Blog.

Are You Treating Your Investments Like a One-Night Stand?

One Night Stand

Could you possibly be treating your investments and the advice around them like a one-night stand?

Do you even know the first name of your financial advisor? Do you even have a “financial advisor”? Bonus points if you have their contact information programmed into your phone.

THIS IS A GENTLE SMACK DOWN from Moi for everyone who doesn’t know their advisor’s first name, or have their advisor programmed into their phone!

Funny (not-funny) as it may seem, many people aren’t on a first-name basis with their financial advisor, let alone having a long-standing relationship with them.

When I survey random people in my world about who their financial advisor is, most people spurt out the name of the financial institution that holds all their hard earned dollars, and find it difficult to come up with an actual name of a real live person. They would be even more hard pressed to get a direct number to call them, as most calls are routed through a call centre anyways these days.

I don’t condemn the employees at the big banks for one second. The corporate financial system has created a culture in which no one stays around long enough in one position at a majority of these companies. It’s a move-up or move-on out mentality. Let’s be real for a moment, we are all taking care of number one first, so naturally, I would want to keep my job as well.

You are the client and from your perspective you may find repeating yourself over and over again, meeting after meeting. You slowly begin to omit pertinent and important information over time because you know next year, you will be meeting with yet another advisor (that’s assuming your portfolio is big enough to even warrant a face-to-face appointment to begin with!)

Please tell me how an advisor can really make an impact on a client’s financial life when every time the client walks into the same office they are meeting with a different advisor?

As an observer of the effect technology has on financial transaction-based businesses leaves me wondering where the quality of financial advice is coming from these days and I know this is affecting the middle-class population all over the world. Corporate ladder climbing at large financial institutions leaves an undesirable effect on the bulk of the population, which still gets most of its financial advice from the corner bank.

What’s missing?

Relationships.

Period.

Ok, to be fair, I can’t put all the blame on big corporate banking culture, I do know all relationships are a two-way street (yes, even marriage…so I’ve heard), and even I have clients that don’t return my calls.

The reason why being on a fist name basis and developing a long-term relationship with your financial advisor is so important is because the quality of advice suffers when there is no relationship. Proper follow up goes right out the window when your account gets thrown around from advisor to advisor, and I’m not even going to touch on the proprietary investments or possible canned advice that some of these institutions actually hand out like old-hard-candy – the kind your grandma kept in her purse with tissue stuck to it.

Also, keep in mind when you are working with an independent advisor on a first name basis, as a client, you are their boss. Independent advisors typically don’t have a manager they need to suck up to, quotas they need to meet and/or they don’t have the sole purpose in life of trying to please shareholders.

Here’s the other thing. The client (that’s you) deserves to get quality advice that looks at your whole financial picture and not just the ‘transaction special of the day’. This requires the investment of time and if you find an advisor that is willing to work with you and go the distance, then your portfolio will reap the benefits of that relationship.

Oh, and by the way, no matter where your money is, whether at the corner bank lost in the black hole or with an awesome advisor, you are paying for it. You are paying for your financial transactions or investments you hold any which way you cut it, so wouldn’t it be worth your time to find an advisor that you can build a relationship with?

Important big picture advice on tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, education planning and other products and services that the traditional banking channel does not offer is the biggest reason why you need an advisor who has your best interests at heart.

How does an advisor get to the point where he/she can recommend what is in your best interest? By getting to know you and building a relationship with you, right?! Okay, so I hate having to state the obvious, but yet, it’s obviously not obvious enough.

Quick financial fixes are like a one-night stand. Sure, they are good for today, but you’ll be paying for it down the road.

BOTTOM LINE:  Question for you: What does not knowing your financial advisor’s first name do to your prosperity over the long run?

 

Coach.

The Face of Fear

The Face of Fear

This face. This girl. This woman. This is the face of fear.

You don’t believe me right?

I look confident. I may even look like I have it all together. But I have a dark crazy passenger (not Dexter style – thankfully!)

I have been driving around with this mean crazy chick sitting in the back seat of my car.

She comes and goes sometimes. Once, she even took me for a ride. But that was years ago. I’ve learned my lesson – you never let that crazy B anywhere near the steering wheel of your car, especially if you want it back in one piece.

You’ve driven with her too.

Her name is: FEAR. I call her Aunt F. (She’s that obnoxious aunt you just can’t get rid of that boisterously comments on EVERYTHING you’ve ever done, are doing or plan to do!)

I got this analogy from Big Magic (best book ever!) by Elizabeth Gilbert – if you haven’t read it, read it.

Aunt F has been riding around with me and yesterday she even jumped over the seat and tried to take control of the car while I was driving. She’s bat sh*t crazy!

Let me tell you why Aunt F has made her appearance.

I have 2 major fears in my life right now.

Fear #1

I’m having my first surgery EVER next week. (OK – to be totally truthful, I did once have a mishap while cooking dinner with chicken and knife, which resulted in a minor hand surgery of a bunch of stitches.)

To be honest, I’m totally scared of being “put under” and afraid I’m not going to wake up from the anesthesia. Plus, I’m having an organ removed. Well, kinda. I’m having 2 cysts on my ovaries removed and an ovary removed, which is fine – I don’t need it anymore anyways (been there, done that, & still paying for them!)

Here’s the thing. I totally pride myself on my health. I take no medications. I’m super healthy for the most part. This is the unknown for me. Yes, logic says that I will be okay. But things like what if the paperwork gets messed up and they take out the wrong organ? These are the kinds of things going through my head.

Total Fear.

Fear #2

My book is coming out in a few weeks. I’ve been working towards this for years. And yes, there are moments of extreme excitement, but then Aunt F comes flying in and wrecks my party.

I’m having a book launch, which I am now likening to a wedding. My wedding. It’s all my family, friends, but worse. It will include the media and my business mentors and peers. Terrifying.

Then here’s the kicker. There’s a good chance these people may read my book!

That’s even more terrifying. Here’s why:

I think when you write you are putting yourself out there, even if you write fiction. You are allowing another human being into your mind, your deep thoughts, your convictions, your world. And that’s intimate. It can feel more intimate than SEX! Bearing your soul, connecting with another on a soul level is the most intimate of things, and my book is that. After all, it’s me. I’m putting myself out there in a big way for the world to see (if they so desire for $15.99!)

So now you know I’m a big scaredy cat. I’m scared. I’m terrified. 

However, I’ve learned never to let FEAR take over the wheel.

I take her for a ride with me every time. I drag her a$$ around with me. That’s how I know I’m on the right track, that I’m headed in the right direction.

If what I’m doing is VANILLA and BORING then I’m not doing my job right. I’m coasting.

Because I have a purpose, and passion that surrounds that purpose, I refuse to coast.

Tell Aunt F to take a back seat. She’s here for life.

Just do what I do to any loud obnoxious back-seat passengers – I shut them up with a drive-thru happy meal and a kids toy. That should keep her quiet for a few minutes so you can drive and get to your destination in one piece.

Your backseat passengers should never have a say in where your car is going. So don’t let her tell you where to go or worse, let her stop your car!

THIS IS WHAT GETS YOU PAST FEAR:

REFUSE TO LET YOUR BULLSHIT* BE BIGGER THAN YOUR DREAMS!

*Bullshit is Aunt F.  It’s the fear. It’s the voice in your head that says you aren’t worthy, you aren’t good enough, you suck, you can’t do this, you will never be able to do that.

THIS is what I do.

Dream.

Set the goal.

One foot in front of the other.

Arrive at destination.

Repeat. 

So I raise my coffee this morning to Aunt F: here’s to rocking out my surgery next week, super fast recovery, and the best book launch ever! CHEERS!

 

 

Financial.

Prescriptions for Money Headaches

financial-prescriptions-for-money-headaches

DOCTOR LISA IN DA HOUSE TODAY!

Here are a couple prescriptions to take away your money headaches forever.

2-22’s

Patient: Self-Employed or Anyone Commission Sales

RX: Two-Twenty Two’s

Frequency: Everyday

Refills: Unlimited

Directions: Set 2 appointments. Make 2 presentations. Follow Up with 2 clients. Continue daily for best results.

Results: Sure to cure any financial or sales headache!

Side Effects: Inconsistent use of 2-22’s will result in continued financial headache.

 

INVESTODINE FIFTHROMAX

Patient: Young Adult

RX: Investodine Fifthromax

Frequency: Everyday

Refills: Unlimited

Directions: Set aside $5 a day into a savings account. Invest in a diversified portfolio as needed.

Results: Done consistently over 40 years @ 8% interest will result in approx. $500,000 of invested savings.

Side Effects: If drug is taken to Vegas, spent on emergency shopping spree’s, shoes, or new cars, desired result will not occur.

 

AMILLICILLIN FUKITODON

Patient: Women Aged 45-65

RX: Amillicillin Fukitodon

Frequency: Take Only Once

Refills: None

Directions: To be used only if you have tried and failed at all other money making options. Marry for Money. Lots of Money. Do not take into consideration personality, looks or religion, and confirm all financial statements before nuptials.

Results: You will never have to worry about money again.

Side Effects: You may not have true love, but you’ll be able to soak up those tears in a Hermes scarf and Chanel tissue. 😉

 

 

 

Coach.

Receiving

Receiving

Giving and receiving. Seems simple right?!

Do you feel like you’re a fabulous giver? You could give the shirt off your back (as long as you were wearing your good bra that day), you always sign up for volunteering and you are ready to help any charity that comes along. Then you are a graceful giver.

Have you given much thought to how you receive? Are you a graceful receiver, or does the act of receiving strike a funny chord deep-down with you and make you feel kinda unworthy or uncomfortable inside?

Receiving of gifts, compliments and money are 3 areas that women struggle with.

Recently, I was given a compliment by 2 women I really admire and respect. They had given me a compliment on my gift as a speaker, and how I was great in front of the camera. THIS MADE ME CRAZY! I hate myself in video. Still photography – no problem – they can touch that crap up! But video: sees all, hears all, and NO MAGIC TOUCHUPS (well, there’s no iPhone app for that yet!). I gave an awkward laugh, and turned around immediately, walked physically away from these women, and changed the subject completely. They both stopped me and made me come back and acknowledge the compliment. Seriously, they called me out on my receiving crap! I’m so grateful they did! I felt completely unworthy of that compliment at the time.

I also feel unworthy when people compliment my writing. I feel I have no special gift in this area, and probably because I got a D in College English (and struggled in English all through elementary and high school!) and begged the professor to pass me so I could get on with life, vowing I would never write. She agreed and so did I. It seemed like a fair deal. I feel because I never took a writing class that I’m not worthy of being called a writer. Now, I know that’s bull – but it’s also taken a good few years to grow into those shoes! I’m finally starting to receive compliments on my writing.

When I compliment other women on their gifts and strengths, I now notice them shy away – be it through body language or words – too many times to count. Why is it so hard for us as women to really acknowledge our strengths and gifts when they are pointed out to us?

Our Canadian roots have trained us to be GIVERS! Look around, do you think it’s a fluke we live in a such a wonderful country? We give. We help. We share. We’ve been taught, and we’ve been taught well from our ancestors. We have this whole giving thing down pat for the most part (yes, I know we can always give more, but giving isn’t a foreign concept to most of us!)

Receiving is part of the giving/receiving equation. As far equations go, it is required both sides of the equal sign are, well, equal. 

The natural laws of the universe, and the Bible for that matter, do say that you reap what you sow. The compliments you give you will get in return. Maybe not right away, but you will. The loving gifts you sow you do reap at different points in time. Law of attraction isn’t just for material things. All things fit into the ebb and flow of giving and receiving.

What you put out into the universe does come back to you like a boomerang.

Why are we as women such martyrs when it comes to receiving? Why do we always have to be the givers?

I know it feels good to give.

I know it is good to give.

I know you are a pro-giver.

I’m not saying don’t give.

Here’s the thing – when you don’t receive or you don’t know how to receive gifts well: You take the joy away from the giver!

Have you ever given a physical gift and then had someone reject it for whatever reason? Doesn’t that feel crappy? You feel like a failure in so many ways!

Same goes with compliments and money. Receive it!

When you receive you are giving the gift of JOY to the giver!

