Q: I’ve recently come to Canada and I’ve been trying to obtain credit, but I’m finding it’s difficult as a newcomer. What advice do you have?
A: As a new immigrant, there are some basic steps you can take to begin the process of building your credit history. Continue reading
You had to show proof of substantial savings in order to immigrate to Canada, so you already know how to save. Don’t stop now! Saving now that you’re in Canada is even more important.
Of course, it may take some time to find a good job, so you will be dipping into those hard-earned savings to get by for a while, but the minute you start earning income again, remember to pay yourself a little first! Put a little bit away for your family and future, either in a simple savings account or through other forms of investment.
Post-secondary education in Canada is expensive. Many students have to take on substantial student loans to pay for their studies, and then struggle for years to repay them. You can make the future easier on your children by investing in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).
If you have the possibility to make substantial investments, you may want to enlist the assistance of a certified financial planning professional. You may not be knowledgeable about the complicated world of modern finance or you may not have time to dedicate to research.
Your family financial situation will be of top concern after you immigrate to Canada. You are going to have to juggle many expenses to start your new life in Canada. The cost of living in Canada can be quite high compared to earnings, so be prepared to budget and plan how much you earn versus how much you spend.
While getting a credit card and building your credit history is important for your future (i.e., applying for a mortgage), it’s important you don’t get caught up in the mistake of spending too much on credit than you can really afford.
Too much debt can impact your ability to buy a home and build a solid life in Canada.
1. Get a Social Insurance Number
Obtaining a Social Insurance Number (SIN) is the first step you need to take in order to navigate the Canadian system. You will need this nine-digit number to open a bank account, apply for health insurance, get employed and access certain services. On the Service Canada website (http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/) you can find instructions on how to apply for a SIN.
Opening a bank account is one of the first things any newcomer should do. You will need it to have easy access to your money and to pay for various goods and services; also, most employers prefer to deposit salaries in chequing accounts.
One of the most important factors in your personal financial situation is how much you earn, versus how much you spend. It’s important not to spend more than you earn, but many Canadians get caught in too much debt, trying to “keep up with the Jones” — in other words, have everything you want, from cars to electronics, even if you can’t afford it.
Types of mortgages
Choosing the best option for your mortgage is an essential step when buying real estate in Canada. The type of mortgage you take on will affect your living standards until the mortgage term time.
Learning to navigate the Canadian tax system will make your life here a lot easier. Once you become employed, you will see that a good chunk of your earnings goes to taxes, maybe more than what you were used to in your native country. Continue reading