5 Financial Resolutions for 2023: Insights from a Portfolio Manager

Notebook with financial resolutions

The start of a new year is often when we turn our thoughts to reviewing our finances. And after a year marked by high rates of inflation, rapidly rising interest rates and market volatility, there’s no better time to review your finances and freshen up your investment strategies. 

We asked Genus partner and portfolio manager Sue-May Talbot for her recommended financial resolutions for 2023.

1. Pay Down Debt

If you commit to one financial resolution this year, commit to this: paying down debt. As interest rates rise, so too does the cost of borrowing. “In 2022, the Bank of Canada raised interest rates seven times¹ by a combined 4%, and the benchmark interest rate in Canada is now 4.25%,” Talbot says. “The cost of servicing our credit cards, lines of credit and other debt may be eating into our cash flow.” 

Prioritize paying off debts with the highest interest rate first – most likely your credit cards. Once you check those off the list, move to accounts with lower interest rates, such as lines of credit or mortgage debt. 

And while prioritizing debt repayment is important at all ages, it should be of prime concern particularly for older adults, says Talbot. “If you’re older with a large debt, you should tackle this as soon as possible. Later in life you may not have the income to do so, especially if you’re retired and on a limited budget.”

2. Reassess Your Expenses and Create a Budget

With inflation cutting into budgets more than it has in decades, it’s a good time to reevaluate where your money is going, and where to reign in expenses. “Goods and services cost more than ever,” says Talbot. 

While you don’t need to cut out all of your favourite things, reevaluating your expenses can reveal expenditures you might not have been aware of, and help you to prioritize what’s most important (ie: your investments).

Financial papers planning a financial resolution

3. Maximize Your RRSP and TFSA Contributions

If you’re able to maximize tax-deductible contributions such as your RRSP and TFSA, you’re effectively keeping money that would otherwise be lost as tax. “The growth and income in these accounts are earned on a tax-free basis,” says Talbot. “Using these accounts is a great way to save toward your retirement or, in the case of a TFSA, build savings in general.” 

Planning for these contributions at the beginning of the year can help you optimize the value of your contributions. And starting when you’re young also pays off. “Generally speaking, the earlier you start investing to take advantage of compounding tax-free returns, the better.”

Start by checking your Canada Revenue Agency account to see how much available room you have for contributions, says Talbot. From there, she recommends setting up automatic monthly deposits. “Most financial institutions – including Genus – allow for systematic monthly contributions,” she says. “It’s a great way to save and will spread your contributions throughout the year, which may be easier on your cash flow than a larger lump sum contribution.”

4. Review Your Portfolio’s Performance

If you haven’t checked your portfolio in awhile, now’s a good time to do so, and your portfolio manager can help you assess whether it needs a rebalance, Talbot says. “If you have an account with an active portfolio manager, they’ll do this automatically,” she says. “But if you are self-managing your accounts or have a buy-and-hold strategy, you may need to rebalance as the markets moved quite a bit in 2022.”

For impact investors, it’s also a good idea to ensure the companies in your portfolio still align with your values. “When you invest in a company, you are essentially financing it,” Talbot says. “So if you’re a values-based investor, do a quick review of your portfolio holdings.”

Portfolio manager reviewing portfolio performance

5. Make These Resolutions Annual

Regardless of the state of the economy, reviewing your portfolio annually is just good practice – particularly if anything has changed for you personally. 

Consider drafting a financial plan that includes your goals, investment time horizon, income requirements, values alignment and risk tolerance. And include your bigger financial picture, too. “Include an analysis of your income, expenses and investments, and ensure you have a will and power of attorney,” she says. “If you’re unsure, book a meeting with your portfolio manager.”

Interested in wealth management guidance for 2023 and beyond? We invite you to talk to a Genus Advisor

[1] Will the Bank of Canada raise mortgage rates again in 2023? here’s what industry experts predict (2023) Toronto. Available at:,to%20tame%20Canada%27s%20runaway%20inflation. (Accessed: January 18, 2023).



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