How One Man Survived a Layoff After 20 Years at Canada’s Biggest Company

How One Man Survived a Layoff After 20 Years at Canada’s Biggest Company

For more than a decade the “go to” source for Canadian personal finance information has been the Canadian Personal Finance Blog operated by Alan Whitton, more commonly known as the Big Cajun Man (listen to the show to find out where that name came from; having met him to record this podcast, I can confirm that he is a big guy).

Alan worked for the biggest company in Canada, Nortel, for 20 years, and he survived many rounds of layoffs until, at age 47, he was laid off.  Even though everyone knew the company was in trouble, layoffs are almost always a shock.  The Big Cajun Man tells us what it was like to live through that time, with a wife and four kids, and he explains how he survived 11 months of unemployment before starting a new career.

It feels like crap, it’s not easy to do but you got to get up in the morning and you’ve got to do something every single day.

On today’s show we addressed a very common issue: What can you do when you lose your job?

Alan gives us lots of practical advice, including:

  • Realize that no-one is indispensable; you could lose your job, so be prepared.
  • When looking for a job, have your “elevator pitch” ready, so you can explain your qualifications in 20 seconds or less.
  • Always be networking; you never know who will be the source of your next job.
  • Don’t put all of your eggs in your employer’s basket.  Many Nortel employees had all of their savings in Nortel stock, so when Nortel went out of business, they lost everything.

Debt management tips when facing a job loss

If you find yourself facing a job loss, take some proactive steps to manage your debt:

  1. Cut back on unnecessary expenses so you don’t increase your debt while out of work
  2. File for Unemployment Insurance or any other benefits you are entitled to
  3. Create a new budget that reflects your lower income
  4. Make at least the minimum payment on all debts
  5. Prioritize your debts between must pay and can delay.  This should be a temporary stop-gap. Stopping payment indefinitely will lead to debt problems.
  6. Ask your creditors for interest relief or a payment deferral
  7. If you can’t pay your bills after returning to work, talk with a licensed insolvency trustee about your debt relief options.

Resources Mentioned in Today’s Show

FULL TRANSCRIPT show #160 with Alan Whitton


Doug Hoyes: What’s it like to work for the biggest company in Canada only to have it go out of business and leave you unemployed and looking for a new job at age 47? Northern Telecom Limited, or commonly known as Nortel, at the start of this century was so big it accounted for about one third of the entire value of the Toronto stock exchange. It was worth almost 400 billion dollars and had over 94,000 employees.

By 2009 it was bankrupt, which at the time was the largest bankruptcy in Canadian history and its pensioners, shareholders and employees suffered enormous losses. Of course Nortel isn’t the only company to go bankrupt, here we are in September 2017 and the bankruptcy of Sears, another company with a long history, is in the news and I’m sure there will be many more corporate bankruptcies in the future. This is a story that won’t go away.

What’s it like to go through the largest corporate bankruptcy in Canadian history? What’s it like to think you’ll be working for the same company for your entire life only to lose your job at the height of your working career? Those questions and a lot more with a man who lived through it today on Debt Free in 30, so, let’s get started. Who are you?

Alan Whitton: So I’m Alan Whitton also known as the Big Cajun Man.

Doug Hoyes: The Big Cajun Man here in the house on the podcast.

Alan Whitton: Oh yeah.

Doug Hoyes: And we will talk a little bit more about how people can find you. You have one of the most read blogs out there in the blogosphere. But why don’t you take us back to what it was like and kind of give us the quick version of it but what was it like at that time, so, the actual day you find out?

Alan Whitton: Well, so the day I – I actually knew three days beforehand because I looked in my calendar and saw meeting with my boss that the wording was completely wrong and it was all in capital letters and I looked and there were a whole bunch of others of those meetings.

And I went okay so I’ve lived through 18 different layoff scares and we’ve learned important things about HR books large blocks and I went oh crap, this looks like it’s it for me. And it happened this time. And after going through 18 of them it was really surreal because I just sort of went, oh this is weird.

Doug Hoyes: When you say going through 18 of them you mean previous rounds of layoffs that you survived.

Alan Whitton: Yeah. From 2001 on. In fact one of the layoffs they actually had our layoff packages sitting there and then another group had decided oh no, we’ll take those people and they took most of us over. So, it was –

Doug Hoyes: So it was a number of years of uncertainty.

