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Name: Alison Griffiths
Christmas can be quite the cash drain. All the more reason to tune into Alison Griffiths’ show, Maxed Out for she will do with cash what Janet Jackson does with her career: Exercise “Control.”
Griffiths believes in SUBYB — “Saving Up Before You Buy.” Like American guru Suze Orman, Griffiths says financial health is based on saving not living on credit. “If you can change your attitude about acquisition and save up for your purchases instead of instant gratification and the resultant instant debt, you will always be in financial control.”
A financial journalist with a background in economics, Griffiths knows the importance of a hard earned dollar. A career name tagged with freelance writer, book author, radio broadcaster and TV host, is in stock market speak, “a high risk volatile venture.” That’s a polished way of saying, “There ain’t no steady pay cheque, honey” and “Where did all the zeros go?”
Her first book, Fleecing The Lamb: Inside the Vancouver Stock Exchange, for example, took nearly two years to write. Her return? A mere $10,000.
However, you can’t always count your pennies when your blessings are worth more. “I learned the lessons of money management through the school of hard knocks,” Griffiths explains referring to the financial crisis her family faced when her four-year-old daughter nearly died from meningitis. Five years afterwards, the family was still weathering hard times.
“So, we did what every good freelance writer does. We found someone to pay us to sort out our problems,” shares Griffiths. “A column called The Portfolio Doctor in the Toronto Star was born and we’ve been in the financial advice game ever since.”
By we, she is referring to David Cruise, her husband and literary cohort. Their portfolio comprises 25 years worth of newspaper articles, a screenplay, film documentary work and 10 books, such as The Portfolio Doctor: Your Prescription for Investment Health. The couple had also tried in vain to create a TV show about money management, but their pitch fell on deaf ears.
Nearly 20 years later, Kit Redmond of RTR Media (which is co-owned by Debbie Travis) came calling. Griffiths got cast as Maxed Out’s second host, and life has never been sweeter. “Money can be funny, dramatic and tragic, and what better combination for television?,” notes Griffiths.
In her two seasons of hosting the show, Griffiths has seen it all: bombshell wedding bills, unexpected pregnancy costs, credit card madness and home buying gone awry. “The attitude of ‘I want therefore I take or buy’ drives me nuts,” she adds.
Maxed Out airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on W Network. Tomorrow’s holiday special is -- brace yourself -- a heartwarming tearjerker. After realizing so, I was embarrassed to have asked if Anne Murray was going to guest star singing a CIBC Christmas jingle.
To my surprise, Griffiths replied: “Anne Murray was, very briefly, my gym teacher in Halifax when I was a kid so I’d love for her to sing a jingle.
An award-winning and multi-faceted media personality, Lawrence's career spans journalism, television (hosting, acting, producing) and public relations (event management, publicity). Log onto lawrence-chau.com for more buzz.