Written by Amaara Dhanji
Monday, May 6th, 2019
In my fourth year of university, I decided to take a wealth management class in the hopes of preparing myself for adulthood after graduation.
I went in with minimal financial literacy, but I knew it was something I needed to learn. Prior to the course, I barely knew the differences between a TFSA or an RSP, and I really didn't understand why it was important for me to start saving now.
Now that I've taken the class and improved my financial literacy, here are three things I started doing to reach my financial goals:
I Outlined My Lifetime Major Savings Goals
In order for me to understand how much I should be saving annually, I had to know what my financial goals were. This included large purchases such as a house in Vancouver, a car, a destination wedding, potential children's tuition costs, and even projected retirement costs.
By outlining these lifetime milestone goals in a spreadsheet, and determining approximately when I'd need to pay for them, I mapped out how much I'd need to save each year. Although the costs associated with my goals are all rough estimates, making note of them will let me track my progress into the future.
I Projected my Yearly Expenses
After seeing how much I need to save each year to reach my financial goals, I determined if those goals were attainable. To do this, I projected my future yearly expenses in another spreadsheet. I used my current expenses as a baseline for expense categories like clothing and entertainment, and did research on the average household expenses for rent, groceries, and more.
Outlining and projecting my future expenses helped me recognize where I'd need to cut down in order to reach my goals. This also gave me a nice yearly budget that I can adjust as I see fit.
I Started Making Monthly Payments of $25 into my TFSA
One of the most important things I started doing was investing in a TFSA account. I always thought that I had time to start investing after I had a regular income, or more spending money, and not as a student.
However, during my course I learned about the importance of compound interest and why saving earlier is beneficial, even if it's as little as $25 per month. To start slow and ease into the concept of regular automated saving, I now set aside $25 each month into an ETF portfolio, housed in a TFSA.
It might not seem like much, but because I'm saving for future spending down the line, it will have time to grow until the day I need to use it.
My Goals Are Attainable
For me, financial literacy seemed intimidating, and I never thought I'd be investing at this point in my life. But after taking an introductory course on personal finances, I know it's something I can learn more about and become more involved in.