Frankly Speaking

Debt Management

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

As a New Year begins and we all think about resolutions and set new goals be sure to have “paying off credit cards” at the top of the list!

After all the Christmas decorations are taken down and the first set of batteries have died in the kids toys is about the time when your credit card bill arrives in the mail. Take a deep breath, open it, and resolve to tackle your debts once and for all.

The first step is to stop accumulating debt! You have all heard the saying “Don’t buy it if you don’t have the money!”

Build a budget! Start by looking at where you spend all your money. Collect up all your bank statements and credit card bills for the last three months and start identifying where it all goes.

Put yourself on a cash diet. Most people have no clue how much pocket-money they spend. Start with $40 in your pocket on Sunday night. That is all the money you have to spend for the week on discretionary items such as lunches, coffee’s, magazines, taxi’s, etc. So if by Wednesday lunch time you have run out of money you don’t have any more money to spend until the following Sunday night. This will definitely help you to think about spending before you do.

Money is Finite if you spend it over here – you don’t have it to spend over there. Decide if what you are going to purchase is more important to you than the other things you wish to purchase. Rather than buying that top you may wish to take a beach vacation or get a new car.

Is it a Want or a Need? Every time you pick something up when you are out shopping, stop and ask yourself “is this a want? or a need?” if it a want ask yourself “do I want this more than I want a the beach vacation, new car, or being debt free?”. If it is a need ask yourself “does it have value? or can I buy that same top over at Winners for 30% less?”

If you have debt, here are some cardinal rules to help you get debt free:

1) Pay out highest interest debt first! Maybe you have a couple of credit cards with balances on them at 19%, a store credit card 26%, a personla loan from the bank 9%, a line of credit 7.5%, and a mortgage 5%. Start by listing them ALL on a piece of paper with the interest rate from highest to lowest. See example below. Then be sure to pay the MINIMUM on all the debts and on time (more on these later). Then with any extra income left over be sure to apply it all to the one with the highest interest! For example – lets say you have $2000 a month for paying your debts and you go through and write them all down and it looks like this:

Type Interest Rate Balance Min Payment
Store Card 26.0% $1,100 $50
Visa 19.0% $3,800 $114
Master Card 19.0% $2,700 $81
Loan 9.0% $12,000 $218
Line of Credit 7.5% $8,500 $170
Mortgage 5.0% $176,000 $950
Total   $204,100 $1,583

Once you have paid your Min Payment on all debts you will have $427 left over. Take that full amount and put it directly against the store card. This will have you pay out the highest intered card the fastest and save you thousands of dollars in interest!

2) Put your credit cards on ice! If you carry a balance from one month to the next on a credit card you will lose your grace period. If this happens call the credit card companies and ask them how much you have to pay to pay them off in full including all interest. Instruct them to make a note that you will be doing that, that day. Once you have paid them off put credit card in a block of ice in your freezer for two full months! You do this because if you use your credit card at any point in the next two months you will be charge interest starting from the moment you swipe that card. You lose your 20 day grace period until you have gone two complete billing cycles with payments in full.

3) Watch out for rocketing interest rates Many card companies will increase interest rates if you are late with your payments. Be sure to ALWAYS make at least your minimum payment ON TIME. Once you have been late or missed a few payments your lower interest rate cards that you thought were 9% could be as high as 36% or even higher!

4) Lower your limits. Many cards will increase you credit limits every time you use your cards to their limits. This may be useful when you are trying to purchase things but can cost you thousands of dollars in interest charges. Fortunately there are plans to restrict this practice. Pick up the phone call the card company and ask them to reduce your limit to a more manageable level.

5) Avoid taking cash advances. Either from payday loan companies (almost the worst) or from your credit cards. The interest charges start right away and are always very high. Take money from lines of credit, personal loans, or Mom!

