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  • Self-Reliance

    Learn ​​Self-reliance emphasizes the importance of relying on your own resources, abilities, and judgments in order to live a fulfilling life. Self-reliance involves taking responsibility for your own actions and decisions and relying on your own inner resources rather than external sources for validation or guidance. You should want to be self-reliant because it allows you to take ownership of your life, build confidence and resilience, foster creativity and innovation, and allow you to continue to grow and develop throughout your life. Other benefits include: Freedom: Being self-reliant allows you to take ownership of your own life and make decisions based on your own values and priorities, rather than external pressures or expectations. Confidence: By relying on your own abilities and resources, you can build confidence and self-esteem, which can lead to a greater sense of self-worth and fulfillment. Resilience: Self-reliance can also help you develop resilience in the face of challenges or setbacks. By learning to rely on yourself, you can develop a greater sense of inner strength and resilience that can help you overcome obstacles and bounce back from adversity. Creativity: Self-reliance can also foster creativity and innovation, as you are encouraged to think outside of the box and find new solutions to problems. Personal growth: By taking responsibility for your own growth and development, you can continue to learn and grow throughout your life, which can lead to greater personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose. Becoming self-reliant isn’t easy. It takes time, effort, and energy; or, my favourite three personal inputs: attitude, effort, and perspective. Here are some steps that can help individuals become more self-reliant: Develop self-awareness: Self-awareness is an important first step in becoming more self-reliant. It involves gaining a deeper understanding of your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and identifying any limiting beliefs or attitudes that may be holding you back. Set goals: Setting clear, achievable goals can help you become more self-reliant by providing a sense of direction and purpose. It's important to set goals that are aligned with your own values and desires, rather than external pressures or expectations. Cultivate self-discipline: Self-discipline is essential for becoming more self-reliant. It involves making a conscious effort to resist distractions and temptations and to stay focused on your goals and priorities. Take calculated risks: Taking risks can be scary, but it's an important part of becoming more self-reliant. By taking calculated risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone, you can build confidence and develop new skills and abilities. Learn from failure: Failure is inevitable, but it's also an opportunity to learn and grow. By embracing failure as a natural part of the learning process, you can become more resilient and better equipped to handle future challenges. An example of how to become more self-reliant: Let's say you have the goal of starting your own business. To become more self-reliant, you might start by developing a deeper understanding of your own skills, strengths, and weaknesses. You might then set clear, achievable goals for your business, such as creating a business plan or developing a marketing strategy. To cultivate self-discipline, you might establish a daily routine for working on your business, and make a conscious effort to resist distractions and stay focused. To take calculated risks, you might start by testing your business idea on a small scale before investing more time and resources. Finally, you might learn from any failures or setbacks along the way, and use them as opportunities to refine your approach and improve your chances of success. By following these steps and cultivating a sense of self-reliance, you can become more confident, empowered, and fulfilled in your life. Do This is a big one - today, take one of the goals you have and think about what you need to do to get there. Set yourself up for success by considering where your locus of control is and what steps are within your control to achieve the goal. Consider non-judgementally the knowledge and skillsets you have vs where they need to be. Write a short plan that puts you at the center of your goal. You are accountable to yourself, you can do this. If you want further motivation on self-reliance (one of my favourite pursiites) - read Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s quite short - about 20 pages, and is included in the curated book list.

  • Locus and Spheres of Control

    Learn Locus of control is a concept in psychology that refers to the extent that individuals believe they can control the events that affect their lives. People with an internal locus of control tend to believe that they are in control of their lives and their outcomes, while people with an external locus of control tend to believe that outside forces, such as luck or other people's actions, control their lives. Spheres of control and concern are related ideas that refer to the areas of life that you can directly control or influence. The sphere of control refers to the things that you have direct control over, such as your thoughts, actions, and behaviours. The sphere of concern refers to the things that you care about, but that you may not be able to control, such as the actions of others, world events, or natural disasters. An example of how this can affect your life: Imagine you are a college student studying for an exam. If you have an internal locus of control, you may believe that your performance on the exam is largely dependent on your own efforts and abilities, and that you have control over the outcome. As a result, you may spend more time studying and preparing for the exam and feel more confident and motivated. On the other hand, if you have an external locus of control, you may believe that your performance on the exam is largely dependent on external factors, such as luck or the difficulty of the exam. As a result, you may feel less motivated to study and may be more likely to procrastinate. In terms of spheres of control and concern, imagine that you are concerned about the environment and want to reduce your carbon footprint. In this case, your sphere of control might include actions such as reducing your energy use, recycling, and using public transportation. Your sphere of concern might include larger global issues such as climate change and pollution, which are beyond your direct control. By understanding the locus of control, spheres of control, and sphere of concern, you can gain greater insight into your beliefs and attitudes about yourself and your environment. This can help you make more informed decisions, set more realistic goals, and develop greater resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges. Do A helpful way to think about these two general ideas is to layer the sphere of control inside a larger sphere of concern. There are only so many things you can control - there are more things you can influence, and there are more still, things you can neither control nor influence. For this one, think about a few things inside your control, and things outside of your control. The next time you feel bad about something happening, think about whether the outcome was in your control, influence, or neither. For the locus of control - it’s as simple as first identifying things that are in your control, and then keeping yourself in charge as the accountable party to make sure that it’s a success. If you have an exam coming up - how well you do is absolutely within your control.

