I think that this is a standard first post on any blog, you know the kind, the “hey this is why you should listen to me” type of post. To be 100% honest, I’m not a financial expert. Shocker? If you know me, it isn’t. I studied sports business in school and graduated with a B.Comm in 201. Can you guess what my two worst subjects were? You guessed it – finance and accounting.
I always had this hatred of money, although looking back it was always more of a fear. I never talked about money with anyone, I didn’t want to go to the bank and talk to tellers, I didn’t want to think about investing or look at spreadsheets or any of that boring crap. Instead, I just wanted to spend it all.
I had done a 4-month internship in between my 3rd and 4th years of school at Tennis Canada and I was selling tickets for the Rogers Cup. It was a great experience and I had a blast working there, so when the manager called me up during the summer after I graduated and asked me to fill a vacant role for the last 6 weeks leading up to the Rogers Cup (I was still unemployed). I jumped on the opportunity. I mean, I was unemployed so I would have jumped on any opportunity, but that’s besides the point. It wasn’t the craziest amount of money I had ever made, but I was paid enough to cover my expenses and save a bit of money.
Once the tournament finished I was back at square one. No job, barely any savings, no idea about what to do next. My student loans were going to start being due that November, so I had a few months to find a job to try to pay them back. It took me a few months to find it, but I eventually succeeded in securing my first full-time job!
I was so excited that I got a job offer that I didn’t even think before I accepted it, so excited that I overlooked the fact that the job was 100% commission-based and I earned money by selling phone, TV, and internet products to businesses. I got there on my first day, all suited up and looking great, and then it hit me. I was going to have to walk door-to-door in the cold, Canadian winter, selling things to business owners who didn’t want to talk to me, while having 100% commission-based pay. It was not ideal.
As much as I hated this job, I learned a lot while working there that has stayed with me since I left. First, I learned the value of hustling. You don’t make a living in a commission-based sales role unless you work your ass off. For me, that was working my ass off both physically and mentally everyday. Second, I learned that I had to manage my money properly so I could even afford to go to my job. Paying for gas ain’t cheap, and when your income is relatively unstable and insecure, you have to be prepared for the weeks when you aren’t making sales.
There were some weeks when I did really well, where I would bring in over $2,000, and there were some weeks when I didn’t do well and I made less than $100. It was a struggle everyday, but by making sure that I saved enough money from my good weeks to cover the expenses of my bad weeks, I essentially gave myself an on-the-fly education of some basic budgeting skills.
In order to supplement some of my unstable income, I started to sell off some of my things that I no longer used. Unsurprisingly for most guys, it was boxes of old video games. I didn’t make much money doing this, only a few hundred dollars over the course of a couple of months, but it was enough to help cover my gas for a few weeks.
I was lucky enough to move to a great company in a sales role that not only was more secure and more comfortable, but they gave me a steady paycheck as well. Finally breaking free of the paycheck to paycheck life, I was able to focus on starting to accumulate wealth and it was going to be easy, or so I thought.
Seeing my bank account get larger every week was confusing for me – what was I supposed to do with all of this money? I was so excited to finally have some money, and because I was still living with my parents I basically had no expenses except for transportation to work. For the first little while I spent money on everything I could think of, which is funny because now that it’s a year later, I can’t think of what I had spent my money on!
One day, I looked at all of the crap that I had bought – clothes, books, games – and I realized that they weren’t really that important to me and they weren’t the things that made me happy… yet I had spent thousands of dollars on them. I talked to my parents about this and decided it would be best to start investing my money and saving for the future.
I started talking to my friends about this too and figured out that everyone was just as clueless about their personal finances as I was. It’s incredible how something so important to our lives wasn’t taught to us in school.
I realized that if we were all in the same boat, there were probably many other millennials in Canada that were as well. This is why I’m starting Millennial Mon’Eh. I’m by no means a financial expert, as I have previously mentioned, but I’m in the same boat as all other students, recent grads, and 20-somethings. I’m just like the rest of you, so I want to share the knowledge I gain as I learn more and more about personal finance in Canada.
Thanks for reading, eh!