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How to pay your bills and invest, too!

Today's guest article is from Ahmed El-Shaboury  with Investors Group.

"How to pay your bills and invest, too!

There’s no doubt about it, making ends meet is tough. And getting ahead? – well, for many Canadians, that’s a desperate dream for tomorrow when every day brings the reality of mortgage payments, car loans, lease payments, large credit card balances, and other demands on your hard won earnings. Sure, you’d like to start an investment program or add to the small investments you’ve already made, but there just never seems to be anything left over once you’ve taken care of the essentials. And in a world that runs on credit, it’s too easy to carry too much debt in too many places. If you’re staying awake at nights trying to map a way out of the dreaded debt spiral, to say nothing of stretching your income to cover an investment program that could help you realize your dreams for the future, debt consolidation may be just the ticket.

Debt consolidation can increase your ability to invest

Debt consolidation simply means paying off a number of higher interest rate loans or other high-cost debt by taking out a single loan for a consolidated overall lower monthly payment.

You can choose to consolidate such unsecured debts as medical bills, car payments, education loans, credit card payments or lines of credit – and the benefit is a single, more affordable monthly payment, that is usually much lower than the many monthly payments you were making previously. It’s an effective way to regain control of your finances, ease your cash management, generate savings and reduce stress – as well as establishing a repayment plan that will move you beyond simply servicing your balances to actually eliminating them. If you own a home, you can consider consolidating your debt using a home equity loan. Your loan is secured by your home and there’s no doubt you’ll be paying a much lower interest rate than you do on your credit cards which can range from 19 percent to over 28 percent for a retail card. By keeping your amortization period the same, but with a lower interest rate, you’ve created additional cash flow that can be used towards other financial goals.

An easy investment strategy that works

Once you’ve got your debt under control, it’s time to bring discipline and consistency to your investment life. An easy way to do that – and enjoy long-term investment growth – is through dollar cost averaging. This simply means making regularly scheduled investments for a set amount of dollars. It’s a trouble-free investment plan that delivers some powerful benefits: Your investments are automatic – you choose an amount that is debited from your bank account and invested on your behalf on a regular basis, such as each month. You are free from scrambling to buy lump sum investments at irregular intervals in an attempt to ‘buy low and sell high’, your automated investments take place on a regular basis.

You are able to acquire a greater number of mutual fund units – when the price is lower and a lesser number when the price is higher. Over the longer term, your average cost per unit may be lower.

Dollar cost averaging is a great way to ramp up your RRSP nest egg – and, along with debt consolidation, is one of the many personal financial solutions that can make your dreams for tomorrow realistically achievable through the actions you’re taking today. We can help you gain control of your financial life and improve your prospects for the future."