7 Stages of Financial Well-Being® – Where do you stand?

By Karin Mizgala, BA Psyc, MBA, CFP®

January is almost over. One month down, and eleven to go. How are your financial New Year’s resolutions holding up in 2019?

I hope you are doing better financially, and that you are feeling confident and in-control of your financial future. That’s a lot to ask of just 31 days, but maybe you ‘took the bull by the horns’ and made the necessary steps to change your relationship with money.

If not, and money is a source of worry for you, please read on.

We’ve found that one of the biggest reasons why individuals do not follow through on their financial resolutions is that they don’t have a clear sense of what financial success means. The other reason is that it’s just not easy to do what it takes to be good with money in the complex and fast-paced culture in which we live.

For many clients, we’ve seen that success comes from a deeper understanding of where they stand with money, emotionally and financially, developing concise and attainable goals, getting organized and implementing a manageable plan to move forward.

Of course, it takes less effort to hope that a windfall will suddenly appear. But wouldn’t it be nice to finally feel in control of your money once and for all – on your own terms? Continue reading

Posted in 7 Stages of Financial Well-Being®, Money Coaching, Relationship to money

Five Steps to Setting Your New Year’s Financial Resolutions

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

A new year has begun, and after weeks of holiday spending, many of us are ready to pull-up our socks and create new financial habits. Maybe we resolve to lower our debt this year, or increase our savings, or some other generic, feel good intention.

That’s the problem with most New Year’s resolutions; their reliance on magical thinking. The belief that you will wake-up changed on January 1st, your old habits having melted away. And for a few days, even weeks, it feels like that’s true. But without something more than a wish to support your change, your plans collapse. We’ve all been there.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is a formula that can increase your chances of making change, at the New Year, or any time. Five steps that can turn a generic resolution into an intention that you feel connected to and invested in. Continue reading

Posted in For your information, Money Coaching, Relationship to money

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

By Sabine LayCertified Money Coach

With Christmas past, and New Years just a few days away, amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, now is the perfect time to think about gratitude.

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, (611,000,000 results when you search “be grateful” on Google), 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 pursuit of the “perfect” holiday experience – one that fades well 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

Paying Your Mortgage in Times of Rising Interest Rates

By Barbara Knoblach, Ph.D., CFP®

The mortgage game is a complicated one where the rules change often. Canadian mortgage borrowers can be placed into one of two camps – the ‘variable rate’ or ‘fixed rate’ camp.

Variable rate borrowers are those that are willing to ride changes in the interest rate and like the flexibility of these products. Fixed rate borrowers, on the other hand, like the certainty that their payments will not change over the term of their mortgage.

Both approaches are sound, but both can also force borrowers to deal with rising interest rates at some point. This is especially true in the current mortgage market. Continue reading

Posted in Budgeting and Cash Flow

How to Make the Most of Your Inheritance

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

Waiting for an inheritance is not a solid financial plan. But the fact is, Stats Canada reports that the total net worth of Canadians 65 or older is $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

Investment Fees Matter… More Than You Think

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

Canadians have a reputation for being polite. Maybe that’s why for years we’ve put up with investment fees that were confusing, often hidden, and higher than necessary.

But polite doesn’t necessarily mean passive. Over the past several years, Canadians have demanded more transparency from their financial advisors and financial institutions. And thanks to changes implemented by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) over two years ago, we now have access to more information.

But do you feel better informed?

I meet many people who still wonder if the investment fees they pay are too high, and who question the value of the financial advice they receive but aren’t sure what to do about it or where to turn.

First let’s recap what the CSA has put in place, and then examine how fees impact your finances. Continue reading

Posted in Financial Literacy, Investing, Money Coaching, Retirement savings

Should I take CPP at age 60?

By Barbara Knoblach, PhD, CFP®

Mature couple walking in countryside

The long summer evenings are over. The kids are back at school; homework, lessons and sports practice have begun to fill the family calendar again. Summer holidays and backyard BBQs are now just photo memories on our phones and social media accounts. But that’s OK.

It’s a time to look toward new challenges at work, winter vacations and even plans for next summer. Because, really, what is all our hard work for, if not, at least in part, to afford time with friends and family?

In fact, as you ease into a busier fall schedule, it’s a great opportunity to pause and remember why you work hard, and to recommit to your life goals—including your important retirement goals. Who doesn’t dream of the day when all four seasons are theirs to shape and enjoy?

But retirement looks very different to everyone, and one of the most important things to consider when planning yours, is the optimal time to apply for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits. All it takes is a bit of calculated foresight, to make the decision that will best suit your circumstances.

Here’s a look at some basics:

Canada Pension Plan benefits can be drawn as early as age 60 (reduced 0.6% for each month before 65) or as late as age 70 (increased 0.7% for each month after 65).

The average life expectancy for Canadians is age 80 for men and 84 for women. Statistics Canada predicts a continued rise in life expectancy of roughly two years over the next 15 years.

Things to consider:

Life expectancy

Contemplating your mortality may feel uncomfortable, but your health and whether or not longevity is a family trait, are things to consider when making your decision.

If you take your CPP starting at age 60, your breakeven point with someone who waits until age 65 is when you both turn 74. Confused? Let me put it another way; if Mary takes her CPP at 60 and Brenda takes hers at 65, Mary’s monthly CPP payment will be 36% lower than Brenda’s, but she will collect five years longer. They will be 74 when Brenda pulls ahead of Mary for overall amount collected. Continue reading

Posted in Ask Your Money Coach, For your information

How You Approach Investing Should Evolve as You Age – Part Two

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

An Investors Approach to Investments Should Evolve As They Age

In part one of this post, I wrote about financial and investment considerations for those in their 20s. If you read that article, you may remember that I mentioned time as being one of the greatest assets young investors have. Time to take advantage of compounding interest. Time to bounce back from dips in the market. Time to create financial habits that will serve them throughout their life.

But time is only part of the equation. Investing is not a matter of filling your financial crockpot while you’re young and letting it simmer, unattended, until you retire. Your investments need to “feed” you throughout your life, not just in your senior years. You have to lift the lid on that slow cooker and keep an eye on things. You do that with an annual investment review. Continue reading

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

Top 5 money challenges small business owners face

By Charmaine Huber, Money Coach

Portrait Of Couple Running Coffee Shop Behind Counter

Most people who start a business don’t do it for the sole purpose of making money. There are much easier ways to make money than to build a business.

At the risk of sounding too mystical, it’s more often a soul purpose that creates the energy behind entrepreneurial success. People who start businesses are passionate about what they do. But here’s the thing, people who stay in business, the people who thrive and grow, are also practical about what they can and can’t do.

They know that even if they don’t feel comfortable in the world of profits and losses, debts, taxes, budgets and retirement, learning how to take control of their money and having a financial plan in place will make them more successful. And allow them to continue doing what they love.

Here are the top five money challenges you’ll face as a small business owner: Continue reading

Posted in Money Coaching