A Financial Plan is a Roadmap

Financial RoadmapIn today’s hectic world, most people have neither the time nor the expertise necessary to navigate the financial complexities of modern life. They need help making sense of it all, and would benefit from a comprehensive, thoughtful approach to money matters. They need a financial plan.

If you are like many Canadians, you’re anxious about your 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. These result aren’t terribly surprising – Canadians are facing the most challenging economic times in decades. Personal debt is at an all-time high, the cost of home ownership is out of reach for many, and day-to-day living expenses are outpacing income growth. Don’t forget about the ongoing concerns about funding retirement, and your child’s education. Add in the potential for having to cover some health care costs for aging parents and it’s no wonder Canadian’s are financially stressed out. Continue reading

Posted in Investing, Money Coaching

How do I achieve financial success? The 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being quiz has the answers

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

November is designated as Financial Literacy Month in Canada. Each year since 2011, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), coordinates efforts between the private, public and non-profit sectors to promote financial literacy for all Canadians. This year’s theme: Managing money and debt wisely: It pays to know! is intended to highlight the importance of living within your means, knowing your financial rights and responsibilities and having a spending and savings plan that adapts to the different stages of your life.

At Money Coaches Canada, financial literacy and empowerment have always been part of our core values. Our financial coaching approach facilitates what Canadians want; to spend smarter, manage better and to have a proactive and adaptable plan for their financial future.

Clarity on your current financial situation is vital to developing concise, attainable goals. With that in mind, we created the 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being®, a framework Canadians can use to identify their current feelings and behaviours around money, and to provide them with a clear and measurable way forward. We invite you to take the 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being quiz to assess your current situation. The quiz will provide you with an understanding of where you are today and offer concrete action steps to improve your financial well-being.  Continue reading

Posted in 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being™, Financial Literacy, Relationship to money

Top 4 Money Challenges Women Face

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

Woman at Computer /Money Coaches Canada Blog

Canadian women have the freedom to create wealth, and make their own financial decisions, but it hasn’t always been that way. Less than 45 years ago, women had a difficult time obtaining a credit card in their own name, without it being co-signed by a husband or father.

Women’s rights, economic and otherwise, have come a long way, but the cultural baggage of a male dominated financial system hasn’t completely left us. Many women, especially those over 40, were often raised in households where dad took the lead in family finance. The result of lingering financial gender roles is that men and women view financial planning differently. In fact, the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey, (CFCS), noted that women were 12% less likely than men to consider themselves, “financially knowledgeable.” That self-perception may lead women to avoid or defer financial decisions to others; which increases their risk of being disadvantaged in retirement.

Here are four specific money issues that affect women, and what women can do to take charge of their financial future. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, Investing, Relationship to money, Retirement savings

A Powerful Framework to Teach Kids about Money

By Kathryn Mandelcorn, FMA

A girl shows money in hand.

How we feel about money, and how we manage it, has a lot to do with what our parents did or did not do. We carry our money beliefs, positive and negative, from our childhood straight into adulthood and they affect our relationships and our earning potential.

As parents, part of acknowledging the impact of our childhood experiences on our adult money habits; is reflecting on what we are teaching our own children. Are we passing on the best of what we know? Are we even aware of the messages we are sending?

Childhood in 2016 is a very different world

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Posted in Kids and Money, Relationship to money

RRSP vs RESP: How to Make the Right Choice?

By Bruce Q. Thompson, B.Admin, CFP®

Family in kitchen with laptop smiling

From the moment our children are born we want the best for their future. Success is never guaranteed, but we hope to be able to offer them opportunities. And what better opportunity is there than education? So it seems like a straight forward assumption that we would contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

But what about our own future? What about contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)? Canadians are living longer, and the cost of living is always on the rise. If we don’t have a solid retirement plan, are we at risk of living in our well educated child’s basement? OK, that may be a tongue-in-cheek option, but the question of where to place our investment dollars is valid. What’s a parent to do?

The Fundamentals: What You Need to Know

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Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, Investing, Money Coaching, Retirement savings

Don’t Let Back to School Break the Bank

By Karen Richardson, FPSC Level 1® and Christine White, P.Eng., FPSC Level 1®

The back to school cliché is that kids dread it and parents are gleefully counting the hours. But in reality, lots of kids are excited to go back to school (albeit an excitement that usually fades with the first homework assignment) and many parents dread September because it feels like open season on their bank accounts. Back to school spending seems to escalate every year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You may not be able to keep your kids excited about school, but saving on back to school expenses is possible with some planning.

Back to school basics

Don’t start from scratch

A costly mistake many parents make is buying everything new. School ended roughly 8 weeks ago. It is entirely likely that much of what your children wore last spring still fits them. The same goes for school supplies; rulers, binders, folders, pencil cases, calculators, erasers, etc… are often in fine shape for the new school year. Before you head to the mall make an inventory of what you already have.