  • Self-Awareness

    Learn Self-awareness refers to the ability to recognize and understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It involves being able to objectively observe yourself and gain insights into your own personality, motivations, and emotions. Self-awareness is an essential part of personal growth and development as it allows you to make more informed choices and take actions that align with your values and goals. An example of self-awareness is when someone recognizes that they tend to get angry when they feel criticized. They might notice that when their boss or coworker provides feedback, they immediately become defensive and feel a surge of anger. By recognizing this pattern, that person can take steps to manage their emotional response and communicate more effectively. Once the pattern is recognized, they might take a few deep breaths before responding, acknowledge their emotions, and ask clarifying questions to better understand the feedback being given. Another example of self-awareness is when someone recognizes that they tend to procrastinate when faced with a difficult task. They might notice that they often put off starting a project until the last minute, which leads to unnecessary stress and lower-quality work. By recognizing this pattern, they can take steps to overcome their tendency to procrastinate. For example, they might break the project into smaller, more manageable tasks, set specific deadlines for each task, and enlist the help of a colleague or friend for accountability. Self-awareness is a critical component of emotional intelligence and personal growth. By recognizing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, you will be able to make more informed choices, develop stronger relationships, and achieve your goals more effectively. To become self-aware, you have to monitor yourself. Non-judgmental monitoring is a key aspect here. It involves observing yourself without labelling or criticizing your thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. By adopting a non-judgmental stance, you can gain a more objective understanding of yourself and your experiences, which can lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth. To non-judgmentally monitor yourself, there are several techniques that can be helpful: Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and observing your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment. By practicing mindfulness regularly, you can develop the skill of non-judgmental observation, which can be applied to daily life. Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can be a helpful way to monitor yourself without judgment. By simply observing and describing your experiences without labelling them as "good" or "bad," you can gain insight into your own patterns and behaviours. Self-reflection: Taking time to reflect on your experiences and actions can help build self-awareness. This can involve asking yourself questions such as "What am I feeling right now?" or "What patterns do I notice in my behaviour?" Seeking feedback: Asking trusted friends, family, or colleagues for feedback on your strengths and weaknesses can be a helpful way to gain insight into your self-perception and behaviour. It's important to approach feedback with an open mind and a non-judgmental attitude. Overall, non-judgmental monitoring involves adopting a curious and accepting attitude toward yourself. By passively observing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours without judgment, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and make more informed choices in your personal and professional lives. This is a tried and true path to becoming self-aware. Do Take a moment right now and think about how your day has gone so far. Think about how you responded to different situations, and how you’re feeling mentally and physically about each one. Without placing judgment on the good or bad feelings just acknowledge the good and bad as they come. If you’re feeling conflicted, happy, angry, sad, anxious, good, great, or excited - that's all okay. The only ‘do’ is to reflect, and think about you.

  • Self-Regulation

    Learn Self-regulation refers to the ability to manage your emotions and behaviour in a way that aligns with your goals and values. It involves being able to control your impulses, delay gratification, and adapt to changing circumstances. Self-regulation is an important component of emotional intelligence, as it allows you to navigate challenging situations and achieve your goals. An example of self-regulation is when someone feels frustrated by a colleague's behaviour but chooses to respond in a calm and professional manner. They might recognize their own emotional reaction and take steps to manage it, such as taking a few deep breaths or stepping away from the situation briefly. By regulating their emotional response, they can communicate more effectively and avoid damaging their relationship with their colleague. Another example of self-regulation is when someone sets a goal to exercise regularly and creates a plan to achieve it. They might schedule time in their calendar for workouts, enlist a friend for accountability, and track their progress over time. By regulating their behaviour and sticking to their plan, they can achieve their goal of improving their physical health. Self-regulation is a critical component of emotional intelligence and personal growth. By managing your emotions and behaviour in a way that aligns with your goals and values, you can achieve greater success and happiness in your personal and professional lives. Becoming better at self-regulation involves developing a set of skills and strategies to manage your emotions and behaviour in a way that aligns with your goals and values. Here are some techniques that can be helpful, notice the overlap with the skillsets from Self-awareness: Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your emotions and reactions. By developing the skill of non-judgmental observation, you can gain greater control over your emotional responses and make more informed choices. Self-reflection: Taking time to reflect on your emotions and behaviour can be a helpful way to develop greater self-awareness and self-regulation. This can involve asking yourself questions such as "What triggered my emotional response?", "What values am I trying to uphold in this situation?", “can I stick to this routine?”, or “I did/didn’t like my response, and wish I did it this way next time.” Cognitive restructuring: This involves identifying and challenging negative or unhelpful thoughts that can lead to emotional distress. By replacing negative thoughts with more balanced or positive ones, you can regulate your emotions and behaviours more effectively. Developing healthy habits: Regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can all contribute to improved self-regulation. When the body is well-nourished and rested, you are better able to manage stress and regulate yourself. This is notable if you find self-regulation more difficult when you’re tired or hungry (yes this is a real thing!). Seeking support: Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional can be a helpful way to gain perspective and develop strategies for self-regulation. Overall, becoming better at self-regulation involves a combination of self-awareness, skill development, and support. By practicing these techniques regularly, individuals can develop greater emotional intelligence and achieve their goals more effectively. Do Once you’ve used your self-awareness skills to identify areas you want to regulate, try it. Do it today! Delaying gratification by making dinner instead of dining out to save money, or waiting to eat ice–cream after a quick workout to manage calories. Both are wins on the self-regulation front. When it comes up next - a social situation where you would respond in a way that makes you feel bad afterward - regulate yourself and respond differently. Trial and error on the path to you fulfilling your goals is the result of regulating yourself.

