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Peter Nguyen1 recalls what finances looked like in his house growing up with his parents, who came to Canada before he was born.
“Growing up, they were very frugal,” he says in a phone conversation with Inspired Investor. “It was always about saving more and spending less. They had fear and a scarcity mindset.”
Nguyen admits that the same mindset has rubbed off on him, and he often feels similar anxiety around money and spending.
“They never taught me to invest,” he says, “because they were so scared of losing money.”
If you’ve swiped through TikTok, you may have come across Nguyen, also known as @peternugget. The 24-year-old Toronto-based content creator often produces short comedic skits about his observations on life and relationships. The platform has been good to him; Peter has amassed millions of followers, and with it a healthy income. And it was his love of the platform that first got him interested in the world of investing and prompted him to consider his own financial habits.
“So many TikTok creators make videos about investing,” Nguyen says. Over time, I’m thinking to myself, okay, maybe this is something I should do. That I should be putting my money to work”
Nguyen admits that he found himself with a large amount of cash sitting in a bank account after his career took off, and he wasn’t sure what to do with it. Feeling empowered by what he’d seen from fellow content creators, he knew he wanted his money to work harder for him. He reached out to an advisor at his bank branch to take his first steps into investing.
Nguyen then became intrigued by a professionally-managed digital investing solution, and has since turned to RBC’s InvestEase online investing platform.
A turning point came when Nguyen had made enough money to pay off his parents’ mortgage.
“I think my parents’ main goal in life is to just find stability and comfort and I wanted to help provide that to them,” he says. “It came at a time that I had been learning more about their history in Vietnam. It made sense that they were afraid. When they came here, they had to fight to survive.”
As he did this for them, he realized the knowledge he was acquiring could have a profound impact on his family’s financial well-being. He understood the cultural nuances that often surround discussions about money within immigrant families. Traditionally, conservative approaches to finance prevail, with a preference for saving over investing. Nguyen saw an opportunity to challenge these norms with them and empower his parents with the tools for financial growth.
“I recently brought this up with them and over time I am going to work on it,” Nguyen says. “I want to educate them about their fears, and that it’s not all about risk and losing money.”
Nguyen went to university to become a teacher before his love for content and social media took over. So, it feels natural to him to educate his parents with patient conversations. He is taking the time to explain the power of compounding, the importance of diversification, and the risks associated with different investment vehicles. Initially met with skepticism, Nguyen is persisting, using relatable examples and analogies to bridge the generation gap.
Nguyen says that growing up being frugal has meant that he didn’t spend money on things like travel. So now, with his newfound financial freedom, he is looking forward to seeing the world, and his investments set him up nicely for that.
“I’m taking the steps today to create healthy habits, and to have a happy financial future,” he says. “I’m hoping my parents will join me.”
1 Peter is an RBC client. He has been compensated for sharing his story.
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