COFFEE TALK: All About Me and Money After Graduation

COFFEE TALK: All About Me and Money After Graduation

November 9, 2019 8 By Stanley Isaacs


Hey everyone Bridget from Money After
Graduation and I thought I would do another coffee talk video. I almost
forgot the coffee. Actually, it’s tea because I drink too much coffee. Lately
I’ve had a huge influx of new blog followers and YouTube subscribers and I
know many of you probably don’t want to read through seven or eight years of
blog archives, but you’re still interested in knowing who I am, what my
financial story is, and how Money After Graduation and my interest in personal
finance came to be. To tell you this story, we’re gonna have to start at the
beginning when I was a wee lass of 20? 21? Very young! So in my early 20s I was
completing my bachelor of science degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada. I’m originally from Edmonton, but I did
live in the United States for a while and then I moved back to do my degree in
Canada because University is so much cheaper up north than in the United
States. While I was in my degree, while I had a few scholarships, I had no other
kind of support. My parents were living in the US so I wasn’t living at home, and
they hadn’t saved anything for my university education so I was totally
responsible for funding it myself. And the way I did that was with debt. During
my undergraduate degree I actually racked up a $16,000
student line of credit and took out $20,000, almost $21,000 in student loans. The good news is that by the time I was in
my third year of my degree, I was starting to become interested in
personal finance and I actually used some of that student loan money that was
coming in to pay down the student line of credit I had. The other thing I did
that was really important is I started saving right away and not just saving I
actually started investing it was just a mutual fund but it was enough to get
started I was super lucky because the time I
started investing was in 2009 after the stock market had crashed so I actually
entered in right at the bottom and I mean I didn’t even know how lucky that
was but in retrospect that really helped that initial investment grow which I
would later use to help pay down my student loans and it also built this
passion for personal finance and very early on delicious on a cold day like oh
good I graduated from my bachelor’s degree in 2010 with honors my degree
with in chemistry and biological sciences I
don’t use any of it despite being a very talented scientist I found it pretty
hard to get a job in my field meanwhile I got these bills in the mail that were
like hey you owe $21,000 in debt and we know you’re working part-time in the
Apple Store but you’re gonna have to start paying two hundred and something
dollars a month I had never even earned more than $15,000 in a single year
before I had no idea how I was gonna pay off over 20 thousand dollars in student
loans so I did what any young millennial does and I googled how to pay off
student loans what showed up in my Google search was tons of personal
finance blogs where people were detailing their journeys of how they got
out of dead started saving investing and so on I loved reading these and they
made me feel really inspired to take control of my finances so I set up a
personal finance blog of my own this was to hold me accountable to my debt
repayment journey as well as just like kind of give me a place to vent about
the experience when I was much younger and well even sometimes still today I
felt so jealous of the people that enjoyed a lot of financial privilege
such as help from their parents or other kind of advantages when it came to
affording their post-secondary education when I was working so hard for like
pennies it seems like to pay down my student loans it was very difficult and
very frustrating and yeah the struggle was real thankfully financial fortune
did befall me eventually and a few months after I graduated I got an
awesome awesome awesome job at the University I had graduated from so I
went to work for the Faculty of engineering my starting salary was
$50,000 and you have to remember that this was like eight years ago I think
this is important to note because if someone were to say they have a $50,000
salary now you’d be like hey yeah that’s pretty good but really new grads should
be getting way more and I mean wage stagnation is a video all into itself
but let me just say that $50,000 a year went a lot further in 2011 then it does
now with my $50,000 a year salary I moved out of my apartment that I was
sharing with a roommate into a space that was my own and I really started
tackling that debt often I tried to live on as little as
about thousand or fifteen hundred dollars per month and I was making debt
repayment as high as $1,000 per month this totally worked because I ended up
paying off my balance of over twenty thousand dollars in less than two years
it actually only took me about twenty two months so when you add an interest
my average repayment was over a thousand dollars per month
hmm those were the days obviously to afford this I had to make a ton of
sacrifices I mean I still tried to enjoy my life by going out and occasionally
shopping but I was very frugal and very particular about how I accomplished
these things first of all my apartment was not super
glamorous it was only $750 per month and it was fully furnished because I took it
over from a friend who was traveling internationally so not only did I get a
super cheap apartment I didn’t have to buy anything new for it I kept my bills
low in all the usual ways that you do I kept the lights off as often as I can I
did things like read books and have Netflix instead of cable I cooked most
of my meals at home and when I went out I really set tight limits like I would
