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How to be money-smart in tough times – from MoneySense magazine

October 27, 2008

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    TORONTO, Oct. 27 /CNW/ - When MoneySense magazine asked readers for
financial success stories for its "How I Did It" contest, entries poured in.
More than 300 readers wrote in and told amazing tales of how, through smarts
and determination, they overcame daunting obstacles in order to (among other
things):-  make a million by age 37
    -  retire by 53
    -  graduate from university debt-free
    -  form an investing club that has beaten the market for years
    -  build wealth on a middle-class incomeFour finalists and five runners-up tell their stories in the November
issue of MoneySense magazine.
    "We read hundreds of fascinating entries," says Ian McGugan, editor of
MoneySense. "The financial ingenuity of ordinary people blew us away. In many
cases, they're a far better guide to how to build wealth than the usual crop
of high-powered analysts and supposed experts."

    McGugan offers his top tips for how anyone can achieve remarkable
financial goals.1) Saving is as easy as spending: You don't have to deprive yourself to
    live well on less. A few simple changes can boost your bottom line
    without major sacrifices.

    2) Couch potatoes win: We sabotage ourselves by jumping in an out of hot
    stocks, investing when prices are high and selling when they're low.

    3) Control what you can control. We can't control what the markets do or
    how the economy performs, but we can control how much we pay in
    investment fees, how we diversify our savings, and how we spend. Over
    time the factors we can control override those we can't.

    4) Make it automatic. An automatic plan begins with deciding how much you
    want to save, and having that amount automatically deducted from your
    paycheque. An automatic plan also includes having regular money
    conversations with your spouse, setting a monthly (not a yearly!) goal
    for savings.

    5) One thing at a time. Focusing on several goals simultaneously is a
    recipe for failure. Instead, decide on your No. 1 priority and devote
    yourself to it. Perhaps it's paying down your mortgage, or escaping from
    debt, or building up enough savings to take a year-long sabbatical -
    whatever the case, bend all your energies toward it until you're
    satisfied that you're where you want to be.For more insight on how to get out of debt, retire young, beat the market
and grow wealth, turn to this issue of MoneySense on newsstands today.

    About MoneySense:

    MoneySense is Canada's personal finance and lifestyle magazine. Packed
with smart features, practical advice and easy-to-follow financial tips on
everything from home improvement to mutual funds, an average MoneySense issue
attracts 892,000 Canadians on the lookout for new ways to save, invest and
spend. is Canada's best all-around personal finance Web site.