W03: How do you invest?

This is a Discussion Post related to the third week of 522.

How do you invest? This week we’ve looked at how new ventures are pitched: perhaps you can imagine yourself as the person being pitched to? Whether with bank accounts, mutual funds, stock markets, casinos or lotteries, everyone has a unique risk profile. For me, I focus on investments where I have the best chance to contribute to a ‘win’, such as I enjoy renovating houses, and funding my own startups, and investing my time volunteering for non-profits. Given whatever time, money, etc, you might have to invest, can you describe your investment strategy, and what you’re looking for in terms of ROI (Return on Investment)? Try to think in terms of what would need to be in a ‘pitch’ to get you interested.


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126 responses to “W03: How do you invest?”

  1. EmilyChen

    If I were to imagine myself as an investor, I would split my money into 3 parts, one part for savings, one part for investment in stable companies on the stock market, and one part for higher risk startup companies. To invest in the stock market, I would choose to invest in companies that will provide a good return over many years. For me, the likelihood of the company to weather good and bad economic times is important, and it’s also important for me that the company provides cash dividends every year. This way I can secure passive income, and hopefully one day, that value will amount to enough that I can use it for riskier re-investments. That way I am using the money I earn from the stock market for investment instead of using my own personal savings.

    If time and money is out of the question, I would want to be an angel investor and invest in start-up companies. When listening to a new venture pitch, I would probably be most interested in the CEO and top management team, and I would be more interested if they are a young and energetic team. I would observe closely for the attitude of the CEO when presenting their pitch. Are they passionate about what they do, can they address the market gap or the problem they are trying to solve well, and can they respond to adversity with positive attitude? Even though I think it’s important for the company to know how they plan on making money, I think the attitude of “we are determined to find answers” is even more important. Plans can be made, but if the team gives up at the first sign of difficulty, the company will not survive past it’s first year. I would also be more likely to invest in a field that I am familiar with, or if I do enough research about it, I would grow to understand. So, the pitch needs to very quickly and in a simple way help me understand what their product is, and what problems they solve.

    Lastly, I think it’s important to know if the team is clear on know how much money they require, and how they will use this money. If they can give a clear projection, then I would be more confident in their ability to execute their plans and not let their imagination run wild while running the company.

    ( 12 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. johannes dirk wielenga

      Hey Emily,
      Your last point really strikes a chord with me and is the reason I feel somewhat bewildered by the idea of being an EVA. It’s one thing to hear a great idea and want to invest in it, but I would really want to know what my money is being spent on, precisely. I have no experience in this field but as an AVA (Armchair Venture Analysist) for Dragons Den, I do see people consistently throwing about wild valuations that the Dragons disagree with… it happens more often than not. Sometimes the Dragons ask what the money will be spent on and either they do not get a straight answer or, at best, it’s ambiguous. All of this scares me as an investor, and if I WERE an investor, it would probably be the thing I was interested in the most, even during an elevator pitch. My simple questions at the end of a pitch: Why is it my money that you want, and how do you plan to spend it?

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  2. julio palacios

    I would definitely say that I am a cautious investor. A novel approach to investment I sometimes take is assessing how much knowledge or understanding of the pitch or product I am bringing into the conversation. I tend to take a step back and review the amount of knowledge I have on the given situation. For instance, if I were to play any sort of game at a casino, I’d evaluate my proficiency in the game. Theoretically, the more proficient and knowledgeable I am at the game, the better I am able to mitigate the unknown factors or the risk associated with it. Situations where I am in a position where the only information I have on a topic (be it receiving financial advice or being sold to by a car salesman) is being provided to me by the person pitching tends to feel like the most risk. Situations where I do not know anything on the topic or cannot add any value to my own understanding of it, are tricky. Often, I would seek time to go off and do my own research and if that option was not made available to me it would act as a red flag towards the situation as a whole.

    ( 3 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  3. JamieTooze

    Having young family I am an extremely conservative investor, so in the most common sense of the word “investment’ I stick to RRSP’s and RESP’s. That said, as I get older, I am starting to realize that time and energy are also very valuable commodities and they too need to be carefully invested. A few years ago, I started to restructure my life, and now I invest my time and money (when discretionary spending is available) in my health, my wife and kids’ personal development and in seeking out positive experiences for my own growth. My investment strategy is this:
    1) Increase my physical activity with my friends and family. My family has cut the tv cable and we’ve all chosen one activity that excites us. I have reawakened my passion for hiking, fishing and camping and combined the three into backcountry angling because it gets me outside with some very cool people – my family.
    2) We are cultivating our relationships with our friends, colleagues and classmates. Being generous with our time has provided us with an ROI we’ve never anticipated.
    3) Personally, I am not only embracing change and uncertainty I am seeking it out even if it is unsettling. My grandfather used to say, “don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.”
    So anything that can help me develop these three areas in my life catches my interest. Now, if I could only get my daughters to bait a hook my life would seem perfect – at that moment.

    ( 11 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. Feng Mao

      Hi Jamie,
      I agree with you about investing time on personal development, improving physical health and spending time with family and friends. Even since this year’s Covid 19, I’ve realized more and more that there is nothing important than having a good health and having your love ones around you who are also in a good health. I have two teenager aged daughters, beside RESP my husband and I also have invested a good amount of money on their interests. When they were little we registered them into many activities to give them opportunities to find their favorite ones.

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    2. Jessica Daicos

      While your comment could lead to thoughts of, “ok that’s great, but we’re talking about making money,” I’ve come to realise recently just how much investing in health and a supportive network actually is actual a financial investment. My work plan is to be sort of permanently semi-retired. I enjoy working; I think I will enjoy working well into retirement age. But I also take ‘gap years’ every few years and want to choose projects that internet me personally and professionally. However, while discussing work futures with a friend, she mentioned that she would rather not be teaching anymore but desperately needs the pension because she doesn’t expect her health to hold up much more than another decade (she’s 40). My values already hold me to being a healthy, active person, but I realised here that investing in my health is particularly necessary if I want to be able to have this kind of work/life flexibility and choices. I am also making assumptions that I will be able to work and supplement my investments. So, in this way, health really is a financial investment, both in terms of hopefully not incurring health-related costs and in the ability to earn an income long-term. Similarly, cultivating relationships is also a financial investment–how many times have connections made things happen professionally, or provided personal favours that have saved you money? Your relationships will be stronger if you aren’t in them for favours and financial gains, but it’s impossible to deny the potential returns on a strong social and professional network.

      ( 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
      1. Alice Shin


        I find your comments on investing in our health insightful. Our health truly is the critical component of investing in ourselves, and our ability to work, personally and professionally develop, see the fruit or our investments and ultimately reach our goals is all predicated on our physical and mental capacity to carry it all out. I feel for your friend who is experiencing health issues, but am glad she has that pension to depend on.

        Not only do we need to cultivate our physical health, but also our mental well-being, during covid, and beyond. In a world where distancing and digital transformation will define the new normal, we need to focus even more on building our social and professional networks moving forward. This will take more effort I’m suspecting, but building and maintaining relationships with like-minded people and professionals as well as keeping friends and family close are all crucial investments.

        ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  4. Michael Saretzky

    First off let me apologize if this sounds sad or sappy. This is the sad part, in regards to financial investments we, my wife and I, really invest very little. We have our house, which we do invest a little, making sure things keep up to date and such. Then our only other financial investment is our children’s RESP, which is all run through the bank, we choose the level, but they choose where to invest it. As our children are still quite young, we have chosen the higher risk investments, but as they get closer to graduation that we will be much more cautious. Now for the sappy part, I invest time. Moving to Alberta at the height of the boom and into a small oil town, really made me be aware of how important time was for parents. I recall one teacher who gave an assignment of cooking a family dinner and eating it together, and a grade 9 student said that wasn’t possible, as they do not eat as a family. Both my wife and I attempt to spend a lot of time with our children, whether it is helping with school work or cooking with them or creating LEGO. Furthermore, rather than investing our money on stocks and such (which I definitely want to do some time), we have spent a lot on experiences with our family. I also invest a lot of time with and for my students. This may be learning about new practices or technology or just getting to know them.

    ( 4 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. Tamara

      Hi Michael,

      I agree with you about investments and if you sound sad or sappy, then I am too!

      My husband and I don’t have much in terms of financial investments either, as our priorities center around investing time with our family- as we also invest our money rather on family experiences. Ex: This year our big family investment is a motor home- we are hoping to buy one this winter/ early Spring!

      We also have RESP‘S set up for our girls and also invest in fixing up our house when we can 🙂

      Being that our kids are so young (and they grow up so fast), we both just feel we need to live in the moment with them and just enjoy them rather than always stressing and planning for the future.

      ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
      1. Michael Saretzky

        That is awesome that you are getting a motorhome, that is something we talk about each summer. I am sure there will many great experiences with that.

        ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    2. Michael Saretzky

      I realized that I didn’t really touch on ROI. For things such as my house, by keeping on top of any issues, my wife and I hope that it will be something that will help us with retirement. However, the more important ROI would be the investment of time. One of the biggest concerns is setting my children up for the future. By spending time with them, I do hope that they are willing to come to us when making decisions as they get older and are less likely to be peer pressured to make poor choices as they get older. Also, with investing in their future with the RESP, I do hope that they can find a career that they enjoy doing. Although we joke about them becoming doctors and engineers, it is so important to find a career that you enjoy and allows you to enjoy the things you want to in life. Similarly, with the time I invest with my students, it is quite similar, I want to help set them up for the future, whatever that may hold. I recall one student who was quite academic and he came into my foods class and I actually made him the manager of the school concession, he also came on a Europe trip where we did cooking lessons. He has now graduated from culinary school and is working his way through the ranks of restaurants, and I would not be surprised to hear of him owning his own soon. Knowing things like this is what I am looking for in returns.

      ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    3. EmilyChen

      Hi Michael, sounds like you are a great father and you care deeply about your children’s overall well-being. With the kind of trusting relationship you are building with your kids, I’m sure they will be able to come to you when faced with problems or when they need someone to talk about important decisions. After reading this, I think I should try to keep a better balance between work time and spending quality time with my kids!

      ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  5. AmandaKong

    I tend to be quite careful in my financial investments where I often make decisions in consultation with a financial advisor. A risk analysis is favored as I rationalize base on numbers. A “successful pitch”, therefore, has to make financial sense to me. I would look at ROI (Return on Investment) in terms of sales revenue which is more rational and the impact of pitch product or service on the community which is more subjective.  Besides financial profit, it is equally important, to determine whether this pitch would benefit its intended consumers.

    I imagine in the field of education, I would be drawn to educational pitches that enhance both teacher and student learning. The pitch needs to make professional sense (Would schools benefit? Would a teacher use this? Would students respond positively? Would school administration purchase?) and financial sense (Is the market ready? Are there any existing competition? What are the sales?). I also have to be able to offer value as an Educational Venture Analyst (EVA) which was explained in this week’s readings. If I cannot offer any expertise, it does not make sense to invest in this pitch.

    There is also the inevitable passion and grit aspect in an enticing pitch. I would be attracted to a pitch that comes from an individual with a strong sense of passion and integrity. Their story and professional experience come into play as I believe we are drawn to building relationships with others. If the individual can sell their passion to me, as an investor, they are likely to win me over. In other words, the pitch must speak to me personally, as a teacher investor. The value of the pitch must be a genuine attempt to improve the current education system. 

    ( 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  6. adrian wheeler

    This is a really interesting discussion concept. I’m going to take a somewhat different approach and break down the three different types of capital and how I do/would invest them.

    Types of capital: There are three basic types of capital. Financial (what we are most familiar with), Human (for a business, their workforce. For an individual their education, training, etc.) and social (the connections between individuals). Each type of capital has distinct advantages and an excess of one can be transformed into another (ie: tuition -> degree = financial capital -> human capital).

    Financial: I currently invest my financial capital in two ways. First, is traditional investments (in my case stocks) I focus on businesses I am familiar with and can foresee an opportunity (When it became clear COVID was becoming a real threat I bought Zoom stock. This worked out very well). The second way I invest financial capital is in return for human capital. The most obvious is this program. I’m paying tuition and taking courses in an effort to obtain education which I can hopefully leverage for more financial capital down the road.

    Human: I invest my human capital primarily in exchange for financial and social capital. I leverage my education and experience daily at work and am compensated in return. In addition, I use my acquired skills (social, technical, artistic) to meet others, build friendships, community and a network of people I can trust and rely on.

    Social: Social capital, for me, is an ends in and of itself that helps me achieve some form of self actualization. With that said, I do leverage the social capital I have build in professional contexts (read: professional connections) to bolster all three forms of capital. Working with a team can help elevate all included and lead to raises down the road. Connections with other students (study buddies) can lead to higher marks and more human capital and your connections can introduce you to new people that add to your existing social capital.

    I realize that the above is very conceptual, but hopefully it underscores the fact that its important to invest in all aspects of your life, not just your stock portfolio.

    ( 13 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. Michael Saretzky

      I really like your breakdown Adrian. You did a great job explaining them as well. I could see them being displayed in a three-circle Venn Diagram, as there is definitley some crossover. That is awesome you saw the potential of Zoom!

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
      1. adrian wheeler

        Thanks Michael,

        I think its really important to understand how different types of capital interconnect. Too often we focus solely on financial capitol and forget that there are other meaningful ways to invest in ourselves.

        ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  7. Tamara

    I’m going to start by saying that I don’t take risks lightly or often and I am a horrible gambler. I like sure things and guarantees- which makes all my investment decisions difficult.

    There are two things that I am usually always willing to invest in and that is my Family and my Career. When deciding to invest time or money into anything, it needs to first and foremost be something that will allow me to keep doing the things I love. For example, after having kids, I chose to invest my time into my family and take time off from my career for 2 years. When I did go back, it was only part time so that I still have time to raise, take care of, and teach my daughters (rather than have someone else do it at daycare).

    Another example is choosing to invest my time and money in the MET program; hoping the ROI is me being able to work outside the classroom as a tech coach/ teacher leader.

    I am happily still reaping the benefits of investing time into my family as the return on investment has been huge! This time has allowed me to become close and connected with my daughters and allowed me to see each milestone and moment of their growth; I would not trade that for anything in the world.

    While my long term ROI remains to be seen with my MET program, I am enjoying the short term benefits of the investment that have allowed me to translate some of the knowledge and skills that I have learned directly to my job.

