People for Pensions Profile: Brandon Gill New

Brandon Gill New

Brandon Gill New works on the investment team at OPTrust, one of Canada's largest defined benefit pension plans.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a transplant to Canada – I grew up in Texas, went to school in Vermont and London, and worked in the investment industry in New York before ending up in Toronto 16 years ago. As someone who's lived in a number of places, I'm really interested in what's happening around the world which is one of the things that drew me to investing. I'm also a mother of two young kids, so they keep me really busy. They give me energy, but they use up a lot of it too!

When did you first learn about the value of pensions?

For me, it came much later in my life, but what I did understand from an early age is the importance of financial security. I grew up in a single-parent, single-income household, so that made me appreciate the value of financial stability. However, it wasn't until I was working and had access to one that I really knew anything about pensions.

At first, I thought of my pension as a payroll deduction! When you're 22 years old it's hard to imagine what your life will be like 40 years later, but over time I saw that if you do start saving early, little-by-little, it adds up.

You work on the investment side of a DB pension plan. Can you tell us about the advantages of DB pensions compared to investing for retirement as an individual?

There are huge advantages that come from pooling your money with everyone else in your pension plan. It means that the plan can hire experienced individuals to manage the money, and you have access to all sorts of investment opportunities that you wouldn't have by investing by yourself. And because there are so many people contributing to the Plan providing scale, you are able to have your money managed in a very efficient manner, meaning more of your money goes towards your retirement.

Why did you decide to work as an investor at a pension plan?

I get to do what I love and know that I'm helping people at the same time. You really make an impact on people's lives when you work at a pension plan. It's a great thing and it's given me a real sense of fulfillment in my career.

You still have many working years ahead of you before retirement, why is a pension a priority for you today?

It's all about saving little bits at a time. If you wait too long, then you end up with a gap when you get to retirement. But if you start early, it adds up, and those contributions aren't as hard on your monthly budget. It also means you've got a lot less to worry about when it comes to your retirement.

As I get older, and I actually start to envision my retirement, it's great to know I've got my pension waiting for me. Emotional stability is a great benefit.

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