It's Your Money  

Spring is a good time to clean up your finances

Time for financial check-up

Spring is a time for fresh starts, making it the perfect season to tackle the clutter in your home - and in your finances.

Just like you straighten up your home and clean out your garage, it's important to declutter and clean up your finances too. With tax season just around the corner, now is a great time for Canadians to take a closer look at their financial situation and do some spring cleaning.

Here are 10 tips on how to spring clean your finances:

1. Review your budget—A budget is the cornerstone of financial planning. Take the time to review your budget and make sure it's up-to-date. Look for areas where you can cut back and areas where you might be able to allocate more money. Consider using a budgeting app to help you track your expenses and stay on track.

2. Check your credit report—Your credit report is a record of your borrowing and repayment history. It's important to check your credit report regularly to ensure that everything is accurate and up-to-date. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the two major credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion.

3. Review your investments—Take a look at your investment portfolio and make sure it's aligned with your financial goals. If you're not sure where to start, consider speaking with a professional financial advisor. They can help you create a plan that's tailored to your needs and goals.

4. Consolidate your debt—If you have multiple debts, it might make sense to consolidate them into one loan with a lower interest rate. This can help you save money on interest and make it easier to manage your payments.

5. Set up automatic payments—Late payments can hurt your credit score and lead to additional fees and interest charges. Setting up automatic payments can help ensure that your bills are paid on time and that you avoid unnecessary fees and charges.

6. Negotiate your bills—Many service providers, such as phone and cable companies, are willing to negotiate their rates. Take the time to call your providers and see if you can get a better deal. You might be surprised at how much you can save.

7. Create an emergency fund—Life is unpredictable, and it's important to have a cushion in case of unexpected expenses. Aim to save three to six months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund.

8. Get rid of unnecessary expenses—Take a look at your monthly bills and see if there are any expenses you can eliminate. Do you really need that gym membership? Can you cut back on your cable or streaming subscriptions? Eliminating unnecessary expenses can help free up money to put towards your financial goals.

9. Start saving for retirement—It's never too early to start saving for retirement. Consider opening a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA).

10. Review your insurance coverage: Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your life, home, car, and other assets. Review your policies and make sure they're up-to-date. Consider increasing your coverage if necessary.

Spring cleaning your finances might not be as exciting as decluttering your closet, but it's just as important. By taking the time to review your financial situation and make some changes, you can set yourself up for a brighter financial future.

Start by tackling one or two of these tips, and before you know it, you'll have a cleaner and more organized financial picture.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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