Give, save, spend // The money issue

Spend, save and give. Tips, anecdotes and tools to help you manage your dough

By Precedent

On Thursday December 9th, 2010


The Money Issue

We all know that we could give, save and spend our money smarter.

But it’s hard to get ahead without a strategy. In the cover story of our Winter 2010 issue, we matched three financial wizards with three lawyers who needed advice. The challenges: Helping a new family save for the future; utilizing a first-year associate’s skills, and cash, for a good cause; and advising a pair of newlyweds on when to splash out on their first house.

WEB EXTRAS: Calculators, more money tips and organizations purpose-built for professionals with time to give.


givephoto by Daniel Ehrenworth GIVE: Go further

BLG lawyer Kalvin Sie finds ways to give back in time and money

More giving

Time as a unit of value is a key issue for lawyers,” says Anil Patel, executive director of Framework Foundation, a non-profit that promotes volunteer work. Here are some organizations that Patel suggests to help maximize the time you spend giving back:

  • Timeraiser, Patel’s organization, matches lawyers up with meaningful volunteer opportunities — and after committing a block of time, volunteers can bid on an original piece of artwork
  • Civic Footprint allows you to track personal or corporate philanthropic activities through its online calculator
  • matches lawyers up to corporate and charity boards in need of legal skills and advice
  • Only have a few hours? Check out, where people post their volunteer time (e.g. 10 hours on a real estate transaction), and third parties buy the time by paying a rate specified to a charity selected by the volunteer

giveSAVE: From bachelor to new dad

Minden Gross associate Ryan Gelbart invests in his family

More saving

“The only way to truly protect your family is to buy your own insurance,” says Shona Bertrand, a lawyer turned financial advisor based in Toronto and Ottawa. High income earners are hit hard by a lot of group-based financial plans, and another negative to work plans is that group disability offerings don’t move from firm to firm.

What do you need? Check out these calculators:

spendPhoto by Daniel Ehrenworth SPEND: Stop renting and start renovating

Cassels associate Jenny Reed buys her first home

More spending

How much house can you afford?

“Banks like to make friends with lawyers,” says Jason Heath, of E.E.S Financial Services in Markham, Ontario. “Lawyers have good income potential and this is key for mortgage applications.

That said, just because the bank will approve you for a certain dollar amount for a mortgage, it doesn’t mean that’s in your best interest. Don’t get ahead of yourself, either with a mortgage that is too big or by buying when you should be renting.”

ING’s Mortgage calculator will give you a realistic picture of what you can afford, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s website has calculators for mortgage affordability, mortgage payments and a household budgets.

Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth