Marci shares her thoughts on how she manages her money and some of the lessons she’s learned. 

LYNN:    Hello, and welcome to the Cherry Blossom Café Podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Wiliams, and owner of The Lifestyle Protector. This show is all about uncovering life’s mysteries about money. If you’ve ever wondered how other people manage their money, or the money mistakes they’ve made, well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about. We’ll uncover these mysteries and more.

LYNN:    On this episode, we talk to Marci Deane. Marci is a mortgage broker with Mortgage Architects, working in Vancouver, BC. With over 20 years of professional experience in banking, mortgages, real estate, and finance, she has earned a reputation for being an exceptional leader, savvy businesswoman, and an award-winning networker. Today, she’s going to share with us how she looks at money. We’re excited to have her on the show. Welcome, Marci.

LYNN:    So I’m here with Marci, mortgage broker extraordinaire.

LYNN:    Thank you for being here today, Marci.

MARCI: Thanks for having me.

LYNN:    And we just want to ask a few questions about your financial journey and your role, so maybe just tell us in the beginning, just how did you get into mortgage broking, and what was your first experience with that?

MARCI: Okay. So quite by accident, way back when I was at UBC doing an arts degree, I had been working in retail, and a friend of mine was working with Canada Trust and suggested that being a bank teller was better than working in a retail store, so I though that sounded like a good idea, and got a job. Started out at Canada Trust first on the teller line app, and then eventually … This was back in the day when they had a little office that was next to the branch that was for mortgages and loans. And Canada Trust, I think still to this day, TD Canada Trust, they’re open 8:00 to 8:00, so they had to keep this office open till 8:00 PM.

MARCI: I was a university student, and I would come in at 4:00, and there was a great loans officer, they called them back then, who wanted my help to underwrite her files. So I would get there at 4:00. We’d spend an hour. She would hand me her stack of applications from the day, and from 5:00 to 8:00, I would figure out the debt service ratios and write the file all out, handwritten, and then fax with our little rolling fax machine, her files down to head office so that the next morning someone could review and approve them. So that was my foray into mortgage lending and loans.

MARCI: At the time, mortgages, we were up at 14-something percent, so this was back-

LYNN:    Wow.

MARCI: Yeah. Late ’80s, early ’90s, and I remember the rate started dropping, and I remember the day and the branch. I was by that point out in Burnaby, and it dropped below 10%. And there was huge excitement. Canada Trust was giving away 90-day no-pay mortgages. That was the thing at the time. So you could not pay your mortgage for your first 90 days, and you could be at 9.75%. Huge excitement. So we literally had stacks and stacks of files on our desk, all paper-based. It’s not like today, where everything is on the computer.

LYNN:    Computer, yeah. Fantastic. What a great story.

LYNN:    So once you started becoming more successful, did you handle your money differently, once you started feeling that you were down your track in your career?

MARCI: Uh-uh (negative), yeah. Yeah, for sure. So I got in … between all that, early days at the bank and then later, I’ve been a broker, independent broker, for 10 years. That was then something different for me starting my own business, so I’d had to sort of approach this very differently than being an employee for the bank or working for the real estate development company that I worked for. So it just required being more mindful, I think, really watching money in and out. Being a business owner, it’s easy to get drawn in and shiny object syndrome, squirrel, “I need to have that, I need to have that for my business.”

MARCI: But really early on, before I became incorporated and all that stuff, I always had a bank account that was strictly for the business and a credit card that I used for my business expenses, and tried to make sure … I mean, in the first few years, did I spend more than I made? Sure. That’s what happens. But that’s how you build the business, so-

LYNN:    Yeah, for sure. Reinvesting?

MARCI: Yeah.

LYNN:    Did you make any big money mistakes over the years?

MARCI: I don’t think we’ve made any big mistakes, per se.

LYNN:    Testament. Well done.

MARCI: I was lucky, smart enough, to buy a condo in Vancouver in ’95, I think I bought it, and that was purely like, “Okay, yeah, why would I pay rent?” I think one of the mistakes I may have made at that time, but I was fortunate enough that was earning enough, it was okay. I did get drawn into that, “Oh, I need a new car,” and I got a car loan. And so I remember I had a car loan and a mortgage. There wasn’t a lot of money left at the end of the day. So in looking back, did I need the brand new Jeep YJ off the lot? Probably not. That would have maybe been something I would change and was probably a money mistake, if you will.

LYNN:    Yeah. No, it is so true, isn’t it, that we tend to think as our money grows that our spending tends to grow?

MARCI: Right, yeah, instead of maybe the savings should have been growing at the same time.

LYNN:    Yeah, that you learned that early enough to recover?

MARCI: Yeah.

LYNN:    So you have an investing philosophy?

MARCI: You know, I’ll say we’ve trusted our money with a trusted financial planner, always, and I do believe in real estate, for sure, I think that investing in real estate, and it’s proven to be well for me. I guess the philosophy would be diversified. We have a stock portfolio, we have savings plans for the kids, and we’ve been investing in real estate and continue to invest in real estate, because we’ve all seen what happened with real estate in the last 30 years.

LYNN:    Yeah, for sure.

MARCI: Even 50 years, really. So yeah.

LYNN:    Yeah, yeah, no. Couldn’t agree more.

MARCI: It’s a great foundation to any investing plan and diversification. It also really helps people to build wealth, because it’s a for-savings mechanism.

LYNN:    Right.

