Does anyone else have that spring cleaning feeling? We all know how great a nice clean house feels (at least the five minutes before your family makes a mess again), but we think polishing up your finances feels even better! Like scrubbing those pesky baseboards (who even knew they could collect that much dust!?), tidying up your finances takes a bit of time and effort but the results will shine. So while you prepare to polish grout, consider adding a few of these tasks to your list and you’ll breathe easy knowing you’ve got a handle on things.
Task 1: Fund Your Goals
You may have set your 2021 goals in January, but if you haven’t, now is the time. Figure out what you want from the year, and what financial resources you’ll need to achieve those goals. If the plan requires more money than you have now, figure out if you want to make more money, spend less money or borrow money. Making more money can mean adding a side hustle, asking for a raise or changing jobs; spending less money usually requires setting a budget and sticking to it; and borrowing money can be a good option if your goals are lofty like purchasing a house or going to post-secondary or graduate school.
Task 2: Secure Yourself Online
We all either know that person who has the same password for every single online account, or we are that person. If you are that person, WHY???
In 2020 young Canadians (age 16-34) lost more than $16.6 million in fraud scams. We’re not trying to scare, but the reality is that it can happen to you, Captain Password 123456. So take this opportunity to sit down and update all your passwords. Consider using an online password manager like Dashlane or LastPass. If you need help creating strong passwords, start with a line from a book or a song (something you haven’t posted about on social media – scammers will look through your posts to guess your passwords). Then add the name of the platform the password is for and then substitute numbers and symbols for some of the letters. For example, IKnowWeWerentPerfect can transform to !N0WeWerentInst@.
Task 3: Shop Around For Rates
If you need to borrow money to achieve those goals you just set, interest rates are incredibly low right now (check out this 1.59% mortgage rate from Connect First Credit Union!). Vermilion Credit Union has online calculators to help you math out what you’ll need for education savings, mortgage, etc. But even if you’re not borrowing, you should still make sure you’re not overpaying on account fees – we compared a credit union chequing account to a bank chequing account and spoiler alert: the bank charged higher fees.
Task 4: Prep Your Financial Future
We know, you’re young and retirement feels a million years away. But your future is worth spending time on! If you already have a plan, take the time to check in on your assets. Servus Credit Union has good information on how to review, reassess and rebalance your RRSP. If saving and investing are new to you, check out this overview from Encompass Credit Union on the difference between a TFSA and RSP. Once you’re ready to start making contributions, book a meeting with an advisor at your local credit union for personalized financial advice to suit your specific situation.
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The tips in this writing are generic in nature and do not constitute specific advice to specific situations. You should consult a professional regarding your specific situation.