When you first come to Canada, there are a lot of exciting things to check off your list of “to dos,” like exploring your neighbourhood and finding your favourite coffee shop.

But there is a first step that you need to put on the top of your list, setting up your finances in Canada.

New citizens have to figure out the different financial, legal and tax systems to ensure they get off to a good start.

Parmpreet Jathol, a Scotiabank financial advisor, went through this learning experience firsthand herself. Jathol moved to Canada from India in 2018. She suggests that all newcomers should meet with a financial advisor to set up banking in Canada and to understand how the Canadian banking system works. Especially during these unprecedented times, an advisor can help ensure that you get your life in Canada started right.

Here is how you can work with Scotiabank to meet your financial goals in your new home.

Introduction to Scotiabank

Scotiabank is one of the top Canadian banks. We help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services.

Before you move, you can open a Scotiabank International Account online and use it to transfer up to $50,000 CAD into the account before moving. These funds help you show proof that you have enough money to cover living expenses. You can set up a new chequing account once you arrive to access these funds. We can also help fast track your study permit with the Scotiabank Student GIC Program.

Scotiabank’s services for newcomers help them establish their financial well-being before and after moving. The Scotiabank StartRight® program is designed to simplify banking for Canadian permanent residents, international students and foreign workers who have recently landed in Canada.

It offers benefits that can help set you up for success, including:

  • No monthly account fees for one year for bank account offering unlimited transactions and e-transfers1
  • Unlimited no-fee international money transfers2
  • Free small safety deposit box for a year3
  • Credit cards without any credit history4
  • Specialized mortgage for newcomers to Canada
  • Knowledgeable help from financial advisors

How to best leverage an advisor

When you set up a bank account at Scotiabank, you have access to a banking advisor. They will help you navigate the Canadian financial system and reach your personal financial goals. They’ll work with you to create a personalized financial plan that works for you and your family.

When you are talking to your advisor, share your financial goals, both short and long term. Your advisor will offer you guidance on what steps to take with your finances to help you build towards those goals. They can help you sign up for bank accounts that will best suit your financial needs and get started with investment vehicles available in Canada, like the Tax-Free Savings Account and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan. You can learn more about how to manage your finances in Canada here.

Consider your advisor as your personal financial guide that can help you navigate a new financial system. Whether you are looking to purchase your home or to figure out how to protect and grow your savings, an advisor can help.

Right questions to ask during your appointment

First off, there are no wrong questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. Advisors are experts who want to help you succeed in your financial goals.

What questions should you ask first? Jathol recommends you ask questions about accounts, account features and account usage, as well as if any government support is available for a newcomer.

Some other questions Jathol recommends asking are:

  • How should I invest my money in Canada?
  • How should I save for my first house?
  • What kind of investments will be suitable for me?

During your initial meeting with your advisor, it is also a good idea to bring up any concerns you might have around your finances. Your advisor might be able to help with certain issues, like troubles with wiring your funds, and can connect you to additional help and resources for other issues. You can learn more about how to work with a Canadian financial advisor here.

Setting yourself up for success

Whatever your financial goals might be, a good credit score is a great foundation to help you get there.

“Credit score forms a very important aspect of life for all residents of Canada,” says Jathol. “Newcomers to Canada will need a good credit score at different stages in their life here, like qualifying for a credit card, buying a car and their first house.”

However, credit scores do not transfer between countries and new residents have to essentially start from scratch when they arrive in Canada.

How do you start building up a credit score? Jathol recommends getting a credit card, saying, “Credit cards can help newcomers build their credit score, which will then help them for their borrowing needs in future.”

Along with building your credit score, contributing regularly in savings and investment accounts will set you up for long-term success. Scotiabank has accounts for both short-term savings goals, like buying a new car, and investment accounts for different goals like buying a home or retirement.

Welcome to Canada

Scotiabank is proud of its long history of helping newcomers set themselves up for financial success in Canada. Through StartRight, we offer products and services designed specially for individuals and families that are new to Canada. It’s part of why Scotiabank is the bank for newcomers.

Especially during these uncertain times, working with your Scotia advisor is a great early step to help you get settled in your new country. Book an appointment to get your life in Canada started right.

Ready to get your finances on track for your future? Come in and speak to a Scotia advisor