Are you planning on buying a home at some point in the future? Will you be taking out a mortgage to buy this home? If this is the case, you will need to deal with a mortgage broker. This is the person who will be your primary contact at the lending institution that will be giving you the mortgage. This person will assist you to get the financing you need to buy a home you can afford. He or she will put you in a program at a specific fixed or adjustable interest rate. There are many mortgage brokers out there. Here are some of the best ways to go about selecting the right one.

1. Get in touch with people in your life who have bought a home in the past.

Ask all of your friends and family members to find out which of them has previously bought a home. These people have most likely all dealt with mortgage brokers when they purchased their home. The only way this would not have happened is in the unlikely event that they paid cash for their home. Find out all of the info you can about the experiences these people had with their mortgage brokers. Did they handle themselves professionally? Were they easy to get in touch with? Did they always return phone calls and emails in a timely manner? Were they helpful and always willing to answer questions throughout the entire process? Were your friends and family happy with the job their mortgage broker did? Would they recommend that you use the same mortgage broker they used? Keep notes on all the conversations you have.

2. How long has the mortgage broker been working in the industry?

Your goal should be to find a mortgage broker in Quebec who has been in business for at least six years. This will give you the peace of mind that you need to hire this person with total confidence. That amount of experience will ensure that your mortgage broker knows what he or she is doing. Many mortgage brokers will have their amount of experience clearly listed on the first page of their website. However, you can always call the broker and ask him or her directly if you are unable to find the info online.

3. Does the mortgage broker have the proper credentials?

It would be wise to do some research regarding any mortgage broker you are thinking about doing business with. This means you need to find out where they received their license. You also need to make sure that their license is still valid. Having a license tells you that the broker has received all of the necessary training that is required by your state.

4. Has the mortgage broker ever been sued or suspended?

Any legal problems in a mortgage broker’s past will not be something that he or she will be very eager to disclose to you on their own. This means that you must put on your detective hat and do some digging into his or her background. It is crucial that you know everything you can about the mortgage broker who you could possibly be dealing with in the future. You must leave no stone unturned. This is the only way that you can be totally certain that your broker does not have any skeletons in his or her closet. Has the broker been sued by any previous clients? If so, what was the nature of the lawsuit? How was it eventually resolved? Has the broker ever had his or her license suspended? If so, what was the reason? This is info that you need to have before you decide to move forward with a particular mortgage broker.

5. Does the mortgage broker have a good reputation?

Finally, you should take a peek at what people are saying online about the mortgage broker. This will give you a good idea about who you are dealing with. You would be wise to stay away from mortgage brokers who are getting overwhelmingly negative reviews online from previous clients. On the other hand, be on the lookout for brokers who receive lots of praise.

Auto insurance carriers consider age when they review your application to underwrite a policy. The older you are, the more risk you might pose to the company. Consequently, you may find yourself paying more for your auto insurance coverage than you did prior to your retirement, or even last year. This isn’t necessarily fair. Just because you’re getting up there doesn’t mean you’re not a safe driver. As such, you must take extra steps to save on your policy. Here are five things you can do to cut your costs.

1. Remind Your Carrier You’ve Always Been an Astute Driver

According to Bankrate, your age isn’t necessarily a death sentence when it comes to your insurance. There are insurance carriers out there who realize that the more you drive the better you get at it. They also realize the more you age the more responsible you become. Some insurance companies offer discounts to their senior drivers rather than raising their rates. They believe a stellar driving record over the years says more about the driver than his or her age. Ask insurers if they offer discounts to seniors and retirees because of their driving experience and responsibility, you’ll be surprised how many do.

2. Do You Drive Less than You Used To?

Another way to receive a discount in your Golden Years is to point out that you drive less than you used to. Now that you’re retired and enjoying your rest and relaxation, chances are you log in less driving miles than you did when you were younger. Say so, because insurance companies consider you less of a risk if you are not on the road as much, and the Federal Highway Administration also confirms that older drivers operate vehicles less than younger drivers do. Compare insurance companies to find ones that offer low-mileage discounts on their policies to save extra money.

