Dream weaver, I believe we can reach the morning light

By Janice Desautels

One of my favorite sayings from a John Lennon song goes, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
If those life things start to take your attention away from what is really important to you, then before you know it, you begin to shrink your dreams to fit into that life. Make plans early on to achieve the life you want – especially as it pertains to your money.
As we move through life, there will be many events that occur, which more than likely will always have a dollar value attached. Events like furthering your education, travelling, starting a business, getting married, starting a family, or buying a home.
According to the Canadian Council on Learning, Canadians’ well-being depends partially on their ability to understand, analyze, and use financial information that will help them make good decisions in their day-to-day lives, plus plan for the future.
A plan, or setting goals, increases the probability of achieving the desired outcome. In addition, that plan can help minimize obstacles along the way because it keeps us focused on the result. Of the “9 Financial Blindspots” that many of us have experienced, one is not having written goals, which prevents us from attaining the future we desire.
S.M.A.R.T.
One method of goal setting is setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal. This is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant or results-focused, and timely. A quick way to get started is by asking and answering the 5 Ws:
What do I want to achieve?
Who can help me achieve this? Where can I go for advice?
When am I going to achieve this? (You most likely will have multiple goals, some you’ll achieve sooner than others. For example, buying a car will be achieved before reaching your retirement savings goal. For each goal, be specific in the timeframe.)
Where do I need to be in my life to make it happen? (Ask yourself: “Am I currently in a position to attain my goal?” If the answer is “no,” then how will the goal be achieved? By knowing what you want to achieve, move backwards through the steps until you are at the beginning. If this includes saving more than what you have, then how will you get the extra income?)
Most importantly is your WHY. Why do you want to reach this goal? Is it important enough that if an obstacle is met, you can overcome it?
In our financial world this looks a lot like a budget. Unfortunately, a lot of us feel that a budget is somehow an outside force making us do something we don’t want to, and we’ll find every excuse under the sun to avoid it. Does that sound familiar?
If it does, try changing your perspective to “I’m making a plan to invest in my future,” or “I’m saving for what really matters to me.”
By making achievable goals and reviewing them regularly, this affords us the opportunity to meet the many changes in our lives with less stress and more satisfaction. It’s never too early to work on getting the life of your dreams!
Janice Desautels has been working with families and individuals for the last seven years helping educate in the field of financial literacy. She is a Certified Financial Educator with over 15 years experience in teaching and training adults.

DJ got us fallin’ in love again

By Stephan Bazzocchi

The dog days of summer are upon us as we trudge along to the time of year when the leaves change colour – then fall off the trees due to September frosts of course.
Soon, the icy grip of winter will be banging on the door, demanding us to don our 20 layers of winter wear just to walk to the corner store. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
There are still piles of festivals, concerts, patios, and patio beverages to consume before then. Folklorama has us stuffed with awesome food from around the world, with bevies and entertainment to match. The Fringe and Jazz Festivals are dreamy memories.
And then there’s MEME (the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition). You wander down to the sunny grounds of the Cube in the Exchange, sipping your Half Pints St. James Ale, feeling the bass and getting lost in the vibe.
The list of performers is a roster of the creme de la creme of Winnipeg’s DJs and producers. You notice a couple of the guys are playing music that they themselves composed on a laptop. “Boy that’s neat,” you think to yourself. “I wonder if I could do that.” The answer is a resounding “yes.” All it takes is a little software, some sense of musical composition (or experimentation), and a whole lot of dedication and time. Continue reading DJ got us fallin’ in love again

There grows the neighbourhood

It’s no surprise that people are attracted to people, and such is the case with the ever-growing Exchange District. A hub of culture and life, the Exchange District attracts visitors and residents alike for its historic architecture, charming boutiques and shops, and endless array of food options – not to mention parks, Waterfront Drive, and the accessibility to everywhere including the Forks, the MTS Centre and downtown hot spots.
As a first time buyer entering the real estate ownership world, there doesn’t seem to be a better place in Winnipeg to invest. “When you’re looking to places with potential, to areas that are undergoing intense revitalization and have the most opportunity to flourish, look no further than the Exchange,” says Jessica Willis, Sales and Marketing Manager of StreetSide Developments. But recognizing potential and the future of the Exchange doesn’t mean sacrificing current enjoyment – the area is already overwhelmingly appealing and full of like-minded people with an eye on the future and an appreciation for the past.
First-time buyer Adam Sefton and his girlfriend Kim Neufeld found their home at StreetSide Developments’ District Condos 132 James building, and have been enjoying the area ever since. “There is always something to do or see whether it is in the Exchange District, at The Forks or any nearby area,” says Sefton.
The pair was originally attracted to the condo for its proximity to their workplaces downtown, and the esthetic of the building blew them away especially in light of its value. “We wanted something different and unique. We loved the beams and brick in the building, and the price was affordable,” he says.
Offering value and the stability of a reputable builder are only the icing on the cake when it comes to District Condos. “StreetSide has worked very hard to restore these buildings back to their original state, keeping the historic charm intact. New windows and modern finishes complement original brick walls and century-old timber ceilings, features that are a rare find in Winnipeg,” says Willis.

