6 Financial Resolutions for 2018

 

The new year is a time to reflect and improve on ourselves. Many Canadians choose to make new year resolutions and financial goals are usually at the top of the list. 

 

These tips will help you set (and achieve) successful financial resolutions in 2018. 

 

 

 

Six financial resolutions to make this year:

 

1. Improve your financial literacy

 

The Canadian Financial Literacy Database helps you build an understanding of personal finance. Even if you don’t manage your own money, a basic understanding of terminology helps you better communicate your goals with a financial advisor.

 

2. Put the brakes on a big purchase

 

If you’re considering replacing an old car this year ask yourself if it can wait. If your car is paid off, the maintenance cost is likely less than payments on a new vehicle. You can use these savings to get ahead on the purchase of your dream car in the future. These principles can be applied to other big expenses like kitchen appliances or home renovations.

 

3. Practice patience with your purchases

 

To prevent overspending and impulse buying, wait a couple of weeks before making unnecessary purchases. If you wait long enough you might forget about it all together. Unfortunately, some purchases can’t be avoided. For the bigger necessary purchases, give yourself time to shop around and wait for a good deal.

 

4. Find leaks in your budget

 

Fees, impulse buying and overage charges on internet or cell phone plans are all examples of budget leaks. To fix these leaks, spend a month tracking your spending. This helps you find money you didn’t even realize was being spent. Patching up your budget leaks can help save $10s, $100s, or even $1000s this year!

 

5. Invest in your career

 

Investing in your primary source of income is a terrific way to earn more money this year. You can use Glassdoor to see if you’re getting paid fairly based on your experience and job title. You can use this information to ask for a raise or leverage it to get a better offer in a new job. To advance your career, you can also do a Google search for certificates or other learning opportunities in your industry.

 

Bring a new attitude to your money with these financial resolutions for 2018. These tips can make you smarter about your money, save more and live happier. Get in touch to find out how to make your 2018 financial goals come true.  

 

6. Build an emergency fund

 

One of the first steps towards financial independence is protecting yourself against unexpected expenses such as car repairs, home renovations and changes in employment. According to the Financial Post, only a quarter of Canadians have a rainy-day fund.

 

If an emergency happened in your life, would you need to take on debt? Talk to your financial advisor about how building an emergency fund can help avoid getting into debt.

4 Tips for a Relaxing Vacation

It’s that time of year again. Canadians from all provinces and territories are packing their suitcases, escaping the cold grip of winter and heading to sunny destinations in paradise.

Tourists can maximize vacation relaxation by turning off technology, protecting yourself with a little planning and following your natural rhythm when it comes to rest.

Here are four ways to maximize relaxation on your next vacation:  

  1. Step away from technology

Technology reminds us of the harsh realities of our day-to-day lives. While on vacation, take a tech-detox and let yourself drift away.

Turning off electronics can help you disassociate from reality and forget about all the pressing to-dos at home.

 

This Reader’s Digest article explains all the benefits of unplugging on vacation.

  1. Plan your trip in advance

Unless you’re the type of person who enjoys making plans on the spot, planning your activities ahead of time can help have a stress-free vacation. In tourist areas, scammers and thieves can take advantage of travelers by overinflating prices. Checking ratings, reading reviews and comparing prices will help save money on activities and excursions.

  1. Follow your body clock

Your vacation is an opportunity to fall in tune with your body’s natural rhythm. There’s nothing more relaxing than dozing in and out of sleep as you please, especially if you’re doing it on the beach.

 

According to Sleep.org, following your body clock promotes better sleep and reduces anxiety. When you go back to work you’ll feel rested and alert.

  1. Stay within a budget

Minimize your stress when returning to the real world by setting a spending budget and sticking to it. The relaxed atmosphere while on vacation can let travelers be a little bit too worry free about your money.

 

The last thing you want to do is ruin the memories of a great vacation with an empty bank account and maxed out credit card when you get back home.

 

If you’re migrating away from winter towards a sunnier destination, these tips can help increase relaxation while on vacation. If you’re dreaming of a trip this winter, contact me to find out how I can help set a realistic travel budget and help you stay debt free long after the vacation is over.

 

 

How to Stay on Track for Retirement

 

 

Whether you’re planning to leave the workforce in five, 10, or even 30 years, it’s vital to stay on top of your retirement plan. Statistics Canada found that since the 1970s, the number of Canadians with an employer group retirement savings plan dropped from 46% to 37%. With the number of employer group retirement plans decreasing, it’s more important than ever to follow these five tips to stay on track for retirement.

 

Talk to a professional and create a financial strategy

Working with an advisor to create a financial strategy allows you to live your best life now, without jeopardizing your retirement in the future. A financial strategy helps set goals into perspective and allows for adjustments if need be.

 

I will help organize your current finances and achieve your financial goals head on. With a financial strategy, clear set goals and a tangible course of action, you’ll feel comfortable about your financial future.

 

Get professional retirement advice

Where better to get advice about retirement than from someone who specializes in retirement planning, investment strategies and money management? Other than medical situations, paying for financial advice is probably the one profession that’s worth the cost.

 

Without professional retirement advice, it’s up to you to figure out how to retire with financial stability. Are you prepared to do that? People live a large portion of their lives in retirement and professional advice can help you make the best decisions based on your personal situation.

