Six tips for financial fitness this Fall

It’s September and there is some optimism that we may be moving towards the end of life in a global pandemic. The Fall has always been a great time to go back to school on financial fitness, and this year it may be more important than ever. Here are some tips to help make sure your finances are fit and stay that way –

Many of us dealt with stressors that we didn’t even know existed, like not being able to see loved ones. That’s why we all want to live a little, but perhaps do it strategically so you don’t break the bank. Maybe have some celebratory days with a set amount that you can spend where you go out and do the things you’ve really missed.

Having a budget is one of the most important ways to achieve a solid financial future. It might not be the most thrilling task, but it’s one that will give you a clearer picture of where you stand and how much you can truly spend. You’ll also be able to determine how much money you can allocate to your “live a little” fund.

While preparing your budget, first take a new look at your monthly bills and go through them line by line. You may have signed up for services you never really use or perhaps don’t remember requesting. Look for small, unexplained charges, fees, and add-ons, and the services that you can now live without.

Your credit score is essentially your passport to financial opportunities. It can mean the difference between getting approved or denied for any kind of credit and can prevent you from getting the lowest mortgage rate. The good news is that you have a lot of control over your score. That’s why it’s important to always have good credit behaviours. The single biggest factor to having a good score is a timely bill payment history so never let a bill get past due. Be sure to know your credit limits and try not to use more than 30% of the available amount, don’t be tempted to apply for store cards just to save on your purchase that day, and before you cancel a credit card get advice.

Always keep an eye on your high interest debt and pay down your credit cards as much as possible. If you find that your debt is making things difficult, you may be able to move that debt to your lower-rate mortgage if you have enough home equity. You could save thousands in interest, have one lower monthly payment that greatly improves your cash flow, and enjoy much reduced financial stress.

We’ve all gained a new appreciation of the value of being able to spend time with loved ones in person, that it’s something to treasure. Focusing on this may keep you from spending money you might not have or might not want to spend!

There are many that weren’t very fortunate during the pandemic. Consider committing some money to giving back – charities, shop local, tip restaurant workers and others generously.

I’m here to help so please get in touch at any time. It’s my goal to help you maximize your financial fitness so you can build wealth for the long term.

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Choose the mortgage rate that best fits your need

Investing in a property, home building or renovation requires a lot of planning on your finances. You will have to compare the mortgage rates on loans to comprehend the best option for yourself, based on your needs and expectations. It is also necessary to understand which product suits your spending profile and the pros and cons between variable and fixed mortgage rates.

Variable Mortgage Rate:

The variable mortgage rate can vary over the period of your repayment based on the prime rates set by the banks, which could be revisited by the Bank of Canada multiple times a year, thus automatically readjusting your mortgage rate.

Pros:

  1. A drop on the prime rate will readily give you a plunge in the mortgage you pay to your financial institution. For example, the year 2020 witnessed a drop of 1.50% lower rate than the previous year. So, anyone opting for a variable mortgage rate has paid 1.50% less in interest year-to-date.
  2. A variable mortgage rate gives you the choice to switch to a fixed rate with usually no penalties, which may not be the case the other way around.
  3. A variable rate is seen as a lower cost option due to lower penalties you must pay should you need to break your mortgage before it matures. The penalty to break your variable rate mortgage is the interest incurred in the last 3 months.

Cons:

The Bank of Canada can increase the variable rate any time. So, any increase over the break-even point will lead to a substantial economic loss.

Fixed Mortgage Rates:

Pros:

  1. You will be paying a consistent amount towards your mortgage at least until the end of your term.
  2. If you are absolutely certain there is no reason for you to break your mortgage, then this is the option for you.

Cons:

  1. You may think that fixed mortgage rates are safe because you know how much you will pay each year. However, this may lead to paying more on interest. This can happen when the interest rates in a given year over the course of your term have gone down. You will pay what you agreed to, without benefitting from the drop in interest rates.
  2. You can never substitute a fixed rate with a variable rate plan over your agreed term because if you do, you will pay a heavy penalty set by your financial institution.
  3. A lot of circumstances like your financial or personal situation may land you into breaking a fixed mortgage rate and this can come costly to you in the future. The penalty on breaking a fixed mortgage can be 3 months of interest or the ‘Interest rate differential’ which is an interest estimated up to the maturity of the term.

