Hidden home buying costs to consider

Expenses to consider when purchasing a home

When you think of the cost of buying a home, expenses like the down payment, realtor commission and moving costs probably come to mind. While these expenses usually make up most of your spending, there are other costs associated with home buying that people often overlook. Check out this list of costs you might encounter at different stages of the home-buying process.

Before closing

Home inspection

  • It’s a good idea to have your property evaluated by a certified home inspector. They’ll check things like the foundation, heating and cooling systems, electrical service, the roof and plumbing – important details you’ll want to know about before making an offer.
  • Approximate cost: $500

Down payment deposit

  • After your formal offer is accepted by the seller, you’ll need to make a deposit on the purchase price. This Hidden Home Buying Costsamount will be applied to your final payment of the purchase price.
  • Approximate cost: Variable, can be up to 5% of the property’s purchase price

Appraisal/property valuation

  • Before you’re approved for a mortgage, your lender may require an appraisal of the property’s value.
  • Approximate cost: $250–500, but sometimes waived by the mortgage lender

It’s important to consider all additional expenses before beginning the home-buying process to stay within your budget.

At closing

Legal or notary fees

  • Your lawyer or notary charges fees to search the property’s title to confirm that the seller currently owns the property and what liens (such as mortgages) are registered against the property that will have to be cleared at the time of sale. They will prepare the documents required to complete the sale and ensure that you receive title to the property you are buying.
  • Approximate cost: $500–$1500

Property survey and/or title insurance

  • A property survey is optional but sometimes requested by the lender. It’s used to verify the property’s boundaries, measurements of the land and position of the building on the property.
  • Title insurance is often used when a survey can’t be located or doesn’t exist. It’s used to protect ownership of the property and is typically purchased through your lawyer. It protects you against title fraud and may protect you against identity theft and fees that came up when your lawyer or notary conducted the property title search.
  • Approximate cost: Property survey: $750–$1,000; title insurance: varies based on property value; one time cost

Land transfer tax

  • This is a tax charged upon transferring the ownership of the property to a new owner. In some provinces, land transfer tax refunds are available for first-time home buyers.
  • Approximate cost: A percentage of the property’s purchase price, variable by province. Some cities charge an additional municipal land transfer tax. Visit your provincial government’s website for more information.

GST/HST/QST

  • These taxes are generally only charged on new homes, not resale properties; however, some existing properties aren’t exempt.
  • Approximate cost: A percentage of the property’s purchase price, variable by province. Visit your provincial government’s website for more information.

Pre-paid expenses

  • If the seller has already paid for future expenses such as property taxes or utility bills, you’ll need to reimburse them as part of the legal closing process.
  • Approximate cost: Variable

Property taxes

  • Property taxes can be paid in different ways – as an upfront annual cost, in installments throughout the year, or as part of your ongoing mortgage payments.
  • If you opt for property taxes to be included in your mortgage payments, your lender will make payments to your municipality when due.
  • If you decide to make direct payments, contact your municipality to find out the amount you need to pay and when taxes are due.
  • Approximate cost: Variable

After closing

Transfer fees

  • Some companies, especially utilities, charge a disconnect/reconnect fee when moving; you’ll likely see this on your first bill after moving.
  • Approximate cost: Varies by company

Utility deposits

  • If you’re a first-time home buyer who’s never held a utility account, the utility company will usually require a deposit for the first year.
  • You’ll likely get this money back in the form of a credit to your utility bill, either as a lump-sum or in instalments.
  • Approximate cost: Varies by company

Mortgage default insurance

  • If your down payment is less than 20% of the total purchase price of your home, you’ll have a high-ratio mortgage.
  • High-ratio mortgages require you to buy mortgage default insurance, which protects mortgage lenders in the event homeowners can’t pay their mortgage.
  • Approximate cost: Varies depending on size of down payment; can be added to your ongoing mortgage payments

Home insurance

  • Home insurance offers protection for your home and its contents in the event of fire, natural disaster, theft or other unfortunate circumstances, and is required by lenders. Policies vary according to the options you choose and are priced according to the level of protection.
  • Approximate cost: Variable, paid annually or in instalments

Managing the cost and logistics of buying a home can be a big job. It’s important to consider all additional expenses before beginning the home-buying process to stay within your budget. Don’t forget that home ownership also often involves repairs and renovations as well the cost of furniture and décor. You may also want to evaluate which type of insurance coverage is right for you.

