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Four financial tips to plan for a new decade

Four financial tips to plan for a new decade

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Four financial tips to plan for a new decade

Happy New Year (and new decade), Condo Life readers. This is always an exciting time – to look back and learn from our mistakes, but also to set some real goals for the year ahead.

We often make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or work out more, but how about a promise to yourself to build your wealth in a meaningful way? Around this time, I usually talk about making year-long financial goals. But with it being a new decade, let’s take this opportunity to set some long-term goals. What are your financial plans over the next decade? Maybe you have plans to retire, downsize, maybe go back to school or buy a condo. All of these events cost money (lots of it) and take some careful planning to make happen. Start setting your 10-year goals now.

Make a list

Every plan starts with a list. List all the goals you hope to accomplish. Break it up into to two parts – five- and 10- year goals. These could be as straight forward as paying off your student debt or saving a certain amount of money into your RRSP each year. Or they could be loftier, such as buying a property in Florida or take a year off to travel. Write them down, then beside each one attach a price tag. For example, how much will it cost you pay down all your high interest debt if you started now? How much would a world tour for two people over six months cost? This will help plan appropriately.

Visualize it

A friend of mine recently invited me over to make a vision board. Initially, I was very sceptical. How could cutting and pasting images out of magazines help me in my life goals? But this one simple exercise has really changed my life. On my vision board, I have a goal to work out more, spend Sundays with my family and read better books. All of those things are starting to happen in my life. Make a vision board, stick it somewhere you can see it daily. Mine is hanging at the back of my closet up high so I can see it every day, as a reminder of what my goals are.

Motivational speaker Jack Canfield is a big supporter of the power of visualization. He says visualization techniques have been used by successful people to visualize their desired outcomes for ages. “We all have this awesome power, but most of us have never been taught to use it effectively,” he says. “The daily practice of visualizing your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals and ambitions.”

Break down your goals

Business writer Bill Hogan wrote the now famous book, How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time! The idea that every big task starts with the first step. This same philosophy can be applied to your financial goals. Break them all down year by year, then month by month, or even week by week or day by day. See how by making incremental moves every day you can reach your big goals. Saving $15 a week, for example, can result in an investment of more than $10,000 after 10 years. Go ahead and make big goals, but break them down into smaller moments to make them feel more attainable.

Seek professional advice

You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get good financial advice. You can contact a fee-only financial planner who can help you set your financial goals. They will look at your financial situation, talk about your goals and draw out a plan to get you there. They are unlike investment advisors who buy and sell investment products, often for a fee. If you want to become more tax-efficient, consider hiring a tax accountant. They cannot only help you with your taxes now, but also make a plan for you to be more tax-efficient in the future.

Lastly, make a plan to revisit your goals at least once a year. Now that you know where you want to be, make sure you’re staying on track. Hopefully, when you ring in 2030 you will feel like you have accomplished the financial goals you set out today.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC.

Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.


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Looking to buy a condo in 2020? Get your credit score on track

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Looking to buy a condo in 2020? Get your credit score on track

If buying a condo is on your list of things to do in 2020, this may be a good time to check your credit score and report. These two pieces of information will play a big role in determining how much mortgage you qualify for and the rate the bank is willing to offer.

Condo buyers will often start the financing process when they find a condo they want to put an offer on. But if your credit score is low, or there is incorrect information in your report, you can be delayed in securing financing. That’s because improving your score and fixing wrong information takes time.

Take a look at your credit score and report now, because you have time to fix and improve your situation. It will set you up to be in the best position to buy a condo when the time comes. It’s also good practice to know your score and most of us could benefit from checking it. A survey from BMO Bank of Montreal shows more than half of Canadians have never checked their credit score.

Credit score and reports

Your credit score is a number between 300 and 900. It is determined from the information that is in your credit report, and it provides lenders a snapshot into how credit worthy you are. The higher the score, the more likely a lender will want to do business with you. The score is the first number lenders will inquire about because it quickly tells them a lot about your financial health.

