Did you know that November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada?

Financial literacy month is here to help Canadian become more educated about their financial situations, enabling them to manage their money and debt levels, plan for their futures, and protect themselves from fraud and financial abuse.

Without further ado, here’s five things to think about for financial literacy month.

1) Build a budget

Before you can even start to think about financial goals, it’s important to have a budget in place. A budget will help you get a good idea of your cash inflows and outflows… and help you eliminate unnecessary spending. Afterall, the first step to empowerment is knowledge.

Building a budget is not just for those who need to crack down on spending. They are a great tool to help maximize investment and to plan for special or bigger expenses (like a vacation, a new car, or your kids’ education).

We recommend reviewing your budget every month. Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. The Royal Bank of Canada has put together a good online tool for this here.

2) Update your will

Did you know that over half of Canadians do not have wills in place. To us, that’s just crazy talk! Planning for the future means accounting for the what-ifs too. In fact, we believe that there’s no greater gift to your family and loved ones than having an updated will in place.

We’ve written extensively about why you should have a will in place here. If that’s not enough, here are 12 problems that could occur if you don’t have a will in place when you die.

If you have kids, having a will is more important than ever. A properly drafted will should set out legal guardians for your children. What’s more, did you know that if you die without a will, your children will not be able to access their share of your estate until they hit their majority?

Hiring a lawyer to draft a will can save you money in the long run. Indeed, a simple will should only run you a few hundred dollars. HINT: Kabuk can help you find the right lawyer to create your will. It’s easy (and free) to search our listing of qualified local wills, estates and trusts lawyers to find the best lawyer for your needs.

3) Plan for retirement

It’s never too early to think about retirement. In fact, the longer you wait to start saving, the harder it is to build any real kind of financial wealth. Yes, this all sounds a bit cliche but unfortunately, many Canadians don’t start thinking about retirement until it begins to get close. At that point, saving enough each month to support you in retirement can seem unachievable.  No wonder, many of us can’t afford to retire!

We recommend starting backwards! In simplistic terms, figure out how much you need for retirement, then calculate how much you need to save every year to reach your goal.  As a rule of thumb, most financial planners, recommend saving between 10-15% of your monthly gross pay. National Bank Financial has put together a great online calculator here to calculate how much you need for retirement, and how much you will need to save per month to reach your retirement goals (while other financial institutions have put together similar tools, we found that this one was one of the best.)

4) Review your credit card bills every single month

Reviewing your credit card bills every single month is an important step to truly knowing how much you are spending and whether you are on track with the budget set in step one. Often, people let their spending get away from them, because they don’t see the whole picture and how every little outflow can add up.

Another important outcome is being able to identify fraudulent spending right away (and report it).

5) Always read the fine print!

Whether it be for a contract (such as a rental agreement) or the terms and conditions of your credit card bill, it’s important to always read the fine print.

For instance, in our credit card example, it is important to know what your minimum monthly payments are, your monthly interest rate, what happens if you make a late payment and more!

Kabuk connects consumers, and small businesses, with the legal providers they need, when they need them, and enables them to request desired appointments online. Our platform is designed to streamline the legal discovery process, putting needed information right at the fingertips of consumers, and helping them to make more informed decisions. For legal providers, we help increase your online presence and improve your customer acquisition efforts. Check us out at kabuklaw.com and follow us at @KabukLaw.