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Take control of your finances
Six steps you can take to empower financial decisions that work for your life and your goals.
By ATB Financial 18 January 2024 2 min read
It’s never too late to get clarity on your finances. Being honest with yourself about what’s coming in and out of your account each month and making some small, intentional changes will help you take control of your money, and make it work for you.
Here are six simple steps you can take now to boost your financial wellness.
1. Evaluate your money relationship
Whether consciously or unconsciously, your relationship with money will affect how you spend, save and feel about your finances. Take some time to reflect on any emotions that you have related to money. You may realize certain spending habits, or anxiety surrounding your ability to save for the future. Understanding these behaviours, and the “why” behind the “what” is the first step to building a healthy view of finances.
2. Track your monthly income and spending
Simple and effective—keeping a basic budget makes a significant impact on your financial wellbeing. While budgets can feel limiting at first, understanding how much you spend, and where, can identify opportunities to save or extra money that you can put towards financial goals or repaying your debt. This allows you to harness the potential of your money, so you can accomplish what you really want.
3. Understand your debt situation
Minimize the debt stress by putting a strategy in place to tackle it. If you currently have debt the first step is to understand what debt you have, including credit cards, mortgages, loans and more. Then you can connect with a financial advisor to decide which repayment strategy could work best for you.
4. Know how to save for your short and long term goals
Get the most out of the money you’re able to put away by putting it in the right place. In general, if you’re looking long-term to save for retirement, then an RRSP is the way to go. A TFSA is great to meet your shorter term goals, since you won’t get taxed for withdrawing funds.
5. Pay yourself first, when you can
“Paying yourself first” means putting money in a savings or investment account regularly—like you’d pay your rent or mortgage. You can set up automatic withdrawals from your paycheque to make saving simple. Even small contributions can make a huge difference in the long run.
6. Stay organized
Avoid the overwhelm by setting regular times to track the money going in and out of your account using online or mobile banking. Maybe it’s five minutes per weekday, or a 20 minute check in each week. Discover what works for you and make it a habit.