Keighty Gallagher for W-T-Finances



Keighty Gallagher is the founder of Tight Club in Vancouver. She spoke with W-T-Finances about her relationship with money, life as an entrepreneur, and how a childhood memory of candy impressed an important financial perspective in adulthood.

How do you spend money and how do you save it?

I spend money emotionally. When I’m feeling lonely and I have nothing to do on a Sunday, I’ll find myself shopping. I’ll go on pretty good droughts where I don’t shop for a couple of months, and then I see an opportunity to treat myself. There is a societal pressure to keep my kit tight, especially working in fitness, so a lot of my money goes towards my wardrobe and shoes. I want to work out a plan to save money because it’s like, ‘why am I working so hard?’ 

How do I save it? I don’t. But I do have this weird thing where I’ll get paid for a special gig and I’ll have a couple grand in my account, and that feeling that I more money in my account makes me not want to spend it. But when I’m down to my last pennies, I want to spend it because it’s like it’s not really there anyway. 

What's your earliest memory of money? 

My grandma opened a bank account for me when I was a kid and every ‘A’ I got, she gave me $5. I might have had $75 at some point, which I spent quite recently. It was this weird little account, so I ended up spending it on a pottery course because I knew my grandma loved art. Aside from that, it was the swear jar. When my parents would swear, they’d put 25 cents in a jar. The other thing is that every Saturday we would got go to the candy shop and spend $1 on candy.

How have those memories impacted you as an adult?

It goes to show that our culture supports good things; if you work hard you get treated. But also, wait to reap your rewards. Wait all week and get your dollar candies! Good things comes to those who wait. 

What's something you know about finances now that you didn't a year ago?

This year is my biggest financial learning and it has to do with my business. Even when you’re leasing a space and you get a set rent and think, ‘I’m not going to have any surprises,’ until property taxes go up and now I have to spend almost an extra thousand dollars a month on rent. Nothing stays the same. You can’t predict anything. Don’t get comfortable.

What is it like running a business and being an entrepreneur?

The good comes with the bad. For me, it’s the support from the community that makes me feel happier than what’s coming into my bank account. I thought I would be making more, and the more I made the happier I would feel. But the past month, I just turned 30, and 30 of my closest friends did something nice to me on the days leading up to my birthday. I’ve never felt a sense of community so strong before. You have to take care of each other, just as you would your family. And as amazing as it is to feel like you’re part of something bigger and alive, it’s also always there; you surrender your freedom. Maybe I have too easy of a time turning off and thinking ‘this isn’t the end of the world, I don’t have to stay up until 2 in the morning writing emails.’ If all else fails, it’s all on you.

What scares the shit out of you about what you do for a living?

Every day I learn something new about business I’m like, ‘if I had known this three years ago, I probably wouldn’t have done it.’ I love to tell people: go in blind and start to see slowly. The upfront costs, whether it’s time or money, and sacrifices you have to give to start a business, if you’re motivated by making money and you’re wanting to run a “mom and pop” type of shop, it’s probably not a good choice. That’s what I’m learning. I’m not disappointed in it, I’m just humbled whenever I meet a business owner who appears strong, has a family, and has their ducks in line. I mean, nobody has their ducks in line but Instagram makes it look easy when we actually all have a crazy barnyard full of ducks flying around. I really admire the people who are fully educated on what it takes to run a business. 

How did you explain to your parents that you weren't going for a traditional job but creating your own? 

I was super nervous about it and it was actually a big barrier in me deciding what I wanted to do. I’d just gone to an expensive university in the US and they had helped me financially, so I thought that if I didn’t get a job in marketing, they would be super bummed because what was the point of going to business school for five years? I was actually surprised how supportive they were when I presented them the idea. I’ve been someone who does well with positive affirmation, so they’ve never been like ‘are you sure this is a good idea?’ They’ve always said, ‘here’s a good lawyer, here’s a good accountant.’ The support from being honest is what stoked my fire. 

What does financial freedom mean to you?

I don’t associate the feeling of being free with money. I do a pretty good job of separating myself. I guess it would be that I can pay for a nice dinner any night of the week, I can buy a flight somewhere, I can actually save time by spending money. Instead of driving to Portland and spending six hours on the road, I can invest in a plane ticket and get there faster. It’s the ability to use your money to spend more quality time with the people you love and doing the things you love.



Follow Keighty's journey here:

Chantel Chapman