I Make a Good Income, But Can’t Get Out of Debt. What Should I Do Differently?

By Kathryn Mandelcorn, FMA

You did all the right things. You went to school and earned a good education. You’ve worked hard and been promoted. You earn upwards of $100,000 a year; yet increasing debt has your stomach in knots.

You are not alone. According to statistics Canada, higher income is associated with a higher debt load. Households earning at least $100,000 had an average debt of $172,400. Compare that to households earning between $50,000 and $100,000, which had an average debt of $95,400.

It doesn’t have to be this way. But before you can turn things around, it’s important to understand how you arrived where you are.

How Did I Get Here?

Technology has changed the world dramatically in the last 20 years. In many ways for the better, but the internet has also put shopping at our fingertips and smartphones keep us constantly connected to our work, and the work and lifestyles of everyone around us.

This new world has given rise to three of the primary reasons so many people are in debt despite earning a good salary: increased expectations of what we “deserve,” reduced downtime, and the erosion of debt stigma. Let’s look at the effect of each one. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, Debt

How Divorce Can Affect Your Retirement

By Annie Kvick, B.Ed, CFP®

The ending of a marriage is an unfortunate reality for many Canadians, it creates emotional upheaval for both partners and any children involved. But studies have shown that it generally impacts a woman’s financial well-being longer and more significantly than it does a man’s. This imbalance can have serious consequences for women approaching retirement.

Today is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. Organizers want us all to take bold action in our spheres of influence, toward gender parity. An important initiative; but I believe that it is equally important for women to take bold action within their own lives—to be financially secure and confident, ready for whatever life circumstances unfold. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, Relationship to money, Retirement savings

Ask a Money Coach: Which tax software would you recommend?

Tax Time


Around this time of year our Coaches are often asked which tax software they would recommend to individuals who would like to file their own taxes online.  Here is a round-up of responses on three of the most popular options: Turbo Tax, Studio Tax and Ufile.

It is also important to note that if you are filing online you must use a program that is recognized for use on Netfile by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). For a list of all the recognized programs visit the CRA websiteContinue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach

How Do I Break Up With My Investment Advisor?

By Steve Bridge, B.A. (Hons.), FPSC Level 1®

How did you choose your investment advisor? If you are like many Canadians, your advisor is the one who had an open slot when you called your bank for an appointment, three, five or even 10+ years ago. Or perhaps you met your financial advisor in another haphazard way; your best friend’s son sells investments, or your boss’s daughter is a financial advisor. But things are changing and you deserve better.

Canadians want to know that they are getting investment advice from someone who understands their unique situation and needs, someone who has their best interests at heart, and someone who is their financial ally. Canadians need investment advisors that are paid fairly and deliver advice that moves them closer to their financial goals.

The financial advice you follow today will significantly impact your life in retirement. That’s why breaking up with your investment advisor—could be the most important financial decision you make this year.

But before you act, it’s important to understand what you need from a financial advisor relationship, and how to best make a change if necessary. This three step process provides everything you need to make an informed, thoughtful decision. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, Investing

Maintain Marital Bliss by Following These 5 Money Management Principles

By Melanie Buffel, B.A. Psych, MBA Candidate

Marriages suffer when there is financial stress. Sometimes they fail. In Canada, where the divorce rate is 48%, money issues are often cited as a contributing factor in a relationship’s downfall. But there is so much that you can do to start your wedded life on solid financial footing, and it all revolves around honest communication.

The vow, for richer or for poorer, shouldn’t be the first financial discussion you have with your partner before saying I do. 

With wedding expenses in the thousands of dollars, it’s not surprising that money issues start causing tension even before the big day. But a couple may naively assume that it’s all part of the wedding planning stress and that things will settle down once they fly off on their honeymoon.

The truth is, the first three years of marriage are fraught with the expenses of setting up a home, and establishing a career, coupled with blending spending and saving habits that may be very different. Even couples that lived together in financial harmony before marriage, can be surprised by financial differences now that they are planning a future. Many people assume that once they are married they will have the same priorities; when in fact one partner may want to enjoy more travel and social events before they “settle down,” and the other may want to trim expenses and save for a home.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner –a time when many couples get engaged– here are five ways to make money a point of foundation in your marriage:

  • Start the conversation well before the wedding;
  • Understand where the money goes;
  • Agree who pays for what;
  • Determine who will manage the money; and
  • Keep on talking

Let’s have a closer look at each. Continue reading

Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow, Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Emotional Roadblocks to Financial Happiness – 3 Steps to a Breakthrough

By: Barbara Knoblach, PhD., FPSC Level 1 ®

“These are my New Year’s resolutions…”

We all start the year with a collection of resolutions to improve our lives. We want to lose weight to fit into new clothes; we want to join a gym to improve our fitness; and we want to enhance our financial situation to provide more security for our families and ourselves.

But while our plans have the best of intentions, many people face emotional roadblocks that detour, or completely derail, the follow-through required to achieving these goals.

