NHL career: 1970 to 1985
Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings
Where he is now: retired, but a member of the board of directors of several publicly listed mining companies
“Value investing helped turn my paycheque into true financial independence”
I grew up on a farm outside Kitchener, Ont., with eight brothers and sisters, and if any of us wanted anything we had to earn it. All of us worked from an early age and we had to give 15% of each dollar to my mother. That taught me something that is key to building wealth: always save something from each paycheque.
I never knew how long my hockey career would last, so I hired a great accountant the year I started playing pro. Every month I’d sit down with him and go over how much money I was making, how much I was paying in taxes, and exactly what the expenses were for the month.
I was a great saver from an early age, but I knew little about investing. So I kept things simple. I bought a house for my growing family at age 22 and paid it off quickly. I always lived within my means. In the off-season I even did some part-time work to increase my nest egg just in case my career was cut short. I made a little on the side through commercials and public speaking engagements and saved that, too.
All the while, I educated myself by reading books by great investors like Warren Buffett, as well as Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor. It talks about buying undervalued blue chips and holding them for the long term. When I read that, I knew I had found the right investment strategy for me. So I found an advisor who shared this philosophy and had him build a portfolio of just such stocks. It was a great decision.
It’s always important to stay on top of your own finances, but your advisors are probably smarter than you about investments. Still, I like to know my advisor has some skin in the game. After all, why are you recommending investments you think are great for me when you’re not willing to buy them yourself?
I have three kids, and I’ve tried to teach them that building financial as well as emotional well-being is important. I tell them to love what they do and keep earning a paycheque for as long as they can. Then if you live within your means and pay yourself first, wealth will naturally follow.”