Client Confidential: Chenny Xia

By Allan Janssen | March 14, 2022 | Last updated on March 14, 2022
3 min read
Chenny Xia
Christopher Lawson

This article appears in the March 2022 issue of Advisor’s Edge magazine. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.

City: Toronto

Age: 32

Occupation: Co-founder and CEO of Gotcare

Assets & liabilities: Net worth of about $1 million, split between two real estate properties (75%) and a self-directed RRSP and TFSA (25%). That does not include her equity stake in Gotcare, the health-care company she founded with Carol and Rod MacDonald.

Up close and personal

I’ve always had a very complicated relationship with money. To help pay for school (Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver) I worked two jobs — one at a coffee shop, starting at 5 in the morning, and the other at Pan Pacific Vancouver as an events support worker, often working until midnight. On top of that, I started my own company, Pixelbot, doing human-centred design projects to help companies’ staff and clients. I found my first project on Craigslist, which was way less sketchy then. I would never recommend this for someone getting into design now!

Getting started on the right foot

I started Pixelbot while I was in university. That design work kept me so busy that I attracted the attention of Small Business B.C., which wanted to know why my business was not properly registered. And my profs wanted to know why I wasn’t showing up in classes. Thankfully, when they saw what I was doing, they actually marked me on my Pixelbot work so I could graduate. One of them nominated me for Canada’s Next 36, an entrepreneurial training and support program. That’s how I ended up moving to Toronto.

Serial entrepreneur

Pixelbot was all about helping businesses through change, essentially solving problems for our clients. Eventually I realized that it was far better to help companies understand where they wanted to go and lead them on the path to get there. So, we rebranded as Journey. I kind of stumbled into entrepreneurship because I realized I had forgotten how to be a good employee. Being a leader and being a soldier are very different things. I tried really, really hard to be a good soldier but I never could develop that muscle.

Early investment success

When I was 19, I bought a home in Vancouver with someone else. This was in the days of 0% down. When we sold it a couple of years later, we made some money. When I moved to Toronto, I was able to buy a little condo that also appreciated nicely. So real estate has been very good for me. I also bought less than $100 worth of Bitcoin in 2013, mostly as a joke. I ended up selling it for almost $100,000. I wouldn’t do it again. I don’t know enough about crypto and I don’t like taking risks. When you grow up in extreme poverty, you tend to be very careful with your money.

Finding the right advisor

I really liked having a financial advisor for a while, through a branch at one of the big banks. It was nice to have someone walk you through investment decisions and bounce ideas off. I loved it. The problem was the advisor never lasted long enough for us to develop a true relationship. It was like a revolving door. There wasn’t even a transition. Suddenly they would be gone, and I’d be like, “What am I going to do? Catch up a whole new person from scratch?” I just thought I could do this on my own, and I started self-directing. And if I need specific services, I know how to find the right person to help. I draw on my business skills for that.

Getting comfortable with money

I’ve had a very steady-as-she-goes journey. Gains have been steady and moderate. I don’t identify as a speculator. I used to be very conservative in my investing style. Now I might be considered moderate. But when you grow up with a scarcity mindset, you always believe that your financial success could end at any time. I had such a combative relationship with money for so much of my life. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t had all that anxiety all the time. But you have to go through what you have to go through in order to grow to be who you become.

Allan Janssen headshot

Allan Janssen

Allan has been a journalist for nearly 40 years, writing for daily newspapers, consumer magazines and trade publications both in Canada and abroad. He has been with Newcom’s financial team since 2020. Email him at