Personal finance is one of those topics that can be overwhelming. There are RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs for kids, Credit Ratings, Insurance, mortgages and more.
Many people are immobilized with fear, and think it's easier to do nothing than to make a huge mistake. But the only huge mistake is to do nothing until it's too late.
The surest way to become wealthy is to start when you're young.
Here are tips through the ages that will help you not only survive, but thrive, with your finances. Remember that they won't all apply to everyone, but you'll be ahead if you bang off as many points as you can.
In your 20s
- Open a TFSA and build the saving habit right away. Even a simple $50 a pay cheque or week will build up to a nice nest egg over 40 years. And it'll be all tax free when you want to access it.
- Buy something as soon as you can. House prices are crazy now, but they'll be even crazier in the future. Don't look for the perfect place, but a place to live in for five years, and then to be used as a rental when you can afford something else. Just get your foot in the door. You don't have to live there forever.
- Start a side hustle to get used to multiple streams of income. Use the side income to pay back any debt you have.
- Treat your credit rating with care. Put your gym, cell, gas and other fixed amounts on the card, and have it automatically paid back at the end of the month. You'll build credit, but also have a spending ceiling by using cash for miscellaneous spending.
In your 30s
- Maximize your RRSP contributions once you make more than $60,000. Putting $5,000 a year into your RRSP will turn into more than a million dollars when you are 70, at a conservative rate of return. Use the calculator to personalize it for you.
- After contributing to your RRSP you should get an income tax return that you can use to pay off debt. You'll build an RRSP and pay off debt simultaneously. Win win!
- Buy a bigger home and rent the first place out if you can afford it. Real estate is the way most people become millionaires; ask anyone with a home in Toronto or Vancouver.
- Start RESPs for the kids, and buy insurance while it's still cheap! Build a nest egg for three months of expenses in case of emergency.
In your 40s
- If you get married you can top up your spouse's RRSP.It'll save you money and help both of you build retirement funds.
- Expand your emergency fund to six months. There are going to be good times and bad, so make sure that you're prepared for the worst.
- Buy another home and rent the other two out if you need more room for the kids. It'll take more responsibility to manage several homes, but property managers can be hired, and in 25 years when the mortgages are paid off you'll have substantial streams of income. Everyone has to live somewhere!
- Maximize your RRSP. Take advantage of any work RRSP matching or other benefits to help with this. Continue to use your tax returns to pay off debt.
In your 50s
- Shop for a retirement place now. Look for a place to buy on a lake, or Mexico, and rent it out until you retire.
- Maximize bonuses, tax returns to eliminate debt and have it all paid off.
- Once kids can work, hand over RESPs to them to contribute to.
- Maximize RRSPs for the home stretch.
In your 60s
- Try and work as long as you can, but with freedom. Negotiate coming back to work as a contract worker, or only a few days a week. You'll probably live for another 20 years, so keep that income coming in. Plus it'll keep your mind as sharp as a tac.
- Don't take your Canadian Pension Plan until you have to. It'll be a bigger cheque if you can wait.
More from HuffPost Canada:
- Try a new career! If you're counting the days until you retire, do something new; something you've always wanted to.
- Keep the streams of income coming. Rent a basement apartment, spare parking spot, or teach English abroad if you've always wanted to.
- Cut all the crap out of your life. Get rid of extra cars, cable, sell the house and move to the cottage, cut the kids off too. You need to focus on you now, so make it happen.
If you work through all these tips you'll be much further ahead no matter what stage of life you're in. Dream your ultimate life now, and apply money strategies to make it all happen.
Love your money and it'll love you back with a great life!
Also on HuffPost: