Value of advice: when it comes to realizing your financial goals
As an education member, you play a pivotal role in providing students with the essential building blocks they need to succeed in life.
If you also happen to be a parent, chances are you never stop wanting to provide those building blocks to your own child. Even long after they’ve left the proverbial nest.
So, when the adult children of two (now retired) high school teachers in Kitchener, Ontario had dreams of starting a business, their parents did what any loving parents would do.
“They referred them to us,” chuckles Educators Financial Group Senior Financial Advisor Ahmed Rageh.
Okay, so maybe they did what any loving parent that worked in the education community would do.
Ahmed goes on to explain, “Back in 2020, Michael and Alexandra (the twin 20-something children of existing Educators clients) reached out to me with a very specific financial goal—they wanted to open a food truck.”
At the time, both siblings were attending post-secondary studies in Toronto and working part-time jobs, but then a not-so little thing called the pandemic happened.
“The rest, as they say, is history,” continues Ahmed. “Canada, along with the rest of the world went into lockdown and Michael and Alexandra were forced to move back to Kitchener and resume their studies online. However, being the savvy young people that they are—Michael and Alexandra immediately saw an opportunity to bridge a supply/demand gap in their community in a way that also paid homage to their Croatian and Ukrainian roots. That’s where the idea of starting a local food truck fuelled by recipes of their precious baba (grandmother) came into being.”
Debating between dipping into their savings and seeking out a loan, Michael and Alexandra’s parents recommended they first reach out to Educators Financial Group for advice.
“Starting any kind of business requires time, thought, and money,” says Ahmed. “When it came to understanding what their options were for the latter, I explained to Michael and Alexandra the differences between personal and business loans, as well as the cost and benefit for each. Because while borrowing money might seem simple enough, there are also many additional factors to consider. Things such as repayment terms, cost of borrowing, or future lost profits if they opted to draw from personal investments.”
This is where the real value of reaching out for advice comes into play.
“When assisting clients to realize whatever financial goals they may have, a big part of my role is helping them to connect the dots, so to speak,” states Ahmed. “In the case of Michael and Alexandra, that meant giving them as clear a picture as possible about what their financial obligations would be. For example, when discussing repayment terms, I made sure they fully understood what was involved—such as the duration of any applicable grace period (before having to start making repayments). Furthermore, I helped Michael and Alexandra to calculate their expected monthly payments, the amount of which could then be forecasted into their regular expenses. That way the siblings could make the best decision possible based on how much money they could borrow and how much capital they would need upfront.”
Ahmed also showed Michael and Alexandra how to prioritize their savings—and investing.
“I took some time to educate the twins on the importance of consistently putting money away each month and then investing those savings to generate growth,” recalls Ahmed. “To get the ball rolling, Michael and Alexandra set up a monthly PAC (pre-authorized contributions) through Educators Financial Group. I’m happy to say that since I started advising them, their savings with us ended up doubling and in 2021 the siblings successfully opened their food truck—using roughly $25K each in savings to put towards their business. It even became a family affair, with their parents jumping in to help out with the legal and accounting side of things.”
Make your dreams and goals a reality: here’s how to put your financial plan into motion
Have a child or family member looking to realize a similar financial goal—or perhaps you have dreams and goals of your own?
“With passion, hard work, and the right (financial) plan, anything is possible,” says Ahmed. “You only have to look at Michael and Alexandra to see what can happen when you have an idea and are committed to putting in the work. That includes doing your homework, which means reaching out for specialized advice. Because while anyone can have a dream, the person who equips themselves with the building blocks for success will ultimately have the best shot at making that dream a reality.”