This is the ninth of a ten-part series where we look at Haven’s Ten Commandments, a shortlist of investing fundamentals we like to teach to our clients. It’s nothing too fancy, but a good foundation we believe everyone should understand.
Hopefully, by this point, you agree that investing is important and something that you want to be taking advantage of. We’ve talked about different investment options, different variables and strategies, and how investing should be unique to each person. Having a financial plan is the best way to know if you’re on track for your goals and to eliminate all of the noise.
By noise, I mean: “am I saving enough for retirement?”, “what will my retirement look like?”, “what if the markets have a down year?”, and all of the other things people worry about money. All questions are extremely important and are all things I think people should know and be confident in. But the truth is most Canadian’s don’t know and are essentially ‘investing blind’. They are putting away money, but not sure if it’s enough, or what it will actually do for them in the long term. But having clarity about your investments isn’t a luxury.
Having a goal and a plan in place to reach a goal always makes the task you’re doing more meaningful and more of a priority. At least for me, when I’m trying to complete a task without a goal it’s tough to stay focused all of the time — it’s easy to get sidetracked or put it off a bit. When I’m working at home, it’s really easy to step away from my laptop, wander around the house, or eventually find myself outside taking pictures of bees.
In an attempt to counter this eventual lack of focus, the night before or the morning of I like to put together a checklist of what I want to accomplish that day, what my priorities are. I also like to schedule breaks throughout my day, usually, this is in the form of taking a walk — I tend to work at home, then walk to the library and work, walk back home or a coffee shop to work. By breaking up my day with walks, I find myself able to refocus on what I want to get done, drain a little bit of the zoomies out of me and I am more productive than trying to struggle through all day.
The same thing is true for finances. How hard is it to just save money without a specific goal for it? Very. How hard is it to save money for a goal without a plan, milestones or some way to see if you’re on track? Also, very hard.
Having a good financial should not only allow you to reach your goals (downpayment, retirement, etc.) on track and on time, but it’ll help reduce stress that comes with money and saving, it’ll allow you to be able to spend knowing you can because you’re saving first, it will allow you to live your life more comfortably and confidently without sacrificing for your future. Most of the things Canadian’s worry about when it comes to their retirement, are honestly easily answered by having a good financial plan.
Having a good financial plan in place also allows you to best save for your goals. An RRSP is a great way to save for retirement, but so is a TFSA. An RRSP can be used to save towards the purchase of your first home, but what if you’re looking to buy your second home, or it’s in a short timeframe? How much CPP and OAS can you expect to receive, and should you delay or advance those incomes?
Throughout everyone’s lives, they are going to come across many different financial goals, and the best way to achieve those goals is often dependant on the person’s own unique situation. It shouldn’t be a simple ‘one size fits all’ solution.
There are a lot of questions that can make you want to forget about it and push it off. But you shouldn’t. A financial plan can quickly answer questions and concerns you have and make sure you’re saving in the most tax-efficient way that makes sense for the short and long term.
This article is for informational purposes only not all information will be accurate. This should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.