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Four Common Excuses Why People Don’t Invest and How to Avoid Them

18_Four Investment Excuses Banner

One of the best ways to build and grow your wealth is to invest, yet, many don’t invest. Over and over again, surveys done reveal a number of reasons why many Americans and Canadians don’t invest. For some, it’s a fear of taking losses. For others, it’s the feeling they don’t know how and/or that they don’t have enough resources to invest. Unfortunately, it appears there is a misconception out there that you need to be an expert with a lot of money to start investing.

For those with regular jobs, I can understand some of these reasons. If you’re employed and you’re used to getting paid regularly, it can certainly be challenging to start investing. You have to make the shift from an employee mindset to an investing mindset, which can be very challenging, particularly if you know little about investing and you’re not comfortable taking on risks.

Many people confuse saving with investing. In some cases, both can mean the same thing and can be interchangeable. Maybe, we should start by discussing the difference between saving and investing. It’s possible to save and not invest. However, it is hard to invest without saving.

Saving is the act of putting away money for a future expense or need. When you choose to save money, you want to have the cash available relatively quickly, perhaps to use immediately. However, saving can be used for long-term goals as well, especially when you want to be sure you have the money at the right time in the future.

Investing is putting your money into something specific with the expectation that its value will grow over time, providing you with the opportunity to create more wealth. Investing is similar to saving in that you’re putting away money for the future, except you’re looking to achieve a higher return in exchange for taking on more risk. Typical investments include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. You’ll use an investment broker or brokerage account to buy and sell them.

In this article, I will be referring specifically to investing. Below are the top 5 common excuses why most people don’t invest:

Excuse #1: I Don’t Have Enough Money

In a recent survey by GoBankingRates, 55% of Americans are not investing because they think they don’t have enough money to invest. They simply can’t find room in their budget to invest. Others simply assume that only the rich can invest but forget the fact that most people BECOME rich by investing. This belief that you need a large income or a large amount of money to start investing is a misconception.

Many find it hard to start investing probably because most experts recommend a savings rate of at least 10 percent. That number can be hard to swallow for those living paycheck to paycheck. And this alone can be discouraging for most to even start the process of saving. Remember, if you can’t save, you can’t even invest because you will have nothing to invest.

How do you address this and start investing today?

Note that it is OK to start small — even if it’s saving only 1 percent of their income and then investing that in something you understand.

If you understand the goal of investing as defined earlier, it is putting money into something specific with the expectation that its value will grow over time, providing you with the opportunity to create more wealth. My personal opinion for those starting this journey of investing is to start by investing in themselves. I believe you represent the ultimate economic value to yourself and to those you support and serve.

As such investing in yourself will yield the ultimate return. When you invest in yourself to learn the mindset required to invest successfully, and to learn the game, you can start investing small or big depending on how much you can save. In fact, you will come to realize that investing is the smart thing to do no matter your current income level.

Excuse #2: I Will Invest Later

This is a common reason, but underneath this is fear, particularly for older folks. Fear often leads to procrastination.

Fear that you don’t know how to invest.

Fear that you will lose money when you invest.

Fear that your lack of knowledge will be exposed.

Fear of simply taking action and stepping out of your comfort zone.

For young people, the data suggest that most of them think that the right time to invest just hasn’t arrived yet. They either think you need to be at a certain age to start investing or you need to have a certain income level or need to have a few other things lined up first before investing.

It’s never too late to start investing, but it is very easy to let a lack of understanding push you to keep putting it off.

One of the easiest ways to combat this excuse is to arm yourself with knowledge and surround yourself with accountability. That accountability may be in the form of being a part of a small group of investors or hiring a coach or a mentor to guide you in your investing journey.

Excuse #3: I Don’t Know Where To Start

Even though we live in an information age where there has never been a more easy access to information than any time in history, many still consider a lack of knowledge as an excuse for not investing. Perhaps the real excuse here may be a lack of time to learn or maybe a lack of confidence in your knowledge.

While the survey results show a significant drop in the number of people from the lowest age group (18-24) to the rest saying that they needed more investing education, the proportion of Americans who believe they needed to learn more before they can start investing (over a third of respondents) remains pretty steady from people in their mid-20s to their mid-50s.

Therefore, it appears that the issues with financial literacy and a lack of investing knowledge are not limited to younger Americans but are actually persistent, ongoing issues that can continue to follow people well into middle age and later.

