Happy New Year. With the start of each new year, it’s a great idea to spend a bit of time reviewing your financial situation.
- Set some financial goals for the coming year.
- Think a bit about what you accomplished last year.
For some people, this may include planning to buy a home. For others, it might mean taking a look at ways to reconfigure their finances to accomplish other lifestyle goals.
For some, particularly after a rocky nine months of COVID, this might be something you’d like to avoid.
If you are struggling with meeting your day-to-day expenses, it’s better to sit down and look at the overall picture sooner rather than later.
If you have creditors calling it can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Pick up the phone. Return their calls. For the most part, your creditors want to work with you to resolve any arrears. Most will make payment arrangements.
Maybe you’re doing OK. Maybe you’d like to do better. Have a nest egg in place. Plan for a holiday when things settle down.
A great starting point is to print out all of your bank statements for 2020. I’m a bit old school and like to see things on paper.
If your bank offers a program that tracks where you are spending your money, set it up so you can see where your money is going.
This may be a bit of an eye opener for you.
Maybe there are a few tweaks you can make to start putting a little more money away. I had clients who set up an Impulse Fund.
Every time they went to buy something (other than the necessities like groceries, etc.) they would ask each other if they truly needed it or if it was an impulse buy.
If it was an impulse buy, they would transfer the amount they would have spent into the impulse account. The first month they saved more than $300.
Maybe there are no impulse purchases in your budget. Maybe you are strapped.
If you are a homeowner and have equity in your home, refinancing may be an option to help you see a little daylight.
Under current mortgage rules, you can potentially refinance up to eighty per cent of the value of your home. As an example, maybe you bought your home a few years ago and owe $320,000.
Your home has increased in value and it is now worth $500,000. This means you have $80,000 in equity available.
My preference is always that people stay on track and pay down their mortgage.
However, life happens and if you are stretched thin between mortgage payments, loan payments, credit card debt, and a line of credit, a re-finance may help get you back on track.
Speak to your mortgage person to see if this might be the right option for you. A deep dive into your finances may offer up a few options to help ease the feeling of being stretched too thin.
If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of refinancing your home, feel free to call us.
We are happy to explain more about how the process works, and whether or not this is a good idea for your particular circumstance.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.