Toronto resident mid 30’s who immigrated to Canada in 2008
Married to Saba who recently completed her PHD. She has secured a stable job with the government but will start in 12 months after taking unpaid maternity leave
Parent to a new new, very cute baby boy who like all baby boys sleeps little and needs lots of cuddles and diaper changes
Social entrepreneur, 18 months into starting his own business
Personal income of under $40,000
Debt consisting of student loans and credit card in $30 k range
3 words to describe money: necessity, trust, convenience
Rohan is an entrepreneur with a new baby who immigrated to Canada just over 10 years ago. As you can imagine, his life is hectic and requires significant ball juggling.
Growing up in Bangladesh, Rohan wasn’t rich but he also never felt poor. His family always had enough money for the important things in life like education.
After completing his Master’s degree, Rohan came to Canada to further pursue his education. It was here that money management became a critical part of his world. Money was his “currency of independence”.
Now in a foreign country, he had to figure out the banking system as well as how to pay for housing, food, clothes, education. It was stressful to have to make all those decisions. It also required a significant amount of discipline - every time he bought something, he had to think about the implications of the purchase.
Upon completing his education, Rohan was very interested in the new and emerging space of social enterprise. Feeling hopeful about the market opportunity and his ability to contribute to this area of work, Rohan did not look for a traditional job. He began working independently and slowly built the strategy and foundation for his business. This means that at the beginning, it was mostly networking and volunteering, and then one day he got his first client. Slowly but surely he has been meeting people and growing his client base, incorporating his own business in May 2015.
What really keeps Rohan going is the success in the small steps; incremental growth in his clients and the macro vision of understanding the potential and seeing the market grow in this space.
Rohan currently feels a bit of financial stress but it is softened by his hope for the future. His greatest amount of stress is from being an entrepreneur, wearing a million different hats. From marketing to service delivery, accounting to project management, Rohan is always juggling and switching gears.
This complexity of entrepreneurship has taken up the majority of Rohan’s brain space and time. It has prevented him from pushing forward on some personal financial pieces. In particular, Rohan was recently dealing with the high costs of credit card debt. As self-employed and with no assets, he has had difficulty getting reasonably priced loans from traditional banks.
The lack of good options and limited amount of time to look for solutions, led Rohan to focus on building his business instead of addressing the high cost of his credit.
After some coaching through Strive, Rohan began to look at the costs and to better understand the interest associated with his credit card debt. Using free amortization tools, Rohan realized that he would be paying over $65k in interest on a $30k credit card balance if he continued with minimum payments (he was paying $500 monthly with 19% interest).
Rohan started pushing for solutions, spoke to his bank, got a card at 12 % interest and was accepted for a $4,000 loan from Borrowell. Over the lifetime of his loan, this is expected to save him over $50,000. He also went through a review of his expenses and worked on reducing those cutting out cable and finding a new internet service provider.
Through this process, Rohan realized that even though he had tried before and options did not seem available, he could make progress by continuing to push forward. His work in pushing past the "no's" he had previously received and talking to different bank representatives at different institutions paid off.
Overall, these are good steps forward in Rohan’s journey. He still has more work to do but he is taking control and reducing the amount of money he is paying in fees. This means more money for him and his family to spend on whatever they would like.
When I think about Rohan's experience, I see how difficult it is for newcomers with no credit history or assets to access capital at reasonable rates. I also think about the importance and value of educating newcomers on our banking system, capital options and the process of seeking out viable solutions so that we are enabling new Canadians to succeed and help grow our economy.
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