Canna Campbell knows a few things about money. With over a decade of experience in financial planning, including a successful career in banking and running her own boutique finance agency, she is passionate about educating and empowering women and families to create and sustain financial freedom.
Canna’s new book Mindful Money, offers a holistic approach to finance, coupled with her accessible attitude and enthusiasm to share achievable strategies that could affect positive change in your life, the book guides readers through the practical realities of managing finances.
We chat with Canna about how we can all be more mindful with money, budgeting for families and the best way to set up our children with healthy financial habits.
Tell us a little bit about your journey to discovering your own financial freedom and how that has led you to want to help others on their own pathways by writing Mindful Money?
I’ve been in financial planning since my early twenties, and I also started investing at a young age. I noticed that a lot of my girlfriends were asking me concerning questions like “what do you mean you don’t have any credit card debt?” or “what do you mean you’ve got emergency savings?” and I realised there was a big black hole in basic financial literacy. Basic financial literacy isn’t taught in schools or universities. There are accounting, commerce and business degrees focused around business and corporations, but no one ever shows you how to do a personal budget, why you should never have a credit card debt, how to use a credit card wisely or how to build an investment portfolio. I realised that I needed to help fix this, because financial stress is huge. They say that 30-35% of divorces are caused by financial stress, but it’s actually the one area you have so much more control over, and if I can show people how to make their lives that little bit easier, then I’m proud and happy to do that.
What advice would you give to parents about teaching our kids how to be smart with money and laying the foundations for future success?
Number one is always lead by example. Our children are sponges, and constantly watching us. Always educate, but come from a place of empowerment so your children understand what you’re explaining to them and feel part of it. Don’t just stop at savings. Savings is one third of the big picture; it’s great for your child to have a savings account, but also show them the power of investing because they have the benefit of time. If you can teach a child compounding interest, particularly through investment, not just savings, that’s going to set them up for life.
Tell us a little bit about the importance of having a ‘money mindset’.
It’s about having the right attitude and engagement with your finances and along with it, empowerment. You could set a series of great financial goals, but if you don’t understand why they’re important to you, the benefits and value system that it triggers, they’ll end up being soulless goals, and you’ll either give up, get distracted, or if you do actually achieve the goal it will feel meaningless. There’s no gratification or sense of pride, and they’re really important things to have in creating new habits. The mindset is essential; we all have some form of self-destructive patterns or triggers, it’s the investment of a little bit of time to understand them so you can catch them, and avoid jeopardising your successes.
What do you believe are some of the most common misconceptions about money?
We need to be talking about investing. Building up a passive income stream so that we have a sense of financial freedom in our lives, even if it’s a small amount, will help take some of the stress and pressure off our own mental and physical wellbeing.
Another misconception is that you don’t need to worry about paying off your mortgage any quicker than the 30-year term the bank prescribes. It is significantly in your interest to pay off your home as quickly as possible, so that you free up your cash flow to be able to diversify, invest elsewhere, increase your family’s lifestyle and wellbeing, or start planning for things like retirement. One of the best pieces of advice I can give someone who has a mortgage is to actually pay it off as quickly as possible.
Quick tips to unlocking your financial freedom
- Passive income is key. Make sure you’re building investments that pay an income stream
- Have a separate savings account which is the financial goal account to put money aside into for long term investing
- Learn about ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and listed investment companies because that’s the way to build an immediately diversified portfolio
- Always reinvest your income if you can afford to
- Try and contribute on a regular basis, through a habit system, so you don’t think about it, you just do it
- Always track, review and monitor your passive income and watch it grow
Canna’s guide to family budgeting
- Have four different bank accounts:
everyday account linked to your debit card, where your salary is deposited and most of your expenses withdrawn
life + emergency money which is your financial float account for recurring quarterly, biannual and annual expenses, and a set amount of money for emergencies
lifestyle goal account which could be a family holiday savings account
financial goal account where you put money aside to invest for your family’s financial wellbeing e.g. extra mortgage repayments or money to eventually put into superannuation
- Keep all accounts with the same bank, so if you need to quickly transfer money, it’s there within seconds, and also from an efficiency perspective, you can see your entire cashflow situation on one screen
- Check your account balances and transactions daily, to keep yourself informed and ahead of upcoming expenses
- Even if you can only afford to put $1 into your financial goal account, that’s ok! Creating the habit is the most important principle here
- Keep it simple: if you haven’t set up your finances in a really simplistic way, you’re not going to engage, it becomes too hard, it’s too easy to put off and do another day
You can find a detailed guide to family budgeting and setting up your banking ritual in Mindful Money