Start Investing – 4 Questions

Four Questions to Answer Before Investing

You have been saving money and now you want to take the next step and start investing, but are not sure where to start. Investing helps you build your wealth faster then savings because you receive higher returns. The higher returns are the result of the increased risk that comes with investing. Meaning you could lose some of your investments. One of the first things you need to decide when you start investing is how comfortable are you with risk.  You also need to decide what your goals are, and what is your timeframe for each goal. Are your goals timeframe five years or twenty or more? The more time you have the more money you can earn and the less you have to event.

Answering the following questions will help you decide what type of investments you should purchase.

  1. What is your level of risk tolerance?
  2. What are your goals?
  3. What are your timeframes?
  4. What level of help do you want?

The reason you should start with determining your level of risk because it will help you narrow down the types of investments you should consider investing in. Investing is a long term activity and you may own different investments between five to 60 years. This means that the value of the investments go up and down. You need to be honest with yourself about how comfortable seeing your investments lose money.

Your goals help you determine how much money you need. It will also help you determine how much time you have before you need the money and how much you need to put into the investment. This in turn helps you figure out what return you need. The longer your timeframe the lower all these amounts will be. This is because the value of investments grows over time and the more time you have the more, they grow.

Finally, you need to decide on what type of help you need investing. If you want more guidance you can sign up with an investment advisor at a full-service brokerage, but if you want to do it on your own you can sign up with a direct investment service or with an online broker.  The fees for the brokerage will depend on the level of service they provide.

Click here to signup to receive the next Monthly Money Tip.

Simple Money Talk’s Future

I created Simple Money Talk because I wanted to help women gain confidence around making money decisions. This is still an important goal for Simple Money Talk, but after 10 years I have decided to shift the focus to providing information and online courses on helping women start investing. It is important that we get our money working for us. Especially in times of high inflation and interest rates.

The first course will be on the language of investing and focus on providing participants with a good understanding of what it means to invest, and the terms used. It will start by making sure we know what your money goals are. Then we will look at the several types of investing such as GICs, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, bonds, and stocks. What the risks are when you invest your money and the returns each type of investment can provided.

The second course will help you understand the basics of how you can start investing. We will look at how we invest through discount brokers, regular brokers, advisers, and robo-advisers. What are fees when you invest as well as tax beneficial products the government of Canada has. These include TFSAs and RRSPs.

I am looking forward to creating these courses for you. The Language of Investing launches on September 12, 2023, and the Basics of Investing on November 12, 2023.

If you are interested please send me a message and I will keep you updated with the launch. Follow me on social media. or

Tax Free Savings Account 2019 Limit

The new year brings with it a new Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) contribution limit. In 2019 you can contribute up to $6,000.

If you’ve never contributed to a TFSA and have been eligible to do so since 2009 the total contribution is $63,500.

To be eligible to contribute you must be 18 years old, have a valid social insurance number and be a resident of Canada – for tax purposes.


What currency should you pick?

When you are traveling out of the country and you make a payment with either your MasterCard or Visa you will likely be asked what currency you would like to pay in, the local currency or your home currency.  Which one do you pick? Which one should you pick? To save on an extra service fee, pick the local currency.

The ability of stores and hotels to you offer customers the choice of currencies is known as dynamic currency conversion and is a service provided to retailers by the credit card companies(MasterCard Worldwide, 2016). Customers are the ones who pay the service fee for the perceived convenience of paying in their home currency. To avoid paying this service fee you should pick to pay in the local currency. If you pay in the local currency you will still pay the credit card’s service fee and be given the bank’s exchange rate.

On Visa USA’s website it even recommends to pick the local currency. The website explains that the dynamic currency conversion “…service is offered by merchants and includes a service fee based on the local exchange rate used.  If you would like to use Visa’s more competitive exchange rate, ask to pay in the local currency: (Travel Tips, 2018).

If you are traveling this summer and are given a choice of currencies to pay in pick the local currency. This will save you money, it may be 2.5% on the cost of the purchase, but this will add up and why pay more for anything. When you get home make sure you check your credit card statement to make sure you didn’t pay the dynamic currency conversion charge and all the charges are yours.

Fees are reducing your returns

Fees reduce the return you earn. Check the fees you pay on your bank and investment accounts. If you need to keep a minimum balance on your savings account make sure you do or you may have to start paying a monthly fee. If you struggle to keep the mininum amount consider changing to a no minimum balance, no fee savings account.

Check if your investment account requires a minimum number of transactions in a set period. This can be as high as $100 every 6 months. You will be charged for the transactions, but it will be less than than $100.