Friday, January 23, 2009

5 financial strategies to bolster your bottom line in uncertain times

I agree with all these 5 ideas, everyone should follow this philosophy!Problem is, when you are saddled with debt, it's difficult to do these things, but do what you can, you will be thankful in the future!All the Best!Mark
Scotiabank offers Canadians five financial strategies to bolster their bottom line in uncertain times

TORONTO, Dec. 29 /CNW/ - With holiday shopping and gift giving behind us and the New Year just ahead, now is the perfect time for people to take stock of their financial situation. While current economic conditions are challenging many Canadians to re-think their budget, Scotiabank has some practical suggestions to help households shore up their financial position.

1. Don't panic or make emotional decisions. One way to avoid the trap of leaping before you look and making financial or investment decisions you'll regret in the long run, is to manage stress by paying attention to your physical and emotional fitness. If you don't have a financial plan, now is the time to get one that emphasizes debt management andmap out your short and long term goals. Focusing on those goals will help you maintain perspective.

2. Pay down debt. Start by tackling consumer debt such as higher rate department store and other credit cards. Inform yourself about interest rates and options, such as a consolidation loan, that will help you free up cash for other priorities such as investing or paying down your mortgage.

3. Reduce your discretionary spending so you can redirect more money to debt repayment or savings. Review your household budget to track how much money is coming in, what your fixed expenses are and identify things you're spending money on that you could live without. For example, pack your lunch rather than eating out every day, cut back on magazine subscriptions or visit the library more often rather than buying books all the time. Then consider setting up an automatic savings plan so that the money you're saving comes straight out of your bank account. Before long, chances are you won't even miss it.

4. Make an RRSP contribution and then use your refund to help manage competing financial priorities. The refund could be used to pay down high cost debt, make an extra mortgage payment, open a new Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) or contribute to your child's Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Borrowing to make an RRSP contribution makes good fiscal sense if you are confident that you can pay the loanback relatively quickly.

5. Position your investment portfolio for recovery - but diversify to manage risk. Remember that when markets are down, there are investment opportunities that can potentially benefit your portfolio in the long term. Be diversified with an appropriate mix of asset classes (equity, bonds and cash equivalents) that fit your risk tolerance, investment time horizon and income requirements. Stay in regular contact withyour financial advisor to ensure your portfolio is appropriately balanced to meet your needs, manage risk, and to offset market fluctuations.

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