    ( 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  8. ryan valley

    My greatest concern is how I invest my time to get the most ROI. All other investments flow from the critical decisions about where time is allocated. For example, I can spend time researching companies to invest in, and then buy their stocks, or I can save time and buy mutual funds. Knowing that I only have so much time in a day, I do both, delegating some savings to experts to invest for me and some to companies that I have researched and believe in. If time and mental energy were infinite, I would diligently analyze every report a company I invest in published and listen to each investor call. I enjoy doing this because it also “gamifies” saving, providing exciting rewards and motivational losses.

    I believe losses are of utmost importance, and the losses I have had have always led me to be better and smarter at anything I am doing, ultimately leading to greater financial capital. For example, I have co-founded several companies and non-profits, but the first company I ever started with a friend was a catastrophic failure, which was probably the best investment I ever made. It was a painful and fully immersive real world business education unfolding before my eyes in real time. I will never make the same mistakes again that I did, and it is because I know “why” not to. I know what happens when you do not properly differentiate or define your target customer well enough. I think failure and losing is really important and is something I would look for in any entrepreneur I wanted to invest in. Business students often “know” these kind of things, but rarely do they “understand” them. I would never let someone burn through my money that does not know what it is like to watch their own money burn and identified the exact reasons why.

    With non-profit ventures I look for passion of founders, and I like supporting people who care about a cause and are personally invested in ending whatever issue their organization is working to address. I invest whatever time I can into my community and help causes I care about for free with projects that would normally cost them thousands of dollars like websites and video production. I invest in people, I give a lot of time to catch ups, coffees, and other chats with the people in my life and work hard to expand my circle and invite others in. Relationships are probably the most enriching and mutually nourishing investment in my portfolio.

    Finally, I invest heavily in myself, through MET and other professional development activities, I am constantly stretching my own vision of my life and sense of self to becoming more. Not doing more, but becoming more. Becoming closer to actualizing my own potential and exploring the vast possibilities of interacting with the world and people around me. This investment strategy has paid off well for me as it leads me to do better quality work more efficiently, leading to happy clients and employers, and subsequently financial gain and reduced stress in life.

    ( 13 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. kevin ohearn

      Hey Ryan,

      You have some interesting points. I fully agree that losing and making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. As Nelson Mandela once said, “I never lose. I either win or learn”. This principle holds true for most things in my life except for financial investing. I have done some research into smart investment strategies and have found strategies that are “good enough for now”. Finding time to pursue one’s interests is limited so you must always pick and choose where you spend your time. Thanks for your insights.

      ( 4 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    2. Rachel

      Hi Ryan!

      I share your view in investing myself through different training and education path. Though I must say that the returning doesn’t always show in a more obvious manner. At least in personal experience, I find this type of investment is similar to buying stocks – it takes time before you really see any result. It is important for me to invest in something I agree with, meaning I stand by its practice. Since I’m a rather conservative investor, I’m not looking for a quick return so when I invest in something, I tend to avoid anything that seems too good to be true.

      ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    3. Erica Hargreave

      I could not agree more with regards to passion and caring, although for me that is not limited to non-profits. My years have taught me that a non-profit does not necessarily doing good or putting others or the non-profit before yourself. Sadly, there are many on the leadership side of non-profits that pay themselves handsomely while taking advantage of others for as minimal a return as possible. Alas this often makes me more skeptical of non-profits, causing me to investigate them deeper before either investing time or money there.

      ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    4. tara davis

      Hello Ryan,
      I appreciate the honesty in your post when you write, “I would never let someone burn through my money that does not know what it is like to watch their own money burn and identified the exact reasons why.” I am not a business student, but I invested a small portion of my personal savings and a large portion of my time and energy into an adventure tourism business with a friend. I am no longer involved in this business because we had different goals for the business. I wanted to scale the business and focus our energy on the areas of the company where we had the greatest return (e.g. attracting foreign tourists who pay USD$) and he did not see the value in dropping other clients and commitments (e.g. Colombian clients) in order to meet this goal. It was a challenging balance to strike as the comapany’s operational success was contingent upon the relationships built within communities.

      We respectfully had differences, so I decided to return to Canada. I relate to your statement about how you what happens when you do not properly differentiate or define your target customer well enough. In a successful venture, the addressable market is smaller than the initial idea of the market. I think any successful business will know their potential customer inside and out and this not only help them reach this customer, but it will give them the sustainability to adapt their service to meet this customer’s needs. As a teacher, I always put students first. Who are my students? What are the needs of my students? How will I reach them so they will learn? How can I help them to be a life-long learner? I can only imagine how this must apply in the business world. Who are my customers? What are the needs of my customers? How will I reach them so they will get the most out of my service? How will I help them to become a life-long customer?

      ( 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    5. shaun holma

      Ryan, I appreciated a key takeaway that I think should be included in any discussion on capital and education: the implications of failure. I, like you, have tried to navigate the turns of sole-proprietorship but never having had the returns I wanted. What the experience has given me, however, was the opportunity to engage in self-reflection. Without this time to evaluate my experiences, I would have found it difficult to move forward in my career goals. Yes, this reflection period allowed me to gain clarity on my future goals: but more importantly, it gave me perspective anew. Having the experience of operationalizing (e.g., designing, delivering, marketing, strategizing, assessing, selling, and branding) myself and my service have helped me vanquish my insecurities to try it again. As people have long known, there is no substitute for experience.

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  9. kevin ohearn

    Like many of the responses so far, my investment risk tolerance is pretty low. I guess that is why I’m not a venture capitalist and usually stay out of casinos. Generally, I stay away from risky investments and instead put most of my savings in a slow growing yet relatively safe account. For me, making 7-8% growth on investments each year is enough.

    I feel that I have a similar strategy when it comes to time management. I am less willing to invest a significant amount of time in a particular endeavour unless my chances of receiving some sort of reward or compensation are high. For me, ‘consistency’ of reward is more important that ‘quantity’ of reward. For example, take exercising for an hour. I think this is a great time investment. Although the ‘quantity’ of reward one receives from a one-hour workout is not so large, the consistency of reward is extremely high. In other words, a one-hour workout will always make you feel a little bit better.

    For a pitch to get me interested, it would need to focus more on the high probability of success than the size of the potential payout. I am very sceptical when it comes to my money and my time. Therefore, I am usually not willing to open my wallet or my calendar unless it is for a guaranteed win.

    ( 4 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. Erica Hargreave

      Chuckling. I stay out of casinos for the same reason, Kevin.

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  10. Vijaya Jammi

    Adrian’s approach to the concept as he stated above, and his three types of capital is excellent! Every human does invest energy, time, money and abilities for further gains in human experience, social relations and financial strength as he detailed. Although we are not conscious, we really are investors and can continue to invest. All it takes is interest in life, strong faith and belief in what we do.
    As for financial investment my strategy would be to invest in things that would insure 3p’s (peace, positivity and prosperity) This would mean that I will not invest in risky ventures and ventures that aim mainly at commercial gains and compromise common good. And, of course I would invest for growing my financial capital as long as ‘the means justify the end’.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Vijaya,

      Thanks for the kind words! The concept of social, human and financial capital comes from Social Network theory, a branch of Sociology (in which I hold an undergrad degree). If you are interested in learning more about social network theory take a look at “Understanding Social Networks” by Charles Kadushin.

      ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  11. Feng Mao

    Adrian’s idea of three types of capital resonates with me. I feel human and social capital are concepts where once we apply ourselves we could see a tangible difference. On the other hand, financial investments frequently fall beyond our full control. One can do research and learn stock investment strategies but big picture events that guide the markets, such as the pandemic, are well beyond any one person’s control. Personally I think a good investment is something where I need only invest money and leverage someone else’s work to grow my investment. I also prefer to invest in something that I can see and touch. With these in mind, buying properties can be a good investment since properties can be rented out with the rent paying down the mortgage. I would also dedicate a small amount of capital for higher risk investments to reap potential returns without risking the rest of the capital.

    If I were an education venture analyst, I would think an elevator pitch too short to be able to make an informed decision. A venture pitch could draw my interest but if I am going to invest a good amount of money then a proper and viable business plan would be the best. That said, I would also follow the MVP style as well if I had extra money to assume elevated risk. Living in China I see many businesses come and go in very short amounts of time; people test their ideas and once they find that it is not working they would move on to the next idea. Beside a good pitch, I also think the personality of the entrepreneur would also be very important in order to develop a good feel about that person before deciding to invest my money in their ideas.

    ( 1 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. adrian wheeler

      Hi Feng,

      I really appreciate your kind words however I can’t take credit for the three types of capital. That concept (specifically, the introduction of social capital to the more traditional notions of human and financial capital) comes from comes from Social Network theory, a branch of Sociology (in which I hold an undergrad degree). If you are interested in learning more about social network theory take a look at “Understanding Social Networks” by Charles Kadushin.

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  12. raafa abdulla

    For me a good investment is on things that have limited quantity. For example, investing on real estate or precious metals will return higher profit because simply the more people buy, the less quantity is available for others. Hence, the higher price it will reach over time. People will always need lands to live in and the metals (specially gold) are key elements in electronics. So, I would not invest on technology itself but on the material the is used to produce this technology. Electronics are always evolving and some companies be very successful at a certain time then withdraw due to other competitors. That’s happened with NOKIA with their cellphone productions. They had a very successful phase during 2000’s but then they withdrew as Apple and Samsung started entering the Market. I found it hard to invest even on big companies for a long term because we don’t know when they will stop innovating.

    ( 2 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. Rachel

      Hi Raafa,

      I think you touch upon a very important point here and that is innovation. Innovation comes in different ways and depends on the company’s marketing strategies. If a company wants to focus on a niche market with limited quantity, innovation will be on product creations while a company that decides to focus on everyday item would focus on innovation in reaching to the target audience. From an investor’s perspective, I agree that it can be a terrible idea when a company stops innovating because that could mean that it becomes too comfortable in its current market.

      ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
  13. Alice Shin

    I appreciate everyone’s comments! It’s helped me think about what I invest in and what I’m looking for in an ROI.

    I am a bit of a contradiction when I comes to investing – I am relatively low /balanced risk when it comes to stocks, yet I am willing to take risks on starting my own business / freelancing. I, too, have taken part in a few start-up ventures in the past

    1.Run-of-the-Mill Mutual Funds
    I too invest in balanced funds in RSP’s and TFSA’s due to their tax-efficiency and the lack of bandwith to research stocks. As long as the returns are comparable to its peers, I’m good.

    I have invested in my Employee Benefits Consulting firm. It’s a different experience investing in your own business (a.k.a. working full-time with little or no income) but as I established myself, I became accustomed to putting down money first in order to get a higher payout later and managed the cashflow in between. I’m happy if I make more than I would at a job.

    3.Sweat equity
    I have participated in start-up companies investing my time and expertise. One lasted 2 years but we did not get very far in the end. I had a few more start-up experiences and with each subsequent opportunity I learned to size up the founders very quickly. The last one took 1 wk (she wanted me to do up a gov’t grant but wouldn’t sign off on any kind of compensation plan for me). Would I offer sweat equity again – probably, but the ROI will have to be clear, I’d have to fully trust the founders, and I’d need to be compensated in some way or another along the way. Basically, what any EVA/Investor would be looking for from a given venture (10X? maybe…)

    4.Diversification is Good, but Cash is King
    Which leads me to diversification not only for investments, but skills and experience (again MET). When something like Covid strikes, you have to be able to pivot. It has also taught me Cash is King! I plan to ‘invest’ in a relatively healthy emergency fund that will give me some room to maneuver – or invest – as needed.

    5.Social Capital
    Much of my social capital is spent on family and friends: helping my sister with her twins or housing my other sister when she was in between jobs, taking care of my mother after a couple of surgeries, making meals for people who are sick. I have volunteered for not-for-profits in the past helping organize fundraisers, scholarships for high-risk kids, etc. and I need to figure out a way to do more of this moving forward. The ROI is ultimately belonging to a community of good people who help and take care of each other while affecting positive change in one way or another.

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  14. Alice Shin

    I appreciate everyone’s comments! It’s helped me think about what I invest in and what I’m looking for in an ROI.

    I am a bit of a contradiction when I comes to investing – I am relatively low /balanced risk when it comes to stocks, yet I am willing to take risks on starting my own business / freelancing. I have also taken part in a few start-up ventures in the past

    1.Run-of-the-Mill Mutual Funds
    I too invest in balanced funds in RSP’s and TFSA’s due to their tax-efficiency and the lack of bandwith to research stocks. As long as the returns are comparable to its peers, I’m good.

    I have invested in my Employee Benefits Consulting firm. It’s a different experience investing in your own business (a.k.a. working full-time with little or no income) but as I established myself, I became accustomed to putting down money first in order to get a higher payout later and managed the cashflow in between. I’m happy if I make more than I would at a job.

    3.Sweat equity
    I have participated in start-up companies investing my time and expertise. One lasted 2 years but we did not get very far in the end. I had a few more start-up experiences and with each subsequent opportunity I learned to size up the founders very quickly. The last one took 1 wk (she wanted me to do up a gov’t grant but wouldn’t sign off on any kind of compensation plan for me). Would I offer sweat equity again – probably, but the ROI will have to be clear, I’d have to fully trust the founders, and I’d need to be compensated in some way or another along the way. Basically, what any EVA/Investor would be looking for from a given venture (10X? maybe…)

    4.Diversification is Good, but Cash is King
    Which leads me to diversification not only for investments, but skills and experience (again MET). When something like Covid strikes, you have to be able to pivot. It has also taught me Cash is King! I plan to ‘invest’ in a relatively healthy emergency fund that will give me some room to maneuver – or invest – as needed.

    5.Social Capital
    Much of my social capital is spent on family and friends: helping my sister with her twins or housing my other sister when she was in between jobs, taking care of my mother after a couple of surgeries, making meals for people who are sick. I have volunteered for not-for-profits in the past helping organize fundraisers, scholarships for high-risk kids, etc. and I need to figure out a way to do more of this moving forward. The ROI is ultimately belonging to a community of good people who help and take care of each other while affecting positive change in one way or another.

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    1. Jessica Daicos

      I share your feeling of risk-tolerance contradiction. I think it’s that I don’t like to give money for nothing: putting money on a roulette table and losing it one spin, betting on a win but getting a place, gambling on a stock and seeing your investment vanish. I had money a minute ago. Now I don’t. And I don’t have any goods or experience to show for it. I don’t like that. Yet, overall, I live my life in a way that is quite favourable to risk. For example, I turned down a good, secure teaching job during COVID to throw myself into my MET, spend time building a portfolio and committing to exploring a career change.

      For me, I think it comes down to the first part of your point #4: my investment strategy is diversification. For stocks, it levels the ups and downs (I am particularly partial to index funds). Investing in a diversity of education and experiences makes me more employable and skilled at managing change. Until recently, my global connections guaranteed me always a place to go and be able to earn money (COVID made me realise that true diversification means investment in the local too, which I had neglected). I like the resilience, options and opportunities that diversification provides.

      That said, I do need to learn more about investments and financial planning. It has been a 2020 goal for me, and this topic has been a good nudge to continue building my financial literacy.

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    2. RyanSilverthorne

      Dear Alice,

      I can definitely relate to your profile when it comes to investing. I love everything about new ventures as it feels more like it is in my control, even if it is technically a big risk. With socks etc. I simply find myself disengaged and afraid to take risks as I doubt my level of understanding about markets and shy away from putting the time in.

      Your point about diversification of skills and experience is also well taken. Taking this course is an example of me walking out of my comfort zone. Though I love business I am by know means someone with a strong academic background in it and feel this can help me in my future which may take multiple paths.

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  15. Erica Hargreave

    For me, investing in an idea is dependent on the following criteria:

    – does it stand to be a force for good, around something I am passionate about?
    – is it a creative and fun tool to learn or create with?
    – does it solve a problem that myself or my students have been encountering?
    – is it an idea of my own or my team’s that keeps tickling at my synapses?
    – do I like the people behind it?
    – do I see the potential for growth with it?

    Success for me here, does not necessarily mean a financial pay off, but instead could involve learning, making new connections, or opening the door to new opportunities.

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    1. Jessica Daicos

      Well said as always, Erica. I agree completely. The ROIs I’ve looked for have come down more to personal growth and enjoyment than finances. I would, however, like to build on this mindset. I have been meeting more and more people who are social entrepreneurs and I am interested in how positive, creative, interesting work can also generate income. Until I discovered this I had very little interest in money and business, but now I aim to learn more about how to do/invest in good work that I value AND also make a profit.

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      1. Erica Hargreave

        You are articulating exactly what got me interested in the startup world, Jessica.

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        1. Jessica Daicos

          Have you heard of SheEO? It was started by Canadian Vicki Saunders to counter the fact that “women receive 2.2% of venture capital globally and represent 51% of the population.” The model of SheEO is that women (and non-binary) “Activators” contribute $1100 each, which is pooled together and loaned out at 0% interest to 5 women-led ventures voted on by the Activators. The loans are paid back over five years (with an incredible success rate) and then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund. SheEO’s goal is to reach 1 million Activators, supporting 10,000 women-led Ventures with a $1B perpetual fund.


          It’s an alternative way of looking at “investment”, moving away from investing for financial return and towards supporting meaningful ventures that create positive impacts. I was at a conference that Vicki spoke at (she seems amazing) and she said even girls in school have created clubs, each chipped in some money and participated as a group to vote for ventures to support that way. It’s a pretty cool model… IF you’re not concerned about growing your personal wealth out of it. Ventures can also apply for the loan, so that could be a great resource too.

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          1. Erica Hargreave

            What a great idea!

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    2. RyanSilverthorne

      Spoken like a true educational entrepreneur Erica. While it may sound cliche, good educators don’t get into the industry for the money, in my opinion. That is not to say there is anything wrong with making money in the industry but I can’t imagine me in any educational venture that isn’t focussed on helping the profession. What we do is a lot of work and to do it well requires an extreme amount of passion.

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      1. Erica Hargreave

        So very true. Sometimes I think things might be easier for me if I was a bit more fiscally minded, but that is not what makes me happy or what drives me.

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  16. RyanSilverthorne

    I would have to admit that I am a cautious and infrequent investor when it comes to stocks, mutual funds etc. This has not been for a lack of effort and as I get older I am truly making an effort to expand my knowledge by taking tips from my more successful siblings and building savings for my young daughter.

    It’s interesting because I do consider myself an entrepreneur. I literally created my own professional development company to promote Adrienne Gear (well known literacy expert in BC) workshops as well as many other presenters. However, while it may be hard to believe my end goal was never money with these ventures.

    I considered it an investment, but not in the traditional sense. The company literally started because I am an expat and during the summer there is little to no professional development available in BC. I was the head teacher of my school in the middle east at the time and I saw starting this as an investment in myself as an eager educator to learn, an investment in my teachers who I believed could help elevate our school and an investment in my future as a leader. Years later I can say creating the promotional company did not make me more wealthy (certainly not directly) but there is no doubt it helped my career and my goal of becoming a BC Principal.

    With that said I have always been very involved and a fairly loud voice in the BC Offshore community. This has led to several initiatives, including the formation of a coalition of BC Offshore schools that share resources across mutual platforms and negotiate with educational technology companies as a group to lower operation costs.

    When my Principal days are over I do not expect to be done with education. I do have a plan to become a consultant, advising on opening up Canadian curriculum schools across the globe. While I certainly need to do more research my investment strategy, though I’ve never thought of it as such, is to invest in what I am passionate about. Education is what I am most passionate about.

    Luckily the startup costs for an educational consultant business are not high, but the investment of time is depending on how large one wants their business to become. My “pitch” to individuals wanting to invest in a school would be greatly dependent on my past experience in running schools in different cultures and contexts. It would include my vision for how I believe education should be and the progressive nature I believe to be necessary. I know doubt have a long way to go before I am ready to begin this journey but just thinking about it does make me feel like I am “investing” in a future beyond my current role and stage in life.

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    1. Erica Hargreave

      No question about it, you are an educational entrepreneur too, Ryan. You can hear the passion and excitement in your writing. What is your company called?

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      1. RyanSilverthorne

        Hello Erica,

        The company is called Offshore Education Collaborative. You can find the link to my website below:


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  17. Yannick Wong

    My investment decisions are driven based on a few factors:
    1. I’m young
    2. I’m poor
    3. I have a steady full-time job

    This translates to a high tolerance for risk, as I seek to maximize my profits in order to pay off my student loans and get my life started. If I end up losing, I’m not losing much, and with income from my full-time job, I would be able to make back what I lose relatively quickly. This is why I typically go for high-risk, high-reward options like day-trading penny stocks. My flexible, work-from-home job means that I can spend time doing that when the market is open and do the rest of my work when the market is closed.

    It would be difficult for me to invest in a venture at this point because I don’t have enough money, and the turnaround time for these ventures is way too long to suit my immediate financial needs.

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  18. tara davis

    There are three key questions around early stage investing: the person, the market, and the time
    How good is the founder
    In the early stages of a company the CEO/Founder matters more than anything. Everything is hard. Very hard. If it weren’t hard, someone else would have done it. So most of the early stage diligence I do is on the person to make sure they can pull it off better than anyone else
    Are you amazed by them?
    Are the people they recruited exceptional? or just good?
    Reference checks
    Do 30+ reference checks if you can. You want to hear from everyone that they are exceptional
    Can they sell? Can they convince you of their vision clearly and in a compelling way. They’re going to have to sell customers, and investors, and employees to join their crazy mission. If they can’t convince you they can’t convince anyone else.
    Market Size
    If they pull this off, how big could it get? I want to see it be able to be enormous if it goes well.
    Market size is simple: Market size = (number of potential customers) * (how much they’d pay for the product)
    Potential customers
    People often talk about the size of the possible market and they over count it. Who are their actual customers? Who are the actual people who would buy it. For example, lets look at an online tutoring business. People might say well our market is every student in the country… sounds good. But if you dig into it, its only high school students, not elementary or college. And if you dig in further, its only high school students who can afford $50/hour tutoring, which cuts it down further still. And its only students studying math, which brings down the number further. The ACTUAL addressable market is smaller than the initial idea of the market
    How much they’d pay
    sense check this. Does this price change the potential customers?
    Why Now
    Why is now the time for the business to exist. There are lots of smart people out there, so why is this moment in time the time to build the business they’re proposing. If there isn’t something meaningful about this moment then it probably isn’t as good an idea as you thought it was.
    There are three key questions around early stage investing: the person, the market, and the time
    How good is the founder
    In the early stages of a company the CEO/Founder matters more than anything. Everything is hard. Very hard. If it weren’t hard, someone else would have done it. So most of the early stage diligence I do is on the person to make sure they can pull it off better than anyone else
    Are you amazed by them?
    Are the people they recruited exceptional? or just good?
    Reference checks
    Do 30+ reference checks if you can. You want to hear from everyone that they are exceptional
    Can they sell? Can they convince you of their vision clearly and in a compelling way. They’re going to have to sell customers, and investors, and employees to join their crazy mission. If they can’t convince you they can’t convince anyone else.
    Market Size
    If they pull this off, how big could it get? I want to see it be able to be enormous if it goes well.
    Market size is simple: Market size = (number of potential customers) * (how much they’d pay for the product)
    Potential customers
    People often talk about the size of the possible market and they over count it. Who are their actual customers? Who are the actual people who would buy it. For example, lets look at an online tutoring business. People might say well our market is every student in the country… sounds good. But if you dig into it, its only high school students, not elementary or college. And if you dig in further, its only high school students who can afford $50/hour tutoring, which cuts it down further still. And its only students studying math, which brings down the number further. The ACTUAL addressable market is smaller than the initial idea of the market
    How much they’d pay
    sense check this. Does this price change the potential customers?
    Why Now
    Why is now the time for the business to exist. There are lots of smart people out there, so why is this moment in time the time to build the business they’re proposing. If there isn’t something meaningful about this moment then it probably isn’t as good an idea as you thought it was.

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    1. Siobhán McPhee

      I agree with you Tara that the idea of time is really important, and why now. I would add though that often there are similar products out there at any one time, but some are more successful than others. Why is it that Zoom took off with the pandemic even though Skype and Skype for Business had been doing the same for years previous to Zoom? I think there is something about how a product is presented at a certain time as well as it being the ‘right’ time if that makes sense.

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  19. tara davis

    My post was originally formatted as an outline, but this did not translate once posted to the blog. It is from the perspective of a venture capitalist. I hope you find it helpful as I asked advice of a friend who is a successful venture capitalist in order to make a contribution to this discussion that was as “real world” as possible.

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  20. Joyce Lo

    An investment is when a resource is spent to receive something in return for that resource. I consider my resources (i.e. money, time, energy, skills) to be limited so I am a rather cautious investor. In trying to raise two young boys, one of whom has special needs, all my resources are very valuable. I invest in: my children’s RESPs, RDSPs, and education; my family’s health and well-being; my studies in the MET program; and my work as a teacher.

    My investment strategy is mainly to put in what it takes to help prepare for a better future, whether it be for my family, health, education, and career. For my ROIs (Return on Investments) I hope for the following:
    – The growth in RESPs and RDSPs will help support my children and help provide for their financial needs.
    – A well-rounded education will allow my children to explore their interests and develop skills to reach their potential.
    – Good health and well-being will allow us to live and experience different life stages together.
    – Acquiring more knowledge and skills will help me be a better educator and advocate for people with disabilities.

    If a new venture is pitched to me, I will be interested if it will solve some of my problems. In addition, passion needs to be evident in the person describing the pain point (the problem the venture is addressing) and their solution (the new product or service that resolves the pain) needs to be focused and viable.

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  21. markmpepe

    The Oxford Languages definition for “invest” is to “expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial plans, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture,” and “provide or endow someone or something with (a particular quality or attribute).”

    This definition makes think of my three types of investing: personal finance, time and effort, and investing in ventures.


In a personal financial sense, I’ve been contributing to my RRSP investments for many years, and have recently been in a position to contribute to TFSA, mostly using ETFs. I would like to see those investments grow steadily, and safely, while I keep contributing. I remember reading somewhere that Warren Buffet made most of his billions after the age of 60. So this type of investment for me is the very long game. The ROI would have to be great because it is my retirement, but I would also hope to continue investing and making money during that time.

    Then I think about investment of time and effort. This is investing time and effort into things such as health and education, for example. With health, it’s to keep us at a healthy baseline, to not develop any sort of conditions or ailments. To even exceed baseline by pushing ourselves to maybe go for a regularly scheduled day hike, run a 5k, or participate in CrossFit. With education, it’s what we’re all doing here in the MET program. To become better educators, go up the pay scale, and learn new skills to keep us ahead of the curve. This is also a long game investment for me. The ROI would be a long, healthy, and happy life.

    Then there is investing in ventures. I am not a venture capitalist, but with my very limited knowledge I would investigate the following before putting in capital:

    * Who started this venture? I would like to know if the founder has experience, or if a partner, or backer, does.
    * Are they filling some sort of gap in the market? If there’s a similar product, does this venture do something different?
    * Who is their target audience? Is there anyway to find out, or know, if that audience is fickle, would they return. Is there data?
    * How would, or do, they generate revenue? I would even try to find out if they’re in the red, and how long would it take for them to get in the black at their current revenue generation.
    * What is their growth plan? Is it to meet a certain number of clients, customers, and have a certain amount of employees?
    * What are other investors saying, or who else has invested? Digging around a company’s website one might find other backers.

    In order for a pitch to get me interested I would like to see the following: enthusiasm, a finished or near finished product, data, a growth plan, and other backers. To add another Warren Buffet attributed quote, “invest in that company if you would want to own it.” This would be a medium term of investment for me. The ROI would have to be enough for me to reinvest in this venture, or use that return to build, grow, and invest in other ventures.

    Like I said, I am not a venture capitalist, but these are what my instincts told me to look out for. I’m interested in seeing everyone’s thoughts.

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  22. shaun holma

    My investment strategy is thinking in terms of how the venture-in-question is distinctively valuable; that is, how it separates itself from the competition by showing superiority. Ideally revealed in the unique selling proposition, I would look for a venture that stands out from a likely crowded field. A presentation that demonstrates its value towards something I care about, the experience it brings to others, its shelf-life, and evidence that the pitcher credible are some of the key points I look for in a pitch.

