Bruce Sellery: “Moolala: Why Smart People do Dumb Things with Money and What You Can Do About It” (Spring 2024 Talk #2 Summary)

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Bruce Sellery

Bruce Sellery is a charming, over-the-top presenter who was able to make a dull- sounding topic about personal finances engaging, entertaining, thought-provoking and insightful. No doubt many of you will have heard or seen Bruce on many broadcast media. He is a regular speaker on money matters on CBC Radio.

He personalized his talk by giving his mother as an example of someone who, like many of us, grew up with the ingrained notion that money in uncertain times must be saved for that rainy day. He challenged us to answer questions to reveal how we felt about what money is for…saving, spending, adventure, stuff, investing or whatever comes to mind.

He went on to talk about the four C’s: Context, Consequences, Complexity and Community.

Firstly, what is your money for? For Bruce, a self-proclaimed extrovert, it is adventure. The context of our backgrounds has a lot to do with how we answer this question. He said that security is an insufficient answer.

Secondly, we are most often oblivious of the consequences of our financial behaviours; we have weaknesses, both tangible and intangible. We were challenged to ponder our own attitudes to possible weaknesses that we might otherwise give little thought to. However, consequences should be addressed.

Thirdly, personal finances are complex; one cannot consider optimizing one’s investment returns if cash flows and debts are debilitating concerns.

Fourthly, and most importantly Bruce says, is community. This could be family, a group of friends, the people on your street or like-minded colleagues. It is give-and-take: with what do you need help or whom can you support when the need arises? Whom could you talk to, and what would you talk about?

As usual with our audience, there were several good questions: is it possible to spend too little money; how does one choose a financial advisor; money management between spouses; guilty feelings about frivolous spending.

Bruce gave insightful and often funny answers.

He was very ably thanked on our behalf by Margaret Prugovecki; she had obviously been paying close attention to the presentation and taken some points to heart.

by Linda Tu