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I’m not an expert but….


I am not certified by any governing body to tell you how to spend your money. My words of advice were earned at the School of Life, a place where all of us are students. I’m telling you this so that you realize that I’m not an expert, but I’ve still learned a thing or two. If you do what I did, you’ll do fairly well with your money over a lifetime. Here are my tips to acquiring a heavy wallet.

Don’t spend every penny you earn.

First off, I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s been harmed by living below their means. Spending less than your take-home income has no downsides, as far as I can tell. The difference between your net income and your expenses is called “savings” and savings can always be stashed away for various things.

Emergency Funds are not optional.

Secondly, life without an emergency fund is an invitation for financial trouble. There’s an emergency in your future. You simply have no way of knowing when it will show up. I promise you this though. No one in the history of the world has ever lamented about having too much money set aside to deal with the inevitable emergency. If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one immediately and set up an automatic transfer from your paycheque to fund it.

It’s going to take a bit of time to build up a decent emergency fund. That doesn’t matter – just start building it. When the emergency hits you smack in the face, you’ll be quite grateful that you won’t have to worry about the financial side of dealing with it.

Investing for Tomorrow You isn’t optional either.

Thirdly, start investing your savings. Yes – some of your saving will go to building an emergency fund. The rest of your savings should be split between your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.

One your most important long-term goals is how to feed, shelter, clothe, and entertain yourself when you’re too old to work. Tomorrow You still needs money to survive until the very last day of your life. The steps you take today to invest your savings will increase Tomorrow You’s chances of having a financially comfortable life once employment is over.

You need to start funding your retirement accounts – namely the Tax Free Savings Account and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan.

If you have to choose between filling the TFSA or the RRSP, my recommendation is to fill up the TFSA first. The TFSA contributions do not generate a tax refund, but the money invested inside the TFSA will grow tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free.

Should you be so fortunate as to have sufficient money to fill both your TFSA and your RRSP, then do so.

If you still have savings After you’ve filled your retirement accounts, then open a non-registered account with an online brokerage. Invest your remaining savings to earn capital gains and dividends. The money earned in your non-registered account will be taxed every year. The upside is that the taxable rate on your capital gains and dividends will be less than the taxable rate on your earned income.

Inflation isn’t going away anytime soon.

Fourthly, inflation is running high. No one knows when it’s going to go down, so assume that things will be increasingly expensive for the foreseeable future. There are no simply answers to this problem, so my advice to you is to cook more of your own food. I love socializing over food as much as the next person. And I do sometimes yield to the incessant call of the fast food window or the food delivery app. However, inflation running at 7%-8% has forced me to be a lot more disciplined. I’m heading to the grocery store instead of tapping out an order on an app. I’m slicing and dicing, mincing and sautéing, frying and baking in my own kitchen. One of these days, I’ll even master the art of meal planning for the week instead of simply for the next 3-4 days.

My advice to you is learn to grocery shop then spend more time in the kitchen. If there’s something you want to learn to make, there’s someone on the Internet who has a recipe and a video to show you how. I can promise you that $60-$80 spent at the grocery store will yield you a ton more food than the same amount spent at a restaurant, fast food outlet, or food delivery service.

Stay out of debt

For whatever reason, our society has decided that it’s a good idea to put people into debt. The scope and manner in which any one person is able to go into debt is truly breathtaking: student loans, vehicle loans, mortgages, credit card debt, etc…

There’s no legal limit either. It’s not like there’s a law which says “No person is permitted to carry more than $650,000 of debt at any one time.”

So long as there is a creditor who is willing to extend you credit, you can dig a deep a hole as you choose. Even after a creditor stops extending you new credit, the hole still gets deeper thanks to the power of compound interest and the piling on of fees.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t go into debt. If you’re already in debt, then work very hard to get out of it.

You know those savings that I was talking about at the start of this post? Take 25% of them and throw them at your debt. You can use the snowball method or the avalanche method to make extra debt payments over and above your minimum payment.

I really don’t care, which method you choose. Just start making those extra debt payments and get yourself out of debt as soon as possible.

Again, I’m not an expert.

I’m just a person who has learned a few things about money from my own experience. I’ve also observed the financial choices and outcomes of others. Getting out and staying out of debt has done wonder for my financial life. Spending less than my net income has allowed me to set aside money for my retirement while also fulfilling most of my short-term and medium-term goals. Cooking at home has definitely contributed to a heavy wallet. My emergency fund helps me sleep well at night.

Even though I’m not an expert, some of these tips might help you too. Take what you need – leave the rest.


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