Name: Chris Hatcher
Annual income: $80,000-$90,000
Savings: $3,000 in savings account; $30,000 in tax-free savings account (TFSA); $25,000 in registered retirement savings account (RRSP); $30,000 in previous defined-contribution (DC) pension plan, deferred profit-sharing plan (DPSP) and non-registered investing account combined
What he does: Brew master
Where he lives: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Top financial concern: "I definitely don’t want to be working when I’m 65. I’d like to retire when I want to – not continuing to work because I have to.”
Chris Hatcher could not have predicted he would end up living in Saskatoon, where he works as a brew master at a local brewery. Having graduated from The University of Alberta in Edmonton four years ago with a degree in chemical engineering, Mr. Hatcher was poised for a career in Alberta’s bustling oil and gas sector. But as the industry declined, he migrated into the beer industry, first taking jobs with Labatt before moving to Saskatchewan to take a position with a small independent brewer.
And he enjoys it. Mr. Hatcher looks after the day-to-day operations of the brewery, manages 12 employees, and is responsible for recipe development, brewing schedules and ordering raw materials, among other tasks. He loves the variety in his job, which uses his knowledge of chemistry.
Mr. Hatcher says an early financial education by his father has been helpful in maintaining his comfortable lifestyle – while helping him save for the future. “My dad did a good job teaching me and my sister when we were teenagers [about finances] – how to pay yourself first and manage money."
So did working every summer as a student in the oil sector in Grande Prairie, Alta., which paid for his rent and university tuition. “I was able to graduate without student debt,” he says. “I opened up my first RRSP when I was 18."
Mr. Hatcher admits he’s become something of a money geek, reading books on financial strategies and investing using online broker Qtrade. He hopes to do an MBA within the next 10 years. “I opened my Qtrade account when I started working after graduating from university,” he says. “I liked the fact that Qtrade has young investor pricing so trade commissions are a few bucks cheaper and they have a decent list of commission-free ETFs."
Mr. Hatcher likes to choose all of his investments. “I like dividend ETFs, and dividend-paying stocks, because as you grow your portfolio your dividends will increase, which if then re-invested will further compound,” he says. “I like companies that distribute dividends and have a history of increasing their dividend distribution because it means that its management is accountable to shareholders – they are not just looking to spend every dime they get to fuel growth.” He plans to hold on to the ETFs for decades.
He also has his eyes set on a cushy retirement. “Priority number one is saving for retirement,” he says. “I definitely don’t want to be working when I’m 65,” he says. “I’d like to retire when I want to – not continuing to work because I have to.” Priority number two is saving for a home – and getting married.
Despite his conservative financial approach, Mr. Hatcher says he enjoys spending money. Athletic, he likes to take yoga classes, play hockey, ski and golf. He’s also a marathon runner who ran the San Francisco marathon in July and spends on fitness equipment and clothing. He likes to head out for brunch or a few drinks with his friends on weekends.
Still, he remains focused on contributing to his TFSA and RRSP. “I invest 15 to 30 per cent of my after-tax income,” he says. “I have it in my mind, if I save now, when I’m [in my] 50s or 60s, I’ll be set.”
His typical monthly expenses:
$1,500 to RRSP. “I have been saving pretty steadily for retirement for four years – since I started working full-time.”
$500 to TFSA. “I contribute the max to my TFSA." The annual contribution limit is $6,000 starting in 2019.
$300 to Qtrade account. “I have $6,000 in it. I invest in a few ETFs; I have a Canadian-dividend ETF, I have a U.S.-dividend ETF and a non-North America international ETF.”
$1050 on rent. “I rent a two-bedroom basement apartment suite – it’s 700-800 square feet. Rent includes water but no heat. The landlord lives on the top level. He has a sports package for the TV. It’s a nice setup.”
$150 on electricity.
$50 on renter’s insurance.
$0 on Internet. “It’s covered in my rent.”
$500 on groceries. “I like to eat. Typically, I barbecue in the summer – chicken or beef, along with steamed veggies and rice. It’s pretty boring. I try to eat as healthy as I can. I mostly do batch cooking and cook my meals on Sunday for the week. I buy at Costco or Sobeys or Save-on Foods.”
$200 on eating out. “On Friday or Saturday, I might go out for dinner or brunch with friends. We go to Una Pizza.”
$50 on coffee. “I’m a Timmy’s guy. I usually get Tim’s once a week on a Friday – coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I don’t go to Starbucks. I don’t want to spend $5 on a drink.”
$100 on alcohol. “I do get free beer at work. I drink a little bit of wine. I’ll go to the bar on the weekend.”
$0 on cell phone. “It’s paid for by my employer.”
$400 on gas. “I got a white 2017 Ford 150. It had about 75,000 kilometres on it. I did have a Honda Civic before that but I sold it. I do a fair bit of driving - I have family in Edmonton and Calgary. I’ve put a lot of highway miles on the new truck already even though I live 15 minutes away from work.”
$150 on car insurance. “You have to buy insurance through SGI in Saskatchewan.”
$200 for car repairs/maintenance. “I bought a new vehicle in May so I actually took $30,000 out of my TFSA to pay for it. “
$250 on sports. “I love sports. I play a lot of golf, and ski and play hockey – all of my favourite things. They’re expensive hobbies to have. I average one yoga class a month.”
$75 on clothing. “I ran a marathon in July – the San Francisco Marathon. I have lots of compression socks and spend $500 a year on sports clothing. I bought a few pairs of shoes in the winter. I don’t really buy clothes – I get them as Christmas presents.”
$10 on haircuts/accessories.
$50 on gym fees. “I go to a local gym – it used to be a Goodlife. It’s a powerlifting gym. I don’t go enough – I’ve got lots of excuses.”
$250 on vacations. “I went to Europe in 2016 and 2017 – England and Italy. Last summer I went to B.C. and did the West Coast Trail for a week with a group of friends. This summer, I did a trip to San Francisco. I also did a trip to the mountains just west of Calgary.”
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Editor’s note: (Oct. 17, 2019) An earlier version of this story had incorrect information about where Mr. Hatcher attended university.