Aaron Koo, Financial Advisor

This is the story of how I made the incomprehensible leap from cooking to finance.

The year was 1987. I’m 5 years old, sitting in the living room watching watching Pasquale’s Kitchen Express and Wok With Yan. Most boys at that age tell their parents they want to be a firefighter or an astronaut, and I’m sure most girls wanted to be a princess or a ballerina. Me? I wanted to be a chef and for 22 years, I didn’t changed my mind.

Fast forward to 1999. I’m in high school at the Canadian championships for wrestling (I was pretty amazing at wrestling). I hurt my ankle in a match that took me out of the sport for the rest of high school. This was a huge bummer since, to this very day, wrestling is still my favorite sport.

Getting Into the Kitchen

After high school, I immediately got a spot at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. I worked in kitchens for years after that. When you’re young, you do as you are told and you don’t think too much about the things that don’t make sense. Once you have a moment of clarity like I did early on, you can only put up with keeping your mouth shut for so long before you go nuts.

I was way too idealistic to fall in line and too thick-headed to keep my mouth shut. Now keep in mind that I was thick-skinned enough to put up with bull for a long time, but remember that ankle injury? When you’re in a kitchen doing manual labour for 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, it catches up to you and it quickly became a severe back problem.

Completely Changing Gears

So what’s a chef with too big an ego and a busted back to do? Open their own restaurant! At the time, the world was going through economic Armageddon and there was no chance of getting funding of any kind. I was also pretty young and not taken very seriously…

Now, there was no way I was going back to working for someone else. That was out of the question. I couldn’t find people to help me do my own thing, so my option at the time was to do something completely different.

Right on the Money

Mark was an old high school buddy of mine and a financial advisor before me. We bumped into each other and he invited me to his office to tell me a little bit about what he did. That meeting was life changing. My first thought was how stupid I was. How could I not know any of this?

Being a financial advisor also gave me everything else I wanted in a career apart from the food. I had the autonomy I wanted and the challenge and life of being an entrepreneur. The fact that a world of people out there are sitting on their hands, waiting for a windfall of money before they started saving was a huge challenge for me. And I liked it. I love my message and I love the way I now help people.

So yes, it’s a big jump, but my hope is this story will put to rest the confusion of how this came to be. The rest, as they say, is history and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.