Tips for Being Financially Independent for Singles
With more and more Canadians choosing the single life over partnering up, single is now the new normal in Canada. Although it can be trickier as a single person to be solely responsible for paying living expenses, following a budget and planning ahead for the future, it is possible. Here are a few helpful tips for the single person’s budget:
Be mindful with your money
Being mindful with your money is an important task for single individuals. It’s important that single Canadians pay close attention to their current and long-term financial goals and situation as they do not have the safety net of a partner’s income to rely on.
Build your emergency savings
In order to be prepared that anything life might throw at you as a single person, including a financial emergency, building an emergency savings fund is key. The general amount that is recommended for an emergency savings fund is the amount of six months worth of employment wages.
Deal with that debt
Although you may find that money is a little tighter when living on a single income, it’s important to not neglect dealing with your debt. Make paying off your debt one of your top financial priorities, with your highest interest debts first on the list.
Retirement might also present some extra challenges for those who choose to stay single. Without the benefit of pension sharing, you may need more in retirement savings in order maintain your current lifestyle. An advisor can help you determine what you’ll need and how to make it happen.
Grow your wealth, tax-free
Are you interested in saving for a new vehicle, a fabulous vacation, or maybe that home renovation? Those goals that you want to achieve in the next 5 – 10 years mean that you need those savings of yours to grow – and fast.
For typical accounts (non-registered), Canadians must pay taxes on the interest, capital gains, and dividends. This ends up reducing some of the benefits or returns on your money.
Luckily, there is an alternative that helps you achieve those financial objectives sooner – called a Tax-Free Savings Account (also called a TFSA). With this type of account, there are no taxes to pay on the interest, capital gains or dividends. Because of this, you accumulate savings faster while your money continues to grow. The amount you can contribute to a TFSA isn’t unlimited, however, but you can deposit up to $5,500 each year.
At first, when you put money into your TFSA, you may not see a big difference in the tax savings in the first year or so. However, over the years, the savings are definitely significant. For example, if you put only $50 each week into your TFSA (after an initial deposit of $500 and a 5% annual return), you’ll have:
- After 5 years, you’ll save about $415 in taxes and have accrued over $15,500 in total
- After 10 years, the tax savings will be over $1800 and you’ll now have almost $35,000 available.
Here are some helpful tips to maximize your TFSA:
- Have a clear objective as to what you are saving for and why
- Put in the maximum amount every year – you can do it!
Enjoy checking out just how much your money is growing for you (tax-free!)
Prepare for the Unexpected
Life happens! As much as we can try to prepare for the future, budget, keep on top of debt, save money and have a solid financial plan, there will likely be emergencies that pop up. If confronted with a sudden job loss, illness, a broken furnace or leaky basement, or perhaps needing work done on your vehicle, how financially prepared would you be to cover these costs?
Many Canadians (40%) have only enough to cover one month’s worth of expenses, and over a quarter of us don’t have any emergency funds available. The good news is that it’s not hard to start building one!
Rainy Day Fund Basics
When you have money set aside for life’s unexpected emergencies, it helps relieve the stress of an already difficult time. It also helps protect against growing debt or being in a situation where you must apply for a loan. Wherever you keep your emergency stash (preferably in a TFSA or a savings account – not under the mattress!), what’s important is that it’s easily accessible. For example, an RRSP or Savings Bond can’t be accessed in a short time, and there are usually penalties or taxes that may need to be paid.
Tips to Get Started & How Much You’ll Need
The amount needed varies by person and situation, but typically, an average of 3-6 months’ worth of your total monthly costs is ideal. For anyone currently working towards paying down debt, however, you won’t need as much in your emergency fund because the debt repayment is more of a financial priority, particularly if you are paying high interest rates.
Building an emergency fund isn’t difficult, but it does take commitment. Here are helpful tips to get started:
- Know your monthly expenditures. Sit down and calculate all the bills you pay, meals out, cell phone costs, gas, etc. Many of us don’t know exactly what we spend each month so getting a handle on it is essential. Times this amount by 3, 4, 5 or 6, and you’ll have a good idea of the emergency fund amount you’ll need to save for.
- Make spending adjustments. In other words, look at your list and sort out what you can live without. Cable TV? Large data plans? Lunch or coffee on the go every day? Those are some of the more popular culprits, but everyone is different in how they spend money. The savings will quickly add up.
- Make automatic payments – to yourself. Every time you get paid for example, have your bank or credit union put a set amount into another account that’s just for saving. Make sure it’s put in the highest interest savings account (most chequing accounts for example, have very low interest).
- Baby steps – you don’t have to start big. If $10 or $20 each week is all you can afford, that’s a good start. Also, when you get your tax return, money as a gift, or any other bonus money, be sure to put all (or at least most) of it into your emergency fund and you’ll be surprised how good it feels to have that safety net.
Emergencies and unexpected events can come out of nowhere, so being prepared is important. It doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult, it all starts small. Start today, even if it’s small, and you’ll be ready to take on those surprise expenses.
Decisions Which Help You Save And Grow Your Money Confidently
Having an advisor you trust, can be the resource to help you identify your goals and priorities over the course of your life. Be that paying off school fees, purchasing a home, beginning a family and planning for your retirement.
As your life changes, your personal advisor can guide you and your ever-evolving financial plan to keep everything on track. There are 9 key things your advisor can help you with:
- Review your situation and recommend a different approach which is specifically for your needs
- Provide you with objective advice in order to make informed financial moves
- Help maximize your investments that are well within your comfort level
- Discuss the best tax-efficient options
- Identify the type of insurance you need to best protect and prepare for your loved ones
- Show you opportunities to ultimately improve your cash flow
- Guide you to a better understanding of the market changes
- Help you to stay on track with your short and long term goals and tweak as needed
- Present any new or viable investment/insurance opportunities to you
7 Simple Tips Your Wallet Will Love
One way to feel in control of your finances is knowing you have enough money to pay for what you want and need. For now, and the future. Check out these 7 easy money management tips to feel more secure.
Sounds simple enough and is…if you identify areas you can save in (i.e. cell phone, cable tv, internet plans, brown-bagging your lunch) you will quickly find you’re trimming your daily costs.
Make a Budget
Start by writing down what you make from your salary, and any bonuses or additional benefits you receive. From there, compare that income to all of your expenses to make sure you have enough. Then stick to that budget.
Remove Needless Expenses
Check your current bills and write down the dates to pay them. Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees or penalties.
Re-work the Interest on Your Debts
1) Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. 2) Don’t skip payments on any of your debts. 3) Consolidate your debts into one Line of Credit or account so you only make one single payment each month. 4) Speak to a Debt Advisor or check with your employer if they have an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).
Write Down Your Savings Goals
Write out the things you’re saving for and then figure out how much you need to put aside each month. It is a good idea to also plan for a timeframe to reach your goal.
Don’t pay more than you need to. First, find out what tax bracket you’re in and then your spouse. Then, submit claims like daycare, medical, dental etc., with the tax return for whoever is taxed at a higher rate.
Start Using Online Banking
So helpful for bill payment reminders, scheduling future bills