Nov 192014

At the beginning of the week, we wrote a post about how success should not be defined solely on how much money you have. However, we do realize that discovering financial success is an integral part of living a great life.

To us, being financially successful means that you have the power to spend your money the way you want, your debts aren’t causing you strain or sleepless nights, and you have the know-how to start saving for a happy retirement.

Our motto has always been that even the smallest actions can lead to big changes. We want to give you the knowledge you need to become financially successful.

The best way to achieve financial success involves only 3 tiny steps:

Every day – Read something about money.

Whether you quickly skim over a money-related magazine article or catch up on a financial blog you like (hint, hint), the more you read up on the subject, the more you will know. Eventually, the money strategies you read about will start to sneak into your everyday life. Easy peasy.

Every week – Talk about money

Aim to have a financially driven conversation with someone once a week. Vary it up, talk to your financial advisor, your investment broker, your mortgage broker, your financially successful friends, etc. You can never soak in too much information about how to achieve financial success. Ask them how they did it. Where do they look for information? Who do they go to for advice? Don’t live in secrecy and silence if you feel stuck. Everyone does at some point and asking for advice can help you through it.

Every month – Save your money.

Make saving automatic and spread it out if you can. A great piece of advice: It’s far easier to find 500 ways to save $1 rather than trying to find a way to save $500. Small increments always add up fast. By the end of each month, you should feel proud that you’ve put away money. Soon, you can start adding more and more as the easier saving becomes.

We want to know…

Have you attained financial success? How did you do it? We’d love to hear your success stories! Remember, the definition of financial success will be different for everyone. Share your victories with us, big or small.

Nov 172014

Naturally, we talk a lot about money on our blog. We live and breathe money, but not in the way you’d think. We live and breathe money in the sense that we are constantly trying to change how people use it.

Money is a fairly accessible vehicle for attaining the things we want in life. A new car, a new house, and new shiny things to go along with it. Many of us think of this as success. This common misconception leads us to believe that if we don’t have money to spend on high-end items, we aren’t successful and vice versa – very successful people don’t always have the most expensive toys.

Being financially secure is one thing, but we’d rather pursue a higher endeavour for our lives and leave materialism in the rearview. A great article from Huffington Post called 18 Ways to Live a Successful Life (That Have Nothing to Do With Money) inspired this week’s Monday Motivation post.

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The author, Alexa Cortese, very aptly describes our fascination with success and materialism as well as the components (unrelated to your finances) that make for a successful life. We’d like to share our favourites with you!

Top 5 Components of a Successful Life

  • You know exactly who you are.
  • You have a ‘tribe’ or a small group of people who know exactly who you are and aren’t afraid to celebrate it with you.
  • You have a passion that not only makes your heart sing, but you make a decent living at it.
  • You are grateful for what you’ve got.
  • You are always learning from new experiences.

This is just a small sampling of the non-monetary ways to be successful. We feel that leading a fulfilling life is much more satisfying than fitting into any stereotypical box of what success is. Figuring out your definition of success is step one on your journey to financial freedom.

To read all 18 points, check out the original article by Alexa here.

We want to know…

How do you feel about money and success? Do you feel like they are related? Share your stories and experiences below. We’d love to hear from you!

Nov 092014

Did you know that more and more Canadians outspend their income by $1.63 to every $1 earned? A new high in household debt according to a 2013 Statistics Canada finding.

Many of us fall into this unfortunate trap without even realizing. You buy a house, buy a car, have a couple kids and before you know it, you’re lugging around $50,000 in debt. The most prevalent form of debt in this case is consumer debt. This typically refers to high interest credit cards, credit lines, or payday loans used to pay for stuff. While this is not the only way to find yourself in debt, it is the case in this study.

ID 10065625 204x300 Case Study: From Consumer Debt to a Consumer Proposal

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The Situation

Meet the Johnson’s, a well-meaning couple with two young children who came to us when they were unable to pay their bills. To the outside world, they were a successful couple and a happy family. Both partners were pulling in good salaries, they started to invest in RRSPs, and they were aware that they needed to plan for their retirement. To their dismay, they had a significant debts holding them back.

Due to their over dependance on credit cards, they accumulated a large amount of consumer debt. Even though they both had great full-time jobs and were bringing in good money every month, roughly $7,500, it still seemed hard for them to make ends meet.

The Numbers

With $60,000 in high-interest debt, the Johnson’s could have spent the next five years slowly paying off their debt themselves. With their best interests in mind, we helped them decide that filing a consumer proposal would help to speed up the repayment process.. The final deal allowed them to pay $350 month for the next 60 months, saving them upwards of $40,000, not including interest, of course. This allowed them to finally move forward, and since they already owned their home and vehicles, no major lifestyle changes had to be made.

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Nov 032014

Happy Monday everyone! If you are anything like myself, the Monday after the time change falls back is pretty much the most productive day ever. You finally feel like you’ve caught up on your sleep, it’s not pitch black when you leave the house, and everyone around you is in a contagiously good mood.

While at this moment, you may be in super productive mode, this great feeling does unfortunately wear off the colder and darker winter becomes. Fret not because I recently stumbled upon an article that describes three easy ways to boost your productivity without having to buy a fancy app or completely reroute your daily habits.

3 Easy Ways to Boost Productivity

Great idea #1 – Create ‘on’ and ‘off’ weeks for meetings

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I know that many seasoned business men and women are shaking their heads right now, thinking “There is absolutely no way I could have a week off from meetings.”

However, from personal experience, it can be almost impossible to squeeze in a full ‘work’ day in between client meetings, brunches and lunches, and everything else we get invited to. This leads us to feeling completely overwhelmed at times because no one can possibly do it all, all the time. Tapping in to this realization will allow you to say ‘no’ to this or that meeting, guilt-free, so that you can concentrate on completing your tasks.

The author, Kate Swoboda, suggests booking all of your meetings into one solid week and then spending the next week completing tasks. She even advises booking these weeks into your calendar ahead of time so you aren’t even tempted.

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Oct 202014

Have you ever thought about changing your spending habits, but grew too overwhelmed at the thought and simply continued maintaining the status quo? You aren’t the only one. Many times we can’t bear to dwell on our money problems, so we push away any thoughts of following a budget or making accelerated payments because it seems too hard.

The downfall of doing this is that when we feel shameful about our money, we actually use it less wisely. Weird, right? The key is to reset your money mind or, in simpler terms, redirect your spending towards what is most important to you.

A big influencer of our improper spending is consumerism. Every day we see ads, commercials, magazines, even blogs, that tell us what we should be spending our money on, whether it is aligned with our goals or not. This leads to feeling farther and farther away from our financial and life goals. Consequently, the farther you feel away from your goals, the farther you actually are.

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We want to help you reset your money mindset so that you can reach your goals when it comes to your finances and your whole life.

Reset Your Money Mindset in 3 Easy Steps

1. Identify your ‘wants’ in life.

Whether you want to buy your dream home, travel the world or settle down with kids, you must first identify your top three wants in life. What are your priorities? What kind of life do you envision yourself living? Once you’ve figured out what is most important to you, the next step is to look at how your financial goals measure up.

2. Look at your daily spending.

Does your day-to-day spending align with reaching your goals? Like say, instead of buying a $4 latte, you put $5 away into your savings account. Or are you spending too much money here and there to make any headway? We suggest breaking your costs down into two categories: fixed costs and discretionary spending. In the fixed costs column, you will list all of the non-negotiable costs you have such as insurance, rent or mortgage, groceries, etc. In the other, you will categorize the other items you buy like gadgets, clothing, and entertainment.

3. Adjust accordingly.

Once you have established your current spending habits, we suggest following this rule of thumb when it comes to your future spending. Allocate 50% of your income to fixed costs, 30% to achieving your goals (like retirement or home ownership) and no more than 20% on discretionary spending. Make sure you stack up!

The main point is that ignoring a money problem, whether it is a tiny one or an enormous one, will never make it go away. It will just fester. Don’t let any more time pass before you switch gears and start spending your money in the right way.

We want to know…

How do you feel about reseting your money mindset? Will you give it a try? Let us know by commenting in the box below or you can always send us a Tweet @ParleyFinancial!

Oct 072014

For most of us, following a budget feels restrictive, limiting and just plain not fun. It is easy to come up with a million reasons not to, however, we are here to tell you that a budget is the best way to take control of your money and simplify your life!

Here are our 5 reasons why it helps to follow a budget:

You gain control over your finances

Most of us think we already have control over our finances. The surprising answer is that every time we splurge on that must-have item, we are giving up a little bit of our control. When you follow a budget, you allow yourself to set priorities and from there, you choose how to spend your hard-earned cash. Some choose to cook at home in order to save up for a desired item. Others choose to forgo a big ticket item and spend their allotted amount on a couple dinners out. Budgeting doesn’t mean that you can’t spend money, it simply ensures that you have the power to choose what you spend your money on.

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You can stop worrying 

While implementing a budget won’t necessarily make all of your money troubles disappear, it will keep you from obsessing about every penny spent. Anyone who has ever spent any time ‘flying by the seat of their pants’ knows that terrible, ‘I didn’t mean to spend so much’, sinking feeling in your tummy that I’m talking about. With a budget, you may have to be a little restrictive at first, but eventually you will feel calm and content knowing that you know exactly where your money is going. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up with money left over at the end of the month to spend irresponsibly!

