Welcome to the third in our ‘Rooster Heroes’ series – bringing you financial experts that we’ve interviewed on all things pocket money and allowances with 10 quick fire questions. They’re all leaders in their field, and they’re all people we at RoosterMoney admire.
This month we spoke to Bruce Sellery.
Bruce is one of Canada’s leading personal finance experts and a best selling author of ‘Moolala: why smart people do dumb things with their money (and what you can do about it)’. He’s also a columnist for MoneySense magazine, a news anchor, keynote speaker and coach. Oh, and of course, founder of Moolala, a personal finance training company on a mission ‘to inspire you to get a handle on your money so you can live the life you want’. It’s motto is ‘money made simple’, which we’re totally on board with!
1. What’s your earliest money memory? 🍼
I remember my dad pulling out the ledger he used to record allowance for all five of us kids. I think I received 25 cents a week, but the amount was recorded in the ledger, not doled out in cash. We could withdraw money from “the bank” whenever we wanted to, and my Dad would always ask what we were planning to spend it on. He didn’t judge us, but he did want us to be thoughtful about our choices and spend with intention.
2. What did you want to be when you were a kid? 👶
I wanted to be a TV journalist. I didn’t really know what that meant, other than that it involved talking and travelling, two of my passions.
“I received 25 cents a week…and my Dad would always ask what we were planning to spend it on.”
3. What's your favourite candy? 🍬
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. My daughter brought home dozens of them on Halloween night. She is still young enough that she didn’t realize that she got to eat exactly zero of them, because I raided her stash.
4. Describe your money personality 🤔
On my good days, I’m able to connect my values with how I spend money.
On my bad days, I lose perspective and get stressed about spending small amounts of money. For example, on a rainy day, when I’m running late, instead of hailing a cab and arriving dry and on time, I might race like a maniac on foot through the streets and arrive soaking wet, late and deeply annoyed.
5. Why did you start Moolala? 💡
What I saw in the marketplace was that smart, capable people were doing dumb things with their money. All the knowledge that we were focused on as business journalists was making absolutely no difference. Instead, we needed to focus on insight – Because insight is what drives behaviour.
I also felt that we needed to drive a change in tone. So much of the material out there is so boring. Soul-crushingly boring. So, instead of boring, let’s talk about Moolala and make the message playful and fun.
6. Do you give your kids an allowance? And if so, what’s the system? 💰
Yes: Abby is almost 8 years old. She gets $4 every week, in cash. She puts $1 in each of the compartments of her Savvy Pig piggybank: Saving, spending, donating and investing. The longer she leaves her money in investing the better it is, because she earns an additional 5 cents for the first month, then 10 cents, then 25 cents. Compound interest is the most magical math equation there is, and I want her to learn that early.
Her allowance isn’t linked to discipline or chores, and is the only money she gets. Outside of her birthday and Christmas, we don’t buy her souvenirs or toys. That is what her allowance is for. It has taken a huge investment in consistency, but has eliminated any battles in the store.
“Compound interest is the most magical math equation there is, and I want her to learn that early.”
7. Best piece of money advice you’ve ever been given? 🎓
Live within your means.
If that is all you do, you will be ahead of most people in the developed, credit-addicted world.
8. What’s your top tip for parents on teaching kids the value of money? 🧑🏫
Talk about money. At every opportunity.
Talk about how much things cost – a box of cereal, the smartphone plan, how many weeks of allowance that means, and how to make trade-offs between different wants.
When you talk about it all the time, there is no “BIG CHAT”. It’s just a part of your life.
9. How will we be paying for things in 2040? 🤖
Sadly, it will be all be electronic. Thumbprint, iris scan, who knows the method. But cash will have disappeared long before that.
This worries me a lot because the pain sensors simply don’t kick in when we spend in that way.
10. Bonus: Favourite app on your phone (apart from RoosterMoney of course!) 📲
Spotify. Hands down.
I listen to more music than ever now.
You can keep up with Bruce’s money advice at http://www.moolala.ca/ and you can buy his book Moolala: Why smart people do dumb things with their money (and what you can do about it) here.