Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Who manages the money in your household?

I received an email not too long ago asking if I could write a blog post about how RD and I manage our household finances. As you may know, we keep our personal savings and retirement account separate and I’ll never blog about RD’s personal finances (so this post is really an incomplete picture of our overall financial management), but we do have joint accounts for managing our everyday spending. And that I can talk about. :)

Just a few notes about us if you’re new to this blog:

  1. We are in our mid-30’s with no debt other than our mortgage
  2. We make roughly the same amount of money
  3. This is obviously just what works for us, and is not necessarily going to work for every couple.

Before we combined our finances

When RD and I first moved in together, we kept our finances separate for the most part. RD would write out our monthly rent cheques, and we would put all of our joint expenses (groceries, household, travel, etc.) onto my credit card because of the rewards points. Then, at the end of every month, we’d reconcile all of our transactions, and one of us would transfer money to the other person depending on how the expenses came out that month. I liked it this way because I had a record of all of our everyday purchases so that I knew exactly how much we were spending. And RD liked this method because he wasn’t super interested in any of that information. :)

We kept our finances like this for the first 18 months we lived together. It was an easy system to work with, and also it gave us a sense of financial protection should our relationship not work out. Not that we were planning for the worst, but we both felt strongly about maintaining a level of financial independence, especially in a new relationship.

Related: We are home owners!

Creating our budget

When we decided to buy a condo together, that’s when we decided to open up a joint account for our shared expenses. I wanted to have a set amount of money that we deposited into this account bi-weekly – that would cover our mortgage, maintenance fees, property tax, insurance, groceries, household expenses, as well as a decent amount of buffer money that would also act as our joint household savings account. And because we had 18 months worth of data to draw from, I did what I do best, and created a spreadsheet. Ok, multiple spreadsheets. :) I averaged the last 18 months of our joint expenses, probable mortgage and housing costs, included a buffer, and came up with a magic number that we would each auto deposit into our joint account on payday.

Related: Why I don’t want to burn my mortgage

In the last 6 months, we’ve adjusted our magic number once – by just $20 – because our condo maintenance fees increased after our AGM, and we have another mouth to feed ever since we adopted our beautiful cat Zoey from the SPCA. :)

Who manages the money?

Me. This actually works out perfectly because you know I love budgeting and spreadsheets and numbers. Nothing makes me happier than burying my nose into a good spreadsheet or reconciling purchases and paying bills. It’s not because RD isn’t good at this type of stuff (he’s never had debt and he always pays his bills on time), but I like taking a more in depth look at our money. It was actually a huge step out of his comfort zone having me take on his part of our joint finances, and I appreciate that.

I also tend to take on any paperwork regarding our joint finances and negotiating any bills that need to be negotiated (like our internet), but only because I have a more traditional desk job and access to a phone on a more regular basis.

We do make sure to check in regularly with our finances, and he has access to our joint accounts so that he can see our balances and transactions whenever he wants.

Who spends the money?

Me, mostly. :) We have that joint credit card that he puts gas onto or if he buys anything for the home, but I do almost all of our joint household shopping for groceries, cleaning supplies, toiletries, pet stuff, etc. This falls into our division of chores, because I like shopping and comparing prices and products. I also feel a sense of satisfaction in having our pantry and linen closet stocked with essentials. I also pay our credit card balance every month, and any other random bills that might come in, but most of our household bills are automatically deducted from our joint account.

Your turn!

I’m curious – who manages and/or spends the money in your relationship, you or your partner?

Fast track your savings using artificial intelligence

Note: this post is sponsored by RBC, but the views and opinions expressed are my own.

I think it will come as no surprise to you that I spend a lot of time analyzing and creating budgets, planning for my future, and trying to figure out the best way to spend and save my money. :) I have multiple spreadsheets that I manage manually, and while I actually do really enjoy this type of work, I have often found myself wondering if there was a better way. I’ve tried so many apps and software over the years, but end up coming back to my spreadsheets because they are personalized to me and what I want to see.

This is why I was so interested to learn more about RBC’s new programs called NOMI Insights and NOMI Find and Save. They are the first bank in North America to use artificial intelligence to automatically track spending and fast track your savings.

Not only is the user interface really attractive and easy to understand, but you can also get real, actual insights about your finances (without having to dig out the data yourself). There is a fully automated savings solution that goes above spreadsheet budgeting and spending categories – it uses predictive technology to help you save money based on your current spending habits. IT LEARNS HOW YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY and adjusts based on that information. I honestly can’t think of anything cooler in the financial space right now.

There are two products that RBC has made available to all clients this month:

NOMI Insights

This program will help you stay on top of your day-to-day finances by giving you timely tips and advice. It will also track your spending, plan for upcoming expenses, and give you a heads up when needed about upcoming bills. I can see how this could help you reach your goals sooner by making you more aware of your finances, and I think would be a great addition to anyone’s financial management tool belt, but especially useful for those who don’t currently track anything, or for those who have good intentions, but life just gets in the way and they end up falling behind.

NOMI Find & Save

This is what I’m most curious about. NOMI Find & Save uses predictive technology to find amounts of money that clients can spare. It’s a completely personalized savings tool that learns your spending behaviours and looks for pockets of money in your cash flow to automatically move over into a savings account. It will never set aside more savings than you can afford, and you can even receive push notifications alerting you every time money is saved!

