What is Financial Planning?

Creating a Financial Plan Puts You in Control

Most Canadian’s find financial plans complex and confusing. So what happens is we tend to put it off and we do something more fun, Like dreaming about our next sun-kissed get-away. 

In fact, according to study by Charles Schwab, people spent more time planning for a vacation than for their retirement.

This was supported by a 2019 survey conducted by mybanktracker.com

Let’s put Financial Planning in Vacation Terms

So let’s put financial planning in Vacation Terms. Think about it as mapping out a multi-leg vacation and go through the process of creating your financial plan.

The Financial Plan will serve as a map for your financial life in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years even longer and how you’d get there based on where you are right now 

 When you go for a vacation, you likely go through the following steps:


Step 1: Find Out Who is Going With You

Step 2: Figure Out Your Destinations

Step 3:Take Inventory of What You need to bring, what you already have and what else is missing.

Step 4: Figuring out your vehicle of choice and best path to take.

Step 5: Get Going

Step 6: Review Your Journey, Soak it in and Make Adjustments.

 

SHORT TERM

INTERMEDIATE TERM

LONG TERM GOALS

Step 1: Find Out Who is Going With You

The first decision is typically about your company. Are you traveling alone? With your spouse? Are the kids coming with you? Maybe you’re even taking your parents and your in-laws with you.

 

The bigger the party, the more coordination you’d need to have a trip everyone would enjoy, to some extent this may even alter the costs.

 

Your financial plan would be no different, the bigger your sphere of care, the more mapping and planning it would take, this also means varying complexity and different costs. 

 

The vacation you took when you we’re a lone wolf, would be different if you’re planning to take a trip with a  toddler, imagine backpacking across Europe lugging diapers and milk bottles.

 

Though my wife and I climbed the Mayan Pyramid in Coba with my 6 month old son strapped on a baby carrier. That’s not something I’d recommend.

Step 2: Figure Out Your Destinations

Time to set your sights to your main destinations. 

Where would you like to be in 5, 10, 15 years?

What are the main attractions you’d need to make sure you see and what are the side trips you’d only go on as a bonus, if you had more time or extra resources?

 

Some of the main Financial attractions could be:

 

  • Buying or Building your first home,
  • Seeing your son or daughter walk across the graduation stage,
  • Starting a business that fulfills a purpose.
  • Investing in cash flow producing rental properties
  • Starting a Charitable Movement

What’s a must see for you may not be interesting at all for others, so don’t just pick goals that look good on instagram. This translates into setting meaningful goals that really align with who you are and your values.

Step 3:Take Inventory of What You need to bring, what you already have and what else is missing.

When packing for an epic trip, you need to create a checklist of things you need to have the most enjoyable vacation possible, and check what you already have.

When creating a financial plan, you do this by checking your current financial picture. Look at where your assets are and are the liabilities in check or is it going to feel like excess baggage that would slow you down and cost you unnecessary fees later on?

You’d need to review your cash flow, your income, the fuel for this journey. Is it allocated appropriately? Are you saving enough or are you losing money to unnecessary debts and liabilities?

Similar to how you may find that you don’t quite have enough time or resources to get to all the attractions. 

In this case you might have to prioritize your goals, like spending less time at one destination to get to the next.

You may find that some of the things are just non-negotiable. So you’d have to drive harder and faster to get there. It may mean reducing your spending or ultimately finding a way to increase your income.

Here are Some Key Areas to Take Inventory For a Financial Plan.

 

  • Capital needs
  • Risk management needs and Insurance coverages
  • Investments
  • Taxation
  • Retirement planning
  • Employee benefits
  • Estate planning
  • Education (College/University Planning)
  • Planning for Elder Parents
  • Planning for Dependent Children
  • Planning for Dependents with special needs or disability
 

Step 4: Figuring Out Your Vehicle and Best Path to Take.

Depending on your destination, this might have to be chosen for you, while it’s possible to take  a cruise ship to get to Hawaii, if you only have 7 Days off work, you’ll probably have to fly.

 

When it comes to investing and formulating your investment philosophy, creating an asset allocation plan that skews heavily to cash, might provide with a less volatile or a more comfortable ride, unfortunately for most people, it won’t grow your portfolio well enough to sustain you through your goals, like your retirement or even your kids education.

 

Your asset allocation is like getting to choose the car you want to drive around. A portfolio heavily weighted towards equities may be like getting in a dropped down sports car, it drives well and drives fast but you’d probably feel every bump. 

 

Creating a properly diversified portfolio should add some shock absorption to your ride. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have to slow down once in a while, Bear markets and recessions, could slow you down. But as long as you don’t pull over and start popping your tires, you’ll still get to your destination with a proper plan. As long as you keep moving forward, there may be opportunities that you can capitalize on.

 

Charting the best paths means accounting for detours and set-backs. Unfortunately you could experience a loss of income due to layoff or disability, your family could suffer tragedies such as a critical illness or even death, but a proper plan must account for these.

 

You’d set aside emergency reserves and you’d acquire the right insurance plans for your family and your assets.


The right plan will not only get you to your destination, but make sure you are able to soak it in when you get there. Making sure you have sufficient assets to live off of and most importantly, that you are able to bring along the people you care about most.

Step 5: Get Going

Well it’s pretty straight forward ain’t it? Start travelling, implement your plan, put one foot in front of the other… 

and….

MOVE

If you’re a Norm Abram fan, and you’ve got the D.I.Y. spirit, you’d go down this journey yourself.

Look at your map for checkpoints, ask the locals for help if you get lost but as long as you’ve given enough buffer, you’d get to your destination on time. 

Step 6: Review Your Journey, Soak it in and Make Adjustments.

Look at your map, are you on track? 

 

If you’re working with a Financial Planner, they’ll serve as your travel concierge, your expert guide. He or she would provide you with the most direct path and they’ll keep you on track, when there are distractions and the unavoidable forks in the road. 

 

Part of their job would be to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to just because you’re unfamiliar with the tax landscape, you know how the tourists pricing is usually higher?

 

They’ll also show you the secret hot-spots that add those enhancements to your journey, this will help you squeeze the most out of your dollars.

 

 

 

Want to Get started?

Work With a Fee Based Financial Planner In Calgary.

Hervin Pesa, CFP- Financial Planner Smiling

If you’ve always wanted to take charge of your finances but life has just gotten in the way, you might just need a little help.

I’m a Calgary based Certified Financial Planner and I’ve been helping Calgarians build and protect wealth since 2012.

Book a complimentary financial fitness session with me by clicking the button below.