x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Beware of trusting too much

Money and me: Lisa MacLeod, the managing director of Transformational Synergies International, started her own business 18 months ago.

Lisa MacLeod heads the training and development institution TSI. Jeffrey Biteng / The National
Lisa MacLeod heads the training and development institution TSI. Jeffrey Biteng / The National

Lisa MacLeod is the managing director of Transformational Synergies International, a training and development institution in Dubai Knowledge Village. The Canadian, who has lived in the Arabian Gulf for 14 years, started her own business 18 months ago after 27 years working in higher education across three continents.


How would you describe your financial journey so far?

Looking back over the years, I started my financial journey when I was in high school. I had a part-time job, as I wanted more freedom and to be able to spend money on things that I wanted and not necessarily what I needed. Over the years, I invested in my education, my professional development and my employability. I always worked for a salary ensuring security and freedom and then I started my own business. Today, my journey is more exciting but less predictable.


Are you a spender or a saver?

I am not sure if I am a spender or a saver but I am definitely an investor. I am always investing in myself by travelling, learning new languages, earning fun degrees and putting money aside for my next big adventure. I always had investments either in a fixed-term savings account, National Bonds, a retirement policy et cetera. However, since I started my own business, I am a complete spender, always investing in the business. Like any new business, it will take some time to see the return but I am confident my business will continue to grow.


Is money important to you?

Yes, it is. As a single female travelling around the world, money is my freedom, my security, my life. Although I do not see money as what determines my values, it is money that supports my values. If I am in an uncomfortable situation that is going against my values, I have the money to leave that situation. If I identify an area that reflects my values, I have the money to invest in it.


Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Oh yes, and more than the average person I am sure. My biggest problem is that I trust people too much and trusting people who may have an affect on your financial situation, regardless if it is a proposition, a situation, an institution or an individual, can be a big mistake. It is easy to make mistakes but very difficult to correct mistakes.


Do you plan for the future?

Yes, I do. If I do not plan for the future, I am limiting my freedom. However, things do not always go according to plan but at least I do plan.


What has been your biggest financial lesson?

My biggest financial lesson is not to mix family and friends with money. I used to help everyone and lend money without a second thought. In addition, I used to believe friends and family when they would suggest ideas to invest and I would go along without questioning or inquiring. The last big idea a friend proposed left me falling off a financial cliff without a parachute. I see the bottom but now I have to climb back up that mountain to gain my financial stability. From now on, I will always look into anything anyone suggests again.


What is your philosophy on money?

My philosophy on money is based on the Cashflow Quadrantby Robert Toru Kiyosaki - an American philosopher on money and life. The first quadrant is the employees and those who are in search for security. The second quadrant is those who are self-employed or who go solo, and the third quadrant is the businessman who wants to be surrounded by a great network, great people and who wants the best people to run his company. Finally, the fourth quadrant is those who invest and have their money work for them. When I take a look at the four quadrants, I think I am the businesswoman who will then become the investor.


What do you spend your money on?

My family back in Canada and myself. I spend my money investing in me, my future and my life trying to achieve a balance between business and pleasure. I want my savings, my nice home, my adventurous holidays and my fun lifestyle and to ensure I am safe and secure while enjoying each day as it comes.