A Money Coach in Canada

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Sept 2011’s Money 101 post roundup:

What were you taught about money?

How to bust a poverty mindset

Quick chat with John Chow on culturally-shaped attitudes towards money

Cover it Live twitter chat w/ Krystal on how she got out of student debt so fast, and Marcy on common money messes she sees.

Get New Parents (if yours didn’t give you a healthy approach to money)

Saving. Should you save if you’re in debt? and other such questions.

Debt Elimination: Part 1 Part 2

Disappointment Recovery Plan

And of course all the goodness that was my Online Launch Party!

My post title was a bit flippant.  But look.  Nobody should own you.  While I’m no proponent of the “tell my boss to shove it and walk off the job” mentality (which says a lot more about the employee than the employer, imo), three things are clear:

1.  If your work life is hell, for instance if you are being bullied, you should have enough set aside that you can walk away from your job to find a healthier workplace, if it comes to it.

2.  Lay-offs happen. Certainly not as much in Canada right now as in the USA or the UK but still, they happen.  You should have enough set aside that this doesn’t totally un-nerve you.

3.  And you can bet there will be more and more Strikes happening as belts tighten around the western world.

So.  The $60,000,000 question is:  How much should you have set aside?

The standard answer used to be three months of your basic living expenses.  (Don’t know what three months of your expenses are?  Shameless self promotion:  you need to take my online money coaching program and find out!)

However, I spoke to a seasoned career counsellor yesterday who said it’s taking about 8 months these days to find a new job in Canada these days.  That’s just his off-the-cuf response, but still. I imagine the stats in the States are  worse. Gulp.  Eight months is a lotta dough to stash away.

Start with this. Start with one month’s worth of living expenses set aside.   Do it within one year and make that your financial project for one year. Force the savings one way or another: straight off the paycheque, into a TFSA or a simple savings account or even your RRSPs.  It will be saving just a little less than 10% of your salary which is the savings benchmark we should be striving for anyway.

Here’s what even one month of savings will accomplish:

  • You will discover the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve got something, something if, god forbid, it came down to it.
  • Secondly, you will grow it further, guaranteed.  Once your initial goal is met, I’d be pretty amazed if you don’t find ways to keep growing it, because it will feel so good.
  • Last, if you’re not already a saver, your self-image will shift.  There’s nothing quite like having something set aside to give a quiet, inner confidence.

If you decide to go for it – please do! – you should check out ING Direct.  Give them this code:  14641937S1 and we’ll both get a little bonus when you sign up.

If it does not seem do-able despite having a regular paycheque, let me recommend my program again.  It’s affordable and will help you get to the place where you can set aside what you need.

This week was different.  Typically as a money coach, I work with middle-income Canadians.

This week, I met with a group of people in recovery.  I counted it a privilege.

I was there to talk about putting a financial life back together.   Many in the room had once had a sound financial life, but the addiction had trashed everything.  Everything.

We started talking about savings. And then they told me something that left me silenced.  To a person, they now deliberately spent money as fast as it came, because they so desperately did not want the temptation there to return to their addiction.

The full scope of what they’ve got to deal with began to sink in. I had a few suggestions.. but if you had been in my place, what would you have offered?

Photo Credit: kphotographerrrr