Millennials: Low Paycheques Don’t Have to Hurt High Hopes

Sep 11 2014 - Saving, Work

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As a young professional, you may get little empathy when your expected salary is unexpectedly small. You may have heard from that “you need to work your way up” or just “be grateful for what you have” however, your small paycheque may result in older generations feeling the pinch too.

An article in the Globe and Mail confirms that you are probably making less money than predicted – the average annual salary for grads is not keeping up with inflation and in some cases has declined. Salaries for graduates six months out of school “went from $41,699 in 2006 to just $42,636 in 2011”. Even more intimidating, is that two years post-grad, “the average declined from $49,468 in 2006 to $49,398 in 2011”. The numbers don’t lie – it can be tough out there. But you have to start somewhere and generations before us have had to start at the bottom and work up the ladder as well. It’s a fact.

While Millennials’ financial woes may seem like they only impact their bottom line, the reduced spending power of this age group has financial ramifications for everyone. According to the article, home-ownership rates in the 25 to 35 year old age group has fallen to 50 percent from 55, in part due to new mortgage rules, higher home prices and as I mentioned earlier- stagnating salaries of this generation. So you might find renting is the common trend in a few years time. Doesn’t mean you can’t save for your own pad though!

When this generation delays buying a home, the older generations will have a harder time selling – potentially reducing their profit in a less competitive housing market.

Growing up financially in a post-recession world may continue to mean tough times for our peers, our selves and our parents. We can’t control the economy, but we can all work towards better budgeting, saving money where we can and hustling hard to ensure we are financially sound through every stage of our lives. As they say, (financial) knowledge is power.

Travel Insurance – Packing piece of mind

Sep 4 2014 - Saving, Your rights

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Summer is still hanging around for a few more weeks – and that means for some, a last minute getaway. Or if your 30 something and working with no children, maybe you like to wait until the Fall to getaway. I get it, travel insurance isn’t the most exciting purchase you make as you prepare to take off on your trip, but believe me – it’s definitely one of the most important.

In a recent study, I was actually quite surprised to see that six in ten Canadians do not regularly purchase travel insurance before leaving the country.

I have a recent story to share with you about my experience with travel insurance. Now, depending on the travel insurance you purchase, coverage is different.

I was in rural Italy (a town with a population of 900), and to be short and sweet – I left my appendix there. Yes that’s right. Trust me – it wasn’t in my plans, but when you wake up in retching pain (I don’t wish it on anyone), emergency surgery is required. The good news is – all went well and I had travel insurance to cover it. I never saw the bill, but I can imagine it wasn’t cheap. A simple broken leg can cost up to $20,000 if you’re travelling to the U.S. After all the money you spend on the trip – you don’t want to be on the hook for a hefty medical bill as your vacation parting gift (not fun). All I had to do was pick up the phone and call my travel insurance company and tell them what was happening.

Purchasing travel insurance may be the last thing on your mind, if at all, as you prepare for your new adventure. But, this small add on before you depart could very well be the most important thing you take. Trust me, in my situation, I was grateful I got it!

Other items your travel insurance may cover you for include; protecting your belonging and luggage, but always be sure to check with your travel insurance before hand and ask questions.

 

There’s me: hospital selfie in Italy.hospital_selfie

 

A Little Research May Save Your Textbook Budget

Aug 21 2014 - Saving, School

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Out of all the costs you can predict when heading back to school, unfortunately textbooks isn’t one of them. Until you know your book list, it can be difficult to budget for this back-to-school essential. I can recall one semester where a single class alone ate up almost $700 of my savings. It seemed almost hard to fork over that kind of cash when I approached the counter to pay – but it’s a reality. Some students are even going as far as illegally downloading textbooks and risking being charged with copyright infringement– yikes. .

The good news is, if you think a little outside the box there’s lots of options that may help you reduce the financial burden of buying books and keep you on the right side of the law.

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The B-word Every Student Should Know: Budgeting

Aug 7 2014 - Saving

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As summer begins to wind down, young people across Canada are getting ready to go back to school. When you’re a kid, parents take care of everything from new sneakers to a fresh new supply of pens and paper (those were good times). But once you set off to post-secondary education, back-to-school is a whole new ball game.

It wasn’t so long ago that I myself was a student, and I learned a lot about what it means to control your own finances during my time at college. Over the years I figured out that being proactive with my budget allowed me more financial freedom and security while at school. After all, you won’t have a lot of disposable income trust me. This week, I’d like to share with you some ideas that can make life (and your wallet) a lot more enjoyable at college and university.

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Low Fees, No Fees Makes More Cents

Jul 31 2014 - Saving

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When I was little, at the end of a visit with my Grandmother, she would call me over and hand me a $2 or $5 bill. It was a small gesture of her love (her biggest being food of course), but to me that was a huge amount of money. I would use the car ride home to daydream about all the things I could spend it on (usually candy) and never once thought about putting it away for a rain day..

Nowadays, although I’m pretty thrifty, $5 bills and other small transactions still seem to float in and out my hands without a second thought. I use a spending journal or various handy mobile apps like Mint to keep track of these tiny financial indiscretions, but I recently discovered another way to save a few dollars (or more!) every month.

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Why a Credit Union Feels Different

Jul 23 2014 - Saving

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 Have you ever wondered why credit unions are different from other financial institutions?

I know that I used to question the difference, but as I have become more financially literate, I’ve found that while banks and credit unions have similarities in product offerings, they each have a unique way of conducting their operations, providing service and engaging with their communities.

Since I became a credit union member, I’ve noticed that a credit union feels different because I am a Member, not a customer and I actually own the place! That’s right – with a credit union you own where you bank. And when you are an owner, you get to have your say. As the Millennial generation, we are prone to wanting to break the mold and change things to align with our values. Previously, as a bank customer, I didn’t feel as the company I entrusted my finances with truly cared for me. Sure, maybe they knew my name, but it was more business than it was personal. Plus, I didn’t really have a say in order to drive change, because the bank was more looking out for the interests of their shareholders.

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