Do you ever hear those wild success stories of someone accomplishing a financial goal and wonder how those people got there? Even though we know it’s unrealistic, we often look at them and assume that they just got lucky, or perhaps life was always this way for them. That could certainly be the case when looking at Kari.
You might recognize Kari—her face and story have been shared on TVs and billboards across the province. She had this audacious dream of retiring in Costa Rica at 55, and with the help from her financial advisor Tiffany Daw at ATB, it’s going to happen. But what exactly gave Kari this radical opportunity to live her dream?
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t something that came naturally or easily to her. It took a lot of strategizing, planning, and trust on Kari’s part—and she didn’t do it alone. Consider this your gentle reminder that no dream comes for free, but they certainly are possible. Let’s take a peek into Kari’s journey.
How her investment journey began
While Kari was the dreamer, it took someone coming alongside her to help her live her dream. The first step was asking Kari what her goals were, and helping her focus on where she wanted to be in the future. She had this extra money saved up, and she was about to pay her mortgage off.
When Kari met with her banker, Yuval, he encouraged her not to stop her goal-crushing momentum with paying off her mortgage. “Right away Yuval said, ‘you seem to have a substantial amount of money in your savings account and you’re paying your mortgage off. How do you feel about talking to somebody about what you could be doing financially to achieve other goals you have? You’re meeting a massive goal right now—don’t let yourself down and stop there.”
For Kari, this question was a game-changer. Paying off her mortgage was no longer the end goal—it was what would make her dream come true.
You’ve got the goal, let’s make a plan
When Yuval connected Kari with Tiffany, the planning began. Kari didn’t just want to retire at 55 in Costa Rica—she wanted to buy a place down there and have it paid off by retirement. Audacious? We think so. Impossible? Definitely not.
“I had this idea of what I wanted and Tiffany walked me through it step by step, and said that there’s no reason we couldn’t make this 55 goal if I could do things like renting the condo out to pay the mortgage payments. That’s kind of what got me thinking, ‘Wow, I can actually do this.’”
Armed with Tiffany’s advice and support, Kari took full advantage of what was available to her through ATB Online.
“If you do ATB Online Banking, you get to see all of your investments, how they’re doing. I listened to [Tiffany’s] advice and I do not check them every day because it would drive me insane—and most people it would! I just trust in the process and what she’s walked me through, and I believe I will get to that goal.”
A self-professed saver, Kari wasn’t used to navigating the often confusing world for investing.
“[Tiffany, my financial advisor] knew that I am a saver and I tended to put things in a savings account and not put it towards any kind of investment. She held my hand through that process, helped me move money into where it was going to make money for me, instead of just kind of sitting there and being the security blanket that I like to hold onto. She helped me figure out what kind of investments I wanted to do that would make me most comfortable and get the most value for my money in order to reach my goal.”
Going above and beyond guidance
Tiffany made sure that Kari was educated about investing, even beyond investing with ATB. Turns out, Kari had additional opportunities to invest through her work, and Tiffany went through the portfolio with her and helped her make the right investing choices so she could make extra money towards her Costa Rica goal.
“It was something she didn’t have to do, but something she was more than willing to do, which made me feel like my best interests were her best interests.”
Success—it doesn’t come overnight
Kari’s life wasn’t changed in one meeting—it took consistent efforts to get her Costa Rica-ready.
“It took several appointments. We spent a lot of time talking about what I was gonna invest in, how I was gonna invest, and then she would show different graphs that showed me what would happen if I invested in different ways with different amounts, and how old I’d be when I’d hit my target. She asked me, ‘What age do you want to figure out until?’ And now I’m on track to have funds until I’m 85.”
Overcoming financial fear together
Sometimes it just takes knowing someone has your back to step into something scary. That’s what made all the difference for Kari as she transitioned from being an avid saver to a first-time investor.
“I felt that [Tiffany] was supportive, but she didn’t push me to the point where I was uncomfortable. So I felt good about the decisions we were making. Sometimes people tend to overwhelm you when it comes to financials, because financials are overwhelming—especially when you’re looking at your own. I never had that feeling with her, it was always very comfortable.
I was very scared of finances, and I still am—by no means am I an expert. That’s why I go to ATB, because they are the experts on how to handle my money.”