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Get to know Cloé, Head of Customer Success

Cloé comes from a small seaside village in northern Quebec. At 16, she moved to Montreal to pursue her university studies, and she’s been calling the city home for the past 15 years.

Cloé has been with Moka since 2016, and her current role is leading the Customer Success team. Her main mission is helping users have the best possible experience with the Moka app—she’s also the one who sends you those friendly Moka emails and wishes you a good day! 

Why did you decide to join the Moka team?

I had moved to Australia for 2 years, and when I returned to Montreal, I was looking for a new job. I met Phil Barrar, the founder and CEO of Moka, through a friend. At the time, the Moka team was only 4 people, and the app was not yet available on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. I was the person Phil was looking for to handle all aspects of the client experience. Now with so many years of experience at Moka, my role is constantly evolving.

How were the early days at Moka?

I arrived during a period of high-growth. The team was in the same building and floor as they are today, but in an office at the other end of the hall. They worked in the same offices as their incubator, in a collaborative space where they could exchange and share their ideas with other start-ups.

How was your experience working remotely during the pandemic?

My partner and I bought a loft a few months before the start of the pandemic—an old factory that had been converted into apartments. We had plans to renovate everything and to move in afterwards. Then the pandemic hit, and the loft wasn’t close to being ready for working from home. Picture a completely unfinished loft without a kitchen table, me working from the sofa, and dust everywhere! 

Needless to say, it was a challenge for a few months. Like so many of us, we made the best of the situation, and today I have a great home setup.

What do you love most about your  job?

Many things make me happy working with Moka, but the main thing is having a positive impact on the lives of our users; namely, helping them invest when they didn’t know it was possible.

Are there any differences between French and Canadian Moka users?

Of course, the French and Canadian cultures are different. Canadians tend to be more familiar with the stock market, and with the concept of investing. The launch of Moka in France was different because the product had to be more informative and educational.

There are also some notable language differences. Both Quebec and France have French as the main language, but each country has its own unique expressions. Sometimes, the Customer Success team learns and teaches new expressions to our users!

What qualities are essential for your  role?

Being comfortable with the unexpected and with change are key for thriving in the world of start-ups. I have good listening skills and am empathetic, as our team represents the voice of the users. You have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand their point of view in order to offer them solutions.

What is your #1 financial goal?

I want to move. Because of the ongoing pandemic, my boyfriend and I have realized that a loft isn’t ideal for working from home.

We hadn’t planned on staying in the loft for a long time, as it was intended for a short, transitional period. But the pandemic changed our needs, and we’re now looking for a larger place where everyone can have their own space to work in peace.

What do you do to save money on a regular basis?

Like so many young adults, I didn’t realize the value of every single one of my expenses, and like so many people I struggled to save. Every month I paid my rent, bills, and necessary expenses, and only after did I save any money that was leftover (if there was any!). But now I’m  much more diligent! I allocate part of my pay each month as soon as I receive it into several investment accounts, including my Moka account. I don’t even have to think about it anymore because it’s automated.

What goal(s) did you achieve with Moka?

My first goals were travel goals, and I certainly reached them over the years! Currently, because of the pandemic, my goal is to build an emergency fund, which I’ve successfully been able to grow. 

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m very fond of yoga, reading, and I love to travel. I also enjoy spending time with my friends, and I’m a big foodie! 🍽 If you have any great spots in Montreal to recommend, don’t hesitate to share them with her 😉

Your favourite must-watch series?

There are almost too many to list! I really liked The Queen’s Gambit, because I found the costumes and the entire storyline very beautiful. Another favourite is The Crown, an interesting historical series on the Queen of England. I also recommend the series Atypical, the story of a young man with autism. For me, it’s both a touching and funny series.

What was your dream job when you were little?

I’ve been practicing classical dance for years. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a professional dancer 🩰

A funny story that happened to you?

I went to Miami with some friends for a music festival. We had a great week partying in Miami and our return flight home was booked quite early in the morning (you can imagine how we felt about this early flight!). Despite all the fun, we still managed to pack everything and have our things ready for the next morning.

We stayed out until 6am (it’s Miami after all!) but still got to the airport on time and checked in our luggage as planned. Once at our gate in the departure lounge, everyone put on their headphones and fell asleep while waiting for the flight. We were called to board but…no one woke up! The flight left without us along with our suitcases. We explained to the agent that we had actually arrived at the airport 5 hours earlier, but still missed the flight. Luckily, they booked us onto another flight home the same day.

The lesson she learned was to always set an alarm if you plan on falling asleep at the gate!

Is there another career that she would have wanted to pursue?

Maybe a lawyer, because what I was doing before Moka 👩🏼‍⚖️ I studied law and worked as a criminal lawyer. I miss some aspects of the job, but criminal law ended up not being the right fit for me. I would potentially be interested in a completely different branch of law, such as information technology law.

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5 investment myths debunked

We’re here to debunk five of the most common investment myths and—hopefully—make you feel a little more comfortable about investing.

Myth #1: You need to be a stock market expert in order to invest

The stock exchange, which is where stocks, bonds and other financial securities are traded, sold and bought, isn’t well understood by the majority of people. Not to mention the surrounding financial jargon doesn’t exactly make things more clear. With terms like shares, stock market indices and dividends, it’s easy to see why people feel lost. But don’t let the granular details about financial markets intimidate you—investing is actually easy to understand and accessible to everyone.

If you want to brush up on your finance lingo, we recommend this article to help get your bearings. You’ll notice eventually that the same terms are actually used over and over, and that it doesn’t take long to grasp the key concepts. In reality, buying stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETF’s) is easy and accessible to everyone (including those with limited budgets!). 

Myth #2 : Investing is a man’s world

Unfortunately, we’ve heard this before. This is an antiquated stereotype, and the cliché wolf-of-wall-street-representations of investors don’t help. All too often, the depiction of a banker or investor is a man, even though women are just as interested in the idea of investing as their male counterparts.

There is no such thing as a predisposition to invest. An interest in investing is a question of education and culture, not of gender. For this reason, it’s critical to be well informed. What we do know is that women’s investments are on average 1% higher than men’s. The reason is simple: because of their education, women  are often more sensitive to risk, and less quick to make hasty decisions. This type of mindset is actually rewarded when it comes to investing, since investing involves risks of loss of capital.

Myth #3: Investing is for older or retired people

Here’s another investment myth with absolutely no truth to it! Unfortunately, 65% of young people don’t think investing is for them, and 29% of people in this cohort don’t think they have enough money to invest. However, there’s no minimum amount needed to start investing—just one dollar is enough! Whether you are on a limited budget or not, there are several options available to you to help you accumulate money tax-free, such as a tax-free savings account (TFSA).  Many employers are offering a variety of tools that should not be left on the table when it comes to boosting your investment. With the Moka app, you can invest quickly and efficiently with no minimum amount required—all you need is your spare change!

The great thing about investing is that it’s a virtuous circle. Unlike saving, it enables you to obtain a return and to grow your capital. It has to be mentioned that a return isn’t necessarily guaranteed, as there is always some risk involved, but it’s still the best way to generate profits. The earlier you start, the more likely you’ll be able to see your money grow, regardless of the initial bet.

Myth #4 : The funds you invest are inaccessible

When it comes to accessing your money, it depends on the medium you choose. Usually, the funds invested can be withdrawn at any time. However, we recommend that you invest your money with a medium and long-term perspective in order to give it time to grow.

Moreover, studies prove that it’s better to just let your investment grow over time, as opposed to withdrawing your money when there’s a dip in the market. In other words, it’s better to let your money work on its own!

Myth #5 : Investing isn’t worth it if you’re young

Many people will tell you that they’re investing for their retirement, or for their future in general. Those “golden years” may seem far away if you’re only 18 or even 30 years old, but investing at a young age is a great idea.

The earlier you invest, the longer the investment horizon (the total length of time that you have said investment). These long-term investments are generally advantageous because they benefit from increasing profitability thanks to compound interest (the interest that gets periodically added on to interest that has already been accrued). By investing small amounts regularly, you’ll slowly grow your capital. Fifteen dollars here and $30 dollars there might not seem like a lot of money now, but the interest it will generate over many years will surprise you!

So, even if you don’t have any specific projects in mind, don’t hesitate to start investing: in a few years, you’ll probably be glad you started!

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How to invest with a limited budget

Is investing with a limited budget mission impossible?

If you don’t earn the kind of income you need to build savings, or if you’ve lost your job due to the Covid crisis, you might think investing isn’t for you.

