Last night I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by Tangerine Bank and their ‘Forward Thinking’ Blog folks. Mostly attended by financial literacy bloggers and those in the industry, attendees were encouraged to bring their fin lit nerd side out and indulge spending the evening talking about saving and spending behaviours.
Hosted at Tangerine’s downtown cafe, the event brought together the minds of Preet Banerjee, columnist at the Globe and Mail, Krystal Yee and Cait Flanders, two high profile financial literacy bloggers (Cait is on year 2 of her shopping ban!, which she records her progress here: http://blondeonabudget.ca.) Joe Snyder and Silvio Stroescu, the final two panelists gave industry perspective on the future of banking and how to get to achieve your savings or retirement goals. Armed with a drink and a great crowd to mingle with, the evening really did seek to come up with what we can do to make financial literacy more accessible and how people can be in control of their finances however also gave the audience the chance to pick the minds of the individuals with their own questions in a ‘speed dating style’ event where you could sign up with the panelists after and get accessible advice in lieu of a formal q and a session.
points from the night I found value to take away from. Silvio brought up the stat that only about half of our population is retirement ready, or rather for every 2 people, 1 is retirement ready and the other is not. The easy fix for this is really just to identity what group you fall into, and if you do end up being in the latter, ask the person next to you what they are doing, and just copy them. Chances are that best practices and good tips are only a person away. Silvio also went on to talk about the incredibly bright future of mobile banking, promising that anything you can do in a branch you will be able to to with your mobile device, and your mobile will be able to leverage the relationship you currently have with your bank. From things such as investment advice, advice given to you that is based on your spending and behaviours to help you get to where you want to be. We all love Mint.com, however why not take it even further and offer more services to the customer. Joe Snyder mentioned at the event are current low interest rate environment, and stressed that while investing doesn’t have to be complicated, it should be part of your plan. Your savings alone will not get you to retirement, and having the discipline to put that first hundred dollars away each month into a low cost mutual fund or ETF will be a huge benefit to your future self. Krystal and Cait chimed in with the importance of living below your means and event making those short term sacrifices in lieu of long term success, reiterating that while delaying what you want to get might sometimes be painful, it is certainly worth it when it comes to setting yourself up to succeed. Preet added to the importance of knowing when and when not to borrow in our low interest rate environment, urging us only to consider leverage when we want to buy an appreciating asset (i.e. a house or an education). Caution is always helpful as a guideline whenever considering borrowing money as an option.
The event continued in an open format, and encouraged a strong conversation with regards to our personal finances and financial literacy. I comment Tangerine Bank for stepping up and celebrating Financial Literacy month with such a creative and fun event!