Alan Whitton: Oh yeah.

Doug Hoyes: So when it finally happened was it a shock or was it more of like well, we knew this day was coming?

Alan Whitton: It happened – when it happens to anybody – I think there’s few people that go oh yeah, I was fine. I was sort of completely blurred and I went and actually stopped on the way home at my church because my wife worked there and my minister was there. And he was the one who sort of aligned everything and said, so I’ve known you for about nine years and every time I talk to you, you talk about how you’re about to get laid off. So, now it’s happened, can we move past that now? And I went oh yeah okay I guess I’m no longer that one-line story I’m about to get laid off.

Doug Hoyes: And it actually happened. And clearly your life didn’t end because you’re here and you’ve since gone on to gainful employment and so on.

Alan Whitton: Yeah.

Doug Hoyes: So, it was widely expected but it was still a shock.

Alan Whitton: Yep.

Doug Hoyes: But it happened. So, okay so let’s say there are people listening to use today who are working maybe for a big company that’s been successful in the past and now things are a little sketchier or maybe they’re working for a small company. I mean when you lose your job, you lose your job. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a big company, a small company or whatnot.

Alan Whitton: Yeah.

Doug Hoyes: In your case you’d been there for a long time?

Alan Whitton: 20 years.

Doug Hoyes: 20 years. So, it was your home. Frankly the only real job you’d had I’m guessing in the adult sense of the word.

Alan Whitton: Uh huh.

Doug Hoyes: So, what are the things you would tell someone who was either in that position or potentially would face it? And frankly everybody listening to this will potentially face it because it’s very rare these days that someone is at the same job for the same company doing the same work for more than a few years. So, for a working life things are going to happen, things are going to change. So, walk me through the kind of advice or things people should be thinking about in that situation?

Alan Whitton: Well, everyone is expendable.

Doug Hoyes: Everyone is expendable.

Alan Whitton: No matter how you look at it, no matter how safe you think you are anything can change in a company. I mean Nortel, everybody thought okay strange things are happening but we’re going to recover, we’re going to recover. We’re such a huge part of, you know, the entire lexicon of Canada.

Doug Hoyes: Which you were.

Alan Whitton: We were. But it just goes to show how fast things can go into the toilet. So, be careful, be always ready, have your resume needs to be within two to three months of whatever you are. And it needs to be up to date and you need to be able to do that elevator talk with people and say, you know, be able to say in 20 seconds what’s great about you and why they want to hire you.

Because once you get laid off and you start trying to look for jobs you’ll find out there’s a lot of people looking. And there’s a lot of people a hell of a lot younger than you are looking for jobs. And a mean a 47-year old former programmer that’s been doing project management, there’s a lot of those out there and it’s hard to differentiate yourself.

Doug Hoyes: And so what was your 20 second elevator pitch?

Alan Whitton: Good God.

Doug Hoyes: Or what it be today or what would be the kind of thing that you would put in that?

Alan Whitton: My experience level is across the board. I’ve worked on different projects in the government now and at Nortel Communications understanding of all, many technologies. The breadth of my understanding is the major selling point I’d always had. Depending on who I was talking to I’d talk specifically about their areas.

Doug Hoyes: It’s interesting though because I’m just thinking in my mind what would be my 20 second elevator pitch? And I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it. I could give you a pretty good 15 minute one. Let me go on this rambling sojourn of my whole life. But 20 seconds is – that’s really tight, that’s tough to do.

And I definitely like the idea of having a resume handy because frankly it’s not that hard to do. You probably had to make one up when you got the job you’re at. So, go back on your computer and maybe it’s once a year, every six months, on your birthday, on Canada Day, I don’t know when you do it but set yourself some kind of schedule. I guess the answer is every time something changes you get a promotion, you change whatever, get it updated so that if you were to get laid off tomorrow no problem, I need 10 minutes to put, you know, end date 2017, boom resumes ready and out it can go.

Alan Whitton: And the danger is if you’ve been at a company a long time, you get lazy. You go oh, well I don’t need to have an updated resume, I’ve got a good job. I mean I might need it to apply for an internal job, no you need it. And it needs to be out there too.

Doug Hoyes: Well, even if you don’t ever need it for an external job presumably there’s some kind of performance review, salary review, things that happen in a big company, you might as well have the information at your finger tips.

