“It’s really about putting yourself out there, taking these crazy risks and putting off the kind of negativity – the kind of talk – that assumes you can’t do it. Just try and you’ll be surprised how far you can go.”
Jessica Moorhouse is one of Canada’s prominent millennial personal finance experts, an award-winning blogger, host of the Mo’ Money Podcast, founder of the Millennial Money Meetup and co-founder of Rich & Fit.
She has interviewed top personal finance experts like Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Preet Banerjee and Rob Carrick, as well as inspirational entrepreneurs, and authors, helping Canadians learn how to manage their money better, make smarter choices, become debt-free and live a more fulfilled and balanced life.
It’s not easy to feel confident about personal finance, so, what would you say to someone who needs a little inspiration?
I would tell them that they’re not alone. A lot of us learn about personal finance when we start to earn money and we make a lot of mistakes along the way because we don’t have a foundation to base our decisions on. The important thing to remember is that you can absolutely change your scope of knowledge. It doesn’t matter where you start. You can reach your financial goals as long as you’ve taken a moment to realize where you stand and focus on taking action.
Was there ever a moment when you thought a task was too intimidating to take on?
I’m very ambitious person but I also always thought I wasn’t good enough. It took some time to realize that although there’s always going to be someone better or more talented, it doesn’t mean big crazy lofty goals aren’t achievable. Early on in my career, I wanted to become a filmmaker and had my sights set on a particular film school. They only accepted 30 people a year and the environment was male-dominated. But I put myself out there, interviewed, and got in. When I graduated, my film became one of the most successful films from the school. Why? Because I hustled. I hustled like crazy. I took risks and put off the kind of negativity – the kind of self-talk that justified why I couldn’t do it – and just tried. In the end, I surprised myself with how far I could go.
You talk to a lot of people about personal finance, so, based on your experience, where’s a good place to start?
I would say one starting point would be, educate yourself. And be open to talking to people about it. I’ve found that most people want to talk about money but they’re afraid to be the first one to bring it up. So, if you were to ask, “Hey, what kind of savings account do you have?” they’ll generally be receptive. Questions like, “What does your budget look like?” and “How do you track your spending?” are really great ways to open a conversation. But that’s just one avenue. Joining a forum, participating in Facebook groups, reading through other people’s experiences, it’s all going to help. Because the more you think about money, the more you talk about it openly with people, the more confident you’ll feel about making decisions.
How has your perspective changed since you started your podcast?
I always wanted to achieve an ideal, financially-stable lifestyle but never thought I could. I grew up in a very modest household and learned a lot from my parents on how to be frugal and how to avoid debt. Which led me to believe I would always be restricted to making a low to middle class income. I wish I had known that if you teach yourself, and take the time to research, read books, and educate yourself about personal finances, it’s possible to move up. You don’t have to start rich to get rich. You can start from anywhere to get to that goal. I was able to buy a home in Toronto, and we all know how attainable that is, because I put what I learned into practice. I lived frugally, I saved, I invested my money, I was patient, and I did that consistently. My next goal is being able to retire early. And now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do things I didn’t think were possible before I’m confident I’ll be able to achieve it.
As told to Cara Lau exclusively for Stnce. We make taking financial ownership approachable and relatable.