RRSP vs RESP: How to Make the Right Choice?

By Bruce Q. Thompson, B.Admin, CFP®

Family in kitchen with laptop smiling

From the moment our children are born we want the best for their future. Success is never guaranteed, but we hope to be able to offer them opportunities. And what better opportunity is there than education? So it seems like a straight forward assumption that we would contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

But what about our own future? What about contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)? Canadians are living longer, and the cost of living is always on the rise. If we don’t have a solid retirement plan, are we at risk of living in our well educated child’s basement? OK, that may be a tongue-in-cheek option, but the question of where to place our investment dollars is valid. What’s a parent to do?

The Fundamentals: What You Need to Know

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Don’t Let Back to School Break the Bank

By Karen Richardson, FPSC Level 1® and Christine White, P.Eng., FPSC Level 1®

The back to school cliché is that kids dread it and parents are gleefully counting the hours. But in reality, lots of kids are excited to go back to school (albeit an excitement that usually fades with the first homework assignment) and many parents dread September because it feels like open season on their bank accounts. Back to school spending seems to escalate every year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You may not be able to keep your kids excited about school, but saving on back to school expenses is possible with some planning.

Back to school basics

Don’t start from scratch

A costly mistake many parents make is buying everything new. School ended roughly 8 weeks ago. It is entirely likely that much of what your children wore last spring still fits them. The same goes for school supplies; rulers, binders, folders, pencil cases, calculators, erasers, etc… are often in fine shape for the new school year. Before you head to the mall make an inventory of what you already have.

Kids don’t need everything on the first day

Even if your stock taking reveals that the kids will need several new items to get through the year, they won’t likely need winter boots in the first several weeks. Keep purchases to the essentials by building on what they have and then start watching for sales. The holidays are just around the corner and adding to the kids’ wardrobe through birthday and Christmas gifts is also a great idea. Continue reading

5 Ways A Money Coach Can Help You Win Your Own Financial Olympics

By Christine Williston, B.A., FPSC Level 1™

What an amazing two weeks of athletic competition at the Olympic Games in Rio. Rosie MacLennan soared through the air with grace and precision and landed a gold medal in the gymnastics trampoline final. Andre de Grasse took silver (men’s 200m less than 1 second behind powerhouse runner Usain Bolt) and two bronze (men’s 100m and men’s 4x100m relay). Penny Oleksiak swam into Canadian hearts with a gold, a sliver and two bronze medals. Derek Drouin leapt to Gold in the men’s high jump and Erica Wiebe pinned a gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling. In total Canadian athletes brought home 4 gold, 3 silver and 15 bronze medals.

The side of Olympic glory that we don’t see

5 Ways A Money Coach Can Help You Win Your Own Financial Olympics

The moments of glory are electric and inspiring, but what we don’t see on the Olympic stage are the years and years of training, the tired muscles, the setbacks, disappointments, sacrifices and deep commitment to a goal. In the moment of triumph the athlete stands alone on the podium, but the path to the podium is paved by supporters and coaches. Becoming an Olympic calibre athlete starts with a personal dream, but also requires a great deal of financial resources for equipment, practice space, travel, physical therapy, and many other sport specific costs.

What’s your dream?

You may not be an aspiring Olympian, but you probably have your own Olympic sized dream: Continue reading

End Financial Avoidance and Reclaim Your Power Today

By Sheila Walkington, co-founder and CFO Money Coaches Canada and the Women’s Financial Learning Centre

Action Changes Things edited blue


Most people procrastinate from time to time, it’s human nature to put off tasks we believe to be unpleasant or time consuming. But the habitual putting off of our responsibilities, especially our financial responsibilities, transforms procrastination into avoidance. Avoidance —Stage 2 of the 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM —is one of the most potentially damaging stages on the path to financial fulfillment.

Are you in Avoidance?

It’s essential to understand that financial well-being comes with a deeper understanding of where you stand with money, emotionally and financially, developing concise and attainable goals, getting organized and implementing a manageable plan to move forward. The 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM is a framework that will help you better understand where you are, and what actions to take, as you move towards Financial Fulfillment. Continue reading

CPP Expansion: A Rare Opportunity to Fine Tune Your Retirement Plan

By Sandra Mann, MBA Financial Services, CPA, CGA, FPSC Level 1™

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is set for expansion beginning in 2019, but you may be wondering how the changes will impact how you manage your money today as well as how it will affect your retirement.

 Hand Inserting Coin In Pink Piggybank

The changing face of work in Canada

When CPP was introduced in 1965, it was meant to be supplemental retirement income to bolster workplace pensions and personal retirement savings and investments. That intention hasn’t changed. What has changed is the Canadian “workscape.”

Working 30 years for the same company is not likely (or even desirable) for many people at the start of their careers. Climbing one corporate ladder is less common than seeking new opportunities at different companies. (I myself left a traditional financial services position for the fresh challenge offered by Money Coaches Canada and the Women’s Financial Learning Centre). Many Canadians change careers completely, some go back to school or start their own businesses. There is no defined path. Even those who decide to build a dedicated career with one employer are not immune to lay-offs and decreasing pensions. Continue reading

Coach Spotlight: Sabine Lay, Certified Money Coach

Sabine Lay, certified Money Coach

Sabine Lay, certified Money Coach

In the five years that Sabine Lay has been a Money Coach the question she has most frequently been asked is: How do other people manage their finances? Or even, “Am I the worst case you’ve seen?” She says the comparison question arises in one form or another from practically every client.

Give your money purpose

What Sabine tells them is that comparison has no benefits. What she shows them is that being clear on their own financial values and creating goals that give their money purpose, generates the kind of confidence that makes comparison questions unnecessary. Sabine helps her clients develop benchmarks and barometers of “success” of their own making.

Money Coaching was the missing piece in financial service

Sabine grew up in Germany and spent five years living in England before moving to Canada 17 years ago. She was working for an international bank when she found herself becoming dissatisfied with the limitations on how she could help her clients.

“I was frustrated by seeing so many people with good income in debt and struggling to make ends meet. I knew I could help them, but it wasn’t within the mandate of my position to offer that kind of help.”

When she read about Money Coaches Canada in an article in the Globe and Mail newspaper she knew it was the sort of work she wanted to do and from the beginning she knew she would specialize in debt and cash flow management. Sabine also helps her clients ensure they have a solid financial foundation as they prepare for retirement.

Building trust and finding clarity

“My first sessions with an individual or a couple are discussions. Before I can help I need to know what is important to them, and they need to get to know me before they can put their trust in me. The surprise that happens in Money Coaching is the person or couple learns a lot about themselves. Relationships with money are influenced by upbringing and by the culture we live in, but it’s important to look at those influences and question whether they help or hinder our financial well-being.”

Sabine Lay TweetClients who work with Sabine can expect her to be supportive and positive but honest. She doesn’t sugar coat her advice, but clients often remark on her warmth and sincerity. The greatest benefit of working with Sabine is the level of clarity she brings to the situation. Clients will have: clarity on their current situation (where their money is coming and going), clarity on their financial goals and clarity on the steps needed to achieve those goals.

“My greatest pleasure as a Money Coach is when I see the pieces of the new plan falling into place and the person or couple is happier and taking control because they have a plan geared to their life.”

Fresh insight and real change

Sabine works with individuals and couples and says that coaching offers different benefits for each.

“I help all my clients define what’s important to them and show them how to make financial decisions based on those values, but for single clients I can also serve as an accountability partner if that is what they need. For couples it is vital to their success that they have the same goals and the same dedication to the process. I can remain neutral and help couples create goals they are both excited about, if both partners are willing and committed.”

Sabine says that someone looking for real change in their financial life will benefit from the fresh insight and expertise of a Money Coach.  Although she prefers to think of the road to financial well-being as having challenges not problems, she believes this quote from Albert Einstein makes an excellent point about the value of a different perspective:

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

A new way of thinking about your money is just a click away. Contact Sabine for a free consultation

How to Take Charge and Say Goodbye to Financial Chaos

By Sheila Walkington, co-founder and CFO Money Coaches Canada and the Women’s Financial Learning Centre

Names and identifying details have been changed for privacy. Story used with permission.

Do you remember the children’s game Chutes and Ladders? Players are moving forward and climbing the ladders when suddenly a roll of the die lands them on a chute that sends them tumbling backwards. When we meet clients in Stage 1 of the 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM – Chaos, it is almost always because a major life event (illness, death of a spouse, job loss, transition to self-employment or divorce), has sent them sliding down a chute into Chaos.