3. Let Your Carrier Assess How You Drive

If your insurance carrier doesn’t believe you’re a safe driver, tell it to put its money where its mouth is. According to Bankrate, you can ask an insurance carrier to, “place a diagnostic device in your car that transmits data on how you drive.” This will prove to the carrier that you are a safe driver who drives under the maximum mileage as required by your low-mileage policy. In fact, if you stay way below the mileage requirements and don’t drive at night or prove yourself safe in other ways, the company may reduce your policy premiums even further.

4. If You Haven’t Joined AARP Yet, You Should

The AARP is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington D.C., and it lobbies for the elderly. Many insurance companies offer discounts of up to 15 percent to AARP members depending on qualifying factors. For example, if you’re retired and also a veteran, you’ll see more savings on your automobile insurance policy than someone who has not served in the military. The AARP isn’t the only organization that entitles you to senior auto insurance discounts. You should also check with any retired employee organization that you’re a member of and your college alumni association among others.

5. Go Back to School

Finally, you’re never too old to go back to driver’s education and if you do, you might receive a defensive driving discount, per Bankrate. Enrolling in a driver’s education course helps you brush up on your skills, and if you’re an AARP member, you can take a discounted course. The reason why some insurance carriers offer discounted policy rates if you retake driver’s education is simple: You haven’t taken it since you were 15 years old. Yes, you’ve been driving a long time, which makes a difference according to, but you’re never too old for continuing education.

These are five ways you can reduce your automobile insurance costs in your Golden Years, and since you are no longer working, you’ll want to stay within your budget as easily as possible. Don’t pay more for auto insurance than you have to just because you’re older. Take advantage of these five methods to reduce your rates and help you save money so you can enjoy your retirement. Use a comparison tool to get your best policy premiums, and then get out on the road and drive safely, just as you always have.

While there is no shortage of books, DVDs, courses, coaching and live seminars on wealth-building, they are all based on an assumption that you have the basic foundation you need to increase the amount of money flowing into your life. A wealth-building program you buy may focus on themes like getting ahead in your career, building your own business, or creating a robust investment portfolio.

Although you may be incentivized to sign up for a program because there are numerous testimonials of past students who have done well, you may not succeed as well. If you do fail, you may attribute it to one of two things: either you did not learn and apply the techniques or the techniques themselves are not as effective as promised.

However, there is another alternative. You don’t have the basic foundation to become financially empowered. For instance, if you’re taking a course on how to start a home-based internet marketing business but don’t understand the financial relevance of a simple question like, “how much does wifi cost a month?” then learning sophisticated marketing techniques will not help you prosper. This is because if you don’t know how to manage your overheads, you are unlike to turn a profit.

Reasons Why People Are Often Broke

If you’re like most people, you may assume that wealth or poverty is due to circumstances. The economy is bad. You didn’t get the right technical education. You’re working for the wrong corporation. While these reasons may be true, there are actually 3 common reasons why you may be broke:

1.You may not have sufficient education to apply for a well-paying job. Consequently, you find it difficult to acquire the skillsets to escape the cycle of low-paying entry level jobs.

2.You may never have had the career breaks that you needed. Although you may have the education and skillsets to do well in your field, you may not have been able to advance in your career. Perhaps, you chose the wrong field or have always worked in corporations that didn’t offer many chances for career advancements.

3.You may lack the ambition, drive, grit and determination to make the best use of the opportunities that you have been given.

There is also a fourth reason, which is often overlooked – you may not lack earning ability, but the ability to manage your money. Once you build the basic foundations, then you will be able to prosper.

Let’s take a closer look at how to build a foundation for financial empowerment.

