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

By Karin MizgalaCo-Founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada

Being grateful has been shown to positively impact our lives. Our ability to experience and express gratitude influences our relationships, our emotional and physical health and even our careers. Yet, we also live in a culture that tells us we need more. This tension is never more obvious than during the Christmas season, with so much pressure for the “perfect” holiday.

If you’re struggling with your finances, worried about retirement or your children’s education needs, the expectations inherent to the holiday season can make you far more weary than grateful. Even if you’re doing well financially, there’s lots of temptation that can easily pull us off-track, create stress and foster regret.

Luckily, gratitude acts as a form of insurance against holiday-induced FOMO, unnecessary purchases and overspending.



Cultivating gratitude removes the pressure to keep up with the Jones’, buy the latest gadgets and perform the perfect holiday season. When we’re content with what we have, this keeps money in our pocket and maintains our sanity during the most stressful time of the year.

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Posted in Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Things to Consider When Deciding When to Take CPP and OAS

By Noel D’Souza, P.Eng, CFP®


You’ve worked long and hard in Canada for years, quite possibly several decades, and now the finish line is in sight. Retirement. That Holy Grail.

Just one minor thing: How are you going to pay for it?

You may have a company-sponsored pension to support your income needs during retirement, or you may have had to sock a hefty chunk of money away in an RRSP, bit-by-bit over many years.

But if you’ve worked in Canada as an employee or self-employed person, you’re likely entitled to receive Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement benefits as well as Old Age Security (OAS). These government programs form a significant component of Canadians’ post-retirement income, so it makes sense to spend a bit of time understanding how they work and what to consider when deciding when to start taking them. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, Financial Planning, Retirement savings

Where Can You Turn to When Coping with Debt?

Our long-time business associate and good friend Bruce Sellery was recently appointed CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions. We had a chat with him about the challenges that so many Canadians face around financial well-being and who they can turn to when coping with debt.

Here’s what Bruce and his team had to say:

Coping with debt can be incredibly difficult. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how to manage debt, where to seek help, and what kinds of debt relief services are the best for your needs.

Canada’s household debt to income is hovering around 170% and many people continue to experience volatility in their employment because of the after effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Debt is a constant concern for many. Continue reading

Posted in Debt, Financial Literacy, Money Coaching

Do-It-Yourself Investing – Is it right for you?

By Steve Bridge, B.A. (Hons.), CFP®

Investing is one of the most popular personal finance topics out there. And why shouldn’t it be? Bitcoin! Tesla! NFTs! Buy! Sell! Hot stock tips! These are so much more exciting than budgeting, taxes and insurance. And investing is a great water cooler or dinner party topic; lots of people have success stories of their aunt or brother-in-law who bought Apple or Amazon or weed stocks when they were at bargain basement prices. It sounds so easy, but the reality is a different story. Successful do-it-yourself (DIY) investing requires a combination of technical savvy, behavioural discipline, and a broad range of related knowledge. Continue reading

Posted in Investing

Best Tips for Smart Savings

By Janet Gray, B.A., B.Admin, CFP®, EPC, CPCA

I often get asked ‘how can I save more?’  This might help to get you started. Which statement currently best describes your situation?

Income minus Savings and Needs = Spending

Or Income minus Spending and Needs = Savings

The first statement is pro-active and ultimately allows you to have savings for your goals. Added bonus- it helps you to live within your means (aka no/minimal additional debt). After paying your essential costs (housing, groceries, debt payments etc), make sure savings are set aside for your most important goals. Your discretionary spending is then the remaining money. Set your goals and prioritize them. Are they a need? Or are they a ‘nice’ to have?

The second statement is more reactive and the result is that sometimes you might save, but more often you can’t. You spend first and then see what is left over for savings. It’s like accidental savings and it often can’t happen because you have already spent too much by the time you get to setting aside savings.

