New year, new you!

Yes, you can spruce up your personal finances for 2020

The beginning of the New Year is often a time to turn a new financial leaf: make a budget; pay down debt; save more. That’s all commendable, but these good intentions are mostly forgotten by, say, mid-February. A better idea is to take stock of your entire financial situation. Review what’s important and prioritize the items you need to take action on. Here’s a guide to help you get started. READ MORE

Quick tips to remedy seasonal spending disorder

How to put your money on a leash

A kind of money madness seizes people at this time of year. The expectation of ever-larger-better-bigger-pricier gifts is aided and abetted by retailers offering deals, promotions, and sales on all manner of shiny baubles and trinkets. Credit card companies have spent the fall season offering to raise your credit limit to make it easy to spend like a billionaire – without actually being one. It all seems like a fairy tale, until the bills come in. Then it’s right back to that Cinderella feeling. Is there a way out of this seasonal spending disorder? Here are a few tips. READ MORE

Planning for the single life

Robyn Thompson is featured on CHCH TV’s “Morning Live” with six key financial planning essentials for women who are going through a divorce.

Paving the way to early retirement

Robyn Thompson is featured in The Globe and Mail’s “Financial Facelift” series by Diane Maley. This time, high earners Toby and Cheryl wonder how to achieve their goals of a luxury lifestyle now while providing for their kids’ education and targeting an early retirement. Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on how this power couple can achieve their short- and long-term goals with a tax-efficient re-set of their scattershot finances and investments into an integrated financial plan.

Creating an income stream when your RRSP matures

Three basic RRSP maturity options

Unlike a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) does not last forever. In fact, it has a specific date by which you must collapse the plan and choose one of three main options for what to do with the proceeds. Here’s a look at how this works. READ MORE

Robyn has good news for worried retired teacher

Robyn Thompson is featured in The Globe and Mail’s “Financial Facelift” series by Diane Maley. This time, Ruth, a retired teacher, is worried that her existing savings and reduced income won’t be enough to provide for her kids’ university education or support her financially into retirement. Read Robyn Thompson’s advice on how Ruth can stop worrying by creating a financial plan that rebalances her existing assets into a tax-efficient, income-producing portfolio.

What you should know about your credit score

What’s in it, who can see it, and why it’s important

We often hear financial experts advising people to check their “credit score.” It’s a good idea to do that every year. That will give you an idea of what kind of risk lenders think you are. It can also signal if you’ve been a victim of identity theft and fraud. But very few people actually have a good idea of what a credit score is or how it’s compiled. Here’s my summary of what goes into a credit score, who keeps track, who can see it, and what you can do to raise a low score. READ MORE

Three financial guidelines for new grads

You’re in charge – make the most of it!

After the ceremonies and speeches and mortarboard tossing, fresh new grads from colleges and universities have to leave their structured and sheltered life and start fending for themselves in the real world, many perhaps for the first time. It can be a slightly scary prospect, especially if you have to make your own way financially. But if you start with a few foundational personal financial principles, that path can be a lot smoother. READ MORE

Fraud prevention: recognize these 3 financial scams

How to avoid becoming a victim

March is fraud-prevention month in Canada, and unfortunately thousands of Canadians continue to fall victim to scams perpetrated online and by phone, often losing tens of thousands of dollars or in some cases, their entire life savings. Here’s a look at three of the most notorious financial frauds that are still widely active in Canada, and how to avoid becoming a victim. READ MORE

Junior achievement: Teaching financial literacy

More important than ever in a digital world

As society transitions increasingly to cashless transactions, using smartphones and online channels to pay for goods and services, parents have a bigger challenge than ever in teaching children the basics of financial literacy. How do you impress upon younger children the principle of “value” – the idea that the things you buy don’t just magically appear because you can tap, click, or swipe a device. It may sound daunting, but there are some basic principles that never change. And the sooner you start teaching these to your kids, the sooner they’ll become financially literate. READ MORE

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