A Money Coach in Canada

Follow & Subscribe

2081507418_4f7aaeb7eb_t.jpgI’m increasingly convinced that the defining question by which future generations will judge us – if we make it – is: how profoundly did we humanoids change our ways as we learned about the impact we are having on our biosphere?

Like you, my life is frenetic hectic, I don’t have a lot of time for intensive research, and often I can’t figure out which products/initiatives are in fact better for the earth, and which are just marketing hype, or, which seem like better choices on the surface, but actually aren’t, when you get all the facts.

Here are 5 simple shopping choices I make that are heading in the right direction.

  1. I buy fair-trade, shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee. I had no idea until about a year ago (I’m woefully uninformed sometimes!) that swaths of rainforest are being stripped for coffee plants. That means more pesticides, more ferilizer plus of course loss of bird habitat. So shade-grown, fair trade for me – yes, I pay extra, but after all, caffeine is pure luxury.
  2. I buy organic. I make it easy on myself by using SPUD delivery. They have the additional benefit of letting my know how far my food travelled, and I get points (redeemable for cash) for choosing items that are grown locally. (does your city have the SPUD equivalent? Could you leave a comment with its name?) To me, organic is no longer optional – it’s to prevent toxics from going into my body, and also to reduce the amount of leeching in the soil.
  3. I use method cleaning products. Actually, I discovered them by accident – grabbed it off the store shelf in a rush because it looked, well, clean, and later discovered their commitment to using non-toxic means of creating shiny, happy surfaces.
  4. I re-use, and re-use and re-use bags & baggies. I can barely stand throwing them out anymore (I feel like a total loser, leaving that plastic for future generations to deal with). When I shop, I try to remember to bring my cloth bag.
  5. I use aveda hair product.
  6. Bonus tip: I bank at a virtual bank – no carbon footprint! (or hardly any). (full disclosure: I work there, part-time)

These are attempts at doing better for my habitat, but not nearly enough. I’m getting further inspiration from “BadHuman” in Colorado or Saving4Later who avoids the whole issue by pretty much not buying, period, and also, going to shows like the upcoming EPIC.

What products do you buy, that you’re quite sure is the genuine article, not just fake-green?

ps: if you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy this one.

Article 22.

“Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”

Vancouver, Canada:

1980882979_8308d8c0cf.jpg

2166696854_caa1e8e988.jpg

Don’t all lunge at me at once. I’m not about to bend over for CRA or anything – I’m as aggressive as your next ave. joe canadian on my tax returns – but I gotta ask: when did we get such a hate-on for paying taxes?

Be honest: the #1 thing we all wanna know about The Budget is, “how much of a tax break are They giving, and who gets it, and am I on the losing end?”

But a bit of devil’s advocate here.

1. Isn’t the They actually Us? I mean we’re not conquered peoples (pardon –most of us aren’t) giving our money to Nero here. We’re a civilized country that’s collectively opted to build a society together, and pool our money to do so.

2. Specifically:

  • while Michael Moore was a bit optimistic about us, the fact remains most of us have confidence that if we need emergency care, we’ll get it (and for every horror story, I’ve heard stories of remarkable care provided by our health system, haven’t you?)
  • I got an amazing education for about $50K all told. I’m still annoyed that I had a $30K student debt but I also know that I cost the taxpayer about $350k – and so did you, if you got 4 years of education after high school.
  • Oh, and my grades 1-12 were paid by taxes.
  • And I don’t know where you walk, but I walk on reasonably kept sidewalks, and most cars stop for me by these efficient little red circles of light – sometimes I even get to push a button to make the cars stop!
  • And when something a little freaky happens in my neighbourhood I just push 3 buttons on my phone: 911 and help is on its way.
  • And I don’t personally want to help unemployed get employed, or personally provide refuge to kids whose parents have abandoned them, or the stray cats for that matter, but I’m sure glad they’re getting at least a baseline of help.

So I guess I wonder if we’re being a bit facile when we moan about our taxes. Wouldn’t our time be better spent asking questions like, “what kind of society do I want to live in?” and “how do I want my elected officials to allocate our pool of money?” and “how does Canada compare to other countries who handle taxes differently, and what do I make of those differences?”

