Montreal Gazette

Are you a do-it-yourself guru?

- CHRISTINE IBBOTSON Christine Ibbotson has written four finance books, including the bestseller How to Retire Debt Free & Wealthy. info@askthemone­

I can tell you I am not a good DIY (do it yourself ) person. I feel pretty terrible about my lack of DIY skills since part of living frugally and independen­t means you should be able to do some basic home maintenanc­e. I have said to myself, “I should be able to fix the leaking faucet by myself. I'm smart, frugal and independen­t — so why can't I do it?”

This made me think of other statements that people say about their finances:

“I try to, but I can't stick to my savings goals/budget.”

“I can't get out of the overdraft on my bank account.”

Oftentimes these statements derail your ability to succeed and we need to reframe our limitation­s.

When you find yourself saying: “I should be able to …,” don't allow this to be the end of your thought process. Instead, admit to yourself that you can't do something and then ask yourself how you can fix it. So, in my case, I should be able to handle home repairs, but I can't — so now what? Once I admitted there was a problem, the solution became obvious. I needed to put aside savings for any maintenanc­e and repairs and would therefore have to decide what to cut back on in my budget to make sure I had the funds in the future.

There is no reason why you cannot accept who you are and work on self-improvemen­t as well as self-acceptance. There are so many well-trained and skilled financial planners just waiting to work with you to create a budget, help you work out a plan to lower debt and assist you in creating a savings plan. We need to take stock of our abilities and accept our current capabiliti­es. I am not saying we should not strive to improve ourselves, but sometimes it is OK to get a little help from an expert. You can't possibly be expected to be great at everything.

If you are holding investment­s, accounts and bank products at multiple financial institutio­ns, consider consolidat­ing them to one bank. This can help you manage your money more efficientl­y and will give you preferred status with your bank. After all, consolidat­ing your accounts, mortgage and investment­s makes it a lot easier to have a simplified financial life, and it always ensures you will be provided with more comprehens­ive advice from your bank adviser.

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