I know I have a HARD time receiving money. FYI – This is not good for business – like it took a brain surgeon to figure that out! I want to do everything for FREE! SO RIDICULOUS, right! Deep down I do want to help everyone, and that’s good, however, I also know, I can help more people once I can nail down this whole receiving thing! 😉

Massive MONEY BLOCK for me. Maybe you know what I mean. You always want to make sure you’re the giver, not the taker. That you are giving more value than you are receiving back. That people will speak of you as such an amazing giver, and not as some business or person that “ripped” you off. (There comes my old friend “people-pleaser” again – I thought he went on a permanent vacation in Tahiti….guess not….) I would HATE to be a person that only takes or that people think is greedy or that “ripped” someone off! However, I take it to the extreme. It’s okay to still make money and not “rip” people off, or get money in exchange for the value you are providing.  (That last sentence is for all my fellow women entrepreneurs – cause I know I ain’t alone on this one!)

Where do you struggle with receiving? Do you feel unworthy to receive over and above your basic necessities of life? Do you feel you have to work hard and earn everything yourself? Is receiving of gifts, money or compliments hard for you?

You are WORTHY OF ABUNDANCE! I’m speaking that into your life my friend! Say it again, say it out loud, shout it out:

I AM WORTHY OF ABUNDANCE, COMPLIMENTS & GIFTS!

BOTTOM LINE: Next time you receive, say “Thank-you, I receive that.” and pause a moment to really let that gift or compliment sink in. Remember that by receiving you give the gift of JOY to the giver of your gift!

Coach.

For the Passion Seekers

Passion

I was privileged and honoured to attend my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary Celebration on the weekend. Congrats Mom & Dad!

As I’m sure my mom would tell you, passion goes many more times than it comes in a 40-year marriage.

It seems nowadays everyone is so worried & consumed with finding their passion, or losing their passion for something. I really think our society has passion fear.

I think that fear can be overcome by purpose.

Here’s the truth about passion.

It’s not a 24-7 feeling. Maybe when you are first in love, start a new project, or the first day of school.

But then……

It fades.

I don’t care who you are. Where you’re from. How many jumping jacks you can do in a row. You will inevitably lose your passion for your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, your kids, your job, your money, your house, your car, and even your favorite houndstooth handbag with matching shoes! (GASP!)

I’d rather have purpose.

With purpose, passion can float into and out of your life freely. However, I don’t think it works the other way around. I’m not sure you can really have passion without purpose. I think purpose is the catalyst, platform or stage that passion requires to come in, do its dance and then exit stage left.

“Purpose is the platform that passion requires before it can showcase its dance to the world.” ~ Lisa Elle (You can quote that – I just made it up!)

Passion needs to know it has a stage to dance on.  It needs your purpose stage to showcase its awesomeness, because, let’s face it – passion is super awesome and contagious! Purpose can be dry and boring and all that “save the world” stuff that can get overwhelming at times.

Passion floats along dancing with other emotions as well. I would say passion is an emotion (like happiness or sadness), and like other emotions very much dependent on our circumstances, thoughts and feelings.

Here’s the thing about purpose.

When you have purpose, a mission, a vision, something bigger than yourself, tenacity will show up. You will be determined, persistent, and persevering in your actions. (PS. This is kinda the boring stuff I was talking about. Being consistent, persistent, and persevering is NOT exciting stuff!)

When you have purpose, you have something so much bigger going on in your life that you begin to throw emotion aside, put on your big girl panties, because you know work needs to get done.

When you have purpose, although resistance shows up in her mysterious forms wanting your attention, you don’t give it to her, because you know the work is great and needs to be done.

I woke up at 4:54 today. I want to be in bed. I went to pour cream in my coffee and it was rotten. If you know me, this makes me a miserable cranky person. I want to quit this day already 30 minutes into it! I feel my inner monologue this morning needs a bitch slap! (Maybe a bit harsh, but I’m telling you I’m down right Negative Nelly!)

So, I have no PASSION at the moment for this crap. Today, I already know I have 3 client fires to put out. I have a mound of emails I can’t wait to return. I have payroll to do and back-to-school stuff to figure out. I am in the final week of publishing my book and fine-tooth-comb edits. And blah, blah…..  You get my point. Life is happening. I have no passion for it at the moment.

However, I do have a purpose.

