Money moves: How to make your financial goals a reality
Dream and scheme on a firm financial foundation with these expert tips.
A global pandemic has radicalized how we live our lives and evaluate our priorities, but it hasn’t altered our goals. If anything, it’s forced us to nurture our desire to put ambitions into action. A recent survey from CIBC—which unveiled a new goal and purpose itself—revealed that 91 per cent of Canadians have ambitions and goals in mind. More than a third of those Canadians, predominantly women, say that money is one of the biggest obstacles getting in the way of achieving said ambitions. That’s fair. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but money—even small amounts—can flourish in the right accounts with expert-led advice and tools at the helm.
Whether you’re a seasoned saver or a newbie to the world of personal finance, we asked the experts to light the trail towards your financial goals. Carissa Lucreziano, CIBC’s VP of financial and investment advice, and Eva Redpath, a solution-focused coach and wellness leader, share their tips on taking your ambitions from daydream to reality.
The pandemic has taught me that there’s more to life than work. I want to take the trip of a lifetime. How can I do this responsibly and sooner rather than later?
– Sunbeam Me Out Of Here, Junction
ER: That sounds like a blast. CIBC’s survey showed that travel is the number one goal for Canadians. You want to feel confident that the trip you’re planning fits with your budget and bigger financial picture. Begin to envision where you want to go, when and for how long. With this clarity, you can *ahem* map out a savings goal. Break your plan into bite-sized, actionable steps to plot your budget. Will you be backpacking, or will you stay in fancy hotels? Will you be travelling during peak season? CIBC has new digital tools that can help you make these kinds of decisions. If you have some savings set aside, you can meet with one of the CIBC advisors and use the digital GoalPlanner to look at different scenarios. If you’re still in savings mode, the budget calculator gives a snapshot of monthly cash flow. This birdseye view will help you make decisions and find opportunities to save and prioritize the trip of a lifetime.
Since spending so much time at home, owning a house has become a bigger dream than ever before. I don’t have generational wealth and the market only seems to get hotter. Saving a down payment feels impossible. Where do I even start?
– Upping My WFH Game, Leslieville
CL: Congrats! Here’s sage advice I learned long ago: start investing as soon as you can. As a first-time homebuyer, your RRSP can work for you. If you already have RRSP savings, you can withdraw up to $35,000 for your down payment through the Homebuyer’s Plan. If you haven’t started, consider opening an RRSP or TFSA. Both let you invest savings tax-free, creating an environment for your money to grow. Something crucial to keep in mind is that you don’t need a huge lump sum to start. $25 a month is excellent for the first step, and you can increase as needed as you move forward. The next thing to consider is if you have a specific house and timeline in mind. Once you have a defined goal, tools like CIBC’s Savings Calculator can show how much you’d need to save each month. From there, incorporate budget-friendly tactics that fit your lifestyle. Can you sell a car that’s not driven very often? Can you stash away work bonuses, pay raises or tax refunds? An automatic savings withdrawal will transfer a portion of your payday money before you’re ever tempted to spend it.
So, it turns out I hate my job. Working from home made me realize that I want a career change. Where do I start and how do I make sure I’m financially OK?
– That Meeting Should Have Been An Email, King West
ER: Thank you for sharing this. It’s not easy to self-reflect and come to this realization. A whopping 75 per cent of Canadians have said that they value objective achievements outside of their career. Sharing things out loud with a friend or financial advisor can help you act on your goals. From a financial perspective, consider these three questions: What do I love to do? How can I do more of it? Can I pay myself to do it? To achieve any goal, you need to have a plan and checkpoints along the way. Check in with your short and long-term career goals, then figure out the steps, tools, and support you need to make that vision a reality. You’ll want to review your budget, too, making sure you can sustain your current cash flow needs as you transition. If you have an emergency fund, how long will it last? It would help if you also thought about your finances in the ideal new position. Research the average salary, benefits, transportation expenses and other financial requirements unique to the role. Would the new position be able to support your future cash flow needs? If your dream job is in a new industry, you may have to start in a less senior role than your current position. Courses and training can bulk up your CV for new jobs, but they are an expense. Make sure to consider those costs, as well.