So Where Are We?

Okay, so far on our journey to financial health, wealth, and happiness we have made the decision to take control of our financial lives, we have picked our annual financial day, chosen to make financial education a part of our habits, and brought the whole family into the game. Now we need to figure out where exactly we stand in terms of our financial snap shot.

The first step is to figure out what our debt situation is. This includes everything we owe, every debt instrument we use, and what are the terms on our debts. If we have a mortgage and / or a secured line of credit on our home how much is owing? What are the details in regards to interest rate, maturity, amortization, property taxes, and creditor insurance? How much of our payment is going to principle and how much to interest? What is the realistic value of our home?

The next step is to look at our credit cards. How many cards do we have? How many do we actually use? Whose name are the cards in? What are the limits on the cards and how much do we owe? What is the interest rate on each card? Do we get any perks like cash back, travel points, AirMiles, or Aeroplan? Do our cards have annual fees? Are we paying for any creditor insurance?

What other debt do we have? Personal loans, student loans, vehicle loans or leases, private debt? How much do we owe? What are the terms on each debt? What are the payments? What interest is being paid? Is there any creditor insurance on the debts? What is the amortization for each debt?

Now that we have an accurate picture of our liabilities, now we need to look at the positive stuff, our assets. Do we have a pension plan, group RRSP, or personally held RRSP? What are they currently worth and how much are we putting into them on what frequency? Do we hold any other investments in a TFSA or non-registered account? What are they worth and how are we contributing to them?

Do we own any insurance with a cash value? If we do what is the value and are there surrender charges? Are we covered for life, disability, critical illness, or long term care issues? Who are we insured with, how much coverage do we have, what are the terms, and what are the payments?

Do we have any properties including our own home, vacation property, and any rental properties? What is the realistic value of them? If we have rental properties are they positive cashflowing?

Have we been putting money aside for our children’s education? If we have where is it, how much is it currently worth, what and when are we contributing, and are we collecting all available grant money?

Do we have any collectibles or other valuables? What are they, where are they, and what are they worth? Are they properly stored and properly insured?

Once we have gathered and compiled our information we can take an honest look at the facts and start to map out the best route to get us to where we want to be financially.

“To create a plan to get to where you want to be you first have to figure out where you are starting from.”
Tammy Johnston

Tammy Johnston

Tammy started working in the Financial Services Industry in 1993. The first 9 years of her career were spent working in regional offices, for independent agents, and as Brokerage Manager for two different MGAs. Her focus was on training other agents and helping them solve problems for clients. After spending close to a decade as an employee Tammy decided to venture into the “sales world”. Determined to be more than just another insurance salesman, Tammy founded The Financial Guides. She set about working with clients in a totally different fashion. Feeling that everyone needs a sound financial education she created her first class “Financial Journeys”. The goal was to provide the accurate, unbiased, basic information in simple English that we all require, but can’t easily find. Knowing that the best way to learn is by having fun and being comfortable, Tammy takes good care of her guests with excellent food and lots of laughter. Further expanding her educational and value added offerings Tammy created “Sandwich Safaris”, “Business Builder Nights”, “Small Business Class”, and "FInancial Journeys Summer Camp". Putting time and care into helping with the necessary tasks required to run a successful financial household Tammy works with clients to set up budgets that actually work, reviews credit and debt to make sure it is working for the client and not just against, and makes sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit together properly. Knowing that all financial aspects affect one another she looks at the whole picture. Honestly tells you what is working, what could be improved, and what is missing. Tammy’s clients understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and have hope for the future. The newest project by The Finanical Guides is our Childrens' Financial Book Series. To check out the books please go to