1.  I will set a budget and stick to it.

You cannot save and invest if you don’t have any money—so resolve to take a critical look at your income and expenses and establish a realistic monthly budget that includes an amount for savings.

2.  I will get my debt under control and keep it there.

Resolve to develop good spending habits and use debt wisely. Always pay off credit cards and other high-cost, non-tax-deductible debt first.

3.  I will maximize my RRSP & TFSA contributions—beginning right now.

For most Canadians, RRSP & TFSA are the the best tax-sheltered savings builder. Starting early, plus making maximum contributions, equals faster and bigger potential growth.

4.  I will develop an education savings plan for my children.

A college or university education is becoming more necessary and more expensive. That is why it makes sense to take advantage of the tax-sheltered compound growth available under an RESP.

5.  I will be a prudent money manager.

You need to carefully consider where each dollar is going before it is gone. Start with a critical assessment of your life goals in relation to your income and resolve to set enough aside on a regular basis in order to achieve your goals.

6.  I will check and revise my insurance coverage to match my changing needs

As your life evolves (career, marriage, family), your need for income protection and estate planning changes. That is why you should resolve to find out how much and what type of insurance is important in your situation.

7.  I will make “tax-efficient” investment decisions.

Resolve to make certain that your investments are tax efficient. It is likely that your investments produce dividends, capital gains and interest. Dividends and capital gains are taxed more favorably than interest; however, this does not apply to dividends and capital gains inside an RRSP. Thus, you should consider holding investments that earn dividends and capital gains outside your RRSP, with investments that earn interest inside your RRSP.

8.  I will establish an asset allocation plan that complements my financial planning needs.

Resolve to develop an “asset allocation” plan. An investment portfolio includes assets from the three asset categories: cash, fixed income and equities. Peaks in one category tend to cancel out valleys in another, and the overall result of proper asset allocation should be steadier long-term growth.

9.  I will minimize my taxes.

Resolve to take advantage of all of the tax deductions and tax credits available to you. Examples are moving expenses, child-care expenses, tuition fees, medical expenses, charitable donations and safety deposit box charges.

10.  I will develop a financial plan and stick to it.

All of the above resolutions are what is necessary for the success of your financial plan. Carrying out these resolutions requires common sense, dedication and discipline to ensure that you achieve your financial goals. You must identify your life goals and then take the financial steps required to realize these goals.