Financial literacy month series: Financial savvy rules to live by

As we end financial literacy month, I think it’s fitting to spend a few seconds compiling a list of rules to live by.

As we end financial literacy month, I think it’s fitting to spend a few seconds compiling a list of rules to live by.

  1. Save at least 10% of your income – This is a great way to kick start your savings, either for retirement through a vehicle like a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or for your children’s education (Registered Education Savings Plan) or for a large purchase in the near future (e.g., Tax-Free Savings Account). Be aware that the purpose for the money will determine where you put your savings and that each account has a different tax impact.
  2. The rule of 72 – whatever it is that you want to buy. Look at it in the store and then wait 72 hours. If you still want the item, get it. If you can live without it, leave it. One of my friend’s on Facebook posted this chart and it was about how we valued material goods. Our excitement builds up to the point where we go and buy it, then the value decreases drastically after, often leaving us worse off than we started. It’s like a romance, we start off thinking our partner is perfect, but are often disappointed.
  3. Understand your level of risk. Just like gambling, if you invest in high-risk items (items that don’t guarantee a safe return of your money), be willing to lose it. I’m not saying that you will, but remember when you buy investments such as stocks, there is a possibility that the stock price will go down ─ or worse, the stock can go bust (this is very much a personal pain for me because it happened to me!). So it’s a gamble, just like if you played the ponies and the money you put in could be entirely lost.
  4. If you can’t control your spending, spend cash. Cash is harder to part with than swiping a plastic card over and over again. Also, make a habit of checking your credit card statements. Some statements will even break out your monthly and yearly expenditures in categories like entertainment, transportation, retail, etc. What a wakeup call that can be! “I eat out how much?!” was a reaction I had. If you have trouble with budgeting and saving, visit us soon as we have a guest blogger whose blogs are just dedicated to this very subject.
  5. Plan for the future. They often say that retirement is the largest bill you will ever face. Start thinking about it now. Waiting until you turn 50 might be too late – especially if you want to live a fairly lavish lifestyle. Some of us just want to stay home and have quiet evenings, that’s fine because it doesn’t require a lot of cash, but just relying on company and government pensions isn’t a good idea, heck, in the next few decades, we may no longer even have government pensions.

That’s it folks! Thanks for tuning in this month and happy financial literacy month.


Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) annually offers its views on priorities for the federal budget. Review past submissions of pre-budget briefs and consultations, and post-budget release opinions and commentary.

Our Firm Directory allows you to search for Canadian CPA firms using our interactive map as well as other criteria.

Jointly presented by CPA Canada and CPA Ontario, The ONE is the must-attend, multi-track event of the year, designed for all CPAs who want to be at the top of their game.