Brenna and Damian MacInnis


Registered dietician and department manager, Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital (Brenna); executive director, Strait Area Chamber of Commerce (Damian)


Port Hood, N.S.


30 (Brenna); 32 (Damian)

We’ve been investing since:


We plan to retire:

as soon as possible— by 55 (Brenna) and 60 (Damian)

Investable assets:

about $250,000

How long I’ve had an advisor:

since 2009; 1½ years with our current advisor

Early lessons

We each had a parent who was a saver and a parent who was a spender. So it’s little surprise that Brenna is a saver, and Damian a spender. But neither of us had financial skills when we were younger, except for knowing how to write cheques.
In our twenties, we worked in Nunavut—Brenna in public health and Damian in economic development—and had enough disposable income to start investing. The advisor at the bank suggested Brenna put her savings in a TFSA, so for a few years she contributed more than the maximum annual amount. But if we’d done some research or sought another opinion, we could’ve better balanced Brenna’s investments between both her TFSA and RRSP.

We’re expecting our first child, and we’ll help her or him develop the financial skills we never had. Damian’s already getting practice because he teaches a high school course on financial literacy. His business background, along with the investing experience he’s gained, makes him a good candidate to teach teens. He understands young people have trouble seeing the importance of saving. Hopefully, our child can take advantage of courses like that, in addition to independent learning. We’d like our child to know when to accept a bit of risk. We’ll tie an allowance to household chores so he or she understands the value of work.

Comfort zone

We’re building a house in our hometown, so we sought an advisor to get our finances on track. The first advisor didn’t show up, but the second put us at ease. He won us over with his approachability and plain language. He showed us our savings projections and continues to follow up often, which we appreciate. We can ask lots of questions and know he’ll respond thoughtfully, without pressuring us to make immediate decisions. He helped us decide whether Brenna should transfer her pension from her previous employer to her current one. Now that we have a retirement plan, we’re confident in our future. We keep an eye out for opportunities that can improve our community’s future. For example, Brenna’s invested in Celtic Current, a wind turbine project in Cape Breton. Expected returns are good, and invested funds stay in the community.

by Michelle Schriver, assistant editor of Advisor Group.