Women, Money and Power: How Times are Changing for the Better

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

On March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. But IWD is about more than one day; the theme for the whole of 2018 is #PressforProgress.

In 2017 we saw unprecedented numbers of women stand up and give voice to abuse and inequities that have long been silenced. #PressforProgress is the logical next step, as women, and men, want more than the recognition of disparity; they want change.

One of the very real and important ways a woman can be empowered is through financial confidence and action. Regardless of age or income, a woman who controls her money, has the power to control her future. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, Investing, Relationship to money

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

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

In preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, our nation set out to “Own the Podium.” That program is still delivering the results as the recently concluded PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games aptly demonstrated.

What an amazing two weeks of athletic competition. It’s impossible not to be proud of our Olympians. A record medal haul of 29 – 11 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze. And so many stories of triumph and sportsmanship.

“Our athletes have made history at these Games,” Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith said. “From a country chasing the powerhouse nations, we are now proudly in the top group growing in strength and contending for No. 1. And we’ll keep going.”

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 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being®, Money Coaching

RRSP vs RESP: How to Make the Right Choice?

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

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? It seems like a straight forward assumption that we would contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) on their behalf.

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 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?

With RRSP season is full swing, now is the perfect time to weigh your options and make the right decision between RRSP and RESP. This year, the deadline is March 1 for RRSP contributions – you have until then to add funds into your RRSP and claim that contribution when you file your 2017 income tax return later this year.

The Fundamentals: What You Need to Know

Continue reading

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

Six Steps to Financial Bliss – Valentine’s Edition

By: Sheila Walkington, CFP

With Valentines Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time for every couple to have a conversation about one of the most important factors affecting relationships – money.

For many couples, there is nothing that dampens love 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?

Follow the following six tips and you’ll be on the path to financial bliss. Continue reading

Posted in Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Exchange Traded Funds: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask

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

Most Canadians are very familiar with mutual funds. In simple terms, a mutual fund is made up of a collection of individual stocks, bonds or other securities carefully chosen by a fund manager, with the goal of generating returns for the investors while balancing risk. Investors pay a management fee, referred to as the Management Expense Ratio (MER), to cover the cost of the management, marketing and administration of these funds. In Canada the average MER is around 2%.

With greater focus on the cost of investing and fee transparency in Canada, it’s not surprising that there is growing interest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), which in most cases, have lower fees than mutual funds. But what else should you know about this up-trending investment option before deciding if ETFs are right for you? Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, For your information, Investing

A Financial Plan is a Roadmap

In 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.

For many Canadians, 2018 will be the year they get their financial house in order, and take their first few steps towards improved financial well-being. And a detailed financial plan will be their roadmap.

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 to Enjoy the Holiday Season without Paying for It in January

By Liisa TatemCPA, CA, CBV, CFDS, FPSC Level 1®

Christmas can be like a runaway sleigh. You’re bundled up and warm, enjoying the dips and turns of holiday fun, when you realize that your budget bounced off the sleigh into a snowbank and you’re careening out of control into a ditch of debt. You wake up January 1st with an empty wallet and a massive holiday headache.

Heavy-handed metaphor? Maybe, but if you’re like many Canadians, I bet you can relate.

Professional services firm, PwC Canada, predicts that Canadians will spend an average of $1,507 this holiday season on travel, gifts and entertainment. An annual survey by predicts gift spending at around $570 for the average Canadian and up to an average of $710 for Canadian parents.

But let’s not forget all the hidden expenses that often aren’t part of those predictions. Holiday clothes for everyone (often even the family dog), hostess gifts, office potlucks, more frequent take-out dinners (because there isn’t time to cook), school Christmas concerts, extra charitable donations­ (school food drives, point-of-sale requests for donations while shopping), baking supplies, and more money spent on gas as your bustle around town. Even hosting a holiday party for friends, in addition to Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, can quickly up-swing your December expenses significantly.

With Christmas just around the corner, I have some ideas and strategies that can help you stay in control of your holiday “sleigh ride.” Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, Budgeting and Cash Flow, Money Coaching

Can money make you happy? Try giving some away.

By Sabine Lay

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843. Most people know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly man who transforms his life after three spirits teach him the joy of giving. It seems Dickens was way ahead of the research on money and happiness.

Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, an associate professor of psychology at University of British Columbia, and Michael Norton, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, wrote an article in which their research shows that “people with a comfortable living standard are happier than people living in poverty.” No surprise. But once people reach a “comfortable standard” of income, which falls somewhere around $75,000 a year in the United States, additional income doesn’t create additional happiness. Continue reading

Posted in Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Give The Gift of Financial Independence this Holiday Season

By Noel D’SouzaP.Eng, CFP®

Give The Gift of Financial Independence this Holiday Season

The holidays are a time of giving, but many Canadians are tired of spending money on “stuff” that is soon forgotten by kids and adults alike. As a result, there is growing interest in gifts that are more meaningful.

The gift of a shared experience—dinner, movies, trips, concerts or sporting events—has gained popularity over the last few years. Shared activities create memories that are priceless and last long after the event is over. And that’s what many people want to give; gifts with lasting impact.

But if impact is what you’re after, consider gifts that go beyond good memories; consider simple ways to add to your children’s or grandchildren’s financial security.

Here are some options that you probably won’t find on anybody’s wish list, but may be the best gift they receive. Continue reading

Posted in Investing, Kids and Money, Money Coaching

Financial Literacy in Action

By Melanie Buffel, BA Psych, MBA Candidate

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada and this is a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other’s experience, sharing our knowledge and feelings about money.

There are so many financial concepts, products and services that one of our goals as Money Coaches is to increase each client’s financial knowledge and skills.  We intend that after our work together is complete, clients have a financial direction and plan, are confident making financial decisions and know what questions to ask when buying products and services. Financial literacy is power.

When people are in what I call the “Money Fog,” where they feel overwhelmed by the details and choices in front of them, the numbers on a spreadsheet or in a bank statement feel disconnected from their life and behaviours. Together we take action to clear that fog and make sense of the numbers, with decisions driven by goals and a clear path to achieve them. Financial literacy is about more than the difference between an RRSP and a TFSA, (although that’s important to understand too). Financial literacy is about clarity around your goals and a feeling of connection to your money. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, Money Coaching, Relationship to money