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Do something for future you today Managing your spending against what you earn may hurt now, but will benefit your future


ome March, our winter haze is clear- ing and we’re ready to be done with the cold and snow. Festive holidays

are over; to some, a winter vacation was enjoyed, and to others, the new vacation year is about to begin. While spring brings change,

the bills don’t stop coming in, and tax time is here the same time every year – so how is 2015 going to be any different? How our year begins is in our control. Make 2015 the year to take

control and take stock of what you have now and for your fu- ture. Preparing a sound finan- cial plan is about saving but it’s also about spending and managing your risk. Te plan is the easy part; the execution is what’s difficult. Spending is probably the easiest habit

to get into, especially when we don’t think about the consequences – whether it is in the short-term of spending more than we earn, or long-term (not having enough money to retire).

Taking stock of what you’re spending

now and what you’ll have to spend in the future can help to curb those unconscious impulses. Here are some tips on how to get started. 1. Be specific and write down

what you spend. Be focused on your money and know where every cent goes. 2. Know your precise limits

of spending and don’t exceed them. 3. Review your current

Financial Literacy

Janice Desautels

spending and determine how that impacts your ability to save. 4. Determine how much you

need to live on now. Will this be the same in three to five years, and five to ten years? If not, how will you reduce your spending

to offset those increases? Saving is the solid foundation to every fi-

nancial plan, yet runs parallel to spending. And it isn’t such an easy task to balance the two if you are not in the habit. Depending on your income and future wants and needs,

What burden or legacy will you bring to the future? Image by H.Kopp-Delaney.

spending may have to take a back seat for a while. Getting into the habit of saving takes focus and motivation, because you are looking forward to an outcome that isn’t tangible in the present moment. Te impact that saving for a future goal may have on your present lifestyle can be minimized in a few ways. Start today. Te earlier you start saving,

the more time your money has to com- pound for future gain. Is your income growing, or do you have the potential to earn more? By not spend-

ing more than you earn now, every increase can be put aside as savings and you won’t feel the impact. Save your tax refund. Tis is about the

time we start thinking about what that re- fund might look like. A course correction is needed if you’re thinking about spend- ing it on a consumable item. Planning and preparing to save it well in advance of knowing the amount increases the likeli- hood of success. Last but not least, your ability to earn

an income is the most valuable asset you have. If something happened to you and that income stream was interrupted or lost, where would that place you and your family financially? Protecting against that risk is crucial, so review or re-evaluate your posi- tion. Te “young you” needs to take care of the “old you,” so be mindful of your future responsibilities and start your plan today. Janice Desautels has been working with

families and individuals for the last seven years helping educate in the field of financial literacy. She is a Certified Financial Educator with over 15 years of experience in teaching and training adults.

When your impulses are at odds with the income you're earning

Millennials think they’ve earned the right to everyday luxuries, and ignore that they can’t afford them

creative worlds. But one of the biggest misconceptions we have is that we think we are entitled to certain luxuries. An annual vacation outside


Young Money Vanessa Kunderman

the province is a must-have, and our mornings won’t start on the right foot until we snag our daily mochaccino. Once we land our first “real job” after two to four years of college, we tell ourselves anything to justify having a brand-new vehicle or really expensive apartment. After all, we rode the bus for

sooo long. “I’d rather spend money on

experiences than on things,” many a millennial will say –

but this is such bologna. So many of them drive new cars, have brand new phones, and spend money on things over experiences.

illennials can be lauded for a lot of things. We are great at manipulating technology and we’ve pioneered a lot of new ideas in the business and

l iam James, our habits are pract ical ly sol idi fied once we turn 30. It becomes except ional ly hard to relearn or teach ourselves something new. We need to stop lying to ourselves and take a long hard look in the mirror if we want to enact change. Once we realize we want a lot of things but don’t need them, we can make better choices. Many millennials grew up having a lot – at least more

than our parents had. For the sake of our financial habits, this is unfortunate. We’ve lost the drive to work at a rea- sonable pace for the things we want, then buying them when it makes financial sense. We want things now. Heck, we want things yesterday. But it feels so good to save for something and buy it

Some psychologists say your habits are engrained by age 30. Photo by Luiz Sousa.

