Are You On Track Financially For 2016?

Are You On Track Financially For 2016?

On the eve of every New Year, Canadians often set a New Year’s resolution. This annual ritual sets many people on the path of a fresh start as they end the old year with a positive outlook for the new. On average, 6 out of 10 Canadians will have a resolution to pay off their debt. However, 84% of Canadians will fail at completing their original plan. As we are now nearly 3-months into 2016, are you one of the 84%?

Accountability is Key
When you know someone is checking in on your progress, certain choices that can negatively affect your financial health will be easier to avoid. Individuals who have money management, debt reduction or other financial related themes as their New Year resolution will need to work extra hard to stick to their objectives with the current economic situation in Canada, and Money Mentors is here to help hold you accountable. Now is the best time to start planning and making prudent decisions about your finances.

It takes a lot of self-discipline, time management, dedication, support, and reliable tools or resources for an individual to reach a comfortable financial position.

5 Tips to Ensure Your Financial Resolution Is A Success!
If your 2016 resolution is off to a rocky start, don’t despair! There are still 9 months left of the year, and we have some tips that will help you stay focused on the task at hand and be successful at your financial goals in 2016.

1. Get Organized – Do you have a clear picture of where you currently stand financially? For example, take a look at your income, investments, insurance, assets and debt. If you do not know your current financial position, it will be hard to achieve your resolution.

2. Set Financial Goals – Goals will help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish in 2016; whether it is paying down debt, starting an emergency fund, or starting to save for retirement. Ensure you prioritize your goals, because realistically you cannot achieve them all at the same time. Finally, remember goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time specific.

3. Create a Budget – A good budget helps you to be in control of your money. If you are unsure on where to start, start by keeping track of all your incoming and outgoing funds. Create spending categories such as food, entertainment, credit card payments and rent. You may want to eliminate or cut back on certain purchases if your debt exceeds more than 40% of your income.

4. Start Saving – Start saving for your irregular expenses, emergency fund or towards retirement wherever you can. For example, if you receive a raise in pay at work or a tax refund after filing your 2015 taxes, you can save that money! Are there opportunities to cut back on some of your expenses or bills? Examples include cell phone bills, cable, unnecessary credit card interest, eating outside and grocery. Try setting aside one day each week where you do not spend money and save what you may have spent that day.

5. Pay Down Your Debt – Stop using your credit card unless you know you can pay for the purchases you put on the card before you get your monthly bill. You can also try talking to your bank to reduce your credit card interest rate. Always try to find some areas to cut back on in your budget so you can pay extra towards your debt, or into your savings. You could also generate additional funds by selling some things that you do not need. The New Year is a great time for a garage sale.

Always remember that nothing worth doing is ever easy. We are only in March, meaning you still have time to live up to your financial objectives. Rather than feel guilty or ashamed of your old habits, ensure you work hard to achieve your New Year’s Resolution and you will be set for financial stability in 2016 and beyond. If you would like to learn more about budgeting, tackling debt, or growing your retirement savings, our Free Financial Fitness Courses will provide you valuable advice.

Money Mentors is the only Alberta-based, not-for-profit credit counselling agency. Through a number of services, we help families and individuals recover from financial crisis and move forward. From credit counselling and money coaching to retirement planning and community financial literacy, we are creating a healthier financial future for the entire province.

SOURCE Money Mentors

RBC earns two top honours at 2016 Family Wealth Report Awards

TORONTO, March 11, 2016 /CNW/ – RBC won two awards at the third annual Family Wealth Report Awards in New York City. In addition to being named the best “Canadian Private Bank” for the third consecutive year, RBC was also awarded top honours for “Best Public Relations Campaign.”

“It’s a great honour to have RBC Wealth Management recognized in these categories by the industry,” said Doug Guzman, group head, RBC Wealth Management and RBC Insurance. “We’re a top choice for wealthy families because of the deep expertise, broad resources and comprehensive wealth management approach we offer to truly help our clients realize their financial goals.”

For a third consecutive year, RBC was named best “Canadian Private Bank.” This award marks another successful year for RBC Private Banking as it received similar accolades at the 2016 Euromoney Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey for a ninth consecutive year, as well as at the 2015 Global Private Banking Awards for a fourth consecutive year.