From experience, I think the issue is not the lack of knowledge but rather the lack of confidence in what you know. This lack of confidence is often reflected in how we learn.

To combat this excuse, I suggest you change the way you learn. Rather than just consuming information, shift to experiential learning. This is when you consume information, reflect on the information, abstract the information and then act on it to actually experience it. When you use this type of learning loop, you will find yourself investing in no time and constantly learning from your investing experience.

Excuse #4: I’m Afraid I Will Lose Money

This is a common excuse for many crippled by the fear of investing and this is often linked to a lack of knowledge. Oftentimes, they assume that investing is all about picking stocks or about understanding all the Wall Street or Bay Street jargon like P/E ratios, Market Capitalization, Dividend yield, etc. And they equate investing to gambling. But they don’t realize that investing is way simpler than this and that investing is totally different from gambling.

Gambling is all about luck. It is all about taking a chance. With gambling, you bet something of value, with the consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident.

Investing, on the other hand, is the process of buying assets that increase in value over time and provide returns in the form of income payments or capital gains. In the world of finance, investing is the purchase of securities, real estate, and other items of value in the pursuit of capital gains or income.

So, investing is more of a calculated, intentional act to profit. Are there risks involved? Yes. But these risks are often calculated and quantified. I encourage you to learn about the different ways you can invest. If necessary, engage the services of a professional to help you invest and to help manage your investments.

One of the ways I combat these excuses is by using a framework when I assess investment opportunities. If you have a framework, it will streamline your decision-making process when it comes to assessing various investment opportunities.

For every investment opportunity I review, I assess using the following four criteria:

  1. Growth: Does the investment give me opportunity to grow my money? I look for investments that have the potential to grow in value over time. Investments like real estate that typically grow in value over time is a good example here.
  2. Tax-advantaged: Will the investment give me the opportunity to save or optimize my tax situation? Here, I look for investment opportunities that come with tax advantages. For example, investing in a business gives me the opportunity to write off a number of expenses which will minimize my taxes. In addition, businesses have low tax rates which will result in lower overall taxes.
  3. Liquidity: Will this investment opportunity provide me with liquidity when I need it? I look for opportunities that give me the ability to liquidate my investment and take advantage of better investment opportunities. An investment with a great liquidity option allows you to minimize opportunity costs.
  4. Return on Investments: Will this investment opportunity provide at least 5 to 10% annual return on investment? I look for investments that generate decent annual returns year over year.

For more on this, you can watch the YouTube video on this using the link below:

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Personal DevelopmentSelf Growth

It Takes Commitment More than Anything Else


This week, my wife and I celebrated 20 years in marriage. In the days and culture we live in, staying married for 20 years is not an easy accomplishment. It takes many things to get this far – patience, love, perseverance, selflessness, sacrifice, respect for one another, hard work, and above all, commitment. Commitment is often underestimated and mostly misunderstood. Without commitment, you cannot succeed in marriage and you cannot succeed in anything worthwhile, whether it is business, investments, career, or relationships.

What is Commitment?

Earlier this week, I listened to a podcast, and the host defined commitment as the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to an ideal or cause of action. I love this definition because it clearly tells us what it takes to stay committed.

Commitment requires emotions, intellect, and most of all, you have to be bound to the cause. Meaning you cannot separate yourself from whatever you’ve committed to. Notice that simply saying I’m committed is not enough, there has to be an emotional and intellectual connection. In real life, commitment manifests in how you show up at work, at home, and in your relationships.

Are you committed to losing weight? If you are, it will show up daily in your thoughts, in your sleep, in what you eat, how you exercise, etc.

Are you committed to achieving financial freedom? If you are, it will show up daily in your dreams, your thoughts, how you make and spend money, what you buy, and who you hang out with.

Are you committed to your faith? If you are, it will show up daily in how you read your bible, what you meditate on, how you spend your time and money, how you fellowship and hang out with others and how you love those around you.

Are you committed to a lasting relationship? If you are, it will show daily in how you communicate, how you love, how you show respect and appreciation.

Commitment means you’re focused on playing the long game, i.e. you’re in it for the long term. Those that succeed in business, in investments, and in building lasting relationships understand that they are playing the long game and they understand that to win, you have to commit.

What are you willing to commit to today?

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Information on the Recently Launched Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund


On Monday, May 31, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. The application for this loan is now open and eligible Black business owners can now apply by going to:

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, a component of the Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP), is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations and financial institutions. The loan fund is now an investment of $291.3 million to support the success of Black entrepreneurs and business owners.

