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Margot Bai

Why I Wrote Spend Smarter, Save Bigger

Observing the lives of ordinary Canadians, I've noticed that many are struggling to make good financial decisions. A significant number of us sign major financial contracts for mortgages, vehicle leases and investments with only a limited understanding of what we are committing ourselves to. Too many make the mistake of relying on the advice of a commission-based financial service provider, rather than learning about the options for themselves.

Equally troubling is the steady decline in savings over the past decade: In 1995, Canadians saved on average 10% of their income. However, by 2005, the savings rate fell below 0% for the first time since the great depression! In other words, Canadians on average are spending more than they earn! Of course an average is just that: the reality is that while some are saving, more and more are financing a high-end lifestyle with huge mortgages, furniture loans, leased vehicles and soaring credit lines.

Margot observing

I realized that Canadians need a practical guide to teach them what they really need to know about their finances while inspiring them to make saving a priority. To be successful, I knew my book needed to be fun to read, easy to understand, and provide specific advice that applies directly to the lives of Canadians. Drawing from real life experiences of people around me, I wrote stories that illustrate the results of good and bad financial decisions. I also share my own personal financial experiences in everything from buying a home with excellent appreciation potential, to choosing investments with low fees.

Many books on personal finance focus on small savings, suggesting that if we just stopped buying specialty coffees and take-out dinners, we would find the savings to fund our retirement. However, small savings only go so far, particularly if you do not normally spend much money this way. Instead, I focus on the big savings that are available on life's biggest expenses: your home, mortgage, vehicles, insurance and investments.

The key to financial freedom is simply making smart financial choices over time. Spend Smarter, Save Bigger reveals the secret savings that are available to those who can successfully navigate the endless options on financial products and make the right choice. It will empower you to negotiate effectively for yourself, even giving you the confidence to act on your own without the help of a highly paid sales agent. Spend Smarter, Save Bigger will help you boost your savings by thousands each year, accelerating the path to financial freedom.

About the photo: Margot relaxing while on vacation at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia. Photo by James Bai, taken in July 2006.