START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
Talking about money can feel overwhelming if you’re new to personal finance or are just getting started on your journey. But, the reality of the matter is – you are far from alone. Everyone fears money in one way or another. It’s not always easy to break down a credit card statement or understand your work’s retirement matching program, even though people pass the documents off to you without any explanation.
I’ll never forget my first-ever work orientation, where they handed me the investing booklet to decide how much I could afford to invest and what type of investing strategy made sense for me. The human resources team asked if I had any questions. In my head, I was thinking, yes, one million of them. But out loud, I said, “can I take this home to review?”
Are you embarrassed that you don’t know what a retirement fund is in your mid-20s?
Are you worried that you’ll never understand what those investments you wish you held are capable of?
Are you concerned that you can’t ask anyone for help because they’ll laugh at you?
At one point in our lives, we are all clueless about money. Whether we’ve got it under control now or are still learning how to function financially, we’ve all been down the same dirt road looking for answers and information. It’s not easy. It’s terrifying. We’ve grown up thinking discussing our finances with friends is unprofessional, forbidden, and rude. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
I asked ten people what their most significant financial concern was or what they would ask a financial professional (if they could ask anything) without feeling judged or fearful. Here are the questions.
Some people wanted to know how to buy a second property, while others’ main concern was knowing when to start investing, period. Everyone is starting somewhere, and that’s okay. When it comes to investments, start now. Waiting for the perfect time is not going to save you money in the long run, and the sooner you start, the quicker you will learn.
When it comes to buying a second property, timing is crucial. As the main reason for purchasing this property would be to create wealth, calculating whether the growth potential exists would be a great place to start. Are you willing to spend time finding the best tenants? Renovate? Assess all risks? These are some things to take into account.
Lastly, it’s okay to take calculated risks in your career. Ask for that raise you’ve been thinking about, but be ready to provide them with the reason behind why you deserve it. The worst they can do is say no, and the outcome might be a more secure financial future.
Ultimately, the best way to know if a financial decision is a manageable or ‘good’ risk is to do the research. Sit down, go over the numbers, and do a deep dive into what each of the potential outcomes could be. Depending on those outcomes, how does each one make you feel? You must know what level of risk you’re comfortable with financially.
To learn more about financial risks, read this: A Guide to Investing for Beginners
Saving for a down payment is something you can work towards by creating a sound budget. Take a good look at where you spend money each month and build a spreadsheet that divides each spending and saving category into your goals. Always live within your means.
When you have a down payment ready to go, it’s time to start looking at homes within your price range. You can find this out by using mortgage calculators and by speaking with a mortgage professional. Once you agree to a mortgage, you must understand this is a contract promising you will repay your loan (debt) plus any interest, etc. The collateral in the situation is your new home. Surprise! It is essential you only purchase inside of what you can afford in case of job loss or emergency.
Aside from the financial side of buying a home, another great idea is to consider the emotional side. What are your reasons for buying a home, and how long do you intend to live there? Make a list of these answers, and remember to be realistic with what makes the most sense for your lifestyle.
Although many people consider a mortgage to be good debt, the vital thing to remember is that it is still debt.
To learn more about home buying, check out this podcast episode I did with the Budget Bitch Podcast: The 411 For First Time Homebuyers in Canada
In 2016, I got married in an intimate wedding with a smaller budget than the average. Knowing what I know now, it can be difficult to scale down what you see on Pinterest into something affordable and realistic. The first step to planning and saving for a successful wedding fund is to create a budget.
Something essential to consider is how much are you both willing to spend on this day? Sit down together, write down a number, and discuss from there. Try to break up each expense into a spreadsheet and stick to the budget.
If you’re unable to save money each month, it might be wise to find a side hustle that would bring in extra funding to support the big day, but it also might be essential to take a closer look at your planned spending. If you’re unable to save and will have to go into debt for the wedding, your budget is too high. No one wants to start a marriage with liabilities.
My wedding cost us under $20,000, and we paid for the entire day in full. Here’s how we did it: I Got Married! And I’m Still Debt-Free
If you don’t currently have a budget or some financial tracking in place, there is a great chance you are overspending every single month. To become financially successful and start saving for things like retirement, emergencies, and more, you must be prepared to take money more seriously.
As for an emergency fund, this is one of the most important things adults never knew they needed. When there is an economic downturn, you never know what is stable, and it is always essential to have a savings fund dedicated strictly to emergencies. Start small by putting away $20-50 a month into this account, and never touch it unless necessary. This fund should eventually reach 3-6 months’ salary (or more).
Here is a fun take on how much you really need in your emergency fund.
This is always the most prominent question asked, researched, or feared by young adults. Retirement is essential at any age, and the sooner you start preparing, the better off you’ll be. Many people were curious what age they can or should retire at, which’s a great question. Here is another calculator for you to try.
Two great tools for saving for retirement are the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). Both will help you to reach your goals. However, there are a few differences between the two. You will pay taxes on any RRSP withdrawals because you made the contributions with pre-tax dollars (meaning they were tax-deductible). A TFSA is free to withdraw and deposit.
You are no longer allowed to contribute to an RRSP after 71, and you must start to remove this money. There is no age limit on a TFSA. There are annual limits on both of these savings accounts.
Part of the reason you’re here is to begin to educate yourself on all things money – and that’s something I encourage you to remember. But the education doesn’t stop and start with one blog post. It’s a continual opportunity to learn and grow and find resources that take something intimidating and make it fun.
Finances are only as frustrating and scary as you let them be. Don’t worry about “being so far behind” or any past mistakes. Focus on the fact that you’re willing to learn and are ready to start preparing!
What are some financial questions you are afraid to ask, or what advice would you like to share with these ten friends that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments!
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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