The fund will provide loans of up to $250,000 to support Black business owners and entrepreneurs across Canada and lay the foundation for future success and long-term change.

Who is eligible under the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund?

To be eligible for a loan, an applicant must:

  • self-identify as Black or Black-led (majority ownership of >51% by Black Canadians);
  • be a legal resident of Canada: i.e. Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or conventional refugee (for microloans only), or a legal entity owned and controlled by a Canadian citizen or citizens; and
  • be a minimum of 18 years.

What businesses are eligible under the loan fund?

Eligible businesses may include start-ups and existing for-profit small businesses in Canada. Such businesses can be corporations or sole proprietors and for-profit social enterprises. Businesses must have a business plan, business registration and recent financial statements or financial projections for start-ups.

What is eligible for financing under the loan fund?

Loans can be used for:

  • Capital investments–equipment, leasehold improvements, property improvement, office equipment
  • Working capital–inventory, payroll, lease payments, accounts management, rent, overhead costs
  • Short-term receivable financing (i.e. financing to service a contact)

How much can be financed and what is the maximum loan amount I can access under the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund?

The loan fund will offer loans up to $250,000. The Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE) can provide loans of up to $100,000. Loans above this amount will be risk shared with the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Alterna Savings and Vancity, under the microloan pilot program, will offer loans between $10,000 and $25,000.

Where can you apply for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund?

The FACE loan portal, accessible at Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), will act as the electronic and initial intake process for interested applicants. Loan applicants will be able to submit and communicate with a FACE client relationship manager on the progress of their loan request.

For more information, go to the Government of Canada’s web page.


We’ve reviewed the entire application on the FACE application portal and there are approximately 56 questions to answer. The key documents you will need to provide to support your application include:

  • Business plan
  • Your most recent financial statements for your business
  • Your most recent tax return for your business
  • Your most recent personal tax return
  • A completed personal statement of net worth

So before you apply, consider preparing and organizing these documents so you can complete your application for processing.

If you require assistance with the preparation of your business financial statements and tax returns, we can help. Simply contact Ken at

We also offer business plan services and we have a Business Plan Bootcamp starting soon on June 14, 2021. Only 10 spots available, so check out details below to sign up:

Business Plan Bootcamp – $497 ONLY

This is a 5-Session Business Plan Building Workshop over 14 days. These sessions will provide you with total clarity about your business and will guide you to create your own business plan ready for financing application or other purposes, as required.

We will guide you to build your own business plan over a period of 14 days and we will guarantee it or you get your money back:

  • In Session #1, you will define your market (i.e. who you serve) and identify the need (i.e. the problem you are solving)
  • In Session # 2, you will design your offering (i.e. your products and services) and design the delivery (i.e. how will you deliver your products and services)
  • In Session # 3, you will learn about going to market (i.e. getting your market to know that you exist)
  • In Session # 4, you will learn about developing the financial projections for your business; and
  • In Session # 5, you will put it all together (i.e. your final business plan)

To learn more, go to:

We also offer other business plan packages below:

Business Plan Package Option 2 – $2,497 plus HST

This is the most popular package. With this package, you will do some work and we will do the rest. Here are the details:

  • You will provide the information on the preliminary research you’ve done – surveys, market research, and other relevant information on the business.
  • We will take the raw information you’ve provided and organize them in a professional business plan document. We will make changes as required to ensure the business plan communicates the relevant information you need to run a successful business or information required for financing purposes.
  • FREE training on how to set up your business accounting system on Quickbooks Online (QBO), including setting you up on QBO (you will be responsible for the monthly subscription fees, approximately $20 plus HST per month) + 3-month support from us (All sessions will be recorded so you can reference in the future).

Business Plan Package Option 3 – $4,997 plus HST

With this package, we do all the work and we will create your business plan from scratch. Here are some details:

  • We will set up a time to interview you to gather information on your business, including information on any preliminary research you’ve done or if this is an existing business, information on the business.
  • We will prepare and present you with a professional business plan based on information gathered and our own research.
  • FREE training on how to set up your business accounting system on Quickbooks Online (QBO), including setting you up on QBO (you will be responsible for the monthly subscription fees, approximately $20 plus HST per month) + 3-month support from us (All sessions will be recorded so you can reference in the future).
  • 50% discount on our fees if you engage us to provide accounting and tax-related services for the first year of your business.