    I think of myself as a person who goes for a victory, and not necessarily the gold. I rarely buy lottery tickets, but on those occasions I do, my focus is not on the multimillion jackpot. Rather, I’ll play the odds of me winning a much smaller prize. Juxtaposing this strategy with the approach I would take as an EVA, I would be very skeptical of ventures promising me a new life.

    Lastly, I like a sense of control over investment. Although I think certain registered plans serve a purpose, I feel there are quite a few regulations investors must follow when they seek their return. Not wanting to work around time restrictions, incremental pay-outs, and taxes, I also seek alternatives to the traditional methods of investing. For instance, my family returned to Korea (at least in part) to get a better return on our money. The country has a unique real-estate system that allows people to lease a home by paying a lump sum, usually for periods of two years. In exchange for the lump sum, the lessees do not have mortgage or rent payments, and their principle is returned in full after the expiry of the lease. The saving from not having the said payments outweigh any benefits we would get from a common registered plan while still affording us a sizeable amount of financial control.

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  23. SallyB

    I’ve never thought of myself as an investor, but I do fancy myself to be an entrepreneur… someday.

    After reading through the comments, I understand there is a certain flexibility in thinking about what an investment is.

    One recurring theme is “time”.

    We each have a finite amount of time to invest in ourselves, our families and projects so it makes sense to seek efficiencies across these investments. As an EVA, I would start by asking these questions:
    • Is this something I find personally interesting/exciting?
    • Can I contribute anything to it or learn from it?
    • Will it save people time, or “give” them time back?
    • Does it improve the quality of the time we have?
    • Why is now the moment in time for this business? (taken from Tara)

    To further borrow from Tara’s breakdown, the qualities of the CEO/founder and the market are also critical considerations but I think, for me, time is the most valuable asset, and it would weigh heavily in any investment decisions I might make. (However, I’m also thinking that there may be an inverse relationship to “disposable income” and “time”- that is, if I have more money to invest perhaps I care less about time as variable, and vice versa)

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    1. Siobhán McPhee

      I really appreciate your focus on time Sally. I would say that technology in general has created an ‘illusion’ of saving time when for the most part it adds more distractions! I would love to hear more from you as we go along if you have thoughts on how technologies might actually help us ‘slow time’ – a contradiction I think about a lot!

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    2. helena wright

      Hi Sally,

      I resonate with your understanding of investment and how you point out convenience, pleasure, and personal growth – all valuable investments nonetheless. I firmly believe in investing time into activities I enjoy and continue to prioritize, even when work or school become overwhelming because I see them as investments in my mental health and well-being. I personally love gardening, and despite how casual of a hobby it might seem, it is rather expensive. However, when I’m with my plants and tending to their needs, it’s a small fraction of the time I am not staring at a screen and I find I always feel far more relaxed after. Similarly, I am a firm believer that the body is an investment and we need to take care of our skin (wear sunscreen every day) and exercise (to maintain our muscles) so that years or decades down the line we see (or feel) that ROI.

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  24. Josh Wood

    The initial discussion prompt allowed me to broaden my view of investments, as I often focus on financial investments when discussing the topic. After some reflection, a ​snapshot of my investment strategy would look like this:
    Money – My financial investments are diversified, medium-risk (large time horizon) and automated. Of course my main goal in terms of ROI is increasing capital, but using a robo-advisor and low cost ETFs I save a significant amount of my time where I can invest elsewhere.
    Time – As a father of two, working full time and completing my masters, I AM BUSY! When I invest my time, I want the positive impact to be significant (the lives of others/my family, or personal gain).
    Personal Growth – Through education, experiences and my health, I strive to grow/improve my skillset and health. Again, I look for opportunities or activities that will be high impact, meaning the ROI is as high as possible per unit of time.

    Personally, a pitch about a potential investment must mention time. With only so much to give, I look to optimize this resource any chance I get.

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  25. Siobhán McPhee

    Education as a ‘conservative investor’:
    Until the pandemic I would have classed myself as a conservative investor in all aspects of my life: that is in how I invested my savings but also in how I invested in my career. I followed a path that I found ‘safe’ and predetermined. The pandemic has taught me that nothing is guaranteed and so I have ‘ventured’ out into trying to be a risker investor. This is not to say that I throw caution to the wind, but I do do my research and at the same time make a calculated risk. We can never mitigate for all possible risks, and if we look at the most successful entrepreneurs we see that they failed a number of times before a successful idea or investment took off. As I said I have also been very cautious in the realm of my career which is fine, but I found myself not feeling satisfied. Society has constructed a sense, at least in my opinion, that the most important task is to gain security in employment and a pension. I am not questioning that as humans we do need stability, but nothing ventured nothing gained. I really see this in the field of educational technologies where educators are very slow to embrace change because they have taught and done things the same way for years – that is the way they were trained and why would they do otherwise. It is why the field of startups is so fascinating to me as there seems to be a clear passion and a lack of fear of failure (well at least the knowledge that not every venture will succeed). I have struggled for years in how to bridge this excitement in risk taking, exploration and curiosity with the status quo educational institutions. It is ironic in a way because education should be about exploration…

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  26. Simin Rupa

    Am I an investor? I would say yes, in every way I can think off. I invest in my students time and energy. I invest in my house with sweat equity, financially through a TFSA and RRSP and lastly hobby-wise with Crowd Funding sites being frequently visited. Investing has changed and so has my relation to it. Growing up in a single-family house, saving and penny-pinching was the way of life. I didn’t realize it wasn’t normal until very recently. When I got my first job my father would take my money and invest it in his stock portfolio, when I hit 18 with my TFSA I suddenly had a rather handsome sum. Since then I have continuously paid into that. Choosing security in mutual funds and ETFs over the risk of independent stocks and the NYSTX. Recently I opened my RRSP and chose a medium growth, of 7%, too afraid of the risk. However, I have restructured my TFSA. I’ve stepped away from this structured investor, into more company-based and index-fueled stocks and it has been incredible. I take some of my “fun money” as i call it and invest in peoples ideas and board games, hoping ot see an endresult and sporting their dreams is a great combination. Being an investor is a path that I walk slowly but am growing in comfort.

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  27. Lyon Tsang

    I’ve been trying to invest in MYSELF by gradually building up better habits and routines. I don’t expect anything great to happen overnight, but there’s value in the “journey” too…

    With the pandemic, I’ve mostly just been stuck at home with nothing much to think about besides work, NBA basketball, and takeout. I guess my way of coping with the dullness of this new “reality” is finding ways to get value out of the situation:

    – better sleeping habits, now that I don’t have to commute
    – setting time aside for personal interests (like writing), AND making an effort to apply these skills (recreation, work, courses)
    – planning / daydreaming for the future

    It all looks a little obvious and vague on screen, but this sort of mindset HAS helped me see each day as an opportunity to get a little better. It’s like challenging yourself to find some fun in the mundane…

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  28. luke pereira

    My investment strategy was in myself around 4 years ago in trying to get an undergrad before I turn 40. I reached that goal and and also now onto continuing education such as MET. While covid has disrupted much of our lives, for me atleast with no family or kids, I was able to forge my path to learning and education quickly and strategically in the last year and half. Because i owned another property, I i had previously invested in renovations and rented it out in the summer. The earnings paid for my tuition and this sort of investment in myself solidifies my management of my professional development outside work, and it is paying off within my employment also.

    When it comes to online investments for funds, I am conservative and as one of the previous posters, Julio Palacios, mentioned earlier on if you do not trust yourself in understanding investing, just because others are jumping on, when market is low, does not mean I have too. Risks are too great. Same goes with buying homes in a hot housing market.

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  29. analesa crooks-eadie

    My investment strategy lately has been into my children. That is where most of my time and money seems to be going. Traditionally, I am fairly conservative when it comes to investing money. Safe investments with a range of 5-10 ROI appeal to me the most. To answer the question specifically, a pitch would need to be in an area that I have some knowledge about, be beneficial to one or more of the following; teachers, parents, students, children. The more that the product appealed to me, the less assurance I would need with the financial ROI. I like to be a part of things that I am passionate about. For me, my investment would be guided more by my heart than my wallet. However, a promising financial forecast would be a bonus!

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  30. Connie Sim

    I have a keen interest in stock investing. I used to invest in real estate but later on, as life becomes unpredictable and we decided to move halfway across the globe, property investment does not seem to be the wisest thing to do. Now, on top of this MET course, I spend most of my leisure time and energy learning about investment strategies. I would say that doing the MET course is definitely my best investment. In all honestly, I can’t clearly see the MET’s “ROI” at this point of time, but learning has enabled me to have a greater clarity of life- in contrast with occasionally feeling overwhelmed by trying to decide if a stock has good fundamentals and reading stock charts.

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  31. JacksonLiang

    My investment strategy right now is focused on early time consumption and building a list of diverse investments while I’m still relatively young. I live at home with family, contribute to the bills and try not to squander this extra safety basket by taking more risks both in terms of my investments and time. I like to think that I am very conscientious of my money, but more and more, my time and capital investment is going to look at happiness more.

    In terms of time, I focused on setting myself up to be more knowledgeable and experienced in different ventures. My goal is to reach a salary income range of around 60,000-95,000 so I can match the ideal income point for emotional well-being and possibly even life evaluation that was researched by Purdue University (https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q1/money-only-buys-happiness-for-a-certain-amount.html)

    Although some of these ventures may yield only $5 a month, I still think it’s a venture well met if I learned more skills from the attempt:

    -Teaching career (taking the MEd to go up a category in the pay-scale and open opportunities for future private sphere careers or district careers)
    -Redbubble designs
    -Kindle Direct Publishing with notebook sales
    -Udemy (online course making)
    -Cryptocurrency staking
    -Teachers Pay Teachers

    Going through many of these endeavors, I realized that time would become tighter as I continue to find other things that may consume it such as family care, new living situations and more. One venture I do want to pursue soon is the ability to outsource work, especially when it comes to designs and content building. However, there is a juggling act between using that money on ventures versus investing it in a solid index fund.

    I split my money into a few parts:

    40% Individual stocks (doing very poorly at –50%. Rebalancing by no longer buying any more and investing in index funds)
    5-10% Chequing and savings
    40% Index Funds (60% US Equity, 30% International, 10% Canadian)
    10-15% Cryptocurrencies

    My portfolio is much more risky than others. As I live at home, I thought I could take on more risk. I aggressively save while I’m at home, and save about 80% of my paycheque from my first job (which is teaching), using that to first max out my TFSA, before looking into my RRSP and personal accounts. The money I gather from other income sources are used for miscellaneous purposes such as paying rent into the family, everyday purchases and vacation funds. I try to keep myself chipper by calculating how I would do with a 8% ( accounted -2% for inflation) rate from the compound interest calculator based off historical stock market appreciation averages.

    One direction I want to go after COVID ends is using my money to invest in happiness. There are a few ways I do and want to pursue this:

    1. Paying for other’s meals as they pay for mine. Buying things for others as well as receiving things from others are personally satisfying for me so I use this is a way to easily get some more dopamine points.
    2. Looking into vacations with friends while I’m still young and not committed to other responsibilities. Vacations and trips have great happiness values not only when it is happening, but during the planning stages beforehand and the reflective stages after it is over. The value of vacations to me comes from its temporary nature, so it is not as easy to take for granted.
    3. Limiting material purchases that can fall victim to the hedonic treadmill, whereby one’s satisfaction with the items decreases over time. What’s worse, losing that material item further decreases happiness levels.
    4. Pursuing a continuing job that is less than 45 minutes commute to and from home. I believe that shaving any time off from here can help me with my job satisfaction in a sometimes-stressful job like teaching. I took into account the research by the University of West England for this (https://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/uwenews/news.aspx?id=3713)

    Overall, my focus is more work now for less work in the future. Then, I would love to use that extra time and money I have saved early to spend on experiences to increase my happiness levels. Once I am set up, I think I can be in a good spot to give and consider building a family that I can fully support financially and emotionally.

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    1. Wynn Zhang

      Very cool method of investing! It reminds me of the Canadian Couch Potato method, only a bit more modern as you’re mixing in Crypto in there. The only thing that I would worry about is the expected salary income. Within our current economy and the rate inflation is happening, I would be surprised if 60k-95k would be enough in around 10 years. Especially since with COVID and all the issues regarding the global supply chain, Canada’s inflation rate over the past year has hit 5%. This means that we NEED to get a 5% raise to stay even within our lifestyles. Not to mention that housing prices rose 95%!!! over the past decade. I do appreciate your focus on your personal wellness though, it’s so important as I recently surveyed my time allocation between personal, work, and family. It was not pretty. https://604now.com/vancouver-house-prices-doubled-last-10-years-2021/

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      1. mstr

        Hi Wynn and Jackson,

        I enjoyed reading both of your posts. It baffles me the commute that some-people endure to get to work (although Covid has allowed many to work from home). I suppose many don’t have choice? Or it’s just what you’re used to? I have a friend in Toronto that when she goes into the office it’s a 3 hour drive each way! “Time is money,” so I believe that time could definitely be “invested” in other pursuits. (Not to mention what you’d save in gas). Also, where your living plays a big role in ones investment plans. i.e. Buying a house in Vancouver on average is 1.2 M versus buying a similar house in Winnipeg will cost about 320,000. https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/national-price-map/

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        1. Marie-Eve Masse

          We both wrote about time, Jackson! I appreciated your different take. Adding to the commuting dicussion – being in Squamish I opt for a longer commute for work in East Vancouver (1h10min, which I thankfully do not need to do daily) to reduce commuting time during my time off. I now live in ‘my playground’ versus needing to drive to it: I am within 5min of some of the best mountain bike trails in the world and 35min away from Whistler for skiing. I am also closer to ‘my community/people’ and spend less time in traffic daily needing to get to essential services since it is a smaller community (and free parking!). I also invested in an electric vehicle to reduce my impact on the environment and do not have to factor in gas. We also bought a house that was exponentially lower in price than Vancouver. All that to say – I think time invested in commuting is more complex than ‘not having a choice’ or ‘just being used to it’. For me, it makes sense to live in Squamish, but I would do it if it weren’t for the time benefits that present themselves in other aspects of my life.