Your credit report is a list of your financial history going back seven years. It will show what credit cards you own, what debts you have outstanding, if you have paid a bill late, and worse, if you are in arrears on any bill. It will also include all your basic information as well, like your social insurance number and date of birth.

Credit reporting agencies

The two major credit reporting agencies in Canada are TransUnion and Equifax. Every time you request credit, one of the two agencies are supposed to get record of that. But the reports can be flawed as the two companies may have different information about you. Lenders are required to report in only one place. Best practice is to request a score and copy of your report from both agencies. You can make sure the information is up to date and accurate. This is especially true for anyone with a common name, as information that does not belong to you can be inputted on your report by accident.

Determining a good score

The higher your credit score the better. According to TransUnion, 650 is the magic middle number – a score higher than 650 will likely qualify you for a standard loan, while a score lower than 650 will likely make it hard for you to receive new credit. If your score is low, it may be because of some bad information in your report.

How to improve your score

The number one way to improve your score is to pay all your bills on time. This includes your rent and utility bills. As well, don’t apply for unnecessary credit. If you do, you can be seen as a risk to lend to by creditors. Cancel any cards or close account you are no longer using. If you already have a credit card or line of credit, don’t carry a balance of more than 75 per cent of the available limit. Being maxed out all the time on your cards is not seen as a positive. If you can afford to, pay down small loans and close those accounts.

Always knowing where you stand financially will help you better prepare for big purchases such as buying a condo, and avoid any last minute delays due to errors on your credit report.

Start doing this now to see you credit score improve by 2020.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Canadian household wealth falls for the first time in a decade

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Canadian household wealth falls for the first time in a decade

After nearly a decade of growth, Canadian household net worth is down

New data from Environics Analytics shows the average household in Canada is less rich than they were a year ago. Called WealthScapes, the study looks at how wealthy Canadians are across the country. For a decade, that number had been going up mostly because of higher real estate price.

Now with a slowdown in the housing market when it comes to sales and prices, the net worth of Canadians has fallen as well.

The study says “After almost a decade of wealth accumulation, the average Canadian household net worth declined slightly in 2018. While the latest financial snapshot of Canadian households includes some positive trends, growing debts, shrinking pensions and a sharp drop in liquid assets are putting pressure on families.”

The analysis by Environics Analytics shows Canadian net worth fell by 1.1 per cent in 2018 compared to data gathered in 2017. The average Canadian household has $7,594 less. The average Canadian net worth is $678,792.

This happened despite Canadian households not taking on significantly more debt. Peter Miron, senior vicepresident, research and development and the architect of WealthScapes at Environics Analytics, says, “Despite being relatively prudent in terms of their debt acquisition and repayment in 2018, Canadian households felt the effects of a significant decline in equity market valuations over the fourth quarter of the year.”

But, there are pockets in Canada that did buck the trend and see their net worth increase. The city of Moncton posted the largest gains in household net worth at 2.2 per cent. The study says the New Brunswick city is not just relying on real estate prices rising to see residents’ net worth rise. “Moncton’s households were actively building their savings faster than anyone else in Canada in 2018, on average stashing, away $11,097.”

The richest households continue to be in the big urban centres. The average household net worth in the Toronto grew by 0.1 per cent in 2018 to $977,698. Environics says, this growth was due to an above-average savings rate as well as slightly above-average real estate performance in 2018.

The richest Canadians are still in Vancouver, despite their household wealth falling more than the average, by 1.3 per cent. The average Vancouver household net worth was $1.14 million.

For all of Canada, though, there are other bright spots in this report.

