Trevor Abes: Writer

New Directions In Doing The Best You Can With What You Have To Work With

A short piece of prose from my short fiction collection, The New Frontiers Of Conceptual Art, about working at Indigo in Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

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PDF copies through me.

What I Learned

A few lines from “What I Learned” off of my book of poetry, The Breakup Suite.

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PDF copies through me.

Moving On

When the broken glass of life

Scrapes dead weight from parts of you

You still treasure, gathering the slivers

Is a short path to hypersensitivity 

As opposed to applauding the poetry

Of how long you’ve had your head down

Letting the unfairness nestle

Into the corners of your smile

And bloom into the tender sweetness of a heart

Whose open arms proved insufficient 

The music in your hips newly sprung by bae’s absence

Her face in every woman’s face regardless of age

Stop trying to stop seeing her everywhere

Stop beating yourself up for finding yourself asking

What do you mean what do I mean by love?

Years into thinking the answer was set in stone

Just steep in it and get familiar with how you are 

Too much food to finish for basically everyone

Until someone comes along happy to wrap you up

And save you for delectable exploratory unravelling

Which, for the record, is the opposite of cutting back

To compromise on the tenant between your eyes

—Liked what you read? Grab a book.

Smoking Between Cars in Front of Our Building

A taste from “Smoking Between Cars in Front of Our Building” off of my book of poetry, The Breakup Suite.

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PDF copies through me.

Young Canadian Investor #30 — Reasons to Hire a Financial Advisor

There are people out there in the world who are trained to manage other people’s money. They’re called financial advisors and a well-chosen one can serve a meaningful purpose in your life if you actually need the help.

Let’s begin by explaining how a relationship with a financial advisor generally works. It’s pretty simple: you hire one to handle your investments and help you build a financial plan and you pay them a fixed percentage of those investments— usually around 1%—every year for their services. Certain financial advisors will opt for a flat fee instead because they consider it fairer to be paid the same no matter the client they’re working with. Notice how that’s not the case with a 1% yearly fee, because the more you invest, the more that 1% will represent.

We’ve already learned about reasonable return expectations when investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, so what could possibly make it worth it to give up as much as 1% of that return every year to have a trusty advisor by your side?

You don’t have the time. It’s totally understandable if your life and work don’t leave you with the time you need to learn how to invest, much less manage those investments in a confident way on a regular basis. When family and career are your priorities, you’ll be able to give your all to them by interviewing a handful of advisors to find the right one for you.

You don’t have the mind. In this scenario, you could have all the time in the world but zero interest in acquiring investment knowledge. For some, the subject is such a bore to the point of being upsetting and I get it. Everything is not for everyone, and it’s senseless to be ashamed of that. That’s why experts exist in any field who can help you for a reasonable fee. And in many cases, like tax planning, and wills and estates, you’re going to require a level of expertise that probably isn’t feasible to pick up by reading up on it over the weekends. In many cases, you want the confidence of a professional having done the thing right.

You can afford the convenience. The beauty of money is that it can buy your freedom. Just like you may be perfectly able to clean your house once a week, but choose to pay someone to do it to free up a few hours for family time on the weekends, the same can be said for the work involved with managing your financial affairs. If you’d rather be doing something else, and can pay an advisor to take care of your money, going ahead and doing that will add value to your existence.

Now, what qualities does a stellar financial advisor exhibit?

  • They should be a fiduciary, meaning they are legally obliged to act in your best interest. Most advisors in Canada are not fiduciaries but are ruled instead by the suitability rule, which leaves room for them to line their pockets by selling you funds with higher fees, even though you could buy cheaper ones and still meet your financial goals.
  • Expanding on the last point, advisors shouldn’t be able to sell you an investment fund with a higher fee—and a higher commission for them—even though cheaper options exist that serve the same purpose. That’s called a conflict of interest. It’s your money, so as much of it as possible should stay in your pockets.
  • Finally, and it may sound obvious, but your financial advisor should be on your level. You should be able to speak to them frankly about your goals with trust and without judgement and build a meaningful relationship over the coming decades. They should also explain everything they do with your money with patience and in layperson’s terms you are sure to comprehend.

