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Expanding your financial literacy with tips from Motive.

As we mentioned earlier this month on social media, November is Financial Literacy Month! Becoming financially literate is a lifelong process, and we’re never done adding tips to our information banks (just as we’re always adding dollars to our actual banks).

So we’ve asked Motive Financial employees to see what financial tips they wish they’d known sooner that they’d like to share. Here’s our Top 7 Tips:

1. Pay yourself first—Julie, Motive Internet Banking Agent II, Motive Financial

This tip is a classic! When you receive your paycheque from work, consider setting an automatic transfer to your savings account so that saving becomes automatic. You’re paying yourself first with your paycheque, and then can use the remaining dollars to take care of the rest of your expenses and bills.

2. Avoid impulse purchases—Janice, Internet Banking Agent II, Motive Financial

We have addressed this tip in social posts before. The impulse monkey can be a tough one to shake! But if you’re able to break an impulse spending habit and avoid those spur-of-the-moment, don’t-need-it-but-gotta-have-it purchases, you’re miles ahead in your journey to financial security.

3. Put your money in a savings account that has withdrawal restrictions—Pam, Internet Banking Agent III, Motive Financial

Once you’ve paid yourself, that balance can look very tempting after awhile. Consider using a savings account that has withdrawal restrictions to help you resist the urge to move money around. Our Savvy Savings account offers this plus the added incentive of a 2.80% interest rate. Need we say more?

4. Compare ”needs versus wants” for certain purchases—Barb, Internet Banking Agent III, Motive Financial
Okay, we sympathize: sometimes you really do need that latte in the morning when you’re running late and your automatic brew didn’t start. But truly consider the ‘need vs want’ rhetoric that’s motivating your purchases. The more you avoid the ‘wants’, the more you save for the big goals you have.

5. Use the exchange network for ATM transactions for lower fees—Zong, Internet Banking Agent III, Motive Financial

Bank fees are one of the most unnecessary things to spend money on. There are so many ways to avoid these sneaky ‘small’ fees that over time add to quite the sum. Look for exchange network ATMs to withdraw money without fees, and only spend what you withdraw.

6. Set reasonable limits on non-necessities and stick to them—Pat, Assistant Manager, Motive Financial

While being fiscally prudent, it’s important to also acknowledge that sometimes you’ll want to grab a bite on the go, or treat yourself to a luxurious latte on the way to work or replace some staple clothing that has been worn out. Set reasonable limits on what you intend to spend on these non-essentials, and check in on your budget to ensure you’re sticking to it!

7. Plan ahead as much as possible! Cook meals ahead of time so you aren’t tempted to go out as often—Adam, Manager, Motive Financial

Batch cooking can be a lifesaver. Not only are you able to buy in bulk and save on the cost of groceries, cooking meals ahead of time lets you come home and unwind instead of stressing about what to make for dinner that night, which can lead to grabbing the keys and heading to a restaurant.

We hope you enjoyed this and our other shared financial literacy learnings and workshops this month!

Tips or treats? Why not both! Expand/Collapse

Happy October, everyone! To wrap up our month of Tips or Treats (missed some? Check out #TipsOrTreats to catch up!), we wanted to summarize some of the best Tips we’ve encountered, and the potential Treats that come as a result of great money management! We hope you enjoyed our Tips or Treats month, and if this summary is helpful please share it on social media.

Tip #1: Avoid impulse spending
This can be a difficult habit to break, but impulse spending can undermine even the best budgets! Spending impulsively can rack up your credit card debt, affect your payment schedules and lead to huge buyer’s remorse and regret. One great way to try to get these impulses in check are to impose a “hold” period before making purchases. If something costs $200, wait a few hours then make the decision to buy or not. If something costs $1000 or more, wait a full week before completing the purchase. All good things are worth waiting for, and if you give yourself time to fully consider a purchase you can feel secure in your decision to buy!

Tip #2: Adopt a spending mantra
This can be a helpful way to evaluate your spending decisions that are less impulsive, but more about convenience or time-saving. It can be hard to keep long-term goals in mind when you’re in the moment living your day-to-day life, but adopting a spending mantra can give you pause for thought before buying that $5 latte or sandwich from the cafe down the street. If you’re saving for a trip, consider “Is this coffee better than that vacation next year?” (fill in the applicable purchases and goals for your situation.). Sometimes, the answer might be yes! But, if you’re checking in with yourself every time you take out the debit card, you can feel confident that your monthly statements reflect your best interests.

Tip #3: Check your interest rate
This is true on any financial account, borrowed or owned! This makes any finance-related decision making very straightforward. Which savings/RRSP account should you open? The one with the best interest rate, of course! (And hey, if you didn’t know, ours are pretty good.) What debt needs to be paid down first? The one with the highest interest rate, clearly. What credit card should you open? Best look at those interest rates, and be wary of the “promo offer only” low interest rates that flip to much higher interest rates after your promo period ends. See what we mean? Ask one question, and suddenly several other money decisions are much more clear!

And here are your treats! By considering all of these financial tips, you’ll be in a great position to “treat” yourself to a small reward. Whether it’s a nice dinner out or a more long-term goal of a vacation, car, or house, keep those treats in mind and celebrate when you can — you deserve it! 

Hit the refresh button! Expand/Collapse

You don’t need to wait for January to hit the refresh button on a new year!

September symbolizes so many new beginnings; new school years, or a fresh start at work after the summer holidays have passed. As you begin to cycle your wardrobe and integrate your warmer pieces, break out the crockpot for delicious fall stews and soups, and get settled in your new school and work patterns, make sure your finances don’t get stuck in the setting summer sun.

We have compiled these three simple tips to help your money match your fresh new fall feeling!

1. Review your summer spending, and adjust your budgets if necessary.

We know, we know: the best intentions can sometimes be derailed by the beautiful summer weather. How can you pass up the opportunity to enjoy all the season has to offer? Hit a quick refresh this fall by sitting down with your summer financial statements and review where your money was spent and why. Question if that is still in alignment with your goals, or if you’d like to adjust your budgets for new goals. It’s never too late to make a new start!

2. Estimate what you’ll need for holiday spending, and begin to plan for those expenses.

It feels like summer just ended, but before you know it the holidays will be upon us! Thanksgiving marks the start of the season and if you’re not paying attention it will be 2019 in a blink. After examining your summer numbers, take a look at where you can pull money from to save for your holiday festivities! Did you register for some summer classes that don’t fit your fall schedule? Review those memberships and recurring payments! Once you see where every penny (or nickel, rather) is going, it’s easy to see where you can reallocate. There are several ways to trim here and there, like on your bank fees. Have you taken a look at our great fee-free chequing and savings accounts yet?

3. Check your local flyers for seasonal deals on produce or household items.

We mentioned this in our Back to School post, but this point bears repeating: there are some great deals in flyers! Check your local supermarkets and food stores for their deals of the week, and plan your meals around those specials. Have fun with it, and experiment with new recipes that can make cooking at home a new adventure each night. When you find a great deal, buy in bulk and freeze if possible, to continue maximizing your savings as you work through your stockpile.

Back to school for the super savvy savers Expand/Collapse

We all know the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. However, one big season not on the calendar that might affect your life more than the others is the Back to School season!

Regardless of whether you’re preparing for your first stay in a dorm, or getting your kids ready for their latest school adventure, this season can be one that hits your wallet hard. But this doesn’t have to be the case!

Here’s our top three financial pieces of advice to get into the classroom (any classroom!) without breaking the bank.

1.For the college students: Learn to love your kitchen!

College is usually the first time outside the family home for young adults, and it can be quite a shock to adjust. One of the biggest ways to make a difference to your bottom line is by learning how to maximize your food and supplies budget early. Get a travel mug and brew your own coffee in your dorm instead of stopping by that coffee shop on the way in! Same goes for lunches; having healthier food ready to grab-and-go can save time and dollars both. Ditch the car and your associated costs, and use public transportation if possible. Post-secondary campuses are often well-connected to city transit routes! Lastly, ensure that you research your textbooks options; there are tons of resources to help you buy used or digital textbooks instead of purchasing all new.

2. For the K-12 set: Check your sales and reduce, reuse and recycle!

Identify your core supply needs, and look at a variety of options in different stores. Comparison shopping helps ensure you’re getting the best deals possible! Check flyers — lots of supply stores will have back-to-school specials on throughout August — and see what is on sale when and at what store. Lots of places like Walmart, Superstore, and others also offer an option to shop online with in store pick up as well. And don’t forget to recycle! Look at what supplies you still have from last year, and determine what can be salvaged. Emptying out binders to use for another year or two is a great way to maximize the life of your supplies. Pencil cases often can go multiple school seasons before needing to be replaced, as well as backpacks and other soft supplies.

