Lost in Manitoba? Haven’t gotten your bearings yet? Confused about what to do first when you have already landed in Winnipeg or anywhere else in Manitoba? Here are 14 tips you might want to take to prevent confusion and make your first few months all smooth sailing.
Apply for Social Insurance Number
This is like an ID for all citizens of the country. This is needed by an employer when you start work, upon paying taxes or contribution to pension plans.
Apply for Manitoba Health Card
Applying for Manitoba Health Card is key to receiving health and other government benefits.
Familiarize your surrounding
Familiarize the neighborhood and look for the nearest stores, post office, public transportation stops, places of worship, bank, school, and hospital as well as introduce yourself to your community and neighbors. You should also find a new family doctor, familiarize the closest hospital and get to know the numbers to call in case of emergency.
Deposit funds to a local bank
Deposit your settlement funds/finances into an account, whether in a credit union or bank. This is important because you will need the paper trail as evidence for most big down payments.
The government also does not get tax other than from incurred interest. You could also open other accounts made for specific purposes like RESP or Registered Educational Savings Plan for your child’s education, this can be done by financial advisors. You are also persuaded to open a cheque account, joint with your spouse if possible. Most employers and companies require these accounts from their employees.
Find a job
If possible it would be best if you come to Manitoba with a job offer already but if not, you can go job hunting as soon as possible or at least scope out some potential jobs or tailor your resume while doing the first four steps.
If you can find a job that is suited to your qualifications and that would satisfy your financial need then good for you, but if not, you could get a temporary job first. The temporary job could also be used in your employment history and reference as well as build up a connection of networks.
Apply for a driver’s license
Get your credentials assessed and other professional licenses. You will need this for long-term employment because the standards of Canada are not the same as in the Philippines and you will need to get the Canadian standards licenses. Your driver’s license enables you to drive even if you don’t have a car of your own.
Apply for a credit card joint with your spouse
Most banks also offer credit but it is recommended you apply for 2-3 credit lines, with a total limit of $5,000 as long as you utilize it responsibly. You may apply for the additional credit lines when you have 6months of employment already. This is where you can utilize loans. It is suggested you only use 50% of your limit so you don’t drown in debt.
Manage your finances well, live only on your salary and never miss your payment deadline, your employers and other institutions and people will see your credit card history and will judge you accordingly making it very difficult for you to get bigger loans like car loans or house loans.
Apply for insurance
You can insure everything from yourself, and your family to your car and home. It is better to take the precaution of insurance even if it’s for a time period only for your family. This is considered a necessity in Canada.
Find a lease or rent a housing unit
Apartments, flats, and the like are readily available for rent in most locations. Write the contract on your and your spouse’s name and pay by using your cheques so that you will have a paper trail to back you up. Also, claim your receipts to be doubly secure and pay your rent on time.
Get your utility accounts under your own name
Tenth, your utilities are often not included in the rent. Put your and your spouse’s names for water, gas, electricity, cable, and phone bills.
Plan your investment options
Consult a financial advisor to know your investment tolerance and get advice on what you should invest in. Most would invest in government and government investment vehicles. Understand your options and use them to your advantage. Your investments will take time to grow but be patient and use it for their allocated use.
By others, it means your sponsors and those who have built your network and helped you stand on your feet. If you are still staying with them, show gratitude by chipping in for the utilities or groceries, anyway, you’re living in their house for free. Do some chores and errands for them like doing the dishes, throwing the rubbish, and shoveling their driveway. You should also be open to them, communication is key to everything. Even when you have moved out, keep friends and meet up for chats and get-togethers.
Get your own car
Thirteenth, you would probably need a car first before your own home, because of the necessity to travel. Canada is a large place and even with public transportation, it is very hard and tiresome to switch transportation modes not to mention the crowd and weather. Don’t splurge on your first car, it is better if you buy a pre-owned one so that you can save some money on gas and car maintenance. You could also save gas by carpooling with your workmates or friends.
Get your own house
A house is one of the biggest investments you will make. It is recommended you wait for a year or two before buying a house of your own so that your finances will be stable but not more than two years because of practicality. Save up for your down payment and find a good deal on the estate. Take note of the location and the travel distance and travel time between your house and your job and the neighborhood. House loans should be used to pay your monthly mortgage. Don’t attempt to buy a house if you cannot live comfortably on your budget, factor in your daily expenses and monthly expenses like groceries and utilities.
Always ask for a second opinion from those who have experience already, they might have other tips not mentioned. Be punctual in paying, leave a paper trail, and always budget your money with the future in mind.