Investing, contrary to popular belief, isn’t just for the wealthy. In fact, this is a common misconception we’re keen to address. No matter what your financial goals are, or how limited your budget is, investing your money is still one of the best ways to earn a return in the long run. When it comes to investing, there’s no need to wait until you have a certain amount of money set aside—there’s no better time to start than the present!

Here are a few key tips for investing when you have limited means.

1. Decide on a budget for investments

Many people make the mistake of deciding to invest whatever money they have left at the end of the month (if there is any). With this approach, it’s almost impossible to predict how much money you’ll be able to devote to your investments, and you may not end up investing at all. A better strategy is to take stock of your finances and determine a suitable budget to start investing. This budget can be weekly, monthly, semi-annual, etc. The important thing is that it’s in proportion to your income.

For example, if you have a stable salary, you can set up recurring, automated transfers. This way, a predetermined amount, say, $75 dollars from each paycheck gets invested. Think of it as an essential expense like paying a bill.

If you aren’t employed, but you still receive income (unemployment benefits, etc.), you can use the same approach, but adapt the amount you set aside in proportion to your income. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to invest without cutting back on your essential expenses. Keep in mind that you can start investing with as little as $20 a month.

Speaking of monthly budgets, this brings us to our next tip.

2. Track down any unnecessary expenses

Minor expenses really do add up. From online monthly subscriptions to food delivery, coffee, and the latest trendy smartphone, many expenses are unnecessary  and can cut into your budget for investments. Conducting an audit to identify what you can reduce might be tedious, but it’s critical. Get honest about what you truly don’t need—be it new clothes or eating out—and you’ll be able to figure out how much you can realistically put aside each month. You might only have a few extra dollars to invest, but in the long run, those few dollars make a big difference.

3. Bet on Exchange-Trade Funds (ETFs) 

Buying stocks can be expensive. This is why exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are an easy and affordable way to get started. An ETF is a collection of stocks and/or bonds. You can buy an ETF just as you would stock. However, when you buy stock, you’re investing in one company, such as Tim Hortons or Amazon. When you invest in an ETF, you’re investing in multiple stocks or bonds that follow a specific investment strategy. For example, some ETFs may track a stock index (like the FTSE Canada Index ETF, which invests in the largest Canadian stocks). Or, an ETF may track an index for a particular industry, such as technology or healthcare. By investing in ETFs, you can effortlessly benefit from the performance of all the companies involved. 

4. Be confident in your ability to invest

A final key tip for investing on a small budget is to have confidence in yourself. It’s tempting to give up before trying, especially when resources are limited, and your idea of a successful investor is a professional in a suit who studies the markets every day. Remind yourself that investing is for everyone, and that you can invest as little as a dollar. What matters above all is your long-term investment vision. The longer the term, the more likely your money will grow. 

At the core, investing is all about one thing: letting your money work for you!

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Saving vs. investing: What’s the difference?

Sometimes “saving” and “investing” are used interchangeably, but they’re two completely different concepts. And choosing one or the other can impact your long-term financial situation significantly.

What is saving?

Saving means simply putting aside part of your income. Instead of spending everything  you earn, you set aside a certain amount to use later. There are different ways to save, but the most common is to put your money in a savings account in a bank. There is no risk to save—your money will be there whenever you want to withdraw it!. 

However, it’s important to know that in 2021, the annual inflation rate is around 1.1% on average, but interest rates for savings accounts usually range from 0.75 to 2%. Essentially, this means that the interest you could earn on your savings may not  compensate for ever increasing prices (or inflation!).

If your savings are intended to finance a short-term goal, such as taking a trip or buying a new car, annual inflation doesn’t pose much of a problem. It’s when it comes to long-term saving plans—financing the purchase of a condo, for example—that you might end up losing purchasing power.

What is investing?

To put it simply, investing means acquiring assets (stocks, bonds, property, real estate, etc) that have the potential to increase in value over time. In this case, the point is to get a return on your investment. The money deposited in a savings account earns very little, while a smartinvestment allows you to grow your money much faster. Of course, the amount an investment earns during a specific time period (or yield rate) will vary depending on the type of investment, and there is also a risk that your investment may not see any returns. 

What’s the fundamental difference between the two?

From a strictly economic point of view, saving is simply the money you don’t spend. The money you save is also  liquid, meaning it’s  available immediately. 

