Reflecting on 2017

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BY: FAZAAD BACCHUS

Another year is coming to an end. It was at the beginning of 2017 when we sat down and made up our list of things that we must accomplish during the year. How did we do? It has been a tradition for many that by the time February has come along, many goals are forgotten. Why is this? Is it because life gets busy and making a living becomes an urgent matter that everything else goes by the wayside?

Most goal setting objectives need to have a tangible reward or else it is difficult to keep.  What happens to people when they set goals and give up on them quickly, they become reluctant to set goals again, believing that that thing will be just the same. However, setting goals is a foundation for success in life, if you want to achieve anything worthwhile in life, it requires passion and discipline, but if you do not make it a goal, then it’s likely not to come to fruition.

Did you spend too much in 2017? Are you more in debt that at the beginning of the year? Are your credit cards carrying more debt than one-year ago…? If you used this money for investment purposes, then it’s acceptable but not if you did for expenditure or simple consumption.  Ask yourself why did I spend that much and how I can reduce my spending for the coming year.

Did you go crazy at the Black Friday sales events and bought things that you really didn’t need? These things are very easy to happen, even to the best of us. However, we must ask ourselves if these purchases are really necessary, remember “a fool and his money are soon parted” so don’t fall prey to impulsive spending. Do I need to put away some of my credit cards or just cut them up? Sometimes that’s the best decision we can make.

Have you saved during the year? You had the opportunity to max out your TFSA contribution limits of $5,000. Did you put away any? And what about your RRSP? Are you letting CRA take all the money in taxes? You could have or should have taken the tax break. I agree the money will not be in your hand, but it will be in your bank account. It will do well for you to have something saved when you retire. The longer you wait to save, the less interest you will earn. Compound interest has a magical formula where your money grows on the money that grows. If you earn an average 8%, you can double your money in nine years without contributing another cent. Imagine you are ten years to retirement and you invested where your money can double upon retirement!

Did you do a financial review of all of your assets and liabilities this year? Have you figured out which debt to pay down and which one to wait for one? Have you had an assessment of your investments done to see which are performing or which are underperforming? Should you be lowering your risk exposure and all the things that make sense? Start thinking of the new year …reflect on this one going by and if you need to ask me for advice just drop me a line. Have a Happy and Merry Christmas.

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