Victoria Summerhill Fox
Administrative assistant & web manager at Birthright International
I’ve been investing:
I plan to retire:
when I can maintain a lifestyle as a homeowner and occasional world traveller
I’ve Been with my advisor:
Born a saver
As a kid, I regularly deposited my birthday cash and babysitting wages in a savings account. At 14, I visited the bank and asked what I could do with the accumulated funds. I walked away the proud owner of a GIC—my first investment. I don’t remember the interest rate, but that GIC helped me save enough to buy my first car at 18.
Having the talk
When I started living on my own at 20, I was forced to maintain a budget, and I knew I should do something more with my savings. I made an appointment to discuss my finances with my father, who’s a financial advisor registered with Manulife Securities. He showed me a graphic I’ll never forget; it showed how to become a millionaire at various ages, depending on how early you start and how much you invest. I was struck by the idea that, with time and the power of compound interest, even I could be a millionaire by saving only a few dollars each month. It’s my biggest investment lesson: start early.
At that meeting, I told my father my financial goals: home ownership, emergency savings and retirement. He suggested I open an RRSP and a TFSA, so I did, splitting my funds 80/20 between the two. My investments are low- to medium-risk because I will soon take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan. I probably wouldn’t have an advisor if it weren’t for my father, so I count myself lucky. He’s given me a working understanding of financial concepts—my risk profile, how mutual funds work —which has boosted my confidence. I review my RRSP and TFSA annually and I add any surprise lump sums, like a bonus or a paycheque from an extra job.
My generation has different consumption habits from previous generations. Because some of us don’t have the stable, long-term jobs that support large mortgage and car payments, we’ve helped feed the condo craze, as well as services like car sharing. Still, my motivation to invest stems from the same two icons as past generations: houses and cars. I bought a new car a couple of years ago after my first one broke down. I love the independence and accessibility to friends, who are scattered in various regions, that my car provides. I’ve encouraged my sister and fiancé to start saving. I tell them that any amount matters because time is on our side.
Photography by John Packman; Bird: Eric Isselée/Thinkstock
by Michelle Schriver, a Toronto-based editor and writer