7 Stages of Financial Well-Being ChaosThe base of the 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM pyramid represents those furthest removed from feeling in control and empowered financially. For many, Chaos represents their starting point on their journey to Financial Fulfillment.

It’s essential to understand that financial well-being comes with a deeper understanding of where you stand with money, emotionally and financially, developing concise and attainable goals, getting organized and implementing a manageable plan to move forward. The 7 Stages of Financial Well-BeingTM is a framework that will help you better understand where you are, and what actions to take, as you move towards Financial Fulfillment. Continue reading

Top 5 money challenges small business owners face

By Charmaine Huber, Money Coach

Portrait Of Couple Running Coffee Shop Behind Counter

Most people don’t start a business for the sole purpose of making money. There are much easier ways to make money than to build a business. At the risk of sounding too mystical; it’s more often a soul purpose that creates the energy behind entrepreneurial success. People who start businesses are passionate about what they do. But here’s the thing, people who stay in business, the people who thrive and grow, are also practical about what they do. They know that even if they don’t feel comfortable in the world of profits and losses, debts, taxes, budgets and retirement; learning how to take control of their money and having a financial plan in place will make them more successful and allow them to continue doing what they love.

Here are the top five money challenges you’ll face as a small business owner: Continue reading

Your Money, Your Life – A Discussion with Steadyhand’s Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley, President and co-founder of Steadyhand Investment Management Ltd.

Tom Bradley, President and co-founder of Steadyhand Investment Management Ltd.

Money Coach Noel D’Souza, P.Eng.,CFP® recently sat down with Tom Bradley, President and co-founder of Steadyhand Investment Management Ltd. to talk about what Steadyhand offers Canadian investors how it serves its clients and his perspective on personal finance in Canada.

In addition to Tom Bradley’s leadership at Steadyhand, he selects and monitors Steadyhand fund managers and manages the firm’s Founders Fund. He has over 30 years of experience in the investment industry, including senior leadership roles at other well-known investment management firms. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Investment Committee of the Vancouver Foundation.

Noel: Tom, who would you say is Steadyhand’s typical client and what services does Steadyhand offer?

Tom: We have a wide variety of clients, but I’d have to say that the bulk of our clients are what we call midlife professionals, in their forties and fifties, busy with kids and careers and the stuff of life. Very smart people who just don’t have the time, interest, or maybe knowledge, on the investment side of their finances, and so they look to us to do that for them.

2016-05-16_1212We also have an increasing number of young clients. Our low minimums, which are ten thousand per fund, have opened that door. But of course we also have many retired clients as well.

Our average client portfolio is around $275 000, but we have many clients under $100,000. We offer them investment management and we offer investment advice, not holistic financial planning.

Noel: I think that’s one of the reasons why Steadyhand’s work resonates with what we do at Money Coaches Canada, and why we work well together; we also typically serve busy mid-to-late career professionals, but we provide that holistic financial planning element.

What would you say is the single greatest benefit that a client will experience when working with Steadyhand?

Tom: I’d say that the single greatest thing we do for our clients is right in our name; we do a very good job of providing a steady hand. Dealing with the ups and downs of the market is crucial to long term returns. We keep people on track. We’ve looked at the data and our clients are letting the power of compounding, which Einstein calls the eighth wonder of the world, work for them in growing their assets over time.

We’re all living longer. We want people to think ahead to what I call the last third of their lives, which is going to start somewhere in their sixties and could very well go into their nineties. We need to get people to think ahead to that last third. Continue reading

6 things to consider before investing in a rental property

By Karin Mizgala, co-founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada and the Women’s Financial Learning Centre

Holding house keys on house shaped keychain in front of a new home

The average Canadian house price hit $508,567 in March however that number is skewed by the incredibly hot real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto. If you remove those markets from the equation the average home cost drops to $366,950. But even that lower number represents an increase of 15% in the average sales price over the last year, and coupled with low interest rates, real estate has certainly been a financially attractive investment recently.

However, there are things to consider when contemplating investing in a rental property, as I explained in a recent Globe and Mail Q&A article. Continue reading