Miron says, “On a more positive note, Canadians are actively taking steps to reign in their debts and build up their savings. In fact, four provinces saw the average debt per household decline in 2018.” Those provinces are Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Household salaries are higher as well. The average household income in Canada was up by 3.4 per cent to $99,654. Canadian household net worth falling for the first time in 10 years is not a positive story. But, depending on where you look, there are places in Canada that are doing better financially. And it’s not all because of higher real estate values, rather more because of higher salaries and better savings rates. From a personal finance perspective that is a very good news.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Why condo co-ownership is gaining popularity

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Why condo co-ownership is gaining popularity

More Canadians are partnering up with friends and family to buy a condo. New data from Teranet, the provider of Ontario’s online property search and registration, shows co-ownership in condominiums specifically was more than 37 per cent in 2018. With condo prices continuing to rise year over year, for many, pooling their money is the only option to get into the condo market. For others it’s a more creative way to manage a huge responsibility, like owning real estate. Here is what the latest data shows.

The trend is growing

Compared to data from 2012 more condo purchases are being made with more than one person on title. Condos with only one person on title in 2018 was 48 per cent. That is down from 57 per cent in 2012. Parents are pitching in more too. For example, units owned with parental assistance is at more than 14 per cent. Compare that to 2012 when only nine per cent of condos were purchased with help from mom and dad.

Owners close in age

The data from Teranet show co-owners are relatively close in age. That number has also risen slightly. In 2012, 50.1 per cent of the province’s homes had several owners on title, with the age gaps being 20 years or less. This proportion went up to 51.6 per cent by 2018. The rise is small, but shows more people, young or old, are choosing to buy together, whether it be young people buying their first home, or retirees deciding to downside together.

Financing options

Owning a house with a friend of family member means you will need to apply for a co-mortgage. Some financial institutions are now launching products that are specifically aimed at this group of people eager to find a way to buy their first home. There are many factors to consider in a co-ownership situation. This will include how the regular monthly bills will be handled, who will get what room and how emergency costs can be covered. As well, have an exit plan if you co-own a property.

Consider the future

Unlike when you buy with your spouse or long term partner, life can change at different times. One co-owner may meet someone and want them to move in. Another may get a new job and want to sell the home and take the equity to buy a house elsewhere. Draw up a plan now of how you will handle the sale of the home and what each co-owner’s expectations are.

With co-ownership of condos on the rise, more needs to be done to protect all those involved in the transaction to make sure the real estate purchase is worth it for everyone.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Canadians remain pessimistic about the economy, despite positive data

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Canadians remain pessimistic about the economy, despite positive data

The economic headlines are positive. Canada’s economy is growing, unemployment is near a record low and wage growth has finally started to tick up. But despite all this good economic news, a new poll commissioned by the CBC says most Canadians are still worried about paying for the basics, like food, utilities and housing. To understand this disconnect it’s important to put the results of the poll into perspective.

What did the poll find?

The poll conducted by Public Square Research and Maru/Blue for CBC of 4,500 Canadians finds that 83 per cent of those surveyed said the cost of living was a bigger concern to them than climate change, social inequality, finding a job or even terrorism. Canadians are overwhelmingly worried about the rising cost of living and how they will pay for the basics in the future.

Good economic data

This sentiment comes even though Canadian economic data has been very good. Canada has been performing very well, despite a number of global economic setbacks. For example the trade tensions around the globe that have affected us too. In the last few months we experienced China banning Canadian canola oil as well as the U.S. slapping tariffs on our aluminum and steel. However, the latest GDP data shows our economy is growing better than expected. As well, unemployment remains near a four-decade low. In the first six months Canada added 248,000 new positions; almost all of them are full time. That is the strongest six-month stretch of job growth to start a year since 2002.

The disconnect at work

Canadians are working, but not all of us are working in well paying jobs. Many Canadians are working part time, temporary or contract position. This alone can create job insecurity and make workers feel uncertain about their financial future. According to the website compareyourincome.org, they take publicly available data on income to understand how income is distributed in the country. The average income of the top 10 per cent of income earners is 8.6 times higher than that of the bottom 10 per cent. The average income in Canada is $44,000 but economic resources are not evenly distributed across the country.