Without being proactive with savings, you will end up spending more than you thought because unexpected or urgent costs will always come up (think car, home, kids or pets).  More often than not this leads to a heart-sinking credit card bill or a line of credit that keeps increasing. Continue reading

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

Financial Facelift, Money Coaches Offer Their Best Tips

Our Money Coaches are often asked to offer advice to readers of The Globe and Mail Financial Facelift column. It is a popular feature with readers as it offers a glimpse into someone else financial affairs while offering helpful recommendations that can be applied to others lives or at least lead them to seek their own professional counsel.

Here are Financial Facelift features from the past 12 months featuring our Money Coaches.

Please note: the links below lead to the articles posted on The Globe And Mail website and some may be available to subscribers only. We have gathered the articles in PDF format which are available on our Media page. If you are unable to access the article on the Globe and Mail, be sure to read them on our website here.

Looking for money advice yourself? Connect with one of our money coaches today.

Can Luke get out of debt and develop better money habits so he can buy a home with his partner?

Published on May 15, 2020
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Posted in Money Coaching

The Number One Money Must Do for Women Entrepreneurs

By Karin Mizgala, MBA, CFP

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. Lingering financial gender roles and the still significant gap in pay equity, savings rates, and financial literacy may be holding you back from achieving the financial success you deserve.

Money Map Coaching Program For Women Entrepreneurs

recent study by Mercer Canada found that women retire 30% less wealthy than men. As a result of the gender pay gap, greater likelihood of career disruption, and greater longevity, women have a lower annual income in retirement and reduced standard of living. The study concluded that all else being equal, women must work two years longer than men to be retirement ready.

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Posted in Money Coaching

How to Make the Most of Your Inheritance

By Janet Gray, B.A., B.Admin, CFP®, EPC, CPCA

Waiting for inheritance is not a solid financial plan. But the fact is, that in 2018 Stats Canada reported that the total net worth of Canadians 65 or older was $2.30-billion, and much of that legacy will be passed on. Those on the receiving end of a generous bequest can make a real impact on their financial well-being, but only if they make the right choices in the short and long term.

There are many ways to use a large inheritance, and we’ll look at several of them in this article. But, whenever you receive any kind of financial windfall, the first thing you need to do is catch your breath.

Take a Deep Breath and Park Your Money

The gift of an inheritance is bound to the sadness of loss. Allow yourself time to grieve. Don’t make important decisions for at least three or four months. Park the assets in a high interest savings account until the emotional fog begins to lift. In fact, parking your money is good advice for any sudden financial windfall. The shock needs to normalize before you make decisions.

When you are ready to make some decisions, they should be made within the parameters of a comprehensive financial plan.

Here are some of the options to consider. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, For your information, Money Coaching, Will & Estate Planning

Decluttering Your Money and Taking Control

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

With tax and RSP season behind you, you may be left wondering what to do with all the financial paperwork that has accumulated over the months or in some cases years.  A client recently mentioned how stressed she felt about the paperwork piling up on her desk but she kept hitting a wall. She didn’t know what she could toss, what she should keep or how to keep on top of it and stay organized. So the piles kept growing as did her discomfort and inertia.

If you’ve experienced anything similar, this is a great time to check-in on your financial management systems and to implement these easy ways to simplify and stay in control!

Here are a few financial tasks and organizing tips that you might want to check off your list before you kick back and relax into summer mode. 

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Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow, Money Coaching

Aging Parents – Reversing the Roles

by Karin Mizgala MBA, CFP®

I’m not sure when it happened, but several years ago I realized that the tables were turning in my relationship with my parents. Although still extremely healthy and vibrant at the age of 70, my parents were starting to ask me for advice and I could feel a subtle shift in the balance of power.

Most children of aging parents that I know are busy, stressed, and ill-equipped to deal with the added time and financial demands of caring for elderly parents. And often the need to step in comes during a crisis. This isn’t a great time to make the emotional, financial and legal decisions that are often necessary. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Planning, Relationship to money