If you have any questions, contact Ken at

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Personal DevelopmentSelf Growth

9 Daily Habits of Super Successful People That You Can Model Today


Set yourself up for success with these 9 daily habits

Daily habits differentiate the ridiculously successful people from the average and mediocre people.

We obsess about success.

We love stories of highly successful people.

And we long to have the same success.

This is why we follow celebrities and influencers. Looking from the outside, all we see is the success and evidence of the success they have achieved. What we hardly see is what it took for them to achieve that success.

The multiple failures.

The sleepless nights.

The thousands of dollars they spent learning from personal coaches.

The hours spent developing their craft.

The daily repetition of critical habits they had to endure week after week, month after month, and year after year.

When they work on their craft, they make it look easy to those watching from the outside.

If you have access to the backstage of the lives of these successful people, you will get some incredible information about who they really are, what makes them tick, and, most importantly, what makes them so successful and productive.

“Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” — Vaibhav Shah

Here are 9 things they do every day to achieve the kind of success we admire:

1. Focus on the return on time

Successful people know the importance of time. Lost time can never be regained. So they don’t hesitate to invest to buy back time.

They will outsource tasks to get more done.

They will invest in mastermind programs, mentors, and coaches to shorten their learning curve.

They don’t hesitate to take massive actions when the opportunity is right.

They track how they spend their time by the hour.

In fact, ultra highly successful people track their time by the minute rather than by the hour. They are aware that there are only 1,440 minutes in every day and that there is nothing more valuable than time.

They know that money can be lost and made again, but the time spent can never be reclaimed.

2. Focus on “One Thing”

If you’ve read the book, “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller, you will appreciate the importance of this.

Successful people identify the one critical goal that if accomplished, everything else becomes irrelevant.

Once this “one” goal is identified, they set aside a block of time each day to work on this “one” important goal.

Successful know what their most important goal is and they work on it each day without interruptions.

If you want to model successful people, ask yourself…

What one task will have the biggest impact on reaching your goals?

What is the one thing I can do that will make everything else irrelevant?

3. It’s all about the calendar

Unlike the average person that focuses on a to-do list, successful people focus on their calendars daily.

Their calendar drives everything they do on a daily basis. They plan their calendar daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. And they have developed a daily habit of respecting their calendar by committing to their scheduled tasks.

Throw away your to-do list. From my experience, my to-do list never runs out of things to do each day. Instead, it grows each day and becomes a painful reminder of my failures.

Uncompleted items on your to-do list lead to stress because of the Zeigarnik effect, which, in essence, means that uncompleted tasks will stay on your mind until you finish them.

So, get rid of your to-do list.

4. They journal every day, in a notebook

I’ve always known the importance of keeping a journal but have never done it consistently in the past until I started writing on Medium about 45 days ago. Now, I journal every day just as I write on this platform every day.

And keeping the journal on an actual notebook where you put pen to paper rather than typing on an electronic device makes a lot of difference. There is nothing I can say that will convince you until you try it yourself and experience the difference.

Successful and super-productive people carry their notebooks wherever they go. They free their minds by writing everything down as the thoughts come to them.

Richard Branson has said on more than one occasion that he wouldn’t have been able to build Virgin without a simple notebook, which he takes with him wherever he goes.

5. They schedule a time to process e-mails

For many years, I was a slave to my emails.

I will check my emails anytime I see the notification.

Replying to emails immediately made me feel productive.

Until I realized I was working till midnight trying to get actual work done.

Now, I’ve learned to buy back some time by scheduling times during my day that I check my emails. But I still find I’m not as disciplined as I need to be on this.

Successful people don’t “check” their e-mails throughout the day. They turn off all notifications and they have a scheduled time in their calendar when they process emails. It may be once a day or once every two days. Other successful people simply outsource this to an assistant.

6. They get paid for meetings or they avoid them at all costs

If you’ve worked in Corporate America or Corporate Canada, you will agree with me that most meetings suck productive time.

Meetings are notorious time killers.

They hardly start on time.

Often have the wrong people in the meetings that can’t make decisions.

They have no decisive agendas that lead to an actionable conclusion.

And they run longer than scheduled.

Whenever you can, don’t waste your time in meetings. If you have to do them, hold fewer meetings, and keep them short and to the point.

Mark Cuban was once asked to give his best productivity advice, he said…

“Never take meetings unless someone is writing a check.”

