While technology and its benefits can be a divisive topic, one thing that’s for sure is that the connectivity we have these days is like no other time before us. We have masses of information at our disposal at all times thanks to the Internet, and current trends indicate that people are spending large portions of their time online.
With so much information out there, how do you know who to trust and what to believe? In the case of financial advice and information, it can be daunting to sift through the masses of resources out there.
Start your debt recovery journey outright by consulting with qualified and experienced professionals such as the staff here at David Sklar and Associates. As the trusted source for financial debt counselling in the Toronto area and the surrounding region, we’ve seen it all.
Debt Relief: Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy
Do you know what real debt relief looks like? For those who are facing insolvency, true debt relief that is regulated by the government can reduce the total amount of debt you have to repay in the process of eliminating your debt. When you’re struggling with your finances, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Licensed and experienced financial professionals such as bankruptcy trustees in Canada can guide those who are struggling back to financial freedom.
At our firm, our Licensed Insolvency Trustees (formerly known as bankruptcy trustees) and credit counsellors fully understand the hard facts on bankruptcies vs consumer proposals and are ready to walk you through the specifics of each method of debt relief.
There are many approaches that you can take to relieve your debt and find your way to eventual financial freedom. We’re here to make sure that you are as well-informed as possible before you proceed with any form of a debt recovery plan. Whether it’s strategizing your debt management with one of our counsellors or filing a consumer proposal with one of our trustees, we’re here to help you sort through the information and misinformation out there about debt and the ways to climb out from under it.
Personal Finance Blogs
There’s a lot of information out on the internet, and a lot of it can be helpful (if you know where to look). Are you looking for resources where you can read about people who have gone through experiences similar to your own? Are you looking to connect with other people and communities where financial issues can be discussed? Take a look at the world of personal finance blogs.
There’s a lot to learn out there thanks to the generous writers who are willing to share their experiences. Here are some popular personal finance blogs and the general gist of them. Hopefully, something speaks to you or gets the ball rolling with your next financial steps.
- Boomer and Echo
Managed by a mother and son combo (Marie and Robb Engen), this personal finance blog offers a lot of great advice. Read through this blog and you’ll quickly see a lot of fresh and relevant content.
- Canadian Finance Blog (Maple Money)
Run by a former financial analyst, this blog is a place for Tom Drake to share his financial experiments and studies. He writes about making, saving, investing, and spending money in responsible and smart ways.
- Give Me Back My Five Bucks
Krystal Yee started this blog in 2007 to document how she dug herself out of debt and paid off over $20,000 in debt in 12 months. For those who are trying to fast-track their debt relief journey, this can be a helpful resource. Yee frequently writes about responsible spending and financial independence.
- Million Dollar Journey
Owned and operated by someone who goes by the name “The Frugal Trader,” the Million Dollar Journey blog is the documentation of a 16-year old’s journey to becoming a millionaire. The initial goal? To hit a net worth of $1 million before the age of 35. With luck and hard work, the Frugal Trader was able to reach that goal ahead of schedule back in 2014.
Financial Advice: How to Save for Vacations
There is no shortage of places where you can find helpful, engaging, and proven financial strategies and advice. Improvement is a long journey, so even as you come up with short-term plans for the future, don’t forget to envision your life further down the line.
When you’re under financial stress, your priorities are often skewered towards trying to catch up and even things out in your bank account. A vacation might be at the top of things you want but at the bottom of your list of priorities. After all, saving for a vacation can be difficult when you’re trying to pay off debt and stay on top of expenses.
Here are some quick tips for saving money for a vacation:
- Open a dedicated vacation bank account
- Create a savings goal
- Download money-saving apps
- Earn extra money with a side job
- Sell off unused and unwanted belongings for some extra cash
Where to Go?
One way to still stay financially smart while making time to relax and see new parts of the world is to save money by keeping your vacations in Canada and exploring the amazing destinations across the country. Have yet to explore the country and don’t know where to go? We’ve got you covered. We understand how important it is to have a grasp on your personal finances if you want to enjoy the good things in life, so we’ve gathered some budget-friendly destinations that you might want to consider for your upcoming trip.
Road Trip Worthy
Ready to hit the road? A road trip is a great way to see and do a lot while keeping transportation costs low. They require some planning in advance, but that just helps keep things within your budget and reduce your stress as you travel. Once you know which cities you’d like to stop in, you can book hotels in advance. Booking early with a hotel room rental website like Expedia, Kayak, Airbnb, or the other options out there takes care of accommodations, meaning one less thing you have to worry about while you’re on the road.
