Financial Wellness

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Credit counselling & debt consolidation advice, news and information by Creditaid
The Life Cycles of Financial Planning

As published in the September 2016 issue of Balance, a Manitoba Teachers’ Society publication.

I am asked by individuals of all ages, “What should I be doing at this stage of my life with my finances? I am feeling stressed about what I need to be thinking about.”

Most of us will go through a series of phases in our lifetimes with respect to financial management. They can be referred as follows:

(a) Getting started (to mid-thirties)
(b) Building up assets (mid-thirties to fifties)
(c) Investing (fifties to retirement)
(d) Retirement

Expect your financial plans to change as you move through the life cycles and other impactful life events. The five steps defined below are key components required at all four phases of our financial life. The five steps in the financial planning process are:

1. Identify goals & set priorities.
2. Assess resources.
3. Balance future cash flow.
4. Develop implementation and control strategies.
5. Evaluate progress.

17419757_s_Painting the road with roller brushGoal setting is the starting point. The fundamental building blocks of financial planning and goal setting are: knowing where you want to go, when you want to get there, and how much it will cost you.

Once you are clear about your goals and priorities, the next step is to take an inventory of your resources (what you currently have, or can expect to have) that can be used to achieve these goals. A net worth statement and an income statement are the two key pieces to the resource assessment. The net worth statement shows your assets and liabilities at a specific time.

Net worth = Total Assets – Total Liabilities (Your net worth should continually increase year over year as you work towards retirement.)

An income statement is a flow or resources over a period of time. The flow consists of money coming in and money going out on a monthly basis. I call this “The Spending Plan”!

Balancing future cash flow is really an extension of your monthly income statement to include five years of planning forward. This includes what your projected income will be over the five years, and expenses. It is very important that you include a savings component which will consist of both short and long term savings.

How you implement and control your plan will define success. Some key points about controlling your financial plan include:

(a) All those handling the money share a commitment to the plan;
(b) The control system is compatible with an individual’s personality and habits;
(c) Controlling a plan requires that someone know where the money is going;
(d) The funds for major groups of expenditures are segregated in some way to prevent over spending.

Evaluating your progress is the final point in the financial planning process. This is where you review the results, and adjust both the plan and what you need to change to make your financial goals a reality.

Very few people in life plan for the future. Making and using a financial plan requires motivation, knowledge, time, effort, self-discipline, and persistence.

The rewards of planning will be huge! You will continue to see your net worth increase year over year. As you experience this growth, you will be entering the next stage in life where you will want to have a good financial advisor.

Here are a few key points to help you choose a financial advisor for your asset building, investing, and retirement stages of life:

(a) Find out how they are paid. Is his or her income based on fees, fees and commission, or only on commission?
(b) Ask about their qualifications. What educational background and experience do they have? Are they licensed?
(c) What areas do they specialize in?
(d) What planning do they offer and at what cost?
(e) Request references so you can speak to them.
(f) How successful have they been with their personal plan?

Stay focused on your goals and keep your financial stress in check as you continue through the life cycles of financial planning!
This entry was posted in Building & Tracking Spending and tagged Balance Wellness Program MTS, Financial Literacy, financial management thru life, Financial planning life cycles, financial wellness, life challenges, Manitoba Teachers Society on September 21, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Proud to Support 3rd Annual Winnipeg International Salsa Festival

2016 Winnipeg International Salsa Festival

Creditaid is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Winnipeg International Salsa Festival, being held in Winnipeg’s beautiful Exchange District from September 9-11, 2016.

This is the 3rd annual Salsa Festival in Winnipeg and it’s sure to include something for everyone! Presented by 2015 Bachata Cabaret World Champions Harold Rancano and Regan Hirose, along with the RHR Latin Dance Company, the festival features workshops, performances, competitions, and night life parties with world renowned artists.

