Drift, drown, or decide, it's your choice: Mayers

Category: Basic Money Management Published: Monday, 13 October 2014 Written by Admin

One of the best books of my summer was Boys in the Boat, the story of how an unlikely group of young men from the University of Washington overcame enormous adversity to win a gold rowing medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Its a fabulous story, with a rare insight into the physical and mental sacrifices of competitive rowing, as well as the extraordinary exhilaration the team found in the comradeship and shared experience.

One of the books many revelations is the enormous power of goal-setting and how goals are a beacon, helping put day-to-day distractions in their place.

When applied to personal finances, distractions are everywhere, because nobody really wants you to save. They want you to spend whatever you have, whether on the end-of-the-aisle impulse buy or on the latest viral app for your phone.

The most obvious proof of how successful we are at succumbing, are savings rates at historic lows and the inability of the most privileged generation in history, the Baby Boom, to save for their own retirement.

A study last month by Bankrate.com found that a third of American adults have no retirement savings at all. Not a thing. Lest we feel smug, a Sunlife survey in February showed that almost one quarter of Canadians are looking to their homes as the primary source of retirement income. Tax-based incentives to save for retirement like RRSPs and TFSAs are for the most part, unused.

George Caners, a retired Brockville accountant and financial planner, takes a look at goal setting in a terrific book called So You Want More Money. It distills all hes seen in his working life and offers timely and perceptive advice on the basics of money management and investing.

Id do 1,800 tax returns a year and some of the things people were doing was nuts, says Caners, 66, who ran a practice for 29 years.

Im not a fan of self-published books, but this one is an elegant combination of how-to and observations on human nature. The anecdotes and simple metaphors help readers understand basic money management themes and where they fit into the bigger picture. For the simple, jargon-free writing you can thank his wife Marilyn, a dietician who edited the book. What she didnt understand, she asked George to explain.

So You Want More Money is available on Amazon.com or as a $9.99 ebook from www.caners.com. It offers up stories that illustrate the points and take a holistic view of money management. Sure, you have to spend less than you make and start saving, but the book also tackles such ideas as how to decide when you have enough.

Caners offers three rules for financial success: You can drift, you can drown or you can take charge.

Drifters float along with enough to get by, but cant afford luxuries. They dont plan, or try to understand their finances because they cant be bothered to learn.

Drowners are always struggling to stay afloat as they face crisis after crisis. For them, Its not a matter of picking a shore to land on, but a case of staying above the next wave, Caners says. [They] end up in a small apartment barely making ends meet.

Deciders see a good life ahead and figure out what they need to know to get there. Armed with that information they make the future happen.

Caners says as he did those tax returns, each telling the story of his clients financial and personal lives, there was no mystery about the keys to success.

There are three critically important elements, he says. The first is determination to achieve a goal. People who are determined do not get discouraged when they have setbacks. They learn from them.

The second is figuring out what skill you need to achieve the goal and the third is follow through.

Nothing happens unless you take action.

The eight boys in the boat passed these tests and made their own luck on the road to victory in Berlin. Its a lesson that can easily be applied to our day to day lives.

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