FIVE POWERFUL STEPS TO FINANCIAL SUCCESS

Interesting year we are in, 2013!  Commonly, anything with the number 13 generates fear and superstition.  Many people run away from this feared number. Buildings do not have a 13th floor as it is so feared.  Do we have a choice?  Can we ignore the year 2013 or pretend it does not exist just because it has the number 13 in the mix?  No, we can’t so we are going to include 2013 in our lives.  We are going to do something different this year.  We are actually going to embrace the number 13; we are going to embrace the entire year!  A suggestion for our theme for 2013 is NEW HOPES, NEW DREAMS AND FINANCIAL SUCCESS!

Every year we make plans and set goals, which we refer to as RESOLUTIONS.  Let us scrap that word. We are setting New Goals for a New Year with a number that will surely improve our chances.  We will begin by naming “2013” the year my life changed for the better.

My first question; what do you want to ACCUMULATE and what do you want to ELIMINATE?  Take a few minutes and write your answer down.

In the past few years were you a MISSILE WITHOUT A GUIDANCE SYSTEM?  Were you just going about your business working, paying bills, spending and reacting to life instead of life reacting to you?  It’s time to change.  Give yourself a GUIDANCE SYSTEM. Where do you want to go and when?

Now what are those five powerful steps to financial success I am talking about?  Well here they are, you might have heard some version of them previously, but not described to you in the way I am going to do so now!

1.  SPECIFICITY

Key to meeting your goals is to know your goals. Describe your goals completely and entirely until they become something you can recite like a nursery rhyme. You want to pay off your Master Card then say I want to completely pay off my Master Card.  Do not only say I want to pay off my debt.  This non-specific statement does not completely describe your goal.  The specific statement you want to make describes which debt and the amount.  Generally, when a goal is not specific it is not attained.  Ask yourself which debt, the $100.00 you owe your brother, or the $3000.00 outstanding on your Master Card?  Be Specific.

2.  KEEP SCORE

What steps are you taking to meet those goals?  In other words, keep score of your progress towards your goals.  Your statement should be as follows.  I want to pay off my Bank Master card (name the bank) and I am paying $250.00 towards the card every month.  So I Keep Score every month of the total I have paid towards my Bank Master Card debt, which shows me the headway that I have made.

3.  PUT YOUR GOAL INTO YOUR LIFESTYLE

Now that I am paying this Bank Master Card off, I should not continue to use the card.  Making payments to eliminate debt every month and simultaneously incurring more of the same debt is counter-productive.  For example, one should not make efforts to pay $250.00 a month towards a Bank Master Card debt and charge $200.00 to the card just because there is available credit.  Create habits that will enable you to bring your financial goals into your lifestyle and eliminate the habits that work against you.  Modify your behavior.

4.  PROGRAM FOR SUCCESS

Now that you know the steps you need to take in order to meet financial goals, avoid the impulses and temptations that are a hindrance to your targets.  An immediate reward can produce long-term penalties.  A drink after work every Friday is no longer one of your pastimes.  Dinner out every weekend with your friends should be scaled back. Why not cook with your friends at home and everyone contributes to the meal.  A lovely homemade Tuscan soup and some fresh buns with a bottle of wine can make a lovely winter dinner with friends at home.  Try it!  You’ll it!

5.  TIME.  WHEN DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL

This is one of the most important steps in accomplishing your goal.  A friend of mine always wanted to retire to Jamaica.  I’ve heard the following statement for the last 15 years. “I am going back home to retire.”  Now that is an incomplete plan.  My friend did not complete his statement; he should have said:  “My goal is to retire in 2001 at the age of 60 in Jamaica.” Now that is a complete goal!  We have the where, the what and most importantly, the when!  My friend is still in Canada, retired and only vacations in Jamaica.  He maintains his dream of one day living in Jamaica but his goal is still incomplete.  With no when, no timeframe, this is an incomplete and unattainable goal.

So there they are!  Your Five Powerful Steps to Financial Success!  Every three months take time to look at your progress towards meeting your financial goal.  If you are not on tract, then re-evaluate and make the necessary changes to get yourself back on tract.  It may not be easy, keep plugging away, do not abort the goal!