  • Other-Awareness

    Learn Other awareness, also known as social awareness, refers to the ability to understand and empathize with other people’s emotions, perspectives, and needs. It involves being able to read social cues, show empathy, and build positive relationships. Other awareness is an important component of emotional intelligence, as it allows individuals to navigate social situations and work effectively with others. An example of other awareness is when you notice that a coworker seems upset and you ask if they are okay. By recognizing the coworker's emotional state and showing concern, you can build trust and strengthen the relationship. This can also help the coworker feel supported and valued, which can contribute to a more positive work environment. Another example of other awareness is when you take the time to understand and appreciate a friend’s perspective. You might ask questions to clarify their point of view, acknowledge their feelings, and work collaboratively to find a solution that works for both of you. By showing empathy and respect for the friend’s perspective, you can build stronger relationships and achieve better outcomes. Other awareness is an important component of emotional intelligence and effective communication. By understanding and empathizing with others' emotions and perspectives, you can build stronger relationships and achieve greater success in your personal and professional lives. Becoming better at other awareness involves developing a set of skills and strategies to understand and empathize with others' emotions, perspectives, and needs. Here are some techniques that can be helpful, and note the similarities between this and self-awareness, and how this is more involved: Active listening: Paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues and asking clarifying questions can help you better understand others' perspectives and feelings. Perspective-taking: Trying to put yourself in others' shoes and see things from their perspective to help build empathy and understanding. Empathy: Acknowledging others' feelings and showing concern and support can help build trust and positive relationships. Cultural competence: Being aware of and respectful of differences in cultural background, beliefs, and values can help individuals navigate diverse social environments. Conflict resolution: Learning effective strategies for resolving conflicts, such as compromising and collaborating. Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your own emotions and reactions, which can in turn help them better understand others' emotions and perspectives. Overall, becoming better at other awareness involves a combination of skill development and self-awareness. By practicing these techniques regularly, you can develop greater emotional intelligence and build stronger relationships with others. As with self-awareness, non-judgemental observation is a key skill here. Do During the next social interaction you have, try to monitor both yourself and the other person. Observe how you feel and what you think - then watch and try to understand how the other person feels and what they think by listening and being present. The action is harder than it sounds - it’s passive, but in addition to having the interaction with them, you are also monitoring and observing both yourself and the other person. After the interaction, look inwards and reflect on how the experience of doing both was.