Alan Whitton: Yeah, understanding and remembering what you’ve done too, like having, using something like LinkedIn even having a resume there that you can start from is important.

Doug Hoyes: And with LinkedIn it’s out there, everybody can see it.

Alan Whitton: Yeah but assuming that people can see it just because it’s on LinkedIn isn’t enough. You’ve got to be networking. And if you think you’re about to get laid off you better start networking now.

Doug Hoyes: Or a year ago.

Alan Whitton: Yeah because everybody’s – everybody can be someone who can find you a job. I mean in my case the job I ended up with in the government I ran into a guy I used to work with at Nortel and his daughter and my daughter were graduating from middle school. And I just saw him and said, he said hey, how’s it going? And I said, I might be looking for a job and from that, that’s how I ended up with the job.

Doug Hoyes: You never know where it’s going to come from.

Alan Whitton: Exactly.

Doug Hoyes: So no one is indispensable, have a resume handy, always be networking, have your elevator pitch ready. That’s pretty good, that was just one point that I asked you for. So, give me some other advice then from your time going through this.

Alan Whitton: Well, so I go to church and we had one guest minister one week who said we’re all three paycheques from living on the streets. If you’re, you know, even if you’re not thinking you’re going to lose your job, you need to go through your finances and go what happens if I get laid off next week? What happens if I get off next week and there’s no severance because there’s a lot of companies now that are not paying severance.

Doug Hoyes: They just disappear.

Alan Whitton: They just disappear off the face of the earth you don’t get no more money. Oh, I have an emergency fund. Can your emergency fund withstand you, if you’re the only breadwinner, deal with that?

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and I disagree with your minister. It’s less than three paycheques for most people I’m guessing.

Alan Whitton: Well, you’re in the business so I would say –

Doug Hoyes: Perhaps I’m skewed because of the people that I end up helping but, you’re right, it’s a perfect thought experiment to do. So, ask yourself that question, if tomorrow when I go to work or the next day I go to work they say oh sorry, the company is no more, it’s just shut down, that’s it, it’s done, what would you do the next day? Do you have money in the bank? At the very least, do you have a line of credit you could use to pay the rent? I hate to go into debt for something like that but if you’re already maxed out on all your debt you’ve got no wiggle room whatsoever.

Alan Whitton: My wife’s comment on that when I pointed that out to her was emergency preparedness. And I mean you war games, it you sit down with someone and you just maybe bounce it back and forth with them and say what can I do? Just have something in mind because you better than I do, you’re in the business. People are going to walk in off the street. I mean I know people who have two incomes and someone lost, you know, two of my incomes, so two times my income level who ended up in pretty dire financial straights because one of them lost a job.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and part of that is because it’s very difficult to downscale your expenses immediately. because what are your big expenses? Well, I pay the mortgage or the rent, I pay for my car well tomorrow if I lose my job I can’t just get rid of my house in a day, I can’t get rid of my car lease in a day. So, yeah okay maybe I don’t eat out as often, that saves me a few bucks but it’s very hard to instantly downscale your life.

Alan Whitton: And what if your kids are going off to school? And you said we’re going to help you, we’ve got your RESPs here ready. And now you’re looking at all this money and you’re going, you know, I could really use that money instead of you getting a RESP and going off to school. Why don’t you go get some OSAP and I’ll take some of that money?

There’s all of that – and that was actually part of what happened with me was my oldest daughter was going off to university and my two younger daughters were still in high school and I’ve got a son who is 3, 2 at the time.

You know, it was sort of a perfect storm of lousiness that happened because there was a health issue, there was being laid off and then there was dealing with all this and with the kids and all that. And if you think oh, yeah I’m going to be stoic and I’m going to – no, you’re not because this will take the legs out from anyone whether you think you’re going to pull it off or not.

Doug Hoyes: Because you just don’t expect it to happen. So, okay so let’s continue on with your points then. So, I mean this sounds to me kind of putting all your eggs in one basket type of thing then.

Alan Whitton: Yeah, you better get – in my case with Nortel, I lost money. I didn’t lose as much money as a lot of my co-workers did who had things like – they had a lot more stock and they wanted to – they thought they were going to be millionaires because they had options, they had this and that. For me I never got into the options game, I never had much there.

