Finances – Start Here
Do you want to get better with your finances?
I’ve noticed I haven’t really created a go to page for beginner’s in the finance world. If you are one congrats, by starting to read about finance’s you are one step closer to being financially fit. People in the dividend blogging community probably won’t get much out of this post but are encouraged to share their words of wisdom.
Now I’d like to start off that I am not a pro. I am a average Joe that has started figuring our finances out, after 20-30 years of living pay cheque to pay cheque. Passive income is the way to go.
If you go to my About Me page you would see I’m a married 36 year old Man. I’m a landscaper and I started reading about money in 2011. At the time we had a negative net worth of 7k, we loved Debt. One day I realized we work so much but really didn’t have much to show for it. Shortly after I started reading book after book about money and learned a lot. (I never enjoyed reading much before) Hopefully my past will help guide you to a better financial future.
Why Didn’t we Learn About Money?
We all went to elementary, middle and high school. Sadly one thing they decided not to teach us (even know it’s probably the most important) is finance’s. Nothing about managing your money and no tax skills. For some reason the governments decided to start us out of the gate without the knowledge everyone must have!
Can you imagine a world where everyone is wealthy? It really isn’t that far fetched especially if schools made it a mandatory course/class. Economies long term would be way stronger and charities would have a abundance of money to help people/animals/cures or even solve real world problem’s. Less people on welfare etc more jobs, oh but the banks wouldn’t be as profitable since there would be less loans.
Alright let’s do this. You want to learn something right? Most likely you stumbled on my site from a search engine and are overloaded with a bunch of debt. We did too, that’s how it all started for us.
At the beginning of our finance journey we found Dave Ramsey’s Book – The Total Money Makeover. After reading it in a couple days we decided to actually sit down and write down all our debts. (don’t leave any out, your only fooling yourself) Me and the wife had about 60-70k of debt not including mortgage. Credit cards, line of credits, car loans and student loan debt. That made me sick to my stomach as well as hers.
It also ate about $1700 a month in minimum payments. (Remember not including the mortgage) No wonder we were broke, that’s where our money is going! So if we wanted a substantial raise we had to eliminate our debt.
SIMPLE. It’s really that easy folks. I was 29 when we started. Now wanna see some math? If I invested that $1700 we were wasting every month for the next 31 years. (I’d be age 60) and let’s say we averaged 8% a year. At age 60 I would now have $2,607,236.48. Is that new car worth that much? Do you need that double cheese whopper that much? (OK bad example I love whopper’s too) Remember by eliminating that original debt and investing what you were spending, you haven’t changed your lifestyle at all!
We did the Dave Ramsey system to eliminate our debt’s. It’s in his Book – The Total Money Makeover. Its easy write down all your debts ignore the interest rate. Make a list from smallest debt to largest ie 500 credit card – 1400 credit card – 5600 – car loan. Now put the minimum payments beside each item. Make all payments as normal but all extra money you can put to the lowest debt you do until its paid off. Now move that minimum payment to the next lowest debt, therefore increasing that payment. Rinse and repeat until you are debt free. Good luck. It took us about 2 years but I did whatever side job I could to throw money at it. When you pay something off cancel that credit card or loan etc. Also go out for dinner or something and reward yourself. Your awesome Gold Star!
It really feels great to eliminate each debt and remove them completely from your life. Also life becomes less stressful because you don’t need to think if you made the minimum payment or not each month.
The world is setup for you to spend your hard earned money. (Look at this site it even has ad’s to get you to buy stuff) haha! I’m here to say don’t. No I’m just kidding. I’m not that hardcore, I believe in enjoying your life now before you get old/sick/unhealthy. Now that doesn’t mean go on that world travelling trip you had planned. Your most likely not that rich! Not Yet.
Coffee/ Fast Food
Do you go to the drive through each morning and grab a coffee? Lots of people do, and its costing them a lot of money! This is one of the easiest things to cut out of your day to save you some money and also time in the morning!
The coffee a day habit does really add up. $1.50 per day plus you most likely get a honey cruller or honey glaze to go with it. Now your at $2.50 a day plus that drive through lineup is long every morning. $2.50 x 5 (work days) = 12.50 per week x 4 weeks. 50 bucks a month. That’s a Enbridge stock every month. huh? Did I lose you?
Enbridge is a dividend stock it pays you 74 cents per share you own 4 times a year. Now if you owned that you would earn $2.96 per year for the rest of your life if you didn’t sell it. Oh but Enbridge, likes raising their dividend too! Over the past 20 years, they have increased their dividend by 11.2% per year.
I have had a tonne of employees over the years who pickup their breakfast/coffee, some lunch and even dinner after work. Almost daily! This adds up to a serious amount of money…. I challenge you to keep track of this for 1 week, you will be surprised by the results.