  • Other-Regulation

    Learn Other regulation, also known as social regulation, refers to the ability to manage and influence the emotions and behaviours of others in a positive way. It involves being able to communicate effectively, set boundaries, and build positive relationships. Other regulation is an important component of emotional intelligence, as it allows you to navigate social situations and work effectively with others. An example of other regulation is when a manager notices that a team member is becoming overwhelmed and stressed. The manager might offer to help by taking on some of their tasks or adjusting their workload to better match their strengths and interests. By demonstrating empathy and concern, the manager can help the team member feel supported and valued, which can contribute to a more positive work environment. Another example of other regulation is when a teacher notices that a student is becoming distracted and disengaged. The teacher might offer to work one-on-one with the student to help them understand the material or adjust the classroom environment to better suit their learning style. By demonstrating understanding and flexibility, the teacher can help the student feel more engaged and motivated to learn. Other regulation is an important component of emotional intelligence and effective communication. By managing and influencing others' emotions and behaviours in a positive way, you can build stronger relationships and achieve greater success in your personal and professional lives. Becoming better at other regulation involves developing a set of skills and strategies to manage and influence the emotions and behaviours of others in a positive way. Here are some techniques that can be helpful, note the similarities to self-regulation, and how this is more involved: Effective communication: Developing effective communication skills, such as active listening and assertiveness, can help you express yourself clearly and manage conflicts in a constructive way. Empathy: Understanding and empathizing with others' emotions and perspectives can help you build stronger relationships and influence others in a positive way. Relationship building: Investing time and effort in building positive relationships with others can help you establish trust and influence over time. Emotional intelligence: Developing emotional intelligence skills, such as self-awareness and self-regulation, can help you better understand your own emotions and reactions, which in turn can help you better manage and influence others' emotions and behaviour (this is the entire point - tucked neatly away in the fourth segment of self and other awareness and regulation. The knowledge, language, and experience you acquire by trying this stuff helps you become emotionally intelligent and in control of your life!). Conflict resolution: Learning effective strategies for resolving conflicts, such as compromising and collaborating can help you build stronger relationships and influence others in a positive way. Boundaries: Setting clear boundaries and expectations with others can help you manage your own emotions and behaviours, as well as influence others in a positive way. Overall, becoming better at other regulation involves a combination of skill development, self-awareness, self-regulation, and other awareness. By practicing these techniques regularly, you can develop greater emotional intelligence and build stronger relationships with others. Do After trying to be self-aware, then self-regulating, and then aware of others, try managing expectations or setting boundaries. These situations might not pop us as frequently, but some great places to try this would be with your manager at work - if a project needs more time: tell them now. Don’t wait till the deadline approaches, tell them upfront what’s outstanding, what you’re doing to get it done, and how long you think you’ll need to finish (make sure to provide the expectation setting piece here of “when the new deadline needs to be”). For boundary setting, don’t be afraid to tell someone on a date if you’re feeling uncomfortable, or if a friend or family member pesters you way too often. This is where you get to teach others how they should treat you.

  • Income

    Learn In Canada, there are four types of income. This section will outline each of the four, the sources of each, and what to think about when planning ahead. They are Employment, Self-Employment, Investment, and Other. Why are there different types of income? The different types of income are in place to separate and match expenses and taxes with the type of activities you’re doing. Each income type is ‘siloed’, where the expenses related to that income stream can only be applied to that single stream. Each type is taxed differently, and some are more favourable than others - this is essential to planning and using money as a tool effectively. This section focuses on income, in another section, we’ll talk about expenses and another about tax. Employment Income: The most common type in Canada, and likely the primary source for you. This income happens when you are compensated for your time and competencies put into someone else’s business. You earn a regular, likely known paycheque every couple of weeks (this includes commissions and tips) and you will receive a Statement of Remuneration Paid (T4) at the end of the year that will go onto your Personal Tax Return (T1). Sources: The only way to earn employment income is to have a job working for a company. Thinking: Trading time and competencies for money is by far the most common way, but there are consequences. You are responsible for showing up, trying, and restricting the things you do in your personal time to work around your employment schedule. This can be in the form of a rewarding career, an exhausting routine that you dread doing, or a means to an end. Either way, your time is being traded for money. Self-Employment Income: If you work for yourself, or are a ‘small business’ in Canada (not employed by a company) then you’re earning self-employment income. This could be, for example: working construction on the weekends, making money off of youtube videos, for teaching grandparents how to use their phones, or for babysitting. This is usually considered ‘side’ income for Canadians (though it can also be the primary source) and is typically not predictable unless you set up and find the work yourself. You can deduct certain expenses from your income - more on this in the expenses and taxes sections. Sources: Any skill set you have can be monetized - you can probably get paid to do it. The hard part is finding people to pay you. If you can find the work, deliver on the agreement, and get paid for it - you're earning self-employment income. I encourage you to look up “side jobs” or “monetizable skills” for ideas. There are tons out there! Thinking: While still trading time for money, you aren’t working for someone else. While being responsive to the client, you can set your own schedules if the work allows for it. This might be really good for people wanting flexible or abnormal work times. Additionally, you gain skills, knowledge, and competencies from everything else that comes from beginning a small business - even if there are no employees, there are still the normal functions of reporting that need to happen every year so often to appropriately manage your money. Investment Income: A very hot topic these days: real ‘passive’ income. Investment income is money that’s earned from owning something. It can be a rental property for those fortunate enough to have something worth renting, interest paid from depositing money into a high-interest savings account, or stocks/bonds that are purchased on an exchange that pay dividends. This type of income is highly sought after for those moving into retirement because it is usually cash-producing on a predictable timeline (like rent being paid monthly, or dividends being paid quarterly). Additionally, selling the asset itself at a gain or loss is considered a capital gain or capital loss - and is unique based on the use of the asset (might be good to talk to a CPA or CFP for help if you make or lose money doing this). Sources: Rental income can come from any of the following: homes, cars, driveways, trailers, land, boats or anything else you can rent! Interest income can come from lending money (like a loan or Guaranteed Investment Certificates [GICs]). Dividend income comes from stocks that pay dividends, and capital gains can come from selling those stocks that have appreciated over time. Thinking: Investment income is a slow and steady - and arguably a tried and true - way to increase your wealth over time. It’s typically thought of when people think of ‘saving a pile of money for retirement’, and allows you to reclaim time by not working. While it’s clear why it’s so desirable, it can take far longer than people initially imagine to accumulate enough to create a sustainable income from it. When you own shares you are legally partial owners of that company, and you gain the benefits of being a shareholder. Other Income: By definition, Other income is income that originates from sources other than Employment, Self-Employment, or Investment. This is a catch-all place for one-offs or specially designed income. It typically isn’t something you can go out into the world and start earning right now. Sources: In Canada, typical sources of Other income could include: lottery winnings, inheritance, pension income, Employment Insurance (EI), or Canada Pension Plan (CPP, a common monthly payment to disabled individuals or children - this is a broad one). Thinking: Other income is unique in that it is there to support you when you cannot work or need assistance, or as a windfall (unexpected sum of money). This income is usually not sought after (other than lottery winnings and long-term pensions) but is much appreciated when needed. Do When it comes it income, take a look at your finances and see where most or all of it is coming from. Think about what happens if you lose that income stream - if all of it is coming from a job at a company that is closing next week, that means no more income. I want you to also take a look at other streams of income (regardless of where you’re currently at) and think about how having more than one might make your life easier (not by making more, but by diversifying the source). Further, think about ways that you might be able to take advantage of the multiple types of income to make more.

