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MONEY$TYLE: Year In Review And Forging Ahead

IN’s MoneyStyle columnist takes a few moments to reflect on a busy year and look ahead to the next one…
 
By Al Ramsay
 
Earlier this year, it was announced that my mandate had been expanded to lead TD’s LGBT (Allies) Business Development initiative nationally. Given my new focus, I decided to travel across Canada to meet with our employees, as well as customer and community partners. It was a great opportunity for me to “put my ears to the ground” and listen to people so that my team and I could incorporate their feedback into our initiatives going forward.
 
Since then, we’ve had a very busy year, including writing this column (which we’re very proud of). We covered a wide range of financial topics, from getting financially fit, to tax planning for same-sex couples and same-sex family planning, to empowering LGBT young entrepreneurs.
 
TD sponsors 63 Pride festivals across North America and supports more than 100 grass-roots LGBT community organizations. And if you follow us on social media, you would have seen that we attended a lot of these events. I often joke that I have the hardest-working team in the financial industry—and I might just be right! I’m very proud of our accomplishments this year—so far.
 
True to our theme #TDPride365, my team and I are very busy executing our plans for the remainder of the year, and are already planning for 2018!
 
So, this brings me to our customers. How are you tracking toward your financial goals to finish the year off strongly? Have you already started looking ahead to next year?
 
End-of-year planning, and looking ahead
2017 has been a very interesting year, to say the least, in financial markets. Some “tail winds” this year included increasing housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver, higher debt loads and rising interest rates.
 
As the end of year and the holiday season approach, historical data suggests consumer spending will increase. We’ve touched on this topic in previous columns, but I would like to reiterate some sound financial advice to help you navigate through the holiday season without being burdened by a heavy debt load to start off the New Year.
 
Make a plan and stick to it
The end of the year is a perfect time to have one last chat with your financial advisor to do a recap of your 2017 goals. Now is also the perfect time to make adjustments to your plan. For example, if you know your spending will increase dramatically over the holidays, consider reducing your savings or stopping temporarily so you don’t go into too much debt.
 
Good budgeting is key
Some people are better off using cash as this helps them stick to a budget without overspending. On the other hand, if you’re using your credit cards, use them wisely to earn miles or even cash (like the TD Aeroplan credit card or TD Cash Back credit cards). Make your cards work twice as hard for you!
 
Think outside the box
Finally, be creative and make up your own rules over the holidays which can dramatically reduce your stress. Keep up with yourself, not the Joneses!
• One of my favourite ideas is to recommend monetary gifts for children, such as Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)—which the government matches up to a certain amount.
• Who said you can’t do a potluck dinner instead of going all out when you invite friends and family over?
• If you’re “crafty,” DIY gifts are much more meaningful and likely to last.
 
The point is, there is no ‘one size fits all’ plan. Work with your advisor to determine what works for you. Put a plan in place and stick to it. Sure, you may deviate from time to time; however, even if that happens, you’re aware of it and have the knowledge to adjust your plan going forward.
 
That is our goal at TD: to educate you about your finances so you get—and remain—financially fit and in control!
 
For more information, please visit: www.financiallyfit.td.com.
 

 
AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s national manager, LGBTA Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors dedicated to serving the LGBTA community. For more information or to book a meeting, he can be reached at al.ramsay@td.com or follow him on Twitter at @AlRamsay_TD.

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