6) Avoid promo gimmicks. If you have ever been to a hockey, baseball, or football game, or even just walking through an airport; you may have been tempted or enticed into signing up for a credit card to get a team hat, shirt, towel, or travel rewards. Be careful! Even though you might not use the card – every time you apply for a card it reduces your credit score which ultimately can increase interest charges on loans.

Even with all this advice you may want to get some additional help. Go to They are a leading Canadian charity that provides money management and credit management counselling and education services that help individuals and families prevent and respond to financial difficulties.

Speak with spouse and family and work together as a team to tackle the debt. Ask your financial advisor and put a plan together to consolidate and payout the debt systematically.

Good luck!


Tags: Mortgage, interest, Credit Canada,, Payday loan, payday loans, Loan, Financial Planning, cash advance, resolutions, Debt, Line of Credit

Mortgage Insurance Protection – Get coverage on your own!

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

I write these articles because I get sick to my stomach every time I see the media or a company mislead the public on a personal finance issue. The latest was an advertising supplement in the middle of the Globe and Mail business section. It was entitled “Mortgage insurance among ‘must-haves’ for first-time homebuyers” and written to look like a newspaper article and did not have an author’s name on it. For good reason, it made the claim that mortgage insurance was a must-have so buy it through your lender! Interestingly enough the article was produced by Genworth Financial Group who sell mortgages and yes you guessed it MORTGAGE INSURANCE.

I agree that people should put proper protection in place for their loved ones but not for their mortgage provider. I believe that you are far better off applying for your own life insurance protection through an independent insurance broker. To understand the reasons why see the article below.

Bank Mortgage Life Insurance: Who Is Protecting Whom?

Buying a house involves more than just looking through listings and visiting open houses. Somewhere along the way, purchasers must apply for a mortgage. I recently met with John* and Susan*, a married couple with two children, ages 3 and 1. They purchased a home, met with a mortgage representative from one of the Big Five Banks and received a $300,000 mortgage. They also opted for the bank’s mortgage insurance.

They told me that they answered no to the health questions and checked the box that read “we would like our insurance to start as soon as our application is approved”. They did this without as much as an afterthought. To them, having insurance meant that if one of them were to die, money would be paid out for the other’s use.

I explained to them that mortgage insurance may be cancelled by the bank if they move to another financial institution, if the mortgage is in default or paid off; and it may not be guaranteed at the mortgage renewal date. They admitted they were not informed of this. I continued to tell them that the bank covers only the value of the mortgage upon death. For instance, in three years time, if the mortgage is paid down to $220,000, upon death, the bank will only cover the decreased balance: $220,000. Meanwhile, the premium amount stays the same; it does not decrease in conjunction with the mortgage.

I told them to pretend that John chose to solely use the bank’s insurance and that three years from now, on his way home from work, he passes away from a sudden heart attack. Devastated and alone with two young children, Susan would contact the bank about the insurance, thinking that it would provide financial protection to her and the kids.

John looked uneasy and admitted that his dad passed away from a heart attack a few years ago. As well, John was diagnosed at the age of 9 with a heart murmur and answered NO to the question “have you ever had or been treated for heart disorder?” simply because he forgot.

I explained to John that the bank performs “Post Claim Underwriting”, meaning medical issues are explored upon claims (i.e. after a person dies). If John did die, his medical records would be obtained and a claim could potentially be denied because he had failed to disclose the heart murmur. This would result in Susan and her family not receiving any money from the bank, thus causing serious financial hardships for the family.

When insurance is applied for using a licensed Insurance Advisor/Broker, all due diligence is performed up front; thorough medical questions are asked and if required, a nurse visits your home or office to perform a physical.

The bank’s insurance product did not do what John and Susan thought they had hired it to do: financially protect the surviving spouse and family. Instead, it only protected the mortgage. Granted, the paid off mortgage is one less expense that Susan would have to worry about but with her not working, the family’s financial future could be in serious jeopardy.

With John’s income lost forever, Susan would have to find a job to pay for childcare, household expenses, daily bills, groceries, car payments, future education, outstanding debts, taxes as well as final expenses for John.

