living a life that you find fulfilling in whatever capacity that is. Living a life free from worry and stress about money, doing what you love to do every day, and not being overwhelmed by how you are going to pay your bills. I believe wealth starts from within and this is probably the hardest lesson I have had to learn along my own journey.
I grew up as an only child in British Columbia in a small town not far from Vancouver, raised by my single mother. I remember nights where we had pancakes for dinner and I remember being super excited by this treat however now I know it was because they were cheap! I remember going with my mom to a fruit stand just off the highway in the summer and playing by an old gas station while she sold cherries from the Okanagan and thinking it was super fun to explore all the old cars and parts outside but again this was because she couldn’t afford to have child care for me. I have so much respect for my mother and only now can I look back and see how challenging things must have been for her. She worked hard to make sure we had a clean and safe place to live, all while putting herself through school so she could get a better job to support us. I know she did a lot of things that weren’t her passion in life out of necessity including starting several unsuccessful businesses. She gave up her dreams to make sure our family was taken care of and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what a sacrifice that was. Luckily she has found her passion again with horses and works running a farm that is her dream.
I, as a stupid young man, didn’t see things this way however. I was resentful that we didn’t have the money my friends in school did and I was determined to make it look as though we did. I started working early and worked lots of hours at the local movie theatre just so I could buy new clothes and cars and stereo equipment. Yes, I was one of those annoying kids with the car that rattled from the bass as I drove by! But hey, I was cool, I was the popular one that had a car and a job and could afford to go out and buy beer or pizza or whatever else I wanted. I went to concerts and bought stupid things and in the end, had nothing to show for it!
I opened my first investment account when I was 16 at a brokerage house thanks to my mom and started diligently saving, only to pull it all out when I wrecked my first car and needed a new one. I had a blast! I partied with my friends, drank too much and spent a lot of my time at pubs and nightclubs, which really means I spent even more of the money I made. It got even worse when I decided to work in the restaurant industry at the place we used to drink beer at. Life was good, I never wanted the party to end! But I was 19… that’s to be expected right? I then had the urge to travel and managed to save some money up, just enough to get by, and I booked a roundtrip open ended ticket to Australia. I had a work permit but who wants to work when you’re travelling and in the end I came home when all my credit cards were maxed and I could no longer take cash advances.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my youth or anything that I did (well, anything I’ll admit to doing at least). I had an amazing time and got to experience things many never do. I met great people, lots of whom are still good friends to this day and I wouldn’t trade my memories for anything. I could have, however, been much smarter about things, especially when I got home.
I have always had an inner drive pushing me to succeed, I’d like to think it came from watching my mother struggle as I never wanted to go through that. This drive has given me many great opportunities and over the years I have made some good financial decisions that I’m thankful for. Unfortunately, I never gave up the living for the moment attitude. Instead of just accepting my situation today and living within the means I had, I was always dreaming of a bigger better tomorrow, and then spending today as if that was already a reality.
Turns out, if you are always living for a future that isn’t here yet, you tend to make bad decisions today! I truly believe this has prevented me from being happy in that moment I was trying so hard to live in; and brings me to now where I have around $58000 in consumer debt.
What did I spend that money on? I look around and other then my 5 year old truck, I don’t have much in the way of value to show for it. I’m like everyone else, I’m paying for a lifestyle I couldn’t afford last year and it’s only causing me pain and stress and keeping me from enjoying this year.
Well no more, this blog and this site is born from my frustration in the way I have lived. I work in the financial services sector as a Certified Financial Planner and I’m like the 70% of us planners that don’t have plan for themselves…. At least I was. My goal has 2 parts, this blog page will be dedicated to my journey, from where I am now to the wealthy life I am just starting to live. My regular blog will be dedicated to my purpose, that is teaching people that money is not as complicated as it seems and anyone can master it. I will also have a second blog documenting my journey out of debt which I hope will be of help to you.
All it takes is the decision to make your WEALTH a priority.