Drew Peddie and his wife, Amy, had “the big talk” in September 2003 after walking their dog one Saturday near their Toronto apartment. Passing by all the for sale signs in their neighbourhood reminded them of how hard it was for them to save for a home of their own. Their investment choices had been haphazard and weren’t doing nearly as well as they would have liked. They were spending too much, and they had no financial strategy.
“We were frustrated,” says Peddie, a 31-year-old pharmacist. “We thought there had to be a better way.”
Today, with support from a financial planner who reviewed their budget and helped them match their savings and investments to their goals, the Peddies are much closer to their dream. The couple are putting aside about 30 percent of their after-tax income, versus ten percent before, through an automatic deposit into a savings account. And they’re investing much more, also with their planner’s help, in a more focused and aggressive way.
“We went from thinking we couldn’t buy a house for another five years to looking for one this year,” Peddie says. “We learned that you have to have a good plan in place.”
Like the Peddies, many people are rethinking their financial plans to make better use of their money. But it’s not always easy. With the range of savings, mortgage and investment options available, people are often terrified of making a money-losing mistake. Such thinking can lead to inaction.
“It’s worse to do nothing,” says Debbie Ammeter, vice-president of advanced financial planning for Investors Group in Winnipeg. “Procrastinating can cost you money in the long run.”
So how do you take the right action? Here’s what some leading financial advisors recommend to their clients—15 steps to saving and making more money