I Am Officially Debt Free!

Today is a very exciting day because I have officially made my final lump sum payment that will rid me of my student loan forever! I’m relieved it’s gone, embarrassed it took so long and thrilled to never see the acronym NSLSC (National Student Loans Service Centre) show up in my bank account ever again. For anyone curious, I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and about $35,000 in student loan debt. Technically, I could have paid off my remaining balance earlier this year but given that student loan payments in Canada were suspended with no interest accruing, I decided to take the opportunity to instead save for the short term and pay off the remainder of the loan right before payments restarted. I don’t regret this decision one bit, it allowed me to build up a substantial cushion of savings and had I lost my job during Covid I would have been very financially prepared.

I don’t know about anyone else but growing up I always heard people call student loan debt ‘”good debt” and because of this I just wasn’t in a rush to pay if off. I received grants every year in university that paid for my books and then some but never thought to save the additional for my inevitable growing loan. During the 6-month grace period after I graduated I didn’t make any payments because why would I? And even after that I only made the minimum payments (which to be fair, was still very high for what I was earning in my first job out of school). I thought it was normal for people to take 10 years to pay off their loans, it was fine because it was “good debt”, right? Wrong!

I understand why people refer to student loans as a good debt; it translates into a significant amount of value for most people and it’s an investment in your future. And I am proof! I am in the exact field that I went to school for, I seriously love my job and I make a comfortable living which I partially credit to my education. But at the same time, it’s dangerous to label any debt as good debt, especially when the average student in Ontario graduates with $28,000 in loans and a floating interest rate that can hover between 4-6%.

Now unfortunately, I don’t have a great story about how I successfully paid off my loan. I paid exactly what was required of me and nothing more for about 4 years after graduating. In 2018, staring down a balance that was still alarmingly high I decided it had to be gone by the time I turned 30. I started putting down semi-regular lump sum payments and then in 2020, I got a bonus that I used to wipe out most of it. Ta da!

My story is pretty irrelevant. You can’t bet on a bonus or a windfall to take care of your debt but luckily, mine did. Consider me a cautionary tale and prioritize paying off your debt- even the good debt. When interest builds on large amounts like student loans, your monthly payments barely make a dent and you end up paying so much more than the principal. If I could go back in time I would’ve made more sacrifices to pay off the loan sooner. But you live and you learn, and this should be a reminder that it is never too late to course-correct.

How to Get Your Resume Noticed by Recruiters

You might spend days or even weeks perfecting your resume before sending out job applications. But how long does the average recruiter actually spend reviewing your resume? According to a 2018 eye tracking study, Ladders Inc. found that recruiters scan a resume for an average of 7.4 seconds (which is up from 6 seconds in 2012). The resumes that fared well were easy to read and featured simple layouts with clear section and heading titles. Resumes that did not do well were those that were too long with cluttered layouts, multiple columns and little white space.

As a candidate there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed and shortlisted to move forward in the process.

Make your resume easy to read

When recruiters scan your resume they need to be able to easily digest your experience and understand what you do. This means no paragraphs, long winded bullet points, images or an overly creative and distracting format to your resume that makes it difficult to locate information. Recruiters need to be able to clearly locate your current title and company, your previous title and company, start/end dates and education. You can also opt to add a few key bullet points as a summary to the top of your resume to highlight your work experience in a few sentences.

Another consideration in making your resume easy to read is formatting. Keep your resume in reverse chronological order and use a simple, no-fuss font like Times New Roman or Calibri in a font size of 10-12.

Last but not least, keywords, keywords, keywords! Make sure your resume is keyword friendly by including keywords for the skills you think they’d search for based on the position. As an example, if you work in finance and you’ve worked with certain software or programs, include those on your resume. You can also look through the job description to find the most relevant keywords the recruiter might search for.

Don’t make it too long

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how many pages you should keep your resume to. The shorter it is the easier it will be for the recruiter to review, but if cutting your resume to 1 page means cutting out valuable experience or information, don’t do it. Based on your level and the number of years you’ve been working I’d aim to keep your resume between 2-3 pages.

Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to

Your resume should always be tailored to the role you’re applying to. The easiest way to do this is to look at the job description of the role and draw the shortest line possible between your experience and what is stated in the job description so that it’s clear you’re a match for the position. The more tailored the resume is, the better off you’ll be.  