only bring 40 dollars with me out to the bar on a Friday night
still I also made it a priority to save up for fun so one thing that was really
important to me in my twenties was to go traveling I always set aside fifty or a
few hundred dollars per month so that I could travel and in my 20s I got to go
to a ton of places and it was super fun and awesome and I don’t regret a single
penny of it well that’s not true there’s probably some things in there I should
applaud in addition to the awesome salary I was earning at my full-time job
I also had full benefits which helped a lot in keeping things like my health
spending very low and I also had to participate in the mandatory retirement
savings plan that came as part of the job this is what was most significant in
me getting started building my wealth and investing because while I was taking
care of all my debt payments this was taking care of all my savings now when
you think about it on a $50,000 a year salary I had to save 11 percent of that
into this retirement savings program so it was nearly $500 a month which is huge
especially when you’re also trying to pay off debt nevertheless this is what
gave me that huge advantage in growing my net worth during these years in
addition to say in this mandatory retirement savings
plan I also saved for retirement outside of it so I could get some additional
benefits on my taxes by contributing to my RSP and I was also very focused on
building up my TFSA as well and during all this time I was blogging about money
I was sharing my budget including all my income and all my expenses now putting
that stuff publicly on the internet was pretty scary because people would call
me out if I bought something that I shouldn’t have I definitely made
mistakes with my money along the way and there were comments where people telling
me like you shouldn’t have done that I thought you were being responsible
we can’t trust you look what you do with your money that’s enough I’m gonna keep
that inner edited out out of the years went by I definitely became better with
money and I started getting interested in the stock market I became so
passionate about investing that I decided I really wanted a real career in
finance and after two years my debt was gone my retirement savings was huge and
I was ready to go back to school for an MBA in finance I had I went to
university for a long time I enrolled in the MBA program at the
Hosking School of Business at the University of Calgary in Calgary Alberta
I considered doing my degree at the University of Alberta but at this point
I had done my undergraduate degree there I was working there all my volunteer
experience was there and I just felt like I needed to put something on my
resume that wasn’t the U of A so I went a whole three hours south to the
University of Calgary my choice in school for my MBA was really important
because I had applied to schools across Canada and thankfully because of my GMAT
score I was accepted to all of them plenty offered really big scholarships
some of them offered me scholarships that were even bigger than my tuition
fees at the University of Calgary but these schools were so expensive and they
were usually in more expensive cities like Toronto or Vancouver that I knew I
would be buried in debt that would be so difficult to pay off if I decided to
pursue my education at one of those institutions sometimes I wish I had
gotten to experience living in Toronto but heiko there so often now that it’s
all the same people who live in Toronto aren’t gonna like that I was lucky
because this point when I started my MBA I had had my
financial blog for five years and it was starting to make money not a lot of
money but enough that I could pay my rent and buy food so about $1,500 per
month additionally I also received a ton of
scholarships mostly because I was a woman in finance and there weren’t very
many of those I really loved my MBA program the professors were amazing my
classmates were great and I learned so much more about the stock market and
well so much that I decided I didn’t actually want to be an investment banker
what Business School really did for me is made me want to be a business owner
and I sat through like almost every class in my second year wondering what
kind of business can I do I really need a business meanwhile my blog was earning
like $2,000 a month in the last semester of my MBA program I noticed I already
had a business and what I really needed to do was create a product that I could
sell and the product that I really wanted to make for people was how to
invest in the stock market that’s when I created the first version of the
six-figure stock portfolio eCourse which is the primary eCourse that I still run
now I launched it I think two months after I graduated and six months after
that I quit my full-time job to run money after graduation full-time that
was almost three years ago and a lot of things have changed since then but a lot
of things have stayed the same I’m still running the Financial Literacy website
I’m still running the six-figure stock portfolio eCourse and I’m still growing
my financial brand online as the years go by and becoming even more passionate
about helping people with their finances well my battery is dying
should I just let it die how long is that gonna blink my main mission now is
bringing accessible financial information to the masses especially
young 20 and 30-somethings that are facing more challenges than their
parents or grandparents ever did I really believe that it is harder to
succeed financially now but I also believe that it can totally be done and
I’m here to help you do it I hope you guys enjoyed this video and getting to
know me a little better if you did please give it a thumbs up and subscribe
to my channel and I will continue sharing awesome personal finance advice
and great coffee tea talks going forward