7. They say “no” to almost everything

If you’re like me, you would have struggled in the past to say “No”.

Learning to say “No” more often than you say “Yes” on a daily basis is one character trait that will accelerate your success.

In his book, Essentialism, Greg McKeown, says it best…

“A Non-essentialist thinks almost everything is essential. An Essentialist thinks almost everything is nonessential.”

Billionaire Warren Buffet once said…

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

If you want to be successful, learn to say “No” quicker than you say “Yes”.

8. They delegate almost everything

This is one that continues to hunt me, but I’m learning slowly.

Super successful people don’t ask, “How can I do this task?” Instead, they ask, “Who can do this task?”

They are always in search of the “Who”. They recognize that focusing on the “How” will lead to…


Delayed projects.

Crushed dreams.

Super-productive people know there are millions of other people out there that are much better than them in getting tasks completed faster and better than they can. So, they don’t hesitate to delegate and outsource.

9. They don’t guess their way to success

Successful people don’t hesitate to invest in mentors. They know that having the right mentor can save them from mistakes, increase their probability of success, and accelerate their growth.

They identify someone that has accomplished what they want to accomplish, and they pay their way to get access to that person so they can learn quickly and buy back time.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an employee, a business owner, or someone looking to achieve success in whatever you’re doing, there are things you can learn from super successful people along your journey.

It takes work. But by taking baby steps each and every day, you will get the success you deserve.

P.S. Get a FREE Report on the Top Ten Reasons Why You Pay Too Much In Taxes. Click Here for the FREE Report

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BusinessPersonal Development

Attention: Black Business Owners and Aspiring Black Business Owners – We Invite You To Join Us For 5 Days of Business Training Starting Oct 5


Can you commit to one hour a day for 5 days next week to learn and get a framework to build an amazing business? Learn from Celia, Ken, and other successful Black business owners as we share our experiences and show you the key things you must focus on to build, grow, and scale your business.

Learn more here.

In 2012, Celia, Sean, and I founded GMS Professional Corporation (Known as Green, Meikle & Smith Chartered Accountants in the early days). At the time, we were all professionals working in Corporate Canada with no prior established business experience. All we wanted was to escape the corporate grind, to seek freedom from running our own business, to control our time and our own resources.

What we did not prepare for was that building a business is hard. We went into business to escape the corporate grind, but we were grinding it in our business. We went into business to seek time freedom but we were working long hours in the business. We went into business to create financial freedom, but we were struggling to keep up with bills and to pay ourselves. We did not prepare for Sean resigning from the business several years ago. We made adjustments after adjustments and against all odds, 8 years later, we’re still in business.

We’ve grown, we’ve achieved some success but we are still learning. Starting on Monday, October 5, join us as we share our experience and prepare you to build a better business by avoiding all the mistakes we made. If you’re a Black business owner looking to start your first or next business or looking to grow your existing business, we invite you to join us for 5 days as we give you a framework on how to build a business plan for success. 

Learn more and Join Here.

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The 3 Components of Business Success


How to experience true fulfillment in your business

I have always loved business and since 2006, I’ve been doing business. I started doing business on the side as I had a full-time job. I tried my hands on many different businesses, many of which failed.

My primary motivation for going into business in the early years was money. I wanted to make more money to achieve financial freedom. Now, while making money is still important, it is not always the primary motivation for me again. Now, I go into business to do things I love, to learn, and to serve.

Looking back to my experience trying my hands on different businesses, I’ve now found that you’re more likely to fail in business if you’re working in a business you don’t love. You’re more likely to get frustrated if you’re working with people you don’t like.

Now, when I teach others that are looking to start a business, I tell them to first start with their passion. You’re more likely to put in more effort if you’re running a business that lights your passion. You’re more likely to hang in there a little longer even during tough times.

One of the businesses I run is a chess event promotion business. We run chess events and tournaments by bringing lovers of the game together to compete for a prize. This is a classical example of a passion business as I love the game of chess. When I work on this business, it’s hard to tell if I’m working or playing. However, this business lacks one of the components required for success.

So, what is lacking?

In an article by Michael Hyatt, he writes that job satisfaction requires three components:

  1. Passion: This is where it begins. What do you care about? What moves you? What problems do you want to solve or issues you want to address? If your heart is not in your work, you have a job but not a calling.
  2. Proficiency: Passion alone is not enough. You have to be good at what you do. Being good enough will not give you the satisfaction you desire. You have to excel at your craft and be awesome. Mastery is the goal.
  3. Profitability. To enjoy a successful career, people must be willing to pay you for what you do. You don’t have to get rich, but there must be a market for your product or service. Otherwise, your career is not sustainable.

