Youtuber Canna Campbell Explains Why High-Risk Investments Are ‘Unnecessary’

If you happen to stumble upon Canna Campbell’s YouTube channel SugarMamma.TV, you’ll immediately be thrust into a world where eliminating debt is top priority, where creating passive income streams with even just $1,000 at a time is key to financial freedom and where being frugal is always being celebrated.

After more than 15 years in the financial planning industry, the Australian native launched her channel in 2015 and has since gained a widespread following with videos on everything from how to get rid of credit card debt to how to buy stocks and diversify your investment portfolio.

Campbell now has close to 12 million views on her YouTube channel. She’s become a trusted source for many looking to get a hold of their finances and build wealth, without taking on any unnecessary high-risk investments.

So for our first Q&A on LA Daily Finance, we wanted to get at what drove her to share all of her insights on YouTube. But also some must-asks like what’s in her investment portfolio, what she really thinks of cryptocurrencies and what her money advice is for Gen-Z and millennials.

Here’s what she had to say.(Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.)

Marina Peña: Canna, you’ve made a career and a name for yourself as a financial planner and YouTuber. You’re also on all the other social media platforms. So, I really want to start from the beginning. Can you tell me how you got started on this path and what made you want to share all of your knowledge with people?

Canna Campbell: I’ve been in the financial planning industry for about 20 years, and I’ve been a financial planner for about 18 years. One of my clients is a very famous YouTuber called Chloe Morello. She’s a makeup and beauty YouTuber and I really helped her a lot with her finances. She came to me knowing nothing and just completely overwhelmed.

And she said to me, “You’ve really got to share this knowledge with people. People are lost, they’re making bad decisions, they’re getting into debt, they’re not paying their taxes, and you know, you need to get your voice out there.” I had toyed with the idea of setting up a YouTube channel, but I never really had that push. She gave me that push. So I did it; I just launched it.

From then on, it just exploded. I went from I think 5,000 subscribers to like 28,000 subscribers in 48 hours, which is phenomenal. I’ve never paid for a subscriber. I’ve never paid for a like or comment. All my growth has been 100% organic, which I really pride myself on.

Marina Peña: In 2018, your first book The $1,000 Project came out. Tell me more about how it all works. How would someone like me get started on the project ?

Canna Campbell: It’s really easy, you just literally open up a separate dedicated savings account. And every time you save money…so say for example, you decide to take your lunch to work today, instead of buying it and you save, say $15, you will put that $15 that you would have normally spent into that savings account. Also, on the flip side, every time you do things to earn extra money like babysitting or taking surveys online. There’s so many little things you can do to earn extra money and save extra money. So, once you get that money in your hot little hand, you put it straight into a separate savings account, and the moment it hits $1,000, you transfer that towards one of your goals.

For me $1,000 at the time was not an overwhelming figure. But if I had said to myself, go and save $100,000, I wouldn’t have even bothered trying. I would’ve been like that’s unrealistic. I can’t possibly do that. But I can do $1,000. And if I just repeat that process 100 times it’s $100,000. So that’s the principle behind it.

Now for me, I use the $1,000 project to invest and I build up a diversified share portfolio. And now the $1,000 project has been going for almost six years now and that share portfolio now has a $50,000 margin loan attached, which is very conservatively managed. But the share portfolio is worth almost $200,000 and is paying me a passive income of almost $7,000 and that’s in a world where companies have obviously had share price corrections and pull backs and dividends have been reduced or paused. So it just shows you the strength of dollar cost averaging and taking a long term approach and focusing on passive income, which is what I’m really passionate about.

Marina Peña: So going back to your investment portfolio, what’s in your investment portfolio in 2021 ? With everything going on with the pandemic, how have things changed or have they ?

Canna Campbell: Nothing’s changed. I’m not trying to time the market. I’m not trying to be a stock picking guru. A good percentage of the portfolio, like 70% of it, is actually in listed investment companies and ETFs. And then I’ve cherry picked companies or industries that I’m really passionate about and think are great businesses. Companies like Vanguard, iShares BlackRock. They’re businesses that we look at and see.