MARCI: Kind of left to our own devices, we tend to not necessarily do as much for ourselves as our mortgage, paying off our mortgage.

LYNN:    Right, and a mortgage payment, these days, with interest rates, 50% of that payment is building equity in whatever the real estate piece is. Whether it’s a home or an investment property or a commercial property, at these rates, it’s approximately 50% that’s equity every month, so that’s an important point for people to remember.

MARCI: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.

LYNN:    Just as an aside, how do you recommend people get into this market in this craziness?

MARCI: You know, what I’m seeing, it is hard to get in, there’s no question, is perhaps you need to adjust expectations. It’s not necessarily the case that all couples will get into a single-family home anymore, and maybe you need to start with a condo and work your way up. And it’s interesting. I’m finding families actually who I helped five years to get into, say, a townhouse, and we’re checking in on their renewal anniversary, and they’re not interested in getting out of that townhouse living. They’re actually quite happy. It’s busy. They’ve since have one, two, three children. Townhouse living actually is less stressful. There’s someone the Strata hires to do the lawns and maintain the roof and wash the windows. And so it’s about changing expectations, and there’s a push now across lower mainland to build more multi-family. And the older generation would say, “You need a house and you need land,” but maybe not. So …

LYNN:    That’s a good point.

MARCI: And just start where you can start and get in.

LYNN:    Yeah. That’s a fantastic point, just start.

MARCI: Just start. And you know, I love talking to young people, like mid-20s, early 20s, because if they can save up a little bit, the other thing I’m finding is there’s generational wealth in Vancouver. And if someone is a young person starting out and they do manage to save up, somebody in an RCP and a TFSCA, and I say to them, “Is Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa willing to help?” And if they haven’t thought of it and they go have the conversation, when they show their financial plan to the family, “Yeah, Mom and Dad is willing to help,” that’s a good investment and they’re into it.

LYNN:    Yeah. That’s fantastic, and [inaudible 00:08:27], as well, is you show some initiative of planning yourself, people are much more willing to invest in you.

MARCI: Right, yeah.

LYNN:    That’s awesome. Good advice, Marce.

LYNN:    So what’s your take on philanthropy?

MARCI: You know, I think it’s an important part of what we all do, and there should always be a part of giving back in any financial plan, and I think it changes over time. So at this stage in our lives, I have children involved in lots of community things, and there’s needs. The government’s not all covering it, and a lot of these associations cannot afford to do everything. But I think that’ll change over time. My younger self did more for things like the Canadian Cancer Society and things like that, but it has to be part of everybody’s plan. That’s why Canada and Vancouver is such a great place, because so many people do consider it part of their financial plan.

LYNN:    Yeah, exactly.

LYNN:    So what one piece of advice, speaking of your younger self, would you give your younger self about money, or you would have given your younger self?

MARCI: Well, we talked about it a bit at the start here just in terms of maybe not needing the brand new, shiny object, and being mindful and understanding, everything to do and around the money. When my husband and I started out, we had a financial planner, which, we just sort of fell into it, and then life took over, kids took over, and there was an epiphany around … I think our kids were three and five. And I thought, “You know, I don’t actually even like this person.” And we ended you finding someone that we both liked, trusted relationship, and we’ve now been with that person for 10 or 12 years, at least. So it’s just, I think, important to like your financial advisor.

LYNN:    I couldn’t agree more.

MARCI: And not just fall in. At the time, it just seemed easy, “Here you go.” And it wasn’t a lot, but fast-forward 17 years later, it is a lot of money. So you have to have the end in mind.

LYNN:    Yeah. It’s very interesting. There’s a piece of research that’s been done that says that people who actually start with a financial advisor have started with as little as $5,000. People who haven’t got financial advisor believe that you need at least 50,000 to start with a financial advisor.

MARCI: Interesting.

LYNN:    So there’s a gap between people doing it and people who think about it. So people who do it start with very modest amounts, and then in the end actually build more wealth. So it’s good advice, is to just start.

MARCI: To start.

LYNN:    And then also like who you’re working with.

MARCI: Yeah.

LYNN:    Yeah. And if you don’t like who you’re working with, that’s okay. Find somebody else.

LYNN:    Now, what about the one piece of advice you’d want to give your older self about money?

MARCI: You know, I’ve been in business for 10 years, and I incorporated my business and did some changes last year, and in hindsight, I should have done that three or four years ago. And in doing that, we really also looked at the end game, where my husband and I are 48, 49 years old this year, and, “Okay, when do we want to stop working so hard?” And we should have done that 10 years ago.

MARCI: So it’s fine. We’ve made the change. But I would have done some of those changes that I thought needed to be done when I turned 50 and I thought I was so proud of myself doing them at 47, but really, we should have made those changes at 40.

LYNN:    Yeah. And what is one goal or future endeavor that you would be looking to do at the moment?

MARCI: You know, we have a few things. We have kids, 15 and 17 this year, and we definitely want to be able to help them to get into the real estate market. We also want to have a second home somewhere that involves golf and water. So we’re still in debate about that, and that’s something that we’re working towards right now through our real estate and other investments.

LYNN:    Yeah, that’s good. Well, you do a great job, Marci, so thank you so much for sharing your wisdom around your money.

MARCI: Thank you. Thanks for having me today.

LYNN:    Well, that’s it for today. Thank you for listening to the Cherry Blossom Café Podcast. You can check out the notes below for links related to this podcast. If there is someone you’d like us to interview, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our website, LifestyleProtector.ca, for contact information and more episodes.

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