But I believe I got this from the Canadian Capitalist or someone, you can’t – you’re already far too invested in your employer. If you’re getting stock from them, if you’re getting all this other stuff from them, you better get out of their business. You’re getting paid by them, in my case I got a pension from Nortel as well. I should have had none of their stock or very little of it. Now luckily I ended up selling a lot of it along the way to pay off bills, pay for cars, but you can’t put all your eggs in your employer’s basket. You’ve got to be much more diverse.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and that’s good advice in general. So, you ask people so tell me what’s on your personal balance sheet? Well, I own a house end of story. So, I don’t have anything in a RSP, an RESP, a TSFA or anything like that, I own a house and I got a lot of debt. Well, that is having all your eggs in one basket as well. So, totally agree with that, that sounds like obvious advice. So, you lose the job, obviously you’ve got to find another one.

Alan Whitton: Right.

Doug Hoyes: So, give me some tips on, you know, looking for a job.

Alan Whitton: Everyone you meet is someone you could network with. Talk to them and say well, you know, are their jobs at your place? Now the danger is when you get unemployed you end up hanging out with other unemployed people because you’ll go to services and things like that. I was lucky enough to have a fairly good service. But when you’re talking with other unemployed people, that’s not networking, that’s commiserating.

You need to talk to people who have jobs who will be able to say yeah, we got jobs here or no I’ve heard from Bob that he’s got jobs over there. And when you start looking for jobs and you’ve your resume ready, remember what your social media is. This is your references, Facebook, every tweet that you’ve put out there, every employer is going to look at this now, when I was looking for jobs back in 2008 not as much.

Doug Hoyes: Not so much. Twitter wasn’t a thing back then.

Alan Whitton: But all of those crazy things you’ve done in your life, all the weird pictures that are on Facebook when you were down in God knows where, you know, there’s a funny picture of that.

Doug Hoyes: So I’m just going to pause the tape and delete all my tweets right now. I guess we’ll be back in five hours.

Alan Whitton: I’m lucky that I’m close enough to retirement now that I think more likely than not they just say can you just go away? Here, here’s a retirement package.

Doug Hoyes: But that’s much better advice for a millennial who’s, you know, 30 years old and has lived through the social media age the whole time and does have that whole online history. You know, you and I, we’re in our 50s, you know, perhaps not so much. But everything is a potential reference. So, you know, always be networking, you hit on that. What else in terms of looking for a job. Everyone’s a potential source, what are the other places that you would be looking, what else would you be doing?

Alan Whitton: If you go to a job fair, please don’t wear flip flops.

Doug Hoyes: Don’t wear flip flops, that might be the title for this episode. Now you’re giving me an exaggerated example.

Alan Whitton: No, I’m not. I’ve been to job fairs.

Doug Hoyes: Because no one is going to go to a job fair wearing flip flops.

Alan Whitton: You think oh, I’m just talking about young ladies and things. No, no I’ve had people walk in with flip flops and their flash t-shirts at job interviews. And you go okay, I dig the fact that I work in technology and I understand free spirits are out there, I got no problem with this kind of stuff if we’re going to keep you in the back, that’s fine.

But first impressions are amazing things. If you’re going to a job interview don’t cut anybody off. If you’re taking the bus, give up your seat. You never know who is going to end up interviewing you. And that has happened to me more times than not where I’ve walked into situations where I’m going oh look who’s interviewing me, the guy who I called a so and so, so and so. Boy this is going to go really, really well.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, I hope he likes my spunk. It might not be the answer. Well and you’ve actually seen people wearing flip flops to job fairs and job interviews. I mean I can tell you a similar story of a muckity muck reception where somebody was dressed the same way. I mean do you not know who you’re here to meet? Do you not understand the big picture?

Alan Whitton: And I realize we’re old farts. And my father told me you dress well and all that and first impressions are lasting impressions. And unfortunately that’s one of my few skills I have in life is my first impressions of people after I give you 10 or 15 seconds, is right most of the time unfortunately. You know, if I’m seeing you walking in with flip flops on and you’ve got a look on your face of I don’t want to be here, well, that – you know, those of the four thousand resumes I got, that one was easy to deal with because that went into the shredder before it even got on my desk.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah, don’t count yourself out right at the start.

