Sometimes you have to take a risk. But not all risks are created equal. Some risks have rewards that greatly outweigh the potential downside. These risks can pay off big-time down the road, but its important to pick the right ones.
When it comes to personal finance there are lots of risks (and lots of rewards!). Taking a few strategic risks can do wonders for your long-term personal finances. But it’s important to understand the trade-offs.
Almost nothing in the world of personal finance is completely risk free (except maybe a guaranteed deposit with an insured bank) but there are four financial risks that can be worth taking.
If you understand the potential downsides, these financial risks can have a huge positive impact on your finances.
One amazing thing to consider about personal finances is the sheer amount of money that will flow through our hands over a lifetime.
Knowing how much money we’ll touch over a lifetime provides a very good incentive to get better at managing income and spending, to learn more about investing, to understand how income tax works etc. etc.
Given the amount of money we’ll handle over a lifetime, learning more about personal finances will pay dividends over many years. If you’re able to manage money well, then you’ll have a life that is free from financial stress (for the most part, it’s never possible to completely avoid financial stress).
Because of the sheer amount of money that will flow through our hands over a lifetime even a small positive change can have a significant effect.
So how much money will we “touch” over a lifetime… is it $500,000? $1,000,000? $2,000,000? $5,000,000? You might be surprised…
The global pandemic has impacted all of us differently, our personal finances have gone through many changes and some have “weathered the storm” better than others.
FP Canada, the board that governs the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in Canada, recently came out with a survey called “The Tale Of Two Pandemics” and it highlights both the positive and the negative impact that the pandemic has had on our personal finances (more details on the survey results at the end of this post).
There are some troubling stats within the survey, for example 14% of those in Ontario have been forced out of the labor market, 21% have seen an increase in expenses, and 14% have seen a reduction in work hours/income.
But the survey also highlights the opposite side of the pandemic, many people have not experienced a job loss, or a reduction in income, or an increase in expenses over the course of the pandemic.
In fact, looking at the statistics, it looks like there is a large group of people that have not been affected by the pandemic at all, and another group of people who have actually benefited financially from the pandemic.
This is consistent with the conversations we’re having with clients.
For those who have been fortunate enough to remain gainfully employed, for those who own a home or recently purchased a home, for those with a mortgage or other debt like student loans or HELOCs, and for those who are investing on a regular basis, the pandemic has actually improved their personal finances in a number of ways.
The pandemic has impacted us all differently, but for many people there have been one, two, three or more positive changes that may have actually improved their personal finances. As it turns out, this is especially true for those who had a financial plan already in place.
Here are some ways that a person’s personal finances may have improved during the pandemic…
Did you give your investment advisor a 10% raise last year? How generous of you!
With many investment advisors and portfolio managers compensated based on assets under management (AUM), an increase in portfolio value translates directly into an increase in compensation.
Despite the tumultuous year, investment returns pulled off an incredible recovery and ended the year much higher. Bonds, Canadian equities, US equities, Global equities, all higher than the year before. If you were holding VGRO or XGRO (two all-in-one ETFs with an 80/20 allocation) your portfolio would have grown 10.89% or 11.42% respectively.
With investment returns of 10%+ year over year that also means investment advisors are being paid more in 2021 than in 2020. How much more? Well, if their investment returns matched the market then their fees would also increase 10%+ in 2021.
Although there are many forms of compensation, many investment advisors and portfolio managers make a percentage of the portfolios that they manage. This could be 1.5% to 2.5%+ for smaller portfolios, 1.0% to 1.5% for portfolios of $1M to $2.5M, and under 1% for large portfolios of $2.5M+.
If portfolio values are 10% higher year over year, then these investment advisors and portfolio managers just received a 10% raise!
Technically compounding begins with the first dollar, but when does compounding exactly take hold, when do we really start to FEEL the effect of compounding?
Compounding is almost like magic. It turns even the smallest amount of money into millions if given enough time.
Ben Franklin bequeathed $2,000 to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia in his will BUT with the stipulation that they could not draw on the investments for 200-years. The original amount has compounded over 200-years from $2,000 to $6.5 million!
But do you have to wait for 200-years to feel the effect of compounding? Definitely not.
The effect of compounding can be SEEN almost immediately but to really FEEL the effect of compounding takes at least a few years, plus, as well see below, it also depends on the rate of investment return.
It’s a challenging time for new graduates. The employment environment is difficult in many sectors/industries, plus the cost of rent and housing have outpaced inflation for years and years. It can feel very daunting to leave post-secondary when faced with mediocre job prospects and sky-high housing costs.
In some situations, the “bank of mom and dad” will step in and provide support. But, for the majority of families, that isn’t an option.
So how can parents help provide new grads a “leg up” in this challenging time?
More and more parents are inviting their adult children back home for 1-2 years after graduating to help them save money and pay off debt.
It may not be a cash gift, but it can provide nearly the same advantage.
Living at home to save money is a strategy that is on the rise. Parents are encouraging their children to take advantage of this opportunity and more and more adult children are doing it.
Living at home after graduation creates the opportunity to save $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000+ in one year, an opportunity that may never happen again.
Living at home for 1-2 years provides a huge head start for a new grad. This head start can be used to pay down student debt, build an emergency fund, start investing, buy a house etc. etc.
But it’s not all positive though. Living at home for a couple years also has risks. Without having a strategy in place it’s very easy to succumb to pitfalls like lifestyle inflation etc.
Here’s why parents should encourage their adult children to live at home for a couple years after graduation, and why new grads should seriously consider taking advantage.