I know people jump on the crypto trend and the tech stocks, but before we need tech stocks, we need to go to the bank. We need to do banking online. These are our essential services. We still need to go to the supermarket and buy our bread and butter. We still need to go to the doctors. We still need to buy medicine. This stuff comes first.

So that’s to me a more conservative approach. All the companies I invest in: there’s no penny stocks, there’s no high-risk stocks. It’s really all in blue chip industrial stocks, where companies have been producing goods and services for 30-40 years. They’ve been paying consistent dividends. And most importantly, there’s dividends that have been consistently increasing over time to pay a passive income

Marina Peña: So to make all the financial decisions you do, who do you listen to? Whose advice do you take ?

I’m more of a book person, so Warren Buffett I’ve been following for years. Lance Roberts, I think he’s got some great stuff. Also, the first half of Robert Kiyosaki’s book is great. And then there’s some Australian economists like Shane Oliver, from AMP who’s brilliant. Probably one of the best books I love is called Motivated Money by Peter Thornhill, which is probably more Australian than U.S. based. But, they all provide information backed by like 80 years worth of data and they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. They’re not trying to be gurus.

Marina Peña: So no Bitcoin or Dogecoins for Canna.

Canna Campbell: If people want to do that, that’s fine. As I said, I think it’s a fashionable trend and I don’t think people understand the risk. On my Instagram, I explain why I don’t. There’s no value linked to Bitcoin. It’s not linked to any tangible asset. It’s all driven by speculation and herd mentality, which is very dangerous.

If I look at one of the supermarkets I own in both my own personal share portfolio and the $1,000 project share portfolio, it’s companies worth a billion dollars. They have property, staff and a brand. They’ve been making money for 15,20,30,40,50, 60, 70 years.They’ve actually got value and sometimes they’re actually worth a lot more than what the share price is, which means the stock’s at a discount. Also, crypto doesn’t pay a passive income and I know you can do certain things with your wallet, but it’s not technically the same.

Marina Peña: So, LA Daily Finance is a local finance news site dedicated to a younger audience. So what I really want to know is, what financial advice would you give your 25-year-old self ?

Canna Campbell: Well, for starters, you’re never too young to start investing and the benefits that flow into your life, not just financially, but emotionally from taking care of your financial wellbeing, are phenomenal. It gives you a sense of strength, purpose, direction, and self confidence and those are very attractive, magnetic characteristics to have.

Everyone should start investing and then invest for the long run. Don’t be embarrassed, if it’s only $10 a week. That’s better than nothing. And you can slowly and steadily build that up over time. It might start with $10 a week, but then in a couple of months time it might be $12 a week or $15 a week. And before you know it; it goes to $25 a week. You’re creating a very powerful habit system that will get to the stage where you don’t even think about it. You just do it and you start to see something grow. You start to have an aha moment like the amazing Oprah loves to say. You start getting your first dividend check and you start reinvesting your dividends.

Marina Peña: Lastly, I just want to know what’s next for you? What projects do you have coming up?

Well, I have my podcast, which is doing extremely well. It’s called Sugar Mamma’s Financial Foreplay. I will also be writing my third book soon, but I’m actually pregnant right now. I’m pregnant with my third child, so I’m not going to add a third book  right this moment because it can be pretty stressful, but definitely soon.

I’m also working with banks. I’m working with lifestyle brands. They are all companies onboard with me helping improve financial literacy, not just in Australia, but around the world. So lots of exciting things in the pipeline.

In addition to her YouTube channel, you can follow SugarMamma.TV on Instagram and Facebook. Also, click here to listen to her podcast “Financial Foreplay.”

About the Author

Marina Peña

Marina is the founder and editor-in-chief of LA Daily Finance. She's also a nationally published multimedia journalist and producer from Los Angeles, California. Her work has been featured on Yahoo! Finance, CNBC, HuffPost and NBC Los Angeles, among other places. In addition to her work at LA Daily Finance, she is currently producing several finance podcasts.