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Anne: How early planning paid off


Anne, a Meridian Member, holds her grandchild and stares at him with adoration

Anne has been a Meridian Member for 40 years, and she’s learned a lot about thrifty habits, strategies for saving and investing, building a good relationship with a financial advisor, and more. As a result of making a plan for her finances right at the beginning of her career, she’s found herself in a good situation to weather the ups and downs of COVID-19. This is her story.

Save early, save often

Even before she started earning her own money, Anne learned great savings habits from her parents. “I had very good influences,” she says. “My parents were very thrifty and encouraged us to save money and not rack up bills.” She credits her lifelong commitment for responsible money management to their teachings. “I’ve managed my money well and haven’t over spent on things that I couldn’t afford. I would always wait until I could afford them. I’ve never had credit card debt.”

In fact, she started investing and planning for the future right from the start of her career with Ontario Hydro, over 30 years ago. She always used her earnings to pay all her expenses without taking on debt and tucked some money away as well. She also invested in property. “I raised my children on a farm, and we owned the farm house and then owned two other homes as well,” she explains. She’s owned her current condo for five years.

Make a plan, change the plan

Anne has a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) that she contributes to annually through set monthly payments, making it easier for her to build up some savings, and she has some other investments as well.

Recently, Anne decided she wanted to try paying off her mortgage, so she called her financial advisor, Justin, to decide on a plan. Justin “really knows his stuff,” she remarks, and she’s always been impressed with the staff at her Barrie branch, calling them “phenomenal with their advice and are extremely friendly and courteous.”

Together, she and Justin decided that since she only owes a small amount on her mortgage it doesn’t make sense to pay it off right now, when interest rates are so low. Instead, she feels confident in the plan to keep her money invested in her TFSA for now and take a slightly longer view when it comes to paying off her mortgage. “My primary goal is to pay off the mortgage within the next five years, and then invest the money I would normally pay each month for my mortgage,” she says.

Feel good about money, feel good about life

“I feel fortunate,” Anne affirms. “I have a pension and I feel like I have a very good financial picture.” It helps that she’s always been committed to saving money and paying off all her expenses, so the only debt she has is the small amount owed on her mortgage. She knows she’s lucky. “There are lots of people who are struggling week-to-week,” Anne acknowledges, “and I feel fortunate that I can still travel, when it’s safe to do so, and enjoy my life.”

She’s also been fortunate when it comes to COVID-19. “I’ve had a couple of close friends that have been sick with it and I’ve had to be tested a couple of times,” she says. Aside from missing close contact with her family and feeling cooped up sometimes, though, “I feel like I’m managing quite well,” especially now that things are opening up a bit.

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