Get Out of Debt

get out of debt

There are few things as difficult as trying to get out of debt. Whether you’ve been struggling on and off for years or were just recently hit with a large and unexpected financial burden, the hopelessness that accompanies  being severely in debt can feel impossible to overcome.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our most relevant posts to help you look towards the future with your head held high while planning how to get out of debt.

Causes of Debt:

Recognizing the Problem and Finding Help:

Strategies to Get Out of Debt:

Re-Establishing Your Credit Score:

Still feeling overwhelmed by the thought of getting a handle on your debt? We can help. Fill out our online application right here to book an appointment today!

Teach Your Kids How to Save

teach kids how to save

Whether it’s going on the perfect vacation, finally buying that new car you’ve had your eye on for months, or being able to comfortably retire, many of the best things in life come from knowing how to save. Unfortunately, saving doesn’t necessarily come naturally to all of us – especially not children or young adults who haven’t quite developed their impulse control skills yet. Here are some tips to help you teach your kids how to save:

Set Up a Savings Account

Don’t wait until your child is a pre-teen or teenager to set up a bank account for them. As soon as they’re old enough to understand the concept of money, open up a savings account for them and make sure to take them with you. The key here is to make sure your child gets to see for themselves exactly what happens when they deposit money. In addition to being able to give them a hands-on lesson, you’ll help ensure your child is comfortable with (rather than intimidated by) banking.

teach kids how to save

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Are you Ready for a New Car?

Whether you’ve had the same car for a number of years or are looking to buy your first one, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself before taking the next step and buying a new car.

How are your Finances?

 

One of the first things you should look at when considering whether or not you’re ready to buy a new car is if you can realistically afford it. In addition to the actual car payments, you’ll need to have enough contingency money set aside to cover any unforeseen expenses and you’ll need to check how much your insurance is going to cost each month.

How are you planning on financing your new vehicle? Have you already been pre-approved for a loan through your bank (the best option) or are you planning on getting financing directly through the dealership? What about your down payment – do you have enough saved up or should you wait a few more months until you’ve got a more comfortable savings buffer?

Have you done your Research?

 

Make sure you have a list of vehicles you’re interested in rather than just focusing on one specific make or model. As dead set as you might be on a certain vehicle right now, you may be surprised to discover that it doesn’t feel like the right fit when you finally see it in person and/or take it for a test drive.

What is the environmental impact of the vehicle you’re interested in? Assuming you’re not buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, how much will it cost to fill the tank with gas? Are there any promotions or deals online that could help you save some additional money? Have you considered buying a used car or leasing a vehicle rather than buying new?

Remember to expand your reach beyond just the dealerships immediately closest to your home. On top of doing price comparisons online, visit and speak to different dealers to ensure you’re getting the best deal

If you’re still uncertain, a good rule of thumb is to see what the general consensus is online from other owners of the vehicles you’re considering buying. While you should never take the word of a stranger on the internet as gospel, reading reviews can be a great resource when you’re trying to narrow your choices down.

You’ll know your done researching when you’ve found a short list of vehicles that appeal to you aesthetically, that complement your lifestyle, and that fit comfortably within your budget.

What’s the Trade-In Value of your Current Vehicle?

 

One of the main inconveniences that comes with buying a new car is trying to figure out what to do with the old one. While some people sell their car to a family member, friend, or random person on Craigslist, one of the most common options is to trade it in to the dealership. Depending on the age and the value of the car, you’ll get some money back that can be applied to the down payment on your new car.

If you opt to do a trade-in, make sure you do your research and look up for yourself what the current value of your car is rather than just relying on the dealer to tell you. In the past, the best option was to get an in-person appraisal but with the advent of the internet, there are a number of additional resources available right at your fingertips. In Canada, some examples of online tools that you can use to determine the trade-in value of your vehicle are Canadian Black Book, VMR Canada, and Auto Trader.

Black Book is the best option because it allows you to figure out the actual trade-in value by using your location, trim level, add-ons, and the number of kilometres on your odometer. Additionally, you can enter in the price of the new vehicle you’re planning on buying to replace it.

It’s important to note that Black Book will only let you do an appraisal on a vehicle from 2002 or newer. For anything older, you’ll need to use VMR Canada (which covers vehicles from 1983 onwards). VMR Canada does not offer the level of detail and customization that Black Book does so expect it to give you more of a ballpark figure than an exact estimate.

