Momentum Series Interview – Savvy New Canadians: Financial Education And Inspiration
This marks feature #28 in the Momentum Series – an interview series to share the stories of bloggers from across the personal finance community.
The goal is to showcase their story, the wins, the losses and the actionable advice that others can take value from and insights about their blogging journey. Whether that be conquering debt, maximizing career earnings, the road to financial independence or other strategies for financial and blogging success.
This week’s Momentum Series Interview is with Enoch from the great personal finance blog Savvy New Canadians.
Enoch lives in Winnipeg with his family and has lived in both Nigeria and Scotland before settling in Canada. On his blog Enoch shares content covering all topics of personal finance with the goal of educating and inspiring others to master their money on their financial journey.
If you want to connect with Enoch at Savvy New Canadians:
Let’s right started! Please welcome Enoch and enjoy this Momentum Series Interview – Savvy New Canadians: Financial Education And Inspiration.
My name is Enoch. I am 36, married, and live with my wife and two sons (age 5 and 2) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
I grew up in Nigeria, lived in Aberdeen, Scotland, for 2.5 years, and immigrated to the Great White North, Canada, in 2011.
I have had many hobbies over the years, with the most enduring including writing poetry, fishing, listening to Christian rock, and playing golf badly.
I am the face behind the personal finance blog https://www.savvynewcanadians.com where I write about Saving, Investing, Retirement Planning, Debt Management, Home Ownership, and everything Money.
Fair Warning – you may end up thinking that I’m a ‘professional student.’
I studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. A few years after graduation, I decided to pursue my passion in finance and obtained a masters degree in finance and investment from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
After immigrating to Canada, I have since obtained a second masters degree in Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba, and spent another 2 years writing board exams in order to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine and gain membership into the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.
I also hold a variety of certificates in accounting and finance, including the Canadian Securities Course (Honours).
For the last few years, I have worked as an Animal Welfare Veterinarian for the government of Manitoba. I specialize in large animal welfare i.e. horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, Llamas, etc. However, you will often find me working with small companion pets as well.
Has taking control of your money and mastering your personal finances always been your mindset as an adult? Can you share the coles notes version of your financial journey?
I grew up in a frugal home, and the basics of money management, frugality, and industry, were a daily theme during my childhood.
My parents were highly entrepreneurial. Even though my mom and dad both had backgrounds in banking, they went on to create multiple successful businesses through hard work. So, it is fair to say that the idea of pushing the limits to reach success is not foreign territory to me.
I had my first serious side gig at age 16 or so, and throughout college, I had various income-generating business ventures. I was not your average undergrad. I actively traded stocks, FOREX, futures contracts, and invested in mutual funds as an undergrad. My dad was a role model and supporter in this regard.
I have also been an avid reader since my teenage years. In university, I traded reading novels for reading personal finance and motivational books. As an adult, none of these has changed. I consider myself fortunate to have had an upbringing that has largely kept me on the “straight and narrow” when it comes to finances in general.
What strategies and tactics have you implemented in your to life to best set you up for financial success?
As a family, our approach to finances is pretty simple:
- Spend less than we earn and avoid unnecessary debt. While we have a mortgage and have taken out car loans, we always concert our efforts at paying down debt. Credit card debt and their corresponding interest payments are an absolute no-no!
- We make annual budgets and set financial goals relating to our investments, monthly spending, etc.
- I vigorously believe in investing in myself and improving my employability. This has paid huge dividends, resulting in a 92% increase in my income in less than 3 years.
- I stick to passive and index investing strategies, and advocate for others to do so on my blog. This has saved me lots of money in fees and makes it easier to keep my behavioural biases at bay.
Have you made any major financial mistakes? If so, what was the outcome and what did you learn from these mistakes?
Yes, everyone has one of those!
During my university years, I was really into making it quick and big in the financial markets. I paid significant sums of money to attend trading academies and other training programs in my quest to find the holy grail. At some point, I moved away from traditional equities trading into day trading FOREX and e-mini futures. Long story cut short, I lost a ton of money.