We spend so much so frivolously, we actually struggle to recognize just how much we have. Yes, our twenties are a time for self-discovery and explo-

ration. But we can also be really stupid with our financial choices, ultimately setting ourselves up for a more difficult time later. It can take years to get ourselves out of a mis- take we didn’t think twice about making in the first place. According to The Principles of Psychology by Wil-

when we can afford it. Tere’s no stress in the back of our minds that our credit cards are getting out of control, and the pride we get when we really own something is hard to shake. We need to curb the lustful distractions we feel when

we really want something. We need to take a cue from James and get a grasp on our

desires soon. And quickly – before it’s too late. Vanessa Kunderman writes every month on money is-

sues facing millennials. Email her at: hello@vanessakun-

Mood boosters: three things you can do to feel better now I

magine this: you’re presenting at a big meeting tomor- row that could take you from being “kind of a big deal” to being legitimately a big deal. Game face: on. Pin- terest-inspired outfit: carefully selected. Alarm clock: set three times on your iPhone. You’ve got this. Until… You shut all three alarms off

Note to Self Faye Armstrong

in your sleep and wake up late. No time for coffee. When you get to work, Sandra from ac- counting totally eyes up your outfit – and not in a good way. It’s time to turn things around. But how do you keep your game face on when it’s crunch time and everything seems to be go- ing wrong? We know about the power

of positive thinking, but some days, it can be harder than oth-

ers to see the bright side – and it doesn’t help when the pressure’s on to be at your best. Here are three quick fixes for when you’re feeling less than stellar. Power poses

In social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your body

shapes who you are,” Cuddy teaches us what our posture does to affect the levels of testosterone and cortisol in our brain, which, in turn, affects our feelings about ourselves. In other words, even if you’re feeling not so hot about your

fine self, standing tall and peacock proud has been proven to have a positive impact on how we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us.

March 2015

There are ways to mend a bad morning. Photo by Loren Kerns. Cuddy says that you can put this into practise by doing

powerful poses before that big meeting, job interview, or date – whatever you need to pump up those tail feathers for. Sneak away for a little bathroom break and spend a few minutes in powerful stances: keep your feet apart, chin up, and put your hands on your hips or raise them above your head in a V shape. When you’re done feeling silly, holding this stance for a

couple minutes will help boost those alpha-hormones and get you prepped for success. It’ll be our little secret. Fake it ‘til you make it, Baby. Get moving

Realistically, you may not have time on a crazy day to

squeeze in a workout or yoga sesh before your pressing engagement – and even if you did, that “post-workout glow” might not be the professional look you’re going for during that important presentation. But, sitting at your desk can

keep your mind stagnant, and those negative thoughts are not what you want to get stuck on repeat during a crucial moment. Walk around while you practice your presentation. Give

yourself a hug. If you can, sneak a little mini-dance party in. Movement – even simple movements that you can do from anywhere – releases the nurturing hormone oxytocin, im- proves focus and concentration, and helps to reduce stress. Breathe

When you’re really down to the wire or need to discreetly

turn things around, this is something you can do even in the midst of a stressful situation: just breathe. Many of our physical reactions to stress are caused by how we are breathing. If you’re with other people, pause for a moment and take

a deep breath or two before continuing. Better yet, if you are alone, or can find a way to quietly sneak this in, do some breathing exercises. I like the 4-7-8 trick: breathe in through your nose for

four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this consecutively without taking breaks in between until you start to feel the calm floating in. Even the simple act of breathing can help slow your heart

rate, bringing you out of fight-or-flight mode, and returning your thinking capacity back to a normal state. Try these on their own or all together for a killer combo

for success. And the next time Sandra gives you the stink- eye, tell her she looks stressed and hand her this article. Faye Armstrong is a life coach based in Winnipeg who is

passionate about living life to the fullest and helping others do the same. For a little motivation or to learn more about personal coaching, visit

Smart Biz 15

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