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What a Year
What a Year.
How did you manage? What did you learn? What are you bringing with you into 2021?
2020 was tough. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. The pandemic has definitely taken its’ toll on my emotional and mental well-being. Not being able to freely walk around, see friends and family, and be constantly mindful of the people around me has really made this quite the year. It’s definitely been hard, but I think after all of this, there are probably a few things that we’ve learned in regard to our finances.
Here are a few things to bring with you into 2021.
- We don’t need a lot to live. I think for the majority of our coaching clients, the thing we hear the most is that the pandemic really taught them about the most important things in life. It wasn’t about the car they drove, the clothes they had in their closets, any other material object they once had, or even going to get their hair done bi-weekly, we’re surviving without all of it. There are always going to be things that we like to have. But when you really get down to the nitty-gritty of it, we don’t truly need a lot to live. Head into 2021 by taking a good hard look at your finances, cut out those things that may not be bringing you joy, and focus on those things that matter most to you.
- You can manage your cash flow, regardless of your financial situation. This one was SO interesting to me. We had a number of coaching clients who had joined us back in February, and then lost their jobs because of the pandemic and had to take a paycut or live off of the CERB. And guess what? They still managed. By working one-on-one with our coaches, our clients were able to re-work their budgets and focus on the priorities of putting food on the table and a roof over their head. It just goes to show that it’s not the money you make, but the way you manage it.
- Pay off your high-interest debts – ASAP. Being in debt can be hard. Being in debt during a pandemic can be even harder. But I hope (if you were one of the 1000’s of Canadians who had debt before the pandemic) that you had some ah-ha moments. Our coaching clients certainly did. Always pay off high-interest debts (above 5%) every month, or as fast as you can. Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future, and I think the pandemic made a lot of us realize that our finances are not finite. Manage your income, dollar by dollar, and get out of the weeds when you have the ability to.
- Have money set aside for an emergency fund. Remember how we always talk about having 3-6 months of necessary living expenses in an account that you can dip into for emergency purposes? I’m sure that really came in handy back in March if you were someone who lost your job. Figure out what your absolute necessities are, and keep a 3-6 month emergency fund in an out of sight, out of mind account that pays some kind of high interest.
- Invest, Invest, Invest. Once you’ve gotten rid of all of those high-interest debts (above 5%), you can start to invest. Back in March, I was in the airport heading to Belize when the markets were crashing. I kept seeing them drop. Lower and lower and lower. Do you know what I did? I didn’t sell my investments. No, no, no. This was the opportunity that I’ve been waiting for. Everything went on sale! I maxed out my TFSA, RRSP, and had my partner do the same. To this date, our investments are up over 30%. Now, I’m not telling you to time the markets, because nobody can. But if you can keep costs low throughout the year, manage your cash flow, and have cash set aside for these kinds of opportunities, then you’re all set. Buy low, sell high, remember? Don’t panic. If you’re properly invested and diversified, you’ll never lose all of your money. Yes, it may be volatile, but if you can think of the future, you’ll come out on top.
"Be Greedy When Others' are Fearful and Fearful When Others' are Greedy" - Warren Buffet
At the end of all of this, it’s been really interesting to see our clients throughout this pandemic. Regardless of their financial situation, they’re excited about getting their financial house in order for a healthy and successful 2021.
Are you ready to join them? Sign up for your free Coaching assessment call here. Having someone else to give you a completely non-judgmental and non-biased view of your financial situation may just be what you need for your own successful year ahead. After everything is said and done though, make sure to not take any moment for granted. Hugged your loved ones. Take time away from technology, work, and enjoy every minute.
Happy Holidays and New Year from Enriched Academy
What are You Thankful For?
What Are You Thankful For?
As we approach one of my favourite holidays of the year (aside from Passover, and Christmas, and Hanukkah, and my birthday), I’d like to check in with you to see what you’re thankful for?
I’ll start. I’m thankful for the health of myself and my family and friends, and also the financial education that my parents taught me at a young age, which now has provided me with the financial freedom to not stress about money. And I’m 33 years old. How many 33-year-olds do you know who can say that?
As the head of coaching for our Financial Freedom program, our program sees 1000’s of clients every year who are in really difficult situations because of a lack of financial education. Just remember, this is not your fault. We live in a broken system. But there is a way that you can make a change, and that change starts with altering your behaviours and habits.
How To Make Habits Stick
We all know bad habits are easy to pick up and hard to drop. Good habits on the other hand? Well, if it was easy, we would all be wealthy and fit (and able to wear the same jeans that we did in high school). I’m currently struggling to fit into the same pants that I was wearing before COVID hit. Damn you quarantine.
But I’m going to let you in on a super easy secret that can help you create strong, lasting habits.
Make those habits as easy as possible.
If you sat down and made a list of habits that you go through in a day, you can probably come up with around 10-20 of them. Here are a few of mine that may help you to create your list.
- Wake up and make coffee.
- Review budget.
- Read finance blog.
- Walk the dog.
- Brush my teeth.
- Make breakfast.
- Clean dishes.
- Get dressed in workout clothes.
- Work out.
- Do yoga.
- Make lunch.
Pretty crazy eh? It’s not even 1 pm yet and I’ve already gone through 11 habits that I don’t think about. I’ve gotten into a routine where I just do them.
Atomic Habits is our favourite book on creating winning habits. The author, James Clear, outlines a few tips you to follow...
Use this formula: I will (behavior) at (time) in (location). For example, instead of saying, “I will budget each month.” Try, "I will budget on the 1st of each month at 5 PM in my office."
Every habit is initiated by a cue. The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior because it predicts a reward. We are more likely to notice cues that stand out. Setting an alarm on your phone for 5 PM monthly is a cue that you need to budget.
Forming a new habit is hard so Make it Easy. We really strive for that in our Enriched Academy Programs.
And now I’d like to share with you:
5 Money Habits of Wealthy People
These concepts are honestly so easy, and they truly are the key to building wealth. We see most of our successful Financial Freedom clients live by these means, and you can start to see results today if you follow the list below.
- Live below your means. Spend less than what you earn. It’s as easy as that. Sit down and go through all of your sources of income, and everything that you spend money on. If you have money left over every month, and are putting money into an investment account, you’re beyond the majority of Canadians. If you’re overspending though, then you need to make some cutbacks unless you want to end up in debt for the rest of your life. It’s not about making more money. It’s about living with what you have and being smart with it. If Warren Buffett is worth over 70 billion dollar and lives in the same home that he bought 50 years ago for $31,000, and drives a modest Cadillac, then you can live within your means as well.
- Learn one new thing a day. No one has ever gone broke buying books. I read a daily personal finance blog that keeps me up to date with what’s going on in the world. If your new thing is a recipe, or a craft, or a new trade, then that’s awesome. But just force yourself to learn something new.
- Small steps each day. Have you ever read a book or taken a course but quickly found your motivation evaporated? Wealth is given to those that take small consistent actions daily. Ask yourself, what is one small thing I can do today to help me make progress with my finances?
- Track your net worth and budget monthly. You cannot improve what you don’t measure. These two numbers are the foundation for financial and time freedom. 30 minutes per month, that's all it takes. This is one of the biggest ways that we measure our clients in our Financial Freedom coaching program. We get them to track their Net Worth month and start to track their cashflow as much as possible. This way, they can see the correlation between the two. When you start to track your cash flow, and you spend less than what you earn, then your Net Worth goes up.
- Learn to say “no”. Only spend money on things that bring you an immense amount of joy and happiness. Everything else, say no to.
Once you’ve got the top 5 habits above in place, you’ll start to see dramatic results with your finances. You’ve just laid down the foundation to becoming financially successful. Congratulations. But there’s still more work to do! You need to review your financial goals and plan each month. Step 1 is creating that plan. Step 2 is constantly reviewing and making changes to your plan as things change. If you are not constantly reviewing your plan you could be headed in the wrong direction and not even know it.
When COVID-19 hit and our economy, we worked with all of our coaching members to revise their financial plans because so many things were changing all at once. Some of our clients had lost their employment, their investment portfolios were going down, their kids were home from school, among many other things.
The one thing that we’ve heard over and over again is how thankful our Financial Freedom clients have been for having us work with them throughout COVID-19. Even though some of our clients have seen a decrease in income, they’ve seen an overall increase in their Net Worth. This education that we provide is something that will be with you forever. And we can help you change your habits.
Just the other day I received a note from one of my past students. It made my heart go all warm and fuzzy inside.
“I am not exaggerating when I say that what you all do is life-changing! You helped us so much and we are forever grateful ????”.
