The Ann plan – UPEI custodian speaks out to students on the importance of saving money

By Emily Acorn

Jan. 25, 2017

Ann Sheehan’s first job paid $3.25 an hour. She worked at a Georgetown fish plant pulling meat out of crab legs.

The 16-year-old worked hard and valued every penny she earned. But there was a problem. Sheehan was the fourth oldest in a family of 13 brothers and sisters. The family was supported by one income.

Her mother began to take part of her paycheques, eventually taking all of her money. The family started arguing. It turned nasty.

But Ann had a plan.

Carol, Sheehan’s friend and co-worker was heading to Charlottetown to visit her sister and niece. Ann told her parents she was at work and hopped in Carol’s car. They stayed with Carol’s sister.

Carol returned to Georgetown. Sheehan didn’t.

Sheehan started her journey to a better life at 16-years-old with zero dollars to her name. She babysat Carol’s niece and got two part-time jobs. She began a savings plan.

Today, at 57, Ann’s savings account continues to grow. She bought a house, had a son and was able to send him to school. She is currently UPEI business centre’s custodian and for the past three years she has been giving a lecture to students about her journey with saving and the tricks she has learned along the way.

Sheehan tells the students her biggest motivation for saving money is her dreams.

“I became a workaholic. It was my dream.”

Sheehan learned the value of a dollar at a young age, but it’s never too late.

Jamie Crawford and Brittany Stewart are expecting their first child. They have made some life changes to prepare for the life of parenthood.

“We’re cutting out all of the unnecessary spending,” said Stewart.

In just six weeks of no alcohol, cigarettes, or restaurants the couple has managed to save $800 each.

“I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending on crap,” said Crawford.

Jerrod Burgoyne is an insurance broker from Charlottetown. His best advice on saving is to rarely use your credit card.

“Don’t use it unless you plan on immediately paying it off.”

A big problem he sees at his branch is new clients being over-insured at previous branches, said the 23-year-old. People see the big money their beneficiaries will get and think it’s great, but then they’ll have a bad month and get behind on payments, he said.

“Then boom, there’s a couple thousand dollars down the drain they’ll never see again.”