The disconnect in housing

Housing costs, especially in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, have skyrocketed. The old ratio was, you should spend maximum 30 per cent of your after tax income on your rent or mortgage. Now many are spending double that just so they can afford an apartment or home near where they work? We are also carrying record high debt and a lot of your money may be going towards servicing that debt that you have accumulated over more than a decade. The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show we owe a $1.78 for every dollar of disposable income we have.

The disconnect in child care

Outside of Quebec, child care is a growing concern. In many cities parents shell out thousands of dollars a year to have their children in quality care. Down the road parents are also concerned about the cost of their child’s post-secondary education and how they’ll save for it.

If you’re feeling financially insecure, it’s time to start making some changes. Start paying your debt; your loans are the most vulnerable to change in the economy. Take a critical look at your job, ask yourself could you be making more money if you updated your skills. Are you being paid fairly for the work you’re doing? Look into courses that are offered at your workplace. See if there is something you can take for free that will make you more attractive for a promotion or a pay raise. If you’re worried about the cost of living rising, the key is to start protecting yourself now.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Fixed mortgage rates hit two-year low

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Fixed mortgage rates hit two-year low

Mortgage rates in Canada have been ultra-low for more than 10 years, but in most cases the variable rate has still beat out the fixed rate. Until now.

Recently, the Canada five-year benchmark bond yield fell to 1.29 per cent – the lowest level in two years. The big banks have responded by slashing fixed rates on mortgages. Anyone shopping for a mortgage right now should take a closer look at the five-year fixed. This could be a big money saving option. That’s because in many cases, it’s cheaper than the variable rate. It also means peace of mind knowing your monthly payments won’t change for the next five years

M2M condos by Aoyuan International.

How low are fixed rates

To put fixed rates into perspective, the five-year benchmark bond yield is lower compared to last year at this time. Then it would cost up to 2.06 per cent. It is also much lower than the long term average of 3.52 per cent. This is leading big banks to ramp up their mortgage business. As is always the case, banks are enthusiastic to sell mortgages and are willing to offer the lowest rate to get your business. With low bond yields, many are offering rates lower than three per cent fixed.

Good for homebuyers

This is all great news for anyone shopping for a mortgage right now. If you have job security, fixing your rate, rather than going variable (for the next five years), could mean better cash flow if rates were to rise.

Looking at variable, too

It’s important to understand how variable rate works as well. The Bank of Canada’s floating benchmark rate is tied to the variable rate. When the Central Bank raises rates, commercial banks raise prime, which affects your floating rate loans, such as variable rate mortgages and lines of credit. The Bank of Canada raised rates five times between the summer of 2017 and the fall of 2018, but has since held rates steady at 1.75 per cent. In the past, the Bank has cited global trade tension between the U.S., low oil prices and record high debt levels as a reason to leave rates unchanged.

Not all good news

It’s important to note that plunging bond yields may be great for borrowers in the market for a mortgage right now, but they do spell trouble for the economy. Low bond yields often indicate a slowing economy. It can also encourage Canadians to pile on more debt. If trade tension were to ease and the new United States, Canada and Mexico agreement was to firm up, bond yields would rise. This would push fixed rates up right away.

Turning attention to the U.S.

So far, the U.S. Federal Reserve has held rates steady, but has indicated it is open to a rate cut if the economic conditions allow it. If the U.S. Federal reserve was to cut rates, that would put pressure on the Bank of Canada to do the same.

Do your own stress test

Regardless of how low of a rate you secure, you still have to pass the federal stress test. That is the higher of the following — a rate two points higher than your contract rate or the Bank of Canada conventional mortgage five-year rate.

It’s important not to get carried away with how low the rate it is; calculate your affordability, not only using the stress test, but also by adding in the cost of emergency repairs and extenuating circumstances. All of these events can cost a lot of money. If you’re already stretched financially, managing them can be difficult. Make sure you can afford the mortgage you’re taking on for the long term.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Are American style mortgages coming to Canada?

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Are American style mortgages coming to Canada?

