Hi, mohican here.
Well I am feeling a little weary of this current real estate discussion and financial markets appear to be apathetic to the current risk climate so I thought I'd stray a little from the debate and the analysis to do a post about myself.
For starters, I'm married and I have been for a few years now. We have a young son who was born a few months ago and he has been a wonderful addition to the family with grandparents, uncles and aunts all taking time to enjoy his company. I never imagined how wonderful fatherhood could be and I am planning on cherishing every day. More children are planned.
My wife and I are very practical people who grew up in families of very modest means. My wife's father died in a tragic accident when she was young and finances and family life, although adequate, were never comfortable for her, her mother and siblings. This taught her about prudent financial management among other important lessons.
I also grew up in a family who made choices about lifestyle that meant financial and material sacrifice. I am the oldest of four children and the most meaningful sacrifice that my family made was enabling my mother to stay home for most of my and my younger siblings growing up years. This has had obvious benefits and I am appreciative of the sacrifice my parents made. This also taught me some valuable lessons about personal choice and freedom, namely that it is not necessary to conform to the typical pattern of North American life.
My wife and I are both commited Christians and have been for most of our lives, not without much distraction and wandering on my part. My beliefs play a large role in forming my views on family and finances as I believe God has a place for everything and it is our role to discover the ideal way and put what He has given us to the best possible use - this is a way of thinking called stewardship. This includes how I use my time, talents, belongings, and finances. I am not intending to be preachy here and I've never used this blog as an outlet for that but I believe this part of my life is so formative of my views that I must inform you of it.
I wandered a great deal on an interesting and challenging path of discovery as a teenager and young man. I have always been a hard worker and I was an avid saver during my teenage years. As I gained more freedom as a young man I did not control my spending and consumption habits and got myself into a great deal of debt. I realized that my pattern of consumption was going to end me up in self imposed slavery if I didn't do something drastic so I stopped spending money. I gradually, over a period of 5 years paid off all of my debts and actually started saving money and investing it into some very basic mutual funds at my bank.
Having come out of that experience I wanted to help other people realize that they do not need to be slaves to their finances and that they could take control of the situation by implementing 3 simple steps:
1) stop spending so much
2) pay off debt fast
3) start saving as much as possible
Pretty basic procedure I must admit. At this point the attraction of helping others with their finances was so great I decided to leave my very successful career in the telecommunications field and go into financial planning. This meant a meaningful pay cut and a career restart but I had to do what I felt was right. I do not regret my decision.
I have had two different positions with two different companies since making the decision to go into finance and the one I have now is immeasurably better than the first one. The first job I had was a fully commissioned role with a large insurance company. I did pretty well but I could not come to grips with the fact that I had to sell certain products to the exclusion of others in order to make a decent living.
After one year, I switched companies after a friend told me about an opportunity with one of the big five bank's brokerage division. The institution I work for now pays me a base salary and some small bonuses. The focus is on writing financial plans for my clients and ensuring they are on the right track. I enjoy this role immensely more and I appreciate not having the continual pressure to sell certain products or rely on a commission payout. After helping my clients with a financial plan I help them with their investments, which for the type of clients I have, mostly means mutual funds, bonds and GICs. I do not receive commissions based on what I sell.
I hope that wasn't terribly boring but I like knowing where people are coming from and I thought you might too. Cheers.