Wilf’s Life Advice

by Nic Olson

My father has given me two pieces of life advice that I can remember. He likely only gave two because he knew that I wouldn’t be able to remember much more than one and a half of them. If you count his furrowed brow every time I do something he disapproves of, or his head tilted back to let out a sinister laugh every time I do something stupid, then he has given me four pieces of advice.

The first, and likely most important, is crokinole advice. Probably the best crokinole advice. If you follow this advice, you will more than likely win at crokinole, and if you win at crokinole, then you win at life. Always keep your shooter. If the crokinole board was the board of life, each flick towards the centre would be an attempt at happiness. A shot towards the centre isn’t always the best choice. It is important to make all your shots ones that last more than just a fleeting moment. Taking shots without thinking of the repercussions is the sure way to losing in one round.

The second is financial advice. I was posing questions one day as to what I should do with the minimal amount of money I have to put into savings, for the hypothetical period of time that I may be able to retire. I wanted a simple explanation of RRSPs and TSFAs and several other foreign abbreviations of financial diseases that have taken the lives of so many brave investors. I aired my discomfort with RRSPs and investing in companies that I didn’t agree with and making money by doing absolutely nothing and how this seems like a sure fire way to ruin someone else’s life. I brought up my confusion with TSFAs and their merits, and he then went on to further encourage my financial brain disease by telling me that TSFAs can be invested in RRSPs or something stupid. I cashed in at this point, slouched even further in my chair, and Wilf could see it on my face. To close the discussion he went on to say that the most important thing to know is something that I have already figured out. That is, to live below your means. He later emailed me this article on the difference between RRSPs and TSFAs, which dumbs it down to the level of a third-grader/a college drop-out/a minimum-wage worker. But I can dumb it down even further: If your bank account was a crokinole board, then your means would be the amount of buttons you start with (12), and in order to live below your means, you would want to have something significant left over, whether it is a twenty on the side of the board, or a mean stack of fifteens stuck in between the posts, i.e. always keep your shooter.

So I guess my dad just gave me one piece of advice that spanned financial crises and crokinole crises simultaneously. I will instinctively combine the two into one piece of super advice that I will give to the unfortunate soul that becomes my son, who is as hypothetical as my retirement.

Always live below your shooter.