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  32. brendan stanford

    As a middle school Teacher, the very first thing I teach students besides my name/background is that their TIME is the most valuable form of investment. Some of us are more privileged than others in terms of how much of our daily 24-hour allotment we have to spare (transit vs car vs a walk to work, single vs couple vs family, student vs shift work vs salary, etc.), but what we put our time into implies what we value the most, and I firmly believe this personally.
    With all that said, my investment strategy can be summed up as “diversified”. I’ve already mentioned in previous comments that Stephen Covey’s “7 habits of highly effective people” described the idea of “pillars” to support the structure of your identity/life, and the key insight was that one ought not to over-invest in any particular pillar lest it’s foundation be threatened (i.e. you lost the job, your spouse leaves you, you break a leg and can’t perform in the big show/game, etc.) so then your entire identity is too, but you should still strive to develop each so that they become more robust over time. To that end, I try to spread my time between 3 essential pillars: family, career and social development; with whatever time remains, I try to expose myself to new ideas and experiences, whether they be books (“Beyond the Trees” at present), technologies (Quest 2 VR is the big one lately; finally a video game CAN give you a workout) or destinations (that one has taken a hit as of late).
    The ROI I’m looking for is personal development and fulfilment: I want to feel as though I am becoming better tomorrow than I am today, and I want to feel as though I have a positive influence on the lives of those around me. This is difficult to quantify, so I evaluate progress more qualitatively: am I happier, more confident and more capable than I was yesterday? Did I impact someone today such that they seem to feel more happy, confident or capable? If the answer is yes, I am on track; if not, it’s time to reevaluate where I’m spending my time.
    In terms of what I need in a pitch, first and foremost is feasibility: can I really see this fitting into my already busy life and making me or someone else fulfilled? The second is probably readiness: how much work or time will I need to invest before this can be deployed effectively? The third aspect I need to see is the vision or intended niche: which context of my life is this going to be used in, and is this a niche that is already filled?
    My financial investments reflect this attitude too. I want my money to grow over time, and I’m putting it into those same diverse pillars to grow my life. I had my first child (DEFINITELY the biggest time investment of all, but also by far the most fulfilling) in July, and so my wife and I bought our first home in October (also a time/money sink, but it’s fulfilling to reshape it to suit our lifestyle). I want to explore and offer new kinds of courses and subjects in technology education (my Bachelor is in Biology/philosophy) so I’m investing in this Master’s degree. I also want to have some “rainy day” money for future activities, be they social or more personal explorations, so I’m invested in a diversified exchange-traded fund that mirrors the market so that it doesn’t take too much of my time, but over 5 years and strategic drop-ins and outs it’s gained 20%, so I’m happy with that, and in an emergency, I can drain it within 24 hours if need be, though ideally, it’ll just grow to be used on some greater venture down the line.
    All this is to say that I want my investments to bring about value, whether personal or professional and so far I’m pretty happy with how it’s going. I might not be the big whale making the big wave, but I’m swimming along well in my corner of the sea, and it’s only getting bigger from here!

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    1. Hayley Mooney

      Brendan, a lot of what you said here really rang true for me. A long time ago I started writing things I was thankful for at the end of the day. Not only did it make me feel less negative about life in general, but it made me notice what really mattered, and in turn, what I could continue to do to increase my own happiness- which often turned out to be contributing to the happiness of others, or activities that were fulfilling to me as a person (which often didn’t cost a cent). Applying these same values to what to look for in return on investment is a logical way to invest in life in general.

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  33. Wynn Zhang

    Investment is one of those skills that we do not learn, but it impacts our lives significantly. I find that the most important aspect of an investment is the ROI (Return on Investment) regardless of the type of investment. I will approach this from a financial standpoint as in the end, we need money to thrive and survive. Currently, I invest the majority of my personal wealth in the stock market, where I focus on researching companies that could grow in the long run. Having tried options and day trading, I find that long term investment have the best value for the time. I would also advise against financial advisers as they rarely make enough of an impact on your portfolio to garner their role in your investment style. Having said that, I often start with appraising companies true worth as well as their current worth. If there is a big discrepancy, then I would buy that stock and continue to buy it until I come to a situation where I have to re-evaluate. This works well financially as proper evaluation will eventually net me gains in the long run. Time wise, I check my portfolio once at month, therefore I am not pressured to make quick decisions. Lastly, this investment also works for me mental health wise as I would not be tempted to sell when it suddenly dips or spikes short-term. This type of investing makes the most sense for me as it is safe, efficient, and relies on proper evaluation of long term growth rather than volatility in the market.

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  34. mstr

    For me personally, I have invested in real estate. Anyone that knows me well knows I want to retire early, and play tennis down south! Sort of a joke, but not really. Real estate is hopefully going make this dream a reality. I have slowly over the years bought houses and rent them out, using the equity built from one house to buy the next. The hope is that they will continue to appreciate in value and that I will have the mortgages paid off by the time I retire, and the rental income will become my income (along with my teaching pension). Or I can sell and keep the profits (but pay capital gains). I could have invested in RRSPs or stocks etc. however I feel that real estate is less risky than stocks and the ROI will be higher than other types of low risk investments. While being a landlord is more work than other investment types, for the most part it is passive income. I also invest in my health and wellbeing; I pay for tennis lessons, which some (my husband) may argue doesn’t yield a high return! However, I think being active allows for better physical health and provides enjoyment, both of which improve mental health, and if I get better at tennis in the process then that’s a bonus! All said, for me to invest the pitch would have to align with my goals.

    As a teacher, I am very passionate about financial literacy. In fact I just had a financial advisor speak to my class over today about investing! The main “take-aways” the students were told is to create a budget and stick to it! To know where your money is coming from and where it is going. Students were also advised to open a TFSA at the age of 18 and start investing, even if it’s just a small amount every month. I felt that finances and money were never talked about when I was in high-school (many years ago). I didn’t know anything about credit cards, mortgages, investments, etc. Now, as a teacher try to encourage students to talk about finances, whether with their parents or guardians at home, or with their friends, and definitely at school. Investments and money in general should not be a taboo subject. For me to invest in the classroom, the pitch would have to quickly and clearly what the is the “value-added.”

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  35. hasssae1

    Creating a diverse and balanced portfolio of investment vehicles is critical and minimizes the risks for me as an investor. Generally speaking, investment for me is divided into two (2) main segments; first, the investment opportunities that provide the highest returns and boost profits (usually less riskier ventures) and second, the investments opportunities that make me feel good, regardless of the profit margin that they yield (usually riskier). Over the years, I have learnt that “research” is the difference between making money and losing money. I strongly suggest that everyone starts investing if they have the means (and its totally okay if someone currently doesn’t) so they can learn the investing strategies.

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  36. Aaron Chan

    I am a simple man. Investment Strategy: Greatest return requiring the least amount of stress, effort, and of course “fomo”. Some examples include: Online education, going long on blue chip stocks and not looking at them for weeks or months (happy with a 10% ROI), not talking to friends or family about stocks and NFTs (fomo-prevention), not reading the news or following investors on social media (more fomo-prevention), selling designs on print-on-demand sites because I like drawing, playing fetch with my dog (I am investing my love in this scenario). In all these scenarios, investing is more of a means to an end. For example, I buy a company’s stock because I want to grow my money, not because I am supporting that company’s mission. When it comes to investing my own cold hard cash, given my risk-profile and investment strategy, I would say I am not a first-mover; I generally follow the herd. In other words, I think the only thing that could get me interested in a pitch would be knowing who else bought in… and maybe some analyst ratings. This all assumes, of course, that the company has a successful track record of at least 10 years. With these things in mind, I don’t really care what they do, where they are, or who their CEO is.

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  37. Kyle

    Despite my first failure in entrepreneurship, see original post about me and my duct tape, my ability to take risk has somewhat dwindled. Over time I have realized that time is my most prized and valuable asset and I guard it closely. Personally I am protective of my money, but am not shy about supporting friends or causes that I believe in. Education has always been my largest investment, and while the ROI isn’t always immediate or directly related, my assertion has always been that knowledge will pay off in the end. Though, after lengthy conversations with my students, I am starting to understand that long term investments in cryptocurrency and other future forward ideas may in fact be beneficial. But; can I buy more duct tape with cryptocurrency?
    Perhaps my shift in thought is shared among this cohort; educators looking towards the future, with perhaps a more open view on acceptance of the ubiquity of technology, and thus how that will change the landscape of the environments we work in. One balancing feature for me in investing time, money or resources is tangible benefits. Does this pitch of an idea present tangible change, for the better, that is immediately accessible to those to whom it is intended? We are all bombarded with new ideas, or resources and weeding through what works for us, or provides actual benefit for those who we serve takes time. Therefore, any idea that supersedes this need for our time immediately moves to the top of the pile for me.

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  38. Hayley Mooney

    How do I invest? Based on many of my ventures, badly! For example, around 2009 a friend of mine kept yammering on about something called Bitcoin at parties. I was skeptical based on some other recent poor investments and rolled my eyes. A few years later, long after moving away and losing touch, another friend casually mentioned that Bitcoin-friend was currently sailing around the Bahamas in his own private yacht. Not kidding. The other investments were enterprises sold to me by acquaintances in the military. The perceived connection of shared employment gave their offerings more credibility than it should have and money was lost. Simultaneously I was investing in real estate. Buy high, sell low was the theme… I finally ducked out of the market in 2017, just breaking even, only to find when I returned to Canada in 2021 that prices had tripled.
    This could all have turned me into a very bitter, skeptical person, but thanks to spending some time in a war zone courtesy of the military, I’ve realized that it’s all perspective. Instead, I’ve decided to embrace what I’ve learned along the way (lessons which many of you have learned in less painful ways based on the discussion above). Now my main goals with investments are my values and my time. Unless something fits within my values (is it something that is actually making positive change for issues like climate change?) and takes little of my time (I’m happy to invest in The Next Big Thing, but only if it doesn’t take away from the time I spend with my family), it’s not worth it. That being said, I’m not immune to a good venture pitch, and have even thrown a few bucks at various crowdfunded ideas. As for return on investment, based on my past I don’t typically have high expectations, but if a something I have invested in goes on to do something positive (like come up with a really amazing climate-solution), then the feel-good part is half the win.

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  39. Marie-Eve Masse

    I will focus on my most precious commodity: time. I am a careful and methodical investor when it comes to it (unlike my money) – especially since a friend of mine suddenly passed away 6 years ago. For example: In the MET program, I have decided to invest less time over a longer period by taking one course per semester and completing it in 3 years. Unlike many of you, I do not gain anything financially from my workplace once my program is completed, there is no rush from a ‘time value of money’ perspective. I rather have the rest of my free time outside work dedicated to a diverse portfolio that aligns with my values: time moving my body, time with people I love, time helping others, time resting, and time outside is where I invest the most outside of time learning. I quantify my returns in terms of experiencing these elements and I’ve built a life that often allows me to do more than one at the same time. Example: Volunteering for Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports = moving my body + being outside + helping others. That said, I get the largest ROI doing a singular element, sleep, which is part of my ‘time resting’ portfolio.

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    1. alexis reeves

      Hi Marie-Eve,
      I appreciated your post on stressing the importance of time. It is a huge commodity that we sometimes take for granted and ever so often people come to regret it. I’ve refused some positions in the past due to the lack of work-life balance and inflexibility of employers because I value my free-time and see it as a space to learn from others and hobbies, gather creative ideas, take care of my body and re-invest these back into my job/family and friends.

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  40. alexis reeves

    I’ll start with a hypothetical situation whereby I was an important business woman with a successful brand and a lot of money to lend. To get me interested in a pitch I would need an original idea backed with someone who has knowledge of the market they are entering and has done their due diligence in terms of research and analysis. They would need to show me how their product or idea would impact the world for the better and especially the particular market they are entering. By making the world better I mean giving back in terms of sustainability and improving quality of life for people for example, creating a product that makes life easier and requires less time for use than an older tool or product. The person presenting the pitch should exhibit excitement for what they are presenting and some background on why this idea is important to them in order to show their dedication to its success. Finally they should have a clear plan of what is needed to move forward with their idea and how I can help them and which particular areas that would be in (monetary investment, advice and mentoring, etc.) If it is money that is asked, I would be asking for at least a return on my invest but likely some sort of dividend as well. If it is in terms of mentorship and time that is asked of me, I would expect that we would be able to partner again in the future based on the success of the venture for further opportunities and joint ventures. If it is a non-profit opportunity where my skills, time or contacts would be needed, then I would ask solely for proof of the non-profit doing what is supposed to be doing alongside some brand recognition of my own ventures as featured at events and on their website, social media, etc. to allow for time lost investing in those.
    To get into my own personal investments to date those would be moderately safe for example, investing in learning new skills and education via this program and different job experience had over the years in order to increase my marketable value for greater job opportunities in the future. If I had more money, I would invest in buying real estate and renting it out as a holiday home or in uncertain times as of now as a long term rental as it seems to provide a good return. I have also invested a lot of time in traveling and living in different countries. These experiences although probably considered more risky have returned a wealth of benefits and knowledge for example, making a variety of contacts, understanding the way in which different countries businesses and people function (for example I found in London most sales positions were given regardless of education if you had the attributes seen valuable as opposed to Canada whereby majority of headhunters focus solely on education as documented through degrees and diplomas), learning languages and how to navigate successfully in the unknown by attaining jobs, money, housing, etc. These experiences seemed to piggyback off each other as navigating in one unknown market seemed to add skills to benefit off doing the same in a following market. However, these skills are perhaps seen as less valuable in monetary terms and more so in developing ‘life-skills’.

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    1. joseph villella

      I completely agree with Alexis that time is a major factor of any investment I choose to make. Whether it be the time it would take to see a return that I am happy with or the time I must put directly into an opportunity to receive something out of it. This is where ROI for me becomes a bit confusing, as how I value a return greatly depends on the thing I am investing in. For some opportunities I greatly value the experience and reward of seeing something succeed more than I care about the specific dollar amounts that is being returned (although of course the dollar amounts are always important). This would be more for projects that I am playing a role in where I can see the time I put in relates to the success of the experience. When it comes to personal financial investments, I try to invest in things that I can just let ride and not need to worry about them. As an example, I invest in Ethereum because it is something that I believe in and I recognize that I am in for the long run. Since I acknowledge that it will take a long time to see proper returns (and even longer based on how much it has crashed), I do not feel worried with the day-to-day changes in the crypto market.

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  41. mary hui

    My most valued investment is also time. In my field of work, I have a pretty full schedule where sometimes I don’t even have time for myself. Caring for others is great, but I have learned that I also need time for myself. There are many things that I wish to accomplish as well. This is one of the reasons why I am doing my masters now so I will not regret it later on in life. A quote I always live by is by Marie Kondo’s book the ‘Life changing magic of tidying up’ The quote reads: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it.’ I have learned organize my time to prioritize things/people that brings me joy in the long-term. For example: I want to watch TV but I would also like to learn a new skill. I will then allocate more time to learn a new skill because that will bring me the most joy and ROI in the long term. After that, I will watch my favorite drama, cooking shows, or movies. Taking time to ‘find my tribe’ and nourish those friendships have also been a great ROI. It opens my eyes to new experiences and perspectives where I cannot reach by myself.

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    1. cindy keung

      I totally agree with you and value “time” and consider it an investment, for sure, Mary. Even when this “time” is dedicated to thinking about and putting into action, financial investments. If you are starting out as a novice investor or an emerging adult with new responsibilities, it takes time to allow your resources: whether that be your energy or money. Someone can spend a lot of time in making money but have no relationships and at the end of the day, what contributes to society, our community and self? I usually ask myself about what I want to see in my journey of life when the end of my life is near. I don’t think making that extra $$$$ will be the focus of my thoughts.

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  42. cindy keung

    Investments come in different forms. In the venture world, I default to thinking about money. From a “Pitch” point of view, I think about time, resources (people, connections) and capital. It takes money to make money. Even with personal investments (finances), you need to have some extra cash to invest. Not everyone has the privilege to invest adequate amounts of money in your high-interest savings account (those don’t really exist anymore), RRSP, RESP, TFSA, ETF’s, stock market. And even with the stock market, you need the investment of time to do your due diligence and make wise choices. Investments also come in the form of where you will direct your energy, which relationships bring you life and therefore, you invest and dedicate more time and depth in those relationships which have long term impacts. Investing in good health and making wise decisions also has long-term impacts on your well-being, in hopes that you avoid and/or prevent ill outcomes later in life. Investing in how to look at life and an attitude to help you succeed in life is also a big area of cognitive and emotional well-being that contribute to any work/job venture you might pursue.

    From a “Pitch” point of view, my investment would be resources I have to dedicate my time to a business venture. That would include my energy, time, people who would help support my venture. Money, of course, is a large factor, too and this can depend on how you have invested elements in your life (certainly money, being one of them) before starting the venture. For example, did you invest in the relationships that can help build your business? Or did you burn bridges and no one wants to help you? Did you invest in good relationship building with your parents/in laws and spouse so they can watch your kids while you dedicate a few hours a day to build your venture? Or do you have to put them in front of the Tube while you crunch numbers on your spreadsheet? One investment can impact another, and so on. And of course, a person’s life circumstances creates boundaries and limitations as to how much or little you can/willing to risk and/or invest.

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  43. Terri-Lynn McLeod

    My monetary investment strategy is conservative. I am not all about taking huge risks with large amounts of money. I am looking for a guaranteed return. My husband and I have invested in a variety of properties. Will they yield huge monetary returns if we try to sell them? Maybe not right now. But they are beneficial in other ways. They have given us choices both for now and for later in life. With an investment, I prefer this long-term, reliable return.
    As a teacher, I invest a great deal of time and energy in my students. Unfortunately, there are times when that investment does not pay off like when a student does not pass that exam or class you have been helping them with, or when they end up not graduating. The return comes, though, when one of your students graduates from university and returns home to work as a nurse, or when one of those “hard” students comes back to work with you as an educational assistant, or when a parent makes a point of thanking you for helping their child graduate from high school. These are the kinds of returns that make the investment worthwhile.

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    1. Andrew

      A lot of comments reference the focus on investing in others (human capital as some call it). Family and friends are the most common recipients of these investments from an average person.

      Like yourself, I am an elementary and middle school teacher. As a teacher, investing in students and hoping to properly quantify the return is seemingly impossible. Even though they are “our job”, we often throw everything at them that people might also show their friends and family – our time, our money, and our love. Just like investing in the market, we experience the ups and downs, and I believe it’s important not to sell low (give up when times are tough). With human investment, specifically with students, the constant care and understanding reaps the highest ROI even if we are not the benefits of this return. It can be a challenging but beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing.

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  44. Ally Darling-Beaudoin

    I’m impressed with all of the thoughtful portfolios and backgrounds being discussed in this thread! I suppose I feel a bit of envy, since financially, I invest with great disdain. I am actively engaged in investing, and understand its many benefits, but I have ZERO interest in investing, and discussing it puts me to sleep. I’m not sure if it’s the tie-in to financials itself which lulls me, or if its the incessant unsolicited advice that comes along with any financial discussion, but I can’t really picture a scenario wherein I’d like to be “pitched” to nor where I would like to “get involved” in a venture in a financial capacity. Maybe I’d change my tune if I had wealth I didn’t know what else to do with?! Similar to many, investments I AM likely to get involved with are those that require my time, knowledge/support, or non-financial resources. Personal fulfillment style initiatives such as mentoring, volunteering, and educating are the things which I happily invest in (and I suppose, also myself!). In these scenarios, most of the time the person “pitching” to me, is me. An obstacle becomes obvious (someone I know is struggling, or an organization I am involved in releases a request, I come across something I want to know more about) and I convince myself I should be getting involved. This usually ends up with me having far too much on my plate. That said, it is interesting to consider what manufactures this initiative – is it truly all coming from me, could it come from someone else? How would that work?

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    1. Marie Finch

      I agree with your sentiments Ally. I am so very impressed with the portfolios people have developed. I am just not a risk taker. The idea of placing my well earned money onto number seven and rolling the dice makes my brain and heart hurt, but like you, if I had a larger amount of disposable income perhaps I wouldn’t feel so leery about putting out and investing in something risky. I think for me the most valuable ‘Pitch’ I would want to entertain is one where I can see the applicability into my own life and practice. If it is not connected to me or my realm of knowledge then right away, I would tune it out and leave it to the experts.

      A number of people have commented in this comment stream about the cost of living, which, in the last 10 years and even more drastically since the start of Covid, has grown exponentially. It financially makes sense to plan for long term. What will the cost of buying groceries be? Will our children be able to step into the housing market? Will we be able to retire at a time where we are healthy enough to fulfill our goals. It’s really difficult to add the risk of investing when you have these stresses on your mind.

      For my family our goal is always to invest into creating opportunities. Travel, new activities for both the adults and children and most importantly the ability to say yes to opportunities when they arrive are what our family values. We work hard to financially be able to say yes. We are not risky with what we say yes to as it financially has to make sense for us, but we also don’t want to live in the ‘one days.’

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      1. Ally Darling-Beaudoin

        Marie, yes! At the risk of sounding like an aimless (and hopeless.. haha) romantic, I’m not particularly drawn to the pitch pools and opportunities of that kind (FOMO has never really got to me, either…) I suppose the only exception are those things that I think I can truly “help” with, which got me thinking: I’m sure that is exactly how most ‘serial’ investors feel – like they have a lot to offer and can assist in these ventures (but, maybe it’s the money opportunity?!) And for the pitchers, usually they want financial and non-financial support, so I can see how it could be just as fulfilling as some of my noted ‘investments’.

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      2. robyn godard

        Hey Marie and Ally,

        Great to hear about both of your perspectives on investing and risk tolerance. For myself, I have also always been very intimidated by financial investing and the risk. I agree that it feels like everyone has a different perpsective and opinon and this can be overwhelming. After accumulating some savings and realizing that the housing market was feasibly not somthing i likely could afford in Vancouver, I finally started investing with a robo-advisor a few years ago. It was a really nerve-racking experience and i experienced the down-turn of the market almost immediatly upon the beginning of my investment journey. This was stressful, but also a great learning experience to think about my investments as long term and realize that changes in the market are normal and part of investing.

        I’ve since felt quite empowered to learn more about investing through reading books and following different investment accounts online. I have also started doing some investing on my own. While I still have lots to learn, I feel alot more confident in my financial future and realize now that financial investing is not as challenging/intimidating as it seems. My end goal with financial investing is financial security, however as a fairly risk adverse and new investor I try to look at investing as a long-term project with lots of time to continue to learn and understand different investment strategies.

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  45. Kendal

    Taking on this question from the perspective of an Educational Venture Analyst (EVA, or perhaps Chief Learning Officer for the hypothetical super groovy company I work for), I like Dr. Vogt’s idea of venture pitches as “perfect learning objects.” Even if I were to be very impressed with a venture pitch that contains all of the crucial “facets” and things are looking promising, I am certainly not an MVP or Minimum Viable Product type of investor that would feel comfortable backing a company or product without knowing all of the details outlined in a tidy and comprehensive business plan (I would need that learning object to be complete, not a work in progress). Pitches and business plans would provide me with a clear line of sight on how the company or product was going to be successful, and support my organization’s values and goals. I wouldn’t want to feel that we were just another row on a spreadsheet – I would want to feel some connection. Looking through the responses above, many contributors emphasize a focus or importance on investing in time. Though I think this is primarily from a personal perspective (investing in themselves, their family, their community), this can be applied to a business model, in that if we (EVA’s) are making sound investment decisions based on our organization’s values and goals, then our time is inherently valued in a work-setting, which absolutely spills over into our personal lives. If we feel we are making value-based, responsible decisions, we can carry that “win” over into other aspects of our lives. Perhaps this type of investment is “pie in the sky,” but one can dream. As far as ROI goes, from my perspective, it would again be dependent on organizational values and goals. If our ultimate goal is enhancing learning effectiveness, that could be pretty difficult to measure and quantify, and I would be again looking to that business plan to provide information.

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  46. SafaaAbuSaa

    I have had very limited financial guidance or education in my pre-getting paid era of my life, therefore, I didn’t make very wise financial decisions then. Now, when I look back, I realize I had a treasure trove of skills and abilities that I could have invested in. I like to think that I probably would have become super rich by now, not just monetarily speaking, but also in regards to my skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience. Things which make a gigantic distinction among people, and usually lead to more profit if utilized cleverly. But more importantly, they result in more self-confidence and competence.
    So, basically, I think investing in one’s own potential is very worthwhile. It is safe to a great extent since it does not usually require a whole lot of money, and, even if it didn’t yield the desired results (that is, for example, if your skills don’t improve in a certain field), you’ll be a winner anyway because you’ll at least know that this field is not for you.

    As an EVA, I am super skeptical, so even if a pitch caught my attention, and even if a business plan got my approval, I would invest a small amount at first and see how it goes and what kind of results come out. Then, if in reality the venture proves to be promising I would increase the financial support, but I’d still be very cautious. I guess the essence of my strategy would be to not be very trusting, to always question.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts on this!

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  47. alexei Peter Dos Santos

    How do you invest? I really don’t know exactly. Nevertheless, I can tell about how I do not invest. In the last few years, I adventure myself in different areas of small business with many partners. Economically, all of them worked fine, but once we earn more money, it is easy to lose the purpose and initial objective of the venture. For instance, I am a Scientific Director of a company that organizes educational events in the Health area. In the beginning, every proposal should be approved scientifically before commercial agreements. This measure is fundamental to preserve the ethical integrity of the company. Imagine a pharmaceutical company sponsoring a medical meeting and coordinating the educational program, influencing the decisions over medications. It’s inadmissible. That’s my job to decide the ethical proposals that benefit patients and health professionals. But, the commercial department always observes and accepts the most profitable appointments, bypassing the scientific department whenever possible. To make a long history short, I ask to leave my position and the company to resign.

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  48. EmilyOlson

    For me to feel confident investing I’d need the pitch to be in a market that I am relatively familiar with and have some background knowledge about. The pain point/notable need and solution would need to immediately resonate with me as addressing an important and notable need in my lived or observed experience to feel sure that the venture could be successful. I would need to know enough about alternatives and competitors to know that they’re covering their bases in terms of differentiating their product from others on the market. I think if the “ask” for investment was a relatively low amount with reasonable expectations for return that might be enough with the previously mentioned criteria. Particularly if the venture seemed like something that could change education for the better. I wouldn’t mind investing some money in an attempt to affect change in a notoriously slow moving market, as it’s a cause that’s important to me and one that I feel like I’m well informed enough about to make decent choices.

    I’m not as worried about marketing, as it seems that there are so many easy avenues now to promote and sell products, but I might be misguided as I’ve never sold anything online! If it was a substantial ask for investment amount I think I would want to have some sort of role in the marketing and maybe join the board of advisors – it would help to feel like I have some control over the success of the venture if I had a lot of money on the line.

    I also have to admit that I think if the person delivering the pitch seemed genuine, humble, yet confident in their idea for solidly stated reasons I’d be more likely to invest. In this week’s content there is discussion of not letting charm skew your judgement, so I’d likely need to watch out for that more, but I also think if the person pitching had a performative fake confident salesperson thing going on I’d likely not invest for just that reason.

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  49. Jocelyn

    Cautiously optimistic. A fitting description of my investing strategies, emphasis on cautious. Simply ask my financial advisor, I am the conventional customer who fits neatly into the prepackaged “Portfolio B” investment opportunities- some risk, with some return. Not surprisingly, that matches my personal risk appetite, or lack thereof, as I tend to shy away from the glitz and glamour of high risk/high rewards. I’d say I would be an easy pitch, if it had the words “safe” or “highly likely” or “adequate returns”, those ventures would be right down my alley- except that is not typically how ventures are created in order to succeed in the market. All this said, by extension of my partner being in finance, we have a few real estate properties together. Our goal is to optimize every dollar of investment to achieve the best ROI as the formula suggests net income (profitability)/ investments.

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  50. emma pindera

    How do I invest? When I first met with my financial advisor, we discussed where I felt most comfortable in relation to risk, I realized I do not like a lot of risk when it comes to my funds. Although she mentioned the potential long term benefits of more fluctuating stocks, I could only see it causing me anxiety. When I invest in non-profits and charities, I do my research in ensuring that the majority of my money is going to people in need. When I invest in kickstarters, I invest in items that I can see an immediate use/need for. My investing profile is practical, conservative, and conscientious. I do not make big financial risks, and I like to do my research to ensure I make smart financial decisions. The ROI I perceive is a slow but steady growth. In pitches, I need them to be fully researched, with long-term plans and innovations that I understand and can make immediate use of.

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    1. Kendal

      Hi Emma, I loved reading this: “When I invest in non-profits and charities, I do my research in ensuring that the majority of my money is going to people in need. When I invest in kickstarters, I invest in items that I can see an immediate use/need for.” That’s so great you invest in non-profits, charities, and kickstarters that you research and see value in. There are so many incredible organizations doing work that we take for granted and may not see direct impacts of, but are working behind the scenes to make this weird planet a better place to live. You rock!

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  51. Justine

    Recently, I switched phone carriers, and after this week’s readings, I am now thinking back to the pitch I was given by the Bell salesman. The pitch was an elevator pitch, with the nervous salesman trying to sell us on changing carriers. It was a quick pitch, where he shared the credibility of the company and why Bell was better than my current carrier, Rogers. Now, unfortunately I was swayed by a good salesman, and so far, I’ve been really unhappy with the service and regret switching to Rogers.

    At the time, I was looking for an investment that would allow for a new phone and a long-term, low monthly plan. I wanted a certain amount of GB as well. I was hoping to pay less than my current plan, but receive more perks because I was aware that carriers are competitive and typically offer deals to outbid one another. The return on investment would be the low monthly pay. If we think about deconstructing a pitch, the salesman really sold me on the pain point. He compared Bell to Rogers, and convinced me that I was paying too much for less than what Bell could offer. He identified a gap or problem. He also showcased Bell’s deals that he could offer me, and this resolved my current problem. He then went on to showcase some of Bell’s features that make them stand out from Rogers. Finally, he described the payment plan, and I was sold! Looking back, I wish I talked to more people before switching, because it has become evident that many of my friends aren’t happy with Bell’s service. I based my decision on the elevator pitch. However, I have learned that I need to do my own research prior to the investment.

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  52. Liana

    As a child, my parents taught me early on the benefits of saving money. I began working as a young teenager, and my mom (who was a bank employee) introduced me to GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates). Back in the 90s, GICs had return rates of anywhere between 5-15% depending on the investment terms. As a teenager, I was amazed that the government would pay me to save my money, and free money was a great incentive for me to save .
    I worked hard, saved my money and didn’t engage in frivolous spending.
    Over the years, GIC returns became next to nothing, and I had to change my investment strategy. As a young adult, I wasn’t privy to the stock market or more ‘risky’ investing, nor was anyone in my family. I didn’t trust anyone with my money so chose to learn about investing instead of trusting a stranger with my money. I spent many years reading financial blogs which helped me learn how to invest ‘wisely’. I currently live by a few of investing rules:

    1. Educate yourself. It really is unfortunate that our education system doesn’t do a better job at teaching young adults about finances.
    2. Don’t invest $ that you are not comfortable losing (or that you don’t have).
    3. Don’t panic sell. All markets are cyclical. What goes down, will eventually (hopefully) go up.
    4. Spend within your means & put aside money to invest for growth.
    5. Take advantage of ‘free’ money. Example – Government matched RESPs.

    If only we had a crystal ball, I would have heavily invested in Canadian real estate 10-15 years ago as the ROI has been astronomical. I typically don’t invest in anything I am not educated about, passionate about or that does not have a guaranteed rate of return. Although saving and investing money is important, I also ensure that I invest equally in my wellbeing and enhancing my quality of life through travel, time with loved ones and memorable life experiences.

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    1. Kendal

      Hi Liana, I enjoyed reading about your journey with investing over the years and like how you clearly laid out the investing rules that have served you. I agree that it would be such a win to teach younger folks about investing, and provide the foundation for them to go on to make informed decisions, or at least know how important it is to be educated on this topic. I also really agree with rules 2 and 4 and I think this has saved me a lot of sleepless nights (: Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  53. Katie M

    When I reach the height of my frustration with the cost of living in Vancouver, I occasionally wish that a driving force in my life prioritizing financial gain. That being said, I would likely not be a teacher if that were the case. What draws me towards investing my money or my time is the feeling that I am making a positive difference for someone or something. I also have tended to be fairly conservative with how I have invested money in the past. While I do not mind waiting lengthy periods of time for a return on an investment, I like to have a fair degree of certainty that it will be worthwhile in the end. A pitch that would get me interested in a venture would need to be socially conscious and committed to making meaningful change in the world.

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  54. Douglas Millie

    As an investor, I follow a slightly different strategy: If I have to pay them, I try to own some. I like Apple products, so I own some Apple stock. I have a mobile plan through Telus, so I buy some Telus. Overall, this has worked out fairly well for me, as every time I get frustrated with customer service, I re-evaluate whether I should own the stock.

    Which is a long way of saying that I would be much more likely to invest in something that I like, I need, or I can see myself using.

    I have often taught music on the side, and performed at weddings, etc. Investing in a new amp, or other piece of gear is always a tough choice when you don’t know how much it will return you. Always easier to justify if it can be used in multiple situations, of course. Maybe the amp sits by the treadmill to listen to music. Maybe it goes on the cart during COVID so I have something to plug a wireless mic into.

    If I can see myself using something in multiple ways, then I would be more likely to invest.

    As a teacher, the most valuable commodity is time. Sticking with tried and true is great, but you risk missing out on new ideas that will use time more efficiently. Even once they are identified, they often take an investment in time. Developing the content on a new platform, using class time to train students, or even just learning how this new thing works takes an investment in time. Setting up multiple choice questions in and LMS takes a lot of time, but could be a wise investment if they will be used over and over again. Learning how to get ChatGPT to create a rough draft of a supervision schedule may take some time, but could be used over and over again.

    Investing time in a new product or project is just as risky as investing money. Bigger investments demand bigger rewards, smaller investments may only need smaller rewards.

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    1. benjamin coulombe

      Hi Douglas,

      Loved your strategy of investing in companies that produce products or services that you use! I agree that it also gives you some measure of control when it comes to voicing your opinion on the recent quality of the service or product.

      I do also look at time and usability as metrics for evaluating whether or not too invest (similar to how you analyzed the purchase of your amp). My struggle is that I am a conservative investor in general and can generally find a reason to not invest in something that does not have a guaranteed equitable pay-off (which, I have discovered, is most investments). If I do not feel I am getting every pennies’ worth of my investment, I will likely avoid it entirely.

      There is inherent risk in investing and I agree, the risk is not necessarily just financial. Often the time investment can prove costlier in many ways if poorly invested.

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    2. Mike Olynyk

      Hey Doug,

      I have never considered this as an investment strategy, finding personal value in your everyday life and then investing. It reminds of those classic commercials “we are owners too”. My challenge with big companies like Telus and Apple is that I feel I can never buy enough stock to make a big difference, which I suppose is a bit of a shortsighted approach. My general investment philosophy is more around finding value where it may not appear to be. I leave investing in large companies to my RRSP investing and longer term scale. I suppose this is something I may need to consider more!

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  55. Roger Zhai

    My investment strategy is to invest in things that have value to me and my top investment is my personal growth. Learning, improving my physical and mental wellbeing, and furthering my career are things I regularly invest in. There is unlimited upside because I am obtaining a degree, new skills, new knowledge, or new ways of thinking that I carry with me for the rest of my life and compound the longer I live. The downside is very limited in some finite amount of money and time spent.

    I also find value in a home that I am happy to live in for the foreseeable future regardless of its market price.

    My third largest investment is in corporations listed on major stock exchanges. My strategy is aggressive in companies with strong fundamentals relative to its price. I would take more risks investing in education ventures as it is within my circle of competence as I have more than just money to offer so something that relates to teaching and learning would definitely capture my attention.

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  56. benjamin coulombe

    Looking solely at financial investment. My investment strategy is very hands-off. One might even say it is not a strategy at all. I am in the fortunate position that my brother is an investment analyst and I was his first client when he was starting out. I leave all of my investments to him. Though I would very much like to take a more active role in managing my investments, my hesitation is always thinking that his knowledge of investments far surpasses mine so why would I take the chance investing on my own?

    Even times when I felt I had deep knowledge of a particular company, it turned out the market did not reflect what I thought and my brother was aware of this. As an example, one of my earlier financial investments was in a company called Blizzard/Activision, a video game company. Thinking my knowledge of the video game industry would be a valuable asset when looking at investments, I decided to try to convince my brother to sell my shares as public opinion of the company was in rapid decline. My brother convinced to hold as he was looking at sales data and projections rather than public opinion. Turns out his metrics were correct. The company remained profitable despite the problems in the company that resulted in public backlash. At that point, I decided it was better to rely on those with greater market knowledge. I would love to learn to be a more active investor but often feel I would be a small fish jumping into a pool of sharks.

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    1. Trista Ding

      Hi Ben, I resonate with your post a lot because I also feel that it is better for professionals to do their job. Many people, including me, don’t feel comfortable when it comes to financial investment due to a lack of knowledge, experience, confidence, etc. However, finding a financial advisor that one can trust fully isn’t an easy task either, so having a basic understanding of the system is necessary. We all know it is important to educate ourselves on financial literacy and investment, however, it is a skill that we do not really talk about in K-12 schooling. I believe that financial literacy should be paid the same attention as reading and math, cause it is one of the most imperative skills we need as adults, and maybe we’ll all be more comfortable with our own investment decisions (and more wins).

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  57. sworley

    I’m really enjoying some of your perspectives on investing. I follow the ‘once bitten, twice shy’ philosophy. When I was younger, I used to invest large sums off the ‘advice’ of a good friend. Very much in the vein of “I know a guy who knows a guy”. That strategy failed way more times than it succeeded. After getting burned on a few prospective mining and aviation companies, my tolerance for risky investments has plummeted. My portfolio now mainly contains various Index Funds and REITs. I’m no longer looking for the one big store, but rather a slow collection of dividends and single digit returns. While this isn’t very exciting, I think back to what Warren Buffett said about investing: “Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”
    Great words to live by… I just wish I understood them earlier!

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    1. Douglas Millie

      My parents were “wealthy barber” type investors, who also made me read “rich dad, poor dad” and a couple other books that were big on dividend stocks. Warren Buffet has called his strategy “get rich slow,” and it seems to be working well enough!

      One advantage of teaching is that we have pension plans, which can allow for some confidence in saving for retirement. Whether that makes you open to greater risks is up to you.

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  58. Nick Robitaille

    My investment strategy for new ventures would be to focus on leveraging my non-financial resources since I have no capital to invest currently. Instead, I could invest my time, efforts, professional expertise, and personal knowledge. As a teacher, I understand the value of my time which would make it crucial to carefully evaluate potential ventures. I would prioritize opportunities with a relatively low risk of loss and a high potential for return.
    For example. I would consider investing my time and efforts in new ventures that align with my professional and/or personal interests, such as within the context of K-5 STEM education. If there was a venture focused on developing innovative approaches to enhance teaching and learning in STEM classrooms, I would consider investing my non-financial resources. At the end of the day, however, I would ultimately need to see a return on this investment either financially or through ongoing, ideally free, access to the product.

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  59. Kelby Bacon

    Similar to what other teachers have said before me, for myself I use time as my most valuable investment tool. I enjoy putting time and effort into working on our home, and investing my own time rather than paying to outsource jobs. The first year we moved in, I spent most weekends for at least four months repainting our house (including trim and doors, which is by far the worst part). Mostly as a way for us to save money, but also as an investment into our home to hopefully increase its value when we look at selling. Now my husband and I have learned a lot about building retaining walls for our backyard and landscaping techniques to improve our backyard.
    Through taking this masters program I am also investing in my own growth as an educator, and hopefully opening some doors for the future of my career.

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  60. haejin01

    I’ve invested in precious myself and my family including my education, happiness, health, hobbies, and careers in South Korea, the U.S.A, Canada, and Australia. From there, I have great memories of my learning and teaching (K-12 and Adults) in the past and the present. Those countries invested in me, and I invested in those countries, too. It will last in the future.
    In addition, I created teaching materials and shared them with my students. I also gained special memories working together with foreign teachers in South Korea. I will continue to create my brands in the future.

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  61. Terrence Dai

    In my investment approach, I prioritize future potential and of course return. I consider myself adventurous, aggressive, and rational when it comes to investing. I prefer to explore various avenues on my own rather than relying solely on others’ opinions. This includes stocks, mutual funds, and even casinos. I firmly believe that achieving a decent return on investment requires thorough study and dedication. For instance, when it comes to stocks, I used to extensively research a particular company. I would go through their quarterly financial reports, understand their business plan, and even contact their customer service for additional information. Although stock investing carries risks and can be unpredictable, gaining a deeper understanding of how it works can improve your chances of success. On the other hand, I also experimented with the casino, particularly a game called roulette. I recognized that casino games are designed to favor the house, but I wanted to determine the extent of that advantage. I conducted studies and created Excel sheets to calculate the odds, using different chip placements and testing various strategies. Ultimately, I believed I was playing the game with some guiding principles, but the truth is there are no guarantees, and success ultimately depends on blind luck. Thus, I concluded that the casino may serve as a casual entertainment option but is the worst choice for investment purposes. Later, I realized that the optimal approach for saving or investing is to allocate your funds into different categories and more weight should be reserved for emergency use. For example, 50% for necessary expenses, 30% for stable returns such as Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) or even more conservative savings plans, 10% for moderately aggressive investments, and 10% for the stock market.

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  62. Richard Derksen

    When I think about my investment strategy, I would consider myself risk-adverse and mostly hands off with my investments, but part of this is due to feeling like I am playing catch up with my limited knowledge of investment options. In my early-mid 20’s, I would ask friends about their approaches to investing, listen to podcasts and read articles about different investment options, and visited a branch of every big five bank in Canada to enquire about their services. However, in collecting as much information as possible, I did find it overwhelming because it was difficult to determine which strategies were best for me. Having a financial advisor has really helped in alleviating some of those concerns. Aside from that, in the small amount of DIY investing I have done, I’ve tried to sit down and read through available resources enough so that I understand my investment fits the following areas:

    1) That the company has dividends (REITs have been an attractive option for me because of this).

    2) The company aligns with my level of risk.

    3) However unlikely it may be, I am comfortable losing the money I invest through DIY investing. This typically means investing small amounts.

    I am curious if these criteria would come into conflict more often than not for learning technology ventures because of the nuances involved in the marketplace. Nevertheless, this is just a quick snapshot into the financial aspect of investing, but I have really appreciated reading other’s contributions through a holistic lens.

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    1. helena wright

      Similarly to you Richard, I also put aside money for more “risky” or “fun” investments where I am not afraid to lose the money if the odds were not in my favor. I frequently invest in what some call “meme stocks” just for fun and to see what the outcomes might be!

