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Financial Literacy

Money Management: Q&A with Dragons’ Den’s Arlene Dickinson

arlene dickinson dragons den
arlene dickinson dragons den

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Why is financial literacy important for young Canadians?

Being able to manage your finances is inextricably linked to being independent. Many students go to school for years to land great-paying jobs. But what good is that if you don’t have the skills to save your money for the items and experiences which bring you joy and freedom? The youth in our country have access to the highest quality education that spans hundreds of topics, yet financial literacy, the one subject which is invaluable to everyone is not popular nor mandatory. Instilling the value of money and how to properly handle it is a skill that will have long-term value for the well-being of our future generations and for the society in which they’ll live.

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What’s something you wish you told your younger self when it comes to money management?

In my thirties, I was lucky enough to meet a broker who gave me a bunch of advice that I use to this day. One of those pieces of advice is to always leave some money on the table for the next person. It goes against the instincts of many, but when you see an investment shoot up in value, you want to see it increase indefinitely. That excitement turns to greed and can burn you. Understand that when you’re up and didn’t have to do much to get there, you should cash out and leave some on the table for the next person to benefit from.

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Why is it important for Canadians to invest in their wealth?

Your future financial state will always be a result of today’s choices. Similar to the everyday choices we make to live better lifestyles and improve our health, we need to do the same with our financial well-being. Money saved and/or invested today will turn into freedoms in the future – be it a vacation home, a trust for your children or the ability to take in new experiences.

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What are your top money management tips for new businesses?

From a young age, we have been taught that you need to leave all the decisions about money to those who understand it best. While financial and investment advisors are full of knowledge that will benefit you, it’s imperative that you understand where your money is going and how it’s working – versus just trusting someone else to do it for you. In business, having a great CFO next to you as you make your choices will keep you grounded and ready to build. The right CFO is invaluable to entrepreneurs. But you still need to learn their language and understand their deliverables. Money is generally not the primary goal of entrepreneurs. We’re in it for something bigger: to build, find solutions and make a mark. Surround yourself with people who understand your vision and will make your money work hard to help you achieve it.

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