A Money Coach in Canada

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I was surprised in my early days of money  coaching to discover the number of people whose parents had said nothing at all, really, nothing, about money.

If there was stress about money, if there was financial planning going on, if there was wealth in the family, the kids didn’t know about it. It was as if it didn’t exist.

It wasn’t as if these future clients of mine thought money was a taboo topic; it was as if it wasn’t a topic at all.

Many of my clients concluded their parents just didn’t think kids needed to be thinking about things like money.

I hope you disagree with them. I sure do. Teaching kids about money, both explicitly and letting them learn by setting an example, is as crucial a life skill as any I can think of. Even if done imperfectly, even with real screw-ups now and then, teaching kids about money is something parents owe their children.

As kids all across the world return to school, I thought September would be the perfect month to blog on some money 101s – the stuff I hope parents teach their kids.   And stuff that readers may want to learn, or perhaps re-learn, themselves.

Pop by each Wednesday and Weekend for posts on the basics. And if you want to dive in and ACT on what you learn,  sign up for my online It’s your Money! program.

update: for a recap of all Sept Money 101 posts, click here

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet

Ever raise an eyebrow over real estate commissions?

In BC, the unofficial-but-standard percentage is 7% on the first $100,000 (ie. $7,000) plus 3.25% on the rest of the home, according to Barry Allen, a founder of ClickRealty.ca

So for your very basic Vancouver condo, priced at, say, $300,000, you’d pay:

$100,000 x 7%                 $7000

+

$200,000 x 3.25%          $6,500

Total Commission:        $13,500

One option is to go the For Sale By Owner route, but that has a few drawbacks.  For one thing, the seller benefits but not the buyer (unless the seller drops the price to factor that in).  For another thing, realtors may not show the home to prospective buyers if the realtor isn’t going to get anything for their effort.

A handful of folks thought they could do better than that.

They formed a new real estate company that takes full advantage of the internet.  By scaling back on old-style marketing (such as adverts on bus stops) and creating an efficient behind-the-scenes database engine, they can provide the same service as most real estate agencies at a lower cost.

And they pass that savings on to the buyer and/or the seller.  Specifically, they return 50% of their commission to their client.

Here’s how it works.

Say I wanted to sell my $300,000 (ish) condo (I don’t for the record!  Never will! But I’m always looking for good, long-term tenants …)  ANYWAY,  say I was looking to sell.

If I list it with ClickRealty.ca, they will provide me all the usual supports – help me price it correctly (the #1 value realtors provide sellers), send a photographer over, recommend a paint job or what have you, and then list it for me.   From then on, the process is essentially the same as traditional agencies (less an open house, unless that’s genuinely in my best interest).

But once it’s sold, they would return 50% of what they, as a seller’s agent , would usually keep.   In my case, that would be $3,375.  They keep the other 50% of the seller’s portion and the buyer’s agent gets their full portion.

Say I wanted to buy a $800,000 home in Strathcona (some day I will).

Click’s site provides a beautiful window (it is very nicely done, including one of the most user-friendly mortgage calculators I’ve seen) to all the same properties as I would see anywhere else.  Barry points out that it’s faster than usual, as they don’t hold back any MLS listings for a realtors-only peek, apparently a common practice.  They would then provide the typical services, such as arranging for me to go check out the place, helping me to compare it to others).

The total commission on this home would be $29,750.  Half goes to the buyer’s agent and half goes to the seller’s agent.  In this case, Click is the buyer’s agent so their portion would be $14,875.   They give me back 50% of their portion, that is, $7,437.50   Hello trip to Restoration Hardware!

Currently, ClickRealty is available in BC’s lower mainland.  It will soon expand to the Calgary and Toronto markets.

I think it’s a bit of a game-changer, assuming it rocks the online space as a core piece of the process (thus enabling their lowered commissions).

Bonus:  Live in the lower mainland?  Tweet a link to this post and cc.  @clickrealty and on Wed., Sept 7,  there will be a draw for a basket from Liberty Wine Merchants.

Disclosure:  I was invited to do this review but it is not a paid review.  I am always interested in ways for folks to be “frugal” and think this new biz is worth consideration when buying or selling.

Any questions?  Leave them in a comment below and I’ll pass them along to the business owners for response!

Photo credit:  Imuttoo

This is a guest post by a friend, mentor and former boss!  Lowell-Ann provides mid-life career coaching and also helps folks who are about to retire do some good thinking on using this new stage of life as a time of renewal and re-direction.

I asked her to write a post for those who are about to enter their “Third Age”.

_____________________

So you’ve entered the uncharted territory of your Third Age and you find there are places there that really scare you:

  • What will I do there?
  • Will I have enough money to be there?
  • Who will I be?
  • Where is my tribe if I’m no longer connected to my career?
  • Where will I find the courage to deal with all this?

In my coaching work I often remind clients that it’s a lot more difficult thinking about a plan than doing it – one step at a time. But lately I’ve begun to reflect and reconsider this. A better reframe of this notion has become: “how we think about something will determine the outcome”. Do we think about it from a contraction or an evolutionary stance? I believe it’s a choice we make.