Are American style mortgages coming to Canada? Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has encouraged financial institutions to start looking at new ways to offer mortgage products – including establishing longer term mortgages, much like those in the U.S.

Poloz recently spoke to a group of finance and mortgage professionals, impressing upon them that mortgage products need to innovate. Among other suggestions, he proposed the idea of longer mortgages. “One basic idea would be to encourage more diversity in mortgage durations. It is true that most financial institutions offer fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.”

Few Canadians, he says, take advantage of longer mortgages, but that could change. “Forty-five per cent of all mortgage loans have a fixed interest rate and a five-year term. In comparison, just two per cent of all mortgages issued last year were fixed-rate loans with a term longer than five years.”

The U.S. has had 30-year mortgages for decades, but in Canada, most mortgages are still five-year terms that are renewed as we amortize our loan.

So, are these long-term products a good idea for Canadian consumers? There are pros and cons.

Pros

Longer mortgages are a great option for anyone who doesn’t like to spend time renegotiating the terms of their mortgage agreement every five years. Most of us take on a 25-year amortization, but are forced to talk to the bank every five years when the term is up.

Longer mortgages would be especially good for those who don’t shop their mortgage around and stay with the same financial institution until the end of the amortization.

Cons

But for anyone who likes to save money, it’s not a good deal. If you compare the data, in Canada we make smaller interest payments on our loan compared to homeowners in the U.S. The five-year fixed mortgage was created in Canada, albeit in the 1800s, so homeowners had the opportunity to pay more down at the end of the term, without penalty. As anyone who has a mortgage knows, there is a limited sum you can pay above and beyond your regular payment. Also, every five years you can renegotiate the rate – which during an environment of falling rates, is very advantageous.

Poloz also seems to like the idea that was announced in the spring federal budget – that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., beginning this fall, will help first-time homebuyers by taking an equity share in their home, up to 10 per cent to help lower their payments. He calls this an example of how the mortgage industry is innovating.

Still, when it comes to longer term mortgages, don’t expect this change to happen anytime soon. It’s all just talk right now. But coming from the Bank of Canada governor, that is significant. He emphasizes that the system is not broken – it has served Canadians and financial institutions well. But he also says the mortgage industry is pretty much the same now as when he got his first mortgage in the 1980s. And that, he says, feels a little stagnant.

The mortgage experience across Canada is very different, he says. This means there has to be several products available that give homebuyers options, because no one homebuyer is like another.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Is getting a tax refund a sign of poor tax planning?

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Is getting a tax refund a sign of poor tax planning?

By now most of us have filed our tax return. Individual returns were due April 30, while self-employed persons had until June 17 to submit all their paperwork. For many of us, the dread of filing our tax return is often followed by the joy of a big tax refund. But now CIBC says a tax refund is actually a sign of poor financial planning. After all, a refund is your money that you overpaid throughout the year in income tax to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA.)

But that may be too harsh of a characterization. Even by the results of a CIBC poll on our tax refund situation, the majority of Canadians do get a tax return. Does this mean most of us are bad at tax planning? Now that the anxiety of tax season is behind us, let’s take a closer look and see how we can optimize our taxes for 2019.

Reducing tax at the source

If you have been receiving a large tax refund year after year, and would like that money to stay in your hands, you can ask your employer to deduct the income tax you pay at the source. Do this by completing a one-page T1213 form called Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source. You can indicate various deductions or credits that you qualify for that result in a tax refund. You could also do this in a year where you might be making a larger than usual RRSP contribution. Maybe you have room left over from previous years that you want to use now. This does mean that if you make more in overtime or in another job, you may be subject to a tax bill when you file your return. If you find you’re making more money than you anticipated, you have to save accordingly to pay your CRA tax bill.

Invest the money

The CIBC poll found that 63 per cent of us view our tax refund as a “windfall of unexpected money” to put towards our goals. Nothing could be further from the truth. A tax refund is your money that is being returned to you. The CRA has been holding that extra tax you paid, and that money has not been earning any interest for you. If you do get a large refund, the best way to use it is to invest it back into your RRSP. When the money is in your RRSP, make sure to buy an investment that suits your risk tolerance. This does two things: It gets you into the habit of using your tax refund properly and watching it grow in value; and it kickstarts your contributions for next year.

Know your situation

The CIBC poll found that 39 per cent have “no idea” what our tax situation will be until we review our paperwork with an expert. If you are part of this group, change that situation this year. Know what your marginal tax bracket is. That is the income tax you paid on the last dollar you made in 2018. Investigate now all the credits available to you in 2019. For example, there are new credits for people with severe mental impairments to get a service dog; there are credits for those trying to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization; and there are increased credits for capital costs incurred by self-employed workers. By knowing what credits you qualify for, you may be able to plan your year more tax-efficiently.

CIBC called the feeling we get after we receive a refund, “intaxication” – a play on the word intoxication. This may be the case for those of us getting a large refund, but if you use that money for good to pay down debt and invest, then the euphoria you feel from that refund will be worth it.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist and personal finance expert. She is HPG’s Finance Editor. She regularly appears on CBC Radio and TV. She is a contributor on CTV Your Morning and Global Toronto. She has a BA from York University, received her post graduate journalism diploma from Humber College and has completed the CSC. Follow her on Twitter @alwayssavemoney.

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Financial confidence, women and their money

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Financial confidence, women and their money

It doesn’t matter whether you’re single, in a relationship or sharing accommodation, it’s up to you to be fiscally responsible for your own financial situation. It may be a harsh reality, but most females can anticipate being single at some point in their lives, and need to plan their finances accordingly.

Facts and figures

A new book, called Bank On Yourself: Why Every Woman Should Plan Financially to be Single, Even If She Is Not, validates that 90 per cent of women will need to manage their own finances, simply because they chose to remain single, or due to death and divorce.

Co-author, Leslie McCormick, says, “While general financial planning principals can apply to both men and women, what is different are the circumstances that are more likely to impact women financially. Women have longer life expectancies, and the expense those extra years bring, and the wage gap, make it harder to build wealth. Single women need to plan accordingly.”

The tides are changing, but, sadly, there are women who have never managed money for themselves, and relied on a partner to do so – someone else paid the bills and saved for the future.

Pay equity

Although there have been improvements over the last few decades, the wage gap continues to exist, and women make less. Statistics Canada reports, that despite the fact that women make up almost half of the work force (48 per cent), they still make 87 cents for every dollar compared to what a man makes for the same job. And while maternity/ paternity leaves can now be shared, statistically women who work full time, take more time off to have children and care for them. To help make ends meet, women are more likely to take on part time jobs at minimum wage.

Financial literacy

In order to make up for this shortfall in working years and in salary, women need to save more for retirement. The average lifespan of a man in Canada is 79, whereas for women it’s 84. This means that women have to plan for a longer retirement with less money. As a result, women should be saving more during their working years. TIAA, a retirement service provider in the U.S., suggests that for every 10 per cent a man saves, a woman should save 18 per cent of her income, before taxes, to have the same lifestyle as her male counterparts.

Every adult should know how much it costs to run a household – not just the bills and their due dates, but also about budgeting for unexpected costs. The authors of Bank on Yourself, have this advice, “Take your financial inventory, assess your income and expenses. Identify your vision for your future, put a plan in place to make your vision your reality, set your budget, track your progress, review and repeat.”

According to Bank on Yourself, only 31 per cent of women say that they are confident in their financial ability, compared to 80 per cent of men. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, and ABC Literacy Canada, provide great resources to help build your financial literacy.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a journalist, personal finance expert and HPG’s finance editor. She appears on CBC TV and radio, CTV Your Morning, Global Toronto, and writes for ratesupermarket.ca. Follow her @alwayssavemoney. AlwaysSaveMoney.ca

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