I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

What does Christmas mean to you?

For many people, the Christmas season means weeks of stress leading to a short peak of excitement, then a feeling of emptiness.   We spend all our time planning a family celebration, preparing food, shopping and wrapping gifts.  Then we have one or two days to share with family and friends; sharing gifts, eating and making memories.  Too soon it is all over and the stress takes its toll leaving us exhausted and let down.

Christmas is supposed to be a season of celebration – a time of peace and joy.  Instead of rushing around buying gifts that don’t last, we should be spending time with family and friends, making memories that will last.   Taking a walk with a loved on to see the Christmas lights or inviting a friend over for coffee shows you care much more than just quickly handing them a gift.  Taking the family to an outdoor event or to the park to play in the snow shows you value them more than buying them a pile of gifts.  ‘Presence’ is worth so much more than ‘presents’.

Money does not buy happiness but money does buy debt.  Don’t make Christmas the season that causes you pain throughout the rest of the year.  Make Christmas the best time of the year and make meaningful memories by showing love to everyone around you.

May God bless you during this wonderful time of year!

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Ontario minimum wage increase already causing problems

Is this a surprise for anyone?  It certainly doesn’t surprise me.  Everything is happening as I expected.  Raising the minimum wage in Ontario was not a good idea.  It is unfortunate that people are struggling to make ends meet but this was not the answer.  Someone will always make minimum wage even if they raised it to $100 hour and they will still be at the bottom of the wage scale.

Increasing wages from $11.60 to $14.oo is a big jump and it sounds really appealing but it really won’t make any difference in the long run.  People may have an extra $50 a week in their pockets but where do they think this extra money comes from.  Businesses certainly aren’t covering this increase themselves.  It will come from changes within companies.  Prices will increase and there will be cutbacks.  That extra $50 will be needed to cover an increase in groceries, clothing and everything else with a price tag.

Small companies will be hit hard by this increase and some are already cutting out paid breaks and benefits.  Others will shorten hours which will result in smaller paychecks.  And of course some companies will be forced to close causing employees to lose their jobs and be forced to survive on unemployment while trying to find work.  And what kind of burden will be put on the government and our taxes to support more unemployed people?

On the news this morning, they had great news.  Unemployment rates are down.  Yeah, this is wonderful for today BUT the minimum wage increase is predicted to cost Canada between 60,000 – 90,000 jobs by 2019!  So who wins?  Employees who have a bigger paycheque but spend it all because of increased costs?  Employees who make less money because their hours are cut back?  Employees who lose their jobs?  Companies who are forced to close because they can’t afford to pay more wages?  Seniors and others on limited income who have to pay more for products and services?  Personally I don’t see how anyone wins.

Following is an article that outlines the coming problems.



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Increasing minimum wage in Ontario

I’m listening to Kathleen Wynne talking about labour changes and increasing minimum wage.  Yes, people would certainly like to make more money but there is no mention of all the problems this will cause.

  • There will always be a minimum wage no matter if it is $15 or $50.  Someone will always be at the bottom of the scale and there will always be people struggling to make ends meet.
  • When wages increase, prices increase so people will have more income but will be spending more on food, services, rent, etc, etc. – so they really won’t be any further ahead
  • Many small companies who pay minimum wage are barely making a living themselves and if the wages increase they will be forced to close their companies and then they will be struggling to make a living
  • Employees working for small companies will likely be facing unemployment and be getting less money than working at minimum wage
  • The government will be have a higher percentage of people collecting unemployment and welfare which will add to debt

Who wins by raising the minimum wage??

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Teach your children to be financially responsible

Many adults today are not financially responsible.  They don’t know how to budget for their expenses and often don’t have any savings at all.  They live week to week, spending every cent they have and using that convenient plastic card when they run out of money.

  • If you have grown up in a home where everything is charged and your parents are up to their eyeballs in debt, it’s unlikely that you will be able to responsibly handle your money.
  • If you have grown up in a home where you have been given everything you want, you won’t feel any responsibility for the money you earn and will expect to have whatever your little heart desires.

It is important to teach your children how to spend and save money efficiently so they will become responsible adults.   The world pressures us to spend more than we earn by using credit whenever possible and we need to learn how make good decisions so we don’t end up with mountains of debt.

