Growing up, the local credit union in my town set up a program where kids could bring money to school with them and have it deposited into their bank accounts. Every month, I would try to fill up my deposit envelope as much as I could. I’d save my birthday money, my allowance, and whatever I could find in the couch. I would retain a few dollars for myself, so I could afford to buy candy, but other than that it all went towards my savings.
Looking back, I wasn’t saving for anything specific. After all, I was probably only 10 years old and had no major expenses coming up in sight. What I enjoyed about this program was when the deposit envelope was returned on a monthly basis. It contained a ledger of all the transactions within the account, and this is when I fell in love with compound interest. I couldn’t believe the credit union was willing to provide me with more money, just for having made a deposit. I’d show my parents with great pride, look I made $0.57 in interest this month! What was also crazy in my mind is that the interest value would keep growing every month. I’d be rich in no time!
I loved ketchup chips as a kid and continue to this day. I remember walking through the grocery store and asking my mother how many bags of chips I could buy if I spent all my money. My jaw dropped to the floor when she answered around 40 bags. In my opinion, I was the richest guy in the world. What else would I ever need if I could afford 40 bags of delicious ketchup chips? I stayed discipline though and kept saving my money. I figured the longer I wait, the more chips I could afford. It got to the point where I wouldn’t look at how much money I had, I was instead converting it into its equivalency in chip bags. I was operating on a whole other currency.
I never ended up cashing in my savings for the chips and probably owed a few bags during my university days. My younger self would probably be disappointed I never threw the party of the year, but it was a great life lesson to learn at such a young age. I now receive immense satisfaction in helping others reach their financial goals, although I haven’t come across anyone with the same passion for ketchup chips as I have.
Marc Sabourin is a Winnipeg based Financial Advisor and Retirement Specialist with Harbourfront Wealth Management. His focus is on helping pensioned employees achieve their retirement goals. He draws on his real-life experiences to explain strategies that are often presented as intricate. He believes financial literacy is an integral part of one’s financial well-being and his goal is to make learning about these topics fun and enjoyable.