If the thought of buying a home makes you anxious about your finances, I can help you prepare and assess your financial readiness for home ownership, and lead you through setting goals towards owning the house you dream of.

Get up to speed on mortgage basics before buying a home

When you’re starting your home buying journey, it can be hard to know where to begin. For one thing, mortgages aren’t always easy to understand, especially with regulatory changes over the past two years. If you’re looking to buy a home, it’s important to get up to speed on these rules so you can select the right mortgage for you. To help you understand these changes, let’s look at some of the basic requirements for buying a home.

The mortgage basics

Down payment requirements

Home down payments are usually expressed in percentages. They’re calculated by dividing the dollar value of the down payment by the home price. In Canada, the minimum down payment depends on the purchase price of the home:

  • Purchase price of less than $500,000 needs a 5% minimum down payment
  • Purchase price of $500,000 – $999,999 needs a 5% minimum down payment on the first $500,000, and 10% on any amount over $500,000

If you make a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price, you’ll hold a conventional or low-ratio mortgage. Mortgage Terms & RulesIf you put down less than 20%, your mortgage is considered a high-ratio mortgage. By law, high-ratio mortgages require you to buy mortgage default insurance.

Mortgage default insurance

This type of insurance protects mortgage lenders if homeowners can’t pay their mortgage. Your mortgage lender can arrange a default insurance policy through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Genworth Canada or Canada Guaranty. In most cases, the additional cost is factored into your mortgage payment.

Financial stability requirements

Your lender will use two ratios – gross debt service (GDS) and total debt service (TDS) – to assess your ability to make monthly payments. These are used to determine how much you can spend on housing without risking your financial stability.

  • Gross debt service is an estimate of the maximum home-related expenses you can afford each month, including mortgage payments, electricity and gas costs, property taxes and condo fees. While an acceptable number varies between lenders and the type of mortgage you hold, your monthly housing costs should be less than 30% of your gross monthly income for a non-insured, conventional mortgage.
  • Total debt service is an estimate of the maximum debt load you can afford each month. In addition to your home-related expenses, this number includes things like car loan payments, credit cards and other loan expenses. This number also varies between lenders, but in general, your monthly debt obligations shouldn’t be more than 40% of your total monthly income for a non-insured, conventional mortgage.

Regardless of where you are in your home buying journey, brushing up on mortgage basics and the current rules is a good place to start when thinking about your next move.

Recent changes to borrowing

Changes to mortgage default insurance

What is it? In October 2016, the Department of Finance implemented new stress-testing requirements for all mortgages that need mortgage default insurance. In other words, if you need mortgage default insurance, you’ll have to be able to afford a higher mortgage rate than the promotional rate for the term you selected. This helps ensure Canadians aren’t taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford.

Who’s it for? Homebuyers applying for a high-ratio mortgage that requires mortgage default insurance, or where low-ratio mortgage insurance is required.

How does it affect me? All homebuyers applying for mortgage default insurance (high- or low-ratio) must qualify at the greater of their lender’s standard rate 5-year mortgage rate and the Bank of Canada’s 5-year conventional mortgage rate, regardless of the term chosen. For an insured mortgage, the GDS can’t exceed 39% and the TDS can’t be more than 44%.

How much mortgage default insurance costs

What is it? From time to time, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) changes the cost of insurance. Under new guidelines, CMHC increased the cost on March 17, 2017.

Who’s it for? Homebuyers applying for a high-ratio mortgage that requires mortgage default insurance, or where low-ratio mortgage insurance is required.

How does it affect me? The cost of mortgage default insurance is based on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of the mortgage you’re applying for – it’s calculated by dividing the size of the loan you’ll need by the purchase price of the home. The higher the LTV ratio, the more insurance will cost. The cost depends on the LTV ratio. For current rates, refer to the CMHC website.

With housing price fluctuations and changing mortgage rules, it can be overwhelming to navigate the housing market. If you need a little help to get started, I can assess your financial security plan to make sure you’re on track towards your home ownership goals.

I can also put you in touch with a mortgage planning specialist who can guide you through each step of the mortgage process. Regardless of where you are in your home buying journey, brushing up on mortgage basics and current rules is a good place to start when thinking about your next move.

How saving early and often can help grow your investments

How saving early and often can help grow your investments

Saving money can be a challenge at the best of times. But did you know that with a regular savings plan in place, and an early start, you could be much further ahead when it comes time to consider retirement?

That’s because when you start saving early, your money has more time to grow, allowing it to benefit from compound growth. Compounding can help your money grow, in most cases, far beyond the amount you originally invested. So, how does it work?

Compound growth is similar to compound interest. With compound interest you’re essentially earning interest onSaving Early interest – you earn interest on the money you put in at the start, as well as the money you add later, plus on all the interest that collects over time. This gives you a larger total amount to earn future interest on, leading to even more growth. Over time, you have a powerful recipe to help you grow your money.

The concept of compound growth is similar to growing a forest of trees. The forest can grow in two ways – trees can be planted by hand (like your regular investment contributions), while others may grow on their own through seeds that fall from mature trees (like compound growth on your contributions). In time, a few trees planted early can grow into an entire forest without much effort.

To understand how this could affect your savings, consider the journey of $240,000, saved two different ways. If you save $500 per month with an annual return rate of six per cent compounded monthly, beginning at age 25, you would have $1,000,724 at age 651. Conversely, if you tried to catch up on your savings, contributing $1,000 with the same annual rate of return beginning at age 45, you would only have $464,361 at age 652. Under both scenarios, you’ve invested the same amount with the same growth rate, but in the first scenario, your money has twice as long to grow, and you end up with more than twice as much.

The beauty of saving early and relying on the power of compounding is it doesn’t take a lot of money to get started. Relatively small amounts consistently invested regularly, especially when you are young and early into your career, can make a significant difference in the total size of your savings down the road. Those small deposits can be the difference between being confident with your investment success and having to worry about it much later in your life. It can be as easy as sitting back while you let your money do all the work and grow into something much bigger.

The strategy for compounding:

  • Invest early – the longer your money is invested, the more time it has to grow. When it comes to compounding returns, time is on your side.
  • Contribute regularly – regardless of the amount you can afford – the important thing is to start and be consistent. Even small contributions made each month will grow. You can increase your contributions as your financial situation changes throughout your life.
  • Don’t take money out – as your savings grow and earn compound returns, the gains made through compounding will also help you build your wealth.

Whether it’s through a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or a tax-free savings account (TFSA), saving early and saving often can give you a head start on planning for retirement. And that planning may allow you to reach your financial goals sooner. I can help you review your financial goals and prepare for the future.

Practical ways to prevent overspending because of the fear of missing out

The financial cost – and the way out – of FOMO

If you’re addicted to social media networks, could you be suffering from FOMO? The abbreviation for fear of missing out, FOMO is the virtual equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses,” or competing with your friends and acquaintances for material accomplishments. Caution: if you’re a millennial (between the ages of 25 and 34), you might be particularly susceptible to FOMO. According to a recent study, 26 per cent of Canadians admitted to having it. Of those, 48 per cent are millennials.* The good news: there are practical ways to deal with the condition.

Besides the psychological pressure of measuring your life based on the content your friends share online, FOMO can make a serious dent to your wallet. Here’s how:

Flaunt fest:

Your friend posts amazing photos from her latest cruise in the Mediterranean; another snaps a video of his fine wine sipping in Napa; your cousin Instagrams photos from a book launch – your favourite celebrity releasing her novel. No matter who is in your social media circle, someone will always seem to have a more interesting life than yours at any given time. Without set physical boundaries, the virtual space becomes an open and endless exhibition arena for flaunting material success, teasing you to indulge in your own.

The cycle of inadequacy:

You know your friends’ Facebook life is not their real life, at least not the whole picture. People post selectively, oftenMillennials Fear of Missing Out highlighting the good in their lives. Despite knowing this, it’s easy to get carried away by the projected lifestyles of your social media contacts. You may feel lacking, not based on facts but on your perception of how everyone else on your social media feed is having a good time. From there, it doesn’t take too long to hop on the bandwagon to pay for your own social media promotion. See how the cycle works?

