Chef Brandon Olsen On Navigating Personal Finance and Investing


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Scotia iTRADE is here to let the multi-hyphenates and entrepreneurs of today’s world live on their own terms. Learn more about it here in our series. Check out more stories on how creative consultant Amy Shio navigates financial confidence here, and photographer Tristan O’Brien explains his journey with self-directed investing here.

Chef / Trader / Entrepreneur

“This platform gives me the ability to take control of my own finances.” — Brandon Olsen on Scotia iTRADE

Entrepreneurs know what it means to take risks. It’s built into their very DNA. And when it pays off, the rewards can be great. Just ask Brandon Olsen. The Toronto-based owner of Chocolates by Brandon Olsen (CXBO) and French-inspired restaurant, La Banane, Olsen runs a tight ship in order to ensure the success of his businesses. Now, he’s translating that same ethos over to his personal life by trying his hand at self-directed investing to win big at home.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned from being an entrepreneur?
I think the biggest lesson is that there is no end to a lesson. As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly learning things that I didn’t think I would need to know, or things that I knew but am learning on a bigger level. You never stop learning, and I like that. I need it, I strive for it, and I look forward to it. 

What are some of the biggest challenges that you have come across navigating your own finances?
I wish I knew more about how to manage my personal finances earlier in life. If I knew how to invest, it would have been easier to open up my businesses. I would have had a better personal financial situation to invest into my company. As an entrepreneur, you lay it all on the line. 

Did you have any apprehensions about trading before you started using Scotia iTRADE?

For me, there was a fear of the unknown. You ask yourself what you are investing in, what you are buying, and what the companies represent. I could go to a wealth manager and have that individual invest my money, but as an entrepreneur, I also have a lot of doubt in people. You learn to believe in yourself, and that’s what iTRADE has taught me. This platform gives me the ability to take control of my own finances.


What have you enjoyed about it?
As a new investor, iTRADE talks to me in ways where I feel like I know what I’m doing. It gives me confidence by giving me the verbiage or communication to feel comfortable with investing my money. It also gives me alerts from my watch list of companies that I may want to invest in, but am not too sure about just yet. So it allows me to observe and sends alerts to my phone to buy at a certain number, or sell. Also, as I get more acclimated and understand how to make better decisions, I can keep more of the earnings in my pocket because the trade commission is a lot less. I’m not paying someone to watch my portfolio and can see more of that money in my pocket. 

What kind of person would benefit most from using iTRADE?
I think iTRADE is a good fit for anybody. You don’t need to be a business owner. You don’t need to be a CEO. You can be anyone. It’s really good for people who want to take control of their finances and understand them more than just relying on someone to do it for you. It’s easier than you think it is. 

Given your hectic schedule, have you had any challenges incorporating it into your daily activities?
I get really overwhelmed sometimes as an entrepreneur. With iTRADE, it may seem intimidating, but when you get into it, it’s actually very manageable and has given me the confidence that I needed in myself that I’m going to do something the right way, instead of just throwing my money away. I understand it and my brain can process everything without getting flustered.

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