My clients are always advised to look at the bigger picture: insurance should protect more than just the mortgage on a home. When looking for a house, apply for insurance outside of the bank right away – you can lock into a rate at a younger age and continue to fund the policy without having to worry about “what if?” Not to mention, the policy is owned by you…it can follow you if lenders are changed.

Furthermore, structuring a proper insurance plan will allow you to pay a level premium for a set amount of coverage. If monthly premiums are $70 per month for $300,000 of insurance, this is the amount the beneficiary of your choosing will receive, not the bank.

In addition to dealing with a realtor, a mortgage representative, a home inspector, a moving company and all the other types of businesses that are needed prior to moving into a home, always include a licensed Insurance Advisor/Broker on that list. In fact, a number of my clients are mortgage brokers and mortgage representatives with the banks.

When the mortgage agent at the bank tells you it’s a good idea to buy the bank’s mortgage insurance and asks you to check the box reading “I/we would like our insurance to start: as soon as my/our application is approved”, check the “initial to waive Life Insurance” box instead. If the Bank or Mortgage broker asks why, you’ll already know the answer.

*Names in this article have been changed.

Tags: Mortgage, health insurance, mortgage life insurance, Financial Planning, Insurance, life insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage protection, mortgage refinance, term life insurance quote, Debt

5 Financial Lessons I Learned While Swimming With The Sharks!

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

As you can see by the picture below – I am not in a cage and I am not wearing protective gear! There was no need! This was a dive I did in the Bahamas, just off Nassau Island.

Before I get to my lessons learned, I strongly encourage everyone to learn more about these incredible creatures that play such a critical role in our ecosystem. A fun and easy way to do this is to watch the movie Shark Water. This is a docudrama and is very entertaining and enlightening.

Do your homework before jumping in the water!

Before even considering doing a dive with sharks I had learned a lot about them. With this knowledge I had more interest in them and sought out the opportunity to do this dive. By the time I was ready to enter the water, I was calm and ready for the dive.

When it comes to your finances it is just as important to make the effort to learn more about them. The more you learn and participate in your finances the more opportunities you will find. By the time you enter the waters of the markets you will be able to approach it in a calm manner and be ready to deal with what ever happens.

sharkGo with a guide.

Even with my knowledge of sharks, I would have never considered doing this dive on my own. Terri (a very cheerful and fun women from Australia) was our dive master. With more than 300 dives and 50 shark dives under her belt, the rest of us listened carefully to her instruction and respected her knowledge. It gave us all greater comfort and confidence, and reduced a lot of the anxiety and stress! She coached us and put forth a comprehensive dive plan so we knew exactly what needed to be done and the likely outcome of the dives.

When it comes to your finances you should find a guide to help you. Your guide should be qualified with lots of experience. They should be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) with at least 5-10 years of experience. Your guide should prepare a comprehensive written financial plan so you know exactly what needs to be done and what will be the likely outcomes. This will help highlight the risks and dangers to help you make better decisions. This plan will give you greater comfort and confidence, and reduced a lot of the anxiety and stress!

Not all sharks are vicious.

Now some of you have looked at the pictures and thought: JAWS! when in reality these are not Great Whites. These are Black Tipped Reef sharks. They are active predators of small bony fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans. They have little to no interest in people. There are many other types of sharks in the ocean, most of which are timid and scared of humans.

The same goes for financial service professionals. When you go looking for your guide beware the vicious ones! Start by speaking with friends and family – people you know and trust. Go to the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC) to search for a CFP. Remeber that not all advisors are planners – ask them if they will prepare a comprehensive written financial plan and if they can provide you a sample of an annonymous one. Also remember that not all planners are out to sell you something. Some truely want to help you.

You don’t have to get bitten!

