Client confidential: Derek McKinley

By Susan Goldberg | March 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 10, 2017
3 min read


Children’s entertainer and owner of Sing Song Party Time





I’ve been investing:

For about a year

I plan to retire:

Never! “If my body is able, I’m going to do this for as long as I can. Why would I want to stop doing something that I love?”

Investable assets:

Low six figures (pension buyout, plus wife’s RRSP savings)

How long we’ve had an advisor:

Less than two years

Falling prey to credit

In my first year of university, I had 11 credit cards. If somebody offered me a T-shirt to sign up for a card, I did it. I ended up carrying balances on all of them, with about $10,000 to $15,000 of debt. At one point, I even lent a card to my sister so she could buy Christmas presents. A friend told me, “You’ve got to stop this.” She helped me cancel the accounts and consolidate the debt. I was able to pay off the cards within a couple of years. Today, my wife Allison and I have one credit card, and we try never to carry a balance. Right now, though, we do have a balance because we’re both starting our own businesses; Allison just opened her new salon.


When the idea of getting a financial advisor first came up, my first thought was, “Why? We don’t have anything to invest.” But our advisor is interested in working with us because she can see we are on the cusp of exciting and fulfilling careers and businesses, and she’s really supportive of that.

From desk jockey to children’s entertainer

I had a secure government job with benefits and a pension. It allowed me to take parental leaves at 93% of my salary with both my sons, who are now three and four.

During my second leave, I began playing music for my sons and creating silly songs for them. Soon, people started asking me to perform at birthday parties. From there, it began to grow to schools, fairs and festivals throughout the province. I took an unpaid leave to develop the business, and I formally quit in May 2015. That, combined with childcare and some part-time modelling and acting gigs, is my full-time job. It’s what I’ve always been meant to do.

Getting advice

We met our financial advisor through word of mouth: one of my wife’s clients recommended her. We felt fortunate that she was interested in taking us on; she’s used to working with people with a lot higher net worth. She came to us for our first meeting because our kids were young and we couldn’t leave them. She’s helped us decide what to do with my pension money: three-quarters will be invested in RRSPs, and the rest will pay down our business debts. She got us a better rate for life insurance and will be helping us with estate planning. She’s helped set up an RESP. And, our insurance and mutual funds are with companies that support only renewable resources, which is in line with our values. She’s been amazing.

Susan Goldberg is a financial journalist based in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Susan Goldberg headshot

Susan Goldberg

Susan is an award-winning freelance writer and editor based in Thunder Bay, Ont. She has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years.