Happy New Year

Tessa-Marie

January 2 2013

ARE WE READY TO BE LONG TERM INVESTORS?

I have been working with Andrew for six years as his Financial Advisor.  I met Andrew when he was a 24-year-old university graduate.  Andrew had a large OSAP loan, a student line of credit and a credit card with a balance.  He was recommended to me by his mother whom I had been working with for a number of years.

When Andrew and his wife Kathy  came to see me for their annual financial check up and asked me the question “Are We Ready to be Long term Investors,”  my  reply to them was “Yes  you are both most certainly ready to become  serious long-term investors.”

When Andrew and I first met we worked on a Financial Plan.  Preparing the Financial Plan took one month before we were certain that was what he wanted to achieve. During that period we met weekly.  The following month we met every two weeks which we continued to do for one year.  Soon after our first year of meeting Andrew introduced me to his finance Kathy. We had to revise the plan Andrew had as a single man to include his then fiancée Kathy.  Kathy also had a credit card, student line of credit and an OSAP loan.    For the next two years we met once a month and then switched to meeting annually.  Working with a Financial Planner requires time and dedication. The planner will be there, but you will have  have to also be present, and by present I mean do the things you said you would do and show up on time and keep your appointments.

Here is a list of Andrew’s and Kathy’s goals.

  1. Open an emergency savings account.
  2. Open two Registered Retirement Savings Plans.
  3. Make payments to credit cards and do not add any more purchases to the credit cards.
  4. Transfer credit card payments to the student lines of credit, once the credit cards were paid in full.
  5. Make regular payments to Student Loans.
  6. Save for their Wedding.
  7. Save to purchase own home.
  8. Purchase a car.
  9. Open a joint vacation account.
  10. Open a joint Long term Mutual Fund non-registered account.

Six years later Andrew and Kathy have met all of the above goals and now want to be serious long-term investors.  They are well prepared, and understand the process of long-term investing.  You will notice that Andrew and Kathy did not start long-term investing until they had achieved their short-term and some of their mid-term goals.  Both Andrew and Kathy are ready to work with an Investment Specialist or Broker.

Andrew and Kathy wanted to know why I am referring them to an Investment Specialist.  The reason for not getting involved in investments is because there are thousands and thousands of Investment Specialist all over the place, but very few advisors who are passionate enough to move you from where you are to where you want to go, or to get you ready to work with an Investment Specialist.

I have recommended Andrew and Kathy to an Investment Specialist who will work with them to build wealth.

My job as always is to enlighten, educate and encourage you at the beginning of your financial journey.  I choose to help you to make the proper plans to manage your money and to stay out of revolving credit which will contribute to your financial success.

Andrew and Kathy are going to be in good hands and we will be meeting every year for a financial check up.

If you are ready for long-term investing, consider working with a financial advisor.

Tessa-Marie

 

WHAT DO YOU REALLY, WANT?

Whenever I facilitate a workshop on finance the very first question I ask the participants is WHAT ARE YOUR FINANCIAL WISHES?      Most of the participants are stumped by this question.

In The story of Aladdin’s Lamp the Genie once released from his imprisonment in the bottle asks Aladdin. “WHAT DO YOU WISH’   I refer to this fable to illustrate a point.  When Aladdin was confronted with this question he hesitated, and like most of us, he did not have a list of specific wishes.  He had a vague idea of what would provide the most immediate pleasure and comfort.  He did not have a working plan and he did know what he wanted.  I ask, the Genie’s question a little differently. What is it you to accomplish financially?  The common response is “You know I have never really thought of that.”

At the beginning of a workshop on finance I get those same reactions. So let’s see if I can help guide you to achieve your financial goals

It is Tuesday night and you are watching reality television wishing you were one of those rich people or one of those getting rich doing their show.  You wished so hard that the Genie appears,   “Give me a list of the ten things you want now and they all will be yours in five years.  You will receive the first one in January and the second one in June and every year after this for the next five years.  There is only one catch; you must name these ten things in 120 seconds.”