As we prepared for the dive one of the things Terri talked about were the risks and uncertainties involved (and man you should have seen the waiver we had to sign – AND have witnessed!). Having  a lot of experience with these dives she also explained all the actions we were going to take to mitigate the risks and help to prevent some of the uncertainties. For instance – we all had to wear dark wetsuits for the dive – this helped to change the colour of our skin so we didn’t look the colour of the sharks fish food. Now our hands were still bear – so to mitigate the risk of the sharks MISTAKING them for a fish they might eat, we were told to keep our hands within our body and not use them for swimming (if you waived your hand around they may see the movement in the water and think it was food and you would lose your hand.).

So by doing your homework and understanding your finances while working with an experienced guide, can really help to reduce your risk. Your CFP can, through preparing a comprehensive written financial plan, identify all the potential risks you may face and develop strategies to mitigate those risks and uncertainties. An idea might be to chang the colour of your investments so they don’t get eaten by the markets!


Every shark for themself.

Watching Terri feed these beautiful creatures was an amazing sight of nature at its purist. When she pulled out a piece of fish and held it out for the sharks to eat, many turned and lunged at it with no consequence for the other sharks or anything else that swam between it and the food. As we divers knelt in the sandy bottom and watched the sharks swim in circles around us, you quickly realize that they don’t have the slightest interest in you. You are just another rock on the bottom, or creature of the ocean. When the fish bate was gone many of the sharks simply swam off in search of their next meal elsewhere. Everybody asks me if I was worried if the sharks would bite me, and my reply was “NO! I am not their food, and I am not threatening them – they have no interest in me!”

The same is true when it comes to your finances. If you dangle your investments in an ocean full of “sharks” you may get many lunging at it with no real consequence or care for what happens. If you don’t have a plan to manage your investments or direct what happens they will likely sit like rocks on the bottom of some investment account with little to know attention being paid to them. Many of the “sharks” in the financial industry are only interested as long as there is food. Once they have eaten and the food is gone, they simply swim off in search of their next meal. That why it is so important to work with a Certified Financial Planner who will help to monitor your investments and make sure your comprehensive written financial plan is being executed properly. Remember nobody cares more about your money than you do! If you haven’t heard from your “shark” in a while – then give them a call. Take care of what you have and you will have something to take care of you.

Another thing I learned is that if you want to have a successful event – BRING FOOD!

Please take some time and learn about these increadible creatures and the important role they play in our ecosystem. Visit and to get started.


Tags: certified financial planner, investing, Financial Planning

Savings – Pay Yourself First!: Budgeting 101

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

You have all heard or read it before: the best way to build wealth is to pay yourself first! Made popular back in the 1920′s it really didn’t take off until the 1990′s with David Chiltons book The Wealthy Barber . With advancements in technology and  payroll systems, the ability to automate this process has helped to make it a very simple and successful way to reach your goals. You can easily set up to have 10% of your earnings go towards your goals. Retirement saving, buy a house, new car fund, children’s education etc are all good examples.

The reason why these automated programs are successful is that once it is running you learn to live without that money and it starts to really add up!

For example if you make $55,000 a year and you put 5% towards retirement every year (ignore raises and inflation): in 35 years at 6% return you will have saved $326,500! @ 8% = $525,680!!!!  Would you really miss 5% of pre-tax income!

TIP: If you are going through a period of financial difficulty (laid off, medical leave, etc) you may want to stop any and all savings programs until your income comes back. I would rather you avoid accumulating debt at 7,10,12,18,26% while saving and earning 2,4,5,8%. The math will never make sense.

TIP: If you currently have a fair bit of debt and little savings you need to get aggressive and get rid of the debt! Once you have paid it down then get started on your savings. Read this article on how to effectively pay down debt.

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, Financial Planning, Savings, The Wealthy Barber

How To Effectively Pay Down Debt!

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

If you have debt and are currently reading this you have already accomplished step 1.

Step 1 – Make the decision to tackle your debt once and for all!

This is a critical step to getting your debt under control. In our consumer based, got to have the latest STUFF, no matter what the costs, society it is no wonder many are living beyond their means and racking up the debt. So if you are ready to truly deal with your debt and give yourself a better quality of life repeat after me: I have more than enough stuff! I want rid of my debt, high interest charges, stress, and frustration! I AM READY FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE!