  • The Basics: Money in Canada

    Learn Why do we have Money? Money, like Canadian dollars “CAD”, and U.S. dollars “USD”, are federally regulated items of exchange that allows for quick and easy trade between individuals. They replace the need to have exact matches when trading (imagine you want to buy an iPhone but Apple only accepts truckloads of purple socks - very few people would be able to trade with them). Currency is a tool used in this process and it should be thought of as such for personal use and planning. The paper-based system that we use in Canada is called Fiat money - most if not all countries in the world use a Fiat system (it means implemented by decree or order by the government), and is regulated by the government. Where do we put the money we have? There are multiple ways to keep your money safe, depending on where you live. In Canada, we have a strong banking system. Due to this, keeping money digitally stored with a Bank in a chequing or savings account is likely the safest way to keep it. While you can store some cash in your house it might be best to leave it in unassuming places (funny enough - the safe is the first place a robber will go, and the sock drawer is probably second). Knowing where your money is, and that is safe can be just as important as making it. A chequing account is one of the most common accounts you will use, though you’ll likely only ever have one or two. This account doesn’t usually pay interest but it does let you deposit and pay bills from it without fees. Instead of paying fees on transactions, there is typically a small monthly or annual cost. A savings account is similarly one of the most common accounts offered and will usually pay interest on the money you’ve deposited. The flip side is that you usually only have a few free withdrawals each month. These accounts don’t typically have a monthly fee associated with them. With that in mind this, or a high-interest savings account, is where you will want to build and store your emergency fund. Different banks will pay a different interest rate - it’s encouraged to shop around to find a high-interest rate with a bank or broker you like. What are registered accounts? On the topic of places to keep your money safe: there are a handful of unique accounts that can do more than just hold money. Registered accounts are accounts typically held by a bank or broker that have special tax implications. These accounts exist to manage taxes and make certain life activities easier. The exhaustive list of registered accounts in Canada includes: First Home Savings Account (FHSA) Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) You can open them with a bank or broker, and begin depositing money into them. Importantly, these accounts do more than your normal chequing or savings where you can only hold cash. Registered accounts can be thought of as umbrella accounts - within a single TFSA for example, you can have Cash, Stocks, ETFs, and/or Bonds (more on these in the investing article). The limit to these accounts is usually how much you can contribute. Below is a quick look at each account. First Home Savings Account (FHSA) Contribution: Everyone in Canada has the same flat amount they can contribute every year - at the time the program launches in Canada (2023) it is up to $8,000 per year, to a maximum of $40,000 over 5 years. Benefits: This account is very cool - when you contribute the account is treated like an RRSP, where the amount you contribute is deducted from your taxable income for the year reducing your taxable income. Now, unlike the RRSP account, this is not a deferral if the funds withdrawn are used to purchase a house/condo for the first time. If that’s the case the funds withdrawn are then treated like a TFSA - on a tax-free basis. That means that contributions are pre-tax and withdrawals are tax-free, creating a powerful taxless process designed to help first-time home buyers access the home market. Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Contribution: The amount you can deposit is set at a flat rate each year and is the same for everyone. You can view the contribution limits on the Government of Canada’s Website here. Benefits: All money deposited into the account is after-tax dollars (you would have already been taxed on the income you received), and is now exempt from future tax. For example, if you deposit $500 into a TFSA and purchase a Stock, and in a few years that stock is now worth $650, that $150 difference between when you purchased and when you sold will not be taxed at all. This account is extremely useful and should be one of the first accounts you should try to max out for the younger readers who have lots of time to grow their net worth. Note that if your goal is buying a home, the First Time Savings Account is likely the more effective option. Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Contribution: There is no hard contribution limit per year but there is a lifetime limit of $50,000 per individual. Benefit: The Government will match a portion of your deposits every year to a maximum of $500 when you deposit $2,500 - a very solid return right off the bat. There is a lifetime match of $7,200 at the time of writing and the dollars that grow every year in that account are not taxed. Rather, the tax is deferred or delayed until the beneficiary withdraws the funds (or the account hits its lifetime existence limit of 35 years). Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Contribution: This one is a bit more challenging to figure out because there is a calculation involved. You can deposit 18% of your earned income for the year, up to a maximum of $31,560 (2023) plus any previously unused room. The CRA online account can help track this but it’s usually best to consult an accountant (CPA) or financial planner (CFP) if you aren't sure. Benefit: Full tax deferral - much like the RESP all deposited funds aren’t taxed until you withdraw them later - any income or gain within the account is fully deferred until then. Additionally, all funds deposited reduce your income by the same amount, resulting in a reduction in total income and therefore taxes. This account is a double-sided approach to saving because you get both the tax refund on money in and don’t pay tax on the income until it’s withdrawn. It’s almost as good as the TFSA (and in some cases better!). Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) Contribution: This account cannot be contributed to. It is a unique account that doesn’t exist until you turn 71 years old (or earlier if you choose). At that time the RRSP is automatically converted into a RRIF and you are obligated to withdraw, at a minimum, a specific percentage of the total funds in the account. That specific amount changes based on your age. Benefit: you are forced to enjoy the hard work you put into saving money in your RRSP - it’s okay to enjoy the money you make, and as you age that becomes more important. Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Contribution: This is another unique account that is only available if you also qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). There is no annual contribution limit but there is a lifetime limit of $200,000. Benefit: The funds withdrawn by the beneficiary are not included as taxable income and therefore are not subject to tax. This is a great benefit to help support individuals that might have had difficulty saving on their own. Remember this is a brief look at the registered accounts and there are consequences or penalties that apply to incorrect or inappropriate use. Talking with an Accountant (CPA) or Financial Planner (CFP) would be the best place to start. Do Go onto your bank’s website and see what accounts they offer in addition to the ones you already have. Look at the price you currently pay for chequing accounts and how many transactions you’re allowed to have in a savings account. Finally, log on to your CRA online account and see what your contribution limit is for the FHSA, TFSA, and RRSP!

