Talking about money can often feel a lot like the movie Fight Club. You know, the first rule of money is: You do not talk about money. The second rule of money is: You do not talk about money.
Indeed, money is a taboo topic in many households and cultures. As a financial blogger, my goal is to bring these topics to the forefront and start conversations about money so we can all share and benefit from the discussion.
Credit Education Week Canada
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Credit Education Week Canada – part of a national effort to raise financial literacy and the importance of proper credit education. The week began in 2007 through a partnership between Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada. The two organizations came together with an aim of improving financial well-being in Canada through awareness and education.
CEWC proudly supports the initiatives of Financial Literacy Month through several events across the country. Over the last 10 years the week has grown and, this year, there will be more than 170 financial education events across Canada.
This year’s theme is titled “Financial Wins”, with a focus on helping Canadians reach their financial goals and encouraging them to share their financial triumphs, big or small, so that others to learn from them to have financial wins of their own.
Together, Capital One Canada and Credit Canada Debt Solutions released the results of a study looking at Canadian financial wins. It found 80 percent of Canadians have had a financial win where they took control of their financial situation, while nearly 40 percent of all financial wins were to buy a house or get out of debt. One-quarter of Canadians surveyed say the most important financial win is to feel financially secure in everyday life.
But even if Canadians achieve financial successes, they rarely share them outside of their close friends and family, meaning that others aren’t able to learn from them. Just 14 percent shared their financial win on social media (compared to 100 percent of personal finance bloggers!).
That changes today because not only am I going to share my top financial wins here, but also I’m encouraging Boomer & Echo readers to do a little humble-bragging of their own down in the comments section.
My top financial wins (in reverse chronological order)
October 2016 – We paid off our car! We bought a Hyundai Sante Fe in 2012 – our first major car purchase – and financed it over 48 months. The final payment came out of our account last month and let me tell you it is such a great feeling to be car-payment free!
We plan on driving the car for another 10+ years, so now we can redirect that monthly payment into our Tax Free Savings Accounts. #winning
January 2016 – We maxed out our kids’ RESPs! We opened an RESP for our daughters soon after they were born, but had yet to contribute the full $2,500 per child annually to take advantage of the $500 per year in grant money offered through the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). What was holding us back? I don’t know, maybe the dozens of other competing financial priorities?
This January I was excited to bump up our contributions to the kids’ RESPs and max out the grant. And guess what? There’s still time for us to catch up on that unused contribution room and max out the grant from previous years.
December 2015 – Umm, err, I won my fantasy football league? Let’s just skip 2015…
August 2014 – $100,000 saved in my RRSP! I contributed to my RRSP regularly when I worked in the private sector and took advantage of my employer matching a portion of my contributions. When I changed careers in 2009 I enrolled in a defined benefit plan but continued building up my RRSP portfolio.
I considered it a huge accomplishment to have saved $100,000 in my retirement account by the time I turned 35. Now as my RRSP contribution room is lessened by the pension adjustment, and I shift focus to my TFSA, my RRSP portfolio will benefit from the early head start and compound interest can work its magic.
November 2011 – Paid off student loans in full! My wife and I together had over $50,000 in student loan debt from the early 2000’s and for many years simply made the minimum monthly payments.
After several years of benign neglect, we finally got serious about our finances. We started doubling up on payments and quickly paid those suckers off in just two years. Like paying off the car, releasing ourselves from the shackles of student debt was liberating and allowed us to shift those resources into other financial priorities.
January 2010 – Hard-core budgeting and expense tracking begins! I started a loose budget in 2009 but it wasn’t until 2010 that I found the perfect budgeting spreadsheet to help us track our income and expenses, and plan our spending for a full 12 months. In fact I still use the same spreadsheet to this day, and can’t imagine NOT using it to keep tabs on our spending and help make key financial decisions.
What can I say? Budgeting is fun!
My biggest financial win
Looking back through my old budgets and blog posts, I have to say the one thing I’m most proud of is that we were able to grow our net worth substantially over the last five years in one of the toughest economic climates in history.
You see, I haven’t had a raise in nearly four years, but instead of moping about it I went out and applied my other skills and interests to create a profitable online business in my spare time. I make money talking about money. How’s that for a new Fight Club rule?
Readers, your turn: Tell us about your biggest financial win.
This post was sponsored by Capital One Canada, all opinions are my own.