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Redefining Wealth with Paper & Coin’s Octavia Ramirez

What does wealth mean to you? Whether you define it as buying a house, travelling the world, or early retirement, your answer probably won’t be the same as the next person’s. 

On this episode of Real Money Talk Podcast, Aashti Vijh (Ratehub’s Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist) joins Tyler to discuss the change in millennials’ perspective on wealth with Octavia Ramirez

As the founder of Paper & Coin, a financial coaching business dedicated to the younger generation (recently rebranded as MakesCents), Octavia shares her inspiration in building the business, her definition of wealth, and ultimately, advice on how you can define wealth for yourself. 

The inspiration for Paper & Coin: millennials and personal finance

“I started this company to really solve my own problem.” During Octavia’s mid-20s, she had trouble keeping up with her credit card debt. Every other week, she would receive her paycheque, only to be broke again the following day because of her credit card balance. 

From this, she decided to do her research and dove into podcasts and books about personal finance. That sparked her passion, and she began blogging to share her personal finance journey with others.

The people around her began to ask for financial advice, so she started her own personal finance coaching practice. Over time, Octavia grew Paper & Coin into a team of professional financial advisors, creating a place for the younger generation to access the resources they needed. 

“The reason it’s specifically targeted towards millennials and Gen Z is because our lifestyle is so different from our parents and grandparents.” Dreaming of becoming a full-time Youtuber is no longer unheard of, and Paper & Coin (MakesCents) is able to understand this change in landscape to deliver financial advice accordingly. 

Flipping the script on financial coaching

With Paper & Coin, Octavia is not only able to create a more accessible, lower-cost option for financial coaching, but she also believes in using Paper & Coin to turn personal finance into a branded lifestyle – something for people to share and engage with.    

“Especially with social media, we have so much visibility into what everyone’s lives are like. Now, having a brand around the thing you’re building is so important. It's what catches attention – visual cues are so important.” 

In comparison, Octavia mentions that everyone loves to share their weight-loss journeys with one another. So why should you avoid sharing your journey to becoming debt-free?  

Redefining wealth as a millennial

When you are searching for your own definition of wealth, Octavia says you should begin by asking yourself what you want your life to look like years down the line. It’s important to challenge the conventional perspective that comes from others. Although the older generation may define wealth as becoming a homeowner, Octavia’s perspective is different – “For me though, right now the definition of wealth is freedom. Freedom and flexibility.”

After setting up an emergency fund, Octavia mentions three steps in reaching wealth as a millennial: 

  1. Have a clear vision for your life
  2. Define your version of wealth 
  3. Stay focused on your future goals 

Octavia emphasizes that freedom doesn’t stem from a full-time job. Instead, you need to push back on the idea of job security, and challenge yourself by asking questions as to why you’re making the financial decisions you do (e.g. Why am I keeping this job? Why am I buying a house?).

Conflicting opinions with parents

“The second someone gives you money, you’ve given them permission to tell you what to do. Money is one of the unique things in that respect.”  

That’s why Octavia mentions many people enjoy being financially independent from their family. You don’t need to accept gifts as it can cause relational implications if your goals in life don’t align with your parent’s goals – your parents may want you to have a home in the suburbs when in reality, you want to spend your 20s in the city. 

Accepting money from your parents can also create a false financial picture. For instance, if your down payment was a gift, you may not be able to afford your monthly payments because the home was out of your price range to begin with.

Octavia also emphasizes that people with different upbringings will define wealth differently. First-generation Canadians may consider purchasing a home as the only way to achieve wealth when that isn’t always the right path. Therefore, whether you’re building your wealth from scratch or you’ve inherited it, financial education on topics, such as the stock market or cryptocurrency, is important.

READ: Money lessons from first-generation Canadians

If you couldn’t tell already, this episode delivers an unconventional, yet interesting perspective on what it means to be ‘wealthy’. To hear the entire conversation with Tyler, Aashti, and Octavia on redefining how you view money, be sure to check out your favourite Canadian personal finance podcast, Real Money Talk.