Hello Pumpkin Spice


The leaves are turning, the kids are back in school, the thoughts of the pending holidays tinkering in the back of your head, or maybe it’s just me?

I love this time of year, so fresh; the welcomed cooler air for sleeping and the changing colours, so stunning, even the pumpkin spice anything. 

September signals a fresh start; it’s my January 1 time to reset and set goals for the remainder of the year.

Aside from occupying our new home and putting the finishing touches on it, we had many new expenses creep up. We bought a dog, a big dog – (the big part was not intentional), like many people during the pandemic, an expensive reason to get out and walk. I don’t know about you, but I needed an excuse to get out of the house and get moving; I found myself “self” trapped in the house. 

During the summer, Klaus and I explored the interior of B.C. camping; yep, I camp in a tent with an excellent mattress, but we thought, what would it be like if we could go more often, a little easier? So, we bought a newt to us tent trailer; her name is pending. (See pic- forward names suggestions) 

Lastly, a considerable expense, finishing our shared front yard area, new rock, trees, irrigation. These were all massive hits to our budget. 

Who knew a dog could cost so much, not the purchase price, the shots, the food, the training, the vet, the crates etc. I can go on and on. Then there’s camping, an inexpensive holiday. Wrong! If you have all those tools, great, but if you need to buy or replace items during a pandemic, yikes, expensive. Then there’s the lot cost, ice, gas, food, treats etc. Again, I can go on and on. Yes, cheaper than a flight, but still not inexpensive when done once or twice a month. And, lastly, the redo of the front garden, let’s just say, that chore will be left for next years budget. 

Why am I telling you this? Just like you, we have significant expenses come up; some are mainly unintended, like a car repair or intended, like the front garden or the purchase of an animal. Some are ongoing, as the care and upkeep of the animal or new tent trailer and ongoing outings. 

As part of the refresh and prep for 2022 comes a review of the household budget. Do we need to contribute more money to the household account each month? Do we need to reallocate funds or cut something out since we added two new ongoing expenses to the budget that were not accounted for? 

Here are a few tips that work for us: 

1. Grab a glass of ___ this is a hard one

Find, print out, and gather all your statements, I mean all of them for the past six months and put them on the table, sort by month and then review. 

What can you get rid of? What surprises you? (For us its the number of times we eat out) Did you find any double charges or subscriptions you thought you had cancelled? 

I find a review of the bills at least once a year helpful in tweaking the budget and finding hiccups and overspending. Thank you to Judith Cane for this suggestion. Judith taught me this lesson 10 years ago; it’s a keeper. 

2. Put a cushion in your budget; there is always going to be something popping up. I recommend $300.00 a month, but whatever you can make work. It might be a good thing like an expensive anniversary or birthday dinner, or it might be something not so extraordinary like new winter tires or braces. 

3. Be willing to part with something? Klaus and I have learned, who’s kidding, are learning to part with things. We sell a LOT of our belongs on Marketplace and Kigigi to pay for the new item coming in the front door. For example, our new tent trailer is new to us; she is almost 30 years old, but we sold a trailer and used some savings to pay for her; we are not out of pocket. Plus, she’s old; we will need to do some repairs ourselves, gets out the elbow grease and shine her up. I’m planning on painting the inside. The motto in our house is, if the item does not have a purpose or is not in use, we do not need it. You would be amazed at how much money you can bring in selling the things you no longer need. “One mans’ garbage is another mans’ treasure.”

Ok, so now you’ve done the arduous financial chore, and you’ve come to realize, oh, my. We are paying so much in interest! We will never get this debt paid down or off. We really need to restructure our finances. Call me! I know loads of people that specialize in financial health. I might be able to help. Or, you might discover you are doing a great job financially; if this is the case, pat yourself on the back and call me. I’ll give you a virtual high five. 

Then ask yourself, have you maxed out your TFSA and RSP? Maybe that could be the next goal? Your financial picture is ongoing; it never stops or ends. It will always need to be nurtured. 

As always, I am here if you need me. 

Walter Update

Weight: 75lbs 

Age: 6.5 months 

Status: Currently up for sale – he has regressed into a stubborn butt head who does not listen, at all. But he’s oh so handsome, so I’ll keep him, for now. 

Six tips for financial fitness this Fall

It’s almost September, and there is some optimism that we may be moving towards the end of life in a global pandemic. The Fall has always been a great time to go back to school on financial fitness, and this year it may be more critical than ever. Here are some tips to help make sure your finances are fit and stay that way – 

Splurge, just a little –  many of us deal with stressors that we didn’t even know existed, like not being able to see loved ones. Instead of beating yourself up financially, set aside a few dollars each month to do something intentionally nice for yourself. There is no guilt when spending is intentional, you will not overspend, and it just feels good. 

