September 30, 2014; Vancouver, B.C. - It's the cornerstone of your financial health, so why do so many people ignore it? Your credit score dictates everything from whether you qualify for that new credit card or cell phone plan, through to the mortgage rate on your investment properties. Yet, according to mortgage broker Laura MacCormack, even money-savvy types are often unaware of their score and how they can boost it.
That's why MacCormack and two professional colleagues, realtor Sayo Nickerson with Re/Max, and Laura Chanin, an investment advisor with HollisWealth, started their Leading Ladies of Vancouver meet-up group. "The three of us are advisors in the financial and real estate world, and we often find ourselves having frank conversations about finances with our clients," said MacCormack. In a recent study, a stunning 49% of women actually fear ending up broke and homeless.*"It occurred to us that a lot of women, no matter their stage in life or financial acumen, are not comfortable asking for advice until they're ready to buy a house or invest. We wanted to create an environment where we can talk about setting goals, planning our financial future and preparing for what we want to achieve down the road." The next Leading Ladies meet-up event on October 15 will look at building good credit as well as getting a grasp on investing.
Credit scores are a good example of something that needs to be thought about well before you need it. "Your credit rating takes into account the past seven years," says MacCormack, "so if you're thinking of buying an apartment in a couple of years, now's the time to start working on tidying up your credit history. A high score will not just help you qualify for a mortgage, but it will also help you get the lowest rates and best terms." While we know we should be paying our bills and staying under our limit, these five tips from MacCormack might surprise you.
Use your credit lightly - for instance, aim to only use 30 - 40% of your credit limit on a credit card. More than that can cause your credit score to drop.
Don't apply for too much credit - the more times your credit report is pulled by a lender, the more alarming it looks. So don't apply for a department store credit card just so you can get the extra 20% off your purchase.
Use a mortgage broker - again, this means that your credit report will only be pulled one time, instead of being run separately by every financial institution you apply through.
Don't use one card to pay off another - one card with a higher balance is better than two with lower balances.
Make sure you have enough accounts open - you need to show lenders that you both (a) have credit available to you, and (b) you can use it responsibly by paying it back.
The next Leading Ladies meet-up is on October 15 from 6:45 pm - 8:30 pm and will cover two topics: "The Secrets of Building Good Credit" and "Get a Grip on Your Investments." The following month's event on November 27, also from 6:45 pm - 8:30 pm, will look at "Investing in Real Estate, the Key to Long-Term Wealth" and "Clever and Creative Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage." Both events are being held at Creekside Community Centre (1 Athletes Way, Vancouver) and registration is just $10 and includes a glass of wine. The events are open to all ages, and levels of financial knowledge. Those interested can register through LeadingLadiesVancouver.com.
About Leading Ladies of Vancouver
Leading Ladies of Vancouver is a regular meet-up group that features different speakers and topics, and a safe and non-judgemental space for frank financial discussion. The group was started by three finance and investment consultants, Laura Chanin, Laura MacCormack and Sayo Nickerson with the goal of sharing their knowledge to educate women, helping them build confidence and clarity around making financial decisions. More information on the group and upcoming events can be found at leadingladiesvancouver.com.
About Laura Chanin
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Investment Advisor with HollisWealth, Laura Chanin has had a lifelong love affair with numbers. She thrives on teaching, and has taught both tax preparation and CFP® designation courses. Being a breast cancer survivor has reinforced her belief in planning for the future and living for today as you never know what will happen in life. In addition to her CFP® designation, Laura also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC. More information on Laura and her practice can be found at LauraChanin.com. **
About Laura MacCormack
Laura MacCormack of Clever Lending is a mortgage broker with Verico Vivid Mortgage Inc. Laura not only helps her clients secure the best mortgage terms, but she's also dedicated to educating her clients about the overall mortgage process, providing budgeting tips, plans for rebuilding their credit scores, and ideas on paying down their mortgages faster. Laura earned her Bachelor of Business Administration at Thompson Rivers University, and prior to becoming a mortgage broker, worked in real estate marketing and hospitality operations. More information about Laura and her company, Clever Lending, can be found at CleverLending.com.
About Sayo Nickerson
REALTOR® Sayo Nickerson joined RE/MAX Real Estate Services in 2001 and has since helped hundreds of families buy and sell homes. She leads Team Nickerson, one of the top-producing real estate teams in Greater Vancouver. Having always viewed herself primarily as a real estate advisor, Sayo has recently started devoting a lot of her time to educating her clients about real estate investing which is a great passion of hers. An avid investor herself with over 20 investment properties, Sayo's goal is to have everyone she knows own at least one investment property to put them well on their way to financial freedom. More information about Sayo can be found at TeamNickerson.com.
** HollisWealth is a trade name of Scotia Capital Inc. and HollisWealth Insurance Agency Ltd. HollisWealth is a division of Scotia Capital Inc., a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Brokerage services provided by HollisWealth are provided through Scotia Capital Inc. Insurance products provided by HollisWealth are provided through HollisWealth Insurance Agency Ltd. ™ Trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under license The particulars contained herein were obtained from sources which we believe are reliable, but are not guaranteed by us and may be incomplete. The opinions expressed have not been approved by and are not those of HollisWealth. This website is not deemed to be used as a solicitation in a jurisdiction where this HollisWealth representative is not registered.