This purpose reminds me that what I’m doing matters in the world. Launching my book, my online course and Wealth Spa™  (yes, I trademarked Wealth Spa™!) in the next few months gets me excited and full of passion, but when the going gets hard, the passion dissipates faster than the inside icing of an Oreo. This purpose reminds me that I have people who depend on me, a message within me and a great responsibility to that message to share with the world.

With purpose, you can have a successful marriage if you are both aligned in that purpose. You can have a company that weathers the ups and downs of any market. Purpose as a parent means you can stand another day in the trenches. Purpose in your relationships, your community, in what you bring to the world. Purpose with your money and being a steward over the things you are blessed with. Purpose does all of this and more.

Purpose is our lifeline.

With purpose, you create a space and in that space hold what is bigger than yourself out there. You create something that others want to stand by and champion and cheer on. With purpose, I believe you create your passion.

So, if you aren’t “feeling” passionate about anything at the moment it’s okay! I repeat. It’s okay to feel you have no passion for something. Focus on your purpose in those moments.

When I think about my purpose a feeling of pride breaks out and I sing and dance and I want to share my overflow with the world. Passion is the freakin’-lick-all-the-icing-off JOY of life.

BOTTOM LINE: Passion will come when you have your purpose in life clearly defined. Passion needs purpose. Purpose doesn’t need passion. Purpose can get along just fine without passion, but passion is the icing of life! Find your purpose and your passion will ooze right out of you!

 

Manifest.

Need Vs. Want

want

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WANT

This isn’t your typical post on determining your needs vs. wants crap.

And yes, I think it’s crap. Well, a bunch of hooey anyways. (I’m not even sure what hooey is, but let’s go with it for a minute.)

I always got so frustrated when you had to set a budget and determine your needs and wants. Have you ever had to do one of those exercises?

First of all, it’s boring as Hell. (Assuming Hell is boring – but in actuality, I’m sure it’s a collection of fascinating individuals…. I digress….)

Second of all, it’s freakin’ impossible to decide what is a need and what is a want when you are doing a budget.

Like, I really do need these shoes, and I really can live without the _____(fill in the blank: toaster, toilet cleaner, milk for my children)_____. My kids don’t need breakfast anyways or socks for that matter.

So, needless to say making a budget or those stupid exercises where you have to determine your NEEDS VS. WANTS are totally annoying and crap – and now I finally have proof and something that made me scream YESSSSS (SALLY STYLE)!!

Welcome to my A-HA moment!

I was reading The Law of Attraction – yes, another book on manifesting – as I tend to do in my “spare” time and I came upon this paragraph on needs vs. wants. For the first time in all my financial life this finally makes sense and I can tell those budget/needs vs. wants financial planning tools to take a hike!

Here is what it read:

Just as the difference between positive emotion and negative emotion can sometimes be very subtle – the difference between wanting and needing can be very subtle.

When you are focusing upon what you want, your Inner Being {however you define that} offers you positive emotion. When you are focusing upon what you need, your Inner Being offers you negative emotion because you are not focused on what you want. {Instead}, you are focused upon the lack of what you want. …

… When you are feeling a positive emotion, you are attracting into your experience that which you want. When you are feeling a negative emotion, you are attracting into your eperiece that which you do not want.

Think of it like this:

The word NEED has a slight negative or full out negative connotation to it.

“I need to go to work.” “I need to buy groceries.” “I need to make dinner.”

Do you feel how those come off negative?

The word WANT has a slight positive or full out positive connotation to it.

“I want to go to Disneyland.” “I want that red handbag.” “I want to play with my dog.”

See, those sentences feel lighter and positive. The word WANT stirs up so many dreams inside of you and that is a positive thing!

Then it hit me like a bolt of coffee…

I need to pay my bills. I need to return this email. I need to take the car in for an oil change. I need…. I need…. I need…. and I would fill up my whole day with NEEDING to do stuff. Blah.

Life = A long, boring list of things to get done.

I need (okay, bear with me!) to start WANTING the life that I have or make changes in my life. I do love my life and even saying, “I want to pay my bills” for example, brings about gratitude and a bit of excitement. I have money. I have bills.  I have electricity and water and a car to pay for. These are true blessings. I also want to buy food and I love going to work! I want my life!

Here’s the other thing for any of you woo-woo people (okay, this whole post is woo-woo really!): needing brings about a scarcity or lack mentality and because wanting offers us a positive emotion it actually brings about an abundance mentality, such as gratitude. (Chew on that for a minute!)

We make ourselves out to be such martyrs in our society with all the things we NEED to do and we feel GUILT when we WANT. (Yes, I’m preaching to the MOM CHOIR!)

What if it was okay to want and then to eliminate the word need in your daily life? How would your life look if you wanted to return emails, pay bills, save money, make dinner, spend time with family?

BOTTOM LINE: Let yourself want your life. Try and eliminate the word need. You don’t need to do anything. Wake up with a bounce in your step and WANT the crap out of the life you have chosen for yourself.

 

Coach.

The Sh*t Train to Integrity

Shit Train to Integrity

I want to offer some of my personal insights on integrity.

You may think integrity is morals. Having good morals. Being a good person. This is maybe what the dictionary says, but this post ain’t on having good morals or being a good person.

This is about the integrity you have with keeping your word, and in my opinion, it’s even bigger than keeping your word with others.

It’s about keeping your word with yourself – which I believe is more important than keeping your word with others.

Sometimes I feel I’m on a slow struggling SH*T Train to Integrity!

Let me share.

I woke up yesterday hating myself. Like, literally, mad, angry, upset, frustrated with myself. Sitting in a bath of self-loathing. Feeling unworthy, feeling stressed, feeling like total sh*t. Have you ever had a day like that?

I honestly rarely wake up feeling like that, but yesterday was one of those days. I want to say I woke up on the wrong side of bed, but that’s just a cop-out.

The next day, I went for a run. Running is usually how I work through my problems, my form of meditation; so I started digging deep. Why was I hating myself so much this morning? What happened to bring this on from the moment I woke up?

And then a few steps later it came to me, as the answers usually do when you ask.

I was not keeping my word with myself. I had made a plan on Friday morning to complete a specific project for work. All my projects are self-imposed because I’m self-employed. For me, it would be easier to have a real boss some days because I’m the perfect “yes” man! That’s my people pleasing disease still coming back to haunt me. I guess I’m not quite out of rehab yet. I find it easier to do everything for everyone else than to put myself first sometimes.

So Friday came and went. Then Saturday, I wanted to complete my project again. Self-sabotage endured. It took form in finishing half a season of Nashville on Netflix. If I’m being totally truthful, that was my way of hitting bottom. Usually by the time Netflix comes out, I’m already so mad at myself, that I just want to hide and crawl in my cave and get lost in other people’s problems as a way of avoiding my own. Nashville is a great show full of other people’s problems!

I realized Sunday on my run, that it wasn’t just the project I had not done. I realized that I had not completed my whole list of things (including working out on Friday and Saturday) that I set out to do that day. This entire list maybe would have taken 5 hours of my day in total, and I still would have been able to spend the rest of the day with my family. So what happened?

I had not set boundaries with myself.

I had not kept my word with myself.

I let my feelings run wild to decide what I “felt” like doing, and trust me, when left to our feelings of what we want to do, your days will probably end up like sh*t too! I’m sure most of us “feel” like doing nothing most of the time, or at minimum taking the easy way out. We don’t want pain and we sure as heck don’t want to work.

Sunday was an awesome day. I got off the Sh*t Train! I woke up early, planned my day, went for a run and got started on my list. I got everything on my little list done and felt like a million bucks! I kept my word with myself AND I even had enough time to take a Sunday afternoon nap outside for a few minutes and it was freakin’ glorious!

Doing something you said you were going to do, keeping a promise to yourself feels so damn good! It puts you in a happy state, a higher vibrational state, a deeply joyful state. This isn’t just for your benefit, this benefits others around you.

This is what you were called to do: SHINE.  You shine by being proud of yourself!  Trust me, the moments I’m so damn proud of myself I know I’m inspiring others to do the same. So be proud of yourself, complete your to-do list or whatever words or goals you promised yourself.

This also goes for making money, growing your money and keeping your money. You need to keep your word with the financial goals you set for yourself.

Isn’t it funny how when you save money, regardless of the amount, you feel like a million bucks?!

