The day I was supposed to meet Avneet and Caitlin from First Calgary to start building a personal financial plan, I was in a bad mood. Like slamming cupboards kind of bad mood. I thought I was just grumpy, maybe I didn’t have enough coffee or something? But as I started to get ready to go, I realized I was nervous. I was nervous to talk about money, the money I didn’t have, the money I should probably have, and the money I should be saving for. It’s stressful to think about it and because of that, I was letting my bad mood distract me from what was actually happening: For the first time in my life, I was going to sit down with financial experts who were going to look at my accounts and tell me where I actually stood.
I’m glad I went to that meeting, because after a few sessions with First Calgary, I already feel better about my money (or lack thereof), than I have in a really long time. Maybe ever.
I don’t know many people for who talking about money isn’t stressful. Especially when you’re an entrepreneur. Honestly, I’ve never really understood money, more particularly how to save it and more importantly, how and where I should start saving for the future.
Sometimes it feels like everyone else knows what they’re doing, like I somehow missed a class or slept through the stage of your life where people learn about saving for taxes and retirement. Because, I can’t tell you how little I know about investing in the future.
At 35 years old, I know I should probably be thinking about retirement, but at the same time, I’m just starting my business, and I spend most of my time thinking of ways to get people to pay me, let alone than take that money and put it aside for thirty years. Actually, as I typed that, I realized that I’m already past the halfway mark to when I’m supposed to retire. Wow. It feels weird to be thinking about starting a business and retirement at the same time, but that’s life and as I just experienced, life is going by very quickly.
The fact of the matter is, the sooner you make talking about dealing with your financial goals a priority, the sooner you can start working towards them. That may seem obvious, but I can tell you that so many of us would rather not talk about money and pretend we’ll figure it out someday. So whether you’re just starting out down the savings road and looking for high interest saving options, or you’re building and accumulating your finances and need to get your money working smarter for you, I can’t recommend getting yourself a free meeting with First Calgary experts enough.
For me, the highlight of the experience was knowing that I was getting what First Calgary calls a values-based financial plan. Which is, exactly how it sounds, a financial plan that based on the things that I value. For some people it’s early retirement, for others it’s renovations or travel. I bet for a lot of people, it’s a mixture of a lot of those things.
To help figure out my actual values, First Calgary had me fill out a Authentic Happiness from the University of Pennsylvania. The survey asked me a lot about my values, interests, likes, dislikes and all that stuff. There was even a few questions there that not even I had ever asked myself before. So the experience alone of the survey was really interesting.
After that Avneet and Caitlin took the results of the survey, along with any of the paperwork I could scrounge up and got to work. We had one meeting so they could learn more about me, and then a few weeks later, another meeting to break down how they thought I could begin to achieve some of the goals that I laid out for them, which included: some more immediate renovations on our house and some more long term thoughts around retirement.
I won’t bore you with all the details of my financial plan, except to say that the night after our second meeting, I probably had the best sleep that I’ve had in years. I’m not saying I’m in the clear, not by any means, but since I’ve always been scared about money and more importantly, how to use it, it was so amazing to now to armed with so much information and some defined goals that while they might be difficult, are doable.
If you’ve been to scared to see what the future holds for you, I recommend you take an appointment. Maybe you have lots of money, or maybe you owe lots of money. I can tell you that the whole experience was filled with patience and kindness. In some regards, I’m embarrassed with some elements of my financial situation, but everyone at First Calgary made me feel like that I had nothing to be ashamed about and that they genuinely wanted to help me. What more could you ask for?
It’s rare that over a few hours, an opportunity to change your life can actually be real. But I honestly feel like my financial path is now clear and in front of me. It’s been something I’ve been thinking and stressing about for a long time, so I’m glad that I got over my fears, bad moods and nervousness and tackled it. I definitely recommend you do the same.
I’m so thrilled to partner with First Calgary and giveaway 10 $500 Gifts That Grow. That’s right, ten. I re-read it a few times to make sure I was really it correctly. To enter, Calgarians simply need to commit to getting their own free values based financial plan underway with First Calgary. To enter, simply email BASE@connectfirstcu.com with the Subject line “I’m In!”, your preferred branch location, your full name and your preferred contact number. The First Calgary team will randomly draw 10 winners from all entrants on April 9. Whether you win the $500 to invest or not, you’ll walk away from the experience with a sound plan and new ideas on how to reach your goals.