The character interior of the District Condos on James Avenue.
The character interior of the District Condos on James Avenue.

Moving from a single-family house to a loft condo at District meant downsizing for newlyweds Jenny-Lynn and Jason Sheldon, but it was worth it for the lifestyle change. “I consider the entire Exchange District our backyard,” says Jenny-Lynn.
“We really wanted a place that matched our lifestyles – and we have found it in the Exchange. I bike or walk to work most days and it is honestly the best part of my day.”
The pair found they were spending more of their time commuting than spending time at their house in the south end of the city, and now find they host more gatherings due to their central location. Plus, even without plans, they have a multitude of activities available to them nearby.
“I think the best thing about living here is feeling like we have so many good options for spontaneous activities,” says Jason. “We don’t need to plan excursions – we can just hop on our bikes and enjoy any number of activities within a few minutes.”
The Exchange District neighbourhood is already set to grow further, and with more residents in the area, even more amenities are bound to follow.
District Condos still has some incredibly affordable lofts starting at $143,000 including upgrades and GST, which with a 5 per cent deposit of $7,150 means monthly mortgage payments could be as low as $665 a month. After condo fees and property taxes, you’re still looking at a number comparable to rent, but you are paying yourself and building equity in a unique neighbourhood poised for even more growth.

Indspire pairs Indigenous students with powerful mentors

By Benita Aalto

Many Indigenous students today are the first in their family to get a post-secondary education, and many go on to work in sectors and careers which lack strong Indigenous representation. Plus, many students experience uncertainty about such major life changes.
That’s where a mentor can be helpful.
A mentor is someone who can help a new graduate with career planning by offering their experience, insights and knowledge of the working world.
A mentor can be found informally – like talking to an older friend of the family who has a career that interests you – or through a structured program offered by a college or university guidance department, or a professional or trade organization.
However you find a mentor, here are three tips to help make the partnership work for you:
Decide what you want to learn from your mentor
Do you want to learn how to write a great resume, or ace a job interview? Do you want to make more contacts in a certain field or industry? Write a list of what you want and try to make it specific. Your goals may change over time but start with clear objectives.
Have regular check-in meetings
Meetings with your mentor can be over the phone, online, by Skype, or face-to-face. It’s a good idea to schedule a regular check-in session with your mentor, perhaps monthly. Come prepared with questions and be ready to report on your progress.
Work respectfully with your mentor
It is important to be respectful of your mentor’s time: if you can’t make a meeting or are going to be late, let your mentor know and offer them the option of rescheduling for another day. Also, be sure to follow up with their suggestions. For example, if your mentor gives you the email address of someone who might be helpful to you, send that person a note to introduce yourself and cc your mentor.
Indigenous post-secondary students and grads can benefit from a mentorship program that takes into account the different social and cultural challenges they face. Indspire offers the Rivers to Success: mentoring Indigenous Youth program to connect Indigenous students to mentors in a variety of fields. The registration deadline is Oct.1, and you can learn more at indspire.ca/rivers.

Teachers need mentors, too!

In an information-saturated world, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. It’s great to have an Internet’s worth of resources at your fingertips, but don’t pass up the chance to get face-time and support from a peer.
Indspire offers new teachers the chance to learn from experienced educators through its Peer Support: Educator Coaching program. Go to indspire.ca/peer-support for details.
Educators can also share best practices and network at the National Gathering for Indigenous Education this November 20 to 22 in Toronto. Learn more and register at indspire.ca/national-gathering.

Meeting the mayoral candidates

By Stefano Grande

The pace of downtown revitalization is directly related to the opinions, beliefs, and knowledge of the mayor.
Whether you agree with this or not is a topic that’s ripe for a good conversation. But the reality is this: if the mayor of a city believes in the importance of the downtown creating a socially-inclusive, economically-rich and sustainable city, then great things will happen – and quickly. And organizations like the BIZ are tools for this change, to help mayor and council.
If a mayor is of a different mindset, then organizations like the BIZ take on a different role – influencers, advocates, capacity builders and educators.
This is why it’s important that the BIZ board has led the charge in meeting all of the mayoral candidates to have a discussion and find out: Who is in favour of downtown? Why? And what are the ideas and solutions?
Should panhandlers be banned from public spaces, or helped off the street in a comprehensive manner that includes assistance with social services and housing?
Should we wait for a full-line grocer, or create an innovative partnership with the private sector to stimulate more residential development?
Should there be adequate police foot patrols downtown regularly, or only when the events that draw suburbanites downtown are on?
Should a restaurant owner submit four different applications for a patio, or one? And should it take three months, or three weeks?
These and other questions are key to the future of our downtown over the next four years, if not more. Continue reading Meeting the mayoral candidates