This week’s Simple Inspiration Interview features Barry Choi from Money We Have. Barry is a personal finance and budget expert. He provides practical money saving tips to help you take that dream vacation. He also works at a Toronto TV Newsroom where he provides personal finance and travel tips.
Let hear how Barry has simplified his finances
What event lead you to simplify your finances and your life?
I started take things really seriously after I found out that my advisor had put me in questionable mutual funds that had high MERs and DSCs. This is when I realized I need to simplify things by learning to take control of my own finances.
What area of your financial life needed the most simplification?
After becoming a do-it-yourself investor I got a bit carried away and started investing in a few things I knew nothing about. After recognizing this problem I simplified my portfolio by selling off assets that didn’t fit my investing profile.
Where did you begin to simplify your financial life?
Cutting expenses and just spending less was where I really began to simplify things. By saving more I was able to increase my overall savings rate.
What was your biggest challenge or roadblock when it came simplifying?
Selling assets at a loss was a big challenge at the start. I would try to wait for things to break even before selling. This of course didn’t always happen but more importantly I didn’t factor in opportunity costs.
What app or tool helped you the most when it came to simplifying?
Plain old excel was the biggest difference maker since I was able to manipulate the numbers when I created a budget.
How has simplifying changed your life?
As an index investor I spend next to no time looking at my portfolio which has given me more time to spend doing the things I enjoy like blogging.
Are there any areas of your finances that you still need to simplify?
I’m pretty comfortable with where my finances are right now, but I would definitely like to learn more about taxes. I don’t think there will ever be a way to simplify that though.
What advice or tips would you give to others who want to simplify their finances?
Read a book. Honestly there’s so many great resources out there and if you read just one book, you’d probably know more about personal finance than 80% of the population.
What book, blog, or podcast would you suggest to someone who is looking to simplify or improve their finances?
For Canadians, my two go to people for anything personal finance related are Preet Banerjee and Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Both of them make personal finance easy to understand and they strive to help people learn about their money. Of course you could also check out my blog at Moneywehave.com
Do you have an emergency fund established, if so how did you determine the amount needed to fund it?
Yes I have an emergency fund of roughly $11,000. I came up with this number because between my wife and I; we have 3 bank accounts and that’s the combined total we need to avoid monthly fees.
How long did it take you to simplify?
Not long at all, it’s really simple once you’ve made it a goal.
What’s your best savings tip?
I have 3 savings rules I live by. 1) Spend less than you make 2) Pay yourself first 3) If someone offers you free money, take it! (pension plans, government grants)
What are your current financial goals?
I’d like to increase my income a bit this year by picking up some more freelance work.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with others who are looking to simplify?
Don’t wait, start now. There’s absolutely no reason why you should delay getting your finances in order.
Thanks Barry. I appreciate you taking your time to sharing your thoughts on how you have simplified your finances. If you would like to read more about Barry and receive some of his traveling and personal finance advice visit his blog Money We Have or follow him on Twitter @
To read previous interviews in the series click Simple Inspiration Interviews.
If you are interested in sharing how you have simplified your financial life, send me an email and I will follow up with you. Enjoy the rest of your week. Til next time, take one step at a time to simplify.