The RHR Latin Dance Company proudly presents the inclusion of “Heart of the Country” dance competitions at this year’s festival. Competitions are open to the public and will be divided into Amateur and Pro-Am divisions, so register now and put your dancing skills to the test!

Workshops take place all weekend long and offer something for all ages and abilities.

Creditaid believes that financial wellness and physical wellness go hand-in-hand and encourages everyone to get out there and CHA CHA!
This entry was posted in In The Community and tagged 2016 Winnipeg International Salsa Festival, Creditaid in the community, creditaid sponsors salsafest, Creditaid Winnipeg, RHR Latin Dance Company on September 6, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Canadians are Postponing Retirement to Help Their Adult Children

Couple-postponing-retirementHalf of Canadians surveyed are willing to postpone retirement for their children according to a study by BMO Wealth Management. Even more worrying is that 24 per cent said they’d be willing to go into debt to help their children succeed. Ironically, one of the top reasons parents cited for their financial concern about their children is that they will incur debt that they can’t manage.

According to Statistics Canada, today’s youth are more educated, staying at home longer and putting off their entry into a treacherous labour market where unemployment rates for young adults are twice the national average. This is daunting information but not insurmountable. Parents and their children can find a way through the morass by learning about how to manage their money better.

Parents who have spent a lifetime developing a good credit rating should not be threatening their own retirement in order to protect their children’s debt, when passing on their financial know-how is a better way to secure their children’s future. Parents who have poor credit also need to lead by example by learning how to develop good credit for themselves. And adult children can also benefit from a good financial education.

Credit counselling and education can be the answer to the future security of children and prevent parents from making unnecessary sacrifices. Services such as Creditaid’s Build Learn Save program offers that kind of education as well as one-on-one counselling for anyone needing help with debt management.
This entry was posted in Build Learn Save and tagged baby boomers in retirement, budgeting in retirement, Credit Counselling, Debt Consolidation, Debt help for adult children, delayed retirement, personal finances, Retirement Planning on July 27, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Financial Literacy; It’s Never Too Early To Learn

With increasing debt loads affecting youth, and unemployment rates double the national average, understanding how money and credit ratings work is paramount and a part of their educational needs.

kids_money_little_girl_piggy_bankStarting with their allowance, children can learn about how to manage their finances. The key is thinking about how much money you have and where you want to spend it. Children and adults alike are often driven by impulse and don’t think before acting. An environment where youth are responsible for identifying only their wants and not their essential needs is a dangerous precedent that can affect them throughout their lives. It’s simply too easy to spend freely and then find out you don’t have enough left, forcing you into debt.

It all begins with a budget. When giving money to your children in the form of an allowance, or when they get their first job, take the time to create a budget with your child to make them aware of how much they have and where they want to spend it. Encourage them to do research to find out the price of the items they want and price shop to get the maximum reach for their dollars.

Finally, parents lead by example, so if you need help with debt management, creating a budget, or rebuilding your credit, have a conversation with us – we know that we can help.
This entry was posted in Building & Tracking Spending and tagged Budget with Kids, financial literacy in children, financial literacy in manitoba, financial literacy program to rebuild credit, Kids & Finances, Money Smart Kids, Money Talk with Kids on July 20, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Financial Literacy and Education Key to Good Credit

Canadians are highly-educated in areas like academics and trades. But one of the most important areas that is often lacking is their degree of financial literacy.

Learning how to manage debt and build a solid credit rating requires education. Creditaid has developed a financial literacy program to help Canadians Build or rebuild their credit, Learn valuable budgeting skills that will guide them into a future of financial health, and Save money to spend on life’s most important things.

BuildLearnSave-LogoBuild Learn Save is an 18 month credit building program designed to educate participants about budgeting, credit, and debt while their credit is being re-established in order that they can be in a position of financial health upon program completion.

Building a healthy credit rating is not something that we commonly learn in school. Many people do not understand the repercussions of a poor credit rating and how it can affect many aspects of their lives. For instance, a $20,000 car financed over 7 years will result in approximately $350 in payments for a person with a good credit rating but $850 with a poor one.

This difference in cost is only one example of the kind of problems faced by those with poor credit. Renting an apartment, buying a car or house, using credit cards to buy online or guarantee a hotel room, car rental, or airplane seat—all are affected by a poor credit rating.

Financial literacy is a way for Canadians to find their way out of debt and build a solid credit rating that will stand them in good stead for their future.

Call Creditaid to find out more about the Build Learn Save program. Our friendly and understanding staff will let you know if your situation fits the bill and if we can help you to get started on the road to a healthy financial future.
This entry was posted in Build Learn Save and tagged build learn save, credit rebuild winnipeg, credit rebuilding, credit rebuilding program, Debt Help Winnipeg, financial literacy program to rebuild credit, improve your credit score, rebuild your credit on July 15, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Creditaid Delivers Financial Literacy Advice to Manitoba Educators

Balance Wellness program logoAs part of our ongoing partnership with the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) to deliver financial literacy advice through their Balance Program, we were very happy to extend our reach to Manitoba educators.

In April, we were happy for the opportunity to speak to members of the Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba (RTAM) as they joined the Society members for a collaborative workshop about Money Matters and Mindfulness.

RTAM logo

The RTAM advocates for the needs of retired teachers to the Manitoba government, the MTS and the general public. The association members have witnessed the benefits of the Balance program, and have begun holding collaborative workshops to tap into the many benefits that the program has to offer.

Even after a lifetime of prudent money management, it is oftentimes in retirement that an individual might need access to advice and resources that they previously did not.

At Creditaid, we feel privileged for the opportunity to discuss financial wellness and financial literacy with our province’s educators and look forward to more opportunities to share in the future.

If you find yourself facing a life transition that requires a change in the way you manage your budgeting and your debt, contact the friendly staff at Creditaid for help.
This entry was posted in Financial Literacy and tagged Balance Wellness Program MTS, Creditaid in the community, debt and wellness, financial health and wellness, Financial Literacy Programs, Increasing Financial Literacy in Canada, money and wellness on June 20, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Creditaid Hosted the Jewel 100.5 FM Office Tour This Week!

Jewel 100.5 and Creditaid

All of us at Creditaid were very happy to welcome Dan and Leslie Michaels from local radio station Jewel 100.5 FM to our office this past Wednesday. We always love to have visitors, and even more so when they come bearing coffee and doughnuts!

Our staff was very happy to be this week’s winner of Jewel 100.5 FM’s “The Office Tour Contest“. With coffee, doughnuts, good conversation, and lots of laughter, we think Dan & Leslie might have wanted to stay all day! They described their experience in the following day’s broadcast, click below to listen:

Thanks to Jewel 100.5 FM for sending over such great company and tasty treats, it made our week! If you’re looking to brighten up your work week, enter their contest, because you never know when it will happen to you.

And if you’re looking for help to manage your debt, rebuild your credit, or just find some financial clarity in your life, call Creditaid today – we can help.
This entry was posted in Debt Problems Winnipeg and tagged Creditaid and the Community, Creditaid on the radio, Debt Help Winnipeg, Jewel 100.5 Office Tour, personal finances on April 29, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
A Habitat for Humanity Home Gives Families a New Start

Creditaid is proud to support various community initiatives and has been an important supplier to Habitat for Humanity Manitoba in their support of low income working families for many years.

As credit counsellors, we have the skills and experience to aid this wonderful charity by providing budget strategies to new Habitat homeowners to help them prepare for home ownership and budget effectively for a lifetime of financial success.

The financial education they receive helps to instill a sense of accountability and pride in their new home ownership status.

