We all want more money, but financial expert Cyrus Mazdine says most of us go about it the wrong way. Mazdine is the Cloverdale Branch Manager for Envision Financial, which means he meets Fraser Valley residents every day, and has an inside look at the common mistakes they make.
“A lot of people are living paycheque-to-paycheque, and forget that simple changes can make a BIG shift in their savings,” says Mazdine, who offers these tips to get members on track.
1. Set goals
“The pandemic has been hard on many of us in various ways, and budgeting and finances may have been impacted,” Mazdine says. “If you feel like you’re falling behind a bit, setting realistic short-term goals will help you climb out of this time.”
“A lot of people have no idea how much they’re spending. They think that as long as they’re ‘in the black’ they’re doing fine, and it’s not until they start setting goals that they notice where their money is disappearing.”
2. Keep it simple
Many of us have accounts at more than one financial institution, plus a mortgage and investments somewhere else. Mazdine says you can find significant savings by consolidating — it helps uncover oversights.
“Many financial institutions charge $20-30 a month in banking fees. I don’t get why they do it, and I don’t get why consumers put up with it. Our Simply Free Account® doesn’t charge any fees, and you don’t have to keep a minimum balance or bundle it with other products. If you’re paying $20 a month for chequing, that’s $240 a year that you could be saving and putting back into your own pocket.”
Consolidating also gives your financial planner the full picture, so they can recommend things like moving savings into a TFSA to save on taxes.
3. Consult a professional
Setting up a complimentary consultation with an Envision Financial advisor isn’t just about gaining financial knowledge. It gives families the opportunity to have complicated conversations that they wouldn’t have around the dinner table — who pays the hydro bill in a multi-generational home, what’s your estate plan, how do you handle child expenses, and more.
“Financial literacy is my favourite part of this job — I get to speak with youth in schools, and I get to speak with members every day. When we give a 19-year-old their first credit card we sit down with them for an hour and make sure they understand how to read their statements and how to maintain a good credit score. We aren’t taught these skills in high school, but it’s so important!”
Envision Financial is a division of First West Credit Union.