Getting Your Financial House in Order

With Laura Roussel, VP of Regional Services

While no one can predict what the rest of 2022 will bring, you can be the change you want to see in your financial success by making key money moves to be as prepared as possible.

The current concern, as EXIT’s COO, Erika Gileo, points out is that, “Interest rates are very low but combined with the high housing prices in many Canadian and U.S. markets, it suggests some people are taking on a concerning amount of mortgage debt as interest rates begin to rise again.”

Laura Roussel, a CPA and VP of Regional Services, has some prudent financial strategies to share that she says are always on trend to provide added security no matter what the economic forecast may look like:

Tell your money where to go so it grows with a budget

  • Review expenditures (monthly for individuals/annually for businesses)
  • Use systems like Quicken, Quickbooks, spreadsheets, or apps like Mint
  • For more tips, EXIT Realty Associates can check out Laura’s Aspire Coaching Session in the Resource Center

Be ready for dire situations with an emergency fund

  • Ensure you don’t have to rely on credit cards or other debt
  • Keep your emergency fund in safe, liquid investments like savings or certificates of deposit
  • Individuals should have 3 – 6 months of fixed expenses in funds
  • Businesses should have 9 – 12 months

Pay yourself first with savings goals

  • Strive for 10 – 15% of earnings saved each month, and the earlier you start the better
  • Start small with automated transfers from checking to savings aligned with pay periods
  • Ensure you’re contributing enough of a match for any RRSPs or 401Ks

When to up your coverage

  • Rapid appreciation could affect homeowner’s insurance when based on lower value homes (applies to both personal and rental)
  • Add significant purchases to your coverage and check your liability coverage as well
  • Most home/auto coverage is limited; an umbrella policy can protect all assets
  • Starting a family or taking on new debt? Life insurance coverage looks after both should anything happen to you

Checking in on your beneficiaries

  • Remember to make beneficiary changes to match updates in marital status or deaths
  • Check retirement plans, life insurance policies, investments, and bank accounts
  • A will is subordinate to beneficiary designations; make sure the two are coordinated

Don’t wait for denial to do a credit check

  • Credit history plays a big life role. Check it annually, especially with identity theft on the rise
  • Federal legislation requires the three large credit bureaus to provide free, annual reports
  • For more info visit www.annualcreditreport.com

Get your estate planning in order

  • Good estate planning includes a living will (advanced directive), a durable POA, and a medical POA or proxy
  • Wills are critical for naming guardianship of children and important when you own significant and/or complex assets
  • Take advantage of annual gift exclusions to transfer assets and reduce your taxable estate

Safeguarding and organizing records

  • Applies to tax records, deeds, trusts, wills, and other financial documents and ID
  • Ensure your “safe place” is known by a trusted friend, family member, or attorney
  • Include copies of passports, driver’s licenses and/or credit cards in case of loss
  • Proven, safe cloud services offer an excellent digital option

Setting meetings with your advisors

  • Schedule appointments with both your tax and financial advisors before year-end
  • Discuss items listed here. Assess your overall situation to take full advantage of tax codes
  • Address any anticipated changes to make necessary adjustments
  • Think of professionals as coaches who help strategize and hold you accountable

Remember to always consult a professional for financial and estate planning advice. For more helpful tips and EXIT success stories check out the latest edition of The EXIT Achiever today.

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