Changing with the times

The holiday season means different things to different people.

For some it is a time of:

  • Joy
  • Reverence
  • Celebration.

For others, it’s a time of family drama or a struggle with sadness; for others a time of financial stress and worry.

For many, it is a combination of the above.

Our celebrations have evolved over the years. When my girls were young, we went all out on the gift giving. Holidays were spent running around, making sure we had all of the shopping and baking done.

I felt like a chicken with my head cut off — running around in circles to make every aspect of the holidays perfect.

As the girls have grown and moved away, our traditions have changed.

About five years ago, we decided to each pull one name as opposed to shopping for everyone.

Three years ago, we decided to do stockings and not bigger gifts.  

I didn’t realize how stressed I was, pretty much running through the holidays. Taking it down a notch or two means that now we focus on fun activities and spending time together.

As the year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the past and thinking about plans for the coming year. If you are doing the same, one important area to think about is your personal finances.

Regardless of where you are in the cycle of home ownership (thinking about buying, already established in a home, looking to sell and downsize), I recommend an annual review of your finances.

If you part of a couple and one person normally does all the banking this is even more important.

Carve out a few quiet minutes to take stock of exactly what your financial position is now.

If you are a planner and feel that you are on track to accomplish the goals you’ve set, congratulations.

If you are struggling day to day and are not sure where your money is going, start by sitting down and doing a clear list of everything you owe (liabilities) and everything you own (assets).

Review your bank statements for the last few months to see exactly where you are spending your money.

If you fall somewhere in the middle and feel you could do a better job of managing your money, meeting with a professional investment advisor might be exactly what you need.

There are budget templates available online to help you track your finances. I know it’s always an eye-opener when I am diligent about tracking my spending.

Part of my conversation with clients, whether they are looking to buy a home or refinance the home they are in, centres around how they manage their money.

When buying a home, it’s all well and good to say that people qualify to carry a large mortgage. If they like to travel or spend on consumer goods they may find that too large of a payment really affects their lifestyle.

On the flip side, for clients who already own a home but find themselves too tight on a month to month basis the conversation looks a little different.

If they have sufficient equity in their home, a refinance to pay out other consumer debt reduces their monthly expenses and by extension their stress level.

People have strong opinions about refinancing (based on feedback from a previous column) and this is not the right move for everyone.

However, each person’s situation is different. Life happens and finances change, so if you find yourself frustrated that you seem unable to make ends meet a chat with your mortgage professional might identify some ways to help sort this out for you.

Regardless of your financial situation, an annual financial checkup is a great way to re-set and plan for the future. There are several great budget forms online.

If you would like a copy of our favourite template, send us a message and we will email it out to you. There is a contact form at the bottom of our webpage https://www.okanaganmortgages.com/ — just say you would like the budget form.

We are taking some time off over Christmas to celebrate with family, so if you would like to have a conversation around a financial checkup we are happy to help in the new year.

Wishing you and yours an amazing holiday season filled with love and laughter.


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About the Author

Tracy Head and Laurie Baird help busy families find mortgage solutions. Together they have more than 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

With today’s increasingly complicated mortgage rules, Tracy and Laurie spend time getting to know the people they work with and help them to better understand the mortgage process. They support their clients before, during, and after their mortgage is in place.

Tracy and Laurie work closely with their clients, offering advice and options. With access to more than 40 different lenders, Tracy and Laurie are able to assist with residential, commercial, and reverse mortgages in order to match the needs of their clients with the right mortgage package.

They work closely with their clients to find the right fit, and are around to provide support for years down the road!

Contact them at 250-862-1806 or visit http://www.okanaganmortgages.com

Visit their blog at https://www.okanaganmortgages.com/blog


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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