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Financial savoir-faire in a day

'Non-boring personal finance conference' features seven speakers and a DJ

Shaun Maslyk is on a mission to take the one thing that stresses out a lot of people and turn it into a joy.


“The problem is that we don't talk about money in school. People go on their merry way and have to then figure out how to balance their bank accounts with rent, food…” he began. “It leads to stress and the stats show that yeah, this is a real issue.”

It’s one of the big reasons why the certified financial planner has a side project that he calls The Most Hated F Word, which is geared towards getting people to fall in love with their finances by learning better money habits, spending and investing wisely, and otherwise taking total control over their wallets and bank accounts.

He has taken this initiative on stage for a Pecha Kucha talk last year at Metro Cinema. He has turned it into a website ( where anyone can find more resources or listen in on his blog for regular financial tips. Now, he has set his sights on the last Saturday of the month to host a one-day extravaganza.

Advertised as a “non-boring personal finance conference,” the day-long event called Shifting Your F-inancial Course features seven speakers and a DJ for the entertainment along with food, wine and beer. He’s keeping the ticket price down to $55 per person too, just to help keep it accessible for as many as possible.

Maslyk says that a financial literacy event like this is desperately needed, quoting a Financial Post Canada study that found that 42 per cent of Canadians report finances as the top stressor in their lives. That’s a big part of the reason why he’s giving the proceeds to Junior Achievement (JA), an organization that works to put young people on the right financial path early.

“I think what JA does is more preventative. What I mean by that is they're going and talking to Grade 8 high school individuals about money and starting that money conversation a lot earlier than traditionally we've done. I think that's compounded the problem. It's no wonder it’s a taboo subject – money is – because we don't talk about it. You're actually kind of weird if you do.

“JA focuses on building that financial literacy in us. They're not going to fix everything but the important thing is that they're going out there and exposing these children to these concepts.”

For the conference, he’s bringing some superstars in local finance along to make some engaging and informative presentations. The list includes serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ashif Mawji, credit expert Richard Moxley, U of A marketing professor Dr. Kyle Murray, finance blogger Alyssa Davies, Mogul Realty owner James Knull, and wills and estate lawyer Bryn Bezaire. Since he has plenty of experience speaking in front of large groups, Maslyk is also listed on the TED Talks-styled billet. Each speaker will have 18 minutes on stage to share their perspectives and to help make financial matters both relatable and easy to act on.

He has developed the day to be a totally life-changing moment for all who attend.

“Basically, I've designed this conference to be toward anybody who makes money, spends money, and has ever had an an emotion associated to that,” he joked.

“I know that’s a large demographic, but really and truly, that's who we're targeting. The reason being is because I feel like there's so many conferences and weekend events about ‘come here, get rich quick… you're going to come here and make a million dollars.’ That's not the intent at all. The intent is to create a space where people can come and talk about money in a productive way: in a way that there's no real guilt, and there's no real, ‘oh, this person has more money than me.’

'I am a firm believer that money in itself has no value. It's not until we place that money toward something that we value, or put that money toward something that's worthwhile in our lives, that I think the value of money really comes out. I think that's an important conversation.”

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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