Sunday, 20 May 2012

BNN’s Michael Hainsworth found marriage good for his finances

BNN’s Michael Hainsworth found marriage good for his finances
Sat May 19 2012
Michael Hainsworth is the host of BNN shows The Close, Market Call and App Central. In our series on the financial habits of notable Canadians Hainsworth told the Star’s Emily Mathieu what he learned working in a computer store, why he typically won’t tip when buying a muffin and why his wife handles paying the bills.

How did your family influence your attitude toward money?
When I met my wife my attitude toward money changed for the better. Before that I was taught that credit card debt was an inevitable part of life, and that made it okay. I always knew there was a difference between “good debt” and “bad debt” but procrastination kept me from paying-down the bad debt and a bad case of the “gotta have its” kept me pushing the credit limit on my cards.
This shocked my wife, who immediately took control of the day-to-day finances. It was tough for “the money guy” to admit he’s too lazy to pay the bills, but I haven’t had my phone line cut for non-payment since!
What is the best financial advice you ever received?
If you don’t have the money, you can’t afford it. Paying off the cards ASAP helps keep you ahead of the game and your stress level low. We bought the family car with cash, much to the surprise of the dealer.
Describe your first job, what did it teach you?
My high school job was working sales in the local computer store, Computerdumb? Slogan: “You don’t have to be!”
(That job) forced me to set aside my introverted nature and approach potential customers. For us introverts, there are two choices: remain a wallflower or push past it. To this day I prefer standing alone in front of a camera talking to 2.2 million Canadians each night about the stock market than standing in front of a group of two.
What was the first item you purchased with your own money?
One week after putting my savings of $18 into the local branch of the Royal Bank (I was 12) I returned to withdraw it for a racing car for my slot track.
“Are you sure?” asked the teller when I handed her the withdrawal slip. The toy broke a few days later, and I had nothing to show for it. Had I learned the lesson then, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and credit card interest charges.
What is your best money-saving advice?
Have a specific amount you set aside at a specific time interval. Make it part of your lifestyle that you won’t miss that cash, be it $20 or $200. Have the bank auto-transfer it to a separate account on pay days so it’s as if you never had the money in the first place. And from time to time bask in the glow of the building savings.
What is your worst spending habit?
My worst habit is the small stuff: morning coffees and snacks and the daily lunch in the commissary. After years of paying my dues in radio eating Kraft Dinner while working for peanuts, it feels good now to spend a few bucks each day even if it adds up.
What hard financial lessons have you learned?
Open that bill. Pay it. Pretending it’s not there doesn’t make it go away.
Why did you decide to report on business?
Financial news reporting gives me a chance to peek behind the curtain as today’s business wizards pull the magic levers on our local, national and international economies. Money is what makes the world go ’round, and it’s nice to have a handle on why it’s spinning a certain direction.
How do you prefer to pay, cash, card or debit?
I’m a huge technology geek — I’m looking forward to the day when I can ditch my much-used debit card in favour of NFC chips in my iPhone. Waving your handset at the cash register is the future, and I want to be there now.
How do you tip?
Well, when it’s appropriate. Putting a muffin in a bag and taking my coffee money doesn’t qualify as service.
What is your retirement plan?
Like many Canadians, my home plays a role in my retirement strategy. We’re paying off the house early, and pumping as much cash as we can into our RRSPs.
Are money and success the same thing?
I’ve always believed one should “do what you love and the money will follow.” If you can find a way to be paid huge sums of money doing what you love, that’s gravy.

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