Aug 182014
 

You’re on the right financial track – you have a healthy budget and you stick to it (for the most part), but did you know that we all have 5 little triggers that lead us to overspend in the store without even noticing?

Today’s Monday Motivation is all about noticing these 5 little moments, letting them pass by and making the healthier financial decision to not overspend in the end.

ID 10039151 300x199 The 5 Little Moments We Tend to Overspend Without Noticing

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. You purchase an item not on your list to cover up for an embarrassing purchase. We have definitely all done this before. You walk into the store because you need to buy something…anti-fungal toe cream, wax strips, whatever, and to avoid looking like this is the only thing we came in for we usually buy a bunch of other stuff to cover it up. Instead of adding an extra $20 or $40 of impulse buys to your bill, simply pick up a newspaper and something else you actually need, like floss. At least then you’ll end up using your cover-up purchase.
  2. You shop early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds. Sounds legitimate right? However, avoiding the crowds can negatively impact our finances. We are more likely to take our time, shop all of the shelves and consequently buy way more than we intended to. It’s okay to want to avoid the crowded aisles – just remind yourself to stay focused on your list and get out of there on budget!
  3. You have multiple debit cards in your wallet. This is kind of a necessity of being a grown-up, but believe it or not, if you keep cards for multiple bank accounts in your wallet, it kind of tricks your brain into thinking you have more money than you actually do when really it is just spread across different accounts. To avoid overspending, think about the purchase itself, not the balance in your accounts. We tend to justify extraneous purchases by thinking, “Well, I still have money in my other account.” If you cannot afford an item out of one account, just avoid it.
  4. You have been feeling a little down. Nowadays we are all mostly trained to avoid shopping for ourselves when we are in a slump, but did you know that we try to find the same sense of satisfaction by shopping for someone else? Typically, we will spend on others to enhance our connection with them when we are feeling a little sad or lonely. If you are feeling this way, consider any events or birthdays coming up that you will actually have to purchase a gift for. This way you kill two birds with one stone so to speak.
  5. You have just been reminded to ‘savour the moment’. Ads use this technique all of the time! Mostly because it is highly effective. Just like Kit Kat‘s slogan, ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat,’ we convince ourselves that in order to have the best break possible we NEED that particular item. There is nothing wrong with taking a break – you just don’t need to spend money to do so.
ID 100152162 300x199 The 5 Little Moments We Tend to Overspend Without Noticing

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are there any other moments when you feel particularly inclined to spend more money than usual? We’d love to hear your personal experiences! Drop us a line below to share your comments or questions.

Interested in talking about your ‘spend’ triggers with an expert? We can help with that too! Don’t hesitate to contact us today – 780.722.3000.

Aug 062014
 

Whether you like this catchy reggae tune by Sublime or not, summer is the perfect time to unwind, relax and begin to rethink certain areas of your life that might be holding you back. Too often we become bogged down by our daily lives and forget about our passions, goals and our overall happiness.

ID 10035169 199x300 Its Summer Time and the Livings Easy

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Believe it or not, a big part of becoming financially healthy is taking a break from thinking about the reality of your finances. Your bills will still be there tomorrow. Instead, consider your short term and long term goals. Those may include an upcoming trip you want to take, new furniture for your home or the future of your retirement. Are you currently taking steps to attain these goals? Or are you living paycheque to paycheque with barely any savings to speak of?

In either case, the best time to start working towards your goals is TODAY! Someday is not a reasonable time frame. Whether you want a new pair of shoes or save for your down payment, the only time to start is right now.

Will you step up and take control of your personal finances?

As we’ve already said, the best time to take control of your finances is now, however, big changes all at once are really overwhelming. Consider making yourself a list of smaller, more easily attainable goals that will inevitably make your actual goals possible.

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Aug 012014
 

August 11th CTV let Canadian’s know that their net worth was up 8% and now I am posing the question: do you know what that means?

To kick off lifestyle month here on our blog I am suggesting that if nothing else in the next 4 weeks our readers get critical and gain educated awareness of information and their situation.

When you see a 1 minute 46 second clip from our “trusted” new source letting you know that Canadian’s net worth is up 8% from last year do you consider:

Where did they get their information?

What factors contributed to the survey or study?

What was net worth at previous to increasing by 8%?

What the definition of net worth really is? Let’s check that out. Continue reading »

Jul 252014
 

This week’s Friday Freebie is a reminder that breakfast can be fun. So we’re giving you fun and healthy breakfast ideas!

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, as people age and their children leave the nest people tend to neglect that important meal. As time goes on if a spouse unfortunately dies and someone is left on their own the likelihood that breakfast (or any other meal) be skipped increases. Many people find it hard to cook for one. Even with the increase in individual servings and recipes there are times where it just comes down to willingness. So snacks become meals, nutrition decreases which leads to less energy and a worsened mood and by the time you know it you’re a grumpy old grandma/grandpa. No one wants that. So make breakfast and any other meal fun again!

Check out CalorieCounters 8 Fast, Healthy Breakfast Ideas to find out how to add healthy value to waffles, make Morning Pizzas,  Cereal “Sundaes”, and five other fun, fast options.

Additional Resources:

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Jul 232014
 

Debt consolidation is just as it sounds. Instead of keeping track of every monthly payment you have to make, you combine all of your debt into a new, individual loan and make one payment instead. This option is perfect for anyone who feels as though they are drowning in debt and cannot keep track or make all of their payments.

ID 100263883 300x272 5 Reasons Debt Consolidation Works

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consolidating your debt is a perfectly legal way of improving your financial situation and getting yourself back on track. There are various methods  for doing so, such as home equity loans, personal loans, balance transfers, etc. We recommend speaking with a trusted professional before you decide which method to go with. Each option comes with their own pros and cons. Your financial adviser, debt consultant or another professional of your choice can help you choose the best option for your financial situation.

Our Top 5 Reasons Why Debt Consolidation Works

  1. Lower monthly payments - When you consolidate all of your debt into one loan, you typically end up paying less than you would if you made payments for each individual loan or credit card. This could be due to getting a new, lower interest rate on your loan or because you end up paying more than just the minimum on your credit cards which saves you interest over time. The more money you save now, the more likely you are to put it towards paying off your debts completely.
  2. Eliminate high-interest credit card payments - If you are able to transfer the balance of your credit cards to a consolidated loan you will save yourself the hassle of paying off your high interest loans and credit cards every month, which doesn’t really get you anywhere. In some cases you can even take advantage of zero interest for period of 12 to 18 months if you agree to pay off all of your debts within that time.
  3. Simplify your debt - Now that you only have one payment to make, all you have to do it pay it on time! No longer do you have to track a hectic payment schedule that usually results in late payments. With a fixed monthly fee, reaching the end of the line actually seems attainable, rather than overwhelming, making you more likely to get out of debt faster!
  4. Improve your credit score - Debt consolidation allows you to improve your credit score in multiple ways. You are now making your payments on time. You are saving money by not having to deal with high interest rates so you can pay off other debts that could not be included in the consolidation loan. In the end, you will have a better handle on your finances and slowly, slowly you will be rebuilding your credit-worthiness.
  5. Get out of debt faster - An all-in-one monthly payment not only saves you money in the long run, that you can use to pay off all of your debt right away, but you can also begin saving for your future. Getting out of debt is a great feeling and you shouldn’t have to wait your whole life to feel that way. Debt consolidation can help get you there faster. Consult a financial professional today to get started!
ID 10096073 300x225 5 Reasons Debt Consolidation Works

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have more questions about whether debt consolidation is right for you? Call us today 780.722.3000. We can help you get out of debt faster.

Want to share your personal experience with debt consolidation? We’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us a line below.

Jul 222014
 

Whoa! You may be asking if that it is even possible and we are here to tell you it is. We know what it’s like: you wake up, you have to get to work, you need coffee and a bagel, and you are already running through your ‘To Do’ list for the day. Not a terrible way to start the day, but we also know that if you practice being mindful in the morning, it can end up saving you big bucks before you even get to work.

A few simple changes here and there can pay off big time. Here are some examples of simple switches that add up to a whopping savings of $5000 every year.

Your Money-Saving Morning Routine

7:00 A.M. – Speedy showers

No more wasting time while the water is running! Limit your showers in the morning to 10 minutes or less by setting yourself a timer. Invest in a low-flow shower head also and you will save $120 a year.

7:15 A.M. – Makeup for less

Instead of heading to Sephora or the MAC store every time you need makeup, research the drugstore ‘dupes’ that are out there. Typically, you can find a very similar product for $10 or less rather than splurging for the brand names at $20 to $50. Now you’ve saved yourself another $100 a year. For the guys out there, you may not use makeup, but you probably have a few designer labels in your cabinet that could be switched for a drugstore brand.

ID 10055203 221x300 Tuesday Transformation: Our Money Saving Morning Routine could save you $5,000 a year

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7:45 A.M. – Eat breakie at home

If you rush out the door every morning, stopping to buy a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, that adds up to about $1300 of money you could have saved by eating and brewing coffee at home. Not only is it better for your wallet, but passing on the processed breakfast foods is good for your health too! Can’t find the time? You can prepare overnight oats for a quick breakfast you can still grab and go.

Continue reading »

Jul 182014
 

Forbes is calling it The Greatest Retirement Crisis in American History

SeniorLiving.About.com tells us that 57% of seniors wish they had done more to prepare for retirement. And only 66% of them are living the lifestyle they wanted in retirement.

Market Watch shares that people that Many Americans Are Not Prepared For Retirement: Fed Study

MoneySense.ca reports that Canadian’s 55 and Over Aren’t Prepared For Retirement

Statistics Canada breaks down Debt and Family Size in Canada here. 

am i prepared for retirement Am I Prepared For Retirement

The list goes on, and has for a while. The fact of this matter has been growing over the last decade as more and more of the Baby Boomer generation descends into the much anticipated retirement wave. Despite being able to see this movement coming it seems that a majority of people did not take action and prepare properly for retirement.

Today’s Friday Freebie is a shout out to EVERYONE. Do not think you are above this trend. Retirement planning is not a sexy, or fun thing to do with your money, however, the earlier you start the less a month it will be. Sit down with a certified financial planner or adviser today. Find out your FIN (Financial Independence Number) and begin executing a plan that makes you prepared for retirement.

am i prepared for retirement 2 Am I Prepared For Retirement

Tips if you are experiencing anxiety click here.

If you find that your debt load is affecting your ability to do future planning and be prepared for retirement call our office to book an appointment. 780-722-3000

Jul 172014
 

A big part of dealing with outstanding debt and credit collectors is the damage it does to your credit rating. A less-than-stellar credit rating can hold you back financially and prevent you from seizing the opportunities, like buying a home, that come up in your life.

Most people have no idea how much their credit rating is actually costing them. A couple missed payments here, a forgotten bill there and all of a sudden collection agents are calling and your credit rating is down the tube.

ID 10056757 199x300 10 Steps to Credit Repair

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your score is based on five core attributes that determine whether or not you can handle credit and debt.

5 Keys to Determining Your Credit Score

Your previous payment history

This accounts for a whopping 35% of your score. Your track record when it comes to paying your bills has the biggest affect on your rating. Late payments, collections, judgements, liens, foreclosures, bankruptcy and wage attachments are all seriously detrimental to your credit score.

Your current level of debt

Another 30% of your score, this attribute considers whether or not you are overextended when it comes to your finances. Having maxed out credit cards or other accounts near the maximum limit signals that you are mismanaging your credit and that you could have trouble making future payments.

Continue reading »

Jul 112014
 

Is it true that over 30% of Canadians have returned to work after retiring because of financial concerns?
retired canadians returning to work Retired Canadians Returning to Work
The answer is an astounding yes.

Over a third of retired Canadians are returning to work. The reason these people are having financial concerns is because of situations such as mismanaged money, longer life expectancy, investments yielding less than projected, increased expenses or expenses that didn’t decrease as expected, unpredictable health costs or assisted living costs, etc.  The list is extensive, we’d encourage you to read more on this topic on The Globe & Mail, CTV News, Huffington Post,  which all reference a the ING survey findings or check out Stats Canada’s breakdown of post retirement employment.

The Friday Freebie this week is intended to bring awareness to people that retired Canadians returning to work is a real issue. But we don’t want just doom and gloom. Today is also to give a shout out to the other two thirds of retired Canadians; the majority who have executed their retirement planning so they feel confident enough to not return to work post retirement. Take the stress and worry out of your retirement by planning properly. You FIN (Financial Independence Number) is a vital to ensuring you can say “Hukuna Matata” for the great years of your retirement.

hakuna matata 1024x576 Retired Canadians Returning to Work

Jul 092014
 

No one plans to stop paying their bills. Life happens and sometimes a loss of income causes even the most diligent to fall behind on their payments. If this does happen to you and all of a sudden you have creditors or collection agencies breathing down your neck, just keep calm and follow our next steps.

6 Steps to Dealing With Collection Agencies

Step One: Find out who is calling.

Depending on what stage of delinquency you are in it could be a creditor calling, a collection agency or a debt repurchaser. This will influence how you will get them off of your back. If it is a creditor calling they want full repayment (obviously) but they do not receive a commission like a collection agency would. Collection agencies want to get the most from you right away and will use scary tactics to do it. If it is a creditor or debt repurchaser calling, you can typically negotiate smaller payments than with a collection agency.

ID 10054731 300x219 The Top 6 Things You Can Do Once Collection Agencies Start Calling

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Step Two: You can handle it.

Collection agencies can only start calling you if you have been notified in writing first. Understanding your rights is key to surviving what may seem like continual menacing phone calls. First and foremost it is not OK to be threatened in any way while speaking to an agent on the phone. Don’t be intimidated by scare tactics. We outline more on how to handle these phone calls in our article about Collection Agencies.

Step Three: Prioritize your debts.

Know how and when to negotiate. If you owe money to the government through taxes or student loans – good luck. The government does not want to cut a deal or give up. Same with most types of secured debt like your mortgage. The amount you owe on your home is generally not up for negotiation. However, your credit card debt or other forms of unsecured debt are open to negotiation. For more on striking up a deal, read our How-To article.

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