PERSONAL FINANCE TIPS

  1. Pay off all debts prior to investing as the interest on your debts is much higher than the interest you will receive on your investments.
  2. You should not cash in an RRSP as this will result in a higher tax burden.
  3. Pay in full all credit card balances as soon as they become due, to avoid interest charges.  Credit cards are great for convenience and to help build a credit history but they are not meant to be used for caring a balance month to month.
  4. After clearing away non-mortgage debts, work towards reducing your mortgage flexible payment plans, i.e. bi-weekly and weekly payments allow direct reductions on the principal and save you a lot of interest.
  5. Payroll deductions are a relatively painless way of directing money you don’t see towards improving your financial health.
  6. Once your debts have been dealt with, work out a personal or family budget to pay expenses and allow for insurance protection and investments.
  7. Your budget should not be so strict that you are unable or unwilling to follow it; however, it should eliminate most frills and impulse purchases while allowing enough of a surplus to afford an occasional evening out.
  8. RRSP - Registered Retirement Savings Plans are a must as a long-term investment device which allows you to set aside savings for retirement and defer the tax until you cash the plan.
  9. Consider applying for a small RRSP loan from the bank to help increase your tax refund, which can then be used to pay down the loan.
  10. Real estate over the long-term is by far the best investment you are likely to make as it will increase in value.  Find a house for a price you can afford and shop around for the best, least expensive mortgage.
Excerpts from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada’s “The Financial Guide”

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