These days, I encourage others to keep their investing simple with index funds or to use robo-advisors.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
Yes. While we have not done badly so far, I would like to make more money professionally and from my side gigs.
If you could send a memo to every 18-22 year old in North America about better managing their finances and understanding money but it could only be 3 sentences long, what would that memo be?
Believe in yourself, pursue your dreams, and be prepared to blaze your own trail. Treat money like a tool and use it wisely. Start investing early – remember that compound interest is your best friend.
What are some of the most influential resources that have shaped your money mindset or financial situation?
I read hundreds of influential books as a young man. A few include:
- Think and Grow Rich
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Common Sense on Mutual Funds
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- One Up on Wall Street
None, I have not yet gotten into this new fad. I have my eyes on a couple that come highly recommended, but I have not yet had the time to check them out.
I read widely, and so there are many blogs and websites that have contributed to my financial knowledge. That being said, Boomer and Echo was instrumental to my early understanding of the registered investment accounts available in Canada. I have also always been a fan of Mr. Money Mustache.
Apps or Services
These are some of the financial and cash back apps I love using and recommend.
Based on the current problems you see most commonly facing families or individuals in 2018, are there any savvy tips on saving money on everyday expenses you think is applicable to help most situations?
Excellent question! I have written extensively about how to save money on any income. My money-saving thoughts are best captured in my 100+ Ways Frugal People Save Money Every Day article.
In the same realm, are there some savvy investing and retirement planning tips you feel those at the start of their financial journey need to consider?
I think a great strategy for newbie investors and immigrants who are just starting out is to:
- Understand the varying types of investment accounts, registered vs. non-registered accounts, investment fees and their impact on returns, the power of compound interest.
- Start investing immediately, even if it means setting aside small sums of money. That being said, if you have high-interest debt (such as credit card debt), pay that off first.
- Do not chase returns. Simplify your investing by using low-cost ETFs/index funds, invest with a long-term mentality, and keep things simple, stupid.
- Ultimately, remember to invest in yourself. You are your best asset.
What’s the most savvy decision you’ve made in 2018 when it comes to your personal finances?
Honestly, there is nothing new we are doing with our finances this year other than paying off debt, living frugally, and automating our investing. Same old…same old.
When did you first start blogging? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path?
I have blogged for fun on and off over the years on poetry, strock trading, and other general topics. Savvy New Canadians came into existence in October 2016, although it did not really kick off until around January 2017.
When I started the blog, my initial focus was on writing down my understanding of Canadian investment accounts i.e. the TFSA, RRSP, and RESP. Over time, the blog has taken on a life of its own.
Is there a mission statement or underlying purpose to what you intend to accomplish with Savvy New Canadians?
The basic premise behind my blog is: Personal Finance Education for Canadians. Savvy New Canadians started with the hope of helping “new” Canadians, however, the goal is now much bigger.
Do you have any specific goals with your blog(s) over the next 12 months? What tactics are you planning to leverage to accomplish these?
Yes, I plan to increase readership and traffic over the next year. The blog recently reached the much-vaunted 25,000 monthly sessions milestone, and that has been great. Until this point, my blog growth has been pretty much down to my solo efforts. Yes, all my fault (highly introverted and wary of rejection). I hope to be able to leverage collaborations and productive partnerships over the next little while and also work on my social media game.
If you could recommend 3 of your blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out, what would those be?
- The Complete Guide to Retirement Income For Canadians: This free guide (over 12,000 words) tells Canadians all they need to know about retirement planning, pensions, benefits, investing, and more.
- A Complete Guide To Robo-Advisors: All you need to know about the “who” and “why” for when you want to simplify your investing.
- 35 Best Survey Sites To Make Side Income
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
Not much, other than that if you want to reach your goal (for life and finances), it helps to remember that: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Any special shoutouts?
Scott, I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to you for this opportunity – it is much appreciated!! I would also like to send a shoutout to my Pinterest friend, Ling at Finsavvy Panda.