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6 minute read

With Financial Literacy month coming to a close, and the holiday season quickly approaching, your finances may be top of mind. Black Friday sales are in the rearview mirror, but you still have gifts to buy for loved ones. You might even treat yourself to a gift or two…you earned it!

It can be frustrating trying to keep all your finances in order during the holidays, but taking care of your financial health is an important part of your overall wellness. To help you manage your financial health, we’ve compiled three great resources that can help you improve your financial literacy. With these resources, you can boost both your personal and business finances.

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

The FCAC is a government-affiliated agency that helps Canadians protect their finances. One of their key mandates is to promote financial literacy through educational programs and materials. Along with this, they have a wide range of financial tools and calculators that can help you manage your money and personal finance accounts. Here are just some of the useful tools they have at their disposal:

  • Financial Literacy Self-assessment Quiz: Ever wanted to know how your money management and finance skills rack up compared to other Canadians? Well now you can! This quick quiz will test your knowledge and help you evaluate your own financial strengths and areas for improvement. You’ll also be able to compare your results against Canadian averages. You’ll even get resources at the end of the quiz catered to the areas where you need to improve the most. Better than any pop quiz you took in school!
  • Budget Calculator: Budgeting is an important part of your personal finances, especially during the holiday season. Not only do you have to worry about fixed costs (like rent and groceries), you also need to worry about additional expenses, like gifts for your family and personal entertainment; have you bought tickets to see the new Star Wars movie yet??
    This real-time budget calculator can help you organize your money into three main categories: income, savings, and spending. You’ll be able to drill down into specific areas within these three categories in order to record a comprehensive report of your money. The best part is that the calculator will automatically save your work, and you can export your budget to a format of your choosing. So what are you waiting for? Figure out how much you can spend on Lego each month!
  • Financial Goal Calculator: Having a budget is important, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t have financial goals that you’re working towards. Do you want to pay off debt in five years? Want to buy a house in 10 years? This calculator can help you create, plan, and organize all of your savings goals. Whether you’re saving up for a vacation or for further education, this tool can help you budget a set amount of money towards specific objectives that you may have. Setting your savings goals will allow you to create an overall savings plan that you can aspire to achieve. Honolulu, here I come!

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

BDC is a financial institution devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. They help entrepreneurs create and develop small businesses across a wide range of industries by providing financing, capital, and advisory services. Along with these services, they also have a database of insightful resources to help entrepreneurs learn more about business planning, finance, and other areas. Here are a few of their handy resources:

  • Entrepreneur eBooks: Whether you’re looking for information on how to get a business loan or how to better manage your cash flow, BDC has a great collection of free eBooks covering a wide range of business topics. These eBooks provide clear tips and tricks to help you flex your entrepreneurial muscles. If you’re looking for some light reading during the holiday season, this is a great place to start. Don’t forget to have your reading glasses ready!
  • Webinars: Is reading not your thing? Would you rather watch moving pictures? Perhaps BDC’s collection of on-demand webinars is more suited to your preferences. These webinars are hosted by experts in business, marketing, and consulting, and they share some key tactics that you can implement in your business to boost productivity and efficiency. Instead of binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix during the holidays, consider escaping The Upside Down and watch a BDC webinar or two.
  • Business Plan Template: Doing homework isn’t fun, but having a detailed business plan is an important part of being an entrepreneur. Not only is it good to have if you’re looking for some extra financing, it’s also a great way to keep track of your overall business goals and your tactics for success. BDC’s business plan template can help you prepare an in-depth plan, including an overview of your business, sales and marketing strategies, operations tactics, and overall action items. Next time you’re at a holiday party making small talk with strangers, you’ll have something interesting to talk about!

Futurpreneur

Futurpreneur Canada is a national, non-profit organization that provides mentoring, support, and resources to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners aged 18 to 39. Don’t worry if you don’t fall in that age range, however. Their free online resources are available to everyone and can help entrepreneurs of any age manage their assets. Here are a few of their free tools:

  • Operating Cash Flow Template: Running your own business is a continuous journey full of ups and downs. It’s important to map out how your business is performing and, more specifically, where your business expenses are going. That’s why Futurpreneur has created this free operating cash flow template. This concise spreadsheet with clear instructions can help you manage your business finances in one place. Sure, Microsoft Excel can be intimidating at times, but having a one-stop document for tracking your costs and expenses will help you determine what steps are needed to make a profit.
  • Monthly Financial Performance Tracking: You know how doctors recommend you get regular check-ups to make sure you’re healthy? Well, you should consider doing the same thing for your business on a monthly basis. Regularly tracking and reviewing your business’ financial performance is a great way to identify areas of your business that are running smoothly. More importantly, it’s a great way to find early warning signs of things that aren’t running so smoothly.
    This template can help you track your projected profits versus your actual profits every month. If you make changes to your operations regularly, the template helps you evaluate whether these changes are helping or harming your profits. Is monthly tracking not enough for you? Be sure to check out this annual financial review template. Don’t turn a blind eye on your finance tracking…you wouldn’t turn a blind eye on your health!

 Your go-to resource for protecting your business

The resources listed above can help you improve your financial literacy, boost your personal finances, and manage your business finances. But what about a go-to resource to help you protect your business? Try TruShield Insurance!

No matter what kind of small business you operate, you need insurance to protect your business against all kinds of risk. TruShield offers comprehensive small business insurance coverage for many kinds of businesses, including retailers, consultants, and contractors. Our insurance policies can help shield you from property damage, costly lawsuits, and more. The TruShield Blog also has the latest and greatest information you need to help you protect your business. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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