28 Nov

Adulting IX: Financial Goals & Cashflow Planning

Adulting with Julia

We were excited to finish off our series with financial planner Julia Chung, who workshopped how to set financial goals based on our own unique values and priorities.

We discussed things like:

  • Differences between a scarcity mindset (budgeting) and a growth mindset (cashflow planning)
  • How to be conscientious with spending and counteract forces that contribute to overspending and shame
  • Goal setting and aligning our cashflow with those goals

More photos from the event are below!

Julia’s Adulting Advice

Julia taught us that budgets are usually fear-based: we create them when we feel we don’t have enough. This can lead to an unsustainable or unrealistic allocation of our financial resources.

She advises to start your financial planning by filling out your ‘wheel of life.’ From there, prioritize areas you’d most like to improve, figure out what the gaps are between where you are now and where you’d like to be, and then set specific goals. This approach aligns your finances with your values, and this synergy is motivating!

We also learned that “should” is a swear word. If you’re saving for something because you think you should, you won’t be motivated.

Take the time to outline the specifics of your financial goals. “I save enough to take a vacation somewhere warm next year” isn’t as exciting as “I learn to surf in Sámara, Costa Rica in Winter 2020.” Experts recommend that at least 20% of your after-tax income be spent on lifestyle and entertainment, allowing you to enjoy your life.

Keeping focused on your financial goals is difficult – our culture promotes mindless consumption and it’s hard to work against this system. Goal-setting and being a thoughtful consumer are two tools we can use in response.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to finances. There isn’t one way to invest, one set percentage to put aside for retirement. The answer starts with you putting in the work to determine what your values and goals are.


Julia’s Presentation

Event Photos

03 Oct

Adulting VIII: Investing & Financial Planning

Adulting with Dave (Round Two!)

Investing kept coming up as something people wanted to know more about. So, we brought back financial advisor Dave Sweeney to help us sort through all the noise.

We discussed things like:

  • Some of our individual money stories and what specifics Dave would have us consider in trying to invest for our future
  • Thought-provoking investing guidelines

As a bonus you’ll find photos from the event below!

Dave’s Adulting Advice

“The three most important things when it comes to investing – time, money and rate of return. The only one of these that we can’t make more of is time. Being Gen Y is an advantage because we have more of that elusive time! There’s no cheaper time to start saving than today.”

“Don’t fear the talk of a possible recession! At our age, we can take advantage of the longer time period we have to invest. A recession is also a good time to consider investing aggressively.”

“Between a RRSP and a TFSA, don’t use either for actual living expenses. But for long-term goals, the RRSP is better, and for short-term goals, the TFSA is the way to go.”

“Don’t make investment decisions based on emotions.”

“Yes, diversify your investment plan. Really.”

“Don’t count on an inheritance. Folks are living much longer now and eating up their savings in the last few years.”

“Have the long-term “financial chat” with your parents. Don’t leave any ambiguity. It will help all of you.”

A tip from his earlier talk that was just so good, it bears repeating – “To have enough to live on in retirement, when you’re under the age of 35, put away 10% of your gross income every month, before 45, put away 20%, and over 45, it needs to be 30%.”


Event Photos

06 Jun

Adulting VII: Debt & Budgeting

Adulting with Liz (Round Two!)

We had such good feedback on the Managing your Money session last summer that we decided to bring back Financial Coach Liz Schieck from the New School of Finance. This time she discussed the dreaded “D” word: debt.

We discussed things like:

  • How to budget your money using 4 types of money categories
  • The questions to ask ourselves in determining why we have debt in the first place 
  •  How to sidestep debt in the future

As a bonus you’ll find photos from the event below


Dan & Rach’s Tips

Some good general tips to help with your debt right off the bat:

  1. Pay off your highest interest rate debt first (credit card etc)
  2. Ask your credit card company or bank about lowering your interest rates. Don’t forget you’re the customer. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. The worse they’ll do is say no, and then at least you asked.


Liz’s Adulting Advice

Before you can build a successful plan, you’ve got to unpack your debt, understand why you have it in the first place, and learn how to sidestep it in the future. Strategies and tips are ultimately useless until you deal with the emotional stuff, the root causes of your spending behaviour.

Most debt advice skips this crucial step. Many jump right into the super-exciting math parts, but there is so much that needs to happen before that in order to make sustainable permanent changes to your finances. 

If you don’t change your spending behaviour and if you don’t believe you can truly tackle your debt, you’ll never stop the Debt Loop.

First, deal with the emotional side of your debt, then do the math. This is crucial. It’s like having allergies. Instead of treating the symptoms—coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes—over and over, you have to figure out the root cause of the allergy and avoid it altogether. 

Spend some time unpacking how you think and feel about your money. Get to a place where you understand your Financial Tripwires and find motivation and strategies beyond the interest your debt is costing you. This is how to stop the Debt Loop. 

If you’d like to determine your personal Financial Tripwires and permanently break the Debt Loop, grab a copy of Shannon Lee Simmons’ book, Living Debt-Free, the No-Shame, No-Blame Guide to Getting Rid of Your Debt.


Event Photos

11 Apr

Adulting VI: Buying Real Estate

Adulting with Marty

This event featured a topic that you’ve all been asking for. We brought in our friend and expert Marty Staniforth of Staniforth Real Estate to discuss that elusive adulting goal of buying real estate! Marty has carved out a niche helping first-time buyers. 

We discussed things like:

  • The steps to take when considering buying your first property
  • What specifics Marty would have us consider when working with a real estate professional
  • Interesting pieces of overall guidance from Marty on the search, offer, and acquisition process, along with some thought-provoking tips & quotes

As a bonus, you’ll find photos from the event below!


Marty’s Adulting Advice

Some good questions to ask a potential real estate professional:

  • How long have you been in Real Estate?

  • What do you enjoy most about your job?

  • What gives you an advantage over other agents?

  • How much capacity do you have right now to take on a new client?

  • Can you walk me through the home buying process?

First-Time Homebuyers Program At-a Glance

The First-Time Homebuyers’ Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption for the tax.

Do I qualify?

To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is purchased you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
  • Have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
  • Have never received a First-Time Homebuyers’ exemptions or refund

The property must:

  • Be located in BC

  • Only be used as your principle residence

  • Have a fair market value of $475,000 or less if registered on or before February 21, 2017, OR $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017

  • Be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller

You may qualify for a partial exemption from the tax if the property:

  • Has a fair market value less than $500,000 if registered on or before February 21, 2017, OR $525,000 if registered on or after February 22, 2017.

  • Is larger than 0.5 hectares

  • Has another building on the property other than the principle residence

Event Photos

31 Jan

Adulting V: Wills & Taxes

Adulting with Elizabeth

After our intro event, we conducted a highly scientific survey and based our sessions on your feedback. We brought in another expert –  this time Elizabeth Mah from Paperclip Law – to talk about wills.

We discussed things like:

  • How to do tax season right
  • What questions Elizabeth would have us ask ourselves in determining if we even need a will.
  • Overall guidance from Elizabeth on how to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to protecting your money.


You’ll find photos of the event below!

Tax Tips with Dan & Rach

Some tax tips for you brought to you by the folks at Wealthsimple.

  1. File on time.
  2. Actually, file early.
  3. For a lot of us, the best thing you can do for your tax bill (and your future) is to contribute to your RRSP before March 1.
  4. If you got married (or are common-law married), get RRSP-married too.
  5. Marriage/Common Law part two: bundle your charitable contributions for a better bang/buck ratio (*more tax credit info below)
  6. When it comes to deductions, leave no stone unturned.
  7. Invest your tax refund as soon as you get it.
  8. If your refund is too big, don’t congratulate yourself – make some changes.

*First-Time Charitable Donor’s Tax Credit: if you’re donating for the first time, you can claim the first-time donor’s tax credit. As a first-time donor, you can claim an extra federal tax credit of 25 percent on your first $1,000 of donations. This works out to the equivalent of a tax credit of 40% on your first $200 in donations, and 54% on amounts above $200. More info on charitable donations and tax credits here.

Elizabeth’s Adulting Advice

Do I Need A Will?

Well, first off, what’s a will? A will is a legal document that tells everyone what to do with your stuff (and kids) after you die. In BC, it:

  • Deals with your property and assets so that they pass to the people you choose, when you want them to receive it, in the form you choose (outright or over time through a trust), and in the most tax-efficient way; and
  • Ensures that your kids are cared for by the people you designate, and have access to assets for their well-being and benefit.

Great, with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the thoughts that may be going through your mind right now.

1. Doesn’t everything just automatically go to my family, spouse and children?

Not necessarily – have you added them as joint owners? Have you designated them as beneficiaries?

2. I’ve told my spouse and children about what I want so they can just take care of it.

In BC, “telling” doesn’t count. You either have a will that works, or you don’t.

3. I’ve just downloaded a will from Google or bought a will kit when I was picking up some shampoo the other day, so I’m good, right?

Well, it depends on whether you signed it properly and have covered off all your assets.