As Michael writes, if you have all three of these components, you can experience genuine career satisfaction which is at the intersection of all of these three components as illustrated in the figure below:

Image for post
Image Credit:

Anything short of these three components intersecting perfectly will lead to something other than true job satisfaction.

  • If you have passion and proficiency without profitability, you have a hobby. Many people that work in the Not-For-Profit sector will fall into this category. They have the heart to serve using the skills they’ve been blessed with but end up overworked, stressed, and unable to pay their bills. My chess business fits into this category. The business fulfills my passion and I’m good at running these chess events as we’ve now become the top chess event organizer in Canada in two short years since starting this business. What is lacking is profitability. In my opinion, passion gets in the way of profitability. Although the margins are small, with some creativity and better focus, there is potential to make this business profitable.
  • If you have passion and profitability without proficiency, you have failure. You can fake it in the short-term but in the long-term, your lack of proficiency will be exposed. You will struggle to get hired, or simply be flushed in the next round of layoffs.
  • If you have proficiency and profitability without passion, you have boredom. This was my story in the latter part of my career where I had the proficiency and had decent pay but was bored as the job did not fulfill me intellectually or otherwise.

This explains why the majority of business owners never find satisfaction working in their businesses because it is rare to find that perfect intersection of all of these three components.

As an entrepreneur, you have a better chance of finding job satisfaction in your business. However, most entrepreneurs don’t start out looking for job satisfaction, instead, they focus on profitability. It takes years of tweaking the business to get to the point where you will have true job satisfaction working in your business.

Final Thoughts

If you have job satisfaction, lucky you. It is rare.

If you don’t, ask yourself, “Which of these three components am I missing? What could I do to build a business that will give me more satisfaction?

If you’re looking to start a business, check out my training on “How to Start a Profitable Side Business.”

You can watch the course introduction and the first two modules for FREE by going to the link below:

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Personal DevelopmentPersonal Finance

The Freedom in Living a Life of “No Shame, No Blame”


How to set yourself up for financial freedom by taking the “No Shame, No Blame” approach

A few months ago, I listened to a podcast where Vicki Robin, the author of Your Money or Your Life was interviewed and she talked about this concept of looking at your current financial position (i.e. your personal balance sheet) in a “No Shame, No Blame” way as a way to drive change.

I found this quite interesting and personally think there is a great lesson here for everyone. Your ability to really confront your current financial position is perhaps the only way you can be motivated to make changes that will improve your future financial position.

A while ago, I posed a challenge where I asked you to look at your tax returns over the last decade and add all the income you’ve earned to determine how much of this income you’ve kept.

Let’s say, for example, you determined from that challenge that you’ve made $2 million and now you have a net worth that shows you’re $50,000 underwater (i.e. if you sell all your assets and pay all your debt, you still owed $50,000), what should you do?

Vicky suggests that you confront the results of your financial behavior in the past, stomach it, and accept it in a “No Shame, No Blame” way. By doing this, you will be motivated to learn from your mistakes and develop new money habits so that when you earn $2 million or $4 million over the next decade, you will keep all of it!

Confrontation is tough, particularly, when it comes to our personal finances. I know this because I have personally been challenged several times in the past with confronting my financial position.

Confrontation is particularly more challenging for men as men generally tend to protect their pride more than women do. So, you have to learn to move past your mistakes, forgive yourself for the bad behavior in the past, and move forward in a “No Shame, No Blame” way to design the life you want to live.

The ability to confront is one of those character dimensions we must develop to be successful in life. In his book, Integrity, Dr. Henry Cloud quoted one of his favorite sayings…

“Reality is always your friend.”

If you don’t embrace the reality of your financial position, you will be living a false life and you will have little or no chance to be successful. So, we must learn to confront the brutal facts as missing reality can have disastrous consequences in the areas we care about the most in our lives. Dr. Cloud goes on to say…

“So, for us to get real results in the real world, we must be in touch with what is, not what we wish things were or think things should be or are led by others to believe they are. The only thing that is going to be real in the end is what is. That is where profits are going to be made, and that is where love is going to be found.”

I think this is a profound statement. By the way, if you’ve not read integrity, I strongly recommend it.