Are you Currently in an Upside-Down Loan?

 

Car loan terms have ballooned from the standard 36 months to 60 months or longer. This means that, by the end of the loan period, some owners are paying more for their vehicle than the vehicle is actually worth.

This can make buying a new vehicle difficult and expensive so if you’re still making payments on your old car, it’s important to check that the loan hasn’t gone upside down and isn’t going to negatively affect things.

Need help finding the perfect vehicle and financing terms for your budget? Fill out an application form to meet with us today!

Become a Saver, not a Spender

Are you tired of watching your money seemingly evaporate in front of your eyes after every paycheque? Do you struggle with putting money aside each month? Check out our tips on becoming a saver rather than a spender.

Change Your Money Mindset

 

becoming a saver

The key to becoming a saver and spending less money lies in changing how you perceive money (namely, appreciating how much of it you currently have versus how much you wishyou had.)

Money on its own is nothing more than colourful paper and plastic; Money is a tool, and it’s what you do with it and how you use it that matters.

The momentary thrill that comes with whipping your wallet out and making an extravagant purchase is quickly eclipsed by the realization that your bank balance has dropped accordingly.

Once you learn to value the things in your life that aren’t controlled by money, you’ll stop equating your own self-worth with how many expensive things you’re able to purchase. And don’t forget, the wealthy aren’t exempt from the need to change their money mindset; having a lot of money doesn’t automatically guarantee a happy, fulfilling life (just ask Ebenezer Scrooge.)

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Should You Buy a Hybrid Vehicle?

hybrid vehicle

Are you concerned about the environment and looking into buying a hybrid vehicle? We’ve created a list of pros, cons, and general things you should take into consideration before making your final decision.

How does a Hybrid Vehicle Work?

 

hybrid vehicle

There are two main types of hybrid cars – plug-in hybrids and standard hybrids. While plug-in hybrids can be charged at an electric car charging station, standard hybrids use regenerative braking and their internal combustion engine to charge the battery pack.

Hybrid vehicles are a combination of two types of engines – traditional gasoline-powered (internal combustion engine or ICEs) and electric. Hybrid vehicles have a combustion engine that runs on both gasoline and an electric motor. The electric motor has an attached rechargeable battery pack that enables electric-powered driving. While hybrid vehicles are able to use both engines at the same time as a means to increase power, they are also able to rely on just one of the two engines.

Pros:

 

hybrid vehicle

The number one appeal of a hybrid vehicle for most consumers is the fact that it’s environmentally friendly. Hybrid vehicles use 30-60% less fuel than traditional automobiles (which reduces the carbon dioxide emitted by the vehicle and results in cleaner air.)

Plug-in hybrids have the lowest fuel costs of vehicles currently on the market. Fewer trips to the pump means you save a significant amount of money over time, particularly if you’re a commuter. A hybrid vehicle’s higher gas mileage/fuel efficiency is a direct result of the car’s lighter weight and smaller gas engine.

Owning a hybrid won’t just save you money at the gas station; In Ontario, you can receive a subsidy between $3,000 and $14,000 for purchasing an electric or hybrid car.

Hybrid vehicles are also considerably quieter than traditional gas-powered vehicles, cutting down significantly on noise pollution.

Cons:

 

hybrid vehicle

Quiet vehicles have their downsides, too. You have to be hypervigilant and ensure that you’re aware of pedestrians who may not hear your vehicle approaching.

Typically, hybrid vehicles depreciate faster than gas powered cars. They also have a higher initial purchasing cost which can cause the buyer to go into sticker shock (often 20% more than vehicles with standard engines.) The reason for the higher cost is due to a combination of a hybrid vehicle’s advanced technology and long-term fuel-saving benefits.

Additionally, hybrid vehicles typically cost more to repair and maintain because of the complexity of their dual compulsion systems. Before buying a hybrid vehicle, do some research to ensure there’s a repair shop located close to your home or work that has the proper equipment to perform repairs. Also, be aware that some cars may require service to be performed directly by the manufacturer (which is often more expensive.)

Due to their high voltage, hybrid batteries also make the odds of electrocution higher in an accident. Hybrids also have less suspension and body support compared to their performance-focused counterparts.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the pros of owning a hybrid vehicle outweigh the cons. If you feel that you need some additional guidance, we’re more than happy to help. Click here to book an appointment with us today!