 

Create a retirement-friendly budget

It’s very common for people to get wrapped up in their day-to-day finances and forget about their future. If you’re tight on money now, a budget can help improve your current and future situations.

 

Even small contributions to your retirement savings plan can go a long way over time as they quickly add up. Adding retirement savings (no matter how big or small) into your monthly budget will help achieve retirement success.

 

Turn unexpected into retirement savings

If you receive a bonus at work or an unexpected cash windfall, it’s a fantastic opportunity to add some extra money into your retirement savings. Unexpected money is very easy to waste, and if you’re not on track for retirement, you owe it to yourself to save for your future.

 

It’s always a good time to start planning for retirement

If you think you’re too young to start planning, think again. Thanks to compounding returns even small investments in your 20s can grow into big savings for your future. How you tackle retirement in your younger years may look different than it does if you’re in your 40s, but it’s a great idea to start thinking about it and planning for it sooner than later.

 

When it comes to saving and planning for retirement, professional advice can go a long way. Whether your retirement is in the near future or several years down the road, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and seek professional advice. Contact me today if you want to create a retirement plan or check in on your current plan to ensure you’re on the right track towards a successful retirement.

 

3 Investment Tips for Millennials

 

 

Let’s be honest, investing isn’t always easy – at least it doesn’t always seem that way. With so many different options available on the market (from mutual funds to stocks), choosing the best strategy can be overwhelming. That’s where the assistance of a financial advisor comes into play.

 

It’s very easy to get caught up in hot tips, news headlines and guidance from family and friends. It seems like everywhere we look someone is giving millennials investment tips. The truth is finance is personal, and that’s why it’s so important to get tailored advice from a professional. With that being said, there are some pieces of advice that all young investors should know.

 

Here are three investment tips for millennials who want to start investing:

 

Start as early as possible

 

Yes, that’s right, young people should have started investing way before they were coined as millennials. As soon as you have an income (no matter how big or small) a portion of your paycheque should go into savings.

 

Thanks to a little thing called compound interest there are big benefits for millennials who start investing early. Compound interest helps your investments grow faster because your monthly earned interest (or dividends or capital gains) is reinvested back into your account. Therefore, the next month you earn interest on the previous month’s interest and so on for years to come. It’s brilliant.

 

Think long term with your strategy

 

According to Forbes, investing for the long term helps millennials see the bigger picture when it comes to risk versus reward in your portfolio. “Risk is kind of like that friend who regularly cancels plans but always comes through in a pinch. There might be heartache in the day-to-day, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you stuck it out.

In investing, more risk means the potential for more reward. Could you lose money and never collect that premium? Sure, but that’s unlikely when you’re in it for the long-term.”

 

Be honest with your financial advisor

 

Professional advice can help find an investment strategy that fits your individual plan, financial capabilities and life goals. However, that can only happen if you are completely honest with your advisor.

 

Think of a financial advisor as your financial doctor, they can’t totally assess the situation and provide a recommendation until they have all the information. This includes your short term and long-term goals, tolerance for risk, time horizon and general knowledge of the investing world.

 

If you have questions about investing or want to start investing but don’t know where to begin, I’m happy to help. Let’s chat about your goals and investment options for millennials.

 

*This content was originally created by Manulife Securities for information purposes only. It has been distributed for advisor publication.*

How to Ace Your Student Budget

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Heading off to college or university is a big milestone and a time that's filled with lots of excitement, and anxiety. Just like with most things in life, it pays to be prepared.

 

Studies have found that those who have a strategy for financial health save more money and are financially healthier. To avoid overspending, make sure you know what's coming in vs. what's coming out by tracking your spending to the dollar.

 

5 Tips for an A+ on your Student Budget:

 

1. Make a budget and stick to it

Making a budget with the help of this student budget template is easy, sticking to your budget can be difficult. In the next points, I will show you how to make sticking to your budget simple.  

     

2. Put yourself on payroll

If you’re funding your expenses through a student loan, stay within your budget by paying yourself on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis from your loan. By paying yourself on pay day, it will be much easier to gauge your spending and you will gain real-life experience in pay day excitement.

      

3. Put money aside for your necessities first 

Consider this scenario.

You check your bank account before you leave for the night and you see you have a few hundred dollars left. What you’re forgetting is that you haven’t paid for that utility bill yet. You will avoid this by putting the money for bills in a separate place. Sometimes we’re in a rush and make mistakes, but segregating your money is a great way to ensure you’re never unintentionally tapping into your bill money for fun.   

 

4. Track and review your weekly spending

A budget means nothing if you don’t follow it. Put all your purchases on debit, or keep your receipts. Take a few minutes every week to see how well you’re sticking to budget. Don’t forget to make any necessary adjustments.

 

5. Draw a clear line between wants and needs 

A 2:42am burrito isn’t filed as a grocery item. A late-night burrito is perfectly fine, if you have money left in your “Take Out/Order In” category from the budget template above.

 

Budgeting doesn’t mean restricting all spending to $0. Follow these tips and you will mitigate the stress of finance in your already stressful life. A good budget reflects what you can afford, or in some cases, what you are comfortable paying back once your university or college education is complete. Most of all, your well-planned budget makes your financial health better.