Investing, on the other hand, is about using your money to generate a profit. Usually this is done with a long-term plan in mind. 

Saving can be seen as a safety net that can be used to deal with the unexpected expenses that arise in life. If your car might break down or you owe money on your tax return, your savings can help you stay out of debt. A good rule of thumb for emergency savings? Aim to have the equivalent of 3 to 6 months of expenses set aside, so you can cover rent, groceries, utilities and all the other basics even if you suddenly lose your income.

If saving is a safety cushion, investing is the entire couch. Money that’s invested in the medium- and long-term is what generates a profit and can make it possible to improve your quality of life and set you up for retirement. 

Making the choice between saving and investing is a question of your needs and personal preference. Your goals, risk tolerance, age and financial situation, such as whether or not you’re in debt, can help inform your choice. Getting advice from a financial advisor will help you make cents of your situation. What’s certain is that it’s never too early (or too late!) to start investing.

Give me an example!

Take Peter and Chloe: they each have the same profession and earn a salary of $40,000 dollars a year. Every year, Peter and Chloe both save 20% of their salary, or $8,000.. While Peter puts his money in a savings account, Chloe invests her savings.. Peter’s savings account earns 1% per year, while Chloe’s portfolio earns 5%. What happens after 40 years of working? Chloe will (potentially) have accumulated $694,718 in compound interest, while Peter will have only accumulated $75,001.90, even though he is earning the same salary and putting exactly the same amount aside!

It really makes you think, doesn’t it?

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Investing early: Why it’s the smartest thing you can do

Read on as we break down how investing even a small amount early on can lead to far greater rewards than waiting to invest. But the biggest takeaway if you stop reading now? Regardless of your age, there’s literally no better time to start than right now. Not tomorrow. Not next week or month or year. Now (or yesterday if you figure out time travel).

To understand why investing early matters, it helps to understand interest. 

What is interest? 

You invest money by sending it off into cyberspace. But then what? It’s not as mysterious as it seems. That money goes to companies that use your investment to grow their business.

Interest is the money you’re paid for letting those businesses use your money. There are several ways interest is calculated. Simple interest calculates interest only based on the original amount of money that you invested or borrowed, also known as the principal. To calculate simple interest, multiply the interest rate by the principal by the given time period, usually in days or years. This type of interest usually applies to automobile loans or short-term loans.

Let’s say you invest $1,000 in a one-year GIC with a simple interest of 3% per year. The interest you earn after one year would be $30, growing your total investment to $1,030. Let’s say you decide to keep your money invested in the GIC for a total of 5 years, then you would make  $150 in interest over that period.

Here’s where interest gets more interesting…

Introducing compound interest

Compound interest is like an avalanche only far more positive: your money may start small, but as it rolls down the hill (in this case, the hill is time), it becomes bigger and bigger. 

When it comes to your money, you want the biggest hill. And the earlier you start, the bigger your hill.

Unlike simple interest, compound interest is calculated based on your principal and the interest earned from previous periods. In other words, it includes interest on interest. 

Let’s use the same example above except this time you invest $1,000 in a 5-year GIC with a compound interest rate of 3% per year. After the first year, your investment will gain $30 in interest. However, by the fifth year your investment will have gained $159 in interest, making you $9 more than with a simple interest investment.

That $9 may not seem like a huge difference, but the more money you invest (your principal) and the more time you let it sit (your hill), the more opportunity you have to earn interest and for that interest to grow. It can mean the difference of thousands of dollars, or more.

It’s worth remembering that compound interest can also work against you in certain situations, such as when you carry credit card debt, but it’s all upside when it comes to investments. Compound interest and your investments are a match made in heaven.  

Do the math (or let a calculator do it for you)

Unless you liked math growing up, you may be tempted to skip over this. But trust us: you’re going to wanna see how compound interest shakes out.

One of the best ways to visualize the power of compound interest is through the classic checkerboard math problem. Take a checkerboard and place one penny on the first square. Then two on the second. Four on the third, so on and so forth, doubling the amount of pennies on the square each day. How much money would you have by the last square?

It’s more than you may think. By square 64, you’d have: $184,464,625,987,328,000.00. We’re not even sure what the heck that number is.

Now, we’re not suggesting you double your pennies every day. But, you can use a compound interest calculator like the calculator from the Ontario Securities Commission to see how time and consistently saving can exponentially increase your money.

