This Lunar New Year, our friends at TD are delighted to be supporting the annual holiday across Vancouver through a variety of events, where they’ll be able to interact with the local community in a meaningful way. For Kenneth Yuen, regional manager, Pacific, Asian Community Business Development, Lunar New Year also represents a time to engage in customary traditions, including conversations around savings and banking, which encouraged Kenneth to open his first savings account using the funds he received from the important red and gold envelope, known as Hong Bao (in Mandarin) or Lai See (in Cantonese). Lunar New Year is also a time of significant planning, including preparing finances for the future and heading in-branch to get new banknotes and coins for traditional gift giving. We chatted with Kenneth to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Hi Kenneth! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
My name is Kenneth Yuen, and I’m the regional manager, Pacific, Asian Community, at TD. I’ve been with TD for 16 years and immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1995 with my parents and younger brother.
Millions of Canadians will soon be celebrating Lunar New Year; what does the holiday mean to you?
Lunar New Year is when my family gathers together to share stories and learnings from the past year. The life lessons that my elders shared have been very valuable in how I managed and continue to manage various aspects of my life, such as understanding the importance of financial planning, growing assets, and setting a pathway to a successful future. The Lunar New Year also brings fond memories of food that I loved as a kid. I still miss all the “Chiu Chau” new year dishes that my grandmother would make, my favourite being the deep-fried sliced taro! I also loved the sweet puddling “Lin Gou” that almost every family makes during Lunar New Year. Lin Gou sounds the same as ‘growing every year,’ which we love to associate with many things in life, such as our financial goals, assets, and savings—keeps growing every year!
How does LNY relate, traditionally, to conversations around savings and banking, and financial planning?
Traditionally, Lunar New Year is a great time to reflect on the challenges and successes of the past year, and to think of our goals for the year ahead. The current economic environment is quite challenging, with interest rate hikes, rising inflation, and the increased cost of living, adding additional complexities for Canadians … given these realities it’s especially important that we are there for our customers with tailored advice to help them plan for the year ahead. At TD, our Personal Bankers can be instrumental in helping Canadians build their financial confidence. Personal Bankers do this by discovering what matters to them and their families and help them build a financial plan to achieve their goals.
What’s the personal connection between LNY and your memories of opening your first savings account?
Like many others, my family would visit our relatives during Lunar New Year with wishes to the elders for prosperity and health. In return, we would get Red Envelopes, which are passed among family members as a symbol of luck, health, and wealth to each other. They took this opportunity to educate me on the importance of savings to ensure I put aside at least a portion of the financial gift and luck for a prosperous year ahead. My mother brought me to the TD branch on Cambie and 41st in Vancouver to help me open a savings account where I made my first deposit with the money from the Red Envelopes. I still remember the TD representative who introduced to me the idea of interest returns on a savings account. those early lessons in savings and managing spending were critical to building my financial literacy and is key to maintaining wealth and luck for years ahead.
What sorts of events can people across Vancouver participate in at TD?
In Vancouver, we have LunarFest from January 21 to 22, and are supporting the TD Lunar New Year Celebration at the Lansdowne Centre in Central Vancouver on January 28. TD colleagues will also be celebrating at a variety of local events throughout the country, including in communities across Ontario and the Prairies.