Highlight your accomplishments

Highlighting your accomplishments can set you apart as an applicant. Recruiters and hiring managers like to see what you were able to accomplish in each role in addition to your day to day responsibilities. You can include a few bullet points for each of your roles to highlight your key accomplishments that lead to tangible results. For example, if you implemented a new program, increased sales by X, or lead a key project start to finish – we want to hear about it (just be sure you’re able to clearly outline how you accomplished these wins as they’ll likely be discussed in the interview process).

Use your network

One of the most effective ways to get your resume noticed is to use the connections in your network. If you know someone at the company you’re applying to who can refer you or forward your resume to the HR department, this can make a huge impact. Company referrals are trusted sources and because of this, referrals who get moved forward to the interview stage of the process statistically have a higher chance of getting hired than other candidates.

Other Tips:

Don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile – make sure it’s up to date and that all of the information on your resume lines up with what you have on LinkedIn.

Remove irrelevant information – anything non-work related, old or irrelevant jobs from the past can all go.

Use action words to describe your responsibilities at each employer – think of words like managed, lead, implemented, etc.

Submit your resume as a PDF – it’s cleaner and it will prevent any formatting errors.

Always double check your resume for spelling errors or typos before sending.

Good luck!

Why a Growth Mindset is the Key to Success

Being able to harness a growth mindset can have implications on your career development. Mindset is everything, and as organizations become more agile and fast-moving, a growth mindset becomes a much higher priority and therefore crucial to your career success. Individuals who have a growth mindset believe their talents can be developed and tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset, who are more likely to believe that talents are innate gifts rather than something that can be improved upon through hard work.

A growth mindset is also exactly the opposite of a fixed mindset in that it is quite literally not fixed. Creating a growth mindset is a process – a gradual and conscious process of changing the way you think over time and regularly reflecting on where you utilize your growth mindset vs. your fixed mindset in various areas of your life. A growth mindset is more of a journey than an end-goal and requires critical thinking and a belief in continuous learning.

How does this impact your career?

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you’re dealt a specific hand in life including your talents, abilities and intelligence. This belief of an invisible ceiling will likely stunt your career progression at some point.

If you have a growth mindset, you believe in cultivating skills, knowledge and talents through hard work, strategy and feedback. You place less limitations on yourself and your abilities and believe in failing forward and learning.

Through reflection you can start to identify where in your life you utilize your fixed mindset, and where you utilize a growth mindset. Some questions to ask yourself:

Where have you seen challenges as learning experiences?

Do you take advantage of opportunities to develop your skills, knowledge and abilities?

Steps to Foster a Growth Mindset

Fail Forward

Embrace failure and acknowledge that failing does not mean that you are unintelligent or inadequate. When you make an error or a mistake, you haven’t failed, you’ve learned.

Seek Feedback

Feedback is vital to your growth and development, and individuals with a growth mindset accept and embrace feedback for self-improvement.

Prioritize Learning

The process of learning is the key, not necessarily the end result.

Turn Challenges into Opportunities

Having a growth mindset means challenges are just opportunities for learning and improvement.

If you want to read more about the research behind the correlation between mindset and success, I highly recommend Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. It’s based on decades of research by the author and world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and will completely change the way you think.

“No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

How I Cut My Expenses by $255 a Month

For the month of September I wanted to set a money goal for myself and I was inspired by two books – The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton and The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that if you don’t manage your expenses and spending, you’ll never have enough money no matter what you earn. My current monthly savings has bumped all the way up to 61% this year which is great! However, I wanted to see if I could take it even further and I decided to take another pass at my expenses and see if there were any items I could reduce further or eliminate totally this year. Here are the categories I was working with and in bold are the ones I targeted.

Food, Gas (non-existent), Donations, Subscriptions (Netflix + Prime), Car Insurance, Parking, Mortgage and Home Expenses, Phone

After everything, this exercise ended up saving me what will be a recurring $255 monthly! Here’s how I did it.

Car Insurance

You sort of get accustomed to your monthly payments when you’ve been with the same insurance provider for a while, but it’s worth taking an hour or two to call around and see what rates different companies are offering. I had a membership discount with my previous insurer that had ended this year in 2020 which caused my rate to go up slightly. I decided to call a few different insurance companies for competitive rates and ended up switching to the provider that we also have home insurance with. They even had a discount for the specific university I graduated from, which minimized my rate even further and resulted in me saving $80/mo.

