January seems like a good time to tackle a topic you may have been avoiding; as we’ve heard before, it’s easier to do nothing than to make a change. Maybe this will make it easier—Here are the Top 10 financial resolutions for 2007!
10) Spreading your eggs around too much - The popular saying ‘Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’ can be taken too far. It is very easy to over diversify and spread yourself too thin. Also, if you are dealing with a number of investment professionals it may mean that no one advisor can effectively advise on your total financial picture.
9) Start an automatic savings plan. You can set up withdrawals from your account each payday, and deposit into your savings account (for your emergency or holiday fund) or to purchase an investment. The periodic payments allow you to take advantage of dollar cost averaging, an astute investment strategy.
8) Start an RESP account if you have children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews. Take advantage of government cash incentives and save for a child’s future.
7) Start an RRSP or contribute to one on a regular basis.
6) Take charge of your finances; explore your options. Bank accounts, mortgages, GICs, mutual funds are all offered by a number of ‘non traditional bank’ members of the CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund) and offer bank accounts and GICs covered by CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation) or CUDIC (Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation). They are all after your business and it is up to you to be satisfied with rates and service; my only advice is not to just say ‘it’s too late to change’, or you’ve ‘always dealt there’—make sure the loyalty you show is repaid.
5) Review your current insurance choices. Life, disability and critical illness insurance choices are important and needs change with marriage, a baby or a home purchase.
4) Take control of your debt. Ensure you are using debt wisely and minimizing interest costs when you can. Debt consolidation loans, especially when using equity in your home are a very popular way of reducing interest costs as well as financing large purchases. Mark the anniversary of the date you bought your house! If you have a mortgage ensure you get an annual mortgage audit; your mortgage is only one facet of your total financial well being.
3) Do you have an emergency fund? Depending upon your particular situation, a 3-6 month cushion is often recommended to avoid hardship in a time of crisis. Make sure you are aware of alternatives.
2) Will and power of attorney are in place and updated. Should you consider a corporate executor?*——-in most cases the executor is very happy to have a knowledgeable and professional partner to deal with the paperwork and legal issues, leaving the executor the duties they wish to handle as well as give them time to grieve.
*minimum estate amounts apply
…And the number one financial resolution for 2007…Take a few or even just one of the recommendations above that you aren’t already doing, and do it!