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The following article is written by our Associate Advisor: Jee-Woon Jonathan Ha, BA, RIS

It is often said that what gets measured gets improved. To accomplish this, it helps to have open conversations with your trusted peers about whatever it is you are attempting to improve upon. Whether it is a fitness goal or a new hobby, sharing the struggles and successes allows a person to understand where the gaps are and how improvements can be made.  

However, regardless of where you were born or how you were raised, it seems that many cultures today have consistent topics that are taboo to talk about, including money. Despite its foundational importance and undeniable prevalence to the many aspects of our life, there is a pervasive discomfort surrounding money conversations that often hinders financial wellness.

Let’s dive into 4 money taboos and why we should start talking about them.  

1. Debt Shame:

Personal Finances are simply not taught enough in school. Even business school graduates will leave their university campus grounds feeling confused and disorganized with their assets, debts and spending habits. This can lead to unexpected overspending and a dependence on debt, which can be so easy to get into but feel impossible to get out of. By normalizing conversations around debt, seeking support to develop debt repayment strategies and asking for accountability to successfully execute this plan, individuals can remove heavy emotional burdens and go back to sleeping peacefully at night knowing they are not chained down by their lender.

2. Inheritance and Estate Ignorance:

This one is taboo twofold considering we are discussing another subject that is silenced – death. However, Canadians often don’t realize that the biggest tax bill for an individual is often at their death. This is because in Canada, many of your personally owned assets are considered sold the day before you passed away, triggering a massive tax bill for the remaining loved ones to deal with. By having proper planning completed in preparation for this day, it will allow the individual’s wealth to pass to the next generation in a tax-efficient manner, rather than having a significant portion of their wealth go to the government in the form of taxes. Planning through avenues such as wills, trusts, insurance and beneficiaries will ensure that their wealth is preserved, managed and distributed according to their wishes. 

3. Investment Intimidation:

Many people enjoy traveling from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, which usually requires a ferry ride. However, if someone is too intimated to take the ferry and hesitates to get on the boat, it can cause them to delay or miss their opportunity of getting to their goal. Likewise with our investments, a lack of financial literacy can cause someone to miss out on opportunities to grow their wealth to achieve retirement based on their desires. Avoiding discussions around investment strategies due to fear of judgement or appearing ignorant can cause hesitation to get on the ferry, but we are here to help you get sailing. 

4. Spending Guilt:

Everywhere we go, we are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we could be happier with more. This insatiable desire for more can cause us to become overly materialistic without any consideration for financial prudency. By adopting a balanced approach of savings vs spending, it is possible to fill up your photo album with meaningful experiences that money can buy while achieving your long-term goals at the same time. This often requires understanding how much is enough and having a target to pursue. Then, a purposeful spending plan follows, where you tell every dollar what to do rather than wondering where it went. The end result is a life comprising of guilt-free spending, all the while achieving financial freedom in the years to come. 

Final Remarks

Our finances are so closely tied to our emotional and relational well-being. As a strong foundational component of our life, it is important to uncover the potential roadblocks that may hinder our progress towards reaching our financial goals. Open and honest discussions around these 4 drivers of money secrecy may help eliminate some of these roadblocks. So, let’s start talking about money – because financial wellness begins with breaking the silence.  

If you would like to start the discussion on any of these topics with a professional, reach out to your financial advisor! 

The comments contained herein are a general discussion of certain issues intended as general information only and should not be relied upon as tax or legal advice. Please obtain independent professional advice, in the context of your particular circumstances. This article was written, designed and produced by Financial Literacy Counsel, a registered trade name with Investia Financial Services Inc., and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Investia Financial Services Inc. The information contained in this article comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities.

Mutual Funds are offered through Investia Financial Services Inc. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments.  Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated.

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