If you put the points we’ve discussed into practice, you’ll find exceptional financial professionals to have in your corner and grow your money responsibly over time. On the flip side, if you’re more than willing to learn how to invest for yourself, there are plenty of books and videos out there to get you started. Consider my new book, Nine Steps to Successful Investing: A Guide for Young Canadians, to begin your investing journey and improve your financial health in no more than an afternoon.

I’m also available to teach you 1-on-1 over Zoom if you prefer.

Feel free to drop any questions in the comments!

Disclaimer: This article is meant for general education purposes only. It does not constitute financial advice as I am unaware of your personal situation. Consult with a professional who abides by a fiduciary standard before making any investment decisions.

New Directions In Happy Places

“New Directions In Happy Places” from my short fiction collection, The New Frontiers Of Conceptual Art, about working at Indigo in Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

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Nevermind Valentine’s: Read Breakup Poetry Instead

Nevermind Valentine’s 🖤 Read breakup poetry instead 🖤

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PDF copies through me.

Unraveller

A lil snippet from “Unraveller” off of my book of poetry, The Breakup Suite.

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PDF copies through me.

Young Canadian Investor #29 — Delineating Your Relationship With Money

As an investor, you’re somewhere between the person who doesn’t lose sleep over their investments and the person who can’t rest knowing they’re at risk of losing money. The former is able to take on riskier investments with the potential for a higher return. The latter will accept a lower return, so long as it means their money is protected from substantial loss. You see the trade off here. More security means less money in your pocket, and vice versa.

The key to making your investing life as easy on yourself as possible is recognizing where you fall on the spectrum and why. That way, you’ll hopefully be able to make adjustments to how you invest to make room for who you are. Let’s try and gauge where you stand with a couple questions.

Are you living paycheck to paycheck or are you able to save some money, however little, at the end of the month?

If you’re not able to save, investing is out of the question for the moment. Your basic expenses take precedent. If you’re able to save, it’s important to build up an emergency fund first—aim for a few months of expenses—before investing the remainder. Depending on your answer here, you may feel worried about putting your money to work in the stock market. While stocks offer you a positive expected return over the long term, they go up and down a lot day to day, which can cause investors to become distressed seeing the value of their investments move so wildly. The solution here is educating yourself about the stock market so you don’t get spooked by how it’s supposed to work.

Are you a saver or a spender? 

To put it another way, if you have a little cash in your pocket, will you end up treating yourself to a nice meal at your favorite mom-and-pop brunch spot, buying books, clothes, or your version of a treat, or will you stash the cash in your savings account? If the money is likely to disappear into instant gratification, you’re best advised to automate your savings and investing by asking your bank to transfer a certain amount of money every month into the appropriate accounts. We all have personal histories that determine why we behave with money the ways we do. If you can stomach it, go back in time and see if you can identify your money triggers and the patterns they nudge you into.

In my case, I buy lots of books and take pride in hauling 30 or so boxes of them around every time I have to move, so I have to keep that habit in check. I have a sweet tooth, meaning a considerable portion of my grocery bill goes to chocolate, sour gummies, and other such base pleasures. I also grew up fairly well off, while the last 10 years have been a struggle financially, making me prone to save all the money I have when I should be setting some of it aside to have fun and enjoy myself.

In the end, if you can afford your indulgences while saving enough to buy yourself the future you want, you’re on the right track.

How does living in a capitalist society and having to make money to support yourself make you feel?

Are you happy to rise and grind every day to compete and earn your place in that society, or are you hell-bent on avoiding the rat race and forging a different path?

Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: This article is meant for general education purposes only. It does not constitute financial advice as I am unaware of your personal situation. Consult with a professional who abides by a fiduciary standard before making any investment decisions.

Moving Out II

An excerpt from “Moving Out II” off of my book of poetry, The Breakup Suite.

Print copies available through Amazon.

PDF copies through me.

We’re Number One, Baby

After 2020, I’m determined more than ever to celebrate every win. I am overjoyed to report that yesterday my book of poetry, The Breakup Suite, hit #1 on Amazon’s Canadian Poetry eBooks Chart. We’re number one, baby! Thanks to Rupi Kaur for ceding the throne for a short while!

Grab your copy in print, as a PDF, or for Kindle. The support thus far has been overwhelming and it’s something I will always cherish. Thanks for reading poetry!

Just be Sure

 

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