Say you start with a $100 investment and decide to add $10 to your account each month beginning at age 25. And then you wait to use that money until you’re 65 years old. Using a 5% interest rate compounded annually, you’ll have earned $10,629.24. 

If you make these same investments, but start at 35 (so, you have 10 fewer years for your money to grow), you’ll have earned only $4,885.95 in interest. 

Let’s be clear: it is never too late to start investing. Putting aside money for your future is smart, no matter when you start. However, do a little math and you’ll quickly realize that it pays to start as soon as you possibly can.

Increasing the amount you’re contributing to your investments can also have a major impact on your money’s growth. 

If you feel strapped for cash, you may want to dig in a bit deeper. What would it mean to pay $10 less per month on your debt and invest that $10 instead? You’ll have to do a bit more math to see if it makes financial sense for you. It may, especially if you have a loan that has a lower interest rate than the expected average annual returns of wherever you’re investing your money. 

Just think: you owe $1,000 on a loan that has 4% interest. That may mean you owe $40. But if you can invest $1,000 in an investment that has an average of 10% returns? You can make $100. Which covers the cost of interest, plus $60.

And when your avalanche gets moving, it gets moving. You’re going to need an avalanche beacon to locate your principal. “I invested this and it’s now this?” Yup, a little now can go a long way by the time you’re set to tap into that sweet, sweet cash avalanche.

Moka can help you start investing with your spare change. Download the app to get started and Moka will round up your purchases and invest the difference. 

Get ready to watch those pennies add up.

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COVID-19: Is now the time to invest?

We can all agree COVID-19 turned our worlds upside down. From being confined to our homes to many people losing their jobs, it has been a period of uncertainty for many of us. But was it a time to invest?

When we aren’t sure about what’s ahead, it’s tempting to be cautious with our money and avoid risk in these uncertain times. But, the temptation to err on the side of caution and avoid risk can actually hinder rather than help your financial future. Flashback to the beginning of the pandemic when Canadians started stockpiling (remember the great toilet paper rush?). By the end of the year, the average household savings was about 15% – that’s higher than the previous seven years combined. And the result of those combined savings? As much as $100 billion, or about 6% of the country’s GDP! 

So now the question is what should Canadians do with all that savings? It’s tempting to be careful, but as it turns out, if you have money, a crisis is actually a good time to invest.

A crisis is (almost) always followed by a rebound

In a crisis, our natural reaction is panic. Not to go too Freud, but we close ourselves off, avoid risk and seek security. It’s normal. But fear is rarely the best advisor. 

With stock prices tied to major world events and the overall global economy, it’s not surprising that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on markets – for better or for worse, depending on the industry. But when it comes to investing, it’s the long-term that counts. So there’s no point panicking when prices dip or the media (yet again) predicts impending doom. When financial markets go down, it’s generally likely they’ll go back up again within months – or even weeks – especially since there’s often a post-crisis rebound to come. We can already see the markets bouncing back over the past year after the pandemic started. All it takes is a little patience.

That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that prices are just a snapshot of a specific moment in time. Like viral videos that fade into the digital abyss, stock prices tell us nothing about what will happen in the future. 

To put it in a slightly more, well, historical perspective, past crises (like the 1929 stock market crash and the 2008 economic crisis) have almost always been followed by rebounds. Markets are cyclical; after falling, they rise. And the rise can be big. After the 2008 crisis, the American stock market bounced back by more than 320%!

That said, staying calm in a crisis is easier said than done, we know, so if your emotions do tend to overwhelm you, check out this article on behavioural finance and why investors are their own worst enemies.

Now’s the time to think about the future

If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that we don’t know what’s going to happen (even though, on average, we can expect periods of positive growth to be longer and bigger than periods of negative growth). So safeguarding your future by putting money aside is important. But rather than just saving, it makes more sense (and cents) to invest.

Why? Because unlike savings, investing comes with opportunities for returns. Imagine that you put $100 in a savings account with a 1% interest rate. After a year, you’d have $101, but as prices rise with inflation, suddenly that $101 might actually buy less than your original $100 would have bought. Investing, on the other hand, gives you a potential return (aka “a gain”) that can cover the increase in prices. Yes, there’s always a chance you’ll lose money with investing, but in the long term, it very often means more profit, while savings can reduce your buying power. 

Certain sectors are seeing an upswing

We all know that some industries have been hit harder than others, like the hospitality and cultural sectors. So while it might not be the best time to open a restaurant or launch a theatre company (though some people would disagree), some industries – like digital technology, health and sustainable development – haven’t just been spared, they’re on the rise. Meanwhile, Socially Responsible Investments (SRIs) have proven resistant and performed even better than traditional funds!

What’s the lesson? The economy isn’t all or nothing. When some sectors suffer, others will thrive, meaning a crisis can still be a great time to invest. The most important part of any investment is the purchase price – as prices go down, it’s an opportunity to buy low, with a long-term plan of taking advantage of the market rebounding, all while minimizing risk. 

The investments you make during a crisis will work in your favour … as soon as the market recovers. 

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3 ways to save money without a budget

How much did you spend last month? For those of us who want to save money, knowing the answer is essential.

And we’re not talking ballpark. Or being $200 off and thinking “close enough!” We’re talking down to the cent. Most of us should know the answer. However, many of us just think we know the answer. 

Here’s the thing: if you want to save money, you can’t kind-of sort-of know the answer. You need to know exactly where your money is going every month.

We check our social media accounts 500 times a day. Why shouldn’t we give our money even a fraction of that attention? Use these three steps to start saving now.

Check your income vs. your expenses

Every financial check-in needs to start with a baseline. How much are you spending and where are you spending it?

Knowing where every cent (yup, cent!) is going will help you identify areas where you can redirect your income towards your savings goals. Track your expenses for several weeks (or even a couple of months) to see if there are any trends. A simple spreadsheet works, or use an app like Mint. Then, highlight specific purchases or note entire categories (travel, restaurant, auto, etc.) where you may be able to cut back.

You may want to separate your musts (rent, insurance, groceries) from your nice-to-haves. Can you commit a monthly amount ($10, $20, $100, whatever it may be) to your savings and add that to the “musts” category? What would you need to adjust in the nice-to-have category?

Even if you are a budget-y person, you still want to track your actual spending. 

Automate your must-pay bills

There’s nothing worse than fees or interest when you don’t actually need (or want) to pay it. And who wants to pay money if they don’t have to?

Automating your monthly expenses, such as phone, internet, and other must-pay bills helps ensure you pay for your expenses on time and before you spend money on the more fun—a.k.a. unnecessary—expenses. Paying the expenses on time, and not having to stress about it, will give you peace of mind and reduce the chance that you’ll be whacked with any late fees or interest.

Of course, automation isn’t for everything (see below re: pesky recurring subscriptions), but when it comes to your monthly must-pay expenses, it’s worth considering.

Add everything to your calendar

In the age of monthly subscriptions and auto-renewals, it’s easy to have many what-the-heck-is-this-charge moments. That streaming service “free trial” that required a credit card. Digital magazine subscriptions you stopped reading. Auto insurance that auto renews.

Pull up your calendar. Add any recurring payments, and add a reminder at least a week before your subscription is set to renew. Heck, set multiple reminders if it’s helpful. The reminders will give you time to evaluate whether you’re still using the subscription, need to cancel, or want to change it.

While you’re at it, include all the automatic payments you just set up. You’ll want to check on them each month so you can catch, and address, discrepancies as they arise. There’s nothing worse than trying to dispute a double charge from a restaurant—that you ordered from 10 months ago.

Bonus tip: Reach your savings goals even faster by ramping up (or starting) your investing. Moka makes it simple to invest your spare change by rounding up your purchases—including those automated must-pay bills (see step 2, *cough cough*). Can your piggy bank do that?

Even if you make small adjustments to your finances, they can have a major impact and help you save money in the long run. Next time you’re scrolling through your socials, take a few minutes to check in on your finances. You’ll be able to go over your income and your expenses, including recurring payments and make any necessary adjustments to keep your savings goals on track.

It turns out, every cent really does add up.

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Ready to start investing? Here’s why ETFs are perfect for you.

Whether you want to retire before 50, take that big trip to Bora Bora (whenever we can do that again), or achieve any other financial goal, you know investing is the not-so-big secret. 

But investing can be overwhelming if you’re just getting started. How do you know what stocks to buy? How do you buy stocks if you only want to invest a little bit at a time? 

If you’re considering investing for the first time, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are an easy and affordable way to get started. And you don’t have to be an expert investor to make it work for you.

Start investing in ETFs today!

Moka makes it easy to invest in a fully-managed, diversified portfolio of Exchange-Traded Funds or ETFs.

What is an ETF?

First things first: An ETF is a collection of stocks and/or bonds. You can buy an ETF just as you would stock. However, when you buy stock, you’re investing in one company, such as Tim Hortons or Amazon. When you invest in an ETF, you’re investing in multiple stocks or bonds that follow a specific investment strategy.

For example, some ETFs may track a stock index (like the FTSE Canada Index ETF, which tracks the performance of the FTSE Canada Domestic Index and invests in the largest Canadian stocks). Or, an ETF may track an index for a particular industry, such as technology or healthcare. 

An index measures the performance of a group of stocks or bonds. So, a technology index may include Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and others. The ETF attempts to meet or exceed the performance of the index.

Why invest in ETFs vs. stocks?

While you can buy ETFs and individual stocks, there are several upsides to investing your money in ETFs—especially when you’re just starting out. 

Low investment amounts. One of the biggest reasons ETFs are better than stocks for new investors is because they make it easier to start investing with less money. Some stocks cost several hundred dollars for a single share. With an ETF, you can invest smaller amounts and not face tons of commissions and other fees.      

Risk management through diversification. One of the keys to success as an investor is diversification. The basic concept behind diversification is simple: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. With your money spread across several stocks and bonds, there’s less risk involved. 

If you invest in one stock, your investment would lose a lot of value if the stock price plummets. (All your eggs are in one basket, so you’re in trouble if you drop the basket!)       On the other hand, if an asset in an ETF underperforms, other assets can make up the difference. One ETF is many baskets.     

That said, it’s still possible to take risk with ETFs. If you have a higher risk tolerance, you can opt for a portfolio of ETFs that takes a more aggressive investment strategy.           

Simplicity. With ETFs, you don’t have to be an investment pro to succeed (even seasoned investors have a hard time beating the market by picking stock). If you don’t have the time to understand which specific stocks make most sense for you—and who really does?—investing in an ETF is a much easier decision that can pay off in the long term.           

Performance. ETFs generally follow the index they’re tracking. Over time, their returns will be similar to the index. For example, someone who invested in the FTSE Canada Index ETF at inception in November 2011 would have seen an annual compound rate of return of 7.27% by the end of 2020.

In fact, ETFs can outperform stock picking over time. Some stock pickers largely outperform passive, index investing strategies, but in general, over longer periods of time, passive index ETF investment will outperform. This is especially true for non-professional investors: you’re more likely to see better gains in the long term if you go the ETF route over trying to manage your own portfolio!

So, if you don’t have a bajillion dollars to invest in pricey stocks managed by a pro (and who does?), but you still want to make progress toward your financial goals, you’ll want to consider ETFs.

Ready to start investing in ETFs today?

There are lots of ways you can get started. If you’d like to open a fully-managed, diversified investment portfolio, Moka might be the right fit for you.     

Moka portfolios are a mix of four Moka funds:

  • Three funds are entirely ETFs.
  • The fourth fund is designed for people who may need to quickly convert their investment money back to cash. This fund is a mix of ETFs, guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), money market instruments (such as treasury bills), and cash.

The mix of funds in your portfolio will depend on the strategy we select (we’ve got options ranging from conservative to aggressive) to support your goal, financial profile and risk tolerance, and whether or not you’ve selected socially responsible investing.

And with Moka, you don’t need a bag full of cash to get started. Moka will round up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically make the investments.

Download Moka to start investing in ETFs today.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this story do not constitute financial advice.

Letter News

Moka is joining forces with Mogo

Today is a day to celebrate. For Moka’s loyal community of users in Canada and abroad. For our dedicated team and investors. For the fintech ecosystem and for anyone who is looking for a simpler, smarter, and more powerful way to achieve their financial goals. Today’s announcement is a giant step in the right direction. 

Moka will be acquired by Mogo

I’m thrilled to announce that Moka is joining forces with Mogo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOGO) (TSX: MOGO) in an acquisition that will create the most comprehensive consumer-facing fintech company in Canada. This deal will allow us to help even more people realize their financial dreams and it will improve the services that we can offer to our existing customers, who can continue to use the Moka app as usual.

