Right now is a great opportunity to take inventory of both the beneficial and negative financial decisions made in the past year. While it’s too late to atone for the past, it’s the perfect time to plan for the coming year’s financial decisions.
To begin, let’s start by looking into the past year. Here are some questions to consider:
- Did you maximize RSP and/or TFSA contributions?
- If you have children, did you make RESP contributions and enjoy the gift of free money from the 20% match?
- Did you pay any debt you have down? Did you consolidate any high-interest debt into a lower-cost solution?
- Is your emergency fund fully funded to cover 3-6 months’ worth of expenses?
- Have you taken steps to reduce your investment fees as much as possible by switching from higher-cost, actively managed solutions to lower-cost solutions?
Here are a few final tips (from us to you!) to make sure you’ll be financially fit for the coming year:
- Always choose any accounts and products after deciding what you’re saving for. If your answer is something short term, like a vacation next year or a new car, then you’ll want to stick with products that are built for short-term goals — like a savings account or shorter-term GICs. If you’re saving for a longer-term goal like retirement, you’ll want to choose a product that will give you the greatest chance of reaching that goal — this would likely be a market-based investment like mutual funds.
- If you’re investing you should make every effort to reduce your investing costs.
- Pay off any high-interest debt you have.
- Make sure you have a fully-funded emergency fund. Start with a TFSA!
- Make it automatic! Set up automatic contributions bi-weekly or monthly. This is not only smart investing behavior, but it will save you from the temptation to time the market.
For specific questions related to your personal finances, contact one of our CPAs for advice: email@example.com