Knowing you have enough money to pay for what you want—today and in the future—is one way to feel financial secure. It’s also one of the reasons many of us save, invest and insure our assets.
Here are 10 simple money management tips that can help you and your family feel more financially secure.
1. Create a comprehensive budget – write down how much money you receive from your salary, bonuses, benefits reimbursements and other sources. Compare that to all of your expenses to ensure you have enough money to cover everything you need.
2. Spend less by trimming day-to-day costs – identify areas to save, such as on your cell phone and cable television plan, or by planning meals and groceries to avoid takeout lunches and last-minute ordering in.
3. Eliminate unnecessary costs – make a list of your current bills and their due dates, and pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and penalty charges.
4. Find ways to pay less interest on your debts:
- Focus on paying off debts with the highest interest rate first
- Keep up with required payments (such as monthly minimums) on all your debts
- Consolidate your debts into an “all-in-one” type of bank account or a secure line of credit so you can make a single payment each month
- Talk to a debt counselor—you may have free access through your employer’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
5. Set clear goals to help accelerate your savings – write down all the things you’re saving for, then work out how much you need to set aside each month to reach your goals in the timeframe you want then “pay” yourself this amount each month as if it is another bill.
6. Don’t pay more tax than you need to – find out what tax bracket you and your spouse are in, and submit claims like child care costs, medical expenses and charitable donations with the tax return for whoever is taxed at a higher rate.
7. Use online banking to:
- Set up payment reminders
- Schedule future bill payments
- Review your spending
8. Make the most of workplace plans – take full advantage of group retirement plans, including matching programs, and reduce taxes and out-of-pocket expenses with flexible spending accounts and health benefits.
9. Save for retirement now, regardless of your age – plan to save enough to top up guaranteed government sources such as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
10. Work with an advisor—reduce financial stress and start to feel financially secure:
- Get help setting goals
- Develop a customized financial plan
- Prepare strategically for life’s financial milestones
That last tip may be the most important. People who feel financially secure are over five times more likely to be working with an advisor than those who say they are struggling with their money, according to Ipsos Reid’s 2015 study on health and wealth (12 page PDF).
Furthermore, households working with an advisor have about two times more financial assets than households that forgo advice. If you don’t have an advisor, we can help you find one.