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  63. zheng xiong

    What investment means to me is invest money, time, or energy to a project, and expect returns from it. There’s rarely anything low risk and high profit in the marketplace. Although the pitcher may attempt to sell you that idea, as investors we need to critically assess our risk-taking tolerance and financial gains when making an investment decision. The same expectation applies to investment in education, in educational technologies, and in other learning opportunities.

    When I invested in MET, I asked myself three essential questions:
    1. What does this degree add to my career path? – return
    2. How long is it for me to accomplish it? – value of time
    3. How much money and energy do I need to contribute? – affordability and capacity

    All three are well within my plan for personal growth and career advancement. Therefore I landed on the program. The same applies to other financial decisions, like buying a property, leasing a car, purchasing a learning device or a course, etc. I would always consider the return, value of time, affordability and capacity.

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  64. Mike Olynyk

    Part of the reason that I took this course is I wanted to learn more about the world of venture capitalism. Most of my investing is done in a much more traditional sense (trading through my TFSA in ETFs). I am particularly interested in commodities investing as in my opinion with debts and loans increasing there is value in the current commodities market. I envision continued growth in the tech market and demands on Copper, Lithium and other batter and electrical components will continue to rise even with a decrease in market value if a recession comes. Mostly, I see investing in commodities as a learn term goal in what appears to be a relatively unstable market.

    I have a close friend who works in investment banking and it was actually his job that made me most interested in this course. He evaluates and raises money for starter companies and we often discuss the work that he does. As a teacher and vice-principal the world of investment banking often seems far away and I am interested in how to find value in start-ups and companies as an investor. I am curious as to how someone without investment banking experience can learn how to find gems and start-ups that have serious potential in a challenging market.

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  65. helena wright

    Reading many of these posts, I see that most folks address their financial investments and I am finding this kind of transparency very welcoming. As a young adult in her 20s, with no dependents and a corporate job, living in her parent’s basement for free – I have a pretty large ratio of disposable income. I generally put more than 50% of my income in investments including my TFSA, RRSP, and personal investment account. I feel very privileged to not have any debt and to be in a position where I can save a significant amount of money. I put the majority of my money in ETFs and stable companies with high dividend yields. However, for the other 20% of my portfolio, I am making much riskier investments like tech start-ups and experimental healthcare companies.

    Other than financial investments, one of my primary personal investments is my health. I take considerable care to take care of my skin and wear sunscreen every day. And yes, I mean every day. It could be -30 and freezing but I will still wear it because I know that is how you keep your skill healthy as you age. I also eat a high-fiber, Mediterranean diet so that I avoid/ reduce the possibility of acquiring health conditions like diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc… At the end of your life, yes you want money to be able to live, but you also want your body to be able to continue living. One of the largest chunks of my budget goes to fitness classes like spin, yoga, and pilates, and while I could find other less expensive alternatives to working out, I am more compelled to work out and reach my fitness goals in those kinds of class environments. So, I see these classes as an investment for my health because they actually get me moving my body. As I also briefly mentioned in a reply elsewhere, I also consider mental health investment. Finding the time and the money for an interest that gives you pleasure, knowledge, happiness, and self-fulfillment is incredibly important for living a balanced life.

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    1. Rich

      Very wise words for someone in their 20’s. I think this is the path more young people should follow these days.
      1. Buying a home for example can look impossible to young people these days. You are playing it right, living below your means, packing the money away and investing it. I had to do the same thing. 7 years of hard saving, no spending, it adds up.
      2. You are ahead on health too. In our 20s our bodies can take a lot of abuse with diet etc, but it catches up later. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You are ahead of the curve taking care of yourself.
      Enjoyed your comment, made me happy for you.

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  66. sacree

    First, without saying too much about it, I’ll echo the sentiment of many posters that at my stage of life I am increasingly aware of non-financial investment, or at least investment that does not immediately result in a tangible ROI. My time, my family, my health, and my existence in this increasingly expensive world are tied up together as they should be.

    Regarding financial investment, I believe I join many whose investments are directed by an expert I trust. My medium-risk investments, RESPs, and homeownership (debatable to many as far as an investment) are the story. While I would truly like to move into more self-managed investment, startup funding, and diversification, it is a challenging cycle to break out of and seek great ROI through personalization.

    What I have, and what I’d like to invest my time and money into, is my own skill set and experiences. As I move through this course and tentatively into a venture idea, my strategy will be the slow start, with an ROI that supplements my full-time employment. Once the ROI matches my salaried income, I will be willing to consider alternative paths to my current one.

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  67. meagan kelm

    When it comes to my investment strategy I approach things like I approach my life with balance, interest or potential. When talking about balance for me having a diversified approach to mitigate risk as well as give you the opportunity to see different areas. This allows me to consider stable investments with high return while allowing me to also consider new and riskier options without guilt. This could include investments that I am interested in and/or that I see potential in. Another consideration in balance is how it is balanced in my life. My family is very important to me so if I am taking time away from what it is that I find to be the most important there has to be something in return. One other thing I have started to consider more closely is the ethical and moral implications of my support in the investment. Investments need to sit well with me and I will not invest in something just to make money

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  68. Andrew

    There are many great breakdowns of individual investing strategies from everyone here. When I was younger, my grandfather turned me onto, “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham. The basic principles in here have guided many of my financial and investment decisions.

    Each year, I make a list of SMART goals with a focus on improving by investing time and money in my:
    – Physical Health
    – Mental Health
    – Profession
    – Relationship
    – Friendships
    – Family
    – Finances

    Some of these areas have very quantifiable ROIs which make it easy to track growth and keep me motivated. Others not so much. So, what would need to be pitched to get/keep me interested?

    All of my listed personal investment areas have different pain points and solutions. For example, I recently underwent surgery, which required me to take time away from the gym. If I want to look great at the beach, I need to invest my time in tracking my food, packing my lunches, and sticking to my gym schedule. The levels of persuasion required for me to invest in each of these areas also vary. I have a much more difficult time convincing myself to invest in categories that don’t give me immediate ROI. This makes me wonder about how we can use our own experiences with investing our time, money, and energy to shape our personal EVA views within the frameworks given. While I know that putting on sunscreen each day, regardless of the sun, will be beneficial for my skin in the long run, I may not notice these results immediately. If I miss a couple of days, all is not lost; I must find a way back to my routine. We may never be able to accurately judge the potential for the longevity of an educational venture, but I appreciated that our readings mentioned the significance of what the investor brings to the venture beyond financials.

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  69. Jennie Jiang

    I echo many of our classmates’ sentiments on investment. It is challenging to invest money, and it is very beneficial to have detailed risk analysis and understand your risk tolerance and your particular circumstance before deciding on a good approach. In terms of my investment strategy, I too have diversifed assets. For example, I regularly monitor the stock market and news articles in order to have more understanding of markets’ movements before investing my money in higher-risk stocks. But, I also have emergency funding in cashable GICs that are growing due to the higher interest rate recently, but provides me the flexibility to sell at any time.

    Additionally, I invest a great deal of time exercising everyday. If you think about it, 1 hour of exercise everyday seems like a very long time. But the bigger picture will show you that you ONLY need 30 minutes to an hour to stay health and prolong your life. So in that sense, working out everyday, or just having some light exercise for an hour is actually one of those investment that gives the best return. It is one of those returns you don’t see right away, but will probably blow yourself away long into the future (imagine buying Apple Stocks at IPO in 1980 at $22 a share just for fun, and now looking at your bank account in 2024).

    When it comes to ROI, I need to understand what is my return based on how much effort (or funds) I need to put in, and if the return justifies the investment. That is how a pitch would gather my interest. This does not just apply to monetary investments. For example, I invest time to spend with my family, and the return I receive is love, connections, companionship. That is a huge return to a relatively little investment from me. If I am spending time, money and effort to complete a Masters degree, will it help my personal development, growth and career? Will it help me make more connections and friends with similar interests and goals? If I volunteer at a senior center (I played piano at senior residents), will it bring joy and happiness to the residents, and myself fulfillment? To me, if I will be investing my resources, and the return makes me a better version of me, aligns with my value, and bring joy or positive influence to people around me, then the pitch of this ROI will have my attention and my willingness to invest.

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  70. Rich

    There are 3 types of investments that I am focusing on at this time in my life.

    1. Financially. My goal is security and independence for my family and I. I really enjoy investing in stocks and have been doing that for the past 9 years. I buy great companies I believe have a future and have a long term investment horizon. As a general money philosophy, I find myself really aligned with the thoughts of the author of this book I just read over Christmas, I really recommend it: The Psychology Of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness – by Morgan Housel

    2. Life long education. Everyone in this program can relate in their own way. You are continuing to invest in your education. I feel like we live in the greatest time to be alive in terms of accessing information and learning anything your heart desires online. It is incredible, I am so thankful for that.

    3. Investing in my children. To the best of our ability we (my wife and I), we try to make it possible for our kids to do things they are interested in. Our priority was to first get the kids into swimming lessons as I believe that is an essential lifesaving skill. Thankfully they love it. Lessons for various sports and activities can be really expensive these days, but we feel investing in the kids experiences as much as we can will make them well rounded people and have the opportunity to pursue their passions. I also spend a lot of time reading with them, my goal is to invest in their love of reading, a tool that will pay all sorts of dividends throughout their lives.

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    1. delapena

      Hi Rich,

      I like what you said about your second point and third point.

      Your second point about investing in our education is one of the reasons I am in this program. By upgrading my skills and my qualifications, I’m not only investing in my education but investing for life long learning. In only two weeks of the course, I have been introduced to concepts that I would have never thought of. I have also been exposed to new websites that encourage discovery and how we can relate it to education.

      Your third point is something that hits home to me. My parents never forced me to do anything but when they found my love for music, they did everything they could to invest into it. I remember when my mom got me my first trumpet. it wasn’t fancy or brand new but it worked. It got me all the way through high school and into my first year of University until I had to get a professional trumpet. Funny enough, I still have it! My wife and I joke about what we want our kids to do but I agree with you in which when i have kids, I would invest in something they are interested in.

      – Jeremiah

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  71. nstokes1

    How do you invest?
    This is a question I have only recently been asking myself. I have had money in high yield savings accounts and some money in a high risk investment account through my bank and financial advisor but I have only just realized that this is not the norm for someone my age (I started this process at 21). I grew up with my parents involving me in the conversations around how investment and banking works but I am trying to educate myself, and some of my friends who did not grow up in this kind of environment, what it means to invest and understand the current climate of financial investment.

    As with many others on this forum I do invest in many other areas of my life, admittedly moreso than in financial aspects. I invest in my health by eating the types of food that make me feel good, exercising, and spending time outdoors. I invest in my mental health by spending time with people who make my life meaningful and who push me to further heights in my professional and self-improvement life (although, again, this is also quite new to me in terms of actively working on who I want to be and how to get there). One very large aspect of my life is investing in my love of travel and exploration. I genuinely believe that by fulfilling this aspect of my personality and passions gives me the largest ROI that I could possibly dream of. By making connections with people around the world, learning from industries and individuals in different countries for how they are successful or what they would wish for, and so many more aspects I cannot even begin to explore the impact on my life.

    I think as time goes on, many people are realizing that by investing in other areas of life as well as financial, we are able to enjoy life more and to really make the most of the returns that we get from our investments. People have so much time after retirement nowadays that if you keep you are lucky enough to keep your mind and body sharp, you can work and fulfill even more passions and activities than ever thought possible.

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    1. nstokes1

      Or should I say, I have only recently been asking myself how to invest in this rapidly shifting landscape.

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  72. C DeFazio

    I’ve never really thought of my life as a large scaled investment and myself as the person being pitched to but it definitely is a concept that makes sense in so many ways.

    I’m a very simple person and I would like to think that I don’t need a lot to make me discover that ‘win’ in my life. I would like to think that I am an investor who values not just the financial ROI, but also the social, personal and environmental impact of my investments. Honestly, I am most interested in opportunities where I can contribute TO A ‘win’ – whether it would be helping my children grow up healthy and happy, enhancing my career or the lives of my students, or supporting some initiatives close to my heart. My investment strategy is guided by my passion for making a positive difference in my family and community and my commitment to the causes that I sincerely care about. I am open to investing my time, money and other resources into ventures that align with these values.

    A pitch can be delivered in many different forms throughout my life and if it has something to do with helping my kids, enriching my purpose as an educator or how to make more of a difference in the world I am all ears. Regardless if it takes an elevators ride length of time, if it helps contribute to those aspects of my life, show me where to sign. No, I am not a loose investor nor am I taking this discussion lightly but I simply feel that in this situation, that would be all I needed. When it comes to other important investments such as property, mutual funds or savings accounts, the pitch would need to clearly articulate not just the potential financial returns but also, simply, how the investment aligns with my values and contributes to the things that I care about. How can this investment take me closer to that win? When the pitch answers that question and aligns with what I want in my ROI, I’m all in.

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  73. Noor

    This is a very important part of your life to be considerate about. I think of investment as financial security for my family. Things happen, wars, disasters and other issues. We have an Arabic saying “save your white penny to use on your black day”, that means back up your self for future.

    I will just put some ideas of investment.
    1. GOLD – Gold keeps its value and it increases with years. This is a very good idea when you don’t have a big amount of money to start a business or investment. When you have a good amount of gold you can sell and start another investment.
    2. LAND – If you have a good amount of money, you can start buying land. Buy them when they are cheap and remote and their price will rise when the areas become more populated.
    3. PROPERTY – buying property (flats, houses, shops) that you can rent and get profits in return.
    4. PARTNERSHIP – If you have 30% of the price for a townhouse for example, other members that you can trust can put 30% and 40% and after they house price rises in the market house can be sold and everyone takes back their share.
    5. STOCKS – this requires skill for when to choose to buy or sell. As one of my colleagues said he invested in Zoom stocks during covid. This was very smart!
    6. BUSINESS – I don’t have broad knowledge about starting business, I dream to start a reading cafe or have my Kiosk in a book fair. But this I cannot depend much on it.

    I would do my best to avoid dealing with interest, or putting myself in debt. I believe in starting slow and avoid risk. I don’t like being greedy and I ave priority to give charity because at some point you will have more money than you need and these money need to be purified by charity.

    Hope it was useful!

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