Top 5 Summer Financial Activities for Canadians
We often have our summer book list but what should we do about our finances in the summer? As we wrote in our Blog “Sell in May and Go Away – Not Good Advice in Canada”, while markets don’t tend to drop over the summer, they rarely experience massive gains. So summers tend to be a great time to take stock (pun intended) of where you are and prepare for the fall, when the markets tend to move more strongly.
Improve your Financial IQ – Why not read a book around the pool? It’s summer so we want the reading to be light but there is no reason not to learn a little bit while enjoying a good story. Forbes published a good list recently ("Personal finance books you need to read this summer"). Or, you can always spend a few hours browsing through the resources available on our site. We’ve tried hard to make the material educational as well as interesting.
Consolidate Accounts and Advisors– Over the years many people find they have a number of small accounts in different institutions. They might have a number of financial advisors, managing small portfolios. Summer is a great time to take stock of your finances and see where you can rationalize. The benefits can be great – consolidating finances might allow you to generate enough cash to make a new investment and consolidating advisors might allow you to earn lower fees and enjoy better investment diversity.
Read your Credit Card Statement- Seriously, we all say we do this but when was the last time you really looked? Many people find a number of unwanted charges including automatic renewals of magazine subscriptions, recurring membership for things you no longer use (gym?), mistakes and sometimes fraud. According to the website Billguard.com, a credit and debit card monitoring service, the average American loses $356 per year as a result of unwanted charges. A quick read of your last few statements could lead to some nice summer cash.
Review your Credit Score – Most of us watch US television and we are bombarded by ads encouraging us to check and monitor our credit. It is good advice in Canada as well as there will likely be a time in the near future where your credit score will be important, such as when you buy a car or a house or apply for a credit card or personal loan. In the US, there are 3 credit bureaus and in Canada only two – Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Either of them will provide you with a free credit report. Or there are other services like Credit Karma. Look for accounts you never opened or other transactions that look strange to you. If you are very unlikely, you might find you have been a victim of identity theft leaving you with terrible credit and a number of credit cards on your file that you never ordered. There are many resources that will describe how to improve your credit and that will be the topic of a future post. This is important since the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you'll be offered by a lender.
Conduct a Portfolio Review – In summer, we tend to have a little more time available to do the things that we've put off. So, why not take a few minutes, gather your documents, meet with Advisor and conduct a portfolio review to make sure your investments are doing well are your investment strategy still makes sense. We’ve written about what happens in a Portfolio Review here. You can also sign up for a (free) Portfolio Review with one of our talented advisors here.
Have a great summer!