From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series – Savvy New Canadians
Today, I am excited to share with you the ninth interview in the From Broke to Financially Woke series! The purpose of this series it to give hope to those struggling to escape from the not so secret group Broke Phi Broke. A group whose chant is, “We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke! We ain’t got it. Broke, Broke, Phi Broke!”
To help me accomplish this goal, I have invited the best and brightest of the financial independence community here to share their stories. As you read their interviews, pay close attention to the mistakes they made. Take mental note of the success principles they used to turn things around.
When trying to apply these principles to your own life, realize that success in life is rarely linear. You will encounter some struggles. But stay persistent. Keep moving forward.
Our special guest today is Enoch. His story is a perfect example of success not being linear; he certainly had his share of ups and downs. Let’s see what did to put himself and his wife on the right path…
Introduce yourself. Where do you blog? What are some of your interests outside of financial independence?
Hello! My name is Enoch and I blog at SavvyNewCanadians.com. I reside in Winnipeg, Canada, with my wife and our two boys. I am a veterinarian by profession.
My hobbies have varied over the years from poetry writing to breeding ornamental fishes. Currently, I love golfing and biking in the 3-4 months that the weather allows it in ‘Winterpeg.’
Tell us about a time where you were a member of Broke Phi Broke. How did living paycheck to paycheck make you feel as a person? At your lowest point, how much debt did you have?
I have a been a member of the Broke Phi Broke club a few times in my life. I did not start out that way. After graduation from veterinary college, I was pretty well set with a thriving ‘fish breeding’ business, a good-looking investment portfolio, and a positive outlook on life.
Due to my decade-long interest in finance and investments, I sold off my business and headed off to the United Kingdom for a postgraduate degree in finance. 18 months later, I was flat broke and desperately looking for a real job. I had spent all my money on tuition, living expenses, and poor investment choices.
I eventually recovered. For a while that is, until I got married and we decided to immigrate to Canada. I had to go back to school to have my degrees recognized and to be able to practice as a veterinarian in the country.
During this time, my wife and I lived paycheck to paycheck and my self-confidence took a big hit. Life was hard, we took on personal loans, but were able to avoid credit card debt. Day-to-day living consisted of studies, low-paying side hustles, and a lot of worry for the future.
What are some of your biggest financial mistakes?
My biggest financial mistake was believing that I could discover the “Holy Grail” of investing and make it big overnight. I have generally been very good with money and avoided credit card debt all my life. However, I lost thousands of dollars pursuing hot trading tips and utilizing high-risk trading strategies.
At age 28, I lost my entire trading capital in the futures markets and it was probably the worst and best day of my life. Worst, because I lost all the money I was banking on to reach my first million dollar milestone. Best, because I finally realized my folly.
Describe your upbringing. Where did you grow up? What did your parents or teachers teach you about money?
I grew up in Nigeria and was brought up by extremely frugal and hardworking parents. I learned that industry was good early on and earned a wage working at my parent’s businesses as a teenager.
My parents taught me to avoid debt like the plague, which is one of the main reasons why I have avoided credit card debt even when the going was tough and the allure of easy money was so tempting. Their motto was to always “live within your means.”
My parents were also strong advocates for getting an education, and have been instrumental to helping me get to where I am today.
How important is becoming financially woke to you? What steps have you taken to increase your financial knowledge?
Becoming financially savvy has been my goal right from my teenage years when I used to read the business magazines my Dad subscribed to for his stock portfolio. This interest in financial education is what led me to obtain a masters degree in finance from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
While I have strayed from sound investment principles in the past, these days I advice others to keep their investing simple.
What are some of the key principles you have used to improve your financial life?
My wife and I try to live within our means. We spend less than we earn and prioritize paying off/down debts quickly. We utilize a variety of smart saving tips to ensure we reach the financial goals we set monthly, quarterly, and annually.
In addition to saving what we can, I have leveraged my education and skills to increase my income every year. In the past four years, I have been able to more than double my income. We try to avoid lifestyle inflation as much as possible.
We automate our savings, minimize our investment fees, and continue to invest regularly irrespective of how the financial markets are behaving.
How often do you consume personal finance information? Name 3-5 of your favorites sources (books, podcasts, blogs, etc.).
As a personal finance blogger, I consume financial information all the time. I am a fan of several finance blogs including Mr. Money Mustache. I have previously listed some of my favorite personal finance blogs. I also like the podcast on Choose FI.
Where are you on the path to financial freedom now?
We are still ways away from achieving financial freedom, however, my goal is to retire from the 9-5 grind in about 13 years.
Retirement for me would be fairly busy because I don’t do very well doing nothing. After achieving financial freedom, I would definitely continue with some of my side hustles and some part-time work.
Is there any advice/encouraging words you can give those who are struggling to escape Broke Phi Broke?
Based on what has worked for me, my advice would be to:
- Cut your expenses: There is almost no way (apart from winning the lottery or getting an inheritance) to improve your finances if your expenses continue to exceed your income month after month. Spend less, pay off debt, and start saving.
- Increase your income: You can only cut your expenses by so much. Give yourself some flexibility by increasing your income. Work harder and smarter. Start a side hustle. Find part-time work.
- Start investing for your future: The best time to start investing was yesterday. Put money aside…no matter how little and watch it grow over time.
- Believe in yourself: You, even you, can make it. If you set your heart to achieve your goals and are willing to pay the price, you can escape Broke Phi Broke.
How can the readers contact you?
I can be reached via email at info [at] savvynewcanadians [dot] com or via my social media profiles:
Questions to Ponder
- Have you ever tried to utilize high-risk trading strategies? How did that work out for you?
- When is the best time to start investing?
- Would you like to share your story of how you escaped Broke Phi Broke? Email me at email@example.com.
Read more interviews in the From Broke to Financially Woke Series.
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Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.
If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?
For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.
Before you go, check out the new From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series.
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2 thoughts on “From Broke to Financially Woke Interview Series – Savvy New Canadians”
Thanks for the feature, Jerry!
You are welcome, Enoch! Thanks a lot for taking the time to contribute to the series.