Margot Bai

To read the article in it's entirety, visit the Markham Economist & Sun website for Saturday May 5, 2007, page 21/Finance.
An Excerpt from the article by Chris Traber in the MARKHAM ECONOMIST & SUN
Saturday May 5, 2007

Smart Choices Key to Financial Prosperity, Author Says

Margot Bai

Photograph by: Sjoerd Witteveen  
(Staff Photo)

Margot Bai's eureka moment resulted from observing friends and acquaintances.

The Markham insurance professional noticed many people were struggling to make good financial decisions, giving into temptation, spending money they hadn't earned and trying to create lifestyles they couldn't afford.

She also knew many people sign major financial contracts for mortgages, vehicle leases and investments with only a limited understanding of their commitment.

Statistics backed her observations. In 2005, Canada's savings rate turned negative for the first time since the Great Depression.

Before then, we were saving an average of 10 per cent of our income. The average household carries more than $18,800 in consumer debt.

Half of those between the 24 and 34 are saddled with debt. More than 40 per cent of people aged 45 to 54 are indebted and one in three 55 to 64 owes money.

In 2001, she committed to writing Spend Smarter, Save Bigger. The 300-page book, launched this spring, is available in major bookstores and online.

"I took my time," she said with a laugh about the book's six-year development.

"I realized that Canadians needed a practical guide to teach them what they really need to know about their finances, while inspiring them to make saving a priority."

Drawing from real life experiences of people around her, she wrote stories that illustrate the results of good and bad financial decisions.

The key to financial freedom is simply making smart financial choices over time, she said.

The book reveals the secret savings available to those who can successfully navigate endless options on financial products and make the right choice.

It will empower you to negotiate effectively for yourself, she said, even giving you the confidence to act on your own without the help of a sales agent.

© 2007, The York Region Newspaper Group