Finfluencers 2018

Melissa Leong, Personal finance writer and on-air personality

Melissa Leong is one of our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance!

Melissa (@lisleong) is a personal finance writer, keynote speaker, on-air personality and bestselling author. She briefly considered calling her upcoming money book “Well” so then everyone would say: “Well written by Melissa Leong.” She writes about personal finance for the Financial Post and appears on CTV’s The Social as its resident money expert. Through her channels, she reaches millions of Canadians in a quest to help them manage their money while maximizing happiness. She regularly shares her savings tips on radio and television programs such as BNN, CBC Radio, Canada AM and Newstalk 1010.

Over the last 15 years, she has covered a variety of subjects including crime, politics, terrorism, arts and business for the National Post, the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. She has profiled survivors of the Rwandan genocide, investigated nanny abuse in Hong Kong and interviewed thousands of subjects, including heads of state, royalty and celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Carrie Fisher. In her spare time, she teaches salsa dancing, mentors youth and volunteers for organizations that promote the advancement and empowerment of young women. She’s also fully prepared for a zombie invasion and if that doesn’t occur, she’s happily saving for retirement and for her kid’s education. Here, she shares her best financial advice, speaks about her impressive career, and honours the women who inspired her along the way.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career?

ML: Making lemonade. I’ve had a varied career. And many, many times, I’ve been handed lemons. When every publisher said “no” to my novels, I self-published them and sold 70,000 copies. When my boss moved me from covering arts and life (my dream job) to covering business (my second-worst nightmare — I’ve also begrudgingly covered crime), I became my newspaper’s personal finance reporter and a sought-after speaker and TV personality.

Who were the women that served as role models in your life?

ML: While their husbands were working overseas to send money home, the Leong women raised their children and grandchildren alone in China through war and through adversity. When my grandmother arrived in Canada, she took two buses in -30 C Winnipeg weather to and from a sewing factory where she toiled for decades for her family. They were tenacious, resourceful and hard-working. I couldn’t be more inspired or more grateful for their sacrifices.

What was the best financial advice that you’ve ever received?

ML: Nothing of value comes without being earned. Invest in your future, your career, your family. Invest in yourself.

Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa! To learn about more finfluencers, check out our 30 Inspirational Women in Canadian FinTech and Finance.