5 tips for putting credit cards on a leash
Starting with Black Friday in November and ending with Boxing Day in December, the holiday spending season is just about guaranteed to stretch the use of your credit cards. And come the end of January, you may be singing the credit card blues. You’re in a credit card crunch when you have multiple credit cards that you are unable to pay off in full and are having difficulty making minimum payments on some or all of them. You’re way past the “crunch” stage if creditors are sending past-due letters, calling you, or showing up at your door or place of work. Here are some tips on how to put a leash on your credit cards. READ MORE
Choosing the best financial advisory team
Once you’re established in your profession or career, and you’re accumulating a sizeable nest-egg, getting financial advice from your second cousin or the bank teller just won’t do. You need to get some professional money advice. But where to begin? There seem to be so many people offering advice, and you often read of people losing their investments through fraud or incompetence. Begin by asking yourself what you think you might need a financial advisor to do. Very likely, you’ll be running across some of these experts. Here’s a look at what they all do. READ MORE
Can you really “live with the risk”?
In this day and age of “robo-advisors” and passive index investing, many investors seem to have forgotten the single immutable truth that equity markets are inherently risky. That’s simply because the share prices of stocks traded on markets are influenced mostly by expectations of future earnings growth. Many factors can come to bear on these expectations apart from a company’s competitive position, financial strength, and industry outlook. These include shorter-term geopolitical events (not as important) and longer-term economic and monetary policies (more important). Put it all together and it adds up to market-wide trends, oscillations, and fluctuations, which are often characterized by a wide amplitude from top to bottom. This is what’s broadly called “risk.” And it’s what most investors have trouble dealing with. READ MORE
Robyn Thompson is regularly featured in The Toronto Star’s “Money Makeover” series by Deanne Gage. This month, Money Makeover takes a look at Victor and Shelly, who hope to retire next year, but have a risky investment portfolio and no plan. Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on how this couple can use their substantial pension income along with a sizable inheritance to ensure a financially secure future.
Robyn Thompson is regularly featured in The Toronto Star’s “Money Makeover” series by Deanne Gage. This month, Money Makeover takes a look at Janaya and Richard, an affluent couple with two young children. But they have a low-performance investment portfolio with a sizeable investment loan, and they are concerned about high daycare costs. Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on how this couple can regain their financial footing, provide for their kids’ education, and get on track for a financially secure retirement.
A source of funds for first-time home buyers
Looking for a source of funds as a down payment on your first home? If you have a good chunk of money sitting in your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you may be eligible to use some of it towards the purchase of a home under a federal government plan called the Home Buyer’s Plan (HPB). Naturally, there’s a long list of rules and regulations, but if you’re a young couple, it could mean as much as an extra $50,000 to tack on to a down payment. READ MORE
How to know if you’re the target of a fraud attempt
March is fraud prevention month, and it’s a great time to remind readers that the financial sea is full of sharks, circling the naïve and unprepared, and ready to take you for every cent you’ve got. The bad guys are sophisticated and clever in developing new ways to commit their crimes, now using digital tools and online access like never before. Luckily, there are experts who are even more sophisticated and a lot more clever than the bunko artists. Your financial advisor can spot a scam a mile away, so consult them before you give a stranger your money. Meanwhile, there are a number of warning signs that are typical of a financial scam in the making. READ MORE
Decide what you really, really want
Around this time of year, many people are beset by doubts and anxieties about their financial situation – especially after the no-holds-barred holiday spending season. But don’t despair – there’s a way to bring order to your personal financial chaos that doesn’t involve tedious budget lists and penny-pinching. It starts with a look at your financial picture from the top down. READ MORE
Robyn Thompson is regularly featured in The Toronto Star’s “Money Makeover” series by Deanne Gage. This month, Money Makeover takes a look at Angela and Roy, two primary school teachers who earn high incomes but are clueless about investments.
They need to save for their child’s education and should look for something more than a sales pitch for mutual funds from their local bank branch. Read Robyn Thompson’s advice and plan to ensure the couple can meet their retirement goals.