“We are extremely grateful for the recognition among our peers as the top Canadian Private Bank for a third consecutive year,” said Jennifer Tory, group head, RBC Personal and Commercial Banking. “Our Private Banking group is a gateway to the resources of RBC to create both a comprehensive and an individually tailored private banking experience for our clients, bringing the best of RBC to each and every high net worth client.”

The Family Wealth Report Awards also recognized RBC for “Best Public Relations Campaign” for the promotion of A Force for Good: How Enlightened Finance Can Restore Faith in Capitalism, a book written by RBC Wealth Management – U.S. CEO, John Taft.

The Family Wealth Report Awards celebrate best-in-class providers of private banking and wealth management services, with winners selected by a panel of judges based on their demonstrated innovation and excellence during 2015.

About RBC Wealth Management
RBC Wealth Management is one of the world’s top five largest wealth managers*. RBC Wealth Management directly serves affluent, high net worth and ultra high net worth clients globally with a full suite of banking, investment, trust and other wealth management solutions, from our key operational hubs in Canada, the United States, the British Isles, and Asia. The business also provides asset management products and services directly and through RBC and third party distributors to institutional and individual clients, through its RBC Global Asset Management business (which includes BlueBay Asset Management). RBC Wealth Management has more than C$777 billion of assets under administration, more than C$561 billion of assets under management and approximately 4,648 financial consultants, advisors, private bankers, and trust officers. For more information, please visit

*Scorpio Partnership Global Private Banking KPI Benchmark 2015. In the United States, securities are offered through RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 37 other countries. For more information, please visit‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2015, we contributed more than $100 million to causes around the world.


Survey says: Credit swindlers duping Millennials way more than seniors

Garry Marr | National Post

Forget the picture of the doddering senior getting ripped off by fraudsters, a new survey says Millennials are the most likely people to be duped.

Retirees are cashing out as an influx of foreign demand pushes up housing prices in Vancouver, inflating prices in B.C.’s once-sleepy retirement enclaves

The study from ratings agency Equifax Inc. found 50 per cent of suspect and highly suspect credit application frauds in Canada in 2015 were against Millennials or Generation Y — regarded as anywhere from age 16 to 36. In second place was Generation X at 29 per cent and then Baby Boomers at 17 per cent.

And the so-called Silent Generation, those born between 1925 and 1944, only account for three per cent of victims.

Equifax gets about 15 million credit applications a year in Canada and about one per cent are highly suspect or suspect fraud attempts.

“They are the more sharing, less caring generation,” said John Russo, chief privacy officer for Equifax Canada, referring to Millennials. “They think they are invincible and share way too much information online.”

Working with Leger, Equifax also found that 53 per cent of Canadians have been the victim of some type of financial fraud. But again it’s the younger population that appears more vulnerable. Of those 65 or older, 45 per cent said they had been the victim of some type of fraud in their lifetime while the same number is 58 per cent for those 35-44 and 56 per cent for those 18-34.

Russo said there are different types of scams that are used for older people than younger people who tend to believe they can’t fall for something.

But phishing scams, pretending to be a trusted entity but in reality just seeking personal information, seem to work well on Generation Y.

“They can be caught with text or email. They get something like ‘opportunity to work from home for $1,000 a day or free downloadable ring tones.’ The younger generation just automatically clicks,” said Russo, adding that in-app purchases are a popular method to dupe that age group. “They are playing something and it says ‘buy now’ and it’s a fraudulent site looking for information to get credit.”

The mistaken belief among Millennials is they have no money so criminals could care less about them. The Leger survey found 39 per cent of Millennials think they don’t have enough money to attract fraudsters, which compares with 29 per cent of Canadians 45 and older.

Russo said the reality is if you make minimum wage, a fraudster can fake your income with personal information and get credit. “It’s ironic — they can change your information to make it look like you make $10,000 per month and get credit (for a millennial) when the individual would normally not be able to,” he said.

Ninety days later it’s the millennial getting the call from a collection agency saying they owe a ton of money and asking why they are not paying their bills.

Fairfax Financial to raise C$735 million via equity issuance

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) – Fairfax Financial Holdings said on Monday it plans to raise C$735 million ($536.42 million) through an equity issuance, to fund its acquisition of interests in Eurolife ERB Insurance Group Holdings and ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co.

The offering of one million shares, which is being run as a bought deal – with the underwriters BMO Capital Markets, CIBC Capital Markets and RBC Capital Markets guaranteeing Fairfax a price of C$735.00 per subordinate voting share, is expected to close on March 2.

