Protecting your biggest asset: yourself

Young Money - Vanessa Kunderman
Young Money – Vanessa Kunderman

Graphic by 401kcalculator.org

No one wants to reign in 2015 with a newly-minted hatchback load of debt. But it’s easy to get carried away buying little trinkets for all your pals and new nieces and nephews that were born.
I mean, have you seen the baby section at Indigo?
And let’s not forget all the lavish parties, baking, boxes of wine and ugly sweaters we bought along the way.
Let’s assume your wallet is already hurting because – come on, it is.
Meet with a financial advisor
On your 2015 to-do list, meeting with your financial advisor should be at the top. If you haven’t already developed a full financial plan, January is the perfect time to do so, so you can gear up for the tax season that will inevitably sneak up around the corner.
Plan to save more than ever
Next on your list is to save more than you did last year. Talk to your advisor about setting aside a small amount per paycheque. Remember, paying yourself is just as important a bill as paying for that data plan.
Set up a retirement plan
And if you haven’t done so yet, initiate a retirement plan. “But Vanessa! I’m not retiring, for like, another 30 years!”
That’s OK. Do it now, and thank me later. There is so much changing in our economic world right now regarding pensions and government support that it is up to you to take care of number one.
What will you do if you’re relying on your government to take care of you, only to find out that all benefits have been disintegrated by the time you’re 65?
Tough break. Welcome to being a grown up.
Get insured
Segue into chatting about an insurance plan – because when you actually do need the insurance, chances are you won’t be able to get it. Trust me on this one. As a person who had cancer as a teenager, my insurance needs will never be met, which makes it extremely hard for me to plan for my spouse and future children – or any charities I’d like to leave money to.
If you think you’re covered through work – it’s not enough. Most people I’ve met don’t have a clue what is included in their work plan. And what do you think happens to that insurance when you leave your job, get fired, or transfer into a new position?
That’s right. Bye bye, insurance plan.
The real advantage right now is that you’re young. Being young allows you to save more money, since money grows bigger over time, and to harness your good health that will likely wane as you age. Your biggest asset right now is to earn an income, and you should do everything in your power to protect that asset, and utilize it.
You wouldn’t think about driving an uninsured car would you? Why meander in an uninsured body? Think of all those times your feet betray you, sending you tumbling down the icy sidewalk.
This is one of the most stressful times of the year, but it doesn’t need to be. When you feel in control, stress falls away, and you give yourself the real opportunity to thrive.
Vanessa Kunderman writes every month on money issues facing millennials. Email her at: hello@vanessakunderman.com.

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