For the past 3 weeks I have been talking about different aspect of a young person's finances; from my basic ideologies around personal economic stability, real-estate and the importance of starting to buy young, and details around Canadian and U.S. banks as well as tips to choose a good bank. This week I am going to wrap all these up and tie it these themes together to try and explain why I think these 3 important issues will lead to overall better global health.
First off, if we understand our money and what our money can and cannot do then we will have a better understanding about our personal financial stability. Understanding how to create a stable platform, economically, we will have a stable foundation to build the rest of our lives on. The old adage: "Money doesn't buy happiness", is only half true. You cannot buy your life and you cannot buy the people in your life that will contribute to your happiness but you do need a certain level of economic stability to ultimately have less worry then someone who is not as economically stable. This sounds cold and elitist, I know, but it some respects it is true. If you want to live in a city, buy a home, be somewhat stable in these rocky global economic times then yes, you will have to create some personal economic stability to be happy. I have been fortunate in my life that even growing up when we didn't have much money, as a family, we were still okay. We still had a house. I still went to school. We made it through. Everyone's roads are different, Keep that in mind. Do your best to try and create economic stability for yourself.
Secondly, buy a house. If you are living in a market that is stable and does not have over-inflated prices (I'm looking at you Vancouver and Toronto) then buy a damn house! You will not regret it! If you live in an over inflated housing market then look at other options, look at a near by town that's up and coming, look at income trusts where your money will be pooled wth others to buy a large piece of property or building. There are always other options then just the typical method to land ownership. I am a firm believer that buying property before you are 30 is one of the best ways to create a stable economic future for yourself. If you buy young, especially right now where mortgage rates are so low (in Canada) and give yourself 20-25 years to pay it off, you will be laughing when you want to retire. If you are wiling to put in a lot of extra work and have 6+ properties to look after for 20-25 years, you willing be ROFLing (yes, I just used a 2011 joke). Really take the time now to think about what you want your working life to look like and if you want to retire when you are 45 then jump on the real-estate game now!
Lastly, when you go to buy your mortgage or to commit to a bank for the rest of your life, there are some things to think about. I wont dig to hard into the list but the main things are: what are the banks interest rates compared to its piers, what is the banks economic track record through national depression, and what fees are associated with the various accounts the bank offers? I also discussed why, as Canadians, we should have faith in our banking system compared to that of the United States. In Canada we have a national regulatory board that adheres to 3rd party global standards which ensure that our banks are maintaining a certain level of status-quo. This ensures that every bank and credit union is governed to a standard that creates a stable base for Canadians to store their money in. Having a bank that is stable is one of the key fundamental traits to an economically stables individual.
So, what does any of this have to do with conscious consumerism and sustainability?
Everything! When we are financially stable we can make rational decisions and purchase products that are not only of a higher quality but also made with the earth's better interest in mind. We can take the time to research the brands we are buying, use our economic vote, and create a trend that is more sustainable for the global ecosystem. As I have said before, our purchases have power. The brands and business we choose to support can either harm or help our planet. We, as consumers, have huge power to influence our global ecosystem solely through our purchases. If we take the time to understand that, we can change every market on earth to curb our ecological impact; we can change the planet for the better. When we have a stable personal economic environment we can choose "spend more" now and "save more" later.
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