Things over people:

The more you remain glued to your tablet or phone screen, the more you expose yourself to shiny new things to aspire to – the designer clothes and accessories a friend posed in; the luxurious Hawaii trip the co-worker can’t stop raving about; the gourmet food photos another friend keeps tempting you with. As things take precedence over the people in your life, the winner is often retail therapy. The losers? Your wallet and your relationships.

Spurred by instant notifications and alerts flashing on digital screens, FOMO can easily lead to impulse spending. Many, if not most of these expenses are unplanned and unaccounted for, and over time, can add up to a lot of money – money that could have grown through investments.

If you think you might be suffering from FOMO, try these steps:

1. Break down your budget and stick to it:

Earmark a portion of your budget towards fun expenses, triggered by FOMO or not. Being conscious of how much you’re allowed to spend will help you be more realistic and cause less stress to your wallet.

2. Try sticking to cash:

Leave your cards at home. Every time you pay in cash, you will be forced to live within your means and not be tempted to overspend.

Many, if not most of FOMO-triggered expenses are unplanned and over time, can add up to a lot of money – money that could have grown through investments.

3. Schedule fun time:

Knowing when you’re going out with your friends for a movie or with your partner for dinner takes the randomness out of it. You can plan better and allocate the right amount for each scheduled expense.

4. Try to unplug every once in a while:

If your FOMO is really serious, try and get away from the blitz of social networks all together for a while. You can have a weekly social media fast; deactivate your Facebook account for a period of time, turn off your phone for a couple of hours daily, or use blocking tools to restrict your access to specific social networks. You might be surprised by how you can use up all that time productively while also preventing yourself from potential splurging.

5. Pick your splurges:

If collecting antiques is your weakness, put some funds aside for it in your budget. If you like to eat out, allocate money towards that. Identifying one or two key areas you’re passionate about can help limit you from spreading your finances too thin in trying to respond to every big and small FOMO attack.

In the end, it’s all about perspective and staying grounded. Make sure your FOMO isn’t stemming from a sense of lack in some other area of your life. Remaining conscious of your spending behaviour and focusing on the non-material things that bring you joy can help you live a full life without creating a hole in your pocket.

Bonus tip: Talk to me to learn how you can grow the money you saved using the tips listed above.

Should you rely on group insurance alone?

How individual insurance can complement your group insurance

Your employer may offer group insurance coverage – for example, life insurance, critical illness insurance or disability insurance as part of a benefits plan.

It’s a basic way to help protect you and your loved ones.

But what if you could do more than just cover the basics? Your lifestyle is important to you and your family, so what if you could complement your group benefits coverage with individual insurance and help keep the lifestyle you’d want for your family, if you died or became too sick or injured to work?

Knowing the details of your group insurance plan is crucial. You want to make sure you have the right type of insurance, and the right amount of coverage, to cover all your bases when dealing with the unexpected.

Individual insurance, such as life, critical illness and disability insurance is coverage you can get outside of work. They typically offer more control and choice based on the needs of you and your family. And it’s all about you: you own it and you choose the products and options you want that are customized for your needs.

Together with your group insurance, they can help protect you, your family and your lifestyle from unexpected events that could jeopardize your financial goals and keep you from meeting your obligations.

Uncover your needs to find out if your group insurance is enough

Does group insurance cover your needs? Consider the following questions:

1. If something were to happen to you or a loved one would you be able to:

2. Does group insurance coverage include the types of insurance you and your family need?

  • Will your insurance protection last a lifetime?
  • Does your partner have group insurance coverage through their work?
  • If you’re too sick to work, would your coverage give you a lump-sum payment to help with recovery?
  • Can you increase your coverage if your needs change?

Better together: Group and individual insurance

For some people, group insurance is enough, but an individual insurance plan can complement your group insurance benefits. I can help sort out the details and fill in any existing gaps.

Help your parents secure their legacy

Is it time to have the talk with your parents?

