After years of dreaming, you’ve finally saved up enough money to buy the home, car, or fancy bike you’ve been wanting. So naturally, when it comes time to sign on the dotted line, you’re bursting with excitement and joy.
But excitement and joy aren’t the only emotions you feel. You’re also a bit scared. After all, you’ve just made one of the biggest purchases of your life and put a massive chunk of money into one asset.
How can you protect both the financial and sentimental value of your newest purchase?
Keep reading below to learn the best ways to buy and protect big purchases.
What Are the Big Purchases You’d Want to Protect?
Everyone has different priorities. Because of this, there’s no solid list of the big purchases that each person has to make. The big purchases that seem necessary to you might be very different from the purchases that your brother, stepsister, or cousin choose to make.
That said, there are some big purchases that are pretty common, no matter your path. Some of these big purchases include:
For most, buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. Because it’s such a huge purchase, it’s important to have a plan in place to actually protect this investment.
When house hunting, it’s easy to get emotionally attached to the newly renovated home with the double car garage and backyard pool. But don’t let a bidding war rope you into a sale that doesn’t fit your budget. Sure, you’ll probably get a mortgage to help you out. But remember that buying a home comes with lots of extra expenses, such as property tax, home insurance, and legal fees.
For those living in busy downtown cores, this may not be a purchase that crosses your mind for years – maybe until you buy that first house outside the city! For the most part, downtown living has a solid public transport system in place.
For most, however, a car will be a necessity, especially if you’re anywhere outside a downtown core. Your average car purchase won’t put you back as much as a home purchase does, but it can still be a pretty hefty expense. This expense is also ongoing when you consider the fact that cars depreciate in value (unlike property!) and they usually need to be regularly maintained.
Additional Properties or Vehicles
Want a cottage or a beachfront condo down south? Are you an avid motorcyclist or boater? You might end up buying an additional property or vehicle. And just like with your primary home or your car, you’ll want to be smart about how you buy and protect it.
High-Ticket Personal Belongings
Depending on your interests and preferences, you might also splurge on some pricey personal belongings. These might include jewellery, artwork, electronics, furniture, or any other valuable item that’s important to you.
Even if you would never personally pay for high end jewels or art, it may be something you inherit through a loved one's will. So there’s always a chance that you could unexpectedly end up with a pricey asset that needs to be protected financially.
How do you protect big purchases?
Because big purchases are valuable financially and emotionally, it’s important to protect them.
Here are the best ways to do this:
Insure the Asset
When you spend a good chunk of your money on a home, car, or expensive belonging, the last thing you want to think about is that it could get damaged or stolen.
Of course, there’s no way to guarantee that your home won’t get damaged in a fire or that your car won’t get stolen. But you can be financially responsible as you make these big purchases. How? By insuring them.
These are the most common types of insurance you might buy to protect your assets:
If you purchase a home, it’s a good idea to protect it by buying home insurance.
When you take out a mortgage to pay for a home, your lender will probably require you to have coverage. And even if you pay for your home in cash, it’s still worth it to insure your home. After all, home insurance doesn’t just protect your home against theft and damage. It usually also protects you from liability if someone slips on your icy front steps or your kitchen fire spreads to your neighbour’s home.
Home insurance also includes coverage for the contents of your home, such as jewellery, furniture, electronics, artwork, clothing, and sports equipment.
Keep in mind, though, that your policy may have limits on the amounts you can claim. For example, some insurers limit coverage for specific categories of belongings (e.g., jewellery or artwork) and/or each item within the category. In other words, your policy might cover only $4000 for each piece of jewellery you own and no more than $6000 in total for all of your jewellery.
For belongings that depreciate in value over time, such as computers and cameras, your policy might also limit coverage to the item’s current, depreciated value rather than the amount you’d have to pay today to replace it.
The good news is that you can buy extra coverage if your belongings are worth more than what your standard policy includes.
Unlike home insurance, car insurance is mandatory in Canada. So if you buy a car, you’ll have to purchase car insurance too. Car insurance usually includes coverage for physical injuries, property damage, and liability. A comprehensive policy will also protect you if your car gets stolen.
Life insurance protects your loved ones financially in case you die unexpectedly and you’re no longer around to contribute to mortgage payments or loan payments.
If you die without life insurance, your family would have to find a way to make the mortgage payments without the help of your income. And if they’re unable to afford these payments, they’d have to sell the home and move. Life insurance ensures that your family won’t have to worry about how they’ll keep a roof over their head if you die earlier than expected.
You can also use life insurance to protect someone you love from a loan that they’ve co-signed with you, such as a car loan. If you die before you pay off your loan, your co-signer might be on the hook for the money owed on the loan. Life insurance can ensure that there will be money available for the co-signer to use to pay off the loan if you die.
Make a Will
If you’re just getting settled in life, you might think you’re too young to need a will. But if you have any major assets, it’s important to make a will to protect them.
A will is a legal document that specifies how your assets should be divided up when you die. It indicates who you’d like to give your home, car, or cottage to, for example. And it lets you allocate any special possessions, such as a sentimental piece of jewellery or artwork, to a particular person.
If you don’t have a will, your assets will be divided up and distributed to people based on the default formula used in your province or territory. This distribution probably won’t match your wishes. And even in families that get along well, it can lead to bitter arguments and disputes about who gets what.
What’s even worse is that if you don’t have relatives or they can’t be located, the government might even take your assets and keep them. You already give the government a generous share of your wealth each year when you pay income tax. So we’re betting that you’d like to avoid giving them any more of your assets—especially the ones you worked so hard to purchase and protect while you were alive. A will helps you do this.
Keep a Healthy Balance in your Savings Account
Your savings account doesn’t directly protect your assets. But it does safeguard them indirectly by helping you hold on to them.
Specifically, when you have savings, you’re able to pay for any routine maintenance or emergency repairs that your assets need. For example, if your roof leaks or your car battery dies, a healthy savings account helps you pay for the repair or replacement.
You’ll also need funds to cover any recurring fees that come along with owning your assets. These might include property tax payments, license plate renewal fees, or the annual cost of a safe deposit box at your bank.
Protecting Big Purchases Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Buying a home, car, or pricey personal belonging is a big financial investment. And there’s a good chance that your asset has sentimental value too. That’s why it pays to protect these kinds of items.
Fortunately, protecting your big purchases isn’t hard. Insuring your assets and maintaining a healthy savings account helps you hang on to your prized possessions while you’re alive. And buying life insurance and making a will lets you protect them after you die.
These approaches ensure that the money, time, and energy that you’ve put into buying and taking care of your assets don’t go to waste.