Today Gloria is joined by her friend Ivan who is a Registered Nurse. We chat about a variety of personal finance topics. The main goal of this podcast is to normalize conversations about money, and hope that this sparks similar conversations with your friends and family. We’ll go over different types of pensions, life insurance, how to negotiate prices when buying big ticket items, his career path and some investing lessons learned.

Key Takeaways

  1. Shop around the get the best deal. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price down for big-ticket items, like furniture. For example, ask for the floor model. Each Brick is its own franchise with its own bargaining room, so be sure to visit different locations and see what kind of deals you can get.
  2. Price match to ensure you’re getting the best deal! For groceries in Ontario, you can price match at FreshCo, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and Giant Tiger. Other places that do price matching are: Canadian Tire, Staples, Best Buy, and Home Hardware. Here’s a list of places where you’re able to price match .
  3. Be patient with your shopping list! Go back to the stores frequently (or check back on the website) to see if the items you want are on sale.
  4. Life insurance premiums increase as you get older, so if you plan on having a family then it’s a good idea to purchase it sooner rather than later. Again – shop around for this.
  5. Pay attention to the kind of pension you receive and make sure you participate!
    • A defined contribution (DC) pension is one where the retirement payout is not known, what is defined is the amount of money that you put in.
    • A defined benefit (DB) pension is one that guarantees you a certain amount when you retire, so you’re able to plan ahead better with the knowledge of what you will receive when you retire.
    • Nowadays, defined benefit pensions are hard to come by in the private sector but is still common in the public sector.
    • The difference is that with a defined benefit, the amount you receive in retirement is known, whereas with defined contribution it is not known – that all depends on how to investment performs over time.

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Today Gloria is joined by her friends Jill and Maddy. We talk about investing for the long term. We go over investing basics – asset classes, risk tolerance, and different options for investing. We also discuss our investing strategies and stories. We also get into whether there are gender differences in investing. Canadians, 2021 means $6,000 more in TFSA (tax-free savings account) contribution room! Let’s get this bread!

Key Takeaways

  1. Investing is all about making money while you sleep. You invest your money and then generate passive income through dividends and capital gains when you sell the security. There is an important distinction between saving and investing. When you have your money in a savings account, you’re basically losing money because interest rates are so low and does not keep up with the rate of inflation. Whereas, when you invest – your money is growing at a steady rate (though there is risk involved), historically the stock market as a whole has grown over time.
  2. ETF stands for exchange-traded fund which is typically a collection of securities that track an underlying index. This can be stocks or bonds. Examples are the S&P 500, which is comprised of the 500 largest US companies, or the Agg, which is the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index which is comprised of US government and corporate bonds.
  3. Ways you can invest:
    • Robo advisors – this is ETF based investing, and it’s done automatically for you
    • DIY through a discount brokerage ( or through your bank – you pick stocks or ETFs
    • Mutual funds – an actively managed fund that invests on your behalf, a collection of securities similar to ETFs but are managed actively but a professional
    • GICs – you can buy these through your bank
  4. You are able to find out your TFSA contribution room on your CRA website account

Listen Now!

Sources/Further Reading

Harvard Business Review – When will we see more gender equality in investing?

The CFA Institute – The equality equation: three reasons why the gender investing gap is closing

The New York Times – A trillion-dollar question: why don’t more women run mutual funds

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Runda is back! This week’s episode is more Bitcoin focused, as we discuss the history of Bitcoin, the recent all time highs in Bitcoin price we’re seeing and the potential reasons for it, and once you’ve done your own due diligence – how to enter the market. We also chat about why it’s important to fund disruptive technologies. Hope this helps others understand Bitcoin better!

Key Takeaways

  1. Bitcoin surfaced on the internet in 2008, and a paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto detailed how to use a peer-to-peer network to record transactions.
  2. Three ways to buy Bitcoin:
    • Online, through an exchange. Once you have a Bitcoin wallet set up, you can buy fractional Bitcoin (it can be up to 8 decimal points) through crypto exchanges. These typically accept bank wires and Interac e-transfers. Some examples are Coinbase and Bitbuy
    • In person, at a Bitcoin ATM. You may have seen Bitcoin ATMs pop up in convenience stores around your neighbourhood in the past several years. This is a way to buy BTC anonymously, but they often charge high fees that are markups of 6-8% on top of the current BTC price.
    • On the stock market. You are able to purchase Bitcoin ETFs, such as QBTC-U.TO on the TSX. You are also able to buy shares of Bitcoin mining companies, and companies that are heavily invested in Bitcoin on their balance sheet (i.e. Microstrategy and Square). Their share price will be correlated with the price of Bitcoin, as they have exposure to the asset.
  3. Bitcoin’s price has surged recently due to a number of reasons, including increased institutional adoption, inflation, better regulation and more ways to enter the market, Bitcoin halving events – indication that it is a scarce resource, driving price up.

Listen Now!

Links/Further Reading

Bitcoin.org

Bloomberg Article – Fidelity launches inaugural bitcoin fund

Forbes Article – JP Morgan suddenly appears to be going all in on crypto

Investopedia Article – Why does Bitcoin keep going up

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Today Gloria is joined by her friend Runda. They discuss what cryptocurrency and what blockchain is, how it works and how it’s revolutionized accounting. We chat about things you need to know before investing in cryptocurrency. Hope this helps others understand cryptocurrency better!

Key Takeaways

  1. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that are encrypted. There is no central bank so it’s decentralized.
  2. Think of blockchain as a giant history book of transactions. Each transaction is verified by different computers on the network.
  3. All cryptocurrencies have a blockchain but not all blockchain have associated cryptocurrencies.

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Links/Further Reading

Bitcoin.org

Investopedia explains Blockchain

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Today Gloria is joined by her friends Patrick and Alex. They discuss the FIRE, or financial independence retire early movement. We chat about what the movement is, how to get there, our journeys, and why we want to reach FI. We also get into how to talk about money with your partner, and Patrick and Alex share their perspectives on money, happiness and being transparent with regard to money when in a relationship. Hope this inspires others to perhaps begin their own FI journey, whatever that may look like.

Key Takeaways

  1. You’ve technically reached “FI” once you have invested 25x your annual expenses. You can withdraw 4% and live off of your investments and can now live a work optional life!
  2. Have very transparent conversations about money when you’re in a relationship with someone
  3. Don’t get caught up in what others do on social media or in your circle – make sure you are aligned on what your priorities are and that leads into how you build your relationship with money
  4. Personal finance is personal. It’s your money – you can do whatever you want with it

Listen Now!

Links

Mr Money Mustache Blog

FI Calculator

Reddit – FICAN

Reddit – Financial Independence

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Today Gloria is joined by her friend Isabel. They discuss the origins of gift giving, the 2020 consumer holiday outlook, ways to save money on gifts, DIY and sustainable gift ideas. Hope this inspires others sleigh on a budget this holiday season!

Key Takeaways

  1. Be up front and ask your friends if they even want to give gifts, or if they just want to hang out. The present is your presence!
  2. Make a list and stick to it. Shop sales throughout the year to cross things off your list and avoid last minute shopping. Planning ahead saves you money!
  3. DIY your gifts! Make something thoughtful or edible. I’m going to be gifting loaves of my sourdough bread.
  4. Create a sinking fund for holiday gifts and entertainment by putting some money away each paycheque or monthly. Automate this, and by the time the holidays roll around – you will have accumulated guilt-free money to spend over the holidays!

Listen Now!

 

Links

The Atlantic article on holiday gift giving

Plant a tree on behalf of someone

PwC’s Consumer Holiday Outlook Survey

Waste Reduction Week Canada

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Steph and Alex are back again! We discuss meal prep, cooking at home, snacking to prevent take out cravings, and tips and tricks to make the most out of the food you buy. Hope this inspires others to cook at home more to save money!

Key Takeaways

  1. Tracking your expenses, especially for food can be very eye-opening and help you gain perspective on how to better allocate your spending, and maybe inspire you to cook at home more so that you’re able to spend money on other things
  2. Costco (or any grocery store) rotisserie chickens are great value, so versatile, and last for so many meals! Definitely a good option if you’re in a pinch
  3. Meal prep kits are fun but on the pricey side – it’s recommended that you purchase with a coupon code, they’re so easy to find (links below for Hello Fresh and Good Food)
  4. Planning ahead saves you money, whether it’s having snacks on hand or planning your meals throughout the week

Listen Now!

Links

Toronto Life’s breakdown of Toronto’s best grocery delivery services

COVID-19 Online Food Activity Study

Steph on Instagram

Recipe Sites (and a link to the Big Mac Pizza recipe)

Minimalist Baker

Cookie + Kate

Budget Bytes

Basically by Bon Appetit

Big Mac Pizza

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Today Gloria is joined by her friends Stephanie and Alexandra. They discuss budgeting habits, how to save money while grocery shopping, and some tips and tricks to make the most out of the food you buy. Hope this inspires others to reduce food waste, price match, and shop local! Steph’s favourite non-hobby hobby is grocery shopping, so you know that she has the best tips.

Ten tips to save you money while grocery shopping:

  1. Go in with a list – know what you need to get and stick to the list
  2. Take stock of what you already have to make sure you don’t buy the same thing you already have
  3. Price match! Download an app like Reebee or Flipp to see flyers, and shop at a grocery store that price match
  4. Instead of ordering in, pick something up from the grocery store to supplement what you already have and cook a fun meal at home – it makes you more excited to cook at home
  5. If there’s a farmer’s market in your area, go late in the day for discounts
  6. To reduce food waste, prep and freeze produce you’re not going to use so it’s ready for use in the future. Listen to the pod to find out what you can freeze – you might be surprised!
  7. Use Flashfood to reduce food waste and buy reduced items
  8. Buy house brand/generic brand instead of brand name
  9. Don’t shop while hungry!!
  10. Keep herbs in water (and switch water out each day) to increase shelf life

Links
Steph on Instagram

Flashfood

Reebee  

Flipp

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Referrals
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Welcome to SEASON TWO of MI$$ FINDEPENDENT!! I’m so excited to share this with you. In season one, we learned the basics of how to get our finances in order. In season two, Gloria will be opening the floor, using the podcast as a chill forum to normalize conversations about money.

