Originally published by the Ontario Securities Commission on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.
Adapted with permission.

Whether you’re starting your career or preparing for retirement, getting married or going solo, your financial situation and needs are unique. But there are fundamental money principles anyone can follow to begin building financial success.

Many different types of families exist today and the makeup of families in Canada continues to change. Families with married couples are still the most common type of family, but this has been declining in recent years. Family units that were less common 30 years ago have been increasing, including same-sex couples, common law parents and couples without children.
(Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census).

The picture of the Canadian family isn’t what it used to be.

  • In 1976, 39% of mothers with school-age children were employed. By 2009, that number had increased to 73%.
    (Source: The Vanier Institute of the Family)

  • Only 3% of eligible fathers took parental leave in 2001 compared to 27% in 2007.
    (Source: The Vanier Institute of the Family)

  • One in 10 children live in stepfamilies.
    (Source: Statistics Canada).
  • These universal truths are guidelines that encompass the essentials of financial management that apply to all Canadians. Regardless of your age, gender, culture, income or profession, they can help you make better financial decisions every day.

    1. Know your money personality:

    Everyone has a personality: unique attributes, values, goals, worries, tendencies, likes and dislikes that define their character. These traits also apply to your relationship with money. Knowing your money personality can help you meet your financial goals.

    2. Know what you’re saving for and have a plan to get there:

    Defining your life goals will give you the focus to achieve them faster, and setting a target date can help you stay motivated along the way. Read: Get SMART to achieve your financial goals

    3. Know your cash flow:

    Knowing how much money you earn and how you spend it is key to managing your money.
    Read: Take back control of your cash flow

    4. Shop around to get the best value for your money:

    Most people shop around for the best price on a new TV or a litre of milk. Comparison shopping can work for money, too.

    5. Care more about your money than anyone else does:

    Even if you’ re working with an advisor who is committed to doing his or her best with your resources, the decisions―and the results―are ultimately your responsibility.


    6. Be a saver, not a borrower:

    Borrowing can make sense if it helps you acquire something that boosts your net worth. But over time, paying back debt takes away from your ability to save―even when interest rates are low.

    7. The sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be:

    Time is money―really. The sooner you start to save and invest your money, the faster it will grow.
    Read: To realize your dreams faster, act now

    8. Understand when it’s too good to be true:

    If investment scams actually seemed “too good”, no one would ever be taken in by one. Assess money-related matters with a critical eye, especially when it comes too unsolicited requests for your money.

    As your life stage and situation changes, financial needs and priorities change as well. Review your financial plan regularly, ask lots of questions and get to know all the options available to you.

    To find a Certified Financial Planner® professional in your area that will help guide you financially, use our Find Your Planner tool.

    For the latest financial planning advice delivered right to your mailbox, sign up for our free newsletter,  Here's the Plan™.

    For more ways to get on the path to financial success, watch Your million dollar plan and read Live your bucket list: 8 ways to turn goals into reality and Modern families have one thing in common: They need a plan.

    Visit GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca for tools to help with each of these universal truths and to access more content from the Ontario Securities Commission.