Set boundaries with yourself and others so that you can complete what you set out for yourself. Say NO when you have to.

Light is contagious my friends! When you are a light you will shine and brighten others around you. This is what lights were called to do: Brighten.

BOTTOM LINE: Keep your word with yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you can nurture. Integrity with yourself will allow you to be proud of yourself and then you SHINE!

Financial.

Back-to-School: 7 Financial Tips for Parents

Parents Prepare Finanially for Back to School

This time of year I embark on my love/hate relationship with back-to-school. The kids going back to school sounds like a choir of angels singing music to my ears compared to the current airwaves of sibling warmongering. That’s my love part.

The hate part is the endless money drain that September always seems to bring with it. I feel like after 5 years of getting these same bills over and over I should know better, but they keep taking me by surprise. School fees, school supplies, bus transportation, fun lunch, field trips, school fundraising (those dang entertainment books always get me!) And oh yeah, don’t forget dance, piano, hockey, and accordion lessons are all starting up again too! Requests for money are everywhere!

I find recurring expenses, like the water bill, easy to plan for and budget for, but it’s all the one-time expenses that are hard to plan for, especially when you aren’t exactly sure what amount is being thrown at you.

So enough is enough.

Here are 7 Back-to-School Financial Tips for Parents:

Tip#1 – Write out a list of approximately what you think all the school bills due in the month of September will amount to and total them up.

My list looks like this:

School Fees: $300

Bus Transportation: $450

Fun Lunch: $110

Fundraisers: $40

Choir: $600

Piano: $250

Total: $1,750 or $146 a month.

Then, take this total and divide by 12 to figure out what you need on a monthly basis to save up.  It’s a lot easier for me to save $146 a month, versus spending $1750 all in one month. This works for Christmas gifts too!

What’s important about this strategy is that you are being pro-active and not re-active. This is a calming strategy. This is making decisions ahead of time and totally reduces your stress.

As simple as this may seem, and we all know this head knowledge, doing it is another story entirely. So just spend 5 minutes and do this. I do this on a sticky note. So it doesn’t have to be fancy.

TRY IT!

Tip #2 – Create a free sub-account for your kids

I have a sub-account (the free e-accounts at your bank) that I nickname: Kids. In this kids account, I keep all my specific payment for kids in that account. (And for my kids their monthly RESP and Life & Critical Illness Insurance Payments come out of that account as well.) I also get my government payments into this account, that way, I don’t have to worry if there is money in that account for all the automatic payments.

Plus I have cheques for this account, so when I write cheques to the school (yes, our school still takes cheques – YIKES!), then I don’t have to worry about them getting mixed up in my regular household account. Who wants the embarrassing call that you bounced a cheque for $20 because you weren’t paying attention to that account! Not me. Been there, done that.

Tip#3 – Look for discounts on school supplies or reuse from last year.

I find kids bring home so many supplies that they haven’t used. I’m sure I have a drawer of 30 erasers, 17 rulers, and a bazillion pencils and a shoebox of pencil crayons or buy school supplies on clearance in October for the next school year.

Tip#4 – Pre-plan lunches!

I always get caught not having lunch foods in my house. So, I’m the one at the corner convenience store buying Lunchables for double the price late on a school night. So a little pre-planning on my end would probably pay for my expensive latte habit anyways!

Tip#5 – Start saving toward your RESP.

I can’t believe how fast kids grow up and I just realized my kids are about 10 years away from university. CRAY! So, to make sure you aren’t super stressed about post-secondary education, make sure to start saving $50 or $100 a month to your child’s RESP.  The government will add 20% and some provincial governments add a few other bonuses, depending on where you live.

Tip #6 – Research financial aid if you need it.

I do know in my province that lower income families do get certain subsidies towards school or transportation costs. So, it may be helpful to talk to your school and find out what subsidies are available.

Tip#7 – Get your kids involved.

Show your kids the cost of their education and all the activities they part-take in. Even if it rolls over them, it’s important to show them that there’s a cost.  The word cost seems to have a negative connotation for most people, and kids pick up on that. So maybe even explain it as a way of trading or exchanging something of value for something of equal value. You can also get your kids to work a summer job or do extra work around home or the office and put it towards a fun trip or activity that they want to do.