Here are some ideas to help your children learn the value of money:

  1. Set a good example by using cash when you buy things.   Your children will imitate what you do and if you use credit cards, they will do the same thing and think it is okay.  Remember, it is way to easy to slap down plastic and not think about making those payments later.
  2. Give them an allowance based on their age and what jobs you expect them to do in return.   If the jobs are done, they don’t get their allowance.  When kids are paid to do work, they learn the value of working and getting paid.  However, some family chores should not receive monetary payment (making bed, picking up toys, doing dishes) but should receive payment in praise for helping and being part of the family.  Paid work could include cleaning the basement, vacuuming, taking out the garbage and cutting grass.
  3. Guide them as to how they should spend their money.  Teach them the difference between wants and needs.  It is so easy to spend money on things we want but don’t need.  Encourage them to save some and also donate to a church/charity.  A reasonable percentage might be saving 20-30%, giving 10% and spending the rest.
  4. Open a bank account for their savings and as they get older add a chequing account so they will be ready to pay for item they need or a small monthly bill like a cell phone.
  5. Let your child shop for their own items.  A small child might be given $5 to buy toys or snacks – this could buy a couple of small items or 1 larger item.  A teen might be given $100 to spend on clothing – this could buy 1 sweater at an expensive store or several items at a discount or second-hand store.
  6. An older teenager should be encouraged to get a part-time job and save money towards their future.
  7. Talk to your children about the dangers of having credit cards and how easy it is to get deeply into debt.  Encourage them to pay cash when possible.   Teach them how to say ‘no’ to pushy salesmen and to think carefully when spending money, to avoid buying things they don’t need.

If you don’t teach your children how to manage their money, they will likely end up being pressured into buying things they don’t need and end up deep in debt.





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Stop digging debt ditches

We live in a society that promotes spending.  Everywhere you look, someone is offering products and services that are sure to make you a better person.  Or do they?  How many of those products and services gave you lasting happiness?  And how many caused you to dig a deeper ditch that put you in deeper debt?

Spending money can be fun.  Buying clothes, enjoying a nice meal or taking a vacation are great.  But what happens when you overspend and find yourself in trouble?

“The American consumer is facing dire financial straits……..As a people we have forgotten how to delay pleasure”.  These words are found in a book by Dave Ramsey, a man who knows what it’s like to have it all and lose it all.  He was a millionaire by age 26 and lost it all by age 30 due to many foolish decisions about money.   In his books, he tries to help people get debt-free using tough but successful methods that have worked for him.  He promotes having Financial Peace, which is the name of one of his best-selling books.

We have to stop digging debt ditches and pay cash for things we want.  That shiny new car, expensive wardrobe or must-have vacation should be something to save towards instead of paying on credit and enjoying it right now.  When you get to the bottom of your ditch and there isn’t anywhere else to go, does that new item still look good?  Not likely.  I’ve already been to the bottom of my ditch and I wish I had made better choices.

Buy what you need and save for want you want.  Remember, your wants are not the same as your needs.   Plan for a vacation or those expensive ‘toys’ that you want and then start saving.  Believe me, you will get much more satisfaction and joy when you pay cash and don’t have all the bills coming in.



Don’t chase the dollar

don't chase the dollar




This is excellent advice from Dave Ramsey, who is a financial wizard, speaker, author and business owner.  He speaks from experience, having been financially stable when he was in his twenties and then losing everything.   This led him to research ways on how to make money and be more responsible in making financial decisions.  He now helps others become debt-free through his program, Total Money Makeover.   You may think you are in a serious financial situation but there may be hope if you follow Dave’s Seven Baby Steps.  Almost anyone can become debt-free with his great advice.  Visit his website at and find out how you can become financially responsible.



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Getting into the debt trap

It is so easy today to get into debt.  Buying on credit, careless spending and improper financial planning can easily cause damage to your finances and throw you into the debt trap.  Once you are caught, it is very hard to get back on track again.

Many people get into debt because they have developed an entitlement mindset.  They believe that they deserve to have everything they want.  It doesn’t really matter if they have enough cash to pay for what they want, they will just put it on credit and pay for it later.   Some people will even ignore the needs of their families and waste money on things they don’t need instead of buying food and paying the bills.

