Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
She sparred with Kevin O'Leary on her last hit show for CBC television, has interviewed some of the most successful CEOs and businesspeople in the country, and is now an anchor for Bloomberg TV Canada.
You know Amanda Lang has many amazing money stories.
So I'm incredibly delighted the accomplished businesswoman and bestselling author of The Power of Why and The Beauty of Discomfort agreed to share a few stories with us as part of our "Her Money Story" series.
Early Money Memory
One of her earliest memories? "A twenty-five-cent allowance on Saturday morning that we looked forward to all week, and I learned really early that if I pooled it with my sisters, we could buy candy that we couldn't afford on our own," she recalls.
Learn to Leverage
Always having a source of income and challenging work shaped her as a young author and journalist.
"When I was young, we got jobs as early as we could. We had paper routes and I had my first job when I was 14. I've never forgotten the sense of freedom that came with having my own money, not having to ask for anything if I wanted to go get something, and that stayed with me all my life," Lang says, before adding: "We don't really make our kids hunger for things the way we did and wait for things and have to plan and plot."
Income = Freedom and Control
Her mother was very big on the idea of being self-sufficient. That meant always earning what was needed and having a sense of control over one's own money, which is something that's always been part of Lang's thinking around money, even when married or with a partner.
"It was always important to me to know that I could be completely self-sufficient," she says.
She credits personal finance guru and friend Gail Vaz-Oxlade for having given her this important financial lesson:
"Into my career as a business reporter, she said something that really stayed with me, and I repeated it many times to people, which is: 'We need to think about our money, our income, not as something that we're using today, but because we live so much longer than our earning years we need to think of the dollar we earn today as to be shared between Amanda today and Amanda at 70, when Amanda no longer earns money.'
"Rather than thinking, 'If I save 20% of my income, I'm limiting my ability to spend on myself', think, 'I'm spending on myself in the future!'"
Early Money Mistakes
One of Lang's early money mistakes from her twenties was having to cash out her investments to pay down credit card debt, and not even being able to pay the debt outright.
"Because it's the worst form of debt, and no financial return on an investment will ever, ever, ever make up for it, technically it was the right thing to do," she says. "But the mistake was letting myself get so deep into a hole on credit card debt where I couldn't pay down the capital. In my case, I was just really living beyond my means. If I'd been thinking a little bit more about the long term, I might've thought differently. 'Do I need to go out for dinner tonight, or could I stay at home and eat in?'"
Embrace Financial Discomfort
Lang's new book is about embracing what makes you uncomfortable. For many Canadians, tackling their debt and facing their financial situation can be challenging.
"One of the things that makes people the most uncomfortable is not knowing. Anything confusing or ambiguous, for neurological reasons, we shy away from that," Lang says.
So where should you start? "It doesn't matter if it's [saving] $2 or $2,000, the geometry is the same. It will still grow," she says. "And so, starting and watching it grow gives you confidence and optimism."