Parking

If you live or work in downtown Toronto you know how expensive the parking is, but I’ve always had a trick to find more affordable parking: most churches in Toronto offer monthly parking for a much cheaper rate. You just have to reach out, see if they offer parking and if they do, ask to be put on the waiting list. My parking at the church by my office was $75/mo. which beat all the parking options in the area by a long shot. However, this month I decided to give up my spot and get put back on that waiting list. To be honest, this one was more a residual effect of finding out that we would be working from home for much longer than anyone had anticipated but either way, I’m looking forward to having that extra $75/mo. to save or invest.

Food and Restaurants

I’ve gotten so much better at grocery shopping and meal planning the last few months and I now set a monthly food budget and stick to it. This month I was able to cut down my food budget by $100 and there were a few things that contributed to being able to do this. We shop weekly for only what we need, this has resulted in a lot less waste on our part. We eat less meat; I’m not a vegetarian but I’ve never been a big meat eater and it’s made a huge difference. We shop at cheaper grocery stores, and lastly, meal planning has been a game changer. Out of pure curiosity I frequently break down the cost per meal of what we make to see how cost-effective it is and I have to say, it is strangely satisfying to find out that your meal works out to be $1.79 a portion.

If you’re at home wondering “why can’t I save more?” or worse, “I can’t save money!”; build a budget or just start by listing all of your expenses and tackling them one by one. I promise you that once you start, you will find so much joy in controlling your expenses and saving that it’ll become more of a habit or a competition for you.

3 Habits for Working Remotely

I must say that working remotely has been the best part of 2020 for me, bar none. It has offered more flexibility and balance between my personal and work schedule and with no hour-long commute to endure, I can effectively do so much more with that free time. However, I have noticed this year that maintaining a healthy boundary between work and home has been extremely challenging because working remotely has made it that much easier to be plugged in all the time.

In the beginning of the pandemic working remotely felt somewhat stressful and I went a little overboard with working trying to make it clear that I was still productive from home. More recently, I’ve found myself rationalizing answering emails while watching TV “after work” and going to log off at 5:30pm and thinking ‘well, let me just knock this one thing off of my to-do list’ and then looking up to find it’s 7pm. This has caused work and home to become one big blur which lead to a bit of burnout recently and I realized I had to make some adjustments.

Separate your workspace

Being able to work from your bed is fun until it isn’t! Drawing a line between where you work vs. where you live is important. If you can physically close the door to your home office at the end of the workday that’s great, but even if you don’t have a home office, working from a specific part of your apartment or room and putting your laptop and work phone away each day when you finish will help to create some separation. 

Have a trigger to kickstart and end the workday

With no commute and no heels to kick off at the end of the day, I was missing a trigger that told my brain that the workday had ended. Your trigger could be anything – getting dressed, meditating, reading, taking a shower, taking a walk or whatever works for you. I’ve found the trigger that starts my day is putting on a pot of coffee in the morning, and the trigger to end my day has been a walk or two around the block. It’s enough time to clear my head and separate myself from work thoughts and technology.

Set a time to log off

It becomes much easier to lose track of time and work late when you’re remote. Setting a hard stop time for yourself will keep your work in check and also prevent it from bleeding into your personal life and the things you need to do after work. I would normally finish up my workday around 4:30pm so I do my best to set a hard stop at 5pm, which gives me a little bit of leeway to finish things up.

While working remotely creates a lot of flexibility, it also allows work to start creeping into your personal life which can create an unhealthy dynamic in your home- balance is key. Setting a few disciplined habits will mean being able to mentally and physically detach from your work more easily, creating a stronger work-life balance for you.

How to Answer: What Are Your Salary Expectations?

There is no trickier question in the interview process for most candidates. Believe me when I say that companies are not trying to trip you up when we ask this question and I often broach this topic in the initial phone interview. What we really want to know is, are you within our salary range? Many organizations have fixed salary ranges and we want to avoid getting too far down the line only to find that we can’t afford you, while also leaving you disappointed.

Why is this such a tricky question?

If you aim too high, you risk putting yourself out of the company’s range completely and thus, out of consideration. If you target too low, the company could lowball you leaving you dissatisfied. Depending on when this question is asked, it could also be difficult for you to gauge your salary expectations without fully knowing what the job entails.

