Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Investments give me headaches

I’ve been wondering if I’m making sound choices with my investments. I want the most “bang for my buck,” but with limited investment knowledge, it’s hard for me to grasp exactly what I should be doing.

My emergency fund is currently in a PC Financial Interest First account that’s earning 3% interest. Once I have over $1000, I will transfer the balance into the Interest Plus account, which will earn me 4%, plus an anniversary bonus each year I keep a minimum of $1000 in the account. The reason why I chose this account is because it’s highly liquid. I’ll have access to my funds in 24 hours, and as high interest savings accounts go, PC Financial beats practically everyone.

My mortgage down payment fund is being held in a non-registered mutual fund with TD Canada Trust. This is where I don’t think I’m making the right move. The MER on this MF is quite high (I believe it was at 2.39%). I want to earn more than a 4% return, but since I plan on spending the money within 2 years, I don’t really know where to park it. I’m getting a 7.5% return right now, which is practically nothing. I’d like to be earning at least 10% … but how?

My RRSP is being held in a registered Balance Growth mutual fund with TD Canada Trust. It’s the same fund that my mortgage down payment fund is in, with the difference being this one is tax sheltered. This is earning 7.5%, and I’m okay with that for now. Once I’ve gotten more investment knowledge, I’d like to try TD’s eFunds, and manage my own financial portfolio (goodbye, ridiculously high MER!).

One step forward, two steps back

Well, not quite. Yesterday, an hour before I launched this website I dropped just over $3,000 on a new 24″ iMac computer. Let me be the first to admit that 1) I did not need to get an iMac, and 2) I did not need to load it up with a ton of add-ons. That being said, I’m considering it an investment in my graphic design business. Let’s face it, working on a crappy Seanix PC laptop just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Plus, if it’s any consoloation, it’s tax deductible. I know I shouldn’t have to justify splurging a little lot. What’s done is done, and I’m very happy with my purchase. I should get it in the next week or so, and I’l be sure to post pictures. :)

Let me start off by saying that I am by no means a financial expert. In fact, I hardly know anything about investing. Up until a year ago, I was living paycheque to paycheque, up to my eyeballs in debt. Some months, I could barely make ends meet. It was horrifying and embarrassing. I made some dumb mistakes when I was younger (including lending money to a significant other, who obviously never paid me back), and I am determined to make up for lost time. Just thinking about all the money I’ve wasted over the years makes me sick to my stomach. I think a lot of my friends think I’m “money-obsessed” these days, and think I’m too wound up in it all. Maybe I am, but maybe I’m okay with that. I want to have the financial freedom to do anything I want to do, and that is my ultimate goal.

My job. I currently have one full-time job @ 35hrs/week, and one part-time job that gives me approximately 20-35 hrs/month. Combined, I gross about $4000/month, and actually net around $3000/month. That’s a decent salary for someone my age, and with my education. That’s also not including any graphic design contract work I receive.

After fixed expenses such as my cell phone bill, rent, groceries, RRSP contributions, and Mutual Fund contributions, I am able to put $2000 towards my debt. Any money left over at the end of the month gets put into my emergency fund. As I write this, I’m carrying about $6,500 worth of debt. Because March is a 3-paycheque month, I’ll be able to put away a little more. Hopefully.

March 2007 Goals:

  • Sit down with a potential client for my graphic design business, and get a contract signed
  • Take on a 3rd job that will yield 10-15 hrs/month or less
  • $2,000 towards my line of credit
  • $1,000 towards my student loans
  • $150 towards RRSP
  • $75 towards Condo Down Payment
  • $300 into my Emergency Fund

Welcome to my new blog!

I decided to start this blog for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I want to clearly outline my financial goals, and write about my failures and (hopefully) my successes along the way. I got really inspired by reading other financial blogs (listed on the sidebar of this blog), and seeing that I’m not the only one who’s made mistakes in the past. For me, it’s good to have my financial profile out in the public – no more secrets. It makes me feel good that I’m actively working to change my way of life.

Investing is very important to me. It is something that I can directly control, and at my age, it’s about time I start to look towards the future. The funny thing is, this time last year, I never even thought about retirement, but now that I know better, I don’t want to be scrambling at 40 to try and save for retirement when I can start building my nest egg now, and earn interest on my investments. A big key for me to achieve financial independence is to buy property, which is my next big step in life. I would like to achieve this goal before I’m 26.

My financial profile:

  • I have approximately $3,600 in student loan debt (original SL debt was just over $14,000 when I graduated in April 2006)
  • I have no credit card debt (just finished paying off my maxed out Visa)
  • I have $3,152 owing on my personal line of credit (and worth every penny)
  • I have approximately $1,000 in a registered RSP Mutual Fund
  • I have approximately $125 in a non-registered Mutual Fund
  • I have approximately $335 in a high-interest savings account
  • I have limited investment knowledge
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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.

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