Now repeat it again!

Step 2 – Make a list of ALL your debt!

Gather up all your bank statements, credit card statements, store credit, car loans, personal loans, lines of credit, mortgage, etc. Now on one piece of paper (if it is a long list use legal length paper) or in a spreadsheet list each creditor, the amount outstanding, the minimum payment, outstanding available credit, and the rate of interest. If you don;t know or can’t figure out how much interest you are paying – then pick up the phone call them and ask them to tell you! If you have a “DO NOT PAY FOR 18 MONTHS” kind of loan then learn how much the interest is and be sure to pay it all off before it comes due.

EXTRA: If at this point you have debt payments that total more than 40% of your gross income, you should contact Credit Canada at 1-800-267-2272 or visit their website at . They can help educate and organize you to pay off your debt. They will show you how to communicate with your creditors to stop interest charges and reduce your payments. They can also help you to protect your credit rating and prepare to the future.

Step 3 – Organize the debt from highest interest to lowest interest

Rewrite or sort the spreadsheet from highest interest to lowest interest. Example:

Creditor Amount Outstanding Minimum Payment Available Credit Interest
Department Store Card $      2,200.00 $     66.00 $ 300.00 28.0%
MBNA Card $      4,850.00 $   145.50 $ 250.00 24.5%
Master Card $      3,300.00 $     99.00 $ 700.00 19.9%
Visa $      5,275.00 $   158.25 $ 725.00 19.5%
Personal Loan $     11,000.00 $   220.00 $     - 12.5%
Line of Credit $       8,850.00 $   265.50 $ 1,150.00 9.5%
Car Loan $     14,825.00 $   450.00 $      - 6.5%
Mortgage $   248,000.00 $1,250.00 $  12,000.00 4.8%

Step 4 – Pay out highest interest debt first!

Be sure to make the minimum payment on all debt first. This will help to protect your credit rating. Then any money you have left over take and put it all against the highest interest debt to pay it down as quickly as possible. Now look at the bottom of your spreadsheet where you have listed the debt with the lowest interest rate. Do you have any available credit at these lower interest rates? If so I want you to max out these accounts to pay off the higher interest debt as soon as possible.

Step 5 – Close your credit!

For many once you have paid off the debt it is far too easy to rack it back up! Once you have paid off the debt (highest to lowest interest) close the credit. This will help you in the future to qualify for other credit, improve your credit score and make it easier for you to stay on track for debt elimination.

Be aware that for many it may take four or five years to payout debt. The secret is that once you do start and you see those balances going down rather than up it will make you feel better and help motivate you to stick with it. By using the services of a credit counselor you may be able to save thousands of dollars in interest and having someone to talk to and work with you to accomplish this goal can make all the difference. Call or go to Credit Canada’s website to learn more. Be sure to check out a number of great tools they have on their site that can help you to pay off your debt faster and save you more money

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, credit card, debt consolidation, Mortgage, interest, Credit Canada,, Loan, Financial Planning, car loan, Credit Cards, financial tools, Debt, Budget, Line of Credit

Identifying Income: Budgeting 101

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

There are two sides to a budget – Income and Expenses.

Many when they build a budget will take their most recent pay and use it to determine how much  income they have coming in every month. This will start their budget off by several hundred dollars!

First many get paid on a bi-weekly (every two weeks) basis. So simply multiplying by two will have you underestimating your income by 8.3%! This could represent your retirement savings!

Second Some of the deductions on your pay are considered expenses and should be put in the expense column. So you may end up double counting these expenses. Most common is retirement or pension contributions that come right off your pay cheque. Other items might be life or health insurance premiums, union dues, gym memberships, etc. These automatic deductions can skew your actual income.