Do you remember when your parents sat you down for the talk? Back then, it likely included some anxious moments and uncomfortable feelings.

It could be time to think about another talk, but this time you’d be initiating a conversation your parents may have Talk to Parents About Legacy & Fiancesbeen avoiding – about how they want their final wishes carried out.

It’s time to have the talk

Here are a few suggestions when it comes to discussing their legacy:

1. Take advantage of the time you have. You’re on the right track by helping your parents think about this now as opposed to reacting in the moment. Taking the time now helps your parents put the right plans in place to protect what matters most to them.

2. Get organized and help ensure your parents’ wishes are maintained. Help your parents understand the value of getting organized early on so their wishes are understood and carried out according to plan.

You’re on the right track by starting to think about this now, as opposed to reacting in the moment.

3. Ensure they choose someone as their power of attorney. Encourage your parents not to wait too long to select their power of attorney. A lot of important decisions may end up in this person’s hands, and the more time they have to understand your parents’ preferences, the better.

Things to consider

Figuring out your parents’ wishes can take time. When you’re having the talk, it’s important to keep in mind how you can work with a financial security advisor to help protect their estate. Some things to think about when developing a plan are how to help:

  • Protect your parents’ investments from market downturns.
  • Avoid unnecessary legal, estate administration fees.
  • Ensure their money goes directly to the people and/or cause(s) they have chosen.

Work with a financial security advisor to include an Estate Protection policy on their financial security plan. It combines potential growth with protection for the beneficiaries of the policy to help make sure the estate is secured.

What should we talk about?

Start with the basics and learn about:

  • Your parents’ sources of income
  • Any mortgage balance outstanding and types of insurance they have
  • Their medical history
  • The name of and contact information for their advisor (if they don’t have one, ask about how they’ve been making financial decisions)
  • Whether they have a documented will, living will and power of attorney
  • How they would like their money allocated (i.e., to family, friends, charity or a combination of these)

While you’re helping your parents develop a plan, encourage them to provide their banking information to their power of attorney.

I can help your parents ensure their wishes are carried out. Whether you’re having the talk for the first time or revisiting the subject, you can feel a sense of relief and security knowing you’re helping them carry out their final wishes.

Savers versus spenders – the great divide

Five tips to help couples bridge the gap on their financial attitudes

We’re all different when it comes to our perspectives on spending. Some people have no problem saving all their extra pennies, and some people spend what they have without thinking about the future. While differences make the world go round, conflicting thoughts on money matters can lead to tension in relationships. If you and your partner find yourselves at opposite ends of the saving versus spending spectrum, these tips can help you meet in the middle.

1. Understand each other’s differences

You’re buying a new car together. The spender wants all the upgrades, while the saver is just fine with the base model. When emotions run high, it can be difficult to see where your partner is coming from. The truth is, our Budgeting with Partnerattitudes about money are deeply rooted. Perhaps you or your partner is stingier with spending because there was less to go around growing up. Perhaps the person who is free with money gets an emotional reward from spending. Try to take a step back and discuss the reasoning behind your behaviour. It’s always easier to negotiate when you try to validate each other’s feelings, instead of assigning blame.

2. Set goals you can agree on

As a saver, it can seem irritating if your partner is constantly making purchases you deem frivolous. Creating a spending plan as a couple – with shared goals in mind – can help bring you together around common values. For example, say you agree that taking a trip overseas or buying a home is your biggest priority. You may want to consider how much you’ll need for that expense and factor how long it will take you to save that amount. With that savings goal in mind, it will probably be a whole lot easier to pass up unnecessary indulgences.

It is possible for partners with different spending styles to find a middle ground.

3. Establish a system for bill payment

When your bills roll in each month, avoid the last-minute scramble by setting parameters on who will pay each bill if you manage your finances using separate accounts. Perhaps you each cover half of your mortgage or rent, one of you pays the auto insurance and the other covers hydro. Since these expenses are generally fixed, setting up a system for handling bills up-front gives you one less thing to worry (fight) about.