  • Reading

    Learn Reading is one of the most fundamental skills that humans acquire. From an early age, we are encouraged to read as a means of acquiring knowledge, expanding our vocabulary, and developing our critical thinking skills. As we grow older, we are often told to read for pleasure, to improve our empathy and understanding of other perspectives, and to boost our overall cognitive function. But why is reading so important, and what are the benefits of reading? First and foremost, reading is an essential skill that enables us to navigate the world around us. From reading street signs to understanding complex legal documents, the ability to read is critical to our success in both our personal and professional lives. Without reading, we wouldn’t be able to learn new information or gain new insights into the world around us. This is particularly true in today's information age, where we are bombarded with a constant stream of news, social media posts, and advertisements. Reading allows us to filter through this noise and find the information that is relevant and useful to us. But reading is much more than just a functional skill. It has numerous cognitive, emotional, and social benefits that have been well-documented by experts in the field of psychology and education. For example, research has shown that reading can improve our memory, increase our attention span, and boost our overall cognitive function. This is because reading requires us to use multiple areas of our brain, including our visual cortex, language processing centers, and working memory. As we read our brain processes the words on the page to derive meaning from them, and then stores that information for future use. This process of cognitive engagement is incredibly beneficial for our brains, helping to keep them sharp and healthy as we age. The benefits of reading go far beyond our cognitive function. Reading can also improve our emotional well-being by helping us to build empathy and understanding of other perspectives. When we read a book, we are transported into the mind of the author, experiencing their thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a way that is both unique and profound. This immersion in another person's life can be incredibly powerful, helping us to develop a greater appreciation for the diversity of human experience and the challenges that others face. This can, in turn, improve our ability to communicate and empathize with others, making us more effective communicators, collaborators, and leaders. Finally, reading has numerous social benefits, particularly in terms of our ability to connect with others. Reading is often a shared experience, whether it be discussing a book club selection with friends, recommending a favourite novel to a coworker, or bonding with a romantic partner over a shared love of literature. These connections can be incredibly meaningful, helping us to form deeper relationships with those around us and build a sense of community and belonging. In a world where social isolation is increasingly common, these connections are more important than ever. Reading is a critical skill that is essential for success in both our personal and professional lives. It offers numerous cognitive, emotional, and social benefits that have been well-documented by experts in the field of psychology and education. Whether you are reading for pleasure, learning a new skill, or simply expanding your knowledge, reading is an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience that can improve your life in countless ways. So, if you haven't picked up a book in a while, now is the perfect time to start! Do We’ve curated a list of books that we think will help you think about and navigate your life. They range from classics to personal picks that we’ve found great value in. Take a look - they're also categorized into the three aspects of life to make it easy for you to pick which ones you want to start with.