7 Foundations of Wealth

The reason why you may not be making the money that you need to improve your standard of living is not because you have failed to pick the right line of work to get ahead but because you are missing the following 7 foundations of wealth:

1. Setting goals and making plans.

Everything starts with a clear goal. Without a goal, you have no sense of direction. So, it’s important to create a financial reset goal to change your financial future. Once you have a goal, then the next thing is to create a plan to realize your goal. While your plan may not work the first time, by continually revising your plan to adjust to reality, you will eventually be able to achieve your goal. Both your goals and your plans have to be written down and tracked.

2. Creating a budget.

A budget will let you manage the money coming into your life much better. If you only have a vague idea of your fixed and variable costs, relying on guesswork to get you through to the end of each month, then you are probably spending money on things that you don’t need while depriving yourself of things that you do need.

3. Paying off debt.

We live in a debt-creating society. The ability to use credit cards and pay high ticket items through small installments encourages almost everyone to get into debt. It takes discipline to avoid spending more than you earn and stay on top of paying your current expenses. We are surrounded by temptations.

4. Building up savings.

Few people save for two reasons. One, the cost of living is constantly rising. This inflationary trend means that the money you put into a bank account will dwindle in purchasing power the longer you leave it in there. Second, the interest a saving account will give you is less than the rising cost of making a living. However, despite these good reasons not to save, savings are still important. If you have extra money in the bank, you don’t have to borrow if you experience a financial emergency. Another good reason to save is that you might be able to take advantage of an investment opportunity that comes your way.

5. Creating new income streams.

The best way to create new income streams is to add an income stream that fits in with your current line of work. This way you are building on established skillsets. Ideally, focus on earning this additional income through some passive income stream rather than working more hours.

It’s a huge leap to expect to improve your financial situation without first mastering these 7 foundational ideas. However, once you have mastered these principles, the financial opportunities that you try will stick.

Let’s face it: moving house can be the most stressful time in pretty much anyone’s life. Luckily, there are a few things you can to do make it marginally less terrible – here are some things that you should invest in to help you relax and get through moving day.

A Hotel

If you’re in the process of moving house, chances are you’ll spend a couple of nights in absolute hellish disarray. If you have kids – or even if you don’t have kids and you just don’t want to spend a few days sneezing from the dust – then why not invest in going to a hotel for a couple of nights? You can keep some of your clothes there in a state that means they won’t get dirty or accidentally packed, you can have breakfast and dinner without having to dodge around half packed boxes of plates, and you’ll be able to shower in a bathroom that isn’t mostly ripped out. Heaven!


It’s pretty much always a good idea to pay someone else to move house for you. Not only will it be a whole lot less stressful for you, but a mover will know exactly what they’re doing so they’re much less likely to accidentally smash your favourite vase than you area. Handing over such a monumental task to someone else will instantly make you feel at least five billion times less stressed out and exhausted.

Packing Materials

If you don’t want to invest in movers then it’s a good idea to get some excellent packing materials. Go for large boxes and don’t just rely on a few weeks’ worth of newspapers – get rolls and rolls of bubble wrap and paper to wrap your most treasured possessions in. You and your partner will never be able to move all your furniture in one day, so why not enlist a few friends to help? Remember that if you don’t provide pizza and beers throughout the day, you might just be shunned thereafter.

An Interior Designer

If you can’t decide what to do with your new home and you aren’t really all that interested in interiors then why not hire a designer? If you give them your specifications like your favourite colours, your budget and what exactly you want to use each room for, then they’ll come up with solutions that you could never have thought of in a million years. It’ll be a huge weight off your shoulders and you’ll also end up with a home that will be the envy of all your new neighbours.


Go on. You deserve it. On your first night in a brand new house, there really isn’t any chance that you’ll be cooking, and you definitely won’t feel like eating the sandwiches that you’ve kept in a coolbag all day that are starting to wilt and get a little curly at the edges. Instead it’s time to splash out on takeout – check out your local pizza places or get some Chinese food. After all, it’s very important to start getting to know your new neighbourhood in culinary terms!


