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How to be money smart

(NC) The award-winning publication, A Canadian's Guide to Money-Smart Living provides valuable guidance to help individuals become more comfortable with money matters and strengthen their financial situations. Published by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and written by Kelley Keehn, the book addresses the essential aspects of money management. Here are some points for consideration.

There's power in numbers:

• A two-income family each earning the average salary of $46,000 will earn almost $3.7 million over their working lives, and yet many are concerned about their financial security. Most individuals and families have options – so it is important to save and spend wisely.

• When you deduct work and sleep, 43 per cent of the average person's time (about 3,840 hours a year) is free. Could you get up 10 minutes earlier, or find a quiet hour once a week? A modest commitment just to check bank accounts or track recent purchases can lead to big returns.

• A few loonies add up. Finding as little as $5 of savings a day can mean saving $1,825 in after-tax dollars. That's like a free vacation each year.

Take some money-smart steps:

• Track spending for 30 days and you'll know where your money goes. Make categories (housing costs, entertainment, groceries, cell phones, hobbies, etc.) so you can compare.

• Trim the fat. The key is to spend less than you are making.

• Pay yourself first. This is very important! Figure out an amount for savings, even if it's tiny, and commit to protecting it.

A Canadian's Guide to Money-Smart Living received international recognition winning a prestigious award from the Institute for Financial Literacy based in the United States.

Free advice, plus information on how to purchase a copy of the book, can be found at www.financialdecisionsmatter.com.

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