Family is very important to Megan and I. In particular I worry about our future kids and their education. My degree cost somewhere around $35,000 for just classes and books. These three ideas are part of a New Years’ resolution from two years ago.
1. Get your personal and family finances figured out. Do a budget and a net worth statement. This can be a huge task and might precipitate an argument or two. However, the benefits of knowing your budget and having a clear idea of your assets and debts all on one page can be very enabling. You enjoy vacations or luxuries like a new TV a lot more when you know you can afford them.
2. Be pro-active. There’s two aspects of this which I think are important. First, go pull your credit history ($15.50 at Equifax or free if you want to write them a letter). It’s just someone doing data entry, and you’ll be shocked at what can show up on your history that might not belong to you. There might also be that couch you bought from the Brick in 1995 and accidentally left a $50 balance on it. The second part is start the 10% savings plan. Start by putting the 10% towards your debts, and stop using the credit you’ve already been granted.
3. Get Educated – Get investing in the future. I invest in real estate. Every time I buy an investment property I get double my money back in 5 years…enough to pay for two university degrees. The best real estate education out there is from the Real Estate Investment Network and there’s an Edmonton weekend course in March. I can get people in for about half the price on the website. If you’re not sure about spending a couple hundred bucks on a course, give me a call. We’ll grab a drink and I’ll explain what they teach and how I do it.
Spending four months unemployed in Ireland has helped reinforce how important it is to plan for the future. (I was also glad I had income from the real estate to help us along.) Coming back to Canada and talking to other investors has reminded me again how great real estate is.
Happy New Year!
I love this advice.
Especially when you talk about 10% savings, and applying these savings to existing debt.
I think that often times people get confused on this strategy. For instance, people read about the importance of the 10% savings strategy, however, they don’t realize the importance of paying down their existing debts at the same time. As such, I have seen people putting away 10% of their gross salary, however, they are still using the credit, and have not paid it down.
As a result, I think that your advice is bang on when you say to apply the 10% to one’s existing debt. Once the existing debt is paid off then, people can start to save the 10%.
Happy New Year!
Agreed, and I think it’s getting to be time to dive into the exciting world of GDS and TDS ratios. (We should jointly write that one.)
I have some friends who are buying their first houses and they’re (rightly) working to have the shortest amortization possible. It almost blew one of their minds when I mentioned getting an interest only, infinite-amortization mortgage.