Alan Whitton: Well, yeah don’t do things like that. Just, you know, you’re applying for a job, you’re trying to convince these people that they want to hire you. And in my case, I’m an older guy and I got interviewed by people that were 15 years younger than me, I’m trying to convince them that they want to hire me. Well, they’re going to be going well, why would I want to hire an old fart like you? You’ve got to convince them that you’ve got skills that they want, make sure the skills are way highlighted and you can get that point across as opposed to me.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and the age thing is interesting because in some cases being old is a disadvantage but in other cases being old is an advantage. You’ve got to find your spot. Like if you’re going to get a job working at the LCBO, you know, you can’t be 16 years old. And in fact, for a job like that yeah, probably the older you are, within reason, the better. Okay, you’re dealing with a sensitive product here and so it becomes more of a thing. And that’s just an example off the top of my head but you got to play to your strengths, right?

Alan Whitton: Exactly.

Doug Hoyes: And so if experience is, you know, I’m old that means go for the jobs that –

Alan Whitton: Well, especially where I am right now with project management. Having a broad understanding of all parts of the project and then being able to say, when someone says here’s the project plan and you go okay, here, here, here, and here are all areas of risk. Where’s the risk plan for that? And they’re going oh, I didn’t think of that as risk. And you’re going these are the things that can go wrong and they’re going well, how do you know that?

Doug Hoyes: Because I’m old, I’ve been through it, I’ve seen it.

Alan Whitton: Yeah, exactly, 25 years, I’ve gone through this and because of some toad we couldn’t put a cement pad over there because someone said you couldn’t so you lost six months with that. Well, what are you going to do about it?

Doug Hoyes: Yeah and that’s where experience really comes in.

Alan Whitton: Very much so.

Doug Hoyes: Okay, so what other tips have you got then? I mean normally what we do at the end of the podcast is we go through all the practical advice but we’re just going to do the whole thing as practical advice here today. So, any other tips you’ve got for people who have either been through a lay off or are going through a job search?

Alan Whitton: Well, it feels like hell, like I was actually out of work for 11 months.

Doug Hoyes: Wow.

Alan Whitton: And I was lucky enough that I actually got severance from Nortel, I was in the last group that actually got paid out or had the potential to be paid out. The people that got laid off after me are still fighting to get 5 cents on the dollar on things. So, it feels like crap, it’s not easy to do but you got to get up in the morning and you’ve got to do something every single day. You’ve got to look for the jobs and you can’t let yourself go. Jobs are out there.

I mean millennials in some ways are lucky in a weird way because they’ve got three part-time jobs. They get laid off from one they still have two part-time jobs. But then they’ve got to find a job when they’ve two jobs to already take care of. So, I mean the job hunt now I don’t know if I’m in tune with it because I’m eight or nine years out of it.

Doug Hoyes: And the comment you made about millennials is exactly right because I know tons of them who are in exactly that situation. I was talking to one last week and it was like well, I’m lucky because each of those three jobs is flexible because, you know, one of them’s in retail so I’m working in the evenings. One of them’s, you know, an office job which is more during the day, one of them I do on the weekends.

And so you’re right in one sense they’re protected because well, if you lose one job you’ve only lost one third of your income. But it’s not a great life having three jobs, having to bounce from one to another, trying to coordinate schedules, I do a four-hour shift from 5am till 9am in the morning, I got to take a bus across town, I go back home, I sleep for two hours, get back on another bus for another hour and do another four-hour shift somewhere else. It’s not an easy life. But I think, you know, the main point is you’ve got to be looking ahead and at some point things with change you want to be ready for it. Is that the pretty simple summary of it?

Alan Whitton: Yeah. And I mean at the end of it all when you reach our age, I don’t know if you have the same level of cynicism as I do but I mean I posted this tweet a couple of weeks ago. It’s a bad line but I started off wanting a career, it ended up all I really wanted was a regular paycheque, right? Like when I was younger I was thinking oh, going up here, I’m going to be a manager, this and that. Yeah, you know, it was kind of fun. I worked with some amazing people, I had a great time.

But holy cow at the end of it all it really was the paycheque that you wanted. Finding the jobs, it’s not easy but you’ve got to be prepared and you’ve got to be ready and it can happen at any moment. Like you don’t know what you’re going to find out tomorrow morning. Not to use too many scare tactics but especially with the millennials, how you deal with having any part-time job is to put together with the full-time job you have, how do you look for a job when you have other things going on in your life? It is not an easy thing.

