First Steps to Financial Wellness: A Q&A with RBC InvestEase’s Rajan Bansi
“The great thing about RBC InvestEase is that it’s a step toward financial wellness, but unlike your physical wellness—you don’t have to leave your couch!”
Despite being the generation often associated with student debt and compromised dreams of home ownership—millennials are prioritizing financial wellness planning in a pandemic-affected economy. For many Canadians, this moment in time has posed an opportunity to well-acquaint ourselves with saving solutions for the future—but with so many options, where does one start? We caught up with Rajan Bansi, Head of RBC InvestEase®, who shared some insight into investing solutions, including some vital first-steps to help reach your financial goals.
Prior to joining RBC InvestEase, Rajan was the Head of U.S. and Canadian Fixed Income Strategies within the Portfolio Advisory Group at RBC Wealth Management and he is a CFA charterholder. In addition to offering his tips for financial wellness, he shared some details on the upcoming TL Insider workshop he’ll be hosting alongside Health and Wellness Expert, Amy Deacon, on January 7.
Tell us a bit about your experience working in financial services during the pandemic.
My team and I have been working remotely since March. It’s been a bit of a journey and we miss seeing each other in a shared work space. We’re human after all, so that’s been difficult. Despite a lot of uncertainty and issues around employment, many Canadians are thinking about their money right now. For those who are lucky enough to still be receiving a paycheque, they’re thinking about what they can do with it. So, from a workplace perspective, we’ve been exceptionally busy responding to that.
Would you say this environment has changed the way people think about investing?
What has certainly changed is the way Canadians are thinking about their investing solutions. A digital investing platform like RBC InvestEase really appeals to people during this time. Like Shopify and food delivery platforms, it’s leveraging the convenience of internet technology. What we hear from our clients is that many of them didn’t know this option existed. There are millions of Canadians who are not yet investing for their future, many of whom simply may not know how.
After answering a handful of questions from your computer, smartphone or tablet, we build an appropriate portfolio for our clients to access online and track their progress. The great thing about RBC InvestEase is that it’s a step toward financial wellness, but unlike your physical wellness—you don’t have to leave your couch! I mean, imagine being able to get in shape and have someone else do all the work for you?
How do you approach teaching financial wellness as a parent?
We recently needed a new car, and our daughter, being sentimental, mentioned how she loved the new car because it’s blue, but loved the old car because it was red—asking why we couldn’t keep both. Because it was a trade in, I needed to explain to her how it works, and how in order to get the new car we needed to offer up our old one. It was a small conversation, but she understood and learned from it. My wife and I don’t force the conversations, but take time to have them with her as they come up naturally. We want her to be aware that money matters and that it’s something she should be thinking about.
If you could give one piece of financial advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Envision an end goal with your money, because you can only develop an effective plan once you identify your goal.
I grew up in a working-class household with two immigrant parents who always told me to save my money. But when you grow up without a lot, you eventually just want to buy things with the money you earn. I wish I had known that saving and buying things were not mutually exclusive. If I could have saved more at an early age, I could have made bigger purchases earlier that would have built my wealth and possibly lead to an earlier retirement.
For young adults who might want to take this advice, what’s the first step?
Start by writing it down—write out your gross pay, net pay, and where it all goes. While some spending is non-negotiable, like rent, take what’s left and ask yourself, how much do I want to pay my future self? Whatever the number is, contribute it monthly into a savings solution.
How can first-time investors who are intimidated by financial jargon plan for their future confidently?
I would say that investing in financial services can seem very intimidating at first, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Tune out the distractions and simplify what you’re really doing—taking the money you have now with the intent of it becoming more money for your future. That’s what investing is in its simplest form. The intimidation comes when asking, how do I do it?
It starts with a self-assessment, and determining what matters to you. From that point, there are many avenues you can take which will help you to achieve your financial goals. For someone who might need a little help, appreciates a platform that is exclusively digital, and is looking for something affordable—that’s where a solution like RBC InvestEase comes in.
Next month, you’ll be hosting a TL Insider workshop focusing on mental and financial wellness in 2021. What do you have planned for members and what can they expect?
Yes, join us on January 7 as we explore the new you. January is a month of renewal for many of us as we seek a better version of ourselves. Typically this better version of ourselves is associated with physical and mental wellbeing, which is foundational to our happiness, but we think January as “wellness month” can also extend to financial wellness.
Personal finances can be a source of stress, which can be compounded by how money intimidates most of us. It doesn’t need to be this way. In our session, we’ll give you the basics to help you get started on a financially healthy 2021. We’ll share tips to help get your finances in order, to develop a personal plan, and to know how you’re progressing towards your goals. We can’t go to the gym for you but we can teach you how to get your money working a little harder.
Register here for the January 7th Mental and financial wellness workshop.
Learn more on how to start saving with RBC InvestEase today. Open an RBC InvestEase account and pay no management fee for 1 year*. Offer ends Mar 31, 2021. Click here to sign up!
*Accounts opened until March 31, 2021 will not be charged the regular 0.5% management fee by RBC InvestEase for 12 months from the date of account open. RBC InvestEase will notify clients 60 days in advance of any changes to the fees associated with their account as set out in the investment agreement. A weighted average management expense ratio between 0.11-0.30% will still apply to the ETFs held in our portfolios. RBC InvestEase reserves the right to amend or withdraw this offer at any time without notice.
RBC InvestEase Inc. provides online discretionary investment management services. Other products and services may be offered by one or more separate corporate entities that are affiliated to RBC InvestEase Inc., including without limitation: Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Direct Investing Inc., RBC Dominion Securities Inc., RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company. RBC InvestEase Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada and uses the business name RBC InvestEase. In addition, the RBC iShares ETFs in which RBC InvestEase Inc. clients invest are managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited. RBC Global Asset Management Inc. and BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited have entered into a strategic alliance to bring together their respective ETF products under the RBC iShares ETF brand, and to offer a unified distribution support and service model for RBC iShares ETFs.