TORONTO, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - While shopping for the Holidays can derail even the soundest financial plans, you don't have to be a Scrooge to take control of your spending.
Gift-giving is an important part of many Canadians' Holiday tradition. The temptation to spend beyond one's means, however, can be overwhelming. Considering that in 2012 average household debt in Canada reached a staggering 163 per cent of annual income — for every $1 we make, we spend $1.63 — most of us can't afford that $400 Louis Vuitton wallet for Aunt Cecile or that Xbox 360 Kinect for Little Joey.
Financial advisors can help people take charge of their money by putting a financial plan in place that focuses on short- and long-term goals. Keeping spending in check is an important part of the process, and can help ensure there is enough money set aside for a comfortable retirement.
"Many Canadians are living beyond their means, and the Holidays can be a great source of financial stress for them," says Greg Pollock, CFP, president and CEO of Advocis. "The lack of financial literacy among Canadians is contributing to broader economic issues, such as the current household debt crisis."
Here are seven steps to smarter spending this Holiday season:
- Set a budget. Allocate a dollar amount per person and stick to it.
- Start early. Leaving gift buying to the last minute can result in spending more than you've budgeted for, not to mention impulsive purchases.
- Try "Secret Santas." Draw a name from a hat of one family member you are to buy for, and set a limit on how much each person is to spend.
- Use your points. Consider using your Air Miles or other loyalty points to buy presents.
- Don't use your credit card. Use cash to ensure you don't spend more than your budget allows, and to avoid carrying a monthly balance.
- Look for sales. Go online and find out when your favourite retailers will be holding sales.
- Consider the gift. Is it something the person actually needs, or is it just going to gather dust? Consider gifts that don't come with a price tag but offer value, such as babysitting for a night, volunteering for a friend's charity, or cooking a nice dinner for your family.
Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, is the association of choice for financial advisors and planners. With more than 11,000 members across the country, Advocis is the definitive voice of the profession, advocating for professionalism and consumer protection. Professional financial advisors and planners are critical to the economy, helping consumers make sound financial decisions that ultimately lead to greater financial stability and independence. Advocis works with decision-makers and the public, stressing the value of financial advice and striving for an environment in which all Canadians have access to the advice they need.
SOURCE: Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada
For further information:
For more information about how to find an advisor in your community, go to www.advocis.ca. Media contact: Kristin Doucet, director of communications and media relations (firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-342-9896).