It’s best to do your research ahead of time so that you feel confident going into the interview.

Research competitive market data

Going into the interview, you should have a clear idea of what someone in this role is earning. There are lots of resources available online including Payscale.com, Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, and LinkedIn which now provides salary insights. And be as specific as the data will allow you to; industry, location and any additional details will all provide more targeted and accurate results.

Tip: take the data with a grain of salt and when in doubt, go with your gut. The salary data from these sources should give you a rough idea to build on but they are not the be-all, end all.

Know your worth

While it’s good to be armed with competitive market data, you also need to know the worth of the skills, knowledge, and experience that you bring to the role and that differentiate you from other candidates. No one knows your skillset and its value in your industry better than you! While you do not need to communicate it, know what your bottom line is going into the conversation and be prepared to back it up by highlighting your skills.

Share a range, not a number

When answering the question, I always recommend providing a range (think 10-15k) rather than committing to a specific number that could be too high, could be too low, and could also limit your ability to negotiate later in the process. Never provide any numbers you wouldn’t be happy with, even the lowest end of your range should be a salary you’d be content with.

Be flexible

In addition to salary, there may be other monetary incentives, benefits or perks that you consider valuable, and you can use these as opportunities for negotiation. For example, if you have the salary conversation and find you’re slightly above what the company has budgeted, they may be willing to offer incentives to try to close the gap.

Example Responses:

“While I am flexible, I am looking for between $65,000 to $75,000 annually.”

“Based on market data I’d expect somewhere between $50,000 to $60,000 annually, but I’d like to learn more about the specific responsibilities of the role.”

“I’m open to discussion but based on my current salary and my knowledge of the industry, I’d expect a salary in the range of $80,000 to $95,000, depending on the total compensation package.”

“I would ideally be looking for a salary between $60,000 and $75,000 annually. It’s in line with the industry average and it reflects the skills and experience I would bring to the role. That said, I am flexible and open to hearing more about the company’s range for this position.”

Key Takeaways

  1. Do your research
  2. Know the value of the skills and experience you bring
  3. Express your flexibility
  4. Never provide any numbers you wouldn’t be happy with
  5. Provide a range and not a number
  6. Know your bottom line
  7. Be prepared to negotiate

The $30 Purchase that Saves Me $60+ Each Month

As many Canadians do, I love coffee and I rarely start my day without it. In following a host of finance blogs and experts online, I learned there was a narrative out there that millennials are somehow sabotaging their financial futures through designer coffees and pumpkin spiced lattes. While I don’t subscribe to the idea that making coffee at home is the pathway to financial independence, the articles did have a bit of a point. This year while reassessing my budget I realized that on average I was spending $60 a month buying coffee even while working from home. And the numbers were even worse BC (Before Covid, had to-) when I was physically going into the office! I should mention that I live a leisurely 3 minutes walking distance to a coffee shop and so it became a part of my early morning routine to get out of the house, take a walk and grab a coffee. And then sometimes while grabbing that coffee I’d get a bagel, or a cookie or a doughnut… you get it.

The dollar amount was not astonishing and for coffee lovers probably not a big deal. But seeing the monthly average I just realized that I’d rather put that money to use somewhere else. I also never bought the fancy coffees anyways and stuck to the basic black coffee that I could easily make at home. So, in July I went on Amazon and bought a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, a bag of coffee and a 200 pack of coffee filters for $1.50 and I have not spent any coffee money since- win!

I’m now about a month and a half into making coffee at home and there is a noticeable difference in my monthly food/restaurants budget. I can also honestly say I don’t miss buying coffee at all. I learned that as long as it’s hot and it wakes me up in the morning, I really don’t care where it comes from. And as a bonus, it makes my mornings working from the dining table smell great.

Was it worth cutting out? For me, yes. I don’t miss it and I get more joy from saving. However, it’s not the only or best way that you can save money. In fact, there might be even better places in your budget to start; if you haven’t assessed your monthly expenses I’d suggest starting there to figure out where you can cut back on spending that doesn’t make you happy or add value to your life.

For those interested, I’ve included the link to the coffee maker here: https://amzn.to/3mkKZbB

Why You Should Never Accept the Counteroffer

There have been two instances in my career where I accepted a new job with a different company and when I walked into my managers office to provide my resignation, I was asked what salary I’d be looking for in order to stay. In both situations I was a very taken back, and with one it was downright offensive because I had already tried to negotiate a salary increase months before.

