5 Tips to Becoming Financially Successful

It's very possible to have financial success while living in Canada, even as a newcomer. We asked newcomers who had financial success what personal finance habits they followed and they shared these 5 tips .

Moving to a new country can be intimidating and scary. It can also be very expensive with significant upfront costs and the need to start earning money quickly. This can force you to accept jobs that are beneath your level of expertise.

These 5 tips can help you build your financial success.

1. Know your Goals

Have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve, what kind of lifestyle you want to have and how much you need to earn to support it. A vision of your future life helps ensure that all your work and decisions work together to get to where you want to go. As one famous life coach says, “Setting goals is the first step of turning the invisible into the visible.”

2. Earn Money and Work to Advance your Career at the Same Time

Finding employment can be quite difficult, especially without local experience and credentials. Many newcomers struggle with balancing the need to earn money today to pay their bills and the desire to secure higher paid employment in their professional fields.

Successful newcomers we have interviewed at Strive have either focused on doing both at the same time, or have had enough savings to be able to dedicate themselves to advancing in a higher skilled profession. Newcomers Avani and Patricia shared good examples of how they did this balancing act.

Here are some tactics you can apply:

Secure Immediate Employment

  • Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Most jobs are found through networks so this is a critical habit to get into.
  • Look out for “now hiring” or “help wanted” signs outside businesses.
  • Use on-demand labour sites like   Fiverr  and Uber.
  • Use local career sites such as: SimplyHired, Workopolis,  Monster, and Indeed.

Build your Career

  • Understand the local market and salaries. Talk to people in your field of interest and use salary sites like Glassdoor and Payscale to help you learn about your earning potential.
  • If you are a certified professional in your home country, work to understand what it takes to become certified for the same type of work in Canada.
  • Look for Canadian programs that can help you secure internships, or transition into a specialized role or start your own business. Some good programs include: Career Edge, Federal  Internship for Newcomers Program, Ontario Bridge Training Programs, and Access Employment Bridging Programs.
  • Try securing an entry-level position in a company that is a leader in your field.  Even an administrative position in the right company will help you meet people, understand the local context and learn about needs and opportunities first-hand.
  • Try allocating a small portion of your time to volunteering so you can leverage your skills in a Canadian context while building networks and relationships.

3. Develop a Short and Long-term Budget

Mapping out your savings, short-term and long-term expenses, as well as possibility for earnings, will help you understand where you are financially and what you need to do to achieve your goals.  A budget calculator can help you do this. Knowing how much you need each month and having a buffer or “rainy day fund” is critical to making sure you can deal with unexpected costs that inevitably arise.

4. Start Building your Canadian Credit History

Most activities in today’s world require a credit history.  Whether you want to buy a phone, or lease a car, secure a business loan, rent an apartment or get a mortgage, you will need a good credit score. Building your credit will help you get access to loans when you need them and also get more favourable rates.

Some good practices to help you build your credit include:

  • Secure credit products to help you demonstrate your responsibility as a customer.  You can do this by applying for a credit card.  It is important to use this wisely and not build up debt at high interest rates (credit cards generally charge more than 19% in interest). Other credit products that will help you gain a credit rating include getting a phone that you pay monthly or registering utilities in your name.
  • Make sure to pay all your bills on time. This will also help you avoid high interest costs.
  • Keep your account balances below 35% of your available credit. This helps lenders see that you can handle credit and according to TransUnion, also helps you build your credit score.

5. Learn, Understand and Embrace the Culture

Knowing how things work in Canada will help you be successful. Whether it is how individuals network and learn about employment opportunities, how to negotiate or how real estate has helped multiple generations build wealth, these insights will help you better navigating the Canadian system. Some good ways to help you understand the culture include getting to know people, attending local events, setting up informational interviews and reading local articles and blogs.

Read real stories from newcomers who used their negotiation skills and relationships to build wealth:, Rohan, Ricardo, Margaret and Daniel.

Strive has shown us that it is not easy but that it is doable.  You can achieve your goals. Welcome to Canada and enjoy your adventure.

Prepared by 
Monica Da Ponte, Strive Founder

Strive is a social enterprise blog working to build financial resiliency and equal opportunity for individuals while pushing for change in our economic system. They bring people together and use peer groups to build capacity, provide support and encourage individuals to advance towards their personal goals.

If you're a newcomer who has a success story and would like to share it on Strive, please contact Monica directly


Last updated: February 13, 2024 4006329