Save it up, to live it up

Brian Corkum. Photo by Pricilla Westlake.

Brian Corkum. Photo by Pricilla Westlake.

Brian Corkum has been saving from day one. Born in Sarnia, Ontario in 1947, his family moved to the Brentwood area of Burnaby, British Columbia where he grew up and first learned how to save money.

At a young age, his parents gave him a clothing allowance which he would carefully allocate toward his clothing. If there was anything left at the end of it, he realized he could use it however he liked. This lesson would be the spark that has driven him to save efficiently for the rest of his adult life.

“I think my goals have always been to be safe, happy, and financially secure,” says Corkum, who is a financial guru of sorts.

A master planner and saver, Corkum has an account for almost every area of his life, including vacations, household maintenance, a car fund, and individual funds for all of his and his wife’s nine grandchildren. Brian and his wife, Diane Corkum both contribute to these savings plans religiously in order to stay out of debt, go on vacations and support their families and other good causes.

“Traveling is something that comes with the financial security,” says Corkum. Before he met his wife Diane, he had only gone to Disneyland and Hawaii. Since then he has officially become a globe trotter.

TLBC Brian and Diane Corkum 4 (360x480)

Brian and Diane Corkum at a recent visit to Harrison Hot Springs. Photo courtesy Brian Corkum.

Brian Corkum working as a linesman at his granddaughters soccer game. Photo Courtesy Brian Corkum.

Corkum says it is always pleasurable to go to the bank, put in his deposit and watch the balance grow.

All of his dimes go towards the Red Cross.

“Quarters, nickels, loonies and toonies go into the cruise accounts,” says Corkum, who says he and his wife have already saved up for an Australia trip next March.

Although Corkum has numerous savings accounts, he does not manage them online like the average person, for Corkum is not your average Joe. He has a passbook for each of his saving accounts and explains his saving process by displaying his passbooks and the various ways he saves.

He says, “Nowadays I’m a dinosaur when it comes to banking.” An older method of organizing one’s money, passbooks have become, for Corkum, a highly effective tool for saving, as is evident from all of his and Diane’s trips and success. He says they call him by name at the bank and say, “Ah, this must be your $5 to 65 account.”

Now simply called their five-dollar account, their $5 to 65 account, was one that they started for when they both turned 65 and would start receiving their pensions. Eight years of saving from 2004 to 2012 had seen them raise nearly $40,000 in $5 bills for their 65 birthdays, which came in the same year as the 2012 London Olympics. The two had decided that they would work at the Paralympic Games in London and support a Vancouver Island athlete, whom they had supported financially. The Corkums got to sit just beneath the Olympic flame as they watched their athlete win her event. Moments like these are what keep the two going.

“I may drive the bus more than Diane, but she’s on board,” Corkum says about his ability and will to save so deliberately.

“I learned it from him,” Diane says as she motions towards Brian across the table. He chuckles, saying he feels sorry for Diane that she has to live with an ill person, in reference to his quirky but efficient saving habits.

The first trip the two went on was on their honeymoon. Corkum took his wife on a Hawaiian cruise, which they also took their best man on. Ever since then, they have been trying to go on one or two cruises a year. They have done an Alaskan cruise, which they loved so much they went on a second time, and in 2012 they did their British Isles cruise. They went on a river cruise through Amsterdam, cycled around and visited the Anne Frank museum, afterwards traveling down the locks to visit Budapest, Hungary. Corkum says their favourite cruise was to the Caribbean as it started in the Mediterranean, where they got to see Santorini, Mykonos, Cabras and Izmir and Istanbul in Turkey.

The two are currently saving their $10 bills for a trip to the local version of Sydney on Vancouver Island next summer, as they continue to save it up, to live it up.


Very often we get stories about the young and the fabulous, the rich and the famous. Human interest stories about the middle-aged, children and young adults and animal stories . Rarely do we get stories about senior citizens. The've lived the longest and have the most memories and experience. They have learned the most, have the most insights into life and the most advice. They were once young too, they were and are funny, they were daring, good-looking, adventurous and sometimes brilliant. I want to tell their stories. They are humourous, saucy, and plain hilarious if you give them a chance. And I want to show that side of them: to lift the dull grey, drab sheet that shrouds everything we know and associate old people with.

1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Reply December 3, 2014

    Adam Sekkat

    This is awesome. It’s got me thinking about doing something similar myself(in terms of having different accounts for everything). Especially since I have lots of plans to travel and I seem to spend too much on food

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