Third – Depending on your income and the time of year that you run your budget you may have CPP and EI deduction being taken off or you may not. If you earn $44,000 or more you will max out your contributions to CPP and EI. Once you have reached this amount of income you will no longer have those deductions.

TIP:  If you make more than $44,000 the easiest way to deal with those deductions is to take the max CPP and EI amounts for the year and divide them by 12 and subtract that amount off your income. (2010 MAX CPP premium $2163.15 /12 = $180.26, MAX EI Premium $747.36 /12 = $62.28 )

If you are self employed, commission income, or variable income; take the income from last year and give serious thought as to whether this years income will be more or less and try your best to estimate what you think you may earn. Speak with your bosses about what they think is realistic and then once you have determined a number take off 20% to be conservative on your budget. Any extra that you do earn can to a seperate fund to pay for your “Nice To Have” goals!

If you have two or more incomes contributing to the expenses you need to do this for each one and add them all together.

To help you identify other income sources such as dividend and investment income, rental income, alimony/child support, etc; it is easiest to take last years tax returns and go through the 100′s and 200′s section of the T1 General. This is where you list all income.

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, CPP, taxes, income, EI, Financial Planning, Debt, Budget

What Is A Budget and How To Get Started?: Budgeting 101

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

The dreaded ‘B’ word! There is absolutly no reason to fear preparing a budget. I think the reason why many people do is that they feel it is a lot of work, they don’t really know how to do it, and those that have tried have never been able to keep it (likely because it was done wrong).

Yes! It does require some work. The good thing is that with today’s technology it is getting less and less.

So what is a budget?

Simply: a budget is a record or projection of all the money coming into the house and all the money going out of the house. Another name for it is a cash flow statement. This makes it easier to visualise. Money flows in and money flows out, and flows out, and flows out…

Why is a budget important?

A budget is paramount to financial success! You need to know how much you have and what it is being spent on to be able to prioritise spending and allocate funds towards different goals. Whether it is retirement, traveling, buying a new car/house/boat, the kids education, pay off credit card debt, or maybe a wedding – you need to understand where you will be able to get the money to pay for these things.

How do you get started?

First – prepare yourself that in order to prepare a good (i.e. accurate) budget you (and your partner) need to set aside 4-5 hours of time to complete it.

Secound – Gather up at least the last three months bank statements and credit card statements! ALL THE CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS! Not just the ones you tell your spouse aboutsmile .

Third – Use this Budget Worksheet as a guide to identify the various categories to seperate out your spending. It is important to understand how much you spend on various items so you can identify where you may be overspending and can cut back.

Forth – Start going through all your statements line by line noting the category that each one belongs.

Fifth – Start fillling in the spreadsheet to determine how much you earn and spend every month!

Sixth – Once you have tallied up the income and subtracted off the expenses ask yourself this: I SPEND HOW MUCH?!?!

Be sure to read The Most Common Budgeting Mistakes!

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, credit card, debt consolidation, Mortgage, Loan, Financial Planning, Debt, Budget, Line of Credit

4 Ways To Save Up To 40% Off Your Grocery Bill!: Budgeting 101

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

1) Make a Grocery List and Save 10% - Like this one: groceries list

By going into a grocery store and just walking around randomly picking out items that look good will end up costing you a lot of money. By making a grocery list that is derived from a meal plan will not only save you at least 10% at the register but likely even more as you will throw away less food. You can probably save yourself 20 – 30 minutes as well.

2) Make a Meal Plan Based On What Is On Sale That Week! Save At Least 10%

When you are sitting down to make your grocery list, take the weekly flyer’s or go to websites such as to see what is on sale. From that make a meal plan based on the sale items.

3) Avoid The Fancy Grocery Stores. Save 10%

By shopping at places like No Frills and Food Basics and avoiding the Longos, Sobeys, and big Loblaws; you can cut the cost of groceries by at least 10%. The cost making the store fancy and nice has to be recovered through the price of the groceries.

