By Sandy Cardy
Special the Financial Independence Hub
The Holiday season is a very personal balancing act. Every year we experience the same thing – multiple events featuring gut-bloating menus and Boxing Day blow outs followed by crash dieting for both your waist-line and your bottom line. How do you find that sweet spot between making the season joyful and memorable while avoiding the perils of two to three weeks of over-eating and spending followed by a blizzard of credit card debt?
It’s no secret that Canadians, particularly Baby Boomers in their sixties, are doing a poor job of managing their retirement savings, falling well short of amassing enough retirement funds. Canadians still find it difficult to apply one of the simplest financial planning principles: pay yourself before you pay for anything else.
If, like many boomers, your retirement plan is increasingly looking like harnessing yourself to a full-time job as long as possible, what happens if you fall sick? And when you gaze with furrowed brow at your bloated credit card balances in January, not only are you even further from any savings goals, the sheer shock of the amount owing can add an unwelcome dollop of stress to already overtaxed minds and bodies. Never knowing when enough is enough, there aren’t any checks and balances on our impulse to over-consume.
Here are some tips to get re-balanced for 2017:
Every money decision you make, even the little ones, will have an impact on your retirement. Perhaps what you need now is a qualified advisor to help you achieve your goals: someone you trust wholeheartedly. A good advisor will ensure you are realizing all cost savings, and applying tax minimization strategies to build your net worth. Put it this way: it’s much more difficult to neglect simple investment principles when a financial planner is looking over your shoulder.
Healthcare advisors as important as financial advisors
Similarly, having one or more health care advisors available is essential. Whether you encounter a health crisis or want to pursue preventative health, it’s key to find nurturing and optimistic healers, either conventional or alternative, ones that involve you in your health care discussion.
If you are looking for a financial planner and/or a health care advisor, my free e-Book can help you get started. Click here to get your free download and start the journey towards a healthier mind, body and bank account.
Pay yourself first
‘Pay Yourself First’ is a familiar money management saying. If you’ve always put aside saving for retirement, take a big breath and start now. Save at least 6% of your pretax income (eg if you earn $50,000, 6% equals $3,000 per year, or $250 per month). The most painless and effective way to save? Set up regular fixed automatic contributions on each payday (from your bank account to your new retirement account). Even if your budget/cash flow becomes a little tight, this strategy will force you to make adjustments with your spending habits.
When it comes to your health, so too should you pay yourself first. Most of us are well acquainted with the foods we shouldn’t eat. Adopt the pay-yourself-first mindset when it comes to eating by transitioning to the right foods. As with money, your health compounds over time, so seek out powerhouse foods such as vegetables and fruits.
Your financial advisor will always stress a balanced, diversified mix of investments to reduce your market risk. So too is diversification important with what you eat. Aim to eat a wide spectrum of foods to reduce health risk. If you aren’t sure how to overhaul your diet, think about a consultation with a nutritionist to kick-start your New Year.
Sandy Cardy is a bestselling author (The Cottage The Spider Brooch and The Second Wife) and one of Canada’s most respected tax and estate planning experts. Diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and now cancer-free and thriving, she speaks and teaches widely on how to make sound personal and financial decisions, embrace radiant health, and live our lives to the fullest. You can sign up for Sandy’s newsletter and download her eBook (7 Steps for Finding the Right Financial Advisor and 7 Steps for Finding the Right Health Care Provider) on her website. You can also find her on Facebook, here and Twitter, here. This article originally appeared on Sandy’s website and is republished here with her permission.