Goodbye 2016 Hello Plan 2017

Goodbye 2016 Hello Plan 2017

It’s best to set a plan instead of a goal. You can control a plan, but you are always chasing goals trying to catch up with them. Your plans walk with you all the way.

Yes it’s the end of 2016. Are you one of the people who are saying, “I have no idea where the year went?”   Guess what, it went. Never to return. All the plans and hopes you had and all the things you wanted to accomplish left with 2016.   How many things you planned for 2016 that became a reality?

It’s time to create a plan for 2017. I am not talking about a New Years resolution. Remember it is a New Year for one day. With this in mind the resolutions you created that you kept for the first 24 hours of the New Year, is mission accomplished. The 2nd of January is not called the New Year it is January 2nd. The New Year left 24 hours ago.

Now let’s look at the plans you might consider making throughout 2017. You will have to take some time to work on those plans. During that time, you should not spend time looking at how you let those plans slip through your fingers in the lost plan section of 2016. Do not go there, nothing to gain looking back.

If New Years resolutions have not worked for you in the past make a short list. Three items should be tops, making a list with five items is stretching yourself. Setting you up for failure.   Check your record of success in the past before making a long list. How have you done? Remember your previous behavior is indicative of your future behavior. Take this into consideration when making your list.

The best way to target your plans for 2017 is to make a short list of the things that really matter to you. Vague or plans with no thought will treat you the same they will not materialize.   Plans that will work for you must be specific, describe it in as much detail as you can. Measure your progress towards the plan?   What have you done or what are you presently doing to ensure this plan becomes a reality. Is it a pipe dream or is it something you can attain with the resources at your disposal. Have you chosen a plan that is realistic?  Can you attain at this time of your life? Most important of all, when do you want to attain this plan. Give it a date in 2017 a real date, like August 20th 2017.

Now you have your list, place it somewhere where you will read it everyday. You noticed, I said read it everyday, not see it everyday. Reading and seeing are two completely different activities.   You should pause and read your list. Then ask yourself what did you do yesterday toward reaching this plan. What can you do today toward this plan? Ask that question everyday and note your progress and success.

If you follow the above plan you will have a very successful 2017.

It’s no point crying over spilled milk. The best and only choice is to look at the spilled milk, skip over it and walk in 2017. Do not look back.


Find what works for you.


Finding your spot in a financial world can be very difficult sometimes. It becomes even more challenging when a very good friend in different circumstances encourages you to follow their plan.

In life, there are several things that work for one person but would not apply to another. When it comes to finances, it is even more glaring. Too often we decide to make decisions on things that work for our friends or family. After years of trying what was fool proof for them we find out it just cannot work for our family. It is absolutely imperative we realize that the plans that were set for their family five years or more ago may not apply to us five years later.

When listening to what works for someone else take a moment to look at the make up of their family very carefully, before considering implementing their plan in your life.

Here are some things to help you make those decisions:

  1. Do you have the same or similar income?
  2. How many members of the family are contributing financially?
  3. How many people make-up their family?
  4. What is their total debt?
  5. Is it the same amount as yours?
  6. How long ago did this plan work for them?

There are numerous other factors to consider, but these are just a few of the important ones when considering a financial plan.

The very best advice is to listen then take small sections of their plan and see whether it will fit with yours. If you are not sure seek the help of a financial advisor. Your financial institution is able to help. If the person is not prepared to help you learn to manage your family finances, keep looking until you find someone who will at least point you in the right direction.

The Internet is loaded with all kinds of information. Search until you understand what is being discussed.   Do not get discourage. Attend all sorts of financial seminars and take notes. Ask questions. Watch shows where financial advice is being given

Most important of all, do not give up.




Creating a SPENDING PLAN may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world to do, but it is vital in keeping your financial house in order.

Before you begin to create your SPENDING PLAN it is important to realize that in order to be successful you have to include all your financial details, no spending is too small to be listed.  It is imperative all spending is listed.

Ultimately, the end result will show where your money is coming from, how much it is where it is all going.

  1.  First, at the top of the page write down the date and amount you bring home each week, bi-weekly or monthly.    By that I mean the amount you receive in your account which is your net pay,  this is the amount you have to live on.
  2. Write down EVERYTHING you spend each day.   Most people remember their mortgage or rent payment,  but often forget the impulsive things they buy,   like a chocolate bar, the lottery tickets they buy on their way to work each morning.    I recommend that you carry a small notepad with you and write down everything you spend money on,  including lunch, magazines, and your morning coffee.    By keeping track of everything you spend money on, you will have a complete list of all your expenses, which will make it easier to create your Spending Plan.
  3. Savings:  Your savings must be included in your list of expenses?  Remember to pay yourself first;  consider it a debt you owe to you.    Have your bank do your savings automatically for you.
  4.  Your weekly,  bi-weekly or monthly income should equal the same as your expenses.   If your expenses are greater than your income, you will need to revamp your spending plan.
  5. Once you have created your spending plan your job is to make it work for you.   What are you willing to give up, to make your spending plan work?    I do not recommend stopping or modifying your savings,  if you do you are again putting yourself last. Look at the amount you spend on groceries,  cable TV, eating out.    Groceries are usually the bigger culprit; make a list of what you already have and shop accordingly, not because it is on sale.
  6. If you choose not to decrease your spending, are you prepared to take on a part-time job?    To spend more than you are making is to dig a hole while standing in the same spot,  eventually you will not be able to toss the dirt over your head and out.   You will need to go over your spending plan several times, before you get it right. Keep at it,  it is worth the effort
  7.  If you have a spouse you will have to work together to produce a spending plan that will benefit both you and your partner.
  8. Even if one person manages the day-to-day of the spending plan the partner should be aware of what is going on in that plan.
  9. After you have your spending plan as you want it,  your next step is to implement the plan.   
  10.  Set up weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meeting where you and your partner go over the plan,  you will need to visit the plan often in e beginning.    Then you can go over it at least once a month to make sure you are on tract.

Tessa- Marie Shillingford is the author of Controlling the Debt Monster. She is Personal Financial Planner, with a designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers, and a Financial Counselor certified by the institute of Canadian Banker. She is presently a Program Facilitator of Financial Literacy at JVS Toronto. Tessa- Marie was employed by TD Canada Trust for twenty years in the retail section of the bank. During her tenure at TD Canada Trust she held various positions interacting with customers of the bank. As a Financial Advisor and Manager of Financial Services she led a group of Financial Advisors in helping customers of TD Canada Trust successfully manage their finances. Details of her book… Controlling the Debt Monster, can be found at