Final Thoughts

So, if you’ve not taken up the challenge of looking at your financial position, go do it now. As you review the results of your past financial behavior, acknowledge and accept your past mistakes, assign no blame, have no shame, and embrace the reality of the results before you with love.

Remember, you have accomplished great things in the past, be grateful for the things you’ve achieved and for the opportunities ahead of you. I am cheering for you. So, go get it!

P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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Personal FinanceTax Planning

The Tax-Efficient Way to Build Your Wealth


Minimize taxes with the tax-efficient plan

There is no doubt that taxes will increase in the coming years with the massive money printing going on right now to provide relief for individuals and businesses suffering financially as a result of COVID19.

These taxes will be major obstacles as you plan to build long-term wealth. Therefore, it is essential that you have a strategy to combat taxes today and in the coming years.

In my book, Tax-Efficient Wealth — The Blueprint to Quickly Build Tax-efficient Wealth to Achieve Financial Freedom in Four Actionable Steps, I discuss that in order to address these obstacles, you need a Tax-Smart Plan.

A tax-smart plan is a simple plan with three key goals:

  • Contribute or save money tax-free
  • Grow or accumulate money tax-free
  • Withdraw or distribute money tax-free

Your wealth can ben enhanced dramatically by arranging your affairs so you can achieve all or some of these goals.

If you consider the likelihood that taxes will continue to increase, you will agree with me that it makes so much sense to invest in an environment where you do not have to pay taxes now or sometime in the future.

Imagine a situation where you’re able to invest with tax-free dollars, allow those investments to grow tax-free, and also withdraw the funds at a future date without paying taxes?

If you’re able to achieve these goals, you can make your savings grow exponentially. And this is how you accelerate your wealth.

So now, let’s examine the plan. The plan is simply to:

1. Eliminate or reduce taxes

2. Convert non-deductible interest to deductible interest

3. Increase cash flow

1. Eliminate or Reduce Taxes

Reducing taxes or eliminating them, where possible, will certainly help you in your journey to financial freedom.

This is where tax planning plays a critical role. Most people do nothing simply because they’ve given into the fact that taxes are complex. Rather than doing nothing, you should consider how to turn these tax complexities into tax savings.

Planning requires you to ask great questions.

How can I sort through the myriad tax credits to find the ones that are right for my situation?

What tax deductions can I take to reduce my taxes?

What do I need to know before buying a house or making a significant investment?

How do I use my RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) and TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account) to maximize my tax benefits?

By asking these questions and working with a qualified tax advisor, you will gain a much better understanding of your tax situation and uncover ways you can save on taxes.

Here are a few tips and strategies you can consider to save taxes:

  • It is important to know your marginal tax bracket and determine if there are deductions you can take or planning ideas to consider to drop to a lower marginal tax bracket. This can save you taxes.
  • Carefully review all tax credits to ensure you’re taking advantage of those that you are eligible for. Often, tax credits are missed. For example, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, you qualify for a one-time non-refundable federal tax credit of up to $750. If you have a service animal to help cope with an impairment, you can claim the related costs as a medical expense. If you’re disabled, you can qualify for a disability tax credit. And starting in 2020, you may be eligible to claim the Canada training credit, a new refundable tax credit, introduced in the 2019 federal budget.
  • Take advantage of RRSP and TFSA to reduce or eliminate taxes. Use these tools strategically. For example, if an RRSP will allow you to drop to a lower tax bracket, use it. If you’re starting out in life and have not bought your first home yet, consider maxing your RRSP as much as you can so you can use this as part of your down payment for the purchase. Use tax-free cash to contribute to your TFSA as these investments are not taxed.
  • If employment income is your only source of income, consider starting a side business to expand your eligible deductions. If you’re considering a side business, it’s better to look into a business or freelance opportunity in areas you’re passionate to make it less of a job.
  • If you’re an employee, in addition to your salary, wages, and bonuses, you’re taxed on the value of the benefits you receive by virtue of your employment. However, certain benefits are tax-free, so it is important to understand these and consider ways you can negotiate with your employer to maximize your benefits.
  • If you’re an employee receiving stock options from your employer as a benefit of employment, you can develop an “exercise and sell” strategy for the stock options to ensure you consider cash-flow needs, tax consequences, and investment risk. Without careful planning, you will not maximize the tax benefits of your stock options.
  • As an employee, consider the benefits of employee deductions permitted under the Canadian Tax Act. Could you negotiate with your employer to structure your work arrangement to allow you to claim certain employee expenses? Could you negotiate the structure of your compensation to include some commission income so you can claim even more deductions?
  • If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, ensure you take advantage of the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) claims to reduce your taxes.
  • If you own a business and have kids, consider getting them involved in your business and paying them a reasonable wage for the work they do. By doing this, you can income split and save on taxes.

