February 26 2007


February 26 2007



Maclean’s asked famous Canadians for their financial insight. Here’s what we know for sure.


Money is difficult to accumulate in any quantity, even harder to retain, and easy to dissipate; but at no stage in its pursuit, useful though it is, is money as important as good health and luck,

peace of mind, a permanent relationship, serious cultural attainments or a good reputation.

—CONRAD BLACK, former CEO, Hollinger International

'Spend less than 1 earn’

—SHERRY COOPER, executive VP, BMO Financial

My mother always said “if you save your pennies the pounds will take care of themselves.” I learned to be careful from her. I’ve always been generous yet practical, extravagant yet thrifty. I buy luxury cars, but they’re two years old. I buy designer suits but wear them to death. I indulge my friends and family but brown bag my lunch.

—DENISE DONLON, former president of Sony Music Canada

on feeling those think wealth is things my is to be you biggest how great able to feel lesson do a duty the all to do: take care of your family, support worthy causes, help make a difference in

the lives of the less fortunate. However, this is followed closely by the unbelievable number of hot women who start randomly sending you pictures, sometimes nude, of themselves through the Internet.

—CALVIN AYRE, founder of Entertainment

I had a reasonably comfortable childhood, but when I got married and was out on my own I was poor as a church mouse. I had to work seven days a week just to pay the rent and the food. So I’ve learned it’s nice to have money. I wouldn’t say that I’m parsimonious, but I certainly don’t squander it. —ALLAN SLAIGHT, Standard Broadcasting founder

As I've told my children many times, I had the benefit of knowing what wealth can give you, but I also had the drive to get there without being given it. I’ve seen too many people who never achieve anything because they’ve been handed large amounts of money, which takes away the very drive and incentive that gives you the self-confidence to succeed. I never wanted to rob my kids of that vital ingredient of self-confidence.

—PETER MUNK, founder and chairman, Barrick Gold Corporation

It’s what power is. Collectively we have the power to move money around and it is our obligation to make sure people do not starve, and have a better quality of life. —OLIVIA CHOW, NDP MP

If you've got a good educational opportunity, borrow. Evaluate it carefully, as you would any investment, but more often than not, you’ll get a healthy return.

—SEAMUS O'REGAN, Canada AM co-host

‘Once it’s spent, you can’t aet it back’


‘The first thing I learned about financial management is that there is always ] more to leam’

—MIKE WEIR, professional golfer

I’ve spent a life being a financial social worker. I manage other people’s anxieties. Some people never learn how to give, they end up keeping it till they’re in their grave. That’s a disconcerting value I’ve seen in people.

—MILTON WONG, chairman, HSBC Investments (Canada)

The only thing that makes humans different from everything else in the universe is free will and the perception of time. To me, money is a crystallization of free will and time.

—DOUGLAS COUPLAND, author (‘JPod,’ ‘Generation X’)

What I have learned about money, from living in the United States for the past two decades, is that the rich care about it in inverse proportion to need. That is, the people who argue most for things like tax breaks are the people with the most money, and the more money they have the more strongly they feel about claims on their money—even though, of course, you’d think that someone with a billion dollars wouldn’t care two hoots about what their tax bill was. They have a billion dollars! I still haven’t figured this one out. —MALCOLM GLADWELL, writer (‘Blink’ and ‘The Tipping Point’)

That sadly, it matters. Having money in the bank helps you sleep at night. Having too much does seem to lead to unhappiness, but having too little leads to desperation and despair.

—MARY LAWSON, writer (‘The Other Side of the Bridge’)

Not to bet foolishly. I was 12 and my sister, Emma, 11 when the family moved to Canada in 1972. My father, the novelist Mordecai, took us to the Royal Bank in Montreal’s West-

mount Square to exchange the English pounds sterling we’d saved as pocket money and deposit them in Canadian accounts. Very exciting, it was. At the teller, my father turned to my sister, first, and (a favorite ruse of his) offered her double-or-nothing on a coin toss. She called heads and it landed tails, but before my sister saw it my father winked at me and flipped it. So my sister doubled her money. Then it was my turn and when he offered double-or-nothing on my 52.50 GBP (about $125, then, a fortune for a kid) I figured I couldn’t lose. Called heads. The coin landedtails, but my father didn’t flip it and grinned as he took all my money. I’m sure he gave it back to me later but what I remember is that it was morally futile to protest, and a dodgy bet in the first place. In fact, two lessons learned.

—NOAH RICHLER, writer (‘This Is My Country, What's Yours?’)

‘Money is like love. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, you don’t know you’ve got it until it’s gone.’

—BARBARA GOWDY, novelist (‘Helpless,’ ‘The Romantic’)

'It ain't everything’

—DON CHERRY, CBC commentator and former NHL coach

It's important to have enough to live on, but it shouldn’t be the end all and be all... There are two teams in our division that are always one, two in payroll in the league. If we could print it [money] we still wouldn’t have enough... Money really doesn’t bring you happiness and solve your problems. At the end of the day, if money is the most important thing, then your priorities are mixed up.

—J.P. RICCIARDI, GM of the Toronto Blue Jays

The first thing we learned about money was that the easiest thing in the world for somebody to do is not pay you once you’ve done the work. The second thing we learned about money

that was very important is that if it looks like someone in your organization is spending more money than they have, they probably are, and it’s probably yours. Thankfully our problems are way in the past and we are surrounded by people we love and trust.

—JIM CUDDY, singer/songwriter, Blue Rodeo

When I received an inheritance from the death of a dearly loved one, holding that cheque in my hand was the loneliest I have ever felt. There was no amount of

money that I wouldn’t have forsaken to have 10 more minutes or create one more memory with that person. It taught me that money is no replacement for time spent. I personally plan to drink deep life’s pleasures, set up my children, enjoy watching them flourish, and leave this world with a zero balance. And possibly fireworks.

—SAMANTHA BEE, correspondent on 'The Daily Show’

Never overextend myself and leave myself cash poor. Investments are great, but if you invest too much of your bankroll it could affect your earning power if a better investment comes along. Like, maybe a billionaire banker who decides he wants to sit with the world’s best at a poker table.

—DANIEL NEGREANU, former world poker champ

T learned very early on that really good friends don't necessarily give really good advice. A good financial adviser is worth their weight ^ in gold.’ tifi

—MIKE ‘PINBALL’ CLEMONS, Toronto Argo head coach

My guiding philosophy about money is not to worry about it; to enjoy it for what it can give you, your family and your friends; to give tons of it away to those who need it more than you do; and to not let its pursuit shape your life decisions.

—MAUDE BARLOW, national chairperson of The Council of Canadians