4. Set a threshold for joint purchases

Every couple has a different way of structuring their finances, and sometimes, it takes a bit of trial and error. Some people keep separate accounts and split everything down the middle, while others pool all their resources. Other couples have four accounts between them: one joint for savings, one joint for everyday expenses and two individual accounts for whatever’s left (fun money). Whichever system you decide is best for you, you may want to consider setting a limit on the amount you can spend on a joint purchase without consulting each other. Discussing big-ticket purchases with your partner before you take the plunge is an easy way to avoid a disagreement.

5. Call for backup

Sometimes, reaching out to an impartial third party is the best way to solve financial disputes. I can help by talking to you about your goals and determining the best way to structure your finances to suit your needs. With a customized financial plan in tow, you’ll have a solid foundation for the decisions you make about your money.

With a common vision for your future and the right financial action plan, it’s possible for partners with different spending styles to find a middle ground.

Six apps to help you shape up your health and finances

Tech tools to empower you to meet your personal finance and fitness goals

If you’re aiming to make this the year you fully commit yourself to your goals, look no further than your smartphone or tablet. Starting out the year with the right tools can help you make smart choices for both your finances and your health. Check out these apps that could help you manage your finances better and make smarter fitness and lifestyle choices.

Finance and budgeting apps

Mint: Free on iPhone and AndroidMint Personal Finance App

What it is: A budgeting app with easy-to-understand graphs and charts that explain your spending.

What it does:

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of your finances in real time.
  • Automatically tracks spending and categorizes it.
  • Alerts you if and when you’re close to your budget limit.

Starting out the year with the right tools can help you make smart choices for both your finances and your health.

Level Money: Free on iPhone and Android

What it is: If you need help with sticking to your budget, Level Money will be your friend.

What it does:

  • Shows how much you can spend in a day, week or month.
  • Detects your income and expenses and can even help you see how you can save for big-ticket items or clear debt.
  • Handy planning component helps you stick to your goals in a hassle-free way.

Unsplurge: Free on iPhone

What it is: Are you looking to save for a special splurge like that Hawaii trip, a new car, or your parents’ silver anniversary bash? Unsplurge offers a slightly different, more fun, approach to budgeting.

What it does:

  • Log and track your savings progress to reach your goal.
  • Receive motivation and guidance from the community to help you get to your goal.

Health and wellness apps

Sworkit: Free on iPhone and Android with optional in-app purchases

What it is: You want to exercise regularly but are hard-pressed for time. With Sworkit you no longer have an excuse not to flex your muscles. Just tell the app what kind of workout you’re in the mood for at any given moment and for how long.

What it does:

  • Delivers exercise moves to you, whether it’s strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching you’re looking for.
  • A premium option at $4.99 a month helps personalize the experience even more by setting the number of reps and the areas of the body you want to focus on.

Yonder: Free on iPhone and Android

What it is: If you’re an outdoor person and want your workout to be in the midst of nature, Yonder can help.

What it does:

  • Once you enter your location, Yonder throws up dozens of suggestions for hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing.
  • Offers reviews and tips from fellow outdoorsmen and women.

ShopWell: Free on iPhone and Android

What it is: Serious about how many calories you’re consuming and need help maintaining a healthy target? ShopWell will impress you.

What it does:

  • Personalizes your calorie intake based on your height, weight, age, and allergies.
  • Scores every food in terms of how healthy it is for you; try to get closer to 100 for best results.
  • The app even makes individual recommendations for similar, healthier alternatives.

Think of these apps as your personalized digital gurus as you move through the year. But remember — they don’t replace expert advice. Just as you need a doctor or dietician to help you with particular health conditions, a professional, such as myself can provide you with specific and detailed advice on how best to manage your finances.

Buying versus leasing a car

What you need to consider when purchasing a new car

Buying a vehicle can be one of the largest purchases you can make. Aside from choosing the colour, make and model, you also have to decide how you’re going to pay for it. If you don’t have the cash on hand to buy the car in full, should you finance or lease? While there are supporters of both sides, each option has its pros and cons. Here are four things to consider when purchasing a new vehicle to ensure it fits within your financial plan.

1. Your monthly budget

If you choose to finance, your loan is for the full purchase price of the car (including any interest charged for borrowing the money). With a lease, instead of borrowing money for the full purchase price, you’re only borrowing for the vehicle’s depreciation during the lease term. As a result, your monthly payments will generally be much lower when leasing than financing.