How many of you are able to do this now?  Stop reading and get your, I phone, I Pad, purple, yellow or blackberries and begin writing taking only 120 seconds to complete the list.  How was that for you, did you complete your list in 120 seconds or were you mystified, dumfounded, and exhausted, well you are not alone you are just like 90% of the population over the age of 20.

Kids know what they want; we have all seen or experienced with a child who wants a particular toy, they know the name of the toy, they know where it is sold, what colour it is, how much it cost and they also know you will move heaven and earth to get it for them.

The Genie feels sorry for you and decided to give you another chance.   He tells you “I will be back in seven days and if you have those ten things listed they will be yours.”

What are you going to do, are you going to turn off the television, and get your note-book or one of those berries and begin writing or are you going to do it after this particular show is over?  It is all your choice, remember. The decisions you make today determines the life you live tomorrow.

You decided you are starting now.  The first list you created you set aside, NO! You say out loud as you jump out of your chair, this is not what I really, want.   You start again.  This time you date and time the second page and begin, using the previous list as a reference, you look at the list again and will see the things you know you need, also what you don’t want.

Here are  some things you might have on that first list.

  1. Be happy,
  2.  Have good health
  3. Travel
  4.  Have a fancy car
  5. Eat at superfine restaurants
  6. Have a big House
  7. Buy designer clothes and shoes
  8. Want to be comfortable
  9. Get married
  10.  Have a family

Now here is a list of the things you need and want to accomplish.

  1. Stop borrowing money to buy things
  2. Bring my current debt up-to-date
  3. Pay off all my debt Buy a Home
  4. Create a small only God knows fund
  5. Create a Big emergency fund
  6. Buy a house
  7. Open a  Registered Retirement Savings Plan
  8. Save my children’s education
  9. Have an annual vacation
  10. Pay off the house

A very different list from the previous one.  Are these better choices?

Try creating your own list using the above as a reference.

When you have these things in place, peace of mind, happiness and contentment will follow, and your Financial Advisor aka Genie will have guided you to reach your financial goals.

It requires some practice and it will definitely take much more than 120 seconds to get it right but it is worth doing.

Let me know how you felt before and after the exercise.

Tessa-Marie

SOME MORE SAVING FOR FAMILIES

 

 

In this section we are discussing Canada Education Savings Grant and Canada Learning Grant.

 

  • Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)
    The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) program provides grants to Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) contributors until the beneficiaries reach the age of 17.

 

  • Canada Learning Bond
    The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) program provides a $500 bond for children born to families who receive the National Child Benefit Supplement under the Canada Revenue Agency’s Canada Child Tax Benefit program.

 

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is money that the Government of Canada will add to your child’s savings in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

The grant has two parts:

  1. Basic Canada Education Savings Grant

The Basic Canada Education Savings Grant will give you 20% on every dollar of the first $2,500 you save in your child’s RESP each year.

Depending on your net family income, you could receive an extra 10% or 20% on every dollar of the first $500 you save in your child’s RESP each year.

 

Eligibility Information

Who can get the grant?

  • All children under age 18 are eligible, as long as they are Canadian residents and an RESP has been opened for them.
  1. Special rules apply if your child is between the ages of 15 and 17. See Special Rules for Children Aged 15 to 17 Additional Canada Education Savings Grant

Canada Learning Bond

The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is $500 offered by the Government of Canada to help start saving now for your child’s education after high school.

Plus, you child could get $100 every year until he or she turns 15 years old to a maximum of $2,000!

 

Eligibility Information

  • The child’s family must receive the National Child Benefit Supplement.

Children must meet the following criteria:

Financial Information

  • The children qualify for $100 Bond installments until age 15 for each year their family is entitled to the Supplement.
  • The Bond is paid into an RESP established by the family.
  • The first Canada Learning Bond payment includes an additional $25 to help cover the cost of opening the RESP account.

Application Information

  • Visit the CanLearn Web site at Service Canada to get more details on CESG.
  • Information on RESPs and CLB application procedures is available from banks, mutual fund and brokerage companies, insurance and trust companies, companies and foundations that specialize in education savings plans, and other financial institutions.

It is important and very simple to do.   Visit your financial institution and talk to a Financial Advisor, they will be happy to help you. Please take advantage of this opportunity to make your children’s education much easier.

 

Tessa-Marie