So, if you’re ready to take control of your finances and join the 1000’s of Canadians who have gone through our Financial Freedom Coaching, sign up here for your coaching assessment to see if we can help you.
You’ll be thankful.
Unhappy with Your Credit Score? Here's Some Ways to Fix It
Have you ever gone through your bank to take a look at your credit score and haven't been super happy with the results? Or have you ever looked into getting a mortgage or needing to borrow money, and nobody will give you a loan? It's likely because you don't have a credit score that's in tip-top shape. This article will explain what a credit score is, and how to increase it.
What is a Credit Score?
You Credit Score is a number (typically between 300-900) that is based on your credit report. Your Credit Score your financial report card, and it’s used by lenders to predict the likelihood that you will repay any future debt. Your Credit Score is based off of your Credit Report, which is a summary of how you pay your financial obligations. Lenders use your Credit Report to verify information about you and how you have been with paying off your financial obligations in the past.
Why is This Important?
Your Credit Score will determine if you are a risk to lenders and it will affect the interest rates that you pay on any loan that you’re applying for. If you have a “Poor” – “Fair” score, and are looking at securing a mortgage, you may not qualify through a bank or Credit Union. You may have to go with a B-Lender or even a Private Lender, where you’re looking at interest rates 3-6% higher than a traditional A-Lender.
The Credit Score is one of the metrics that we track in our Financial Freedom Coaching program, and if you can believe it, we’ve helped our average coaching client increase their credit score by 21 points in a 6-month period.
How Can I Increase My Credit Score?
There are 5 main ways that you can increase your Credit Score. All of these ways need to be monitored and properly managed in order to work.
- Payment History: this is the most important factor in your credit score, and it makes up to 35% of it. Creditors want to know that you’re going to pay back the money you are asking to borrow from them, so they will look at what your payment history has been like from previous consumer debts. ALWAYS make your payments on time and make the full (or at least minimum amount owed) payment each time.
- Amounts Owed: this makes up about 30% of your overall score, so it’s an important one. How much you already owe on your debt vehicles will really matter to a lender. Try to keep your credit utilization rate less than 35% of your available amount, and don’t max out all of your available debt vehicles. If you use a lot of your available credit on your debts, lenders see you as a great risk EVEN if you pay your balance off in full by the due date.
For example, if you have a credit limit of $10,000, you should not carry a balance of more than $3,500.
- Length of Credit History: this makes up about 15% of your score. Creditors and lenders like to see that you’ve been able to handle credit accounts correctly over a period of time. Newer accounts will lower your average account age, which may negatively impact credit scores. Never cancel one of your first cards because that marks the beginning of your credit history.
- New Credit Applications or Credit Checks: every time you apply for more credit, your score will be affected, so try to limit hard inquiries. There is a difference between a soft credit check (checking your credit score) and a hard credit check (looking for more credit). Every time you do a hard credit check, your credit score will be lowered. This takes place when you apply for a mortgage, loan or credit card.
- Use Different Types of Credit: You should have at least 2 credit vehicles open (credit cards, LOC’s, car loans and mortgages.) Showing you can manage different types of credit will have a positive impact on your score.
You should check your credit report and score once per year. One small error can have a horrible long-term impact on your credit score, which is why we get our Wealth Mastery and Financial Freedom Coaching clients to check it. Your credit score is like your financial report card and having a bad score can have a really negative affect on your long-term financial plan. We’ve helped 1000’s of clients increase their score by an average of 21 points through our Financial Freedom one-on-one coaching program. If you feel like you need a little one-on-one help, make sure to sign up for our free Coaching Assessment Call.
What's up with these Robo-advisors?
It’s been a few years now since the term Robo-Advisor has surfaced, and we get a TON of clients in our coaching program not knowing what it is. So, while you sit there, scratch your head, and wonder what this new type of tech is, I'll explain it to you. As easy as possible.
What is a Robo-Advisor
A Robo-advisor is a new class of financial advisor. It uses algorithms to provide investment management and/or advice with little human supervision. Using a certain type of software and algorithms, a Robo-advisor is able to figure out your asset allocation, and then build a portfolio for you that is only made up of ETF’s. From there, they actively manage your portfolio whenever necessary; buying, selling, and re-investing dividends. Don’t want to do self-directed investing but still want to invest in ETF’s? A Robo-advisor may be perfect for you.
