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First Timer's Guide to Saving & Investing

A first-timer’s guide to

Saving and investing


You have dreams for your future. But you have no idea how to any of these dreams into reality. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start, our five easy recommendations for getting started with saving and investing will set you on the right path.

Find out where you stand

First, you need a clear sense of your current financial situation.

Once you have an idea of where you are financially, fast forward 20, 30, even 40 years into the future and ask yourself where you want to be. Do you want to be living in a nice house that you own? Driving a sports car with the top down in the summer? Taking your family on exotic vacations around the world? Retiring comfortably? Once you know your long-term goals (goals that are at least 5–10 years in the future), break these down into short-term goals that can be achieved in 1–3 years. Make sure your short-term goals are simple, specific, and reasonable.

Ready, set, start saving

Saving might seem complicated but with our five fast rules, getting smart about saving becomes that little bit easier.

  • Pay yourself first
  • Stick to your budget
  • Choose the right savings plan
  • Set up a pre-authorized plan
  • Spend less than you earn

It’s also important to understand your savings options when you’re thinking ahead to your future. You’ve likely heard of a TFSA and a RRSP, but you might not know what they actually are. A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) allows you to grow your investment tax-free for any project you might have. A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a tax-deductible and tax-sheltered way of saving for your retirement, as well as fund your post-secondary education or the purchase of a home. Each has their pros and cons and features that make them best suited for specific financial situations. To find out more about these savings avenues and how they can support your financial goals read our available resources on the subject, including our guide to Saving the Smart Way, or set up a chat with your local Credit Union to weigh your options.

Get the 411 on investing

When you start thinking about investing, you need to get yourself in a good financial position. Ideally this includes having your debt under control, having an emergency fund that can cover at least 3 months of basic living expenses, and contributing to your employer’s pension plan. If you’re not in this ideal position yet, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Contact us.

You also need to ask yourself some more questions to find the right investment path for you. Consider where you can find money to invest, your investment goals, your risk tolerance, and what type of investment might make sense for you as a result.

There are three basic types of investments you’ll be considering:

  • Ownership investments: These are the most volatile and the most profitable kinds of investments. They include stocks, business, real estate, and precious objects.
  • Lending investments: These are the least volatile kinds of investments, making them less profitable but more secure. They include GICs, bonds, and savings.
  • Cash equivalent investments: These can easily be converted to cash, making them less profitable. They include money market funds.

Sitting down with one of our financial experts can help you determine the best investment strategy for you. And don’t forget that as time goes on, your needs will change. You might go from being a barista to being a CEO; you might tie the knot or have a baby. It’s a good idea to check in with us.

Start thinking about retirement now

Close your eyes. Can you imagine your retirement? Are you walking towards the tee on the 18th green with three of your buddies, sitting in a house you’ve owned for over thirty years playing with your grandkids, or maybe kicking back in your bio-dome on Mars? While retirement can seem like a distant dream now, getting started early will help get you there comfortably. If you haven’t started planning yet, don’t worry, and if you’ve already started squirrelling some money away, good for you! But it’s important to ask yourself some questions to help ensure the future you see in your mind becomes a reality.

  • How much income do I need for the kind of retirement I want?
  • Do I want to travel, volunteer, or work part-time?
  • Will it last for up to 30 years after I retire?
  • How can I contribute to my savings based on my income today?

How much risk is good risk when investing for my future? If you already have a start on your savings, how well is your current plan working? Ask yourself all the previous questions to determine if your priorities have changed since you started saving.

So, where do you go from here?

To get to that future you’re dreaming about, you need a solid plan. Contact us to book an appointment with one of our financial experts—we’ll work with you so you have a clear understanding of what your current financial situation is, so you know how much you can afford to save and invest. We’ll show you just how easy it is to get smart about saving and investing!

You can count on us

Online or in person, we’re here to help with all the banking services you need: