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Resolutions to live by

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This is the resolution time of year – and we make all kinds of them, from resolving to lose weight to taking up a new hobby. And even though we have the best of intentions, most of our resolutions eventually fall by the wayside. But here is a set of important resolutions for your consideration to make and keep – because, taken together, they can give you a financially secure life.

‘I resolve to be budget aware.’ Look critically at your income and expenses. Set a realistic monthly budget that includes a specific amount for savings.

‘I resolve to be debt aware.’ Stay on top of your debt by using expensive credit cards sensibly and paying high-interest and non-deductible debt first.

‘I resolve to be life aware.’ Define your life and goals in relation to your income and set enough aside regularly to reach your goals.

‘I resolve to be RRSP aware.’ Make the most of the best tax-deferred savings builder for most Canadians – start making contributions to investments held within an RRSP early and make your maximum yearly contributions. You’ll save on taxes and maximize the growth potential of your investments within an RRSP.

‘I resolve to be tax aware.’ Take advantage of every applicable tax deduction and tax credit – including the easily overlooked ones like moving expenses, child-care expenses, tuition fees, medical expenses and charitable donations.

‘I resolve to be investment aware.’ Be a tax-efficient investor. Hold investments earning tax-advantaged investment income – those that return dividends or capital gains – outside your RRSP and higher-taxed interest-earning investments inside your tax-deferred RRSP.

‘I resolve to be insurance aware.’ Your need for income protection and estate planning will change as your life changes – be sure your insurance keeps pace.

‘I resolve to be asset allocation aware.’ Sustain the steady, long-term growth of your investments through a solid portfolio asset allocation plan that includes the right balance of assets from the three asset categories – cash, fixed income investments and equities.

‘I resolve to be plan aware.’ Take all these financial security resolutions and wrap them into a consolidated plan that will become your essential framework for achieving all your financial and life goals.

Oh, and one more easy-to-keep resolution that will pay big, and continuing, dividends for you: Get the expert help of a professional advisor to develop the financial plan that works best for you.

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant.

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