“Take care of your pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.”

My grandmother first shared that proverb with me while trying to impart some fiscal responsibility to a then-oblivious 5-year-old.

While that saying always stuck with me, it wasn’t a principle I ever really applied to my own relationship with money. In my twenties, despite earning a decent salary, I rarely had anything saved at the end of the year. I spent my money freely on the lifestyle I wanted for myself, and that occasionally meant living paycheck to paycheck.

Regretfully, I only started contributing to my RRSP in my thirties, and I frequently kick myself for not having started earlier. Had I taken advantage of my youth to leverage time and compounding growth, I would be much closer to my financial goals than I am today.

That said, during my twenties, when I was still using cash in my daily transactions (today I use debit and credit cards for nearly everything!), I developed a habit that would be the beginning of my future savings.

At the end of each day, I would empty my pockets of the loose change and dump it into a large mason jar.

Over the years, the jars of coins multiplied, and today I still have heaving jars of change that add up to a healthy sum that will one day be cashed in for a sweet vacation. This daily “savings” practice implied no real behavioural change on my part. I didn’t need to budget for it or curtail my spending habits, and since it was only costing me a buck or three each day, I hardly noticed it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because I’ve started a new and exciting chapter in my life. I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined the team at Mylo, a young and innovative fintech startup that is on a mission to help millions of Canadians achieve their financial goals.

Mylo lets you invest spare change.

Mylo rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the change in your personalized Mylo investment portfolio. For more about how Mylo works, check out our website.

There are a lot of reasons why I decided to join the Mylo team, but the most compelling of them is the company’s social mission of financial inclusion.

In a financial landscape where half of all millennials have less than $1,000 in savings, and where the gap between the haves and the have-nots is continually widening, Mylo is on a social mission to make saving and investing accessible to all Canadians, not just top earners.

In preparation for this role, I’ve spoken with many Canadians who have told me they aren’t currently saving or investing their money because they don’t think they can afford to or they don’t know how to go about it.

Mylo removes that barrier to entry, letting Canadians of all ages and incomes easily start investing with as little as $1.

Investing spare change is just the beginning.

I couldn’t be more excited about the road ahead. Mylo has an amazing team of financial experts, developers, product designers and data magicians who are coming up with innovative ways to use technology to help Canadians optimize their personal finances and achieve their financial goals.

It’s going to take a lot of creativity, collaboration and hard work to accomplish our goal of levelling the financial playing field for Canadians. As I ponder the challenge ahead, I’m reminded of my grandmother’s advice:

Focus on the little things and the big things will look after themselves.