Personal Financial Trends 2013
TOP 10 FINANCIAL TUNE-UP TIPS FOR 2013
Reduce your debt:
If you are among the 31 per cent of Canadians who plan to focus on reducing debt next year, you can start off by paying down debts which have the highest interest charges first.
Consolidate your debt:
To make all your debts easier to manage and pay down, talk to a financial advisor about consolidating your debts. Combining multiple payments into one loan can help make it easier to manage your debt and you may even reduce your interest costs and be able to pay down your debt sooner.
Budget for the year ahead:
Having your own budget allows you to manage your expenses, pay down debts and save for future goals. If you don't have a budget, set one up for the new year; if you already have one, the beginning of a new year is a good time to do a budget review. You can get in-person budgeting advice any time of the year from a financial planner at your local bank branch; there are also online resources to help you get started (see "Online Money Management Resources" further below).
Make your credit card work for you:
Credit cards can help you keep track of your expenses and also earn valuable rewards more quickly, but whenever you use your credit cards, do so wisely - pay off your full balance before the due date each month.
Have an emergency fund:
Unexpected expenses can catch you off-guard throughout the year. An emergency fund can help you take care of unplanned costs without straining your budget.
Compare loans to lines of credit:
If you are planning a major expense in the new year (buying a car, renovating your home, investing in your RRSP), explore whether a loan or a line of credit will work best to help you manage that expense (see "Online Money Management Resources" further below).
About to buy a home? Get pre-approved for a mortgage:
To get a better idea of your price range before you buy your first home, apply for a pre-approved for a mortgage, with professional advice that will help you understand the long term costs and choose the right mortgage option to suit your needs.
Review your investments:
The start of any new year is a good time to review the mix of assets in your investment portfolio and to recheck your risk profile, to see if you need to make any adjustments.
Use all your income tax deductions:
Remember to pay all tuition fees, investment management fees, accounting and legal fees if deductible, safe deposit box fees, childcare expenses, alimony, medical expenses and any business expenses by December 31 of the year, if you want to deduct them on that year's tax return.
Individual Pension Plan option for business owners:
If you are a business owner with an incorporated company, you may find both year-end corporate income tax deductions and a structured retirement savings plan for yourself through an Individual Pension Plan (IPP).