Financial Literacy

Canadian Money Tips to Be Thankful For [Expert Roundup]

Canadian Money Tips to Be Thankful For [Expert Roundup]

2020 has been a challenging year on many fronts, but during this Thanksgiving weekend, it reminds me that there is plenty to be thankful for. For one, we live in a wonderful country that affords us a lot of freedom.

In keeping with the theme of thanksgiving, I decided to reach out to some of Canada’s top voices in the personal finance community to find out what they’re thankful for regarding the money advice they’ve received and their lessons learned over the years.

I asked, and the experts responded. Here’s what they had to say.

On Starting a Business…

Robb Engen, from Boomer and Echo

My best money tip is to look for ways to earn more money. I started a side-hustle 10 years ago to earn some extra cash while my wife stayed home with our first born. It started out as a few hundred dollars a month, but quickly grew into a few thousand dollars a month. This helped accelerate our financial goals (maxing out RRSPs, TFSAs, and kids RESPs). A decade later I was able to quit my full-time job to blog, freelance and offer financial planning. I’m thankful everyday that I had the opportunity to turn a hobby (talking and writing about money) into a full-time job working from home.

Mystery Money Man

You can get ahead by getting off the corporate ladder. It’s a lesson I learned after an experience with a bad boss a few years ago. At the time, I felt powerless, stuck in my job with very few options. Out of frustration, I started a side hustle to make extra money and take back control of my life. Fast forward to today, not only did I outlast my boss, I have a thriving side business and the freedom to manage my career on my terms.

On Savings and Investing…

Dan Kent, from Stocktrades.ca

I was told to take advantage of the First Time Homebuyer through my RRSP as an 18 year old. I maxed my RRSPs out every year for nearly 4 years (utilizing my company’s matching plan as well) and was able to pull the money out as a down payment on my first home at 22. I now have over 6 figures in equity in the home, and it brings me a solid passive income stream as I’ve been renting it out for 6 years.

Bob Lai, from Tawcan

I’m thankful that my wife and I have stuck with our long term investing strategy – dividend & ETF investing as a way to achieve financial independence. Essentially we have got in line and stayed in line rather than constantly moving to a different line and thinking we’d get a little bit ahead (aka changing back and forth our investing strategies). Sticking with our long term investing strategy has also allowed us to stay in the market rather than trying to time the market. We have ignored the market noises and continued to add money into our investment accounts regularly. Thanks to this, our net worth has continued an upward trajectory.

Sandi, from Spring Financial Planning

I am most thankful for an off-hand suggestion decades ago to save monthly for Christmas starting in January every year. Thinking about annual, predictable expenses and saving regularly towards them in a separate account was the very first money management structure I put in place…but it wasn’t the last.This was waaaaay back before my career in finance, and was probably the gateway drug 🙂 If I could remember who gave me this tip I’d send them a nice bottle of whiskey every year with my sincerest gratitude!

Alan Whitton (Big Cajun Man), from Canadian Personal Finance Blog

Time is the most important variable when it comes to money. If you start things soon enough, money is easier. You can buy anything when it comes to investing, but you can never buy more time. Start early, and you can deal with life’s curveballs and issues. You need to have time on your side, because you’ll never win a fight with time.

Sandy Yong, from The Money Master

One of the biggest decisions I’ve made that has helped me financially is purchasing a pre-construction condo in Kitchener, ON. I’ve always had a dream of becoming a real estate investor one day. After conducting my own research and asking trusted real estate professionals for their advice, I decided to jump in and purchase a 2-bedroom unit in downtown Kitchener known as “the Silicon Valley of the North”. I hope to rent out the unit to tenants over several decades to help pay off the mortgage, earn rental income, while benefiting from the appreciation of the property.

Kanwal Sarai, from Simply Investing

I’m most thankful for learning that you should acquire revenue generating assets in your 20s and 30s. I started investing in stocks in my late 20s and started a side hustle which is now my full-time business. When your revenue generating assets can cover your living expenses your job becomes optional.

John Robertson from Blessed By The Potato

In my writing I focus a lot on investing and taxes, but they’re not the most important thing or what I’m most thankful for. That would be: emergency funds. Emergency funds and buffers make finances so much less stressful. Things don’t always go perfectly, so we need to plan with buffers and flexibility and liquidity — if something “just works” when things are good, it will likely break if things stop being good.