The fast food stuff was just an example of things you are wasting money on. There are tonnes of things we waste our money on. Cars are another big one. Besides a house or cottage etc, cars are most likely the 2nd most expensive thing you have.
One of my goals as a kid was to have a Lotus car when I was 35. I could sell some stocks and buy a lotus with cash now, but I would rather have that money working for me than a depreciating asset that I drive to impress people I don’t even know! Also a sweet lotus in the garage would force me to upgrade the garage now. The wife would want a nicer car etc etc its never ending! Some purchases almost make you have to keep spending…
Pay Yourself First
Both my favourite finance books – The wealthy barber and The richest Man in Babylon talked about paying yourself first. Its one of the best things I have figured out about finances. When you get paid instantly move some money (a percentage or set amount) into a savings or investing account. You will be happy you did and after awhile won’t even notice the lack of money in your chequing account. Remember we spend what we have. You can’t spend it, if you don’t have it.
This may seem intimidating at the start but I urge you to try. Start with just 20 bucks a cheque if you think it will be a issue. Eventually you will get used to it and can up that number – especially if your debt free!
Owning Enbridge stock is just an example of what I’m talking about when I talk about passive income. You do nothing but sit back and collect money. We currently have 6 different sources of income, but 4 of them are passive. 2 are our jobs. Id love to get more sources in the next couple years. You can check out our Income sources here.
Alright, you are now debt free and have the money to start investing for your future. High five! I like very much…. There are a tonne of options out there. Real estate, businesses, Stocks, Etf’s, Gic’s, solar panels etc etc. Feel free to check this post out full of passive income ideas.
I think for a starter who doesn’t have much money, stocks or etf’s are the best option. While there are other ways out there most investments cost more startup money. Stocks really don’t. I’m with rbc direct investing and its just 9.95 per trade. (A trade is when you buy or sell a stock)
When I started buying stocks my minimum I decided to invest was $500 now it’s $1000. $500 is great to get the ball rolling and momentum going but at 10$ per trade it’s 2% of my overall purchase. Now at minimum of 1,000 its lower down to 1%. It’s completely up to you but remember that trading fee does effect your overall returns.
I personally like dividend stocks, simply for the fact that they pay me for owning a part of their company. Remember this is a passive income website. Some people prefer to go for companies that stock price will increase dramatically (Growth stocks). You will not be bringing any money in from these stocks unless you sell. That’s too much work, my kids want to constantly play I can’t always be watching the stock market. I like seeing money being deposited into my account for doing nothing.
Dividend stocks pay you a certain amount either monthly or quarterly sometimes even yearly. Companies offer various dividend yield’s. For example a company offering a 5% yield will give you 50$ per year for every $1000 invested in them. This may not sound like much but over time it adds up fast. There are a lot of stocks that have paid consistently for over 100 years. There are a bunch that have raised their dividend payment each year for over 50 years. It’s pretty safe to say if you are a long term investor you will do alright. Feel free to check out my current dividend Portfolio for ideas, but remember do your own research first. I can’t be held responsible for what the stock does.
Canadian’s have 2 tax advantaged accounts to choose from with investments. The Tax free savings account aka TFSA or the Retirement Savings Plan Aka RRSP. If you could work on only one first I think the tfsa is the way to go as ALL gains inside the account are tax free! ALL GAINS! The rrsp will give you a tax refund for what you contribute that tax year but will tax you in the future for everything you pull out at your future tax rate.
For example, you do really well and buy 7,000 dollars worth of stock in each your tfsa and rrsp. 40 years later both accounts have a million dollar portfolio. The TFSA you can pull out at any time and don’t pay a cent on all that money. The rrsp will tax the entire 1 million. I pay enough taxes, screw that! The biggest advantage of the rrsp is the purchase of us companies. The tfsa doesn’t offer you the same benefits as they want you to keep your money in the Canadian market.
The RESP is another tax advantaged account if you have kids. And if you do have kid’s I think a RESP is a must. With the Registered Education Savings Plan the government of Canada will match 20% 0f up to$2,500 per kid (if you max them at 2,500 per year) That’s 500$ per year per kid for post secondary education. Everyone says college and university are expensive now just imagine 20 years from now!
Free Legal Money – You should take that every time you get the opportunity.
There is a tonne of investment options out there, I can try to write about them all here but I’m not that experienced in the other options. The only real estate I own is my personal residence, but I have friends with rentals who do really well with minimal work. Solar Panels we now have and I love them, there has been absolutely 0 work or upkeep with them. Its about as passive as you can get.
I also think everyone should have their own Website , its a great way to add a little extra income and keep you accountable.
I wish you all the best, If you are serious about changing your finance’s I know you can. Every dollar does count. It seems slow investing at the start and then the snowball starts picking up some traction. Check out some other Blogger‘s to learn more as well.
Cheers and Best of Luck!