10 Money Questions You Are Too Afraid To Ask
We’ve grown up thinking discussing our finances with friends is unprofessional, forbidden, and rude.
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 worried that you can’t ask anyone for help because they’ll laugh at you? Just one question.
How are they going to laugh at you when they’re feeling the exact same way?
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 10 people what their biggest financial concern was, or what they would ask a financial professional (if they could ask anything) without feeling judged or fearful. Here is what they said:
I am slightly afraid to take risks. I’d love to buy a second property but wouldn’t know how to go about it and how much I can afford etc.
I think for me right now, would be how to budget to save for a home, how to save money on groceries, services, or socially. I want to find a place I love but not be house broken. Even advice about mortgages, we learn nothing about that in school growing up.
Greatest financial concern at the moment would be how I’m going to fund my wedding, “how to understand my stocks & shares for a dummy” help, or how much should I be putting into my RRSPs if I want to retire at 50.
Investments, where to put your savings, and the best way to save for a down-payment. I feel like I can’t get ahead.
Not having enough saved up if I were to be out of work for X amount of time.
I would say one of my greatest financial concerns is not being educated enough on saving for retirement, and what I should be doing to plan for that.
I don’t put away any money towards pension or RRSPs, and I wouldn’t even know where to start. Is putting money away for old age pension worth it since all the baby boomers are going to take the money?
Not having enough saved for retirement for being able to care for family members (parents/sibling) in illness, and how much do I need to be saving? Does my career pay enough to allow me to retire?
What the heck is a pension? How do I get one? And can I only get one if I work for the government?
How the hell do I save for my future so I can retire and travel by a decent age?
As someone who is still personally learning her finances, I can relate to so many of these concerns, if not all. And I want to help as best as I can. So I did some research for these friends, and this is what I came up with:
Financial Risks (second properties, investments, etc.)
When it comes to investments, start now (unless you have debt). 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 very important. As the main reason for buying this property would be to create wealth, calculating to see that you would be seeing growth in its value is something to be sure of. Are you willing to spend time finding the best tenants? Renovate? Assess all risks? These are some things to take into account.
Lastly, take risks in your career. Ask for that raise you’ve been thinking about, but be ready to provide them with reason behind why you deserve it. The worst they can do is say no, and the outcome might be a more secure financial future.
Home Ownership & Mortgages
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 what your goals are. 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 like this. Once you agree to a mortgage, it’s important that you 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 important you only purchase inside of what you can afford in case of job loss, or emergency.
Although many people consider a mortgage to be good debt. The important thing to remember is that it is still debt. After all, can good debt really be considered good?
Unsure if home ownership is for you, or worried about renting? Read this.
As someone who is personally trying to save for a wedding, 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. 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 it.
If you’re unable to save money each month, it might be smart to find a side hustle that would bring in extra funding to support the big day, but it also might be important 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.
Basic Budgeting & Emergency Funds
If you don’t currently have a budget, or some kind of financial tracking in place, there is a great chance you are over spending every single month. In order to become financially successful, and start saving for things like retirement, emergencies, and more, you must be prepared to take money more seriously. What are your goals?
One of my favorite online tools for figuring out what your savings goals and budgeting needs are is to follow Blonde on a Budget’s free worksheet.
As for an emergency fund, this is one of the most important things adults never knew they needed. During times when there is an economic downturn, you never know what is stable, and it is always important 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.
Here is a fun take on how much you really need in your emergency fund.
This is always the biggest question asked, researched, or feared by young adults. And it should be. Retirement is important at any age, and the sooner you start preparing, the better off you’ll be. Many people were curious what age they can/should retire at, and that’s a great question. Here is another calculator for you to play around with.
Two great tools for saving for retirement are RRSPs and TFSAs. 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 the age of 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. For 2015, the RRSP was 18%of earned income you reported on your tax return in the previous year, however, you are allowed to use all previous years since age 18 to contribute. The TFSA limit is $5,500
This was clearly the shortened version to help answer some questions, but wow, thanks for hanging in there guys. 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! I promise once I learn more myself, I will continue to share the knowledge and spread the wealth.
I know this only scraped the surface of each topic, but I hope it helps you feel more comfortable discussing your money concerns knowing that others are feeling the same way as you. Which is why if you’re located in Calgary, I have some exciting things coming up to share with you – and I hope you’ll join me! Stay tuned.
What are some financial questions you are afraid to ask, or what is some advice you’d like to share with these 10 friends that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments!