I’m not a “numbers person” in any way, shape or form. As a creative type, I’d much rather chat about fashion, beauty, food, or photography. Heck, I’d even prefer to talk about sports! Of course, there are times in life when you can’t avoid talking about numbers. More specifically, personal finances.
I know that talking about personal finances is not a fun subject for most people. It’s not a glamorous topic and in a lot of cases, it can be stressful to discuss. Whether you have money in your savings, or you’re drowning in debt, the idea of home ownership (or retirement) feels out of reach for a lot of millennials; myself included.
Even though retirement and home ownership feels out of reach, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be saving for these things. I know I talk a lot about shopping, beauty, eating out and other forms of spending, but the truth is, I’m a saver, too! This is why I’m excited to partner with Meridian Credit Union to help you learn to defy the retirement odds.
Retirement? That Feels Impossible!
If you’re in your twenties or thirties, the odds are, you’re not thinking much about retirement. A lot of us (myself included) are still trying to establish ourselves in our careers and money is tight. At this point in my life, I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to retire. I don’t own a home, I don’t have a pension and I definitely don’t make a lot of money. I’m self-employed at the moment, but even when I had a full-time job, I felt like I didn’t make enough money to be thinking that far ahead into the future.
But, It’s Not Too Early to Plan
As a fashion and lifestyle blogger, I speak a lot about consumerism. I share some of my outfits so you can get inspired to go shopping for new clothes. I share some of my favourite beauty products, which I recommend for you to try. In addition, I share some of my favourite restaurants and even some travel destinations, both local and abroad. With the exception of some of my posts about blogging tips and the occasional lifestyle post, almost everything I blog about can be purchased.
I don’t blog about these types of things because I’m trying to “sell you” on anything. Rather, I genuinely love spending my hard earned money! It feels great to shop. I believe that you should treat yourself on a regular basis and enjoy your hard earned money.
That doesn’t mean I don’t consider my future. I’d never spend my whole paycheque on clothing or accessories. Obviously, I’d love to own a Chanel bag, but I can’t justify the purchase. As much as I love to shop, I’m realistic about what I can afford and I’m smart about saving.
Saving Since ’05
I worked a little bit during high school, but it wasn’t until graduating that I had a consistent part-time job; at a clothing store. It was a store that I loved and we got paid weekly. Naturally, I wanted to buy all the things!
Shortly after I started working there, my parents instilled the importance of savings into my mind. They encouraged me to put aside a little bit of money, each week. At the time, I found that incredibly annoying, but I did it anyway. What can I say, I’ve never been the rebellious type! Every week when I deposited my cheque, I put a small amount into my savings account. Eventually, it became a habit. Because I saved money, I was able to pay for University, travel to Punta Cana for reading week, purchase my first Macbook and even buy my first car. I shopped a lot too, believe me! None of the girls at work understood how I was able to do it.
That time in my life taught me the importance of saving money. The habit has stayed with me well into my twenties. I’m proud of the fact that I have money in the bank, and I’ve started a financial portfolio.
One of the issues that a lot of millennials have is knowing how to start saving their money. Even if you don’t have much to work with, it’s still worth discussing your options, as well as determining a realistic savings plan. This is where Meridian Credit Union comes into play.
About Meridian Credit Union
Meridian Credit Union has been around for over 70 years and is Ontario’s largest credit union. As a credit union, Meridian is similar to a traditional bank, in the sense that they offer all of the services and products that you need to manage your personal (or business) finances. The key difference is that Meridian Credit Union is owned by its members. If you bank with a credit union, you have a say in how your bank operates. A credit union is a not-for-profit institution, which means they can offer higher interest rates to their customers. Higher interest = more money for you!
My Experience At Meridian
I’d never been to a Meridian before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in for my appointment. To my surprise, the space felt inviting and the staff were friendly. Shortly after my arrival, I was greeted by my advisor, Gloria. We spent about an hour together, which gave me time to explain my financial situation, income, and goals for the future. We also chatted through some of the steps I can take to achieve my goals.
Before my appointment, I was nervous that they would try to sell me on a new credit card or service I didn’t need. After all, that’s what happens when I visit my bank! Not once did I feel pressured to sign up for anything. Instead, my appointment was informative and personal. This is because building a rapport with their Members is very important to the team at Meridian Credit Union. They genuinely want to help!
Tips for Saving for Retirement
When I met with my advisor at Meridian Credit Union, she knew that I was going to be blogging about the experience. This is why, she was willing to offer some more general advice, that’s applicable to other millennials trying to save for home ownership and eventually, retirement. Here’s a few takeaways that I wanted to share:
- Budgeting is often the best way to stick with a savings plan
- When putting together a budget, determine a realistic amount to be saving…and then just do it!
- It’s never to early to start saving – even if it’s just a few dollars at a time
- Work with an advisor, who can help you achieve your goals and get you started
- Set up a savings account that will offer you the highest interest
- If you invest in RRSP’s, you get a refund on your tax return (an advisor can explain why)
Saving for the Future as a Millennial
Obviously, I’ll spare you the details of my personal financial plan, but after meeting with my advisor at Meridian Credit Union, I feel a lot better about where I’m heading. One of my goals is to own a home, but it’s always felt like the impossible to me. Gloria assured me that if I stick to my plan, it’s not as far off as I think it is. Given my past success with saving and her 30+ years experience, I trust that she knows what she’s talking about.
What’s the takeaway from all of this? Start saving!
If you’re a young professional, I hope that you give some serious thought about saving for your future. It’s never too early, and no amount is too small. Even if you put aside $25/week, that’s $1300/year!
Saving for home ownership or retirement is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’ve never done so before, I recommend that you book an appointment with a financial advisor. No matter who your advisor, their job is to help and set you up with a plan that works for you.
Thank you to Meridian Credit Union for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own and I’m proud to be a part of their #MCUTipTheScale campaign.