Moka started with a mission to help people

In 2016, we set out to help Canadians achieve their financial goals by making it easy to save and invest. Our original round-up and invest feature makes it effortless for anyone to grow their wealth, with no financial knowledge or minimum investment required. We’ve grown a lot since our first app release. Most recently, we launched Moka 360 to help Canadians discover more money in their daily life and we expanded to Europe by launching in France. But our vision and our mission don’t stop there.

Everyone deserves a platform that makes managing their personal finances easier, more affordable, and more accessible. By combining technology, data and human ingenuity, Moka helps people live their best life and accomplish things that were previously out of reach, like buying a home, paying off debt, travelling the world, having a family, or saving for retirement. 

Everything we do is driven by our mission

Over the past five years, our mission has been at the heart of everything we do. Our decision to partner with Mogo is a huge step towards achieving that mission because the Moka and Mogo teams share a common purpose: we help people manage their money better. That’s why we’re so excited to join their family. 

For Moka and our community, this merger is a big win in three ways:

Firstly, I love Mogo’s innovative and diverse products and I’m confident they’ll benefit our Moka community. From digital spending accounts to automatic carbon offsetting, to bitcoin investing, and more, Moka users will soon have access to an even wider array of intuitive and affordable services.

Next, as part of a large, publicly-traded company in Mogo Inc., Moka can focus on innovation and on delivering the best possible customer experience — a freedom that most startups can’t usually afford.

Lastly, by uniting our companies’ expertise and technologies, we’ll create powerful synergies that will let us execute better and faster for you.

Our mission remains unchanged, but now we’re empowered to do more, faster

While we celebrate today, we know that this is only the next chapter in our journey. We have a lot of work to do, together, to build a future where financial technology can truly help everyone live their best life.

We could not have gotten this far without the unwavering support and dedication of our teammates, investors, families, partners and, most of all, our loyal customers. I can’t thank you enough for the trust you’ve placed with us, and we remain committed to our promise to you.

We look forward to innovating and building products and experiences that will inspire you and improve your life.

If you aren’t yet part of this journey, but what I’ve said above resonates with you, why not come along for the ride? We’re going to some pretty amazing places! 

Excited for today and the future,


Philip Barrar

Founder & CEO, Moka

Questions about our news? Check out our Help Centre!

Letter News

Introducing Moka: Why Mylo is rebranding

If you’ve downloaded the newest version of our app or visited our website recently, you’ll have noticed a big change: we rebranded!

I’m thrilled to introduce Moka, the new and improved Mylo.

Since launching in 2017, our automated saving and investing app has been downloaded by over 750,000 Canadians in every province and territory, and we’ve helped our users save and invest to achieve goals like celebrating their marriage, buying a house, starting a business and preparing for retirement.

And we’re just getting started! This year, we’re focusing on evolving our product beyond investing spare change and expanding internationally to Europe, so we needed a name that resonates around the world in every language and country.

We loved being Mylo and we’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a company and for our users with this name, but we are excited to announce a new name that will better serve our growing global community and our mission to help you achieve your financial goals. 

Meet Moka

There’s this myth that millennials are struggling financially because they’re buying lattes and avocado toast, but that just isn’t true. We are facing different financial challenges than our parents’ generation, so we need different financial services. We’re not looking for a lecture from a financial advisor: we want better technology and tools that can empower us to save and invest more. 

That’s where Moka comes in. The app doesn’t dictate what you can or can’t do with your money. Instead, Moka lets you live the life you want today while building towards an even brighter future. 

The way it works is simple. You tell Moka what you want to do and the app will show you how to achieve it. The app kick-starts your personal finance goals, and it makes saving more, spending less and investing smarter a daily practice. Moka gives you the power to accomplish great things.

How will this change impact Canadians?

Along with our new name, we’re also launching a fresh new look and refreshing our features so you can get #morewithmoka. We’re enhancing the app to help you keep more of your hard earned money, which is why our new logo shows a coin landing in an open hand. (To see Moka for yourself, make sure you download the latest version of the app!) 

Our name and visual identity have changed, but we’re still passionate about helping you achieve your financial goals. Moka, like Mylo, exists because of the people who use our app, because of you. In fact, we’re working on some innovative new features that will help you reduce expenses, pay down debt and save more when you spend. We can’t wait to tell you about them soon!

If you have any thoughts or questions about our rebrand, we’re always happy to hear from you. 

Thanks for using Moka!


Philip Barrar

Founder & CEO, Moka