Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Renovation?

A Renovation is an activity schedule for your money with
a one-year timeframe designed to help you be better off
at the end of the year than you were at the beginning.

How is a Renovation different from a budget?

A budget helps you allocate money for day-to-day and
month-to-month spending. The premise of a budget is to
limit spending in certain categories.

A Renovation fits within your budget – it’s about
addressing your financial worries (or fears, or niggles at
the back of your head) and actively directing funds to
address those things - usually from money you already have. 

Budgets often focus on the dull things and restrictions.

Renovation is about freedom, control, relief and ultimately
feeling better because a worry no longer is a big unknown.

But isn’t a budget all I need?

It might be, yes.

But most of us have ‘money leaks’ from our pockets.  A
Renovation identifies the leaks and re-directs the money
to good use!

What kinds of things do you look at in a 

We look at your money coming in and your money going
out then assess if you’re getting the most for your money.

One client was afraid we were going to say she had to give
up her manicures.  Not a chance!  When we looked at the
situation, part of the problem was her huge heating bills.  So
we had her install a programmable thermostat and she
started saving almost $40 per month!  Enough to cover
her manicures.

Another client told us he was confused that a substantial
pay increase hadn’t made him feel he could spend more
money.  We did the math – the amount on the pay stub
didn’t match the salary increase he ‘d been promised!  It
got corrected and now things ‘feel’ much better.

So, we take a look at a lot of factors affecting money
coming in and money going out.

Renovation is only good if I do what you say…what if I forget?

Not to worry. 

First, one of the services of the 
Renovation is to provide you with e-mail
reminders for the dates that are relevant (not RSP deadlines) – but
when to place money where (sending extra funds to your investment
advisor, for example) – getting money out of your hands before you
spend it elsewhere!

The other thing is that life is bound to throw us a curveball or
two – don’t fret.  Call us – we’ll help you navigate through
the situation.

How are you different from my financial planner?

Your financial planner is primarily looking at longer-term concerns
relating to your wealth and security.  On a very simple level, your
favourite planner will help you with assessing the amount and
type of insurance you should have, the savings you need for your
children’s education and your retirement.  They’ll invest your
money for you within your profile to help you get to your long-
term wealth goals. 

At SO! we focus on the day to day and how you allocate/use your
hard earned money to do all that a planner suggests and to LIVE!


In many ways, we’re a vital team member for achieving the plan your
financial planner has laid out for you.

You say you do mortgages too – why is that?

Most everyone we meet has an opportunity to reduce the cost of his
 or her debt and that includes the mortgage.  So we believe that
since we’re the most familiar with your debt picture and what you
can afford or not – it’s necessary to provide a variety off solutions –
including mortgage options ­­–  just like your financial planner provides
 a variety of investment solutions.

We’re also a mortgage agent with Mortgage Alliance.
(You may have seen their commericals on tv)

But what about all this stuff about Lattes?

Well there’s a lot to be said for David Bach’s mantra – the
Latte factor.  Questioning a $5 a day coffee for every working
day – less holiday and vacations – or $1,175 a year on coffee. 
Does that cause you to pause?  Wouldn’t you prefer to use that
money for a vacation?  Even trading in the Latte for a regular
coffee – could save you $875 a year.

The real point of the Latte factor is about making 'purchases with purpose'
– what you need is what you want!  How many black suits are really
necessary (unless you’re working in the funeral business)?

How do you make money?

There’s no charge for the first meeting.  It is important for you
(and us) to understand if we can work together.


Why would we hire you vs doing it ourselves?

If you currently go out to dinner – because you just don’t want to
cook or clean up, or you hire someone to mow your lawn, clean
your house, shovel your snow etc…  tasks that you’re able to do
 but choose not to or just don’t have the time to address, why not
pay someone to review opportunities and get the most of your
hard earned dollars?

Let’s look at some comparisons:

-          If you go out for dinner once a month – just because – 
that’s about $1,200 per year you’re spending on giving
yourself a break from cooking and cleaning.

-          If you wash your car every 2 weeks – at $10 a shot that’s $260 a year.
(Not to mention the cost of detailing if you indulge in that sort of thing!)

-          If you have your house cleaned once per month for $100 – that’s $1,200 per year.

We’ll help you make the money work harder and go further.

Do we have to be making a certain amount of money to benefit?
- $3,000 is a lot of money for us.

Not at all.  Almost all of us have expenses that can be better managed. 

What about Bankruptcies or Consumer Proposals?

The short answer is – no.  But we do help you understand these options
and can refer you to a reliable sensitive expert, if needed.


Tell me what you have done for some of your clients:

45 years old

Primary concern:  investment advisor told him to be out of debt – mortgage
included – by the time he retires.

No Renovation

-          Loans would be paid out in 10 years

-          Mortgage would be paid out in 19 years

With Renovation

-          Loans paid out in 24 months

-          Mortgage paid out in 10 years

46 years old

Primary concern:  eating cat food in retirement

No Renovation

-          RSP expected value at retirement $750,000

With Renovation

o        RSP expected value at retirement $1,500,000

50 years old

Primary concern:  Declared bankruptcy 9 mos ago – and still
do not have a grip! – And have fluctuating income.

No Renovation

-          Always in the hole – can’t pay bills for 2-3 mos in the year

-          Creditors constantly harrassing

With Renovation

-          Actually saving money

-          Confident to get through the tight times

-          No more creditor calls!

Family of 3

Primary concern:  spiraling debt taking away everything they have worked for

No Renovation

-          Will need to declare bankruptcy – or have it thrust upon them within 12 mos

With Renovation

-          Adjusted lifestyle to a more manageable cost without having to give up key ‘treats’

-          Reduced debt 15% in the first year

-          Debt reduction in the 2nd year targeted for 35%

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