When thinking about the future, first comes a momentary reaction that is fraught with fear and the anxiety that it brings, followed by a huge resistance to the changes that we know must occur. Contraction could take over here. The psychology of contraction brings about some rather dramatic responses that we may not desire for ourselves:

  • Excess vulnerability, feelings of being victimized
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Loss of trust
  • Over-reaction to events
  • Seeking scapegoats
  • Orientation to the past
  • Hoarding
  • Using substances to numb
  • Thoughts of just putting in time

All of these responses tend to bring on more of the same – which we know is not a great place to be. Then comes the moment of choice: Do I choose what contraction brings? Or do I choose the opposite? The psychology of evolution is more likely to bring about what I do desire:

  • Generativity
  • Creativity
  • Forward orientation (both thought & motion)
  • Optimism
  • Joy and fun
  • Positive results
  • Meaningful connections
  • Sense of wholeness

The choice that we make seems to boil down to our ability to manage our fear. This is the million dollar question, “How do I manage my fear?” We can muster up the courage and just plough through, or we might try something more creative. Daniel Goleman reminds us that “the emotional brain is highly attuned to symbolic meaning”. (pg. 209) With this in mind, discovered an exercise (The Artist’s At Work by Bryan, Cameron & Allen) that puts our fear into a symbolic ritual that I think is worth a try:

1. Sit a moment and reflect – forgive yourself for the fear, confusion and lack of courage that has prevented you from claiming what you want. Generate some care toward your vulnerable self.
2. Realize there is no moment without stuckness for anyone.
3. Create a fancy jar to house your fears.
4. List all your fears. Write one fear per piece of paper. Fold each well.
5. Place each fear into the jar with ceremony. Seal the Jar.
6. Place your Fear Jar on a shelf.

Having chosen to put your fears on the shelf for a while, you have freed up some space for some practical steps toward evolving into your Third Age with expansion. Frederick Hudson in Life Launch suggests:

1. Find teachers, mentors and coaches to assist
2. Reconnect with your values
3. Reflect and decide something new that you want
4. Decide what you could unlearn or let go of
5. Identify what new information and knowledge you need
6. Consider life skills and technical skills
7. Create your learning environment

Go forward with the confidence that you have what it takes to have a very inspiring Third Age. Associate with positive, stimulating and inspiring people. And read inspiring books like Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro’s Something to Live For – Finding Your Way in the Second Half of Life or Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility – Transforming Professional and Personal Life.

Lowell-Ann blogs at blog.workstyle-lifestyle.com

You can connect with her on LinkedIn

Photo Credit:  Jennacatpink

Your Money by Design 2.0 is outta beta, and ready to rock.  Come celebrate with me online, Sept. 10th!

Here’s the backstory.   When I launched my money-coaching biz in 2004 I made two critical mistakes.

1. Like many entrepreneurs, I had working capital, but not enough.  Look.  I’m a money coach.  Entrepreneurialism is about money but it’s an additional skill set for sure. I certainly was able to keep my business and I afloat, but who goes into business to simply stay afloat?  So after five years of fiendishly hard work I knew I needed a re-jig.  (Re-jig?  What kinda language is that about a business?  It’s lingo only a scrappy, battle-scarred entrepreneur can use, that’s what!)

2. I underestimated the psychological and logistical barriers implicit in my 1.0 business model.  You’ve heard of WeightWatchers, right?   That was my model for Your Money by Design.  I was certain the market was there.  And if people would meet up to talk about their weight, they would do the same about their money, right? Debt issues, impulse purchasing, struggle to save and get ahead, money conflict in relationships — people would talk about that, right? Wrong! Plus, from those who were willing to talk with others about their money, I had to find those who could meet on a particular night, at a particular time, in my particular (very sexy) Gastown Office. Oh I did get people signed up for my group seminars (and they loved the seminars.  And they benefitted.  And I learned so.very.much from the participants), but not the dozens per week I envisioned and needed for the model to fly.

So I took on plenty of one-on-one coach-ees which was also meaningful and profitable, but not a way to get the volume I wanted, AND more importantly, it excluded the folks who needed it but didn’t have the $100/hr.

What to do. What to do.

Here’s what I did. I uhh…. I moved to Yellowknife. (C’mon. You know you’d do the same.)

And during our long, dark winter nights I thought and I planned. I assessed and I deliberated. But not for too long, because the answer was so blazingly obvious:

It was time for Your Money by Design 2.0

With the awesome help of Kellett, a northern-based firm, I re-created Your Money by Design and its business model from the ground up.

It’s online based: folks can get the same benefit and Money 101s as before from the privacy of their own home.

It’s self-paced: people can do proceed through the modules at the pace that works for them.

It’s affordable and always will be

NOW IT’S READY TO GO AND I WANT TO CELEBRATE! On Saturday, Sept 10th, I’ll be hosting an online launch party (unless y’all are willing to fly up to Yellowknife for it). There will be prizes. There will be online chat. There will by some live coaching. All the deets are being schemed and plotted by that Raincoaster and me. For now? Save the date! Stay tuned!

It’s been a while since I’ve worked anywhere that started employees at less than three weeks, but the bottom line is that Canadian employers are required to provide only two (paid) weeks plus the stat holidays.

I thought it would be interesting to see how that stacks up to other countries so I pinged a number of friends in faraway places, and discovered the following:

Russians start at 25 days plus stat holidays

Danish people get six weeks including stats.  Of interest:  unemployed folks get 2.5 days holidays per month.  Huh?  You ask?  While they are unemployed, they are expected to be available for work at a moments notice, and looking for work every day.  It’s their “job”.  But just like working folks, they too get a break of 2.5 days a month.

Australians can count on starting at 6 weeks plus about 10 stat days throughout the year.

Germans also get six weeks plus a number of stat holidays (highest I heard of is my friend Katherine working there who has 12 stats!)

South Korea gives 19 vacation days plus 15 stat holidays (this defied my stereotype, truth be told)

Slovakia gives 4 vacation weeks plus 15 stat holidays

Japan gives 4 vacation weeks plus 16 stat holidays

The UK gives nearly 6 weeks vacation plus 8 stat holidays

Finland gives 6 weeks plus 10 stat holidays

Brazil gives 6 weeks plus 11 stat holidays

Iran gives 4 weeks

American friends – I tried to find stats for you and it appears you have no required vacation days? Other than stats?

ANY OTHER SCOOP ?

Photo Credit: Sherlock77

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