Unless you’re talking sports, the word competition often has a negative ring to it, especially in the context of a workplace. It brings to mind catty co-workers, backstabbing colleagues, bosses holding you down and subordinates clawing their way up.

The most stressful and stomach ulcer-inducing scenario is likely to be when you find yourself in a competitive scenario with a team member of equal talent and knowledge—someone you may value and respect and perhaps even have a healthy relationship of trading professional advice with. How do you deal with the new, competitive situation, and what can you do to limit tension when one of you ends up receiving the much-desired promotion?

Limiting Workplace Tension

There is always some level of competition at work, even without the race for promotion. It you are overly sensitive to it, and find yourself feeling more threatened than inspired by excelling colleagues, you might have to start looking for ways to deal with your own approach. After all, fear and jealousy won’t necessarily bring out the best in you, neither in your work nor in your relationships, and the vague threat of being left behind by better suited colleagues might become a real issue.

One thing you can do to help combat the feeling of inadequacy is to get a mentor, especially one who will help you value your own success and limit the negative comparisons going on in your head.

There is also the notion of an abundance mindset versus a scarcity mindset, best described by Napoleon Hill who wrote the 1937 bestseller Think and Grow Rich. He contrasted the view of an abundance mindset, where a person thinks there is enough love, money, and success for everyone to have everything they want, to a scarcity mindset, where a person thinks there is a limit to the quantities, so that there is not enough for everyone to enjoy. All successful people, according to Hill, have an abundance mindset, and adapting that philosophy may help you focus on your own work rather than worrying about the prosperities of your colleagues.

Promoting a Balanced Mind

When that one promotion is opening up, it will directly benefit only one person. You may feel the stress the minute you realize your colleagues have also applied, and you will have to find a strategy to continue working together without tension, and to deal with it gracefully if the person promoted does not end up being you.

Don’t let the awkwardness build. Tension won’t help you get the promotion, especially if it comes from you. Don’t suddenly avoid your colleague, but try to address the matter. A friendly mention like, “I heard you’re applying for the new position. I put in my application as well, let’s keep our fingers crossed one of us gets it” will help create a positive tone and a sense of being in it together. Remember that there is such a thing as healthy competition. Getting inspired by talent in one’s field is a strong incentive to drive us forward to excel, and both of you are likely to come out of the process with a sense of achievement.

Naturally, you’ll want the position for yourself, but should your colleague end up the lucky one, you’ve now proved that you’re a trustworthy teammate even in challenging situations. Chances are you’ve now gained a supporter who will root for you as his or her replacement when moving up the ladder, or recommend you for similar positions.

Tension, on the other hand, will most likely have the opposite effect, and can even risk get you fired if your former colleague is now your new boss. This, of course, holds especially true if you’ve let the stress of the situation cloud your good judgement. Don’t play dirty! Trying to make yourself look good in front of your boss by discrediting your competitor will very likely have the opposite effect and end up costing you the promotion.

Your boss will not only deem you too immature, but also your working relationship with your colleague again will be very hard to revive. One thing to remember, and this is especially important: DON’T SULK. Nothing gives off a worse vibe and people will notice this type of immature response immediately.

It may be difficult to lose gracefully, and you may need some time to pick yourself up. However, make sure to congratulate the other person on his or her success, and to know there are no hard feelings. Keep any meltdowns outside the office, and treat yourself kindly. On the other hand, if you come out on top, it’s equally important not to flaunt your victory. It’s normal to be happy and thrilled, as you should when your hard work is rewarded, but don’t rub it in your competitors eyes. Play fair and your graciousness won’t go unnoticed.

Christine Sato founded the site CPA Review Courses – an online resource dedicated to helping professionals pass all four sections of the CPA Exam on their first try. Christine provides reviews of cpa prep courses and gives expert tips on her cpa blog to ease the process of becoming a CPA.