miniMBA: Basics of Investments – GMCA 2018

The Basics of Investments was a success! The event took place at Ryerson University on June 28, 2018, as part of the Graduate Management Consulting Association (GMCA)‘s miniMBA program. The event was exclusive to St. Michael’s research students. Thanks to the GMCA for letting me take part in this and thanks to the 55 students who took the time to come.

The miniMBA program is a lecture program provides graduate students and post-docs with:

  • A grounding in fundamental business concepts
  • The opportunity to learn from business experts
  • The chance to apply this new knowledge directly to business cases

If you are interested in this program, keep an eye out for registrations for 2019 later in December.

Millennial Paradox

A study by the Bank of America Merrill Edge gives some interesting perspectives as to how millennials think and what we do with our money. Yes, I’m a millennial.

The report states that 63% of millennials “are looking to save a set amount of money or income necessary to enjoy their desired lifestyle.” The report goes further to state that millennials are 81% more likely than their older counterparts to spend money on travel, 65% more likely to spend on dining and 55% more likely to spend on fitness. From this, it looks like we are more interested in saving and spending on shorter-term goals versus long-term goals like retirement.

What I find fascinating about this report is that the majority, or 63%, want to have enough money to live their ideal lifestyle. I suppose for each person this lifestyle is different but it’s interesting how a comfortable retirement doesn’t seem to be a top priority; instead, the focus is the next getaway to a faraway land.

The main issue I see with this mentality is, practicality; how are we going to retire with no savings? Had we had enough savings, we could enjoy our retirement and travel later in life with the money we had saved. If we don’t have savings, we may be working a part-time job at the age of 65.

I’d like to think of this as the millennial paradox. If our ultimate goal is to have the money to live the lifestyle we want, why are we not pursuing that in the long run? Ultimately, without savings, in the long run, this “lifestyle” for the vast majority of individuals will not be sustainable.

I think one of the main issues is we believe that we don’t earn enough to save. Really, that’s an inaccurate assumption. Even $20 out of each of our paychecks is better than nothing. That’s about $1 a day and less than the cost of a coffee. This $20 doesn’t just stay at $20 in value. Assuming we put in something that earns us interest, it will grow. The $20 will earn interest and the interest will earn interest for the next 30 years until retirement. If we could save more, the growth potential increases exponentially.

Another issue is that we just don’t care. I say; wake up! Aging is inevitable, one day we will want a break. The question is, will our finances allow us to take that break?

Beginning

Every learning experience begins somewhere. Financial Literacy is one of the most talked about topics in the media today. Mostly indicating that the general public are sorely lacking in the area.

Many Canadians live paycheck to paycheck with no savings. Others do not pay down their credit card balances on time nor their full balances. The prior can decrease living standards later in life and the latter expends money unnecessarily on interest.

Banks can help you with their advisers but banks are also businesses. They care about making money for themselves as well. Therefore, it’s important for Canadians to know that what they are signing into with these banks aligns with their own interests.

Annual tax returns must be filed for all peoples over the age of 18. With the huge number of forms it’s not exactly comprehensive. Assuming the average Canadian’s income sources don’t vary too much from employment income, this could be a very simple exercise so long as you learn the basics.

Skills in these areas and more are important to function more effectively in modern society and FinLitMe hopes to be your go-to resource in your learning.