While it can be tempting (and flattering) to hear your manager and company try to bid you back with a higher salary, promise of more responsibility or something else of value to you, the best response is a very polite “no, thank you”, and here’s why.

There was a reason you decided to start a job search and that could have included salary, but probably wasn’t limited to it.

A 2018 study done by Korn Ferry of almost 5000 professionals found that 33% of employees started looking for a job because they were bored and no longer felt challenged in their role. 24% started looking because the company culture didn’t fit with their values, while a smaller percentage noted salary as the top reason to start looking for a new job. And my guess is that prior to starting your search, you had already tried to resolve your concerns, or, your concern was something fixed (like a rough commute).

When your manager comes to you with a counter offer you might wonder: between yesterday and today, what changed? Why are you now being offered the raise you asked for months ago? Why is there now an opportunity for you to lead that project? It isn’t that your value is suddenly apparent to your manager. It’s because your leaving not only causes a disruption in work and productivity, but it also means hiring and training someone new which is expensive and a large time commitment.

Bottom line: if you ever find yourself on the other end of a counteroffer, take stock of the reasons you started your job search in the first place and be honest with yourself. Would those issues go away or be resolved if you accepted? It’s unlikely.

How to Pivot into a Totally Different Job

Throughout my career, I’ve encountered many folks trying to pivot into totally different jobs and fields within their company. They might feel like there isn’t as much growth potential as they want in their field, they genuinely don’t enjoy their work anymore, or there’s a need to gain skills and experience in a totally different area in order to progress in their career. I can tell you that no matter what you’re doing, it might be difficult but it’s never impossible and there are a few key things you can do to make it happen.

Speak Up

This is crucial if you’re looking to make your move internally with your current company. If you have a performance development routine with your manager, bring it up and add it to your personal development plan with actionable steps. In many companies, your two key supporters will be your direct manager and your HR partner. Making your interests clear to both parties will help them to guide you effectively and champion you when a new role comes up.

Education

Pursue formal learning where required. Completing a certificate or a course is not only a good idea to get a base set of knowledge for certain fields (in some it’ll be required), but it also demonstrates your commitment to making a career change.

Find Ways to Get Experience

I recommend finding ways to get even small amounts of experience in the department you aspire to work in. There are lots of options here including but not limited to job shadowing, volunteering some of your time to help in a different department, short term experiences, short term assignments, the list goes on. Get creative and work with your manager to determine what makes sense based on your time capacity and your existing transferrable skills.

Build Relationships

The relationships and networks you build professionally can be key to helping you progress, especially when there is such a large hidden job market. Network by reaching out to associates or leaders in the department you’re interested in to learn more, express your interest and also get some direction and guidance.

Craft a Compelling Narrative

Hiring Managers are going to want to understand why you’re looking to make a change into a different role or career. Craft a compelling story that ties together your past experiences and interests and how they’ve brought you to where you are now, and why you believe this is the right move for you. Also be sure to include how your skills and knowledge would be of benefit in the new role.

Apply

When those jobs come up, apply! Make sure your resume reads as relevant as possible- have any relevant experience and education front and center so that the hiring manager can easily see your demonstrated commitment and interest, particularly if you’re coming from a different field. And keep at it – it can take time to make a change like this so try to not get discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight.

7 Ways Covid Changed My Finances

There isn’t anyone who hasn’t reviewed and re-assessed their finances in one way or another since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March. Like many others, when the pandemic hit in Toronto I had no idea what to make of it. Would I only be working at home for a few weeks? Would I lose my job entirely? At what point would we return to normal?

For the first month of quarantine, bored and stuck at home, I shopped online. Excessively. New clothes for summer (because you know, the virus would be over by then), expensive skincare products, the works. And in April, probably as a result of both Covid-related anxiety as well as seeing the amount I paid off on my credit card, it really hit me how loose I’d been with my finances. I had gotten to a point in my career where I was making more money than I needed and rather than thoughtfully plan out where that money was going, I was spending it. Here are some of the biggest changes I made.

I built a zero-based budget

The first thing I did to get a deeper sense of where everything was going was build a big, beautiful budget in Excel and download the Mint app to track my transactions by category. I knew all of my fixed costs (mortgage and car insurance) were set up as automatic and 10% of my pay was automatically deposited into a TFSA each month. I knew I spent too much money eating out, and I knew that my discretionary spending was probably a little high.

