Financial Literacy Month a great time to focus on your finances
Over 900 free financial advice events offered from British Columbia to Newfoundland & Labrador
TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - It's not easy saving money amidst all the noise of "buy me" options, especially leading into the holiday season. With November as Financial Literacy Month in Canada, what better time to focus some energy on making plans to grow your savings?
Just thinking about "financial literacy" can seem like a daunting task, but there are some easy ways Canadians can gain a better understanding of their own finances and prioritize what's important.
Whether Canadians are in school, starting a career, planning for retirement or somewhere in between, RBC wants to help. That's why RBC is offering a record number of free financial advice events in November - over 900 across the country - to help everyone think about what they want to save for and how to reach their savings goals.
For those who prefer to obtain financial know-how from the comforts of home, RBC has launched Why Financial Literacy Matters a new website that brings together a host of online resources for all life stages.
RBC is also continuing to partner with Free The Children to offer students in elementary and high school a practical financial education curriculum resource called "It All Adds Up", which helps young Canadians learn how to make smart day-to-day financial choices.
"Financial education is a lifelong journey - there is always more we can learn along the way. Whatever stage in life you're at and whatever your priorities, we're here to help you achieve the financial future you have in mind," said Jennifer Tory, group head, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC.
To help get everyone get started or moving ahead more quickly to build savings, below are some tips from RBC.
If you're in your 20s
This is usually the stage when you're starting to earn income and pay down debts from school. This brings up the dreaded 'make a budget' advice - but what this really means is figuring out how much money you have and where that money is going, an important first step in taking control of your finances.
- Write down everything you spend in a month; organize the items into 'must spends' and 'flexible spends' subtract the must spends from your weekly income to know how much you have for flexible spends.
- Look at your list of flexible expenses and see what changes you can make to help save money. If you typically eat out twice a week, for example, try switching to once a week and see the difference that makes by the end of one month.
If you're in your 30s or 40s
Here's where you're getting ready to buy your first home or are already are a homeowner and are carrying a mortgage. You may have a young family, with daycare and children's activity expenses; you may be paying off your own education costs. At this time in your life, finances often involve a balancing act - you're trying to take care of short-term expenses and any debts, while at the same time trying to establish longer-term savings.
- Try the 'pay yourself first' approach. If you set aside even a very small amount into savings before you pay all your bills, you're establishing a great habit. Use automatic deposits - into your savings account, from your monthly income or your chequing account - and this money will become virtually 'invisible', growing your savings before you know it.
- Review and rebalance your budget on a regular basis. As any extra money comes in - a salary increase or bonus, a decrease in daycare costs, an income tax refund - see what you can deposit into your savings. You have multiple options: RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, savings accounts. Whether you contribute a little toward each or a lot toward one or two, setting aside these funds - taking them out of spending consideration - can help you grow your savings.
If you're in your 50s
These are the prime years to boost your savings - particularly through your investments. You're likely seeing your highest income through this decade, while also dealing with competing priorities - saving for retirement, helping children with post-secondary education, caring for aging parents. It's important now to focus on how to make the most of your best earning years, including tax-saving opportunities.
- Make your RRSP savings and investments your top priority. Begin making up any unused contribution room - even if you can't use it all. If you can, take advantage of spousal RRSPs as well. Use any related income tax refunds to make further RRSP contributions. Review your investments to ensure you have the right mix to help you build your savings within your timeline.
- Increase contributions to TFSAs, for you and your spouse/partner. Any funds and investments within your TFSA will grow tax-free and, unlike RRSPs, won't be subject to taxes when you make withdrawals.
If you're in your 60s
This is the time to shift your focus from building your savings to determining how you will use those savings to help finance your years in retirement. You'll be looking at the best ways to generate income to support your retirement lifestyle and any legacy plans you have in mind.
- If you haven't openly discussed the retirement lifestyle you have in mind with your loved ones and advisors, now is the time to do so. Sit down with a Financial Planner to explore all your options. You may be surprised to see what's possible... and more than ready to enjoy the money you've been saving and investing.
- Know your sources of income in retirement, to help determine how your savings will help support your expenses. Will you be receiving a guaranteed income from your company's pension plan, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Old Age Security (OAS)? What will you be withdrawing from your own savings and investments to help create your income in retirement?
RBC Advice Events during National Financial Literacy Month
Canadians of all ages who are looking for in-person financial advice have a wide range of options during November's National Financial Literacy Month, with over 900 free advice events being offered across the country by RBC. In rural communities and cities, suburbs and downtown cores, there's an advice topic for every stage of life - for a cross-country sampler, click here.
About RBC's financial advice and interactive online resources
Canadians can freely access RBC's new Why Financial Literacy Matters website with free advice videos and articles, interactive calculators and other online resources. In addition, whether Canadians want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions, providing customized information covering many facets of personal finance at www.rbcadvicecentre.com. Canadians can also visit their local RBC Royal Bank branch or call our toll-free number at 1-800-769-2553.
For further information:
Kathy Bevan, RBC Communications, 416-974-8820