The conversation I have about debt, specifically student loans, becomes a serious concern amoung young individuals who want to start saving whether that be for their first house, car, cottage, or even retirement.

"How much should I save if I'm still paying off my student loan? Should I pay a large portion of my student debt now if I have the money? Should I be saving at all if I haven't paid off my student loan?"

All fair questions, but to answer all of these in two words; it depends.

A recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 50% of recent college graduate have student loans, with an average student loan debt of $10,000. The average cost of college increases at twice the rate of inflation. With the rising costs of post-secondary, it is difficult for aspiring college students to get enough scholarships and grants to pay for tuition and basic necessities. More and more college students are forced to use credit cards to pay for basic essentials such as books and school supplies. According to the United Marketing Service (UCMS), the average number of credit cards per student is 2.8.

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Here are 7 helpful tips that could help you pay off student loan debt: 

February is RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) season. I am going to take this opportunity to explore some of the history of the RRSP. There is much in the RRSP’s history that can help us to understand how it works today.    

 

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“If I only knew then what I know now.” - My Parents 

“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” - Mercedes Lackey

Growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, my sister and I lived under the care of my immigrant parents who were business owners. I felt I had lived a normal lifestyle that consisted of eating, sleeping, and watching the occasional episode of “Sesame Street”. Not once did I feel like we were in a difficult situation. I had everything I ever needed; food, a roof over my head, and a small bed to call my own. Looking back, I realized that what we had came with significant financial sacrifices.  

If you are a member of a share ownership plan (SOP), we suggest you review it on a regular basis. As with any portfolio, it is important to review the concentration you have in just one company. Modern portfolio theory suggests you diversify your holdings amongst various companies, industries, geographic locations, business cycles, etc.  Maintaining a diversified stock portfolio, particularly during turbulent times, is a key strategy at mitigating loses.

 

Employees periodically have the opportunity to transfer funds from your SOP to another account, to help you meet your long-term savings goals while staying in-line with your risk tolerance.

 

Take a look at your own share ownership plan and talk to us about whether you are overly concentrated, and need to diversify. We can accommodate your company stocks and advise on how they best fit within your full financial plan or make alternative suggestions.  

Now that Canadians are legally allowed to consume marijuana many clients are asking us how this will impact insurance. From existing life insurance and new applications to group insurance. I have summarized the details below, and please reach out if you have more questions.

 

Our portfolio management teams remain optimistic on the outlook for Canadian equity markets.  Although we are likely in the later stages of the economic cycle, the Canadian economy is expected to continue benefiting from strong demand for goods and services from the United States.  This should allow for continued strength in corporate profits resulting in positive equity market returns. 

Are you in your 20s entering the workforce or are you years away from retiring and living your golden years? 

Should YOU have a retirement plan?