Being the executor of a loved one's estate can be a very difficult task. With an estate plan in place and by taking a few basic steps to prepare, you can reduce the stress and loss of estate value considerably. Estate planning involves tough questions that ultimately give you and your loved ones peace of mind.
Have you ever had one of your friends ask to borrow money from you? Most of us are willing to oblige when the amount is small -- like $10 or $20 -- but what about when the amount is more significant? You are placed in an extremely difficult spot when a friend or family member is asking for $1,000, $5,000 or more.
In the early 2000s I started to read about the Dalai Lama. It was a revelation to view the world through the eyes of compassion. Venturing to the grocery store, driving in traffic, all became a practice of kindness. Then after I became comfortable with the concepts of Buddhism. I embarked on yoga. This extended my mindfulness. Now I continue to bring these concepts together and combine them with visualization.
Making mindless decisions with our money may create short term bliss or satisfaction but can have long term impacts on our financial well-being and financial security. When we make mindless decisions with our money, we don't take the time to really understand our thoughts, feelings and actions around our choices.
Do you have a budget? It is one of the most fundamental steps in making your money work for you. A personal budget is a basic estimation of the revenue and expenses over a specified period of time. Whether your goal is a down payment for a new house, saving for your child's education, a dream vacation or simply retirement, a budget is the answer to helping you reach your financial goals.
Tax season has begun. This yearly tradition is dreaded by many Canadians, but it doesn't need to be. Taxes are what keeps our roads paved, our schools running, and our health care free. When we think about the money we give to the government, we don't always realize that our money is going towards things we take for granted every day. So, approach the upcoming tax filing deadline with a positive outlook.
Now, in Australia, you get a lump sum pay-out (hardly any Aussies annuitize their lump sum). Once again, you have to manage your retirement on your own. Now, even if you knew exactly when you were going to die, this would be difficult, but when you have no idea of your personal life expectancy, this is a problem beyond the capabilities of the average Canadian.
It is extremely easy to buy into private companies; they will be more than willing to use your money to fund their ideas and aspirations. It is very difficult for the average investor to successfully "invest" in private companies, since success requires some type of return. I'd rather sit back, enjoy a beer as a customer, and consider some other investment options.
Our spending habits say a lot about us and the choices we make with our money. When we become real and authentic with ourselves, we don't use our money to impress people or seek status, because we have nothing to prove. When we are authentic with our money, we are making conscious and mindful choices with it. We are very present and self-aware.
When dealing with advisors, an important consideration is competency. If the person you're working with isn't competent, how much is it costing you? I might find that my client's banker is overcharging them or their accountant is less than adequate, only to hear them say that they can't move their business because the person they deal with is nice or maybe even a friend.
Back in the 1960s, Stanford University researcher Walter Mischel conducted a famous study about self-control. After following the study group for 40 years, the researcher's findings about self-control continue to provide insight today into our collective psychology. That insight may be worth reflecting upon as we confront our current debt loads.
The first day of spring is just around the corner. The colder winter months will soon be gone and with spring on our door step, it's time to get moving in the right direction with your life and working on your goals. It's also a great time to reflect on where your life is heading as every new season offers new possibilities and a time for renewal.