With full-time jobs, two young children, and big wedding plans in the works, Scott and Chris had a busy life heading into 2020. Their days started early. Getting up at 4:30 am meant time for exercise before getting the kids ready for school, walking the dog, and rushing off to work.
Then the pandemic hit, and life changed very quickly. With reduced income, kids at home, and plans for their destination wedding in jeopardy, it was shaping up to be a challenging year, both financially and emotionally.
Facing a setback, and looking past it
As a teacher, Chris lost considerable income during the school strike in the earlier part of the year. Then Scott, who works in the travel business, was temporarily laid off when COVID-19 hit. Things were already looking grim, and then their Disney wedding, scheduled for July, was postponed.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, I knew that the wedding wasn’t going to happen,” Scott recalls. “We were disappointed, but after 16 years together, we knew we could easily wait one more year to get married.”
This resilience and positivity is what kept Scott and Chris focused on the future. Rather than approaching the situation as a setback, they turned it into an opportunity. “This will give us another year to save for the wedding,” Scott says, brightly.
Thinking differently and working with an advisor
The COVID-19 crisis changed the way Scott and Chris live, work, and think about money. Fewer days at work and reduced commuting meant more time at home, and more time for family.
“We started thinking about what’s really important,” Chris says. “We looked at what we were planning to spend on the wedding and decided to scale it back.”
Despite the reduced income, Chris and Scott started investing during the early months of the pandemic. They set up RRSPs and RESPs immediately, rather than waiting until after the wedding as originally planned.
“We realized that our longer-term financial future was just as, if not more important, than the wedding.” Scott says. “We didn’t want to put it off any longer.”
They decided to go with Meridian for financial advice, rather than one of the bigger FIs. “I dealt with a big bank in the past,” Scott says, “but I started to feel like a number. I wanted something more personal.”
When asked about what advice they’d have for others, both Chris and Scott agree that saving sooner rather than later, and establishing good financial habits at a young age is key.
“Now we’re talking to the kids about about doing their chores and saving half of their allowance every week.”
Looking ahead with confidence
With a little help from Meridian, Scott and Chris were able to establish new savings goals and prioritize their future. The experience, Chris says, has been a positive one, even amidst the pandemic.
“We’ve taken comfort in spending more time with family, and we’ve enjoyed the extra time with our kids. They aren’t going to be this age forever. Mornings are slower - we even sleep in now!”
As for staying positive when faced with adversity, they both recommend going for more walks, getting outside, listening to music and using the opportunity to better yourself and grow.
“Kudos to the parents trying to teach their kids and work their regular jobs from home,” Scott says. “We are happy and fortunate that Chris is a teacher.”
If you’re thinking about your financial future, personalized advice is key.