3. Dollars and cents sense for all: TSFAs and smart banking

And of course, having an account that offers great interest rates and no fees is a great start too! Contact one of our Motive agents to learn more about our TSFA and no-fee chequing and savings accounts to help manage your money for back to school and beyond.

 

Money in the Cloud Expand/Collapse

As our technology continues to evolve at an ever-quickening pace, so too does the technology associated with banking and our money. And while all the changes may seem a bit alarming, it’s important to keep an open mind! Remember 25+ years ago, when we weren’t sure if it was safe to send electronic transactions over the internet?

Today, we seem to do most if not all of our banking online! Some banks — like yours truly — are even online only! As banking continues to evolve, running banking operations from in the cloud instead of through physical servers can seem risky, much like internet transactions did back then. But we must keep an open mind as our technology works to help make our lives and systems easier.

But what could cloud computing in banking look like, you may ask? Well, it’s looking pretty cool!

Running banking operations in the cloud instead of through servers and data centres is a huge infrastructure burden removed from the banks, and one that increases the security of your data. Data is one of the most valuable assets for any bank, and they are always innovating and improving data security to ensure that it is safe. One thing that a cloud computing system can do is to take the maintenance and upkeep of these server systems off of the bank’s plate and into the hands of a dedicated tech company to monitor and update; think companies like Google and Amazon. Their businesses are built on data and high-functioning servers, so they are well-equipped to manage the cloud computing needs of other business entities like banks and large companies like Apple, Xerox and dozens of others.

Cloud computing can sound less secure when you first think of it, but by trusting these technology giants to manage data security and server upkeep banks can be assured that their physical servers are always properly maintained and prepared for malware or viruses. This should provide additional peace of mind for banking customers as well!

This also helps banks turn what used to be a heavy up-front cost investments into equipment and software into smaller, ongoing operational costs. This means that banks can manage these smaller operational costs more closely instead of trying to estimate the cost of a much more time and labour intensive project when a new server or piece of software is needed.

All of these behind the scenes benefits and cost-saving can then be passed along to the customer as well! By having a flexible and adaptable method to store data, this allows increased collaboration with partners and customers, leading to more services offered by banks to their customers. Think of Apple Wallet, Google Wallet, PayPal, and all the other ways in which you can digitally manage your money.

Bottom line, your banking should never be scary! If you ever have questions about your banking security or how to best manage your digital accounts, our Motive account managers are always ready and willing to help.

Planning for your big summer purchases Expand/Collapse

Summer is a great time of the year for so many reasons: school’s out, the weather’s nice, you can spend more time outside and many communities have fun activities or events throughout the season.

It’s also a popular time of year to start considering some major purchasing decisions! Housing listings and sales tend to peak in the summer months, when it’s easier to both show your home and consider moving into a new one. New cars can be appealing during the summertime as well; you can enjoy the snow-free driving conditions and maybe even plan a road trip or two with your vacation time.

All of these major purchasing decisions are important, but what should people consider before signing on the dotted line? We’ve asked Pat Neitsch, Motive Financial’s Assistant Manager for her expert insight to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new vehicle or home purchase.

Before you even consider what you’re buying, think of what’s motivating you to do so, suggests Pat. “You need to evaluate your lifestyle, where you’re at. Do you want to be closer to schools, are you looking in the country, in the city, to be closer to work, or trying to downsize? Whatever the case is, these are the questions you need to evaluate prior to making any of these big decisions. Where are you at right now?”

Incidentally, Pat has just finished moving as well, purchasing a house in the city for her family to be closer to her elderly parents. And as she’s just experienced, sometimes your motivation can help you make a lot of the important decisions ahead of your financial considerations.

However, beware of those sneaky hidden costs, wrapped up in the details around your new purchase that you might not have added to the final total cost of your investment. “There are a lot of factors that come into making a decision, and there may have been some that you’ve missed,” Pat explains. These can be things like the costs associated with insuring that amazing new vehicle, or heating that beautiful home in the winter months.

These incidentals can add up, and make what was a savvy purchase turn into one that cannot be carried. “You buy with great rates, and can get a great big house because the interest is manageable, but then what about this great big house that you then have to heat in the winter and cool in the summer?” she forewarns.

