How to be a money whiz by 30

(NC) Anyone can be a money whiz by the time they hit 30, whether in school, newly graduated or working at a first job. And don't think you need to be rich — the trick is knowing how to work with what you have. These are four pro tips for getting your finances on track.

  1. Call in a pro. It's never too early (or too late) to set up an appointment with a financial planner to discuss short and long term objectives like paying off your student loan, saving for your first home, and even your retirement. They're trained to help you come up with a saving, investing, or debt repayment plan that's reasonable for you, no matter what you're earning or how much you owe.
  2. Learn banking basics. Etransfers to friends, debit payments when shopping, and simply keeping your money in the bank could be costing you. Learning banking basics will help you avoid hidden fees and put your money to work. For example, most banks offer student discounts or waive certain fees if you keep a minimum balance. Also, putting anything you don't need for day-to-day expenses in a high-interest savings account will earn you a bit of cash and makes more sense than leaving it in your chequing account where it produces nothing.
  3. Tax talent. Did you know that even if you didn't earn any money, you may still be entitled to a GST/HST credit if you're 19 or older? File your taxes to make sure you get this and other credits, which can add up over the years to a significant chunk of change. And as a young adult, there's no excuse for getting mom or dad to do your taxes. Reach your goals by asking whoever files your taxes for you to teach you next time.
  4. Direct deposit. What good is a tax refund if the cheque gets sent to an old address? Sign up for direct deposit to conveniently get your income tax refund, GST/HST credit, and other tax-related payments deposited straight into your bank account. It's the fastest, safest, and greenest way to get your payments. This way, even if you decide to move or travel, you'll still have access to your money. Sign up for direct deposit by visiting your financial institution or go to for more information.