The offering is the second largest such equity financing in Canada this year following Franco-Nevada Corp’s offering last month, which raised $920 million (C$1.26 billion).

Fairfax announced in October it planned to acquire a further 9 percent stake in ICICI Lombard from its joint venture partner India’s ICICI Bank. The insurer is the largest private sector general insurance company in India with gross written premiums of about $1 billion for the year ended March 31, 2015.

The deal is set to take Fairfax’s stake in the insurer up to 35 percent, with ICICI Bank owning the remainder.

In December, Fairfax agreed to buy an 80 percent stake in Eurolife ERB Insurance, from Greek lender Eurobank Ergasias S.A. for 316 million euros ($348.5 million).

Fairfax, headed by well known contrarian investor Prem Watsa, made billions by correctly calling the 2008 financial crisis. Watsa has since bet on a rebound in the Greek economy via a number of investments there, including one in Eurolife’s parent Eurobank.

The closings of the Eurolife and ICICI Lombard transactions remain subject to regulatory approval. If the Eurolife, or ICICI Lombard acquisitions are not successfully completed, or if there is any remaining balance of proceeds from the offering, Fairfax said it plans to use the funds to augment its cash position, pursue other potential acquisition opportunities, or retire debt.


Canada: Penn West Petroleum Ltd. settles investor lawsuits over accounting scandal


Class action lawsuits that threatened to extract as much as half a billion dollars from Penn West Petroleum Ltd. have been settled for an undisclosed sum that will be covered by insurance, the Calgary intermediate oil and gas producer announced Tuesday.

The company said law firms acting for investors in Canada and the United States who claimed they lost money in 2014 after Penn West revealed accounting irregularities and restated past financial results have agreed to halt all actions.

“The settlement agreements provide for a payment that will be fully funded by insurance coverage maintained by Penn West,” it stated in a news release, adding it is making no admission of liability or wrongdoing.

“Penn West is settling the class action proceedings in order to avoid the continuing risks, uncertainties and costs of litigation.”

A Penn West spokesman said the company would provide no further detail. The release states the settlement must still be approved by courts in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New York.

In a regulatory filing last March, Penn West said the largest amount of damages specified in the Canadian actions is $500 million, claimed on behalf of everyone who purchased Penn West securities during the proposed class period. It states the U.S. class actions had been consolidated but no damages were specified.

Lawyer James Sayce of Toronto firm Koskie Minsky LLP confirmed Tuesday the settlement had been reached but said he couldn’t give financial details. His firm and two others were working together on the Canadian class action, which had not yet been certified to proceed by a court.

The suit was brought on behalf of a representative plaintiff but its results are to be applied to all Canadian claimants. If the settlement is finalized by the court based on fairness, notifications will be made to invite claimants to step forward.

“In our view, it’s a very good deal,” said Sayce, adding the settlement will cover legal and other costs as well as deliver some compensation to the investors.

Penn West shares plummeted 14 per cent to $8.57 on July 30, 2014, the day after it announced it would restate its financial reports for 2012, 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. By Aug. 18, 2014, they were trading at $7.69.

The restatements cut the firm’s 2012 net income by $24 million or 16 per cent, but increased its 2013 net income by $29 million or three per cent. Penn West‘s net income for the first quarter of 2014 was increased by $7 million or seven per cent.

Penn West said some expenses were incorrectly classified as property, plant and equipment costs instead of operating expenses, while others were incorrectly classified as royalties instead of operating expenses.

The company later said it had boosted oversight and training of its finance and accounting staff, reassuring investors that controls have been put in place to ensure such errors don’t occur again.

Koskie Minsky notes on its website that the class action would claim $400 million against Penn West and its senior officers, including president and chief executive David Roberts and former CEO Murray Nunns. It would apply to anyone who bought Penn West securities from March 17, 2011, to July 29, 2014.

Penn West said current and former directors and officers are included in the settlement.

The settlement was rated “neutral” for the company in a note to investors published Tuesday by analyst Greg Pardy of RBC Dominion Securities.

Penn West stock closed five cents higher at $1.19.

The Payments Buzzwords of 2016

The Payments Buzzwords of 2016

By Mark Ranta to Consumer Payments

As autumn starts to give way to winter (that frost outside is for reals), it’s getting closer to my favorite season; the flakes will soon start flying, the fruitcakes will soon start arriving at doorsteps, digital holiday shopping will soon hit new heights, and the retro reviews for this year and early predictions for next will soon start to fill my Twitter feed.

So it’s with that, I take a look back at the year (that was, a month or so early) and put out my early calls on what 2016 will have in store on the books (or is that on your device, or is that in your Virtual Reality headset… gave you a sneak there.).

As we take a quick look back at what the last 10.5 months brought, I feel like 3 topics/trends rose to the top:

  • Mobile wallets and or the <INSERT COMPANY NAME> Pay trend
  • Real time payment initiatives in the US
  • And the US’s long awaited toe in the water with EMV or as so many wrongly call it today, Chip & Pin.

I don’t want to harp too much on these and you will see/read why in a moment, but this year was HUGE for payments. We saw the mobile wallet wars ignite into an all-out game of “anything you can do I can do better, anything you can do I can do better than you.” Every time you turned your head in 2015, another mobile pay bit was being announced—Google Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and the most recent addition, Chase Pay.

With all of that news, it’s amazing anything else made the short list, but alas, the old creaky systems in the US had the spotlight shone brightly on their underbellies, and announcements from the Fed and NACHA were loud and clear—change is a comin’!

The US will join the rest of the world (at least it feels like the rest of the world) in the chase for real time, ubiquitous payments.

And the final 2015 trend, which I think is the greatest slow-moving momentum story of all time, the EMV liability shift… Black Friday is merely days away and the term “Cart abandonment” will for the first time refer to actual physical cart abandonment; the shoving lines won’t be going into the store but trying to get out… (maybe slightly dark and over-reacting but those 10 to 15-second wait times are going to really add up when you are tired, haven’t had your Dunkin’ Donuts ‘regulah’, and are carrying a 42” TV that you really don’t need to buy, but you literally can’t say no to—it’s only $99!)

What a 2015 it’s been thus far (and will be as the final 8 weeks scroll by on that ol’/new Apple Watch Calendar)

But enough of the backward/forward reminiscing; we are here to hit on the #buzzwords of 2016 (and some predictions as well)!

  1. #wearables – and I am not talking about fitbits and Apple Watches. Wearables are going to have a new family member join the fray, Virtual Reality headsets. Samsung made a move to bring Oculus Rift to the masses with Samsung Gear VR. In a replay of everything that Samsung and Android have gotten to market with first, VR could be the one that they keep attention and market share away from Apple, only 2016 and beyond will tell.
  2. #biometrics – we saw biometrics slowly and discreetly enter the payments arena with Apple’s Touch ID or Samsung’s Fingerprint Scanner. Whether to unlock your bank’s mobile application or pay for goods at the POS, fingerprint scanning was the first step into using biometrics to authenticate a user. Look for facial recognition to be the next big piece, say it with me… Pay by selfie!
  3. #bankingAPIs – with PSD2 around the corner (and across the pond), the fight for opening up banking APIs to third parties will come home to roost; you saw the initial battle lines drawn this past week from both Chase and Bank of America (with likely more to follow) in terms of dealing with account aggregation sites and sharing customer data. I think this is going to be a hot topic as the year kicks off and likely stay at a rolling boil throughout the year.

Predictions for 2016

  1. Mobile Payments will at least double if not triple in volume for the calendar year in 2016. Maybe a safe prediction, but as the EMV shift continues to bring new POS terminals to market, old iPhones get their long awaited upgrades to the 6 and beyond, Android Pay and Samsung Pay reach their clients en masse, and new smart watches enter the market (I am eyeing the new Tag Heuer –, more options that are at least as convenient as EMV cards (if not more convenient) will lift this space dramatically over the course of the next 12 months.
  2. Olympic Golds will be awarded to athletes, but no medals will be handed out for the winner of the mobile payment wars. We have at least another 3-5 years before the dust settles or the battlefield shifts; either way it’s going to be fun to watch Rio from afar… I will offer now to do investigative reporting on payments from Copacabana beach (DM me if you are interested in sponsoring this little trip…)
  3. P2P will be the biggest trend feature in the mobile wallet space, followed by coupons/offers. Chase Pay and MCX will likely drive this conversation but Apple, Samsung and Android will not be far behind.

And here’s an added bonus one for you—just because you’ve read this far! 2016 will be longer and more fruitful than 2015 #leapyear – yeah that’s right, we get one extra day next year to talk about payments… so here’s to a great 2015, and an even better 2016! Happy holidays everyone! And may your checkout lines be swift!

– See more at:

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