If you are new to Canada, one of the first things you’ll want to do is make sure your finances are in order. It’s something many new Canadians start thinking about long before they arrive. But understanding how banking, credit and investing works in Canada can take time. And even after you’ve opened your first bank account, you may feel unsure about next steps.
Here are a few financial tips that will set you on the right path and help you settle faster.
Build your credit history
As a newcomer to Canada, it’s important to build a credit history here and use credit to your advantage. Credit can be used to help manage everyday finances such as signing up for a mobile phone, buying groceries and setting up household utilities. Paying your balance off on time, using the right credit (borrowing) solutions for your needs and checking your credit score are all proactive measures you can take to establish a good credit history. Starting with the right credit products and behaviours will help when it comes time to make larger purchases like a car or a home.
A tax-free savings account (TFSA) is a popular investment plan and a great way to start saving. You can use it to save for anything you might want in the next few years ⎯ a car, renovation, an emergency fund, or even retirement. While you may not be eligible for all investment options within your first year in Canada, including registered retirement savings plans(RRSPs), you can open a TFSA right away as long as you have a Social Insurance Number and have the reached age of majority in your province of residence.
Meet with a banking professional
It’s normal to have questions about your finances, especially in the early stages of arriving. Meeting with a financial advisor is a great way to find answers and ensure you’re on the right path. Plus, they may be able to connect you with other professionals, such as a tax specialist, who can provide additional advice to help you settle into life in Canada.