Montreal Influencers Get Real About Investments

Last week, we told you how financial literacy was made (gasp) fun with a high profile-packed event hosted by Tangerine in Montreal.

Moderated by popular Montreal radio and TV personality Anne-Marie Withenshaw, Tangerine’s You’d Look Good in Orange event, powered by Notable Life, boasted a panel that included familiar faces in everything from the professional sporting world, to the dating industry elite, who spoke openly and candidly about all things finance. The panel featured retired Canadian freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau, famed and vibrant YouTuber PL Cloutier, Co-Founder of Osheaga and VP of Concerts and Events for Evenko Nick Farkas, and founder of Dashing Date, Kavita Ajwani.

One thing that most young professionals don’t always love to think about – yet it’s crucial to their future – are investments. The panel made the conversation thought-provoking and engaging, leaving the audience with no shortage of takeaways when it comes to forward financial thinking.

Naturally, after talking financial lessons learned in life, as well as the importance of spending wisely, the conversation turned to investing and personal investments (“That is so something I wouldn’t ask if I was speed dating,” joked Ajwani). As an accountant, money is something that Bilodeau knows a thing or two about – but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an avid investor. “I don’t invest my own money; I keep track of it,” he admitted. “I have a broker who does my investing. Sometimes I tell him what to do, but he takes care of it 90 per cent of the time. I think when it comes to my finances and investments, it comes down to self-confidence in life that comes with knowing that I have various routes of things to do in the future.” In general, he says he is more liberal with his investments and more conservative in his spending.

Farkas agrees that it’s sometimes the best decision to leave investments in the hands of a seasoned advisor. “If you’re busy with your life and job and have a family with kids or whatever, you’re so busy you don’t have time to do it yourself. I never try to figure out what my financial advisor is doing,” he said. “Maybe I would look at it once a year or every six months, and think, wow, that really hasn’t changed a lot, or wow, that really shot up – this person is doing a really great job”…Later in life I’ve realized that knowing what that person is doing for you is really good advice to take.” He calls himself conservative when it comes to his investments, and cites his biggest investment his house. “My business is so risky, so my strategy has always been the opposite; play it safe and invest in standard traditional things like homes and RRSPs,” he says.

When it comes to spending, Cloutier also plays it safe, admitting that the option to invest is only a very new one (“As in, three months new,” he says). “I am so cheap; I don’t spend my money on luxury things. I would rather see my money in my bank account,” he says. “I am super strict when I have to hire people to help me with my work – I hate spending money because I fear running out. Joanne, my accountant, is my lifesaver and gives me great advice. I want to know everything about my money – but she knows more.” Like Farkas, he says his focus when it comes to investing is on his home.

Compared to the other panelists, Ajwani admits to being more liberal in taking risks that involve her finances. “I do believe strongly that everything will just work itself out,” said Ajwani. “I love taking risks; I think life is boring if you don’t take risks. I think people who don’t take risks definitely regret it and I don’t want to regret anything ever. In my experience, so far, good things come when you take a leap of faith and step out of your comfort zone. That’s when things happen. I guess it’s a cliché for a reason. But be smart about it; trust your gut and the people around you, and make the right choices.”

Many people may be too intimidated or feel they don’t have enough time to manage their own investments. In fact, a recent survey by Tangerine found that over a third of Canadians don’t even have an investment account. But Tangerine has you covered. Investing with Tangerine can be as easy as answering a simple questionnaire online to determine which investment option is best for you, and after that, they’ll take care of the rest. Not to mention, Tangerine’s Forward Thinking blog breaks it down in simple terms as not to overcrowd your already constantly moving brain.