What are the Fees?
Since Robo-advisors don't use a lot of human management on the back end, they often have lower management fees than other investment firms. Robo-advisors charge an MER on Assets Under Management of anywhere from 0.30%-0.60% for their services, and then the ETF portfolios typically charge an average of 0.10%-0.30%. At the end of the day, this is probably going to put more money in your pocket because you’re saving a bundle on fees.
Let’s break down how that looks compared to an actively managed account from one of the big banks. Canada has some of the highest mutual fund fees in the world with an average 2.3% in MER fees. Let's say you have a portfolio of $100,000 with a financial advisor. You're probably paying an average 2%-2.5% MER or $2000-$2500 in commission regardless of how your fund performs. But if you're using a Robo-advisor, you're only paying a commission of $400-$900 (based on the 0.40%-0.90% MER). That extra money that you're not paying in fees will go a long way with that sweet principle called compound interest.
Which Robo-advisors is best for me?
Good question! This really depends on your preferences, your goals, and the portfolios that the Robo-advisors use. Each Robo-advisor offers something different so it’s important to take a look at which one works best for you. Here are some of the different things to look into;
- Fees. Although this isn’t the most important thing, it is an important factor.
- ETF’s that make up the portfolio.
- The dashboard.
- Other benefits. Some Robo-advisors provide you with a dedicated financial advisor, estate planning, insurance needs, tax-loss harvesting, etc. This may be something that you require, so it’s good to look into your own personal needs.
Well.....there’s no better time than the present, and if you find that your returns haven’t been stellar over the last few years, it may be time to re-think your current investment strategy. Or maybe you’re ready to grab the bull by the horns and start tucking away some money for long-term financial growth if you don’t have any high-interest debts that you need to pay off.
And if you feel like you’re still lost, and need some one-on-one guidance, consider signing up for a coaching assessment call to learn more about our one-on-one coaching program. We can provide you with a deep dive analysis on your current investments, teach you about alternatives, and provide you with unbiased assistance to make the most of your money. You can sign up for your coaching assessment call here.
Meet the people behind
Susan HollingsheadExecutive Administrator
Everything that happens in support and administration - Susan plays a key role in keeping things running smoothly.
Alanna AbramskyHead of Financial Coaching
An incredible leader and sought after speaker, Alanna leads our coaching team turning education into action for thousands of Canadians.
Arian BeyzaeiVice President, Sales
Driving our online division, Arian is a passionate leader and a world-class speaker at Enriched.
Jay SeabrookCOO / Co-Founder
Relentless in his development of customer focused processes, Jay leads the operations and plays a key role in ensuring long -term client success.
As a founder of Enriched, Kevin remains one of the most sought after speakers in the country on the necessity of financial awareness.
Todd PetersonCEO / Partner
Todd has spent almost 20 years helping build, shape and grow companies to multi-million dollar revenue status. He also brings a unique perspective on technology & financial intelligence to Enriched Academy.
Kevin MccarthyHead, Corporations and Institutions
The former Chief of Staff for Finance Minister Flaherty, Kevin brings tremendous leadership and process expertise while heading our Corporate, Education and Government practice.
Amy MartinDirector, Education Support
With more than twenty years in management and customer service, Amy is passionate about serving our education partners and developing processes that make their experience with Enriched Academy extraordinary.
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Great question. Truth? The concepts aren’t complex. But we are world class when it comes to explaining what things mean - and where the tips, tricks and pitfalls matter most with your money. This is entertaining, inspiring and hard-hitting with the right amount of support and resources to help you take better control of your financial health. We don’t sell stocks, mutual funds or get quick rich schemes - just the truth about what you need to know when it comes to financial awareness.
We can do a lot for you - but you need to help us out a little. We will provide the education, incite and inspiration - and if you need it - a personal coach to give you a kick in the pants on occasion. You just need to want to make a change. We can help with the rest!
We do! And while we cannot guarantee any results...ever...we definitely stand behind our material. But don’t buy our courses unless you really want to make a change. We don’t want it sitting around unused. We want to make a difference in your financial health and awareness. When you buy something from us - all we ask is you try to follow through. There is a reason you signed up - so let us help. Get in there, watch some material....make an effort to learn more about money. It’s worth it. If you really don’t see the value and want your money back - at least you will leave us with a bit more knowledge and awareness than when you started.
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