[o] Crispin Cannon

Matt Belzile on Investing

Interested in retiring at 45? Yeah, Matt Belizile is too. A few years ago Matt realized how much he liked his freedom, and that he didn't want to lose it to a 9-to-5 after his snowboarding career was done. So, Matt started investing. Years later, he has accrued a diverse investment portfolio, owns multiple homes, and is getting closer to a humble early retirement. Here are five ways he thinks he can help you work towards something similar.

1. Change your mindset

I put this one first cause I think it’s the most important. First, you gotta develop a better mindset towards money. You have to realize its value, understand that you can attain it, and forget the idea that all rich people are jerks. Not all of them are. And, if you become wealthy, hopefully you will be one of the ones who aren’t. 

2. Live below your means

Don’t spend more than you make. It’s easy to spend mindlessly. The world around you encourages that! Look at how much money you make every month, then subtract your expenses: rent, car payments, phone, partying… everything. If your total is in the negative, the red, then it’s time to cut back.

3. Learn how to save 

Pay yourself first! When you get a paycheque, look at your pay stub and see the taxes being deducted, that’s the Government paying themselves before you get the chance to spend it. You should do the same. Have it set up with your bank to automatically take a portion of your pay to put it into a savings account. The general rule is 10% of what you make.

4. Learn about investing 

Okay, savings accounts are good, but your money can do so much more. It’s time to learn about investing. Schools don’t teach this stuff, so it’s up to you to read about it, learn the lingo, and watch YouTube videos on it. Eventually you’ll find an investment vehicle that works for you. If investing in particular things doesn’t interest you, buy index funds or ETFs. Index funds will give you a wide portfolio that tracks the overall market at a much lower fee than a mutual fund. It might not be a quick income, but in the last 50 years the market has averaged a 9% annualised return. That 9% return, compounded over time, will add up. 

5. Find your why 

It’s so hard to aimlessly save money and invest it without a purpose. So, you’ll need a solid reason why to stay on course. For me, it was freedom. My snowboarding career gives me so much freedom, and don’t want to lose my freedom when it’s over. Maybe it’s the same thing for you, or maybe it’s because you hate your job, or maybe you want to pursue a passion that doesn’t pay well. Find your why.

Why snowboarders make good investors

Over the course of my career, I’ve become a more experienced snowboarder, and with that experience came a good understanding of risk and reward, which is a lot like investing. With investing you have to assess risk well and know your own risk tolerance. You have to know when dropping in is worth it or not. Also, snowboarding has taught me to learn from failure. You only knuckle a jump a couple times before you teach yourself how to hit it properly. Active investing is the same, if you don’t have the ability to learn from failure, you will not succeed at active investing. I am still learning on my snowboard and always will be and that’s the same for my investing.

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