And it’s not just houses that may surprise you. Vehicles have similar hidden costs, like the price of premium versus regular fuel. “Have you seen the cost of that lately?” Pat exclaims. New vehicles also come with a higher insurance cost that your insurance provider may not initially explain.

Although these extra expenses can inevitably creep up on you, this is where the Motive team can really help out — by talking with you and digging deeper to understand your needs and offer tips for saving your money. Through having these conversations directly, we can ask you some of the questions that might help reveal the hidden costs you maybe haven’t yet considered — and then help you plan around them.

And even if you get caught up in the moment of the exciting idea, we’re here to make sure the practical and mundane details are looked after too. Get in touch with us today.

Inside Motive Financial's personalized client service Expand/Collapse

When you call most online banks you probably expect automated answering machines, hold music and scripted hellos. When you call Motive Financial, you can expect something a little different. In fact, if it’s not your first time calling, you might even be on a first name basis with whoever’s on the line.

This month we gave Pat Neitsch, Motive Financial’s Assistant Manager, a call to discover just how personable phone interactions can be at Motive. If her enthusiasm and helpfulness were any indication of what Motive client service reps might be like, we can assure you it goes above and beyond the usual phone call with your banker.

According to Pat, “conversation comes naturally to Motive Financial clients. They talk openly and feel comfortable enough to bring up all kinds of topics,” even those unrelated to banking. Pat recalls one such example from a client service rep who received a call from a client looking for financial advice before travelling overseas. “The client had called and told her that he was going to be travelling overseas. And she suggested some points of interest in the locations that he was going to, including where he could withdraw funds if he needed cash. She also talked to him about the maestro fees involved and when and where to make necessary foreign exchanges. He was very happy. She also mentioned to him about booking excursions in Thailand based on her own experiences because she didn’t want him to get overcharged on his trip.” 

Building relationships with clients is also a lot easier with Motive because of their close knit, small team. Clients have the ability to call Motive and ask for the same representative they spoke to last time. Pat says these personable interactions have even led to Motive clients being on a first name basis with the staff. “The fact that you can phone and ask to speak to the person you were talking to before is huge,” she explains. “We very much encourage our client service reps talking to the same person more than once and developing a bond with them.” As a result, clients often don’t have to go through the motions of sharing their financial history — because their Motive client representative already knows it. 

“Clients can also talk to our reps as long as they need to,” says Pat. “We’ve had clients stay on the phone for up to a half hour or an hour at times.” At Motive Financial, there’s no limit to the amount of questions you can ask. Pat reiterates, “ Our philosophy is whatever time it takes to get whatever they need to get done.” 

When asked if Motive employees feel more connected to their clients than other online bank agents might, Pat confirmed that “everyone knows the client and they always know who’s calling.” “It’s a stronger relationship than most non-face-to-face interactions. They can pick up and take off on where they left off in the conversation,” which typifies the ideal personalized banking experience online. 

When asked to explain Motive’s client service to someone in just a few words, Pat says without hesitation, “Personal, helpful, guiding.” She adds,“We really want to try hard to provide a personalized service — to listen to the client and try to find the right solution with the right information.” 

In conclusion, we asked Pat a few of her favourite things about speaking to Motive Financial clients. “I like the variety,” she remarks. “You never know what kind of conversation you’re going to get, especially since it’s cross country. You get to know people and the region they’re in. It keeps us on top of what’s going on in that area.” 

Just in case you were looking for a little extra motivation to pick up the phone, Pat reiterates Motive’s dedication to seeing their clients succeed. Motive Financial understands the importance of listening and building a relationships with all clients to help meet their unique, individual savings goals.

Motive Smart Spending Series: Home improvements you can save on Expand/Collapse

This month, in preparation for home buying season, we’ve been sharing ways savers can practice smart spending on their home — whether it’s small upgrades, like LED lights, or bigger upgrades, such as hot water tanks or kitchen appliances. Budgeting for home improvements is a strategy all homeowners, new and old, should adopt. As much as we’d like to cut home maintenance from our monthly budgets, doing so can help us avoid debt and pay our future selves in the long run.

There are two types of home maintenance activities you can build a savings plan for. The first involves regular home maintenance activities that contribute to a smooth running home, such as changing out your furnace filters, replacing light bulbs and sealing your windows and doors to avoid energy loss. These activities should be done on an annual or seasonal basis, as they can improve the appearance of your home, boost your security and decrease your energy consumption.