When all was said and done, I went from saving 10% of my paycheque each month to saving 61% just by cutting down my variable costs and also really taking a look at what was truly fixed vs variable in my budget.

I eat at home

It was no surprise that a ton of my money was going to takeout and dining out rather than groceries, and particularly when you’re busy at work and commute, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Grabbing a coffee on your way to work, buying lunch for $10-15, getting home too late to cook so opting for delivery.

I slowly started to meal plan each week and put together much more disciplined grocery lists which meant less waste, my grocery bill was cut in half, and there was no scrounging around my kitchen trying to figure out what to eat. We still do takeout about twice a week but when we do, we opt for cheaper spots. I also looked at where we were shopping – did we really need to shop at the higher end grocery stores when the prices were significantly higher?

Since this shift, I’ve found myself not only enjoying cooking but also excited that I can plan healthier and more vegetarian meals. I also get weirdly excited seeing an empty fridge at the end of the week knowing that we don’t have to throw out any bad produce or excess food.

I curbed discretionary spending

Prior to my Covid online shopping bonanza I thought I was doing relatively well in this category, and truthfully it wasn’t terrible. I’ve never been the person who has to have the latest and greatest and I definitely don’t have a penchant for anything designer, cars, technology or other expensive things. But I was still spending a few hundred dollars a month on STUFF. I’d see something on Amazon and order it. I’d go into a store for cleanser and come out having spent $50. I started with the easy ones and cut out things I didn’t use frequently, like Disney+ and Amazon add-ons. And for everything I thought about buying, I also started to ask myself: do you actually need this? (spoiler, it’s no 95% of the time).

Living below my means was the key to being able to increase my savings significantly, and after a few months it started to become fun. Once I started to see the impact, I’d find new ways of challenging myself to save money and be even more frugal.

I started investing

As I started to see the impact on my savings, I got more and more interested in learning about investing. I had always participated in my employer options, but I had never opted to do anything outside of that.

I started doing research and fell down the rabbit hole reading, learning and watching videos and it became clear to me that to get to the number I want in retirement, even with the most consistent saving practices, I would have to invest.  

I’m no expert and would never claim to be so I started with a Wealthsimple TFSA, investing into a high growth portfolio made up of index funds and a low percentage of bonds. Over the last few months there have been ups and downs but overall, I’ve seen about a 5% return. As I learn more, I’m sure I’ll expand into different forms of investment but for now, keeping it simple!

I upped my donations

2020 has been an eye-opening year. The pandemic lifted the veil on inequality for women and BIPOC while exacerbating existing issues globally and it’s never been more clear that there are so many people and organizations that need help.

So, I increased my monthly donations to two organizations and throughout the year have prioritized and made room for charitable giving. While it’s a personal decision and totally based on what is affordable for you, I really believe that money should be shared and that even a small amount makes a difference. If you’ve been thinking about supporting a cause but aren’t sure which organization to support, do some research. Look for charities that are accountable, transparent and financially healthy, because this means the organization is more effective on their charitable mission.

I looked into different ways to diversify my income

Finding multiple streams of income has really been a priority for me this year, so that if anything happened with my job, I would have more money and something else to fall back on. This year I took on a part-time job for 6 weeks to help beef up my savings and I’ve been building a portfolio of freelance writing to be a contributor in spaces that I know well – mainly HR. I’ve frequently held multiple jobs; when I got my first corporate recruiting job out of school I opted to also work part-time as a phone sales rep for almost a year on top of my 9-5. For most of 2018 I had a creative side hustle, and during university there was a period where I worked 3 jobs – a phone sales representative, a DQ employee, and an Avon sales rep (I know). Aside from a side hustle, my partner and I have also been searching for an investment property that will eventually become a passive income source for us.

I became a huge personal finance nerd

This was unexpected but if it had not been for the pandemic, I don’t know that I would have found this passion so quickly. I have eaten up every piece of information and enjoyed learning from financial experts, following financial blogs and millennial finance accounts, better understanding the stock market and just overall learning new ways to achieve financial independence.

So while Covid has been an extremely strange period to navigate, it has positively changed the way that I think about money. And if and when things do resume and return to normal, I know that I won’t be able to slip back into my former ways.