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TD advises on smart choices that help Canadians invest in themselves

TORONTO, March 18, 2014 /CNW/ - For many Canadians, competing financial demands - like paying down a mortgage, child care costs or retirement planning - and busy work schedules can make taking a vacation seem like a luxury rather than an important savings goal. Striking the balance between financial and work commitments on one end and investing in the time to recharge with loved ones on the other can be a challenge and result in some Canadians missing out on vacation.

According to a recent survey for TD, 93 per cent of Canadians working full-time consider vacation time important to keeping themselves happy. Additionally, 92 per cent of Canadians working full-time believe that vacation is important time for reconnecting with family and friends. Yet four in ten (43 per cent) working Canadians say they don't take their full allotment of vacation days each year. Reasons for not taking full vacation included being too busy at work (29 per cent), facing unexpected last minute problems and challenges at work (25 per cent), and feeling there is too much that has to be done before and after a trip to make it worthwhile (21 per cent). Furthermore, two in five say they can't afford to go on vacation.

"By making smart financial choices, the cost of a vacation doesn't have to prevent you from taking a break," said Stephen Menon, associate vice president, credit cards, at TD. "Whether a long weekend close to home or extended international travel, a bit of planning and a savings routine can make it easier to invest in something that is important for all of us - the benefits of a vacation and spending time with family and friends."

Hellen Buttigieg, life coach and founder of We Organize U, agrees with Menon. "It's important to plan for the meaningful experiences in life," said Buttigieg. "With fewer vacations days than many other countries, Canada is one of the most vacation-deprived nations in the world. With so many competing demands on our finances and being very hard working, it's important we don't lose sight of the reason why we are working so hard. Going on vacation is not time or money wasted, it's an investment in our health, our peace of mind, our relationships and, in the long run, our productivity."

Finding the work-life-financial balance

Financial planning for vacations doesn't have to be hard work nor does it need to put a big dent in a budget. It can be easily incorporated into everyday life through tracking of expenses and monthly credit card bills, gaining an understanding of where money is going, paying bills on time and using a credit card that has a reward program for essential purchases.

"Having full sight of expenses through a monthly credit card statement helps identify where savings can be made," said Menon. "Putting those extra dollars into a high-interest savings account can grow into a nice holiday fund. Contributing $25 a week into a savings account can generate about $1,300 to spend on a vacation over the course of a year."

Menon also advises that paying for essential purchases with a credit card that offers a reward program is a quick and easy way to accumulate rewards, such as cash back or travel rewards, which can then be used to offset all or part of the cost of a vacation. To get the full benefits of any credit card, however, ensure the credit card bill is paid in full and on time each month to avoid interest charges on your purchases.

"Buying weekly groceries, filling up the tank with gas or paying for routine bills with a credit card that offers a reward program can help you earn rewards faster," said Menon. With the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card, for example, TD Points earned for purchases made with the Card can be redeemed towards just about any travel cost, potentially increasing the affordability of your vacation plans.

Buttigieg says it's not where you vacation that matters, but being able to take the time to relax. "You don't have to travel to exotic locations to get the physical and mental benefits of a vacation. Staycations can be an affordable option and are just as much of a break as international travel. The most important thing is to take advantage of the strategies that allow you to schedule time off with your loved ones and invest in yourself."

About the TD Canada Trust The Importance of Vacations Poll
TD Canada Trust commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct an online custom survey of 3,026 Canadians aged 18 years and older who are working full-time. Responses were collected between February 11 and 25, 2014.

About TD Canada Trust

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches, with convenient hours to serve customers better. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

SOURCE TD Canada Trust

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