Over to you:

are you bitter about the taxes you pay?

are we truly overtaxed here?

what would you give up by way of services in exchange for fewer taxes? Why?

 

The problem with being a money coach is like anyone claiming a measure of expertise, you feel like a total idiot if you ever mess up yourself. But like everyone, life happens and I missed something for the first time in years – it’s RRSP season so I’m going full-tilt with clients and the bank; my dog is mysteriously scratching himself constantly and I’m totally worried (not fleas. allergies?); I came down with a brutal cold, and my cash-flow system, which usually runs like clockwork, derailed a tiny bit, with ugly results.

My clients all know I use, and recommend, a simple banking structure to keep things running smoothly.

  1. One main account into which all income goes, and from which all regular payments (mtg, insurance, internet, phone, hydro, car etc) get debited.
  2. A second spending account for discretionary items like groceries, entertainment, clothing. This gets regularly funded a set amount from account #1.
  3. A third high interest savings account for those ‘extras’ throughout the year – vacations, christmas, emergencies, vet bills (one sub account per item), also funded regularly from account #1.

The beauty of this system is you don’t have to think too much.

#1 means your bills are always paid on time.

#2 means you don’t overspend (since there’s a set amount available, and no more)

#3 means the tough spots are accounted for, and funds ready when you need them.

Trouble is, if #1 derails for any reason (and it’s an easy one to ignore since it’s all automated) you can, well… bounce a cheque! And in my case, since I work for the bank part-time, I don’t pay fees, so don’t keep $1000 cushion. I had spare funds in there, but this was a large pre-authorized payment.

Why did it derail? Simple. I forgot to deposit a couple cheques from clients. Just forgot in the craziness that is my life these days.

It’s embarrassing and frustrating — but keeps me humble. And I never claim to be perfect, just someone who’s (generally!) learned a number of tips and tricks to manage my money effectively and thoughtfully.

Hopefully this won’t happen to me:

252009376_fc04b0cb5d.jpg

In my early adulthood, my dad pointed out that in addition to love, marriage is also about becoming an economic unit. Having spoken to numerous couples about their finances, I have to agree. I asked my friends over at DivineMatchmaking about their experience setting couples up –where did the financial aspects come into play? Check out their response, and if you have had experience either starting a relationship (like Krystal) or well into the relationship and sifting through how to work cooperatively on finances, I’d love to hear, so leave a comment below.

492860503_8302fe054f_m.jpgEveryone knows that money can be a deal breaker. Most relationships end in divorce due to money matters or infidelity, and it is because of this that couples need to be aware of and focused on their financial situations before taking it to the next level; and they must also know how to manage the green situation once they’re in.

Here are a few basic tips for sorting out the small stuff, before it becomes big:

1. Openly discuss your finances with your partner, and develop a plan. Do you want joint bank accounts or separate? One car or two, etc.

2. Understand each other’s credit history so it’s no surprise when you go to buy that house together.

3. Give yourselves time to save up to buy that new house

4. Get debt under control before making the plunge.

5. And most importantly, stay focused- don’t let money problems get in the way of your love for one another. Life is too short.

Money is one of the last things you want to talk about when you’re falling in love, but the first thing you should talk about when things get serious. No longer do we live in a society where the husband is the sole breadwinner and the woman is the homemaker. Today more than ever, people entering into relationships share equal weight of financial responsibility, and most likely bring something to the relationship whether it is a little security or a lot of debt.

Especially in today’s economic and cultural situation (i.e. the bigger the better), it is important if not essential to know how, when, and to what extent you and your partner have to manage your money. Money matters have become both a blessing and burden; couples are more likely to discuss their sex lives than the state of their bank account.

Bottom line: money does matter; managing money in an economical, functional, and appropriate way can make or break a relationship.

Divine Intervention. Matchmaking of the Highest Order.

Readers – what do you think?  Are relationships as much about being an economic unit as love? 

Page 17 of 28« First...10«1516171819»20...Last »