Build Your Wealth & Freedom

Let’s talk money.

Most of us bought into the “baby boomer” dream:

  1. study hard
  2. get a good degree from a good school to get a good job
  3. work your way up the ladder over many years (don’t get fired)
  4. buy a home
  5. retire at 65
  6. travel and enjoy your pension

Millennials are between the stages of 1-4 right now and we’ve realized that for the most part, this dream is a lie. Getting into a good school doesn’t guarantee a job. Highly qualified and experienced millennials find it difficult to secure employment. Even when we are employed, most people don’t like what they’re doing from day-to-day. Permanent jobs have turned into contract work and saving enough for a down payment seems to be more and more difficult when the cost of living and price of houses continues to go up.

So, what do we do?

Seek a new dream.

Mine looks like this:

  1. Earn as much money as possible providing value to others even if that means working several jobs
  2. Save the money I earn (and eliminate debt as early as possible)
  3. Invest that money
  4. Refrain from buying a house for the next few years and use a small portion of earnings and dividends to travel and enjoy life

Personal finance wasn’t taught in school and it’s a shame. Universities and banks benefit from our ignorance. Since university/college tuition is at a price few students can pay upfront, students are forced to borrow from OSAP and banks. Universities benefit from new customers students. Banks benefit from the interest paid on loans and the longer it takes a student to pay off his/her loan, the more interest a student pays.

To make money I run my own law practice and tutor for the Ontario bar exam and I am looking to take on one or two more jobs. I want to work and earn more because my fiancé and I sat down with a few very successful entrepreneurs in the last few weeks and listened to their life stories. Each of them had worked several jobs or 16-hour-days, five to seven days a week in their 20s and 30s. Now, in their 50s, one entrepreneur lives in a big house on Rosedale, owns two restaurants and travels 6 months of the year. Another entrepreneur has five beautiful kids, two luxury cars and owns the building his business operates from.

Their successes inspire me. Everyone has a different perspective on money. To me, money is freedom. It’s a reward for providing value to others. It’s the ability to travel when you want, to control your time, provide for your dependents with ease and contribute to society at a higher level by investing in start-ups, donating to charities, etc.

Everyone has a different perspective on money. To me, money is freedom. It’s a reward for providing value to others. It’s the ability to travel when you want, to control your time, provide for your dependents with ease and contribute to society at a higher level by investing in start-ups, donating to charities, etc.

Some things you can do to get started on building your own financial security are:

  1. Try your best to pay off your debt as quickly as possible – live frugally and take advantage of bursaries, loan forgiveness programs, etc.
  2. Learn how to invest money – WealthSimple seems to be a great up-and-coming resource and I have a promo code that allows you to invest your first $10 000 for free. Comment below if you’re interested!
  3. Seek ways to monetize your skills to benefit others – offer your services at a market rate, support your friends businesses, etc.
  4. Contribute to your savings accounts

While managing money is important, I always keep quality of life in mind. My fiancé and I make sure to travel at least twice a year (going to Paris next month!!) and I will splurge on the occasional date/girls night. My friends and I help each other save by hosting dinners/hanging out at each other’s places, taking advantage of Groupon deals, etc. I’m excited about building towards my wealth potential and I hope you are too!

Building wealth is a topic that affects all of us. How are you doing it? Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to comment below.

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Turning 30: The QuarterLife Crisis

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Is this it?

At 29,  I looked around at the life I built, at the never-clean condo, the 15-minute lunches, the pencil skirts and dry-clean only shirts, and wondered aloud

“Is this it?”

It was spreading. Dating had a palpable urgency. Newlyweds were taking time apart. Friends were quitting their dream jobs. A chorus of discontent had become the anthem of my late twenties, early thirties peer group. The word dream had become vacation; clubbing was now brunch; and kids these days were no longer us.

It seemed as though for most of our lives, we had our heads down, counting our steps, certain that if we hit every milestone, the worst we’d face is baldness and an age-inappropriate car purchase.

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One by one, we were starting to look up.

One by one, we were starting to look up.

