This blog is the second in a series that Archer Wealth Management will be publishing during the fall of 2017 with the goal of helping you understand how your financial advisor works with you throughout your life to achieve your personal and financial goals. In this second issue:
2:Determine your personal and financial goals
There is no point in planning until you have clearly identified your goals. And since your goals change throughout your life, your financial plan will need to be revised to reflect these changes.
If you are in your 20s, your main goals may be to find the right job and pay off your student debt. Once you've achieved these goals, you'll need to save for an "emergency fund" (probably in a TFSA) that you can use to deal with the unexpected. After that, you may start thinking about getting married (or not!) and buying a house. Depending on your current and anticipated income, this could also be the time to open an RRSP. If your employer offers to match your contributions to your registered plan, you should take full advantage of this program; in addition to the tax deferral, it's money well spent!
It is often in your early thirties that some of the major changes in your life occur: marriage or living together, buying a house, children. Do you need a living arrangement or a will? What budget should you allocate to the house and how should you finance the purchase? Opening an education savings account (the most generous registered account in Canada). What are your life insurance needs?
More challenges and opportunities await you in your 40s. Your income may now be more attractive and you may be on track to pay off the mortgage and fund the children's education. Now is the time to accelerate your retirement savings.
However, unforeseen events can upset your plans and force you to adjust your focus: job loss, divorce or serious illness. Or maybe you want to make a career change (why not start your own business!) or take a year off to travel the world (you only live once!).
Again, your financial advisor will advise and help you meet these challenges while keeping your focus on long-term goals, such as retirement.
Midlife and preparing for retirement
For most people, mid-life is the decade when the mortgage is paid off, the children's education is funded and income and tax rates(!) are at their highest. This is the time to maximize your contribution to your retirement savings plan.
As you approach retirement, your investment horizon shortens and your risk tolerance decreases. Capital preservation becomes more important. Your advisor will help you adapt your portfolio to this new reality.
Your advisor will also help you articulate your vision for retirement. Do you want to renovate and move into your second home? Travel the world in a Westfalia? Get closer to your parents and family in the region? Play golf in Quebec in the summer and in the south in the winter? Live in Panama to enjoy the beaches and tax advantages?
Your advisor will work with you to develop a detailed plan to achieve your dream retirement. This plan will measure the after-tax income required and identify the sources of income available at retirement.
Retirement marks the beginning of the disbursement of assets accumulated during your working life. The disbursement strategy developed with your advisor will take into account the various sources of income available: employer pension funds, benefits from the Régie des rentes du Québec and the Old Age Security Pension, RRSPs, TFSAs, non-registered savings, assets accumulated in your company, real estate, life annuities, etc. The strategy will aim to optimize your after-tax income throughout your retirement, taking into account the evolution of your expenses. Among other things, we will ensure that taxes are deferred as long as possible by first drawing on non-registered assets and TFSAs as well as those accumulated in your company.
Your disbursement strategy will be based on assumptions about returns and inflation and should be reviewed regularly - with the help of your financial advisor - as markets change.
Having established your personal situation and taken stock, the next step is to determine your financial goals. This is the subject of our next blog.
Archer Wealth Management
Archer Wealth Management offers an alternative to large financial institutions and mutual funds. We are independent financial advisors and use an index-based approach to structure a diversified, customized portfolio that minimizes risk, costs and your tax bill. Archer is registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers.