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What does the future say… pay off the mortgage or build up the RRSP?

The hardest part about making financial decisions is that nobody knows what the future holds. Yet all of our really big financial decisions, like paying off the mortgage and contributing to RRSPs, are dependent upon what happens in the future. Read more…

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Mortgages and RRSPs: big business for your bank

Most likely your banker or investment advisor is a likeable person and you may have a great working relationship with either or both of them. But when it comes to looking out for your own savings in the form of your mortgage and RRSPs, you need to remember what’s really going on in your relationship to these figures. Contrary to their seemingly interested conversations with you and their pleasant enough ways, these people are not your BFFs, trusted allies, or unbiased advisors, and the sooner you remember that fact the better off you’ll be financially. Read more…

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What to do … contribute to your RRSP or pay down your mortgage?

The average Canadian has always had limited savings and every year they wrestle with this same nagging question. Read more…

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Ease up: even the experts find it difficult to re-balance their investment portfolios

As an investment advisor I’ve spent years taking courses to learn about managing investments through designing, monitoring and managing diversified investment portfolios. And I’ve spent decades helping individuals plan, save and invest for their futures. I’ve enjoyed the ride in some really great stock markets and I’ve also endured some really horrendous ones. So, no one understands better than I do the dire need for smarts and sound logic around re-balancing an investment portfolio on a regular basis. But even with all of my experience and understanding I still don’t find it any easier to actually pull the trigger and sell, which is what re-balancing investments is all about – the decision to sell. Read more…

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Conservative investor or aggressive trader – which one are you?

How you view your pennies in the piggy bank depends on your investment personality. When you invest your hard earned savings, do you tend to invest conservatively – buying and holding your investments for long periods of time? Or do you like to aggressively trade your investments frequently following market trends, money momentum and anticipating the next hot market sector? Read more…

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Building wealth: reduced spending and income growth – the perfect one-two combo!

In the world of boxing, the one-two combo is a nickname for the winning combo of the jab and cross. Well, when it comes to building your family’s wealth, there’s a winning financial knockout that works just as successfully. It’s the winning combo of reducing your spending and increasing your income in your budget and net worth statement. Read more…

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Budgeting: time to look real close at what’s inside the piggy

As we have discussed in our previous articles, budgeting is a team sport where you have to make sure everyone’s on board with how important it is and what the rewards will be for everyone if the team succeeds (pay off mortgage, trip to Whistler, new car, etc.). You want to win the cup – together! Read more…

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Your finances: crystal clear or a little hazy?

Most of us attempt a budget exercise when we’re feeling a financial crunch and decide it’s time to get serious about where all our money is going. Sound familiar? Then again there are some people who do sit down and formally account for every penny they’ve got coming in and going out. If you happen to be one of these lucky people, then reading our recent articles will just help to reinforce your efforts and give you the confidence to know you’re on the right track. Read more…

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I used to love playing soccer and investors used to enjoy investing

About three years ago I stopped playing soccer. I used to drop in once or twice a week to play in an ‘Adult Recreation’ league. The other players were typically in their late thirties, forties and fifties with a few players in their late 60s. (The players in their 60s were amazing and often slowed their play to make the rest of us feel part of the game.) Read more…

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Budgeting: a team sport

Unfortunately, when it comes to our income and spending decisions (paying bills, banking, and making the financial decisions, etc.), more often than not, we’re on our own – when in reality budgeting should be a team sport. And typically this unfortunate arrangement places all of the financial stress and burden squarely on the shoulders of only one team member, when as is the case in many households, two people are typically earning and spending. Read more…

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Your Net Worth Statement: the financial equivalent of a Swiss Army knife

There are lots of financial writers, advisors and experts that all tell us we need to complete a Net Worth Statement. And while some of them even tell us why we should do it (to find out where you are financially today!), they never really explain how we should use it to help guide our financial decisions. Read more…

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Wow, nice house! They must be rich!

We all know people that live in big, beautiful (expensive) homes, drive gorgeous (expensive) cars, travel to exotic (expensive) destinations, and send their children to prestigious (expensive) private schools. They must be rich! Read more…

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Having trouble saving? You’re not alone.

We all need to learn how to save. It is different today from our parents’ day. But we’ve all gone off the rails a little bit too with our spending, and according to the stats, many of us just aren’t saving enough. Read more…

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76% of Canadians must be idiots when it comes to saving and planning for retirement!

According to Statistics Canada, 76% of Canadians don’t contribute to an RRSP! That’s right – 76%! And that’s with 9.6 million baby boomers on the verge of retirement! And what’s worse, the 24% contributing to an RRSP only made median contributions of $2,830.00. (The median = the point at which half of contributors contributed more than $2,830, and half contribute less than $2,830.) Read more…

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Where's the best place for my savings – an RRSP or a TFSA?

That depends. Are you an average Canadian in need of some friendly wise investing reminders or an above-average Canadian who actually knows how to save their hard-earned money more wisely? If you’re an average Canadian the answer is easy: get yourself a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and just ignore the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) because that’s what the math says. But first you need to figure out which type of investor you are. Read more…

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Financial Security = Budgeting + Financial Planning

We all want financial security. We all want to make enough money to support our lifestyles, raise and educate our children, save for a wonderful retirement, and have fun along the way. So to achieve it all, what will help you more – having a financial plan or a budget? The answer is both! Read more…

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Financial planning: how to spot a marketing tool

In Canada, there are well over 18,000 individuals qualified to call themselves Financial Planners and thousands more can call themselves Financial Advisors, Financial Consultants and Investment Advisors - without any set qualifications. When we look at the financial planning world and the individuals preparing plans, the overwhelming majority of these individuals are working as commissioned sales people or on salary and bonus where almost every one of them have sales targets set by their employers. The majority of financial companies (banks, life insurance companies, brokerage firms, etc.) operate on such a sales business model. Read more…

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Rising inflation fears: fact check

The dire inflation warnings from our friends in the stock market industry are becoming tiresome. Normally, they like to use an investor’s own innate greed to get them to buy - using lines like "if you’re not in this market, you’re going to miss out big time!" But this time around they’re also playing the "fear" card. Read more…

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Gold: How does a falling price impact you?

When gold prices fall like they have, it doesn’t matter whether you have invested in gold or not. Price changes will have an impact on all of us – on the Canadian economy, our governments, and on us as individuals. How much of an impact will depend on your own personal relationship to gold: Read more…

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What to do … contribute to your RRSP or pay down your mortgage: what the last 15 years tell us

The average Canadian has always had limited savings and every year they wrestle with the same nagging question: Should we contribute to our RRSP or pay down the mortgage? Read more…

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