The second type of home maintenance to budget for are updates needed over a time span of 5 to 10 years — think fridges, broken sump pumps or hot water tanks. If you’re not prepared for these types of repairs or upgrades, you’ll incur much more than a headache and a couple hours of clean up. Homeowners who don’t allocate a certain amount of savings for larger home expenses like these may face a considerable amount of debt down the road when it comes to replacement and repair costs.

Other things to consider saving for might also include upgrades to wooden windows and doors, kitchen cabinets or outdated faucets. For example, replacing wooden window frames with vinyl or fibreglass not only improves the energy efficiency of your home, but it can also reduce the amount of upkeep required to maintain them. Steel doors as opposed to wooden doors are another alternative — they tend to be safer, easier to clean and stain, as well as enhance the look of your home. All of these larger upgrades can help modernize your home and make it easier to sell one day.

To make sure you’re prepared, we recommend setting up a “big ticket” home maintenance account as well as a “smaller ticket” home maintenance account. If you’re not sure how much money you should be setting away each month for home costs, try using the one per cent rule of thumb. According to this rule, one per cent of the purchase price of your home should be set aside each year for ongoing maintenance. For example, if your home cost $300,000, you should budget $3,000 per year for maintenance.

While this rule of thumb can give you a ballpark estimate of annual maintenance costs, it doesn’t consider other factors that go into maintenance required for a home. There are several environmental or situational factors that can impact the cost of maintenance and repairs to your home, including: age, location and the type of home you have (single-family vs. attached). So be sure to include these elements in your estimate. Your home is one of the biggest investments you can make and if cared for properly, it can provide for you long after your possession date.

At Motive Financial, we understand that you work hard for your money and want to see it grow. That’s why we believe in the benefit of starting small and growing your savings over time — by providing relevant information on today’s financial landscapes, as well as better rates and easy to use products. Our number one goal is to see you reach your savings goals, whatever they may be.

Tax-free advice on the TFSA Expand/Collapse

The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is great for long-term savings, but what if you want a short-term option as well? Not to mention the ability to withdraw from it before you hit 72. Cue the Tax- Free Savings Account (TFSA) and right along with it Motive’s Assistant Manager, Pat Neitsch, to give you the inside scoop on this savvy savings strategy.  

The TFSA is a flexible investment account that can help meet both your short- and long-term savings goals. It mirrors the RRSP as both can be used for long-term savings. However, you can deposit after-tax cash into a TFSA and still withdraw the money tax-free.

In other words, “the RRSP is for later in life, whereas your TFSA is for right now,” emphasizes Pat. It offers you the freedom to grow your money without having to lock it away completely. For example, should you need to dip into your savings for a vacation or something bigger like a down payment, you can. Just be sure to track your contributions and withdrawals, warns Pat, as like the RRSP, the TFSA has its limitations.

This year for instance, the contribution limit is $5,500, meaning you can contribute $5,500 now or carry forward the unused portion to next year. But be careful — many Canadians have been shocked to discover they’ve incurred monetary penalties as a result of over contribution.

Say you withdraw $5,500 from your TFSA in January 2018 but put the same amount back in June 2018. That redeposit will be considered a double payment and subject to a tax penalty of 1% per month on the amount over contributed.

Besides keeping track of your contributions and withdrawals, Pat’s biggest piece of advice for utilizing a TFSA is contributing to it regularly. “As soon as you start, you realize the benefits — even if you’re only contributing a small amount,” she reiterates. Start by taking advantage of the few dollars you normally spend on lattes each week. Minimal contributions, paired with the TFSA’s compounding power, can go a long way in a short amount of time.

The TFSA also moonlights as an investment tool because of the variety of interest bearing options available. Depending on your tolerance for risk, your plan can include everything from Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and mutual funds, to stocks and bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Just be sure to talk with your financial advisor on the best strategy for your goals and income level.

Pat emphasizes the benefit of flexible savings strategies to help you start small and grow your savings over time.

