Broker Check

5 Things You Can Do Today to Feel More in Control of Your Finances

August 07, 2023

During times of uncertainty, we naturally wonder what will happen next and what we should do to prepare, especially when it comes to our finances. While a recession is something beyond our control, what we can control is how we respond and prepare for the future. Today we wanted to share 5 simple things that we encourage you to do so that you can do to regain control and protect your finances.

Review or Create a Monthly Budget

Reviewing your monthly budget frequently is an often overlooked but essential part of financial planning. Budgeting makes it easier to reach your financial goals and can give you peace or mind by eliminating unnecessary financial stress.

When creating your budget, you’ll want to review all your payment obligations and write down your monthly expenses. This include your debts, fixed and variable costs and discretionary spending. Once you compare your expenses against your monthly income you can create a budget, accordingly, ensuring all of your obligations are met. If you already have a budget in place, it’s a great opportunity to investigate the little items that can add up over time such as your phone, internet and cable bills to see if there are opportunities to adjust and save. Often, a phone call to your provider will put you in touch with the retention department and get you a significant discount. Another good monthly exercise is reviewing your credit card statement to see if there are any items that are auto renewing that you don’t use any more, such as apps or subscriptions, that can be cancelled.

Finally, using an expense tracking app can help you track your budget and expenses throughout the month, and it provides insights into your spending habits as well. Overall, having a budget helps you gain better control of your money by accounting for where it all goes, dollar for dollar.

Review or Update Your Will and Power of Attorney (POA)

Do you remember when you last reviewed your Will and Power of Attorneys? Often when we ask client’s this question it has been over 15 years since their will was last reviewed and updated. Life is unpredictable and our relationships and circumstances can change over time, so keeping your will up to date is crucial to ensure it’s reflective of your wishes.

We generally advise that you review important legal documents every three to five years and after certain life milestones, for example having a child or buying a house, to ensure everything is up to date.

Use Any Unused RRSP Contribution Room

To find out if you have unused contribution room, you can check the RRSP Deduction Limit Statement on your most recent Notice of Assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The notice should tell you what you contributed last year and how much room you have left.

If you have contribution room, consider if there is a way to increase the amount you are contributing when reviewing your monthly budget. Using your RRSP contribution room puts you in the habit of regularly saving money and is an essential part of planning for your future. Keep in mind that even if you missed the contribution window, your contribution room rolls over indefinitely.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Reviewing your insurance regularly helps ensure your coverage is what you expect it to be in the unfortunate circumstance that you need to file a claim. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding coverage and being proactive about minimizing your insurance costs.

Do you have mortgage insurance? If you do, odds are you’re paying too much and can obtain better coverage. We strongly suggest that you don’t auto renew and to take the time to review your coverage first.

Review Your Investment Portfolio

Are you comfortable with your current asset mix, risk level and goals? During volatile times, people are often in an emotional state and shorten their mental time horizon. They become suddenly concerned about where their financial picture is going to be tomorrow, versus the long-term view of where are they going to be in 15 or 20 years.

It is prudent to review your asset allocation when you meet with your advisor, to make sure the mix is appropriate for your long-term goals and in line with the volatility you can tolerate along the way to them. Then it’s important to stick to the plan.

When you work with us, you will know you are in control and well prepared financially for whatever the future may hold. Protecting and growing your wealth is always our top priority and we remain dedicated to helping you navigate through these uncertain times.

Your Williams Financial Group Team

Jon D. Williams
CFP, CIM Senior Investment Advisor
Williams Financial Group | Manulife Securities Incorporated
(519) 646-1010 or (866) 977-1010