Lots of people don’t know where to begin when it come to setting their financial goals and putting their plan in motion. There are two primary components to your financial plans. There’s income and expenses. Income can be from your job, your investments, tax refunds, government grants, Child Tax Benefit payments, or child support payments. Expenses include things like your mortgage, car payments, credit card payments, utility bills, clothing, food, medical expenses, parental care, or entertainment.
If there’s nothing obvious that sticks out in your mind, you may as well start with your mortgage. The faster you pay off your mortgage, the better. You save interest and you bring yourself closer to a great financial future. If you have no mortgage, another place to being is to take all your credit card debt and aggregate it into a single low interest bearing loan. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by avoiding paying your credit card company’s exorbitant rates. Another great way to save money is to prepare your own taxes. If your income is fairly straightforward, you’re just paying your accountant to fill in forms that you can do yourself. If all of these things are in order, my last tip is to spend some time and write out a home budget that details all your monthly expenses. Sometimes just getting it all on paper will give you ideas on how to economize.
Once you’ve got your outbound finances under control, the next step is to think about bringing more money in. For most people, this means looking at your investments. You should look at each of your investments and consider the tax structure that they are in. Try to get as much money as you can first into a tax- free structure like a TFSA. Once that is maximized, you should be looking at a tax deferred structure like an RRSP. You should also consider how your primary income is distributed. You can often get great benefits by splitting your income with your spouse or children.
Once you have taken care of these steps you should be well on your way to a solid financial future. There are many more steps that you can take once you have accomplished the basics but any financial plan must have a solid foundation. The most important thing is to not delay. Procrastination is the most dangerous thing to your financial planning, so get started today.