RRSP resolutions you can keep Expand/Collapse

The decorations have been stored away, distant relatives have come and gone and your savings are a little more worse for wear. So, likely the last thing on your mind is how much you should be contributing to your RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans).
In addition to New Year’s resolutions, January brings with it the start of RRSP season, a time when most Canadians make large lump-sum contributions to their RRSP accounts in hopes it will reduce their tax bill or produce a tax refund. This can sometimes come with pressures that commonly result in unwanted loans, lines of credit or no contributions made at all.

Don’t get us wrong, RRSP season is a great reminder and motivator to contribute to your savings each year but it shouldn’t be the sole reason to do so, especially if it means emptying your short-term savings or taking out unnecessary loans when it’s not feasible to do so.

This month, we’re taking a page from Motive’s Assistant Manager, Pat Neitsch, to get her advice on the best RRSP strategies to adopt this year in hopes it will ease your stress in the coming months and, more importantly, years.

An RRSP, put simply, is a savings or investing account with certain tax-saving characteristics. RRSP accounts are used to help you reap savings over an extended period of time and are often contributed to during your prime earning years.
One of the main benefits of an RRSP account — and why RRSP season occurs when it does — is the ability to use your contributions to defer taxes. As a result, the total value of your savings will grow more quickly because by the time you withdraw from your RRSPs — with age 71 being the latest you’re allowed to — you’ll be in a lower tax bracket, which means you’ll incur more tax savings than if you were to withdraw money now.

When asked when to set up an RRSP account and how often to contribute to one, Pat couldn’t emphasize enough,“the sooner the better.” As far as contributions are concerned, Pat recommends small monthly contributions, starting as low as $25. “It’s mind blowing how much money you can put away over a 10-to 15-year time span, as even small contributions can make a big difference,” she emphasizes. If you aren’t able to contribute as much as you hope this year, Pat suggests creating a savings plan for the coming year that allows you to contribute a small amount once or twice a month. That way, by the time next year rolls around, you can relax.

The benefit of monthly contributions also significantly outweighs the cost of a potential tax break, especially if you’re resorting to borrowing money to set up an RRSP. With set contributions all year round, there’s no need for you to panic come January to make a lump-sum contribution. Your investment returns will also be tax sheltered. And the best part is your savings will become a priority throughout the entire year, which is what most of us are striving towards.

What shouldn’t you do with an RRSP account? “Don’t use it as a casual savings account,” Pat cautions. When you contribute to an RRSP, you need to set it and forget it. “Sometimes people think they can withdraw from their RRSP to buy something of scale, but when you do that, the government takes a significant amount of tax right off the top of your earnings and only aggregates it further based on how much you’re withdrawing,” explains Pat. The only exceptions are certain government programs. For example, under the federal Home Buyers’ Plan, you can withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSPs without paying tax, but you have to repay the full amount within 15 years. A secondary example would be if you want to withdraw from your RRSPs to finance your education. In that instance, you can only take out $10,000 per year and, once again, the money has to be paid back. Outside of these programs, if you try to withdraw money from your RRSP you’ll face a steep withholding tax, which could be as much as 30 per cent of the money you withdraw.

If you already have an RRSP and you’re looking to contribute a larger sum this year, Pat suggests checking your Notice of Assessment form the government sent you after processing your last tax return. And as always, meet with your financial advisor to discuss what options are best for you. This year, the deadline for making an RRSP contribution for the 2017 tax year is March 1, 2018, so plan any meetings and discussions ahead of time to ensure you’re not missing out.

If you don’t have an RRSP, or you’re just not able to make a large contribution this year, don’t stress. You still have three months to contribute and set up monthly payments to get a head start for next year’s tax return. Motive Financial provides competitive RRSP GIC savings strategies and rates that are designed to meet your specific needs and help you to save for retirement and receive tax benefits now.

Pat reiterates Motive’s aim of making saving money easier for you. They understand the benefits of starting small and growing your savings over time while providing better rates and easy to use products — all accessible online or by phone.

Don't chase the rates Expand/Collapse

With 16 years’ experience in the banking sector (with 12 years in-branch), Pat Neitsch, Motive Financial’s Assistant Manager, knows a thing or two about saving money. Her favourite thing about working at Motive Financial? “The opportunity to serve clients across the country, and to talk to people and learn about what’s happening in various regions,” says Pat.

The online bank’s small but savvy group of financial experts are a big reason why clients choose Motive Financial. Through their personalized, one-on-one service, it’s easier for them to build trusting and lasting relationships with their clients. According to Pat, “You can call and ask for a specific person and more often than not, get that same person over and over again.” The stronger the bond of trust, the more financially beneficial that relationship becomes with your bank meeting your unique financial needs.
Many of Motive Financial’s customers and followers also aren’t aware that the team is based in Edmonton, which gives them firsthand insight into not only the economic realities facing Albertans but also Canadians overall.

When asked what top saving pitfalls she has seen over the course of her career, Pat says a big one is that most people spend — and oftentimes waste — their time chasing rates. “It’s a proven fact that if you stagger your money in one- to five-year GICs (Guaranteed Investment Certificates), you will earn more money than chasing short term rates.” She notes that promotional rates, for example, end up costing a lot of time and energy to hunt down. Pat suggests a slow and steady approach instead. “Don’t chase after what looks like the highest or best deal; find moderation and keep it steady,” says Pat. “Put money away and leave it alone.”

By staggering your money in GICs, you can eliminate the guess work that comes from choosing interest rates. For example, if you have $10,000 to invest in a GIC, you could put all $10,000 away for five years. Or you could stagger them — $2,000 for one year, $2,000 for two years, $2,000 for three years and so on. The benefit is you don’t have to guess which term will give you the best interest rate. Since you’ll have money invested in each, you can then take advantage of upward swings in interest rates. Likewise, if the interest rate is moving downward, only some of your money is exposed to the risk of lower rates.

Misuse of products like the TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) is another common issue. From Pat’s experience, many view the TFSA as transactional, like a debit account. “If you keep taking your money out, you aren’t getting the interest, so you aren’t really saving the tax either,” she cautions. “Saving takes time.”

Her final piece of advice is reminiscent of what you heard back in school but still important: Do your homework. Pat reminds us,“Banks are offering the same products, however, everyone is at different phases in their life requiring different products.” Find the option most suitable for you by doing your background research and understanding your options.

Motive Financial is an Edmonton-based online personal bank, founded in 2008 under its previous moniker of Canadian Direct Financial. Pat highlights their aim of making saving money easier for you by understanding your personal financial needs while providing better rates and easy to use products – all accessible online or by phone.

Putting financial security within reach Expand/Collapse

As Motive Financial’s Division Manager, Adam Skoreyko firmly believes that everyone can get a jumpstart on their financial well-being through saving – even if it’s just a few dollars every month. “The earlier you can start, the better,” says Adam. “Saving is something that should be done as early as possible where it becomes a habit to set aside a certain amount of your income per month.”

For quite a few years now, Adam has been giving advice on how to improve one’s financial health – along with heeding it himself. He credits his deep interest in strategic development as what first drew him to banking and is gratified in helping people be more financially successful. “I enjoy working in an industry that’s so foundational to people, in regards to their money,” says Adam. “You get to help people through providing them with greater economic security. And I find that to be another rewarding aspect of my job.”

As a division of Canadian Western Bank (CWB), Motive Financial shares the same high level of commitment when it comes to client service. “Finances are very important to people and can be very confusing, as it’s not always clear what the best option is sometimes,” notes Adam. “But we’re working to provide better solutions for our clients – all within the comforts of their own home.”

One of the biggest misconceptions Adam sees when it comes to saving is people thinking they need to get there quickly. “We live in a world of instant gratification, and our future selves are much more optimistic than our current selves,” remarks Adam. “Saving requires delayed gratification and discipline as there’s no easy quick fix – everything good comes to those who wait, as the old saying goes.”

Adam can’t stress enough the importance of saving as early as possible with as much money as you’re able. “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world,” says Adam. “However, you need a long enough timeline to see the dramatic impact it can have on your savings.” He adds that saving doesn’t have to take up a large portion of your income but can build in increasing amounts over time where it becomes part of your routine.

When asked what advice he would give his 25-year-old self, Adam says he would advocate refraining from buying big ticket items that seem important in the immediacy of the moment but don’t lead to personal satisfaction over the long-run. Conversely, small sacrifices can also go a long way. “I used to buy coffee more than once a day from a local shop,” notes Adam. “However, switching to drinking coffee provided at the office ended up saving me almost $1,500 a year from unnecessary spending.”

Motive Financial is an Edmonton-based online personal bank, founded in 2008 under its previous moniker of Canadian Direct Financial. Adam highlights their aim of making saving money easier for you by offering better rates and lower fees – all at your fingertips online or by phone.