4) Shop At Your Local Fruit and Vegetable Stand. Save 10%

You will typically find that the produce at these small local venders is fresher as this is all they sell and they have huge inventory turnover. They usually have specials where if you buy multiples of something it is cheaper. There prices on most things are at least 10% cheaper and the money you spend stays within your community, not big corporate shareholders!

Bonus: Do You Ever Have Pizza Night?

Typically when you order in pizza for a family of four it will cost $30 or more! Check out your flyers for the frozen pizza’s! These have come a long way and many of them are very good. They always go on sale and you should be able to feed a family of four for $10 or less!

Extra Bonus: Starting eating up what you have in the house!

If you are like many, you have a pantry full of food. I would think a conservative estimate would be between $200 and $300 worth of groceries! So for the next 10 to 15 weeks eat around your pantry and save yourself an addditional $15 per week in groceries!

Have you come up with some great ideas to save you money on your groceries? Please let me know! Thanks

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, grocery list, Financial Planning, Debt, Budget

The 4 Most Common Budget Mistakes!: Budgeting 101

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

When building a budget many people get to the end of the process and are surprised by the amount of money they spend, and or are surprised by how much money they should have left over every month! This is primarily due to the fact they are not calculating their budget properly.

Mistake #1 – Not everything is paid or charged on a monthly basis!

This is the biggest error. If you get paid $2000 bi-weekly you don’t make $4000 a month! You actually make $4333.33 a month! Your hydro bill comes every two months so if you didn’t account for it in your monthly budget you will be short $200 in your budget to pay for it. If you did account for it but included the entire amount in that month, your budget will show you spending more than you really are!

Solution: Identify how often something is paid – to you or by you!

Once you have identified this apply the following formulas to determine the monthly budget amount:

Weekly = $amount  X  52  /12

Bi-weekly = $amount  X 26  /12

Monthly = you don’t need to do anything here just plug it into your spreadsheet

Semi-monthly = $amount  X  6  /12

Quarterly = $amount  X  4  /12

Semi-Annually = $amount  X  2 /12

Annually = $amount /12

Mistake #2 – Not all pay cheques are equal

Many people who have salaried positions will have an easier time with this. Although there are still mistakes made. The most common is that your deduction for Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan max out at a certain point (depending on your income). So if you used pay cheques from the first part of the year to calculate your income, you may have underestimated the amount of income you have coming in. Bonuses, commission income and irregular hourly work can also throw a wrench into the numbers.

Solution: Use last years tax return to identify exactly what income you had.

This won’t work for everyone as variable income is hard to predict but try to identify how much you expect to make in a year and divide it by 12.

Mistake #3 – Double counting.

This is typical when people have money taken off their pay cheque for pension or RRSP or other savings. They will tend to list it again when they fill out their budget as it is top of mind! Other examples are when you include eating out or ordering in under entertainment, but also under “food” (i.e. groceries).

Solution: Be sure to start by categorizing each expense only once as you go through your credit card statements and bank statements. Do not start filling in the budget spread sheet until this is completed. If there isn’t a categorie that it will fit into than create a categorie for it. Even more so – be patient and dilligent in preparing this important document.

Mistake #4 – Not including everything!

Without going through a full years worth of statements, it is very easy to miss or forget about some items. Especially those that you only pay once a year! Maybe it is an annual dividend that is paid, or association membership, professional dues, or annual insurance premiums. What ever they are they can really throw a budget out of whack.

Solution: Build an annual payment section to your budget!

This may include memberships, dues, insurance premiums, magazine, newspaper, and website subscritptions, car registration, kids school fee’s, etc.  Once you have grouped them all together take the total and divid it by 12 to add to your monthly budget.

Watch for my book “One Day A Month To Financial Success” due out October 2011!

Tags: Budgeting, credit card, debt consolidation, interest, Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Debt, Budget

Renting Vs. Owning

Posted by Frank Wiginton on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

Renting Vs. Owning

Tags: Budgeting, mortgage rates, Financial Planning, In the news - Video, Rants, buying a house, Renting, Debt, interest rates