Below are the variable and fixed rate percentages offered currently:

  1. Low 5 Years Variable Mortgage Rates

You can pay just 1.25% mortgage rate on an annual basis on your principal amount for a plan of payment over five years. The 1.25% mortgage rate is variable, on which standard terms and conditions apply approved by the financial institutions.

  1. The 5 Years – High Ratio Mortgage Rates

The mortgage rate can go for as low as 0.99%, however it is a promotion for purchases with less than 20% down payment and is available for a limited time. This may also be subject to an estimation of your monthly savings that are calculated as per the rates set on ratehub.ca.

  1. Short-term – Fixed Mortgage Rates

There are various options for fixed mortgage rates depending on the term that you select. Please consult our rates section for further information as rate offerings can change frequently.

It is always advisable to consult the mortgage experts. Feel free to contact us today!

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Smart ways to pay for your home renovation

Moving is a lot of work and it’s expensive when you factor in all the costs – legal fees, moving costs, real estate commission, decorating, furnishings, and so much more. Sometimes it just makes more sense to love your home instead of listing it.

If you’re thinking renovation, you’ll want to carefully look at how to finance that transformation. There are generally two financing routes – home equity and unsecured credit.

Our hot housing market has greatly increased home values, and with mortgage rates hovering around historic lows, homeowners with enough equity are seizing the opportunity to tap into that equity to create the perfect home that fits their lifestyle and to further boost long-term value.

You can access your home equity through a mortgage refinance, home equity line of credit, a second mortgage or a program called refinance plus improvements. For smaller projects, many look to unsecured credit like a personal loan, line of credit, or credit cards. Here are the benefits and considerations of each:

If the home of your dreams is one renovation away, let’s discuss which option is best for your situation. I’m here to help you maximize your bottom line and personal home enjoyment.

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6 Ways for Homeowners to Build Wealth

History has proven that homeownership is a solid long-term investment. You build your equity stake through your regular mortgage payments and your home’s price appreciation over time. But wealth building doesn’t have to stop there. Here are 6 ways to do more throughout your mortgage years.

  1. Speed up your mortgage pay down. Change from monthly payments to weekly or biweekly, which increases your number of payments and takes years off your mortgage. Also consider putting found money like raises and tax refunds against your mortgage principal. Check your mortgage contract for the amount you can prepay each year.
  2. Get a financial reset when needed. Too much high interest debt over long periods of time is a definite wealth killer. It chokes your cash flow and having multiple debt payments can be stressful. If you have enough equity, you may be able to move that debt to your lower-rate mortgage, giving you one comfortable payment and thousands in interest savings.
  3. Renovate using your lowest cost funds. With historically low mortgage rates, homeowners with enough equity are using the opportunity to roll the cost of their renovation into their mortgage for one easy monthly payment, and then using their prepayment privileges to pay it off faster. It’s a win win when you increase the comfort and enjoyment of your home, while also improving the long-term value.
    1. Apply for incentives to help pay for energy saving investments in your home.
  4. Look at your mortgage renewal as an important moment of opportunity. When your lender sends out a letter suggesting you renew your mortgage at their current offer, get in touch. Everything pertaining to your mortgage can be renegotiated, giving you the opportunity to get the best possible deal for your current situation, which may be very different from when you first got your mortgage.
  5. Know your prepayment penalty. When choosing between fixed-rate mortgages, be sure to compare how the early payout penalty will be calculated. If you ever need to get out of your mortgage early, having the right mortgage could save you thousands. If you take a lower rate mortgage with a high prepayment penalty, the benefit of that lower rate could mean nothing if you overpay on the penalty to get out of your mortgage.

I’m here to save you money and help you build wealth throughout your mortgage years. Get in touch at any time!

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