I passed! Now I’m passing it on

Since my last post I’ve been studying like mad. Last Saturday I wrote the final exam for the Canadian Securities Course and yesterday I found out I passed. That’s it, it’s over – the brilliant idea I had in Spring 2016, started working on that May, wrote the first exam last December – tout fini.

(I really need better hobbies . Say, crystal meth. )

My friend Renée gave me this treat to celebrate.

Just kidding. Actually, I learned stuff. I worked my brain in different ways. Studying during my lunch breaks and on weekends kept me off the streets and out of trouble, which is important for a punk like me.

(Obviously I’m giddy from the Christmas sugar cookies. Bear with me.)

I’ve already started putting the knowledge to good use. I do a lot of volunteering, and this year for the first time I joined a finance committee for one of the organizations. Not only do I understand everything at the meetings, but I was able to productively participate in a discussion that led to a better asset allocation for its contingency funds – the money the organization depends on in emergencies.

That’s right – by learning about money, I was able to help people who really need it. I know it’s just a start, but it got real.

(Aside 1: Speaking of good causes, Interval House of Ottawa is building an animal housing area so that women and children can bring their pets when they flee. We know that many abusers also hurt the animals. We know that many women stay behind because they don’t want to leave their pets. We know there’s a strong connection between pets and mental health. Click here to find out more.)

(Aside 2: Also this year, my Breakfast Club Retro Dance raised $3500, bringing the three-year total to $10,700 to help kids start their school day with a nutritious meal through the school breakfast program. And the Food Bank drive I organized at the office brought in $425, which the organization can turn into $2125 worth of food through its partnerships with food industry donors. This raising money is pretty addictive – maybe I don’t need crystal meth after all!)

After the holidays (anyone else find it the season of obligation, stress and debt?) I’ll start thinking of other ways to use my new money powers for good.

See you in 2018!

Perspective from Fort McMurray fire

This week I intended to write about starting the Canadian Securities Course, but I’ve been distracted by the disaster happening in Fort McMurray. If you don’t know, it’s a town in Alberta, Canada, that has been completely evacuated because of forest fires.

About 88,000 people have had to leave their homes and belongings behind. Many houses and businesses have been destroyed, although the full extent of the damage is not yet known. A state of emergency has been called and the federal government will match donations made to the Red Cross.

In the tragedy there are stories of goodwill, such as the Syrian refugees who recently came to Canada and now want to help Fort McMurray evacuees. And this story about a bride-to-be whose wedding gown burned but who found a new one when the call went out and people came forward. All over Canada there are stories of people coming together to help.

It will take years for the residents to recover, emotionally and financially. For most Canadians their home is their main investment and largest asset. What do you do when it disappears? What do you do when your source of income, either your own business or place of employment, also disappears? How do you provide for yourself and your loved ones?

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of people in Alberta will find out. Fortunately, stuff is just stuff and can be replaced. What really matters is the people in your life. They’re going to need each other, and the rest of us, to get through this.

You can donate to the Red Cross here: www.redcross.ca