Doug Hoyes: No, it’s definitely difficult. So, I want to morph into the final topic which is a little bit more about your website and what you’ve done with it. So, obviously, you know, you no longer work for Nortel, you’ve mentioned that you’re now working for the government, you’ve reinvented yourself, you’ve got the big website now which I think has 100 million views a day.

Alan Whitton: Huge.

Doug Hoyes: I believe is what it gets. So, it’s the Canadian Personal Finance blog, when did you start that?

Alan Whitton: I started that the month after my son was born in 2005.

Doug Hoyes: Now did we have the internet then? I’m just trying to think back that far.

Alan Whitton: So, it wasn’t that long before that the World Wide Web had been born.

Doug Hoyes: So it was just invented and you came up with a blog. So, people know you as the Big Cajun Man. What’s the deal on that?

Alan Whitton: That was a rude turn of phrase that I was at a golf, playing golf with a few friends and some, a cohort, a friend came by and saw me wearing a silly straw hat and said what does that idiot think he is, some kind of big Cajun man?

Doug Hoyes: So it’s an insult and now it’s become your second name.

Alan Whitton: Yeah it got stuck to me by my friends. I have some wonderful friends that way.

Doug Hoyes: Excellent. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that, why not then? So, give us the overview of what’s on the blog.

Alan Whitton: A lot of do as I say not as I do advice. You know, after having three kids go through university, using the RESP program, having a son that’s on the autism spectrum, dealing with the RDSP program, investing, going through a layoff, which happened three years after I started the blog. So, there’s a whole bunch of really raw posts about getting laid off that I’ve left as intact because it’s interesting for me to read as much as anything else.

And in some ways this is sort of an open letter to my kids saying, you see all these crazy things I did, don’t do that or yes do this and if anybody else gets some stuff out of it, I really want to help the people with disability savings plans and things like that because there’s so many people out there that are trying to make an extra buck off them. And I just can’t stand that.

Doug Hoyes: Well and I think that’s an excellent topic so I’m going to ask you back and we’re going to talk about RDSPs because we’ve never discussed that before on the show. So, what you’re saying is the blog – and how many posts do you have on it?

Alan Whitton: About 3,000.

Doug Hoyes: Three THOUSAND, so, if someone has a few months to kill you’ve got lots of time. But it’s organized in such a way that if what I’m really interested in is, you know, RESPs or RDSPs or, you know, getting laid off or whatever I can click the button, find that tag and read those posts.

Alan Whitton: Yeah, for most of it. It’s still a big rag tag in spots. I’ve got to work on the searching. I always mean to do things about it. But once you have 2,500 or 2,700 posts you start going back over them and you start deleting a lot because you go what the heck was I thinking about that? But I used to write like every day five days a week and then sometimes on the weekend and you end up building this huge backlog that I’ve been spending a lot of time just reading. I haven’t been posting that much lately and it’s because I’ve been going back and cleaning things up.

And a lot of that is appearing now on my Twitter feed, you’ll see a lot of my best of and older stuff. It’s advice to help you out. It’s the things I’ve done. There are some really smart people about investing, there are some really – you’re a great bankruptcy trustee. The Blunt Bean Counter will give you accounting stuff up the wazoo and he has helped me out tremendously with the RDSP and a few other things.

I’m not going to give you that kind of advice because I’m not that kind of expert. I’m just the Joe on the street kind of guy who’s gone through a hell of a lot of interesting stuff. And I’ll usually say I have no idea what I’m talking about here and I’ll ask for advice. And it’s surprising, I’ve got some really smart readers who’ve applied back going, hey dummy you’re doing it the wrong way, which is great.

Doug Hoyes: Yeah because the comments on the blog are just as good as the articles itself because they chime in.

Alan Whitton: I like it when people put in comments. Like one of my RDSP posts has like I don’t know 250 different comments from people saying I can’t get it done, how do I do this? And we usually try and help them out. And my wife does a lot of help work with me on the RDSP side of things. So I mean the blog itself, it’s not a business really. I’d love to make millions of dollars like I am right now.

Doug Hoyes: Yes, of course, of course, we assume you’re making a million dollars a week on it.

Alan Whitton: Absolutely but it is what it is.