2. Convert Non-deductible Interest to Deductible Interest

If you own your home, the mortgage payment you make monthly is a huge obstacle to accelerating your wealth. There are two key reasons why this is a huge obstacle.

First, it is a cash drain. As you know, without cash, you cannot invest to earn returns, and if you don’t have those returns, you cannot deploy them to earn even more returns and thus accelerate your wealth.

Second, the interest on the mortgage is not deductible for tax purposes. As a result, you end up paying more taxes.

Given that the mortgage on your home is the largest debt you have that is non-deductible for tax purposes, one of the greatest ways to tackle this obstacle is to convert the non-deductible interest on your home to deductible interest as quickly as possible.

You can achieve this by renting out a portion of our home as this will allow you to claim a portion of the interest as a deduction in your tax return. In addition to this, you can obtain a re-advanceable mortgage loan and HELOC (Home Equity Line Of Credit) on your principal residence and use this to redeploy the equity in your home for investment purposes. This is sometimes referred to as the Smith Manoeuvre strategy. To learn more about this concept, you can google and find a book on this written by Fraser Smith.

With this strategy of converting your non-deductible interest to tax-deductible interest, you are employing all three of the powerful accelerators I discussed in an earlier article — compound interest, leverage, and velocity. As a result, you have a tremendous opportunity to massively accelerate your wealth.

Why is this concept attractive?

First, you will pay off your mortgage in half the time. You can accomplish this by taking advantage of the up to 20% mortgage prepayment that most banks allow as well as the principal paydown you get from your monthly or biweekly mortgage payments.

However, unlike the regular tax-payer who throws a party to celebrate mortgage freedom, you will be using the otherwise, lazy equity sitting idle and earning no returns to invest in safe and reliable investments earning decent returns.

Second, you will significantly reduce the non-deductible interest you pay on your mortgage. If you look at the interest expense paid on a regular mortgage amortized over 20 years and compare that to the interest paid on a mortgage amortized over 10 years, you will realize that your interest cost can reduce by as much as 50%.

This is significant.

Third, you have access to capital that will allow you to create more assets, and by creating more assets that generate returns, you can now deduct the interest cost to optimize taxes. You can now use the additional returns to create even more assets that will continue to generate more and more cash in the years ahead.

3. Increase Cash Flow

The average taxpayer has an inefficient cash flow pattern, mostly from the inability to structure his or her affairs to convert after-tax expenses to before-tax expenses.

In addition to this, there is more pressure on the average taxpayer’s cash flow as a result of mortgage payments as all the interest costs are significant and non-deductible for tax purposes. As a tax-smart investor, you want to create as much cash as possible as this is the only way you can deploy capital to accelerate wealth. Here are some examples to increase your cash flow:

  • Look for opportunities to create income, and more importantly, multiple streams of income that will generate cash flow today. Do you have a skill you can deploy as a Freelancer? Can you write a book and sell it on eBay? Can you set up an online business that can generate income?
  • Review your expenses frequently to look for opportunities to conserve cash. Do you pay for subscriptions that you no longer use? Are you paying for a service you can get at a cheaper rate or even for free? Have you considered using money-saving apps to cut down on your expenses?
  • Have you looked at your tax situation for opportunities to convert some of the expenses you currently pay on an after-tax basis to before-tax expenses? For example, could you start a business you’re passionate about and deduct regular expenses that can qualify as tax-deductible expenses? Could you hire your kids to work for you and convert some of the kids’ expenses to tax-deductible expenses?


If you want to make progress in building your wealth, you must have a plan to combat taxes and other major obstacles that stand in your way.

And the best way to do this is to use a tax-smart plan.

P.S. I am on a mission to arm you with financial education. That’s one reason I started writing on medium and that’s why I wrote Tax-Efficient Wealth. This book will help you accelerate your wealth in a tax-efficient way. Grab a FREE eBook version of my new book, Tax-Efficient Wealth, to learn how you can build wealth quickly using strategies that will save you a ton in taxes.

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