Monday, 16 April 2012

What CTV’s Pat Foran learned growing up on a farm

What CTV’s Pat Foran learned growing up on a farmEmily Mathieu | Sat Apr 14 2012
Pat Foran is the host of CTV’s Consumer Alert and author of The Smart, Savvy Young Consumer. In our series on the financial habits of notable Canadians, Foran tells the Star’sEmily Mathieu what he learned growing up in a big family, of his early investment in eight-tracks and why he thinks young people shouldn’t get a credit card until they have their first job.

How did your family influence your attitude toward money? When I was growing up on a farm with nine brothers and sisters money was extremely tight. I’m not complaining as it was a wonderful childhood! However, there were never extravagant purchases or expensive vacations and there was a lot of hand-me-down clothing. It instilled in me a frugal nature I still have today.
What is the best financial advice you ever received? Pay yourself first. This simple concept to deduct funds from your paycheque and have it directed into RRSPs, TFSAs or RESPs is a surefire way to build your savings.
Describe your first job. What did it teach you?
Growing up in southwestern Ontario I had several jobs working on farms harvesting crops and tending livestock. It was hard physical labour that gave me a strong work ethic. It helped when I got my first full-time television job in northern New Brunswick operating as a “one man band” doing the reporting, camera work and editing for CTV News.
What was the first item you purchased with your own money? I was about 8 when I convinced my younger brother Paul to go halves with me on a $40 Juliette eight-track player that we ordered out of the Sears catalogue.
What is the one financial tip every teenager should know? I advise young people to try to develop good saving and spending habits early. I believe strongly that financial literacy should be taught in high school. There are basic strategies that can be learned early to help prevent young people from making bad financial decisions and taking on too much debt.
Is it a good idea for young people to get a credit card? I believe a young person doesn’t need a credit card until they are finished school and have their first job. I think credit-card companies should be banned from soliciting students on university and college campuses. When a young person does get a credit card they need to have a good understanding of credit-card interest rates and the pitfalls of making only the minimum monthly payment. It can take up to 15 years to pay it off that way!
What is your worst spending habit? I am a lover of many genres of music and throughout my life have been a constant buyer of albums, then eight-track tapes, followed by cassettes and finally CDs. I think it’s important to support artists and having music in our home has paid off as now my daughters are accomplished singers, piano and guitar players.
What financial lessons have you learned the hard way? Don’t be too trusting of financial advisers and if you use one choose very carefully. Also, don’t invest in eight-track tapes. It was not a great audio format!
How do you prefer to pay: cash, card or debit? I like to pay cash but for larger purchases I use my credit card to take advantage of points I redeem for free groceries. Free groceries are the best.
Do you bank online?
Yes. I believe it’s convenient, safe and allows me to easily keep track of my investments.
Do you worry about retirement? I am not worried about my retirement. I have my home (and) a pension plan. I max out my RRSP, TFSA and contribute to my children’s RESP. I’m also not a big spender. I feel if I stay the course my retirement will look after itself and I will probably keep working in some capacity anyway as I enjoy keeping busy.
Are money and success the same thing?
No. Accumulating wealth is a necessity in our society today and while I am very pleased with the success of my work at CTV News and my books, I would say I’m most proud of my family. If you can have a close family, great friends and good health I would say you are a successful person.

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