couple sitting on couch, looking at a computer

10 ways to take control of your finances

A New Year means resolutions and often times have a financial component to them. Here are 10 ways you can take control of your finances this coming year.


New Year. New financial you.

It’s hard to believe the New Year has already begun. With a New Year often comes resolutions – creating a plan for the future using lessons from the past – and many times have a financial component to them.

Here are 10 ways you can take control of your finances this coming year.

1. Set goals

We all have dreams of what we want to do and what we want to achieve. Make these dreams a reality by setting goals to achieve them. Organize your goals by priority and be sure they’re realistic and achievable. Tip: Start small. Small goals are easier to reach and help train your brain into believing you can achieve it, increasing your chance for success of future goals. Get started by checking out our Goal Setting Blog.

2. Take action

It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something and actually doing it. Put action to your words by creating an action plan setting dates you want to achieve parts/milestones of your goal by. Hold yourself accountable and reward yourself when achieving each milestone helping you to keep motivated.

3. Create a budget

A budget helps you manage your money, showing you how much you’re bringing in each month and where you plan on spending your money. It can help you not spend above your means and focus on what’s important to you. To make budgeting easier for you, we recommend using our online Budget Calculator.

4. Track your spending

By tracking every nickel you spend, you’re able to get an accurate picture of your spending habits – sometimes it can be very shocking how quickly or how much your purchases add up. Tracking your spending will also help you create a more precise budget based on your spending habits and allow you to identify areas where you may need to change your spending behaviours.

5. No-spend challenges

Each month challenge yourself to a spending freeze for a day, weekend or even the full month for all non-essential items. Or pick a different non-essential category to not spend on such as ‘No Eating Out March’.

We recommend challenging yourself for a day or weekend if doing for the first time. Check out our No-Spend Weekend Challenge Blog helping you succeed in taking an entire weekend off from spending.

6. Save for an emergency

Life can sometimes throw us a curveball, threatening our financial well-being and causing us stress. Set money aside each month into an emergency savings fund for those unexpected life events. Having a fund ensures if your car breaks down or your furnace goes in the middle of winter that you’re prepared and gives you peace-of-mind knowing you won’t need to stress trying to find money to cover these unexpected expenses.

7. Prepare for retirement

We all dream of the day we’ll retire – no more alarm clock, being able to take a nap whenever we’d like and playing that golf game on a Wednesday afternoon. Being able to retire the way we want though requires some planning in advance. Start preparing now by checking out our blog, Retirement: will you have enough?

8. Save your extra money

Throughout the year we come across extra money such as an income tax return or a cheque from our Grandma for our birthday. Though we may be tempted to treat ourselves, consider putting any extra, unexpected money you come across into savings – you’ll thank yourself at the end of the year when you have extra savings in the bank!

9. Invest in a TFSA

A tax-free savings account (TFSA) is a great way to save for just about anything, whether it be a short-term or long-term goal. What you save is not tax deductible nor are you taxed when you withdraw your earnings. As well, in 2019 contribution maximums have increased to $6,000. Learn more here.

10. Plan/review your estate

We often think that planning our estates is something we do when we’re older but in fact, everyone young or old should have an estate plan in place in case something unexpected were to happen to us. Having an estate plan helps our loved ones understand our wishes and how to carry them out if we were to pass. This can include naming guardians for children, instructions for your burial/cremation and how you’d like your property divided up and should be updated at each life event such as marriage, children, divorce, retirement, etc. Start your plan by speaking with a local estate planner or lawyer today.

A New Year symbolizes a fresh start and new beginnings. Hopefully, these quick tips help you feel more prepared to take on the new year and take control of your finances. For more financial advice, we encourage you to check out some of our other blogs or contact us today to set up an appointment with a financial advisor.

person holding pen looking at investments

Investment terminology 101

Choosing an investment best suited to help you reach your goals can be hard, especially if you’re unsure of what all the different investment options are. Get up to speed with the latest investment terminology here.


Financial well-being means having the confidence that you’ll be able to achieve your financial goals and dreams. Investing your money is one way to help reach these goals and dreams but knowing where or how can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out.

The type of investment you choose should be based on your goals. The investment options will look different depending on if your goal is short-term or long-term. Below is a list of different investment options, their purposes and the benefits of each, to help get you started.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

  • A great way to save for retirement.
  • There is a limit on how much you can contribute each year – refer to your RRSP deduction limit statement on your Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Variety of investment options including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and rates based on your risk appetite.
  • Any contribution you make, you can claim as a tax deduction on your income taxes. You won’t be taxed on this money until you withdraw it. The ideal time to withdraw these funds is in retirement when your income is lower, meaning fewer taxes you’re having to pay on your income.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

  • A perfect way to help you save for your child’s education.
  • Federal government grants and incentives are available to help your savings grow faster.
  • There is a lifetime maximum of $50,000.
  • Different types of plans and deposit options, working for all unique family situations.

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

  • Great way to save for just about anything!
  • Use to save for short- and long-term goals including weddings, emergencies, vacations, retirement and more!
  • Variety of term and rate options to choose from including flexible options.
  • 100% tax-free – you don’t pay taxes on money earned or withdrawn.
  • Maximum yearly contribution amount of $5,500. Unused contribution amounts carry over year over year.

Term Deposits & Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

  • A term deposit can be used to invest in RRSP, TFSA or regular savings
  • Have the potential to earn a higher interest rate than a savings account.
  • Variety of rate, term and redeemable/non-redeemable options.
  • Generally term deposits and are used if wanting a low to no risk investment option.
  • Different interest rates for different term lengths. Typically, the longer the term the better the interest rate available.

Mutual Funds

  • A mutual fund can be used to invest in RRSP, TFSA or regular savings
  • Short- or long-term marketplace investment options available.
  • Variety of options available for all risk appetites – low, balanced or high growth.
  • Investments aren’t guaranteed. Potential for larger returns but with higher risk.
  • It’s recommended you work with a trusted financial advisor for advice and fund management.

Market-Linked Guaranteed Investments

  • Great for investors who are seeking both security and potentially higher returns than the more familiar secure investments.
  • Bridge product between term deposits and mutual funds.
  • Can be invested through an RRSP, TFSA or on its own to build your wealth.
  • Investment is 100% guaranteed and your return will depend on how the stocks perform during the length of your investment term.
  • Variety of options with a variety of term lengths to fit your schedule and goals.

When it comes to the world of savings and investing, there are many things to know. We recommend sitting down with your financial advisor to understand your investment goals and determining which investment solutions are best suited for you.

Excited to get started investing in your future? We are too! Contact us today to get started!

income tax form

Smart ways to spend your income tax refund

It may be tempting to spend your income tax refund on a new pair of shoes or a fancy dinner, but that good feeling of splurging is only temporary. Consider spending your income tax refund using one of these options.


According to the Canada Revenue Agency, close to 90% of Canadians who have filed their 2017 income taxes received a refund, with the average refund being $1676. Do you anticipate receiving a refund this year? If so, how do you plan on spending it?

It may be tempting to use all of this money to splurge on yourself but that good feeling you get from splurging is only temporary. Here are a few smart ways to spend your income tax refund – helping you feel financially-well now and in the future.

Pay off debt

Have a balance on your credit card or line of credit? Working to pay off your student loan or car loan? Consider using your tax refund to reduce or eliminate this debt. Putting towards your debt will not only reduce the amount of debt you have but also decrease/eliminate the interest you’re paying on this debt.

Emergency savings fund

Are you prepared for an unexpected emergency such as job loss, injury or illness? If your car engine went on you tomorrow, do you have money set aside to have it fixed? An emergency savings fund ensures you’re prepared for life’s unexpected curveballs. Use your refund to start or contribute to an emergency savings fund. Unsure how much you may need? Check out our Importance of having an emergency savings fund blog to help you out.

Extra payment on your mortgage

Some mortgages have the option to make extra payments allowing you to pay down your mortgage faster – check your mortgage agreement to see what extra payment options you may have. Consider using your refund to make an extra payment on your mortgage, which will be applied directly to the principal amount. This will not only reduce this debt faster but also reduce the amount of time you’ll be paying off your mortgage.

Put into an RRSP

Retirement may seem far away, but it will be here before you know it. Help reach your retirement goals quicker by putting your refund into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Check out our Retirement Planner Calculator to see if you’re on track for your retirement goals.

Put towards your child’s education

Post-secondary education costs for your child can add up quickly – will you be ready? Consider putting your refund into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to help pay for the costs of this education. Our RESP Calculator can help you figure out the cost of your child’s post-secondary education and map out the savings required – through individual contributions and government grants.

Save the money in a Tax-Free Savings Account

Tax-free savings accounts (TFSA) allow you to save money in an investment tax-free, with a maximum yearly contribution limit of $5,500. These accounts are great tools for saving money for short and long-term goals and give you the flexibility to withdraw the money you save at any time. Saving for a family vacation or a new car – consider using a TFSA to get you started. Check out our TFSA Calculator to see your potential benefits to investing your tax refund into a TFSA.

However you choose to spend your tax refund, be sure to do so wisely. A new pair of shoes may be nice, but your return on investment would not compare to using one of the options above. We’d love to chat and see which option may be best for you. Contact us today!