January Financial To-Do List

By Scott Boassaly, MBA, President and Principal Advisor at Balance Financial

7 quick actions you can take this month to improve your financial health in 2021.

2021 will be a year of many challenges. While yesterday’s inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States and the rollout of vaccines offer some hope, many of us will remain focussed more this year on surviving than thriving.


Still, it’s very important not to lose sight of the little things we do every day, every week and every year that have allowed us to thrive – as individuals, as a community and as a country.


So let’s look at a few key financial actions you should consider this month to start off your financial year strong:


Financial Plan
Review your retirement plan with your advisor. Make sure you’re on track for this year and the next three to five. Don’t have a financial plan? Get one. Now.


Pay Off The Holidays
For many – those who have lost their jobs or had their income reduced – the Holidays were a very difficult time last year, for sure. For most of those who didn’t face those financial challenges last month, the Holidays were still likely more modest than in the past. If you used credit to pay for the Holidays, your focus should be on paying that down as soon as possible.


For 2021, the TFSA contribution limit remains $6000. That means $75,500 in total contribution room has been made available to a Canadian who was 18 in 2009. January is a great time to top that up if you have some cash sitting around. Not sure you can put it away long-term? The TFSA allows you to withdraw it at any time with no penalty. Don’t have cash, but you do have a non-registered account? Move money from the non-registered account into your TFSA for long-term tax savings. Just make sure you watch out for capital gains on the existing investments. The TFSA is also the ideal place to put your tax refund this spring.


Those who know me know that the TFSA is my darling. Still, the RRSP has its purpose. Most Canadians struggle with the question of whether to contribute to their RRSP or not, especially before March 1. If you’re unsure, talk to your advisor and look closely at how a contribution will impact your taxes today and in retirement.


January is a great time for those with a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) to review your 2021 payment amount and frequency.


Everything you do that relates to your finances – investments, insurance, retirement planning, even your child’s education – can’t be done without considering the tax implications. Plus, this is the best time of the year to prepare for filing your 2020 taxes: gather and organize receipts and decide on a timeline to prepare and file your return.


Advisor Fees
If you’re working with an advisor, you’re paying them. Review the fees you pay and assess whether you’re getting good value for your money.


For more information, please contact Balance Financial


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Picture of Scott Boassaly, MBA, President and Principal Advisor at Balance Financial

Scott Boassaly, MBA, President and Principal Advisor at Balance Financial

Scott founded Balance Financial in 2019, the culmination of a 15-year journey to provide accessible and customizable financial planning for clients. In his role as President and Principal Advisor, Scott develops business strategy for the company while managing his own practice. Working closely with his clients, Scott allows people to tell their story and write more chapters as they pave their financial paths together.

A former high school teacher and college instructor, Scott continues that passion for education by providing retirement workshops to the Federal and Provincial public service, as well as free public workshops to adults and teens.


Scott Boassaly



A former high school teacher and college Economics lecturer, Scott Boassaly has always valued education. This is further illustrated by his formal education. He holds a BA in History from Carleton University, a Bachelor of Education from The University of Ottawa, and an MBA from The University of Ottawa. This focus on education reveals itself in his approach to financial advice and in his commitment to offering free financial seminars to both adults and children. Celebrating his 20th anniversary as a wealth manager, Scott started his career at a large national firm where he quickly transitioned into management. Further industry experience was gained working with a reputable brokerage, then managing his own brokerage, Balance Financial, since 2019. Scott is the only certified responsible investment advisor in Ottawa and also holds the Real Wealth Manager designation.