Kids don’t need everything on the first day

Even if your stock taking reveals that the kids will need several new items to get through the year, they won’t likely need winter boots in the first several weeks. Keep purchases to the essentials by building on what they have and then start watching for sales. The holidays are just around the corner and adding to the kids’ wardrobe through birthday and Christmas gifts is also a great idea. Continue reading

Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow, Money Coaching

5 Ways A Money Coach Can Help You Win Your Own Financial Olympics

By Christine Williston, B.A., FPSC Level 1™

What an amazing two weeks of athletic competition at the Olympic Games in Rio. Rosie MacLennan soared through the air with grace and precision and landed a gold medal in the gymnastics trampoline final. Andre de Grasse took silver (men’s 200m less than 1 second behind powerhouse runner Usain Bolt) and two bronze (men’s 100m and men’s 4x100m relay). Penny Oleksiak swam into Canadian hearts with a gold, a sliver and two bronze medals. Derek Drouin leapt to Gold in the men’s high jump and Erica Wiebe pinned a gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling. In total Canadian athletes brought home 4 gold, 3 silver and 15 bronze medals.

The side of Olympic glory that we don’t see

5 Ways A Money Coach Can Help You Win Your Own Financial Olympics

The moments of glory are electric and inspiring, but what we don’t see on the Olympic stage are the years and years of training, the tired muscles, the setbacks, disappointments, sacrifices and deep commitment to a goal. In the moment of triumph the athlete stands alone on the podium, but the path to the podium is paved by supporters and coaches. Becoming an Olympic calibre athlete starts with a personal dream, but also requires a great deal of financial resources for equipment, practice space, travel, physical therapy, and many other sport specific costs.

What’s your dream?

You may not be an aspiring Olympian, but you probably have your own Olympic sized dream: Continue reading

Posted in Money Coaching

End Financial Avoidance and Reclaim Your Power Today

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

Action Changes Things edited blue


Most people procrastinate from time to time, it’s human nature to put off tasks we believe to be unpleasant or time consuming. But the habitual putting off of our responsibilities, especially our financial responsibilities, transforms procrastination into avoidance. Avoidance —Stage 2 of the 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM —is one of the most potentially damaging stages on the path to financial fulfillment.

Are you in Avoidance?

It’s essential to understand that financial well-being comes with a deeper understanding of where you stand with money, emotionally and financially, developing concise and attainable goals, getting organized and implementing a manageable plan to move forward. The 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM is a framework that will help you better understand where you are, and what actions to take, as you move towards Financial Fulfillment. Continue reading

Posted in 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being™, Relationship to money

CPP Expansion: A Rare Opportunity to Fine Tune Your Retirement Plan

By Sandra Mann, MBA Financial Services, CPA, CGA, FPSC Level 1™

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is set for expansion beginning in 2019, but you may be wondering how the changes will impact how you manage your money today as well as how it will affect your retirement.

 Hand Inserting Coin In Pink Piggybank

The changing face of work in Canada

When CPP was introduced in 1965, it was meant to be supplemental retirement income to bolster workplace pensions and personal retirement savings and investments. That intention hasn’t changed. What has changed is the Canadian “workscape.”

Working 30 years for the same company is not likely (or even desirable) for many people at the start of their careers. Climbing one corporate ladder is less common than seeking new opportunities at different companies. (I myself left a traditional financial services position for the fresh challenge offered by Money Coaches Canada). Many Canadians change careers completely, some go back to school or start their own businesses. There is no defined path. Even those who decide to build a dedicated career with one employer are not immune to lay-offs and decreasing pensions. Continue reading

Posted in For your information, Retirement savings

Six steps to financial bliss for couples

By: Sheila Walkington, CFP

For many couples there is nothing that dampens love and or more than the subject of finances. In fact, study after study shows that money problems are the single biggest cause of relationship stress and divorce – with sex and raising kids rounding out the big three. But does money always have to represent tension and friction between your partner and yourself?

1. Start talking about what is important:  The most likely reason couples fight about money is that they haven’t learned how to talk about money. When the subject does come up it is often the result of a conflict or couples moneycrisis. Open up a dialogue with your partner – remember they are your ally not your enemy. You don’t have to agree on all your goals, but you do have to acknowledge and appreciate your loved one’s dreams and aspirations. Hopefully you will have some common goals, like retirement, but your individual goals are just as important to your emotional and financial health.

2. Build a financialgoals plan around your goals: The process gives you a lot to talk about and the plan itself will guide you both down the same path. The key to a good marriage, I am  told, is communication and communicating clearly about your current financial situation and your plans for the future is an integral part of that dialogue.

3. Spend and save your money to consistently support you both: That couples money togethermeans you know, and agree to, how much money is for things that you both need (groceries for instance), how much is for common goals (travel and retirement), and how much you each can use for your individual goals (singing lessons or a new TV) and spending.

4. Stage yoone step at a timeur goals: You can’t do everything at once. If you only have $200 to put towards your goals each month, you may choose to allocate it all to one goal. Choosing to achieve one thing before another is ok as long as you both know when your turn will come, and you both work to stick to the plan.

pig bank love5. Be a friend, don’t overspend: Don’t deprive your spouse by overspending or going into debt. If one person overdoes it, the other has less financial support to do what they want. And keep in mind, no one likes telling their spouse they shouldn’t have or do something – so don’t rely on your spouse to tell you when to stop spending – it just isn’t nice.

6. Don’t hidelove spending, savings, or feelings: A strong relationship is based on trust and open communication. You may not approach money the same way, but you can learn how your partner thinks about money by listening, and you can help them learn what matters to you by sharing. Talk. Build your trust, and your net worth, together.

The best way to avoid or avert a financial or relationship crisis is to take charge of your money and to work with your partner toward mutual goals. Working with a money coach or taking a money course will help you get the dialogue started.

Posted in Money Coaching, Relationship to money