Astra Client Spotlight

Astra Client Spotlight features our clients and their words so that we can gain more insight and learn from each other.


Meet Astra member, Janice Foley. Janice is a friend and client that has moved out west in retirement.  We asked her a few questions:


Tell us a little about yourself?Astra Client Spotlight

I am a retired business professor from the University of Regina who relocated to Victoria following my retirement in 2017.  I own a two-bedroom condo, centrally located between the downtown area and the ferry terminal, close to the airport. My room-mates are a 15-year old cat Buttercup and 5 -year old dog Murphy who is a Shih-Tzu/Lhasa Apso cross. All of us are grateful to be living in this beautiful area and are vastly enjoying the much more temperate climate here that features much longer springs and falls, warm summers and short winters.

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What keeps you busy in Victoria?

I have established a business since my arrival, delivering workplace dispute settlement services to the Greater Victoria area. I spend a lot of time devising effective ways to market myself since I have no track record here. Also walk my dog a minimum of 75 minutes every day. In addition I take fun fitness classes at three different recreation centers close by.


When you have free time what are some of your favorite things?

The flowers here are amazing. I bought a yearly pass to the Butchart Gardens and regularly send pictures back to my relatives on the prairies. As a bonus there are fireworks in the Gardens throughout the summer tourist season.  There are beautiful beaches, lots of regional parks, excellent markets and gorgeous views to explore by car, on foot or by ferry. I recently joined the Victoria Women Newcomers Club and have signed up for a number of activities through that group.


What is your biggest indulgence you can’t live without?

I enjoy eating at farm to table restaurants as I look out over the ocean. Since it is a luxury I don’t do it often but it is well worth spending the money to get the feeling of well-being that arises from it.


If you had to eat only one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

No question, my favourite meal is breakfast and my favourite beverage is great dark coffee. Fortunately, both are easy to find here.

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If you could give your 30 year old self financial advice what would it be?

Despite knowing well that it is easier to save for retirement the earlier you start, I have always been single, and maintaining a household and a car were about all I could manage when I was 30 although I did try to put money into RRSPs every year. I didn’t actually complete my formal educational training until my 40th birthday but once I did and got a job, I bought a condo. That proved to be a good financial decision because 5 years later I became a landlord and bought a second condo which I lived in.

Both properties were close enough, where I worked that walking was an option. So I didn’t have to drive to work or pay for parking. I still have the car I bought in 2003 and it only has 174,000 kms on it. As a landlord I could claim the mortgage payments on my rental property against my personal income, and use the rental income to increase my RRSP contributions and put money into TFSAs, while still owning a property that fortunately appreciated in value every year. As retirement drew closer I doubled-up the mortgage payments on the condo I was living in to increase my equity stake. Ownership of two properties in which I had a lot of equity allowed me to move into the much pricier Victoria real estate market upon my retirement. Hopefully that property will appreciate, and help fund my retirement years.

So far,

Things have worked out well for me because I got a good job, had a company pension plan, and could afford to buy property. I made decent financial decisions, lived within my means, did without luxuries I could not afford or that seemed frivolous, saved what I could, when I could, knowing that I was responsible for my own financial future.

My best decision was buying property, even though it seemed a risky thing to do when I had only rented up to that point. My mortgage payments were well below what my rent would have been, and the equity that I gained more than paid my living expenses over the long term. That’s my one regret might be that I was perhaps too focused on the future to live to the fullest in the present. I would advise anyone just starting out to balance both, but to carefully consider first what they can afford to do.


Thank you Janice for sharing. You can check out more about Janice’s workplace dispute settlement services here

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