The world tries to trap us with these encouraging statements:  you deserve the best, shop till you drop, just charge it, treat yourself, pay later.  This sounds like a good idea until the credit card statements come and you can’t even pay the minimum amount.

Many of the things we buy are things we don’t even need.  I’ve bought things in the past that I’ve put in a cupboard or drawer and forgotten about.  Then years later when I’m cleaning, I find the item with the price tag still attached and wonder why I even bought it.

Have you ever considered how much money you spend on stuff you don’t really need?  There is a huge difference between needs and wants.  We sometimes confuse these 2 words.  Often we say we need something and believe that it is important when actually it is only something we want and could do without.   I wanted to see how much money I spent on things I don’t really need and this is what I figured out:

  • COFFEE – If you buy 2 coffees a day at $1.60 – in one year you will spend $1168.00.
  • EATING OUT – If you eat out at a restaurant once a week and spend $80.00 – in one year you will spend $4160.
  • TAKE OUT – If you bring home food once a week and spend $40 – in one year you will spend $2080.
  • CLOTHING – If you buy 1 new item of clothing each week and spend $50 – in one year you will spend $2600.
  • GROCERIES – If you buy extra snacks, sweets and treats each week when you buy groceries and spend $40 – in one year you will spend $2080.

These are just a few of the things that I used to buy that I didn’t really need, but I was convinced that they were necessary.  It didn’t seem like much money was being spent, but when I started figuring out the costs for a year, I was amazed.  The total was over $12,000!!!  For items like food and clothing!!  Then you also have to consider the interest being paid on these items.

Digging yourself into debt is not fun and it takes a long time to recover.   Make sure you are spending your money wisely.   Don’t get yourself into a debt trap.

For great financial advice, check out Dave Ramsey, who is a radio host and a trusted voice on money.  He is a best-selling author and his books are awesome.  Check out his website at





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What are you thankful for?

dollar signNow that Thanksgiving is over in Canada and in the States, are you still giving thanks for all the wonderful things that you have?  From pictures I’ve seen of Black Friday sales, it appears that many people have quickly traded their thankfulness into greed.  It is so sad that people can put so much emphasis on gaining material possessions, that they would stand in line for hours or push and shove people to get what they want.

Society has created a monster in people, one that has a deep desire to spend lots of money trying to find happiness in all the piles of stuff they buy, often resulting in huge debt.   According to a Bank of Montreal report, the number of Canadians in debt grew from 74% in 2012 to 83% in 2013.   In the States the total consumer debt is over $11 million.  All of this debt is not creating more happiness, in fact it is creating more stress, anxiety and depression.   Marriages are in trouble because of financial problems and relationships are struggling.  People just can’t handle the pressure of being in debt, yet they keep spending because ‘THEY’ say it is okay.  ‘THEY’ tell us that we need stuff to be happier, make more friends, have power and get better jobs.  And who is ‘THEY’?  It is all the companies who are making money causing people to overspend, get into deep debt and often end up filing for bankruptcy.  So how does this make us happy.  It doesn’t!

Happiness is found in being content with what we have.  Instead of wishing we had a lot of things that we don’t really need and can’t afford to buy, spend time instead of money, giving thanks for the things you already have.  Spend time with your family, especially your children.  They would much rather have you spend time with them than go out and spend time looking for those toys and trinkets.  If they would rather have ‘stuff’ than they have already learned to be greedy and this isn’t good because they will end up making poor choices with their money.

Learn to be thankful and teach your children to be thankful.  Not just on Thanksgiving but every day of the year.  Whether your family gathers around the table for a meal, have everyone think about something they are thankful for and share your thoughts.  If you normally eat by yourself, ask yourself what you can be thankful for.  Being thankful is a good way to become happy about everything in life and everyone around you.  Here are some of the things that I’m thankful for:

  • my wonderful family
  • my two awesome girls
  • my adorable grandson
  • having a house to live in
  • having enough food to eat
  • having a comfortable bed to sleep in
  • being warm
  • my job
  • enough money to pay bills
  • good health
  • being able to eat out sometimes
  • taking vacations
  • my writing skills
  • my creativity
  • being able to see, hear and smell

It is sometimes hard to be thankful in this materialistic world, but if you think with your heart, you can always find something to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for?  Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start making your own list.


