My Money Story

Money is meant to be saved, not spent.

Everyone has a money story. It's your life experience around money, from your childhood to today. Your experiences with money form your beliefs, feelings and habits, which are all really important to understand when you are tackling your money stuff. 

What's your money story? Here's mine.

Saving money was a recurring theme in my childhood. I am the youngest of four children. Our parents are Dutch immigrants, who came to Canada after World War II. Their parents were farmers in Holland. These facts alone probably give you a sense of why saving money was such a mantra in our house. My parent's beliefs and habits were formed by their parents and by their experience of not having quite enough money and this was passed down to us. My father maintained his mindset of saving, saving, saving even when he didn't need to anymore. 

We lived frugally. My parents didn't order pizza, go out for dinner, or go on vacations that didn't involve a tent. When I was in middle school, my clothes came from the Bi-Way and my bikes came from my older siblings. We had one car that my parents had to share, so my mom would drive my dad to work on the days she needed to go grocery shopping. My parents re-used whatever they could: tea bags, nylon stocking, plastic milk bags - why throw it out if it can re-used?

All of this financial scarcity didn’t register too much with me, except for the Bi-Way clothes, which never fit quite right and didn’t make me feel good. I was a little jealous of friends who went to Florida on March Break, but it was so out of the realm of possibility that I didn't give it much thought. 

Anything Else I Need to Know?

  • You can invest in index funds just as easily as you can buy an active mutual fund. Although the fees on index mutual funds tend to be higher than on passively-managed ETFs, index funds are a good alternative to active funds. 

  • Passively-managed funds are like robots: they just do what the index does. Actively-managed funds have people watching them every day, and a fund manager may be able to anticipate a negative event and switch up the investments accordingly to protect the fund from a loss. Yes, this isn't easy to do but sometimes it really works. 

  • ETFs were traditionally passively-managed, but you can also buy active ETFs. These are funds that deviate from the benchmark or index they use to measure themselves against. Fees on active ETFs are higher than passive ETFs.