It's Your Money  

Balance life with proper financial planning

Financial planning tips

In today's fast-paced world, finding the right balance between enjoying life's experiences and ensuring financial stability can be challenging.

Many Canadians grapple with the dilemma of living in the present while also preparing for the future. However, striking a harmonious balance between these two aspects is not only possible but essential for long-term financial well-being.

Here are some practical tips for Canadian consumers on how to properly balance life experiences with proper financial planning:

Define your priorities—The first step in finding balance is to define your priorities. Take the time to reflect on what truly matters to you – whether it's traveling the world, starting a family, pursuing higher education or building a successful career. By identifying your goals and aspirations, you can better align your financial decisions with your values and priorities.

Create a budget—Creating a budget is fundamental to effective financial planning. Start by tracking your income and expenses to gain a clear understanding of your financial situation. Allocate funds for essential expenses such as housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation, but also remember to set aside money for savings and discretionary spending. A well-thought-out budget can help you manage your finances more effectively and make informed decisions about how to allocate your resources.

Prioritize saving and debt repayment—Saving and paying down debt are key components of financial planning, allowing you to build wealth over time and achieve your long-term goals. Appropriate saving and debt service levels must come before discretionary spending. Consider automating your savings by setting up regular transfers to a savings or investment account, making it easier to stick to your savings goals.

Set realistic goals—When setting lifestyle and experience goals, it's essential to be realistic and specific. Only by proper budgeting will you know what amounts you have left for fun activities and your goals should match the amounts you’re able to allocate here. And once these goals are set you need to be sure to avoid overspending on these expenses.

Embrace frugality—Practicing frugality doesn't mean sacrificing all of life's pleasures. Rather, it involves being mindful of your spending habits and finding ways to live more resourcefully. Look for opportunities to save money without compromising on quality or enjoyment. This could include meal prepping instead of dining out, shopping for deals and discounts, or finding free or low-cost entertainment options. By living frugally day to day, you allocate more money towards things that matter to you most.

Seek professional advice—Navigating the complexities of financial planning can be overwhelming, which is why seeking professional advice can be invaluable. Consider consulting with a certified financial planner, who can help you develop a personalized financial plan based on your goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation. An experienced advisor can provide expert guidance and help you make informed decisions about saving, investing, and managing your finances.

Balancing life experiences with proper financial planning is a delicate but achievable feat.

By creating a proper budget and financial plan, you can purposefully set aside funds earmarked for living life to the fullest without sacrificing your future financial wellbeing.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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