Managing Your Money

The holiday countdown is on.  You’ve surely made a list, but have you checked it twice?  Trying to find the “perfect gift” for those on your list can add up, and up, and up, until you’ve blown your budget trying to make everyone happy.  We all have more “stuff” than we need, so before going overboard this year, and spending money on yet another scarf for Aunt Sue, let’s consider the impact that our holiday shopping can have, not only on our pocket books, but on others as well.

Do a quick search online, and you’ll find lots of tips on how to successfully manage your finances over the Christmas, Hannukah, and New Year season – i.e. have a plan, make a list, stick to a budget, search for promo codes, etc.  Holiday season shopping can easily turn into emotional spending that feels good while you’re doing it, and bad when the bills come in.  And yes, having a plan, can certainly ease the pain and create a less stressful post-holiday accounting.  This year, instead of just focusing on the financial side, take a moment to consider the emotional rationale behind your gift giving, and also how these gifts will impact the receiver.

Marketing would have us believe that having more things will make us happy. We are surrounded by publicity in magazines, on TV and radio commercials, spread over billboards, and popping up all over the internet, especially at this time of year. The familiar message, “Buy this and you will be happy” is joined during this season to include “Buy this to show you care”.

Tips & Tricks for
Living an Organized Life:
financially and otherwise.

Presented by
Alison Lush and Lynn MacNeil.
Events to held in early 2017 (dates TBD).
or contact us at 514-981-5796
to receive a complimentary invitation to these workshops

Alison Lush, CPO-CD®, CPO® is the only dual-certified Professional Organizer in Quebec, and in her client work she sees a very different picture. “One of the primary reasons people call me is because they feel they have too much stuff. They feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.” Alison says one of the most common tasks she performs with clients is helping them learn the questions to ask themselves, so they can decide what to keep and what to discard. “When a person feels they own too much, it is helpful to re-examine the value of the things. My clients own a lot of things they don’t actually use or value, and that’s what we look at.”

“Much of what people end up wanting to discard was received as a gift, and often people hang on to gifts from a sense of obligation, despite the fact they have no use or appreciation for the item.

There are a number of excellent alternatives to spending money buying new things for others:

  • One of my clients has young children, and she talks openly with her friends about not wanting to receive too many toys. She says it has helped.
  • Investing in activities and adventures is a great way to participate in gift-giving, without cluttering up the home with unused gifts.
  • Many younger people today are very interested in social causes, and would appreciate a donation made on their behalf to a cause they hold dear (Bonus: you get a tax receipt).
  • Talk to close friends and family about gift giving. Identify which part of the gifting is the most important. Some kids just love having new toys or books, and don’t care if they were pre-loved. Some people would prefer one specific thing, rather than a whole bunch of gifts. Perhaps making a contribution to a savings fund for a trip would be possible.”

The goal is that whatever money is invested, be invested well. The better the match between the gift and the recipient, the more it will be appreciated, and the better the investment.

Financial planning and financial management isn’t just about investments and taxes, it’s very much about emotions. Understanding the underlying reasons behind financial worries, concerns, actions, or goals can give you a new perspective on the multi-faceted areas of your financial life.  In my career as a financial planner I take a holistic approach to working with clients, because financial decisions are as much about managing emotions as they are about managing money.

Contact Alison Lush, CPO-CD®, CPO® at 514-913-5331 or [email protected], or visit her website at

Lynn MacNeil, F.PL. Vice President, Investment Advisor, is a Financial Planner with Richardson GMP Limited in Montreal, with over 20 years of experience working with retirees and pre-retirees. For a private financial consultation, or more information on this topic or on any other investment or financial matter, please contact Lynn MacNeil at 514.981.5795 or [email protected].

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of Lynn MacNeil and readers should not assume they reflect the opinions or recommendations of Richardson GMP Ltd. or its affiliates. The comments contained herein are general in nature and are not intended to be, nor should be construed to be, legal or tax advice to any particular individual. Accordingly, individuals should consult their own legal or tax advisors for advice with respect to the tax consequences to them, having regard to their own particular circumstances. Richardson GMP Limited, Member Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

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