Who the HECK are the Joneses and WHY are you "keeping up" with them?

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else is just doing WAY better at, well, LIFE than you? I’m pretty sure it isn’t hard to feel that way. Especially with social media and everyone posting about all the positive and exciting things they do. Friend #1 is going out to eat at all these fancy restaurants and friend #2 is always travelling… Then don’t forget about Friend #3 who just got married or friend #4 who had a baby.
Seeing all these posts about people’s adventures – or even just hanging out with people who want to go out to fancy clubs/restaurants and travel frequently, etc – may have you feeling stressed and worried about your financial situation. You cannot afford these things, but don’t want your friends to find out. So, you go along with their expensive ideas as a result. Nowadays, this is called FOMO (fear of missing out). Studies show that a good chunk of people have racked up debt due to this phenomenon. (I am being super scientific and using this measurement of “a good …

A New Link to Life

It’s been a while since I have written anything here, but it is something I hope to get back into for the fall. This summer was a bit hectic. Long story short, we moved cities and houses and we got a puppy. Now I have to learn to be even more productive in short periods of time as I am constantly running around when puppy needs to go pee outside!
So far, we have had our little piranha for a week and we have all already learned a lot. Link, our courageous guard dog who is scared of cardboard boxes and other dogs barking, is learning to tell us (for the most part!) that he needs to go outside when nature calls. He has also learned to sit, lie down, stay in the yard and come inside. He is a good, smart puppy but he needed someone to help guide him in how to get by in a family. And that is okay!
Link also does not get to caught up in sorrow if accidents happen. He knows it is part of life (and not his fault).
But, what about you? Do you know that it is okay to ask for help? Is it okay to hid…

On Humanity

Originally, I had a different topic in mind for today’s post. Unfortunately, life happened and we learned the other day that our old lady friend next door passed away.
Our neighbour was, aside from the landlord, one of the first people I met when I moved to Mississauga. At the time of her passing, she was 87 years old. She was also Greek, spoke little English and was suffering from dementia. Our conversations made very little sense and I did not know her actual name until two days ago. That being said, I still called her a friend. Every day I would see her and we would both smile and wave at each other – usually saying a few words. (Although, frequently my words would be in English and she would respond with something in Greek.) Sometimes she would tell me my boyfriend is cute – and, she isn’t wrong. Most of the time she would say how it was hot or cold. However, she was always, always friendly and the street seems somehow empty without her.
I am calling this post “On Humanity” because …

A Penny for your Thoughts

They say that it is easiest for writers to write what they know best, so I am following that piece of wisdom and writing another post about something that has come up a few times in conversations /life lately: the interaction between money and your mood.
It is my strong opinion that managing your finances is not so much a numbers/math game as it is a behavioural one. Thus, the skills and behaviours involved in properly implementing financial planning for your future would be the same regardless of the size of your income. (In fact, there are many people who have a larger than normal income, but whose expenses equal or supersede said income – making them worse off than someone with a smaller income but better habits.)
But, what do behaviours have to do with mood? A lot! We could be fully well-intentioned on a good day, but then have a bad day and just go all out on a shopping spree or eating out to “cheer ourselves up.” Similarly, you could receive good news (perhaps a job promotion for …

Home Sweet Home?

Home ownership has been a big conversation topic lately with my family and some of my clients. In fact, a couple clients requested I write something about this concern. So, here you go! On demand writing by Tara!
First of all, there are a lot of financial questions that come into play once you own a house – and this is something I find a lot of my younger clients tend to forget about when they say “I want to buy a home.” Whenever I hear this from a client, I also ask (if I don’t already know) if they have also considered saving for a few other things, in addition to the downpayment – such as, closing costs, taxes, home inspections, deposits for offers made, any necessary repairs, moving costs, furnishings, etc. Most of the time, theyhave not thought of this at all and are solely focused on the downpayment. Not only that, but they are counting every penny they have towards the downpayment!
Please, please, please do not do this, dear readers! This will give me nightmares if I hear of any…

Do we really HAVE to share?

In my last post, I had you ask yourself “who are the main characters?” in your life story. These characters play an important role in affecting both what actions and plans you will endeavour, as well as how your story ends. For example, your friends or parents can affect your decision about where or if you will attend post secondary studies. Similarly, having or not having children could affect how wildly you live your life (or not) and what happens to your assets when you die.

This is my super smooth segue into discussing estate planning, something with which I have been particularly involved as of late.
We are always told when we are little that “sharing is caring” and that we are supposed to play nicely, allowing others to use our toys – at least temporarily. But, what if we really don’t want to? What if you are worried about your rough little brother breaking your favourite teddy bear or colouring outside of the lines in your colouring book? Is it okay to share some things and not …

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Juliet may ask “what’s in a name?” but today, my question is “What makes the perfect story?” Some may say the characters, an interesting setting, or maybe even the adventure (plot). They might be right, or at least right in that each of those aspects contributes to a great story; however, for today, I am going to answer this question with “the narration.” The reason for this? You could have all the right elements for an exciting story, but still have the delivery ruined by a monotonous, Charlie-Brown-Teacher-like drone! Isn’t that just the worst? The perspective and manner in which the story is conveyed is of absolute importance. This is also how I view financial planning.
There is no cookie-cutter solution on the “best” way to manage your finances (although not spending everything you make is a good way to start). Similarly, there are certain elements that when implemented can certainly help with making your plan more effective… but, when and how you utilize each of these various tool…