This post was sponsored by TD but, as always, opinions are my own.
Over the last 3 years, big things have been happening that have caused us to start taking our finances more seriously. Life is full. It seems it’s always one thing right after the next that calls to our savings account.
Finances started getting tight after the purchase of our first home, then came the birth of our little one. Suddenly our budget became something more important for us to be mindful of, knowing that we had a lot of big expenses that we would have to start saving for. Somehow we found ourselves all tied up in the world of “adults” (I know, terrifying), determining what our short-term and long-term goals were, and trying to figure out how best to prepare for the future by saving our money.
I often think back to the saving-savvy peers I knew in high school, who worked hard to save their money. By the time it came to graduate and join ranks with the adult world, these smart young people were already set up with investments, goals, and plans for reaching those goals. If I could go back now, I would have started saving and investing earlier, rather than mindlessly spending my income on things that really weren’t getting me anywhere in the way of goals.
But alas, such is life. You can’t go back, so you may as well push forward, and hope that you can instill a sense of financial responsibility in your children. (Which means getting your stuff together to be an example.)
Our TFSA Experience
In the course of the last few years we’ve opened up Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) at the advice of financial advisors. It seemed to be the perfect solution for the savings goals we wanted to achieve, where our money wasn’t locked away – we can easily access our funds when we need to – but we could still benefit from increasing what was in our savings accounts by avoiding paying taxes on our investments. And who doesn’t love keeping as much of their hard-earned money as possible?
Everyone has different wants and needs to fill in their journeys. For us, travel is a top priority. Many of the choices we’ve made have centred around the question “Will this make our travel dreams easier?” The first major trip that we saved for was Thailand. We set a goal to travel, picked a place to go, planned and saved for nearly a year with our sights set on our Southeast Asian adventure.
While we had been on short vacations to closer destinations before, we’d never done something quite like this together – the research and planning on what we might want to see and do, and determinedly saving for a short-term goal of this magnitude. The previous trips had been more casual and a good majority of the costs had been put on our credit cards first, and slowly paid off afterwards. Let me tell you, paying for a trip with money already set aside for that intention was far less stressful than racking up credit card debt and interest charges. In fact, with the TFSA we were actually earning interest on our savings instead of paying out interest on credit debt. We even ended up coming home without spending the whole travel budget.
Less stress over money = more time to enjoy where you are and what you’re doing.
Now, with the goal of renovating our home in addition to our dreams of travel, we have even more reasons to save, and to try to keep as much of what we earn as possible. So, into the TFSA goes whatever money we can spare.
What exactly are we saving for?
Saving for Our Current Life Goals
Beyond the life-changing kitchen renovation to consider, the other big savings goal came to us recently as a bit of a surprise. While we plan on attempting to travel every year, this time it’s not only something we want to do, but something we need to do. With beloved family members taking their vows destination wedding style, we would have been forced to start saving up for this next trip whether we had planned on traveling or not. I am loving the idea of a “forced” vacation (oh dear, I guess I’ll have to hang out at a warm beach and explore a new land and culture), but I can understand how it might be somewhat stressful for others who may not have been planning on flying half-way round the world so soon. All the more reason to start saving your money now. You never know what’s going to come up!
Being that tax season is just around the corner, I’m sure a lot of us will hopefully be receiving a tax refund. While we could easily watch that money slowly be eaten away by the costs of groceries and gas as it sits in our chequing account, instead we’ll be putting our money where it has a chance to grow safely and tax-free while you prepare for your life’s next goal.
Ready for a Tax-Free Savings Account?
If you’re ready to start saving smart, pop into a TD Canada Trust bank branch and make an appointment to chat about finding the right Tax-Free Savings solutions for every type of investor, from high interest savings accounts, term and mutual funds. You can earn up to 8.88% with a 3 year Security GIC Plus from TD, which is pretty big, and keep all of that interest income from being taxed.
Please visit this helpful section of the TD Canada website to find out more info on the various TFSAs available at TD, FAQs, what a Tax-Free Savings Account is, and the differences between an RSP and a TFSA. But after reading up, do make an appointment to chat to someone in person, as I find this far easier to help me understand and make informed choices about how best to harness my money.
Good luck with your goals, all you fabulous people! If there’s one thing I’ve been learning in this life, it’s that thinking and planning ahead make a huge impact in reaching your goals. Get out there and start saving for what you want!