Doug Hoyes: So why don’t you just sell out, you could put – you’ve got all these different posts about all these different things. Go to whatever the biggest RESP company there is or RDSP company or whatever and say hey, I got this blog, it’s been going for years and years, it’s got 3,000 posts on it, tons of people read it. I’ll just put whatever you want on it, give me a few million bucks and off we go.

Alan Whitton: Yeah, I really couldn’t wake up in the morning and look at myself after that. I already joke about the fact that I’m a six figure blogger, I make enough money in my job to do this. I want to help people with this stuff and there’s a lot of people that need help with this stuff. I mean you’ve dealt with enough people on the debt side of things, all my debt stuff ends up being relatively straight-forward answering. You get to deal with the real grungy part of things.

There are enough people out there who are media savvy and understand how this all works and are really going to blind you with some really good stuff. I’m just going to write with you what I can. It’s not always going to be the best writing, I’m trying to fix a lot of that. I’ve actually – when you have 3,000 posts there’s a lot of rewrite you do.

Doug Hoyes: But I think you raise a very good point and that is there are many different sources. You raised the Blunt Bean Counter, who I believe is a chartered accountant.

Alan Whitton: He’s a partner [unintelligible [00:28:54]

Doug Hoyes: And a partner at a big firm or wherever. So, obviously he’s got a lot of really good technical advice. And so obviously you need people like that. I hope that’s why people come to see what I do as well. Your advice is from actually being out there and doing it.

Alan Whitton: Yeah and I mean having four kids has been an amazing thing in my life but you learn a lot of stuff about the importance of –

Doug Hoyes: Vasectomies, too late now I guess.

Alan Whitton: Well, I already had one and that didn’t work, which explains my son. One of these days I’m actually going to put that post up there. But no, Reece appeared two years after my first vasectomy.

Doug Hoyes: Excellent.

Alan Whitton: The second one worked a lot better.

Doug Hoyes: There you go. So, well, so you’ve lived life then, which is exactly what you’re saying.

Alan Whitton: Yeah and it’s a slice of life at times.

Doug Hoyes: No pun intended.

Alan Whitton: A painful one anyway. But I’d like to be able to put a lot more expertise, a lot more polish on these things but it’s not really what I do and it’s not my expertise. My expertise is just sort of getting stuff out there and having people argue about it.

Doug Hoyes: But that’s how you learn is by – you learn by doing it. So, okay so how can people find you then? Where is the blog?

Alan Whitton: The https:

Doug Hoyes: It’s S now?

Alan Whitton: Oh yes I just kicked it over to S. I’ve lost a whole bunch readers because Google’s wiped me out of their index. So,// So, it is – it sort of went with Big Cajun Man. Tom [Drakerty] had Canadian Finances at the time so I went alright, well I’ll call it canajunfinances and thought it was hilarious. And of course no one finds it now. But you can look for some of my, you know, a lot of my posts if you just do a search for, you know, like five steps to a RDSP you’ll find one of my posts on that. I’m out there.

Doug Hoyes: And how can people find you on Twitter?

Alan Whitton: So there’s @bigcajunman is the actual Twitter feed out there. I’m on Facebook as well. There’s a Canadian personal finance page on Facebook. I’m on pretty much every social media. So, if I actually tried to wipe myself on social media I’d be spending about four or five months.

Doug Hoyes: MySpace, you’ve got a MySpace page?

Alan Whitton: I had a MySpace page. I’m old enough to know what that means, having dancing bananas on everything, it was fantastic.

Doug Hoyes: All the millennials are going, what is that like Geocity?

Alan Whitton: Geocities and those little torches that you had on the webpages, that was fantastic.

Doug Hoyes: That was awesome, so, excellent. Well, I think that’s great. And as I said, there’s a ton of stuff on there. If you want to get into an issue from the point of view of someone who’s been through it and we walked you through a whole bunch of things that were on the blog now then. That’s a fantastic way to do it. So, Alan thanks very much for being here.

Alan Whitton: Thank you.

Doug Hoyes: Definitely appreciate it. So, I’ll put full links to the Canadian Personal Finance blog to the show notes but again it’s at canajunfinances, see it is pretty funny, full show notes, links and a full transcript can be found at that’s h-o-y-e-s-dot-com.

That’s our show for today. I’m Doug Hoyes, thanks for listening. Until next week, that was Debt Free in 30.

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