The market price of freedom

Student loans, mortgage prices and insurance payments tally up to a significant sacrifice made to remain a functioning member of society. 

Amid all this, young people entering adulthood may be forced to choose between what they want and what they need. In an economy that is continually shifting and changing, finance experts advise people to start young when it comes to learning about money. 

“Financial knowledge is financial freedom,” says Ariana Masse, chief marketing officer at PennyDrops. Created by two McGill University students in 2015, PennyDrops offers personal finance courses and guidance to young people ranging from high school into post-secondary. Their extensive programs cover personal budgeting, credit cards, loans and taxes, investing and stock trading. 

Barry Choi, a self-taught investor and founder of Money We Have,  says that there is a division of career focus and passionate self-actualization. Choi says that the rising costs of living, especially in metropolitan areas, has made it increasingly difficult for people to have a financial safety cushion.

“Managing to save even ten per cent of your income for retirement may not be enough these days, especially if you live in the Greater Toronto or Vancouver areas,” he says. “Not only are you trying to save for retirement, but immediate needs such as your cost of living, especially related to housing—there’s not much money left over.” 

Choosing between a lucrative career and a passionate one can be a struggle when it comes to searching for a job. Choi took the passionate approach and received an education in television broadcasting. 

He says that his choice to go this route was driven by personal interest, not money.

“It was a passionate thing,” he says. “ When I was in high school, I wasn’t thinking about career growth, income–things like that.” Nonetheless, Choi became versed in the complex field of finance during his initial career in broadcasting when he began to balance his full-time job while learning about finance. 

Resources like Money We Have and PennyDrops are driven by the goal to teach people  the basic concepts of financial literacy. While maintaining financial stability in an ever-changing economy, Choi outlines the importance and growing accessibility of self-teaching resources. 

“There’s never been more educational tools available,” Choi says. “If you read just one book about personal finance, you probably know more about money than 70 per cent of the Canadian population.”

The driving point of education is shared by Masse. “Youth should strive to learn as much as possible,” she says. 

In the decision of choosing careers that might compromise one’s passions, Masse maintains that, “money is important, but it’s also important to prioritize your happiness.”

About the author

Aneesh is a former staff reporter for Youth Mind.

Aneesh Chatterjee

Aneesh is a former staff reporter for Youth Mind.

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