  • Practical Wisdom

    Learn Practical wisdom is the ability to use knowledge, experience, and good judgment to make good decisions in real-life situations. It's a combination of knowledge, skills, and the ability to apply them in a practical way. It's about being able to understand and navigate the complexities of life and make the best decisions in any given situation. This is different from theoretical knowledge, which is the knowledge that is acquired through study and learning but is not necessarily applied in practice. It requires a deep understanding of the context and the ability to take into account multiple perspectives and factors. Practical wisdom is important to understand as you develop your own identity and are in the process of figuring out who you are and what you want, and navigating the complexities of life. Striving to be practically wise can help you to make better decisions, understand the consequences (good and bad) of your choices, and navigate life gracefully. The ability to use knowledge, experience, and good judgment to make good decisions in real-life situations takes time and patience to learn. It's a combination of knowledge, skills, and the ability to apply them in a practical way. The result is that as you navigate the complexities of life, you will find you begin to make the best decisions in any given situation. Do Start small, and reflect on the experiences you’ve had where you wish you did things differently. It doesn’t have to be a big regret - a small but noteworthy experience that you’ve earmarked as “hmm, I won’t do it that way next time”. Think about that realization and see the difference between what you did and what you’d want to do - is it the right thing? It’s sort of a loaded question isn’t it - one of those: you need experience in learning to get the experience needed to start learning. While it seems like that on the offset, it’s important to acknowledge that this is life judgment. Taking time to reflect and keeping this entirely in your head will slowly build up your experience of navigating difficult scenarios where you want to change. Over time you will see you are more comfortable with actioning that change, but for now, just focus on thinking and noticing.

  • Learning to Think

    Learn Genuine critical thought is challenging, rewarding, and not something most of us simply do. There are actually a ton of problems that can be solved by spending time thinking. First: what’s the difference between thinking, and thinking critically? It’s the effort in analyzing AND considering. In normal thought, we have inputs from the environment and we usually react without a ton of forethought. That’s okay and is a really efficient way to not get bogged down by every micro decision we need to make in a day. The flip side is this type of thinking doesn’t do as well when we try and solve complex problems or answer the questions we ask ourselves such as: How has my past affected my behaviour now; Can I be okay with my past to move forward and dream big; What do I want to spend my time doing (career and personal); What do I want to do, and Who do I want to do it with; What makes me happy; What am I okay sacrificing for bigger things? In my experience, these questions seem normal to ask ourselves, but very few actually put effort into answering them. If you’ve never thought about them, that’s great because now you’re aware you can. It’s noteworthy that I mentioned earlier both effort and consideration are required, yet recently I only mentioned effort. Consideration happens along the journey, when we think to ourselves, “woah, I’ve never thought about that before” and being accepting and okay with that realization to move forward with the thinking. You can start to feel your thinking critically when you can track mental conversations and remember where you left off, when you feel you can answer some of the questions listed above (trust me, that is not an exhaustive list), and when you start to feel more self-centred. Along the bath, it’s likely anxiety or stress will increase first as you realize it’s not as easy as it might seem, or as you stretch your capacity to track conversations. Do To start practicing it might help to sit somewhere comfortable, calm, or peaceful (just one or two of these seem to work), and close your eyes. Music helps. Then start the conversation - “What do I want out of life?” The process usually starts with dreaming big and in the future - not one or two years but 30 to 50, then working backwards to slowly figure out how you can get there. It’s okay to accept things you cannot control as you go. These conversations start and end with you. Think to see how they can provide direction and then you can go out and decide whether to take action on them or not.