However, if you continually lease you will always have a monthly payment; you’re essentially paying to rent the car Finance vs Lease Car?each month. If you finance, each payment helps build equity. And once you’ve paid the car off it’s yours – which means no more monthly payments. So while leasing gives you a lower monthly payment, financing gives you an asset and no monthly payments down the road.

2. How often do you want a new car

One of the biggest appeals of leasing is the ability to always drive the newest model. Once your lease is up, you can turn in the keys and sign a new lease for the latest model – starting the process all over again. Since most warranties last three years – which is the same length as the average lease – you’re driving the car in the best years of its life with minimal maintenance costs. Plus there’s no hassle of trying to sell your car when you want a change.

Of course if you finance a car, you’re free to sell your car at any point and use that money to purchase a new one. While buying a vehicle does give you an asset, keep in mind it’s one that depreciates as soon as you leave the dealership.

The choice between financing and leasing really depends on your lifestyle, needs and priorities.

3. How hard you are on your car

Messy kids? Are you a magnet for scratches and dings on your car? Want to put a different exhaust on your fancy new sports car? You may want to consider buying. With leasing, anything above and beyond normal wear and tear could result in extra fees in order to be fixed or replaced.

To ensure you’re following the regular maintenance schedule on the vehicle, your lease agreement may also require you to get servicing done at the dealership. Regular maintenance is something you also want to consider if you plan on financing, not only for your safety but also any damage to the vehicle will impact its resale value.

4. How much you drive

When leasing, there’s often a maximum number of kilometres you can drive over the course of the lease. If you put on a high number of kilometres every year, you run the risk of going over your mileage allowance. And each kilometre you go over will cost you when it’s time to turn in the keys.

Ultimately the choice between financing and leasing really depends on your lifestyle, needs and priorities. No matter what you decide, just make sure you take the time to consider all your options beforehand.

How to weather the transition from saving to spending in retirement

Create a retirement plan that will adapt as the financial winds change

You’ve worked hard to save for retirement – prioritizing your goals along the way. You’re tiptoeing towards retirement and you’ve earned your “me time” – now, create a plan for how you’ll spend it.

Approaching retirement after years of hard work can be an exciting time, but it can also trigger feelings of uncertainty about how sunny your financial forecast may be. How long you’ll live is an important factor that impacts how long your money needs to last. The fact is, Canadians are living longer than before, which means you’ll likely need more to be able to support your retirement dreams.

Make the most out of your retirement by working with an advisor.

As you begin to shift your mindset from saving to spending, you may be asking yourself, “Am I going to be OK?” You’re not alone. It can be difficult to envision exactly how you would like the next 20, 30 or even 40 years to look – and creating a plan to support your vision can seem daunting. Don’t fret – I can help.

It’s important to have a retirement income strategy that sets the stage for a long and fulfilling retirement. Part of Retirement Incomecreating a plan that works for you involves setting realistic expectations about your saving and spending habits. Working with me will help you stay focused on the things that matter, rather than the checks and balances of financing your retirement.

Remember, tomorrow can be sunny – and it can come sooner than you think

Do you think your spending will decrease in retirement? Canadians need to be wary of that assumption because spending actually stays more or less the same – and may even increase. To help position you for a bright future, you can take the following steps as you move closer to retirement.

Three to five years before retirement

  • Estimate how much guaranteed income you’ll receive from the government and your employers.
  • Estimate your living expenses and lifestyle needs.
  • Review your investment portfolio with me to find out if you are on the right financial track toward your retirement goals.

One year before retirement

  • Verify eligibility and amounts of retirement income from all sources.
  • Review estate planning.
  • Work with me to put the finishing touches on your customized retirement program.

Six months out

  • Update your beneficiary information.
  • Apply for government benefits.
  • Apply for retirement income from your workplace plan.

Stop asking, “Will I be OK?” Make the most out of your retirement by working with an advisor who can help you better understand and manage your potential sources of income. I can help you develop a retirement strategy that can help set you up for fair weather, while also providing you with a financial umbrella – just in case the wind shifts.