It’s simple but so important, and it’s happened so many times in my life. A paycheque was deposited late (and then a second and a third); a family member got seriously ill; or I had to pay upfront for something to get reimbursed later. Having a bit of extra cash in the chequing account to cover a few months worth of expenses, and expenses that were below our means provided room to absorb costs and losses of income without disaster.

On Managing Debt…

Colin, from Zero to Freelance

One of the best money tips I’ve received (and listened to) was not buying more house than I could afford. Housing is one of the biggest expenses for any family, but if you can avoid the temptation of upgrading your home as your income rises, your level of financial freedom goes way up. Freedom looks different for everyone, but in our case, it allowed my wife to stay at home with our three kids for many years. It’s a lesson for which I’m very thankful.

Andrew Daniels, from Millennial Homeowner

The tip I’m most thankful for was being told to avoid debt like the plague and if you have it pay it off fast. By having a good fear of debt put into me I’ve always approached it like it’s a last resort. Only use it if you absolutely have to. Pair that with paying it off ASAP, it’s also helped our family pay off things faster and avoid interest piling up. This has helped us save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. For that I’m truly grateful.

Maria, from Handful of Thoughts

I am most thankful for the advice we got to pay off our mortgage as soon as we could. When we bought our first home we bought well under budget which enabled us to be mortgage-free within 5 years. Not having a mortgage payment gave us options and the freedom to take risks. With the birth of our daughter we were able to split parental leave because we were no longer dependent on both of our salaries. This time with our daughter is time we could never have gotten back. Decreasing your monthly expenses gives you options so why not eliminate your biggest monthly expense?

On Frugality and Budgeting…

Chrissy, from Eat Sleep Breathe FI

The money tip I’m most thankful for is to track our spending. I used to have an okay sense of where our money went, but I never went into detail with it. Now that I’m more mindful of our spending, I know that every dollar is going towards something that we truly need or value. This has also freed up more money to invest and get us to FI sooner!

Stephen Weyman, from How To Save Money

The money tip that I’m most thankful for that has served me faithfully over the years is that “the price isn’t always the price”. When I was young I used to believe that first price you’re presented with at the store, from a contractor, or from a service provider was the price you had to pay

The truth is there are opportunities to either negotiate or apply other discounts and deals to most things in life to reduce the price. Over time I’ve also come to realize that spending the time to get a small discount isn’t always worth it. Doing so could even lead to worse service in some cases. If you pay full price, at least you’re justified for being the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

On Adopting a Money Mindset…

Mark Seed, from My Own Advisor

It’s Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for many things. Today, I want to take special time to give thanks to my parents who have instilled some great values in me from an early age: set some goals, work hard towards them, and be persistent. With these values instilled in me, I can’t help but think they have been part of the reason for my success in life.

Money Mechanic, from FI Garage

I am most thankful for building a strong financial team with my spouse. Our values align and our finances are transparent. It removes stress from the relationship and helps us work towards a common goal.

Ryan, from Spending Done Right

The ability to learn online for little to no cost. As a business owner I have to wear a lot of hats. A lot which I haven’t worn before. Being able to at least get a basis of knowledge without spending on a course every time has been invaluable.

Jim Yih, from Retire Happy

When I was young, my father said to me that you can’t be lazy. Lazy people believe that you can work smarter instead of harder. He had never met a financially successful person that did not work hard. If you want to get ahead financially, you must work smarter and harder than others. Thanks to my dad, I was never afraid of hard work and this work ethic has paid off financially. Now as a dad to four boys, I try my best to instill that same message in them; Work harder, Work smarter and then enjoy the rewards of hard work.

Jacqueline Gilchrist, from Mom Money Map

The best money tip I’ve been taught is to be constantly learning. It might not seem like a money tip. Through reading personal finance books and taking courses on side hustle income, I’ve been able to build multiple income streams, which has given me more financial freedom in my life. Investing in knowledge has been my best investment. With knowledge, no one can take it away from you.

The Financial Decision I’m Most Thankful For

There you have it, a collection of Thanksgiving money tips from some people who spend a lot of time on the subject. If you’re wondering what I’m most thankful for, it would have to be the decision I made years ago to start my own business. I didn’t know the difference it would make at the time, but creating an additional income to supplement my career salary has given us the ability to save while allowing my wife to stay home with our children for the past decade.

I’d love to know what money advice you’re grateful to have received. Please feel free to comment below!

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