  • The Money Conversation

    Learn The conversation about money has a few important thoughts that should be considered before we judge others, or ourselves, for how money is managed; or, feel guilty/shameful for not doing things you think we should be doing. They are: Personal* Behaviour Wants Circumstances The Rat Race The “personal*” in personal finance is just that. There is no ‘one right way’ to do things. For example, Science and Economics can help us figure out the optimal way to get out of debt - but if that way doesn’t work for the person it’ll never happen. I cannot stress this enough - that is okay. Why the asterisk on this point? Because it encompasses the others. This is the single greatest aspect of personal finance to understand - no one has the right answer for you, but you. Experts can evaluate and advise but you have to execute. No one cares more about your financial future than you. Given the inherent nature of how personal your finances are, it’s helpful to think that your behaviour then drives the outcome. Do you save, spend, invest, give away, work more or less, are career driven or are nomadic? Knowing this about yourself will make it easier for you to talk about money with others. It’ll help inform how you approach the conversation when others are asking you, and allows you to accept your defaults. From there, we can grow. Wants. The lifestyle you choose comes with a base monthly cost assigned to it. Think about what you want and how that affects your behaviours. Consider what you’re doing that allows you to achieve your future, and what you need to change to get there. Are you happy now? How much money do you need to live the life you want? Further, consider that you’re fully in the driver's seat on this one. If your friends want to live in a penthouse or mansion, and you want to live in a cozy cottage or townhouse, know that is okay. Whatever camp you’re in - simply knowing what you want for a base lifestyle will make you more comfortable talking about where you are and where you want to be. It’s okay to dream and it’s okay to be happy with a little or a lot. One of the single most challenging parts of personal finance is the ability to put ourselves in other shoes. Cliche? Absolutely. Necessary? 100%. Having an understanding that your situation is different from others is critical to talk about money. This is a rigged game. Know that now, at the start, and it’ll make your empathy for yourself and others easier. Others are going to start where you end, or vice versa. We don’t know what others really want out of life - assuming we do is a slippery slope to judgment and stigmatization. What comes along with this understanding - it’s okay to find peers in similar situations as you to learn from them. Avoid the echo chamber as much as possible, but know that having others go through the same thing as you will allow you to navigate a pre-blazed trail (as much as you’d like to). The “rat race” is a commonly used term to describe the treadmill we get on after high school. We get a job, get a car, find a partner, get a house, have kids, work, work, work, make ends meet, and retire. A lot of people want this life (again, very much okay!), others don’t (yes, also okay!), but knowing what you want will help you talk about this in group settings. It will make it easier for you to be comfortable knowing what you want, why you want it, and that what your peers want doesn’t have to impact your life. The Rat Race is a common thing to feel, but this is also an important place to put real thought into to figure out if you want to be part of it. Someone wise told me: “if you buy your dream house, make sure it’s the nicest house in the cul de sac”. It took me a while to understand this, but the point was this: if my dream home was the worst of the ones around it, I would likely fall into the trap of comparison, ironically, buying it when it’s the nicest is still just comparing to those around it. Removing yourself entirely from this feeling is a good way to make sure you’re on your way to being happy living your life, not someone else's. As they say: “Comparison is the thief of joy” - Theodore Roosevelt. These thoughts have been filled with reminders that whatever your experience has been - it’s okay. Consciously validating your experiences is an important part of being comfortable in your starting point. Knowing that from there you can grow and continue to where you want to be. The asterisk on “personal” - this is very much your journey. Do Removing the stigmatization and judgment of how other people (and you) manage and talk about money is intimately tied to our collective ability to share wisdom about how to navigate different circumstances. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, not every time at least. When money comes up in conversation, work on being open-minded - listen to what others have to say, listen to what you say and think about what fits you.

  • Self | Financial | Practical Literacy

    Learn Self-literacy is the ability to understand and express yourself in a clear and effective way. It is the process of becoming aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours and how they impact your life. It's also about being able to set goals, communicate effectively with others, and take care of yourself. Self-literacy is important because it helps you make better decisions, improves your relationships, and helps you achieve your goals. It also helps you understand and manage your emotions, leading to a more positive and fulfilling life. Self-awareness is essential to building healthy relationships and setting yourself up for success in your future career and personal life. By understanding and mastering self-literacy, you'll have the tools to navigate the challenges that come with growing up, such as managing stress, setting and achieving goals, and making good decisions. It will also help you become a more confident, resilient, and well-rounded person. It’s a vital skill that helps you understand and express yourself, set and achieve goals, communicate effectively, and take care of yourself. Financial literacy is important because it can help you make the most of your financial resources, achieve your goals, and prepare for the future. Understanding personal finance helps you make informed financial decisions, such as saving, spending, managing debt, investing, and protecting your money through risk management. Achieving your goals, regardless of what they are, needs financial consideration! In addition to the basics, there are some wider ideas that are covered, including an overview of the current banking and financial systems, such as what different types of bank accounts do, income taxes in Canada, and credit cards. Blockchain is also explained (don’t worry, we make it really easy to understand!) as there is a chance that it is adopted by larger systems to become the next generation of financial tools you use. Our mission is to help you change faster than the world is, we can’t ignore this - even if it makes us uncomfortable! Practical literacy is the center of living a good life. This aspect of life includes learning about mental health, and physical health, as well as managing your friends, families, and careers in order to be comfortable, confident, and aware of the many moving parts of life. Your personality and preferences are yours, they’ll change with time and as you grow. We’ll help you navigate all this with new ways of talking about things to experiment, learn, and really understand what living a good life means to you. Do Self-literacy is the first step. A good way to learn more about yourself and your preferences is to learn more about the two aspects of life everyone has to navigate: personal finance, and your practical day-to-day life. The “do” here, is to begin reading, learning, and using the resources, templates, books, and courses we’ve created for you to master your goals and actually live the life you want. Looking forward to watching you learn and grow.

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