Revisit (or start) your budget – See Budget Spreadsheet 

Having a budget is one of the most important ways to achieve a solid financial future. It might not be the most thrilling task, but it will give you a clearer picture of where you stand and how much you can honestly spend. You’ll also be able to determine how much money you can allocate to your “live a little” fund. 

While preparing your budget, take a fresh look at your monthly bills and go through them line by line. I take six months worth of the bills, all the bills. You may want to do this task with your favourite beverage. 

Look for small, unexplained charges, fees, add-ons, and the services you can now live without; it’s incredible how much you can save without giving up much. 

Maintain your credit – More about credit 

Your credit score is essentially your passport to financial opportunities. It can mean the difference between getting approved or denied for credit and can prevent you from getting the lowest mortgage rate. 

The good news is that you have control over your score. That’s why it’s crucial to have good credit behaviours. The most significant factor to having a good score is paying your bills on time, every time. Ensure you know your credit limits and try not to use more than 50% of the credit limit amount. Don’t bother with many store credit cards; if you have two or three good credit cards that give you benefits that work for you, that’s plenty. 

Focus on your high-interest debt – More on Refinancing 

Always keep an eye on your high-interest debt and pay down your credit cards as soon as possible. If you find that your debt is making things difficult, you may be able to move that debt to your lower-rate mortgage if you have enough home equity. As a result, you could save thousands in interest, have one lower monthly payment that dramatically improves your cash flow, and enjoy much reduced financial stress.  

Spend time, not money

We’ve all gained a new appreciation of the value of being able to spend time with loved ones in person, that it’s something to treasure. I think the pandemic has allowed us to recognize that hanging out with the people we care about and doing the things we love is far more valuable than items we purchase. 

Help others

Most of us were very fortunate during the pandemic, and many weren’t. Then you may want to consider putting funds aside for charities, shop local, tip restaurant workers a bit more than usual, or secretly support a family in need. 

If your budget is at the limit, give your time to an organization that stirs you. Sharing does not necessarily mean cash; time, in most cases, is more valuable. 

As always, I am here to help. It’s my goal to help you maximize your financial fitness so you can build wealth for the long term.  

2021 Federal Election: Summary of Federal Party Promises Which May Affect You and Your Clients

Mortgage Professionals Canada’s continuing effort to represent our industry to government was rewarded in recent weeks as each of the federal Liberal, Conservative, and NDP parties reached out to us to discuss their housing policies, and their now published election platforms related to housing and affordability.

While the Conservative’s and NDP’s platform were public at the start of the campaign, the Liberals’ materials were published about a week into the race. Now they are all published and announced, we are able to provide you, our membership, with a comparison of their election housing platforms and promises. 

MPC is encouraged to see housing affordability take such a prominent place in the election, especially after our many discussions within MPC Hill Week in March, and numerous subsequent meetings with senior ministers, parliamentary critics, and policymakers. 

MPC informed all parties and policymakers that we believe the pressing and ongoing issues related to housing affordability in Canada require:

  • greater housing supply, especially through ensuring provinces and municipalities reduce the excessive supply headwinds caused by red tape, development charges, and NIMBYism
  • an insurable 30-year amortization option for first time buyers, up from current 25-year max
  • improvements to the FTHBI, if it was to be retained
  • removal of the stress test for mortgage holders wishing to change lenders at renewal, as long as they have a proven track record of making payments through their prior term, and aren’t taking on new mortgage debt
  • increasing the insured mortgage property purchase price cap from its current $1M, to reflect prices today, and adjustments for inflation going forward

We are pleased all three major parties have responded to at least part of MPCs requests of them during these past months. Below are the housing related announcements to date by the five represented parties in the House of Commons as of the election call, which should allow you to make informed choices for #Election2021.

The pending taxation of home that are held for less than 12 months. 

Taxing the sale of your home is something the Liberals said they would never do — now it’s in their platform. Sell your home earlier than the Liberals think you should and you’ll be hit with an “anti-flipping tax.” Prior to the last election, the Liberals had to fight back against Conservative claims they were going to tax the sale of all primary residences. The Liberal campaign had Justin Trudeau tweet out a video denying this was part of their platform and then Liberal MP Adam Vaughan had to put out a statement.

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