Personally, I’m really curious to see how these programs work, and what this will mean for the future of daily banking in Canada. I’m someone who loves data of all kinds (I’m just as obsessed with analyzing my FitBit data as I am with financial data). It’s something I think is fun and interesting, and to have a financial tool that can learn my spending behaviour and potentially help me save more money? That’s something to get excited about.

What are your thoughts on artificial intelligence entering the personal banking world?

Breaking down my retirement portfolio

I’ve been asked to talk about my Retirement Portfolio and investments, so I’ll do my best. I’ve previously written a 3-part series on how I got started with investing (which you can read here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), but I’ve never really gone farther than that.

I explained in that 3-part series that for the first few years of investing, I was completely lost. Sure, I was saving a little bit of my money each month, but I really didn’t understand anything about what I was doing. 10 years later, I have just broken the $100,000 barrier to my Retirement Portfolio (yay!) and I feel like I have a good grasp on my goals and how to get myself there.

Breaking down the numbers

I’ve spoken a few times about how much I invest each month. I started off by putting away just $25/month into my RRSP while I was getting out of debt and working my first job out of college. Now, I’m investing about $1,760/month towards retirement.

It’s taken me a while to get up to that amount, but I’m really proud that over the past 10 years, saving for retirement has remained my biggest financial goal. And despite continuing to increase my contributions, I can still have a good life – which includes buying and (eventually) paying off our condo early, traveling multiple times a year, and never feeling deprived. Of course a lot of that has to do with the fact that I do make a comfortable income, but I didn’t always, and that has been a work in progress too.

So anyway let’s break down the money I’m saving:

  • TD Canada Trust RRSP ($650)
  • TD Canada Trust TFSA ($215)
  • Questrade TFSA ($270)
    • This account is made up of a couple of individual stocks I’m playing around with, but most of the account is in ETFs, following the Canadian Couch Potato ‘Assertive’ portfolio model for ETFs. I’m actually using only Vanguard ETFs as that is what he had listed a few years ago as his model portfolio, and am just going to keep going with that for now.
    • Contribute bi-weekly through auto-deduction, but only actually making purchases once every few months.
  • Corporate RRSP ($375)
    • This is my company’s retirement match program. I’ve chosen their ‘Aggressive’ portfolio model.
    • Contributions are automatically deducted from my bi-weekly pay cheques.
    • The amount listed above includes the corporate match amount.
  • Corporate SPP ($250)
    • This is my company’s Share Purchase Plan, where a % match is provided
    • Contributions are automatically deducted from my bi-weekly pay cheques.
    • The amount listed above includes the corporate match amount.

Basically I’m just doing whatever Dan Bortolotti tells me to do. :) Actually, while that really is true, I came to that conclusion after doing a lot of research on my own. Also, some of you know that I was lucky enough to get to work with a “fee only” financial advisor through my job with the Toronto Star, and after analyzing my finances, he offered up basically the same portfolio options. That gave me the confidence that I was on the right path.

Related: Is it possible to save too much for the future?

Taking advantage of opportunities

You can see that, while my work doesn’t provide me with a pension, they offer up a decent amount of free money to employees who want to take advantage of it. I’m currently maxing out the corporate match for both the RRSP and the share purchase plan, and will continue to do so because I thoroughly enjoy free money. :) Those contributions currently provide a really big chunk of my monthly retirement savings, which I’m extremely grateful for. And while I can’t really touch the RRSP, I’m basically free to sell my shares in the SPP.

Having fun

Having my Retirement Portfolio basically on auto-pilot might be a dream come true for some people, but I find it kind of boring. I love being active with my finances, and you can’t exactly do that with mutual funds and ETFs. :) So I give myself a (very) small allowance to play with buying stocks. Right now I’m only invested in two individual stocks for an amount totalling just over $2,000. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to keep things fun and interesting (without jeopardizing my future haha).

Related: Why 20-somethings might have difficulties retiring by 65

The goal

My goal has always been to retire early. I am three years younger than RD and I want to be able to retire by the time he hits his retirement age of 57. Right now I’m on pace to retire by 52, and I feel like it’s not out of reach to be able to retire by 50 since my salary will (presumably) keep increasing as I continue on with my career. I may not retire once I’m financially able to do so, but just knowing that I could is, to me, the definition of financial freedom. So that will continue to be my goal.

What are your retirement and investing goals?

Page 1 of 212»

Buy the Book!

A beginner's guide for Canadians looking to get their financial life in order. Get great info on budgeting and saving, RRSP's and pensions, investing types, insurance, and where to go for additional resources.

Recent Tweets

Instagram

  • Gorgeous day for snowshoeing!
  • Dreaming about warmer days and incredible hikes like this onehellip
  • Current mood
  • Yep 2017 was a pretty good year! 1 Hiked thehellip
  • OMG a million times yes! xoxo
  • Foggy day down by the river NewWest
  • Games and pizza just might be the perfect way tohellip
  • Not a bad place to spend the last 5 days!hellip

© 2018. Give Me Back My Five Bucks. All rights reserved. Powered by WordPress & Designed by Mike Smith