A Money Coach in Canada

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It’s the Saturday case study post of my clients past and present.  As always, the characters have been altered to protect privacy, but the underlying issue remains the same.  Rick was as twenty-something who had a lot going for him:  attractive, smart and a real go-getter who was enjoying a successful business he’d started in his late teens.  Rick also had a gorgeous girlfriend who had a lot of struggles.  And didn’t have a job.  She’d moved in with him a few months previously, and it wasn’t going so well.  She had nothing to contribute to the rent, and hadn’t been able to keep any of the original financial arrangements such as contributing to groceries.  She was on E.I., but even that income seemed to be all spoken for, and none of it went to Rick.  They’d separated briefly, but both found that too hard, and she moved back with Rick within a week.  Rick cared about her, but was also growing tired of the situation, felt she wasn’t looking hard enough for a job (he would often come home and discover she’d spent the whole day at English Bay), and he was beginning to feel used.  At the same time, Rick felt he overspent on a number of luxury items for himself – lunch out every day (and he wasn’t eating at McDonald’s), a great car, and a lot of gadgets.  He didn’t feel right about pushing his girlfriend too hard on the financial front.What suggestions would you offer Rick?  Click the comments link below, complete the form (totally private, unless you’d like to publish your website in the field for it) and give your opinion!   

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I’m a guest presenter at LadyFest Vancouver on Sunday, and am both excited and anxious.  Excited, because this is an incredible event – keeping urban feminism alive and well, with a lot of hip-hop in the mix.  Excited because I think the extent to which women get actively involved and informed with their money collectively has significant impact on our  ability to reshape what money does in the world.  What would feminist financial planning look like?  What would feminist spending look like?  Playful and political questions.  Anxious, because I am…well… old! in comparison to the people who will be there (I think).  I don’t even have a myspace account!  although I do have virb… does that count?

chequesA bit of intel, if you haven’t already discovered: Canadians will no longer be receiving cheques back with their statements. The Canadian Payment Association (the org. that clears cheques and transfers funds electronically between credit unions, banks etc.) put that policy in place. The cheques will be shredded by the clearing house of the institution that processed them. You will receive an image of the cheques on your statement. These are legally binding, just the same as the original cheques used to be. Presumably, this is related to anti-laundering initiatives. Still, I find it a bit disconcerting.

Money Diva, a Cdn on Vancouver Island who blogs about her own financial life, had a really cool post: she asked people how they make sure they’re never caught short on their automatic payments. I’ve done it. You’ve done it (c’mon, admit it). We’ve all done it – forgotten one month and badaboom, badabing, ching-ching a service charge here or there.

Money Diva’s synopsis of peoples’ responses yielded several good methods:

Some of them were using a cheque register, or spreadsheet, or just keeping track, but I wanted ways that were more dummy-proof than that. So here are seven ways that my readers keep track of automatic payments and make sure they have enough money for them:

  1. Schedule the payments in your Outlook Calendar
  2. Use alerts in Microsoft Money or Quicken
  3. Link your bank account to your line of credit or set up overdraft protection
  4. Use a product such as Manulife One (bank account, line of credit and mortgage all rolled up together)
  5. Have the payments come off a Visa with a large enough limit (and get points)
  6. Deduct all payments at the beginning of the month in your tracking system
  7. Keep a minimum balance in your account

I think that if you use any one of these methods consistently, you should be able to say goodbye to bounced payments forever. So choose the one that works for you, and then sit back and let the rest be automatic!

My own method is to have two bank accounts:

One is at VanCity, and my income goes into that one. I know what my monthly payments will be, so I simply ensure enough income is left there to cover the expenses. Then I take money above the monthly requirements, and transfer the funds to Citizens Bank of Canada. That money is available for my discretionary spending – movies, groceries, dog treats at Bow Wow Haus, taxis, dog treats, starbucks and dog treats.