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MONEY$TYLE: Finding The Right Balance

Tips for developing a solid financial plan while still having a little fun…
 
Pride season is in full swing and you’re enjoying all that summer has to offer—barbecues, road trips, vacation travelling, patios, outdoor sports—with family and friends; the last thing you want to think about are your finances. We get it: summer is a time to relax and spend money (sometimes more than we expected or budgeted). Not to be the financial Grinch trying to ruin your fun, but let’s look at some easy tips to help you minimize your debt so you can be ahead of the game after summer has ended and you decide to start getting more serious about your finances come fall/winter.
 
We’ve covered some of these tips in past Money$tyle issues; however, they are worth reiterating in what we refer to as your defensive strategy to find the right balance.
 
Make a budget and stick to it
Understanding and managing your cash flow is paramount to staying on track with your budget. A leak in your cash flow is like a broken pipe that doesn’t get noticed until it has already done lots of damage. Spontaneity can add to your summer adventures, but try to minimize these, especially if they are big-ticket items such as travel. In other words, refrain from buying a last-minute plane ticket if that was not part of your plan back in January. Take advantage of innovative apps in the market, such as TD’s MySpend, that help you create a budget and track your spending.
 
Cash vs. credit
For some people, cash is “king.” If that’s your preference—and if you stick to your budget—I say go for it. However, the reality is that most people use credit cards. If used the right way, these can be very rewarding—but you must remain disciplined. Make your credit cards work twice as hard for you. The fact is, you have to spend on certain monthly items such as groceries and bills, so why not earn points or get cash back for your loyalty? Credit cards such as the TD Cash Back Visa Card with no annual fee has some great perks.
 
Tip: Try to pay off your credit-card balance on the due date, or at least make your minimum payment. Never make a late payment, as that will have a negative impact on your credit profile. Set up automatic payments so you don’t have to think about it when the payment is due.
 
For more information on TD Cash Back Credit Cards and how to earn cash back on all your purchases visit:
https://www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banking/products/credit-cards/cash-back/
 
Speak to your financial advisor
It doesn’t hurt to have a quick visit with your financial advisor to get a mid-year checkup on your finances. Get this person to help you create a tailored budget for you so you’re armed with the knowledge you need to make the right decisions. Not only will this help you become more confident with your finances (which will minimize your stress), but you will also learn what proactive steps to take should you veer off course.
 
These are tips I try to stick to myself, especially since I travel so much during the summer months. I get to travel across the country supporting TD’s Pride festivals with our customers, employees and community at large (remember, we sponsor more than 57 Pride festivals across North America). However, all work and no play is never a good idea—so I must remain disciplined with my finances, especially since I’m usually in a different city and not in my normal routine, and the temptation to overspend is very inviting!
 
Enjoy your summer—you’ve worked hard and deserve to enjoy life. But remember: everything in life is all about moderation—well, at least, that’s my financial motto.
 

 
AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTQ2+ Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors dedicated to serving the LGBTQ2+ 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. ORLANDO LOPEZ, TD Wealth Financial Planner, is a member of Al’s team of expert advisors who support the LGBT community.
 

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