BY FAZAAD BACCHUS
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend time in Venezuela for New Years Eve and found myself indulging in a strange but interesting custom. I was given twelve grapes at twelve minutes to midnight and I was asked to make a wish as I ate every grape, one by one. So of course, taken by surprise, I soon ran out of wishes. The following year I was not to be caught by surprise, I had my twelve wishes all written down and made each one as I ate each grape, it was an awesome year. I didn’t achieve every single goal but got very close. I realized that because I had written my goals I had become one step closer to achieving them. Writing crystallizes thought and thought produces action – Paul J. Meyer.
As the New Year approaches, what goals are you going to set and what wishes will you be making
Here are some ideas worth considering:
- Reducing your debt. Improving your net worth means that you have to find a way to reduce debt. You might be better off putting away some of those credit cards and only use your debit card; at least you have that money.
- Consolidate your debts. If you have credit card debts and its taking a toll on you due to the high interest charged, you can apply for a line of credit or a home equity line of credit which carries a lower interest rate.
- Stop impulse shopping. Too often we buy things we want but don’t really need. It’s easy to buy things, comes without effort, especially on the internet. All of these purchases add up over time and the more debt we get into, the more we feel the need to buy, it makes up happy.
- Maximize on tax laws. Use a TFSA as a must to save; by now the contribution room should be to $52,000 if you haven’t contributed anything as yet. This is the only financial instrument where the earnings on your portfolio is not taxed.
- Save for your retirement. I have heard so many misconceptions of the RRSP. It is not true that what you saved in RRSP will simply go back into taxes at retirement. A good plan is designed that the RRSP earnings will actually result in reduced taxation.
- Put your money where it can grow. There are many places to put money, under the mattress, in the cupboard etc. None of them are as valuable as investing in equities even though they carry risk. There are many mutual funds that have performed very well that while not guaranteed, can give you a return over inflation.
- Trust your instinct. There is a saying that “if it’s too good to be true, then it’s probably true”. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t jump into an investment. Be very careful of scammers who will offer you an exceptional return, you are more likely to lose your money.
- Deal with professionals. Make it your goal that for 2017, you will deal with people who are professional and who respect the seriousness that comes with handling your money.
I do hope you take some time to plan and I would like to wish you a happy and very prosperous 2017.