I had a chance to sat down with Shannon Lee Simmons, author of Worry-Free Money who recently partnered with Interac where talked about money and life.
As a certified financial planner, Shannon helps her clients maintain or get their finances back on track. What you may not realize is that it doesn’t matter if you have a six digit income or you’ve recently graduated from school, everyone’s finances are different which is why you should always have your money top of mind.
During our chat, Shannon shared with me some of the common money issues that she sees and some tips to help you get your finances in order.
What are your top spending money tips for Millennials?
Stop over budgeting – You know…. Friday night, excel spreadsheet. A million categories: Coffee shops, takeout, clothes, pet, housing, bills – the list goes on. Budgeting like this sets most people up for failure. I’ve seen it again and again. You forecast your spending goals in these very restrictive categories then do your best to live within the confines of the rigid budget but it’s so unrealistic! What if one weekend your family comes over and you need to buy a lot of cheese? What if the next week you need to buy a new shirt for work? Enough already. There are only 4 types of money that you need in your budget: Fixed Expenses, Meaningful Savings, Short-Term Savings and Spending Money.
- Fixed Expenses, the bills that must be paid each month, like housing, insurance, or minimum debt payments
- Meaningful Savings, which includes money that’s put aside to improve overall net worth by increasing assets or decreasing debts
- Short-Term Savings, money to stash away for emergencies or spikes in spending.
- Spending Money, which is the money left over to spend on things like groceries, gas, clothes and entertainment, offering greater flexibility to account for shifting priorities month to month.
When should someone sit down with a financial planner?
The time to call a financial planner is when something in your life changes. Maybe you started a business, got married/engaged, wanted to buy a home, inherited money or maybe you need help with investing or managing your monthly expenses. Whatever it is, we are here to listen to your goals, understand your situation and make an awesome plan to help you move forward.
What are the most common misconceptions that people have about money?
Hmmm. I think people tend to think they are the only one struggling to get control of cash flow, not overspend and stay on track. But, I’ve been at this a long enough time to know that it’s really normal. Don’t believe everything you see on social media =D
How often should couples talk about money and how should they go about it?
All the time! It should be just as common a conversation in your house as “what’s for dinner?” As a team, you make financial decisions every day, it must come up. I’m not saying you need to bring up money on the first date and show your potential boo your credit report. But, you must have these tough conversations at some point to ensure not only healthy finances but also a healthy relationship. Tag-teaming the household finances get things done more efficiently. Work as a team.
What are some easy tricks for people to take control of their finances?
Spend safely! Don’t fall into the trap of mindless spending. If you can calculate how much Spending Money you have each payday to spend to zero without risking money for bills and savings, then spend it! Just don’t overspend it. Know your limit, spend within it. You have to be smart about how you spend it.
- Spend your own money instead of borrowing. If you spend with a debit card, there’s much less of a risk of overspending. This is critical for you to stay in control of your finances. I know a lot of people like to use cards for the contactless payment technology, which is why I totally get behind using Interac It’s your debit card, made more convenient. Great. Use that! Don’t overspend!
- Interac Flash is one of the safest forms of payment because it uses secure EMV chip processing, making it next to impossible to create counterfeit cards and protects against things like skimming and electronic pickpocketing.
- In addition, if you spend with debit, vs cash, you can use an online banking app so you can see transactions in real-time and keep track of how much money you still have to spend throughout the pay period.
- Because you know how much you have to spend and your using one payment method, you can comfortably spend to zero for that pay period on whatever it is you need without worry.
What are your favourite personal finance books
I love Preet Banerjee – Stop Over-Thinking Your Money and I also love the classics: Wealthy Barber and Smart Cookies! Also a shameless plug for my own book, Worry-Free Money. But, of course, I’m biased.
What’s your guilty pleasure TV show and why?
Star Trek, The Next Generation. I won’t say more…. I’ve already said too much.