Ugh, maybe a few holes? Time to think about checking this off the to-do list. Elizabeth even has a few suggestions for what you need to write a will.


Event Photos

08 Nov

Adulting IV: Enjoy Your Life

Adulting with Ross

After our intro event, we conducted a highly scientific survey and have based our sessions on your feedback. We brought in Ross Allan to talk about one of those alternative assets – life insurance!

“But isn’t that just for when you have kids?” you say. Ross shared a few reasons to have life insurance – he proved even life insurance can be funny, and showed us how it can be a tax-advantaged way to invest.

As a bonus you’ll find photos of the event below!

We discussed things like:

  • Insurance *isn’t* to protect the Golden Egg, it’s to protect the Goose that lays those Golden Eggs!
  • The different types of insurance that can protect the Goose.
  • Why life insurance is considered an alternative investment asset.

Ross’ Adulting Advice

Event Photos

13 Sep

Adulting III: Managing Your Money

Adulting with Liz

We brought in fee-for-service advisor Liz Schieck from the New School of Finance to reframe budgeting and expenses.

We discussed things like:

  • How to break the cycle of guilt around managing money and life
  • What specifics Liz would have us consider to understand why we overspend, and how to banish unhappy spending from our lives.
  • Overall guidance from Liz on getting our money under control, along with some thought-provoking tips & quotes

As a bonus you’ll find photos of the event below!


Liz’s Adulting Advice

“Budgeting is not about telling you how to spend your money. It’s about figuring out how much money you can spend without sacrificing your financial security.”

“Conventional budgets are broken – they usually have unrealistic spending targets that make you feel guilty or bad about yourself when you can’t meet them.”

“Pay off your highest interest debt first.”

“Spend money on what makes you happy.  As long as you know you can afford it, do what makes you happy!! If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t buy it.”

The 4 Money Categories

  • Fixed Expenses: money you must pay each month or year whether you like it or not
    • Eg. phone bill, cable, rent/mortgage, minimum payments on line of credit/visa
  • Meaningful Savings: money set aside to increase your net worth
    • Eg. TFSA/RRSP payments, any amount over your credit card/line of credit minimum payment, long-term savings (down payment on house etc)
  • Short Term Savings: Money set aside for spikes in spending
    • Eg. monthly savings for car/house maintenance, Christmas shopping, vet bills etc
  • Spending Money: Money left over! Spend it on whatever you want!


Event Photos

12 Jul

Adulting II: Investing & Budgeting

Adulting with Dave

Dave Sweeney shared some wisdom for 20 and 30 somethings based on the things he’s seen in his lifelong career as an independent financial advisor.

We discussed things like:

  • Some of our individual money stories and what specifics Dave would have us consider in trying to invest for our future.
  • Interesting pieces of overall guidance from Dave, along with some thought-provoking guidelines & quotes.

You’ll find photos of the event below!

Money Stories

  • R & A – newly married & purchased their first condo together in the past 12 months. Savings nearly depleted. How to save up enough to start a family and potentially move to a larger home when they have kids?
  • D – single, steady income from working in the family business. Plans to take over the business in the next 5 years. How to ensure that her financial picture continues to grow once she is solely responsible for the business?
  • H & L – married with a 2-year-old. H bought a condo in Yaletown before it was such a hot market. They live there now but would need to move since they want to grow their family. They are putting $25 per week in their toddler’s RESP, but is this the best way to save for his education and future?
  • J – lives with her boyfriend, has $20,000 in savings from working really hard the past two years. Is unsure how to start investing this money. Scared to make a mistake. Has the goal of buying a home.
  • K – has credit card and line of credit debt and would like to save for some extended travel. Should she pay off the debt before contributing to savings, or do both simultaneously?
  • C – is an independent contractor and so doesn’t have any benefits. Is wondering how to best plan for retirement?


Dave’s Adulting Advice

“It doesn’t matter what you make, it’s what you keep.”

“Investing is like a cup. The cup can hold coffee, tea, or milk but at the end of the day they’re all vessels. What you can put into that cup depends on if you have a registered or open account.”

“Insurance *isn’t* to protect the golden egg, it’s to protect the goose.”

“The three most important things when it comes to investing – time, money and rate of return. The only one of these that we can’t make more of is time.  Being Gen Y is an advantage because we have more of that elusive time! There’s no cheaper time to start saving than today.”

To have enough to live on in retirement, when you’re under the age of 35, you should put away 10% of your gross income every month. Before 45, put away 20%, and over 45, it needs to be 30%.”

Event Photos