Reading the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, which advocates financial literacy and independence, was an illuminating experience for alpine skier Manny Osborne-Paradis. The four-time Olympian was 20 years old at the time and he says it opened his eyes to the importance of understanding and managing his own finances.
He shared the book with his teammates, including Erik Guay and John Kucera, and they would sit around after training talking about avoiding debt and how to save as much money as possible. This initial introduction to investing basics galvanized Osborne-Paradis’ commitment to being financially responsible throughout his career.
Now, at 34, Osborne-Paradis is staying on track by participating in a new online course offered by Game Plan.
The 12-week customized course for current and former athletes provides the fundamental skills of investing and includes an 8-week crash course with RBC Dominion Securities Investment Advisor, John Hastings, followed by a 4-week stock market competition, with real cash prizes, using an interactive - How the Market Works - stock market simulation game.
The course covers the fundamentals of building and managing an investment portfolio using lectures, videos, online references, and guest speakers to articulate the specific learning material. The objective of the course is to provide participants with practical investment management skills and then test these skills in stock market competition and provides participants with both conceptual and theoretical learning as well as practical applications.
Hastings, an alumni from the National kayak team and perennial Game Plan Summit Financial Literacy presenter, says the course is unique because it’s tailored to athletes, who don’t typically have consistent cash flow or standard investment opportunities due to trust requirements.
“The idea is to provide athletes with a basic oversight on investing, teach the importance of planning and prepare them for retirement,” he explains. “We also help them identify their goals and objectives.”
This is the first time that Game Plan, powered by Deloitte, has offered the course online and because of that it has become one of the program’s greatest successes so far, with 70 active and retired athletes registered.
Osborne-Paradis says that he’s taking the course to learn the ‘ins and outs’ of the different sectors of the market. “It’s about knowing more than normal soundbites,” he says. “Everyone has their soundbites, but nobody knows what they really mean.”
One of the best features of the course is getting an objective, unbiased opinion – a rare thing in the world of investing where advisors can be inclined to sell certain products to earn commissions. “It gives me an impartial view,” says Osborne-Paradis. “And it directs me to have a better conversation with my broker, I ask better, more valuable questions.”
The class about investing in bonds stands out to Osborne-Paradis so far. “I didn’t know anything about bonds, and I didn’t know why you would want one,” says the 11-time World Cup medalist. “They are boring as sin and there’s nothing sexy about them, but they definitely have a place in your portfolio.”
This kind of insight is helping Osborne-Paradis and other athletes improve their knowledge base and make better financial decisions, which will prove to be invaluable when the time comes to move on from sport.
“The sporting life has a finite timeline, you don’t know when it will end,” says Osborne-Paradis, as he embarks on his 15th season on the World Cup circuit. “Having a savings plan is opportunistic and it helps you bridge the gap from one career to another. It’s about being smart and financially responsible.”
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Pentaphoto