Had we made our high school teachers proud? Was it time to hang up the ballet shoes, the football helmet, the guitar? Had all the emblems of possibility been doused by the number 30?

I wasn’t ready.

I watched as friends and family bound and gagged their teenage dreams. College athletes became personal trainers. The best musicians I knew abandoned their bands, their solo projects, their promise to the rest of us that we’d be able to say, I knew that guy, when they struck it rich.

Shouldn’t I be a millionaire by now? Where the hell is my knight?

Every A+ and glossy degree had helped me earn a life I didn’t want. I was re-reading Eat Pray Love like a map back to the effervescent pre-teen me.

I never saw this coming. That’s the thing about the Quarterlife Crisis. No one ever sees it coming. Lavish buys are chalked up to naiveté; break-ups were inevitable; job changes are just growing pains.

The sitcom Friends iconized the ups & downs of the thirties as the romp life phase, wherein self-actualization can be won over coffee and uneducated waitresses end up working at Ralph Lauren. If we could only make it to 28ish, we’d bask in the Friends years – where soul mates live across the hall and a baby daddy’s major flaw is dinosaur talk.

But, what if there’s something more to turning 30? Something that babies, divorce, or even a Balinese medicine man can’t fix.

“Why God? Why?!,” Joey, from Friends, wails on his thirtieth birthday.

“We had a deal. Why are you doing this to us?”

By 30, most of us have known true loss.

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Ran off with Happily Ever After

The Prince/ss stole the fairy dust, kicked you out of the castle, and ran off with happily ever after.

Maybe there was a funeral. And you had to speak. And you thought back to the days when you were afraid of public speaking, when that was the worst thing imaginable, and how worst, the word worst, well you just didn’t know what that meant. So, you spoke at the funeral, and all along, you didn’t believe that your love was really gone, that this was really happening to you, not knowing that there’d come a time when you’d miss the disbelief, when you’d wish you could doubt that your mother, spouse, or best friend was really and truly gone. Because now there was no mistaking it – their absence, a saw, that cuts at the days, making bloody stumps out of old joys.

Or, maybe you fell out of love. You kept looking at the person that used to be your soulmate. Looking for the things you used to see and seeing ordinary and boring in their place. Of course, that didn’t make it any easier. When she took everything away – the first big purchase you made together, the L-shaped couch neither of you could afford, but could fit 6+ people and so became deeply necessary (even though 6+ people never did sit on the couch).

Or maybe you stopped loving yourself. Not because someone hurt you when you were young. You excavated that hurt in your early twenties. Not because someone didn’t love you right. You watched Oprah and starting dating better, kinder men.

It started with a Shush.

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The Right to Dream

The teenager in you, the one that wanted to become president, own multiple business, dance at Julliard, or travel the world was a bit too loud in your early twenties, when all you wanted to do was go out dancing. So, you shushed the teenager. At 25, you started talking back to the teenager with words like silly, stupid, and childish. So, the teenager bowed their head, and shushed.

You took a job you never wanted. And, 26, 27, and 28 became all about working, saving and earning the right to dream. On the odd day when the Easter Bunny, Cupid, or the American Dream scampered into your 9-5, you’d try to listen, but what grownup listens to Cupid?

What you didn’t count on is that you needed the teenager. You missed the teenager. You loved the teenager. So, shutting her up, calling her names, and leaving her alone for a decade would end up hurting. Because not loving all of yourself, hurts. Hurts a lot.

Here’s what we know:

Life is much harder than you expected it to be. Aging is the surest way to learn this. Age does matter. Statistically, as you age, you’re more likely to suffer from the kinds of challenges that make you wiser. The upside is that life is also much more beautiful, eons more fantastical, and replete with orgasms you never could have imagined.

The sooner the Friends fantasy loses hold – the better. Don’t wait until 50 to shake things up, face your mortality, buy a cool car, or shave your head.

Listen to your older sister. Listen to your older brother. Listen to your parents and your grandparents and your Uber driver and the man who makes the best cup of coffee on your street.

Listen to that shrill, heads-in-the-clouds, scrunchie-wearing, teenager, too.

Whether you like it or not, she’s in it for the long haul.

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