Bright Lights, Big City. How One Young Entrepreneur is Making his Future Happen Right Now
CI Direct Investing is a robo-advisor that aims to make investing easier for all Canadians. In this Investing for Everyone series, we’re sharing inspiring stories from our clients about how they’ve turned sweat equity and discipline into a brighter future. Here’s a glimpse into how they’re doing amazing things with their life and their money!
Just barely out of his 20s, Jordan Whelan is already a serial entrepreneur and President of the highly successful media buying and PR company, Grey Smoke Media. The Toronto Star has called him one of the “Top 10 People to Watch”. Among many other things, he’s been a syndicated humor columnist and a creator of North America’s first crowdfunding show. He told us how he has changed his money habits and about his non-traditional retirement plan.
I can’t say I really had someone in my life who was a mentor for what I do now. To be honest, I kinda had to find my own way. I barely graduated from business school, partly because I’m just not a big ‘numbers guy’ – or at least I wasn’t, then. My strength was emotional intelligence – not something that typically gets graded.
Before I ever went into business, I lived and went to school in Hamilton. Money and investing wasn’t even on my radar. To this day it’s so funny that I took calculus – a skill only one percent of us will use it. But 100 percent of us will need to know about growing wealth and investing!
Once I graduated, I joined the work force at 23, living in a metropolis with a high cost of living. Any sort of travel or vacation was out of the question. Many of the people in my circle had stable, level jobs. But since I ventured into media as an intern, I essentially started at the bottom. I was saddled with post grad debt. My first job paid me under $40,000 per year. I used to walk 45 minutes home from the gym because I couldn’t afford a bus pass. And I used to buzz the sides of my hair myself to make my haircut last longer. Even with these sacrifices, I was still living beyond my means.
Fast forward a few years, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and I’ve now have founded a number of businesses with the help of my partner Chris. Thankfully for me, Chris is able to break down the numbers in a way to lays out margins and profitability. A venture may seem like its worthwhile but often with an undefined scope. This compliments my skill set of marketing and communications. It just works well.
My income has grown exponentially since those early days. But, perhaps more importantly, I’ve gotten smarter with my spending. I spend on what’s important to me – travel and experiencing life. Not on jewelry or cars or… stuff. Home ownership, even as a very single person, is now in the realm of possibility. For a Torontonian, that’s no small thing.
When it comes to money, my main goals are to have an escape from the 9 to 5 rat race. Travel and writing are my passions and I want to have the time to do those. Plus, volunteering, for sure, and running a few ventures. You know what they say: it’s not considered working if you enjoy what you do.