With those services, you can reserve your room, but generally, cancellations are free, so if anything changes, you’ve got flexibility. Avoid the dangers of winging it and steer clear of those long nights driving for what seems like an eternity looking for a hotel that isn’t sold out along the Trans Canada highway.
East Coast Destinations: Newfoundland
Have you and your family ever driven from the Greater Toronto Area to Florida? For many people, that trip is a rite of passage. Sure, that trip also comes with its fair share of frustrated parents, cranky children, and leg cramps, but it was a small price to pay to be in a new place with significantly better weather and sunshine than up north.
Did you know that Newfoundland is the same distance from Toronto as Florida? Talk about being transported to an entirely different world! Take advantage of the Canadian dollar and decent gas prices by opting for a domestic road trip for your upcoming vacation. It’s the perfect way to get away without breaking the bank.
Exploring Central Canada: Ontario
It’s on the license plate: Yours to Discover. But have you really taken the time to explore Ontario? It’s a huge province with a lot to see, and it can be done on the cheap if you plan it right. Ontario has no shortage of fun and unique experiences for families and individuals of all ages.
Take Sleeping Giant, for instance, the major provincial park in the north of Ontario. Located just east of Thunder Bay, the park encompasses 244 square kilometres on the Sibley Peninsula, offering a breathtaking glimpse of the natural landscapes of this remote region of Ontario. Here, families can enjoy all sorts of recreational activities and summer programming. There are guided nature walks, group campfires, and film screening in the park’s amphitheatre. You can also get around and explore the opportunities for boating, cycling, fishing, and hiking through the kilometres and kilometres of hiking trails.
Also available for those who are ready to discover what Ontario has to offer: Algonquin Park. This National Park is a popular attraction and an accessible way to really get out of the city and connect with nature. At Algonquin, visitors can take a canoe ride that would remind anyone of those gorgeous Canadian stereotypes. You can paddle across a wide and peaceful body of water, visit the outcroppings of rock and pine trees, and listen to the soothing sounds of nature.
Algonquin offers budget- and family-friendly options for canoe trips and rentals, which can range from short and easy paddles for few hours to a full day trek. A daily vehicle permit for the park will cost $17, and if you want to stay the night, campsite prices general fall in a range around $35 a night.
The West Coast Experience
If Ontario is “Yours to Discover” then maybe you know the West Coast of Canada for its unofficial motto: West Coast Best Coast. If you love the relaxed feel of the oceanside and love the culture of Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and the Pacific Northwest at large, you should set your sights on a vacation to the West Coast of Canada.
A trip to Vancouver Island, for instance, has a lot to offer. You can see whales, mountains, surf in the ocean, and experience the gorgeous rainforest that the province has to offer. One popular destination on the island is Tofino, a well-known surfer destination. Nature-lovers rejoice, the west coast has just about everything you’d want from a gorgeous Canadian vacation.
Getting Ready: Finding a Good Financial Advisor
So far, we’ve covered some great resources for financial wisdom, some important financial gurus who can help you save money, and vacation ideas for those who are ready to take the next step to realize their financial dreams.
It’s possible to guide yourself through the journey to financial recovery, but it’s also a good idea to seek out an advisor or financial planner if you have certain goals such as retirement or estate planning. These professionals can also help you if you want to make sure your portfolio is on the right track. Here are some quick tips on how to find a good financial advisor:
Don’t get caught up in the titles.
A “financial advisor” can be anyone from a local personal banker working in a small community to an investment banker making multi-million or billion-dollar decisions. Outside of Quebec, anyone can call themselves a Financial Planner.
Be wary of some of the designations used on business cards. For instance, PFPC, CSC, IFIC are not designations, they are courses. Use your discretion when you see people showing off their credentials. If it seems like they’re doing it to overcompensate, then it’s best to look somewhere else for your financial help.
Understand the payment plan.
Financial advisors aren’t cheap; your initial consultation could cost you. Some advisors charge a flat fee while others charge a commission or fee as a percentage of assets. You need to look at your individual situation to decide what the best solution is.
Know where to look.
Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to use advisors associated with a bank or any investment firm that creates and sells its own mutual funds. This is because in those arrangements, it’s very common for there to be a commission-based relationship between the advisor and the financial institution.
Of course, there are some great advisors out there, but you should only work with them if you know for sure they are superstars (for example, through a referral from a friend or family member, not a referral from a bank rep). Avoid walking into a bank and blindly ask to speak to a financial advisor. You won’t have the freedom to choose who you want to work with.
Get in Touch
Ready to face your debt problems and start saving to make your dream trip a reality? We’ve got you covered. Go ahead and ask about the debt relief services we offer. With just a consultation, you can start to visualize your financial future free of debt. Go ahead and call us for more information and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. We hope to hear from you soon!