Improving Your Finances while the Price of Your Home Is Declining

Home prices are falling down in major cities such as Quebec, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto. Declining home prices are the result of the new mortgage rules and rising rates:

How Declining Home Prices Affect Your Finances

The obvious answer is that falling home prices have a negative effect on your net worth. The reason is that falling prices affect your home equity (the end result is negative equity).

How to Improve Your Finances

Pay Down Outstanding Balances

When home prices are going down, homeowners tend to save more and spend less. While saving is a good way to improve your finances and build a safety net, there are other ways to help improve your finances. If you have outstanding loans, you may want to make an extra payment to reduce your outstanding balance. This is especially true for credit cards because the outstanding balance continues to grow if you only pay the minimum. Another way to improve your financial situation is to actually find free money. Think of utility or rental deposits and insurance policies on your name. This is where free money usually sits.

Develop a Budget

In times when your home equity is going down, it is a good idea to develop a budget. If you already have a household budget, you may want to reevaluate it. The first step is to list different sources of income such as child support, alimony, wages, salary, dividend paying funds and stocks, retirement income, etc. Make sure you list reliable sources only. If you are self-employed or have a seasonal job or business, you may want to use an estimate or an average for your monthly income. Add up all sources of income. As a next step, have a good look at your expenses, including alimony and child support, mortgage or rent, utility bills, grocery and transportation, property taxes, and so on. Use estimates for variable expenses such as cleaning products, food, entertainment, etc. Add up all expenses and estimates. To calculate your net income, just subtract your expenses (and estimates: from your income. If you get a negative number, then it is time to reevaluate your household budget. There are two ways to improve your finances in this case. One is to adjust your monthly expenses and cut down on spending. Look for items that can be adjusted. For example, you can cancel magazine and gym memberships, lower your mobile phone or cable bill, etc. Another way to go about this is to increase your income. There are different ways to do this, whether by getting a second job, selling used items you no longer need, or taking paid surveys. If you are in the low-income bracket, you may want to find a better-paid job.

Pay Loans or Invest

Once you have a balanced budget on your hands, you can use free money to pay any outstanding balances that you have: Another option is to invest, and there are plenty of investment instruments, depending on your risk profile. If you want to play on the safe site, opt for municipal bonds, annuities, certificates of deposit, or stocks. Opening a high interest savings account is also a good option. If you have high risk tolerance, then you may want to check high-return investment solutions such as real estate investment trusts, foreign emerging markets, initial public offerings, and others. Whether you opt for bonds or currency trading, make sure you are OK with the fact that you can lose your money or earn a small amount, depending on the type of investment.