Saturday, 3 March 2012

I have found some money...want some??

Today I wanted to talk about “found money”.  Not the kind you find lying in the street, however if you do find some there, be sure to pick it up.  You remember the old saying,
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”  The found money I am talking about is in your every day expenditures.  Here are some examples of what I mean. 

Do you have balance protector insurance on your credit cards?  If you do, it is just overpriced term life insurance and can charge up to .99 per $100 balance.  For example, if you have a $5000 balance on your credit card you are going to pay $49.50 per month for this insurance.  A healthy male adult aged 40 can get $100,000 term life insurance coverage for about $14.00 a month.  That’s found money.

Are you paying money for bank fees?  The average person will pay about $28 per month in bank fees.  If you switch your banking to a “no fee” account, which are available, you will have saved an extra $28 per month.  That’s found money. 

Have you checked your phone bill lately?  The amount due each month tends to creep up without provocation.  By calling your provider and asking for a reduction in charges, which they will do if you are persistent, can easily save you around $25 per month.  Or better yet shop around for a new provider.  This is a very competitive market so there are deals to be had.  That’s found money.

Found money can be well, found everywhere you look.  The key is you have to look for it.  Are you shopping for groceries that are on sale or are you just buying what you need regardless of the price?  Are you using rewards cards that accumulate found money?

Again there are so many places in your everyday life that there is “found money”, you just have to know where to look.  Did you know that as little as $200 per month of found money invested into your RRSP at 6% can grow to a whopping $383,000 in forty years?  Not bad for “found money”
If you are not sure where to start looking for your “found money”, contact a financial advisor.  It makes cents to me!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Demolish your Obstacles...

Today I wanted to talk about obstacles.  First of all what is an obstacle?  Webster defines it as “something that impedes progress or achievement.”  Obstacles can come in many forms such as fear, embarrassment, lack of education, born on the wrong side of the tracks, lack of time, lack of energy and many other forms.  Many of us that are faced with these obstacles deem them as too hard to overcome so we stop striving for what we want to accomplish.  The problem is most of these obstacles aren’t real.  They are conceived in our minds as a hindrance to getting what we want to get.  Take fear for example.  What is fear?  Fear can manifest itself in many forms such as fear of failure, fear of embarrassment and even fear of success.  Unfortunately, many of these perceived fears stop us in our tracks.  The key to moving forward is we have to take on these obstacles one at a time.  Is it easy?  Not usually, but there is nothing sweeter than having overcome a roadblock on your highway to success.  A great way to tackle these obstacles is to ask yourself, “what is the worst thing that can happen if I confront what’s in my way?”  For most of us the worst case scenario isn’t usually that bad.  Even if your goal seems too hard to reach it’s always easier to achieve if we break our plan down into smaller steps.

For example, if you decide you want to become debt free it just doesn’t happen over night, unless you win the lottery of course but for most of us that’s not going to happen.  Write down the steps you need to take to reach this goal.  Maybe you contact a financial professional to help you get started.  But first you must overcome your fear of embarrassment or your fear of being judged and make the call and so on.  One step at a time will get you to your goal and you will blow through those obstacles quicker than you can imagine.  Are you ready to take that first step?  It makes cents to me.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Live, Love and Prosper..

Our time on this big blue planet is far too short for most of us.  So what can we do to make this life, our life, a journey to be remembered?  I have a few principles that I try to live myself, although they can certainly be challenging at times never the less it’s a good set of rules to aspire to.

Experiences are more important than money.  When we are old and feeble what are the treasures we will look back at and remember fondly?  Is it that new car we spent a year’s salary on or is it the special time we spent with our children and grand children.  That family trip to Disney or those walks on the beach.  Get your priorities right.  It doesn’t matter what other people think.  Exactly!  It doesn’t.  You need to live your life like no one is watching.  How many times have we not done something because we were afraid of what others might think?  I would assume, too many.  Never be afraid to ask for help.  Part of learning and growing is using the ability to ask for help.  I know we think it shows a sign of weakness by asking for help but actually it really shows courage to stand up and say “help”.  Life is too short to worry about money.  Yes, it is.  And anyway, worrying does nothing more than makes us sick and irritable and does nothing to help us.  Evaluate your situation and make a plan, don’t worry, act!  Always follow through on your commitments.  Not only promises you have made to others but to yourself as well.  Too many times I have seen people neglecting promises they have made to themselves to help others.  That is noble, but we have to honour ourselves as well.  Lastly, have fun, laugh, smile, and treat every precious day as if it may be your last.  Don’t put off calling a friend or family member till tomorrow, do it today.  Don’t leave any unfinished business you’ll regret.  Remember our time is short here, so live every day with life, love, vigour and no regrets!  It makes cents to me.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Your Money Tree

I want you to close your eyes (but, not for long or you won’t be able to read my column) and imagine what life would be like if you had a money tree that grew in your back yard.  Any time you needed to buy something you could just go out and pick a few bills off the branches.  Now if this was true, how would you take care of it?  I know I would water it everyday, I would put up a fence around it to keep out harmful risks, I would make sure the soil was full of nutrients, I would prune it in order to maximize the amount of fruit, or money in this case, that it would bear and I would do everything in my power to protect it from disease, death or harmful parasites.