This is especially true in the area of personal finances. While financial decisions can be very analytical – based on facts, figures, charts and graphs – many of these decisions come face-to-face with emotional roadblocks that overtly affect the decision-making process.

Fear, Shame and Guilt

Three of the most troublesome emotions are fear, shame and guilt. People fear they do not have the knowledge to make wise financial decisions. They are embarrassed that others may be more successful than they are. They feel the guilt that they cannot provide financially for their loved ones – or even themselves.

The negative emotions some people feel towards their personal financial situation often prevents them from seeking professional help. Unfortunately, they cannot bear the thought of opening up about their finances to an outsider – they are simply too embarrassed.

As a Certified Money Coach, I employ many different tactics to help clients overcome these emotional roadblocks that stand in their way to improved financial well-being. Continue reading

Posted in Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Don’t Let Short-Term Events Impact Your Long-Term Investing Success

By Anthony LarsenBAS, CFP®

Investment success can be reduced to four simple words: buy low, sell high; just as diet success can be boiled down to: eat less, move more. So why aren’t we all wealthy and in stellar health? Because fear, excitement and everything else that makes us human, can short circuit our thinking.

We sometimes allow a rough day to excuse a break from our health goals, just as we sometimes grant world events the power to shake our investment confidence. But it’s never wise to make decisions, with long term consequences, while relying on short term emotions.

When it comes to investing, the most powerful emotion driving bad decisions is fear — fear of making a mistake, of looking foolish and of losing money. When we understand the factors that trigger our fears, we are better able to guard against them.

We’ve identified three things you can do today, to dispel your fears and help generate the long-term investing results that will shape the life you live now and in retirement. Continue reading

Posted in Investing, Money Coaching, Retirement savings

Are You Ready for the Truth About Your Investments?

By Karin Mizgala, Co-founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada

CRM2 provides transparency

Choosing a focus word for the year ahead has become a popular New Year’s activity. Words like flourish and balance are trendy, unless you work in the financial services industry, where the word on everyone’s lips in 2017 will be transparency. Starting this year Canadian investors will receive two new reports: one will clear the fog around the cost of investment advice; the other will provide shareholders essential information on how well their investments have performed.

These new reports are required by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) as phase 2 of the Client Relationship Model, or CRM2. We think these changes have been far too long in the making, and find it a bit shocking that the industry needed mandating to provide such basic information as fees charged for advice and how effective that advice was in generating investment returns. The good news is the change has finally come.

CRM2 went into effect in July 2016 but most people won’t see their first reports until early this year. You may be astonished or confused by what you read, especially if you haven’t had much contact or service from your advisor.

This article will provide a brief overview of what to expect in each report and explain what we at Money Coaches Canada believe are the strengths of CRM2 and how we think it could have been even stronger. But more important are our suggestions for turning this information into a tool for you to better understand and assess your investments. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, Financial Literacy, Investing, Money Coaching

Gratitude is the Key to Reducing Money Stress and Enjoying the Holidays

By Sabine LayCertified Money Coach

Being grateful has been shown in study after study to positively impact our lives. Our ability to experience and express gratitude influences our relationships, our emotional and physical health and even our careers. But unfortunately, the message “be grateful” is so prevalent, (89,000,000 google search results for the word gratitude), that it may be at risk of losing some of its meaning. Saying I’m grateful, as readily as we say thank you when someone holds open a door, robs us of the benefits that come from deeply felt gratitude.

We also live in a culture that encourages us to be grateful while simultaneously telling us we need more. At no time of year is that contradiction more obvious than Christmas. So much pressure and expense in service of a “perfect” holiday experience that fades before the New Year begins.

If you are struggling with your finances, worried about retirement or your children’s education needs, the expectations inherent in the season can make you far more weary than grateful. Even if you are doing well financially, the temptation to spend in ways not aligned with your goals and values can create stress and regret. Continue reading

Posted in Money Coaching, Relationship to money

The Trouble with Financial Literacy – It’s a Matter of Trust

By Sheila Walkington, co-founder and CFO Money Coaches Canada

Financial Education on Computer Keyboard Background.

Every year, our nation dedicates an entire month to improving the financial literacy of Canadians, but we don’t seem to be making much progress. According to statistics provided by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada:

  • Less than half (46%) of Canadians have a budget
  • Only 8% of Canadians know that they can obtain a credit report for free by mail
  • 42% of 35 to 44-year old’s either struggle to or are not keeping up with bills and financial obligations
  • 51% of Canadians incorrectly believe that you won’t pay interest on a cash advance if you pay your credit card balance in full by the due date
  • 52% of Canadians believe that their household could not cover at least six months’ worth of living expenses if they lost their main source of income

To date, the main strategy to improve Canadian’s financial literacy has been almost entirely based on increasing an individual’s knowledge. But knowledge by itself is not enough!

Information Overload

Canadians, like many in the Western world, live hectic lives. They worry that they don’t have the time necessary to successfully navigate the financial complexities of modern life on their own. They are anxious about their finances. Seven out of 10 Canadians say they worry a lot about their financial situation and nearly 80% don’t have confidence that they’ll achieve their financial life goals. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy