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Pay yourself first. You may have heard this widely used personal finance mantra before, and for good reason.

This strategy involves saving a portion of your income on a regular, automatic basis. Integrating a “self-payment routine” into your budget, alongside your other necessary expenses – like your phone bill or buying groceries – can set you up for success.


Investing regularly allows you to invest smaller amounts on an ongoing basis, which is easier on the wallet compared to the alternative of coming up with a large lump-sum investment at some later date.


By making the contributions automatic, you’ll soon find you don’t miss those few dollars a month but you’ll really start to see the savings add up over time.

Monthly contribution amount
Number of years invested$50$100$250$500
5 $3,309 $6,618 $16,545 $33,090
10 $7,335 $14,670 $36,674 $73,348
15 $12,233 $24,466 $61,164 $122,329
20 $18,192 $36,384 $90,960 $181,921
25 $25,442 $50,885 $127,212 $254,424

Assumes a 4% annualized rate of return.
Source: RBC Global Asset Management Inc.
The rate of return is used only to illustrate the effects of the compound growth rate and is not intended to reflect future values of the mutual fund or returns on investment in the mutual fund. Actual results may vary.

The term “dollar cost averaging” refers to what happens when you invest a fixed amount at regular intervals regardless of market performance. When markets are down, you automatically take advantage of the opportunity to buy more units of your investment at a lower price. When markets are doing well, the money you’ve already invested is benefiting from that performance. The discipline of paying yourself first puts the power of dollar cost averaging to work for you and can limit the impact of emotional investing during periods of market volatility.

The easiest way to get started is to establish regular, automatic contributions. Work with an advisor to determine how much you need to pay yourself each month to achieve your long-term goals.


This has been provided by RBC Global Asset Management Inc. (RBC GAM) and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, accounting, tax, investment, financial or other advice and such information should not be relied upon for providing such advice. RBC GAM takes reasonable steps to provide up-to-date, accurate and reliable information, and believes the information to be so when provided. Information obtained from third parties is believed to be reliable but RBC GAM and its affiliates assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions or for any loss or damage suffered. RBC GAM reserves the right at any time and without notice to change, amend or cease publication of the information.

: How to pay yourself first

How to pay yourself first