General George Macris 12 May

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about your finances, especially if you are saddled with debt. The best way to determine your monthly budget is to start by recording your total monthly income for the family and your total monthly expenses. To make these easier to review, it is ideal to break out your expenses into two categories: fixed and flexible.

Fixed Expenses: Fixed expenses are bills that stay relatively the same each month and will typically even come out on the same date. Some examples of fixed expenses, which are generally non-negotiable, include mortgage or rent payments, car/household insurance, car loans, other loan payments, credit card payments, cell phone bill, household utilities, child support (if applicable) and any medical bills such as medication, orthodontic payments, etc.

Flexible Expenses: Once you calculate your fixed expenses, you will want to take a look at your flexible expenses or payments. Flexible expenses may change from month to-month and are typically the things households look at when trying to reduce spending or free up monthly funds. These types of expenses include groceries, cable/streaming services, internet, gas, entertainment and dining out, etc.

The goal of determining your monthly budget is to see how much of your monthly income goes to bills, and what is leftover for spending and entertainment. It is important to check up on your expenses and spending habits on a regular basis to ensure that you are continuing to live within your means, and are not stretching your budget to the

point of extra debt. It can be easy to run up a credit card thinking “I’ll pay it off later”, but unless it is an emergency situation (vet bill, car repairs, etc.) it is best to avoid that mentality and only spend what you have on-hand.

If you do happen to find yourself struggling to make your bills each month, it might be time to look around for some places to save some extra money. Some great options for saving money include:

– Reducing or eliminating your cable package

– Lowering your energy usage (turn down that thermostat and bundle up in colder months!)

– Reducing water usage (taking shorter showers, doing less loads of laundry)

– Going out to eat less frequently or entirely. It is amazing how much you can save by skipping the drive thru and making your own coffee at home!

– Learn to say NO (to gift exchanges at work, nights out with friends, special events whenever possible, etc.)

– Attempt to negotiate lower bills with any company you deal with

– Reduce grocery spending (or get cash back when you do shop)

– Use coupons! Shop on sale, collect customer loyalty points to buy bigger ticket items

– Buy used when you can! There are great resources for buying used such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or Kijiji. This is also a great place to make some money! Purge your house and sell anything you don’t love or need anymore.

Posted by: Mike Hattim
Mortgage Agent


General George Macris 12 May

Every now and then markets remind us why some times cash is king. Setting up your mortgage with a 30 year amortization that reduces your monthly cash outflow is a powerful and beneficial financial strategy that can increase your overall wealth, despite often having a higher interest rate than a 25 year amortization. Yes this is contrary to many advisors that say you should pick a lower amortization period so you can pay off your mortgage as fast as possible, and it’s contrary to borrower sentiment to go after the lowest rate. But a 30 year amortization strategy can allow you to pay off your mortgage at the end of 25 years and have additional savings remaining where a 25 year amortization would not.

Let’s take a couple who are both 35 years old that have the option of a 25 year amortization at a rate of 3.5% for a mortgage of $500,000 or a 30 year amortization at a higher rate of 3.75%. The 25 year amortization will have a monthly payment of approximately $2,500 per month and the 30 year amortization will have a lower monthly mortgage payment of $2,315 which results in a cash flow savings of approximately $2,250 per year. If the cash flow savings are invested, by the end of 25 years this savings can allow the borrowers to pay off their 30 year mortgage and have approximately $12,000 of additional wealth remaining, assuming the savings are invested at annual return of 7%. By this time the couple is 60 years old and now have an additional $12,000 to put towards their retirement or other interests.

Of course, the results depend on the rate assumptions used for investments and mortgages over the life of the mortgage, so are the rates in this analysis reasonable? Well, the average annual return for the S&P500 stock market index over any 20 to 30 year period, as well as since inception, has been between 7% and 10%. As far as future mortgage rates go, variable mortgage rates have hovered between 2% and 2.75% over the last 10 years. Fixed rates tend to be correlated to government bond yields and at the time of writing the 5-year government bond yield is around 0.40%, and the 30-year government bond yield is around 1.15%, which doesn’t add much of a premium over the long term. In fact, you can lock in a 10-year fixed rate mortgage with a 30 year amortization period right now for 3.75%. In addition, the Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz recently stated that he expects global interest rates to remain low for years to come.

Equally beneficial with the 30 year amortization strategy is the flexibility it offers by preserving cash flow to manage other financial obligations. The preservation of cash can help meet unexpected expenses or a temporary loss of income that can often arise at various times in life. At these times, many borrowers are often turning to higher interest credit lines or high interest credit cards, carrying along expensive balances which could otherwise be avoided or minimized by using the cash preserved from the 30 year amortization strategy.

Smart investors know how to use leverage to increase their wealth and better manage their finances and the 30 year amortization mortgage product plays right into that. It matters not that you have the knowledge, it’s what you do with the knowledge. If you would like a mortgage partner to help execute your financial strategies through smart mortgage structuring, contact me or your local DLC mortgage professional.

by Todd Skene