Today she is joined by her friend Sachiko, who is building a campervan from scratch. They discuss Sachiko’s motivation behind the project, her relationship with money, budgeting for the build, and also budgeting for taking a year off to travel in the van. Hope this inspires others to get started on the project you have been thinking of starting – whether it is building a campervan of your own, beginning that marathon training, or starting a side hustle. Just do the damn thing!

Links

Sachiko’s spreadsheet tools – have you seen her budgets?? You should take a look:
https://road-to-pitches.com/spreadsheet-tools

Road to Pitches on Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWZDNjCrCLHeFA9oSj4QSXQ

Listen now:

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I have always been interested in mindfulness and meditation, but have yet to create a habit that stuck. Over the years, I have tried to meditate for a couple days in a row and be met with so much mind-wandering that I was discouraged from continuing. Since physical distancing measures were put into place, and we are encouraged to stay home, there are fewer things to distract me from meditation and a lot more reason to commit to it.

To tie this in with money – I begin all of my podcast episodes with asking my guests, “What is your relationship with money?” The answer is not always positive. Money can be stressful, money can be shame inducing. We work for money, we need money to sustain our livelihoods. Being mindful is being aware of the present moment, and I think that the practice of mindfulness and meditation can help us be more aware of many different aspects of our lives, including money.

It’s important to practice mindfulness with regard to your relationship with money so that you become more aware of your spending and saving habits, leading to a more positive relationship with money going forward.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I’ve heard this length of time in popular culture and seen a lot of “30-day challenges” around the internet. This is a myth. With a quick Google, 21 days to form a habit has been debunked countless times. According to a study done by Phillippa Lally at the University College of London and published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it took participants 18-254 days to form a habit. So the time it takes to form a habit is different for everyone, and it’s ok to miss a day or two. The key is to be consistent overall and commit to making your goal stick. It’s all mental game.

I’ve decided to meditate for at least ten minutes each day for 60 days to get me started on what will ideally be a lifelong practice. I’m proud to say that I have completed over 60 consecutive days and will continue to meditate each day. These are my reflections.

Meditation Practice
To guide me through my meditation practice, I use an app called Insight Timer. It has thousands of free guided meditations, a timer with different sounds you can customize, and some free courses. You can sort the meditations by the length of time and also search by keyword, for example, meditations for mornings, sleep, gratitude, etc. It took me a while to get into the habit, but now I meditate when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I like the guided beginner Vipassana meditation.

Day One
I lay on my yoga mat in savasana and tried to inhale for four seconds and exhale for six over the span of ten minutes. It was difficult because various thoughts of my day kept on popping into my head. I had to visualize them as balloons filled with helium, acknowledged, and then let them go up into the air. It was hard to breathe deeply through my belly, I found that my chest was restricted and they became shallow breaths instead. Not sure if that is a function of the anxiety I was feeling at the time, or because I haven’t practiced deep belly breathing in a while.

After that, I decided it would be better to create a habit beginning with a trigger. That would be waking up, getting ready for the day, meditating before eating breakfast, and also after getting ready for bed. This made it easier to get into the habit of it, and also helped with reducing my screen time at night.

Day Thirty
It has become kind of habitual to meditate in the morning and night, and my mind wandering has decreased although there is still a long way to go. Some days are easier than others, and that is perfectly ok. It is my personal meditation journey and whatever I feel is valid. Something I’m also practicing is being kinder to myself. We are our own worst critics, but we can train ourselves not to be.

One of the guided meditations that I have enjoyed guides the listener through a breathing exercise that is based on counting the breaths – inhale for a count of four, then hold it for a count of seven, then exhale to a count of eight. It was pretty hard for me to hold my breath for a count of seven, so that really kept me focused and in the moment.

Another kind of meditation that helps me focus is mantra meditation, where you inhale, silently say a mantra, exhale and silently say a mantra. This helps keep the mind from wandering.

Some nights I listen to a chant meditation and fall asleep to it.

Day Sixty
Meditating every day has made me more aware of my breathing patterns as well as my thoughts. It has taught me to breathe through the difficult moments and live more in the present moment, be absorbed in my current state as opposed to worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. It has taught me to be more kind and patient with myself. This is key for me, as someone who has always been tough on myself. It has reduced my mind wandering and increased my overall sense of well being.

All in all, I’m really glad that I made the effort to incorporate a meditation practice into my daily life and think that it will continue to be part of my life into the foreseeable future. Though it was off to a rough start, getting into the habit of meditation really became a game-changer. I would recommend that anyone and everyone start meditating, I think we could all use a bit more zen in our lives, especially through this weird, challenging time.