Tips on personal finance

Tips on personal finance

The Gazette Business

Tips on personal finance and saving from Montreal financial pros.

Paul Delean The Gazette

We asked some Montreal finance professionals for their tips on how best to save money and this is what we got:

Nick Moraitis, partner at Montreal accounting firm Fuller Landau: “Consider weekly mortgage payments; you’ll knock years off your payments. Buy used cars, say two years coming off a lease. The drop in price is worth it even though you may spend more on maintenance. Leases usually are a false savings because you get into the trap of changing the car every three or four years or paying a lump sum at the end to keep it. Bringing your lunch is a great money saver. Save your coins, you’d be surprised how much they can accumulate over a couple of months; this used to be part of my savings plan. Use debt only to buy something that lasts a long time, like a house or car. Use credit cards sparingly and stick to cash for everyday costs such as groceries and gas. If a store offers you a deal for signing up for their card, do so, then put the card away or tear it up when you get it.”

Caroline Nalbantoglu of CNal Financial Planning in Montreal: “Avoid impulse shopping. Many, including myself, are susceptible to it. People should ask themselves, ‘Even if it’s a good deal, do I really need to buy that?’ And if you do, on credit, pay off that credit card fully each month. Credit-card debt is one of the most expensive debts. Once people start carrying balances on their cards, it’s a never-ending spiral because of the high interest rates. Also, track expenses. That doesn’t necessarily mean doing a budget, it just means having an idea where you spend your money, so if there’s a need to cut down, you know where to look.”

Martin Garneau, financial adviser at Global Maxfin Investments in Montreal:“Shop around every few years for house-insurance quotes; people are often shocked when they realized how much they’d been overpaying. With life insurance, your needs over time may go down, so don’t automatically keep renewing the same coverage. Many people procrastinate about getting a will or mandate, without realizing the potentially serious problems that may ensue. At most financial institutions, banking fees are cheaper for people 60 and older; if yours aren’t, ask why. And don’t pay for more services than you need.”

John Archer, associate portfolio manager at RBC Dominion Securities in Westmount: “Whenever possible, participate in any savings plan (RRSP, deferred profit sharing, stock savings, pension) offered by your employer. Often, these plans will have employer participation to help boost or leverage the money that you contribute. As an automatic deduction at source, it’s something you don’t have to hem and haw about. You’ll learn to live with the sum that does go in your bank account and, in times of need, the incentive plans may be there to tide you over.”

Martin Wickham, investment adviser for National Bank Financial in Granby:“Contribute regularly to your savings plans (TFSA, RRSP, RESP and others) and don’t wait for the deadline to do so. Most find it easier to contribute small amounts regularly than a yearly lump-sum amount. Typically, you can start such plans with as little as $25 a month and it’s surprising how compounded contributions and returns build quickly. And make use of Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPs) if you have children or grandchildren. Governments rarely hand out money, but in this case they do, and it’s a sizable boost (30 per cent) to your contributions.”

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