November 21, 2018

[Ep. 177] Investing, Making Money & Budgeting in Canada with Tom Drake

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I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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My next guest was supposed to be on my podcast 3 years ago! That’s when Tom Drake from Maple Money first talked about him getting on my show. Well, I don’t know what happened, but at least I got my act together and finally got him on the show. And honestly, he was worth the wait!

A lot has changed for Tom in the past 3 years. He has been blogging for almost a decade, and recently rebranded his blog to Maple Money and started his own podcast called the Maple Money Show.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, Tom is literally the nicest guy. This could be why he’s one of my personal favourite finance bloggers and I am so thrilled with all of his success. What’s even crazier is the blogs and podcasts on the side! He still has a day job and somehow manages to get it all done. Oh, he also has a family. How he does it all, I have no idea. But luckily for me, he does share lots of his financial wisdom when it comes to investing, making money, and budgeting on the show.

Investing: Get Out of Mutual Funds

As Tom shares in the episode, he got out of high-fee actively-managed mutual funds as soon as he got a better understanding of what he got himself into. Now, there’s technically nothing wrong with these types of investment products, but the thing is there are better products out there. Namely index funds and ETFs. Since moving out of mutual funds, Tom has been managing his own portfolio of ETFs using a Questrade account, but he’s actually thinking of switching to a robo-advisor to lessen his workload which I thought was pretty interesting. There are definitely benefits to both, so it was refreshing to hear a DIY investor actually express interest in using a robo-advisor instead.

Making Money: Why Not Earn Money with Your Hobby?

Several years ago, I saw Tom speak on a panel of bloggers at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. One of the questions they were asked was what they thought of monetizing their blogs. Most of the panel said they didn’t monetize their blogs and were more focused on just creating good content, but I remember Tom distinctly sharing that he’d do anything to make money. Obviously, he was kidding, but I loved how he was so honest about how it shouldn’t be a bad thing for bloggers to want to earn money from their blogs and work with brands. As someone who does this, and is thus able to create a bunch of free content for my audience, I totally agree! Why not earn money from your hobby, and why not turn your hobby into a business?

Budgeting: Micro-Budgeting Doesn’t Work

Micro-budgeting, or having specific categories in your budget you need to try to stick to, just doesn’t work. Another point that Tom and I share. He shares that he manages his family’s finances and they allocate money to savings and fixed expenses, then has a specific number they want to stay within for their variable expenses. It’s just a simpler way to budget since in most cases it’s impossible to stick to a hard $400 for groceries or $100 for entertainment each month.

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