Did you put a deposit in your emotional bank account today?

piggy bankWhen we put money in our bank account, it increases and we feel secure and confident that our finances are healthy.  When we take money out of our bank account, it decreases and we feel insecure and lack confidence because our finances are not healthy.

The same goes for our emotional bank account.  When we deposit healthy emotions in our emotional bank account, it makes us feel secure and confidence in ourselves.  When we take these healthy emotions out of our bank account or put in unhealthy ones, it makes us feel insecure and we will lack confidence in ourselves.

Every day we need to keep depositing healthy emotions in our own emotional bank account and also into the emotional bank account of others so we can help each other feel confident and keep our esteem strong.

Have  you made a deposit today?  Was it love?  What about appreciation?  A kind word?  A thoughtful deed?  Keep making those deposits and watch the benefits grow!


Remember the emotional bank account—similar to a bank account, you can make deposits or withdrawals from each of your family relationships. Make a conscious effort to make meaningful deposits in your relationships. When you make a withdrawal, apologize and correct the mistake.   ~Steven Covey

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Are your children money-wise?

Many children are not taught how to manage money properly and they grow up to be adults who make poor financial decisions.  Today millions of people are deep in debt, owing money to credit cards, having problems paying their bills and experiencing relationship issues because of their financial difficulty.  I was checking into stats on people declaring bankruptcy and it is estimated that over 1.5 million people declared bankruptcy in the year 2011 in the United States alone.

Society continually teaches us that we need more and we should spend more.   It doesn’t matter if we have enough money to buy something – just buy it anyway and use your credit card!   Sure, it’s great when you get that new TV or take that vacation now, but when you start making those monthly payments plus interest, you can soon lose that initial excitement.  It isn’t fun paying for all those Christmas presents you bought last year or that expensive vacation that you took 2 years put money in piggy bank

Children need to learn at a very young age how to manage money.   Giving your children an allowance is a good way to help them learn about money ONLY if you are using it as a learning tool.  Just handing them money to spend on whatever they want is not really teaching them to be responsible.  Help them figure out what to do with their allowance by dividing it into 3 different areas:

  • some should be spent on things they want or need
  • some should be saved for the future – putting this in a bank account is a good idea (can save for a special item, a trip, an event)
  • some should be given (offering at church, donation to a charity)

Giving an allowance should be part of having your children doing chores.  They should be given age-appropriate chores and always receive appreciation for helping so they feel that they are an important part of the family.

I’ve also read about the idea of paying your children for doing their chores.  This can be effective for older children and teens.  It also prepares them for entering the working world.  A dollar amount can be put on a job and when completed, payment is made.  It the work is not done, no payment is made.  You can also use a combination of allowance and payment.  Children are all different and they respond in different ways, so determine what is the best method.

As children get older, talk to them about credit cards and how to use them properly.  Be a good example with how you spend your own money so your children can learn from you and follow your example.

I have a friend who has a young son that doesn’t understand the concept of money and when he wants something, he will have temper tantrum if he doesn’t get it.  When we go to the mall and he gives him a ride on the horse or boat, he cries for another ride and his dad gives in.  Then he cries for another ride.  Last time I gave his son a dollar and told him he could pick out one ride and that was all he could have.  He picked out the shiny blue car, put the money in and while he was on the ride, his dad said that he would cry for another ride.  His son got off and he didn’t cry at all because he had used the money and he knew there was no more.  Children are very smart but they will push their parents if they are not given specific guidelines to follow.

When shopping with your children, give them a set amount of money to buy their own clothes or even groceries.   If you buy them yourself, they can’t figure out what the items cost and they don’t see the money, so they have no idea what is being spent and they don’t care.  If you let them hold the money and help them figure out the costs, they will begin to understand the value of money.    When you are buying your child a new outfit for school and you are planning to spend about $100 – give the money to your child and go shopping with them.   Let them pick the store and the items they want.  If they have chosen an expensive shop where they will spend the entire amount on just one pair of pants or shoes, suggest that they look at a discount store where they might be able to buy more items for the same price.  When you are shopping for groceries, give your child some money for snacks and let them pick up what they want.   Don’t offer to give them more money, tell them they must keep the items within the amount they have been given.  This will set a great example for their future shopping trips.

Helping children manage their money by making confident choices will help them build their esteem and they will have a much better chance at becoming a financially responsible adult.