We are happy to be part of the Habitat for Humanity family, and seeing videos like this one makes us even bigger fans!
This entry was posted in In The Community and tagged budget strategies, community help Winnipeg, Creditaid in the community, financial goals, Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, home ownership, personal finances on February 19, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Tell Your Money Where to Go

Most people avoid developing a spending plan. It’s just no fun hearing the same things over and over – “be frugal, be thrifty, save every penny you can for a rainy day.”

Unfortunately, failure to develop a spending plan usually results in our money waving goodbye every payday, and when bumps in the road occur and they will, (life being, well, life) you find yourself with very difficult financial challenges.

There’s got to be a happy medium – something between the regimented, enforced frugality that is so often presented as the solution to your life’s financial future and the carefree spending that’s going to land you in trouble. Taking control means that you take back full control and “tell your money where to go”!! No more letting it simply wave good-bye!

Save Money with a budget planEnter the Save-to-Spend concept, a system of budgeting that will have you future-proofing your money, while still allowing you to achieve the things you want, and even giving you some “mad money” for the things you didn’t know you wanted. It is really all about pre-planning by putting your short, medium and long term goals on paper. Once you have them, put down what the costs are for each of them. Then prioritize them and determine the length of time it will take you to save for each of them. A simple example is buying a new big screen television. If the cost is $1200 and you want to have it in one year, start putting $100 away each month for it. This is far different then the buy now pay later program where you forget to pay off the interest free loan and end up paying 30% interest back to the day it was delivered. This is an example of a change from that path of instant gratification to one of delayed gratification!

The concept goes one step further and includes the most important part of any plan and that is building your emergency savings account. These are just a few simple examples of a very old concept that we need to return to.

Of course, you can’t make money from nothing, so there are going to be some sacrifices. They will, however, seem unimportant as you quickly see your bank balances grow with all the individual financial goals you have set.

Just remember you need to keep happy while you work within your Save-to-Spend plan! Like dieting, if you tell yourself you can never enjoy one of the foods you love, you’ll likely cheat. If you allow yourself the occasional treat, you’ll be happier overall and are more likely to get the result you want. Save-to-Spend has been proven to be effective.

If you have questions about Save-to-Spend, budgeting, or any other topic related to debt or personal finance, contact Creditaid anytime online or by telephone at (204) 987-6890.
This entry was posted in Building & Tracking Spending and tagged Budget Tips, consumer debt, Credit Counselling Winnipeg, financial future, financial goals, life challenges, Money Saving Tips on February 17, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.
Online Survey Finds Half of Respondents are within $200 of Being Unable to Pay Bills

If you are struggling to make all of your payments or are already unable to make your required monthly payments, Creditaid can help. Whether you need to rebuild your credit, undergo credit counselling, tackle your credit card debt, reassess your finances following a divorce or a move, or any other challenge that life brings – we’ve seen it all and we have a program that will suit your needs.

Reposted from the Winnipeg Free Press online edition February 16, 2016.

CALGARY – A new poll suggests nearly half of Canadians surveyed last month are within $200 per month of being unable to pay for their bills and make their debt payments.

The Ipsos Reid survey also found about one-quarter of the 1,582 people who responded to the poll were already unable to cover their bills and debt payments.

The online poll was done between Jan. 27 and Jan. 29 for MNP Debt, which provides licensed trustee services in six provinces, from Quebec to British Columbia.

MNP says the poll found that 31 per cent of respondents said any increase in interest rates could move them towards bankruptcy.

Ipsos Reid conducted the poll about a week after the Parliamentary Budget Office issued a report on Jan. 19 that said Canada has seen the largest increase in household debt relative to income of any G7 country since 2000.

The survey also followed Bank of Canada’s decision to keep a key lending rate at a historically low level of 0.5 per cent on Jan. 20, as the central bank lowered economic growth estimates for 2015 and 2016.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.
This entry was posted in Debt Problems Winnipeg and tagged Budget Tips, consumer debt, Credit Card Debt Winnipeg, Debt Help Winnipeg, financial goals, personal finances on February 16, 2016 by Creditaid Winnipeg.

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