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Oct 012014

When clients come through our office at Parley Consulting, it is usually when they have no other options left. We help our clients navigate their way through situations that would make most feel as though there is no foreseeable way out.

Divorce and Debt

One of our most memorable cases is one where divorce collides with debt.

Frank* and his wife, married for over 20 years, had finally come to the conclusion that they no longer wished to continue on with their marriage. A hard decision to make alone, even harder when you share a home with little value (equity) and a combined debt of $100,000. Even more so when only Frank had been contributing to the financial picture over the course of the marriage.

Frank had been supporting his family on his single income for many years, until he finally experienced his crisis moment – the loss of his steady income. The situation, coupled with the impending divorce, made it hard for both parties to agree on what they were going to do. Many who have found themselves in a similar difficult situation find that it can be very hard to make rational, financial decisions at this time.

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In many cases, separated couples spend more money fighting over the division of assets and funds than they do resolving their debt problem. Once they reach our office, they are usually ready to concede and allow us to provide them with all of the options.

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Sep 292014

We write a lot about how the little things you buy add up over the course of the month, year and of course your lifetime. In our heads it just seems like a coffee here and dinner there, but spending money in this casual way makes it hard to save and may keep you living cheque-to-cheque.

Do you spend more than you earn? There are 5 questions to ask yourself if you aren’t sure where you can start making changes and even things out.

  1. How often do you eat out each week?
  2. Do you also buy groceries that sometimes go to waste?
  3. How many coffees do you buy on your way to work each day? 
  4. Do you pay for services that you don’t utilize enough? 
  5. How often do you drive your vehicle?
ID 10095094 300x300 Monday Motivation: Calculate Your Way to Savings

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These questions, if answered honestly, usually identify where you might be losing money. Could you limit how many times you eat out or cut back on some of the services you’ve been paying for?

If you need a little extra help, the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) in Canada has created a handy calculator that allows you to plug in your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. It shows you how much those daily coffees and lunches add up over the year. You can also use it to calculate your savings if you cut back your expenses by a percentage.

This tool proves that you really can calculate your way to bigger savings!

Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your feedback. Simply drop us a line below.

Sep 252014

Parely Consulting loves getting to hear how our clients have felt while working with us. And we love the results they get!

erase debt Financial Success and Security “Honestly, 2- 3 years, we were in what could only be described as a financial black hole with no end in sight. We were in over $80, 000 in debt and climbing. After having my wife talk to someone who had seen you for a similar situation, we decided to come and see you.
    It was the best decision my wife and I ever made!
    You helped us see that there was light at the end of this tunnel. You helped us every step of the way. Even at times when we were worried or unsure what the future would hold, you explained everything and gave us constant reassurance and support.
     You and your team are amazing.
     After starting our journey with you only 2 years ago, we are on our way back financial success and security. It has not been an easy or quick process, by any means, however without your help Randy, we would be in financial ruins.
     Words cannot express how much you have helped myself and my family.
     Thank you.”

-The Bradley’s

Sep 252014

Have you ever fallen victim to the internal argument, “Should I buy this? I know I should’t spend money I don’t have, but it’s been a long week and I deserve to indulge a little!” and so on?

We’ve all been there. We follow a strict budget until a bump in the road arises and we feel inclined to splurge a little. It happens to all of us, but did you know that simply taking a few moments to count your blessings could keep you from feeling the urge to spend?

Feelings of contentment and gratitude have shown to improve our overall outlook on life so that we don’t feel the need to cram it full of stuff we don’t need. Saving money is simply a direct consequence of feeling as though you already have everything you need.

So how do you achieve this wonderful state of being?

5 Ways to Become More Content and Save Money

Focus on the present moment. 

Many of the anxieties and worries we feel are either based on the past, meaning we can’t let go of something that has already happened, or they are based on the unknown future where we can’t be guaranteed anything. Carrying all of this extra baggage around with us is really what makes our day start to feel terrible.

ID 100121524 300x224 5 Reasons Being Content Will Save You Money

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The best way to feel more content with your life is to sit and enjoy the moment you are living in right now. Sample the good life. Look up at the sky and realize how amazing life really is. Now you may be thinking that we’ve lost our minds, but trust us. The more you work to achieve this type of happiness, the less likely you are to ever overspend because you are already content with what you’ve got.

Forget your financial goals for the moment, let go of your thoughts and immerse yourself in an activity you love: sitting on your deck, reading a book, drinking coffee, whatever makes you happy.

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