You may think this is a joke but in fact we all have a money tree. It called “You”.  Over your lifetime you will continue to bear fruit (Money) by working.  Now you just said if you had a money tree you would take very good care of it.  You would do anything it takes to ensure it continues to bear fruit or Money in this case.  Are you doing that with yourself?  Are you eating right, exercising, pruning, protecting…??

What happens if you are sick or injured or even die?  What do you think happens to your fruit?  It stops coming in…doesn’t it?  Unless you have taken the proper steps to protect yourself against the risk of death, illness or injury you will have a fruitless tree.  There are many ways to protect yourself against these risks.  First, take care of yourself, eat properly, exercise and put a good financial plan in place that can protect you and your family in case you stop bearing fruit.  There are many products on the market today such as life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness insurance that could be put into place at a very reasonable cost when compared to the alternative.  A dead or debilitated tree!

Remember at the start, how you felt when you imagined what it would be like to have a money tree and how you would nurture and take care of it?  Well, you do and it’s time for you to do everything in your power to protect, nurture and prolong the life of your money tree.  If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your family and anyone else who relies on the fruit from your money tree.  It Makes cents to me!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

How much does it really cost?

How much does it really cost?  Most people would say it costs what it says on the tag.  But, what does the item you are looking at buying really cost you and your family? 

If you buy a new 3D television for $1100, what is the actual cost of this purchase over your lifetime?  Let’s see.  First, don’t forget to add the taxes.  So now the television costs $1243 which doesn’t seem too bad or does it?  Second, the average Canadian must earn $1615.19 in pre tax dollars to be able to clear the cost of the TV.  So, if you make $12 an hour you must work 134 hours or 3 1/2 weeks of work to pay for this purchase.  Are you willing to sacrifice almost one month worth of wages to pay for this TV?  Third, if instead of making this purchase you decided to invest the $1615 into an RRSP earning a modest 8% interest.  Do you know after 40 years what you would have accumulated?  That TV you thought only cost you $1243 including tax has actually cost you $35085.  You see, by buying that new TV instead of investing your money you have lost out on over $35000.  To put it in simple terms you would have to work an extra 1 ½ years to make up the money this small TV purchase has cost you.  Now, how long do you think this TV will last?  On average, TV’s will last about 10 years so here we go again.  I did the math for you; so if you buy a new TV every 10 years for 40 years you would have lost out on over $62000 dollars over your lifetime.

I used the example of a TV but I think you get the idea that any purchase that isn’t a necessity, will cost us much more that the price tag actually shows.  I am a firm believer in education.  If you know the actual cost to you and your family over your lifetime on only a small purchase you may think twice before making any purchase you really didn’t need.  By making small sacrifices now, you can’t help but have a bright and prosperous future.  It makes cents to me.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The key to getting what you want in Life..

Today I want to talk about a word that has left many of our vocabularies.  The word is persistence.   Persistence means:  Refusing to give up or let go or continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.  We set our goals, we set up our plan and we start off determined to reach them.  However, most of us, me included, never reach what we are aiming for.  The reason for most of us is we give up too soon.  We lack the unwavering persistence we need to get to where we what to go.  Here is a story of how lack of persistence cost R.U. Darby untold riches.
During the California gold rush a prospector named R. U. Darby helped his uncle mine a vein of gold that his uncle had discovered. It appeared at first that they had a prosperous find. Yet the vein soon disappeared, and Darby and his uncle searched frantically for the spot where it continued. Finally, they concluded their prospects were hopeless and sold their equipment to a junk dealer.  The junk dealer consulted an engineer, and then began mining the shaft again. He quickly discovered the elusive vein and a supply of gold worth millions of dollars--just three feet from where Darby and his uncle had stopped digging.
How close were you to your goal when you finally gave up?  Are you like R.U. Darby just three feet away?  I think the moral of the story is to never give up.  If it’s a goal worth reaching then it’s a goal worth never giving up on.  If we all had a never ending type of persistence just imagine all the things we could accomplish.  So start using this word “persistence” again, in your vocabulary and your life and be all that you can be!  It makes cents to me.