The Perils of Being House Poor

The Perils of Being House PoorYounger homebuyers don’t want to max out on their mortgage payments, according to a recent TD survey. Could it be that Gen Xers have learned a few lessons from older home owners who qualify as house poor? The survey found that Gen X Canadians overwhelmingly consider themselves “house plus” buyers who want enough flexibility in the budget to afford things like travel after their monthly payments. Just 14 per cent…

September 21, 2014

Know What Fees You’re Paying and How to Minimize Them

Know What Fees You're Paying and How to Minimize ThemFew things in life are free. Sure, there are free samples of protein bars at grocery stores and free hand-me-downs from grandma, but it costs you time to wait in line for the snack and effort to drop unwanted items off at donation centres. So it should come as no surprise that it costs you money to manage your money — whether it’s banking fees, ATM fees or mutual fund…

August 3, 2014

5 Major Differences Between Cheap and Frugal

5 Major Differences Between Cheap and FrugalIn response to my recent post about splitting expenses with friends, one commenter wrote that there is a fine line between cheap and frugal. I happen to agree. For example, when dining in a group, I recommend that each individual calculate tax and tip based on what they ordered, but I would never dream of leaving less than a 18 percent tip on my tab, unless service was abysmal. I…

June 22, 2014

12 Really Crappy Ways to Lose Your Money

12 Really Crappy Ways to Lose Your MoneyA few years ago, when I went to a spa resort in Arizona to de-stress, I accidentally left my phone on in my purse for four days. While I hiked in the desert, played with horses and performed yoga sun salutations, my phone checked for updates on Facebook, tracked Twitter mentions, found tagged photos of me on Instagram, etc. When I returned home, I had racked up $400 in data…

April 20, 2014

RRSP Ages and Stages

RRSP Ages and StagesEveryone knows it’s RRSP season, but what’s less obvious is how to best direct your contributions over the years. Different ages and life stages call for different strategies. There’s an overarching theme, though: anything you can put toward your retirement is a good thing. “When it comes to contributions, it’s a journey, not a sprint,” says ?Wade Stayzer, vice president of retail banking and investment services at Ontario’s Meridian Credit…

March 30, 2014

Mortgage First RRSP Later

Mortgage First RRSP LaterJudging by the barrage of Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) information you would think making a contribution before the March 3rd deadline is a slam dunk no matter who you are. The truth is; it doesn’t make sense for a lot of people – especially if you’re young. In most cases it’s better to pay down debt than contribute to a registered retirement savings plan. In some cases paying down…

February 16, 2014

Take Full Advantage of Tax-Free Savings Accounts

Take Full Advantage of Tax-Free Savings AccountsRecent data indicate that Canadians are saving more. Statistics Canada reports the Household Savings Rate is currently 5.4%, a 0.4% increase from the previous year. Likewise, a recent BMO Bank of Montreal study found that 48% of Canadians are now investing in tax-free savings accounts, a 23% increase from 2012. It’s good that Canadians are saving, but unfortunately too few are making the most of it. Part of the problem…

February 2, 2014

Canadians Just Dont Understand TFSAs

Canadians Just Dont Understand TFSAsTax-free savings accounts (TFSA) may be increasingly popular, but they also have a lot of Canadians scratching their heads. Forty-eight per cent of Canadians have a TFSA, up from 23 per cent in 2012, according to Bank of Montreal’s recently released Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) report. However, there’s confusion surrounding the details: the poll found that just 19 per cent of Canadians know the annual contribution limit, 10 per…

January 5, 2014

Top 6 Threats to Your Finances in 2014

Top 6 Threats to Your Finances in 2014Mounting debt We’re all another year older, and as the old song goes, deeper in debt. The latest measure of household debt by Statistics Canada shows the average household owes nearly $1.64 for every dollar it earns in a year. In the 1990s we owed less than a dollar for every dollar we earned but the creeping culture of consumerism has most Canadians living beyond their means. Late in the…

December 29, 2013

Kids Develop Money Habits By Age Seven

Kids Develop Money Habits By Age SevenKids develop money habits by the time they’re seven, according to recent research from Cambridge University. And that means that parents’ financial styles have an influence on their kids own fiscal skills well into adulthood. Backed by London’s Money Advice Service, a free financial-literacy organization, the “Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children” report found that by age seven, most kids recognize the value of money and know how to…

December 15, 2013