It's Your Money  

A living financial plan

Today is the first day of Financial Planning Week (FPW), in its 11th year, across Canada.

Since FPW is an integral part of national Financial Literacy Month, it is a good time to remind everyone, regardless of what stage of life, of the importance of building a financial plan.    

What is a real financial plan?

It is not a quarterly statement that shows how your investment portfolio is performing nor is it a one page document with some basic plans for how to draw out your retirement income.

A real financial plan is a living document that shows where you are today, where you’d like to be in the future and details exactly how you will get there.

In addition, a living plan is one that is regularly updated to account for all of the changes that occur in the markets and your own life.

The goals of FPW are to raise awareness of the importance of proper financial planning and to provoke a call to action from both the financial industry and consumers alike.

Repeated research studies have shown that Canadians who engage in comprehensive financial planning report significantly higher levels of financial and emotional well-being.

They are more confident in their ability to handle the inevitable bumps in life and are better equipped to achieving their goals. Most importantly, they report lower overall stress.

The results from one of these recent of these studies serve as a firm reminder of the importance of getting professional help:

  • 79% of Canadians don’t have strong confidence that they will achieve their financial life goals.
  • Only 18% strongly agree that they are knowledgeable about financial matters.
  • A mere 20% strongly agree that they’re successful in sticking to the financial strategies they do have in place.
  • 68% of Canadians say that they worry a lot about their financial situation.

Most Canadians don’t have a comprehensive financial plan in place and this is creating considerable (unnecessary) stress on many people. Whether you are in your early 20s or already retired, a sound financial plan can significantly improve your well being and your economic situation.    

Part of the focus of FPW is to help educate consumers on the differences of the quality of advice they receive and in particular, educate Canadians on the “Gold Standard” – the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

Unlike other designations, the CFP mark follows internationally recognized standards of knowledge, skills and abilities.

CFP professionals are ethically obligated to put their clients’ interests first and have completed a rigorous education program over four years, which includes two national exams.

To maintain their CFP designation, they must complete required professional education every year and continue to abide by the CFP code of conduct.          

A sound financial plan will help you make informed choices when faced with life’s inevitable changes. More importantly, many people say that a sound financial plan helps them get a good sleep at night.

If you haven’t done so already, consider this year’s Financial Planning Week as your call to action.

Make a plan to sit down with a Certified Financial Planner professional this week and get your own financial plan started!   

For more information: www.fpcanada.ca/FPW2019


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About the Author

Brett, designated as a chartered investment manager and certified financial planner, is the regional director (Okanagan) for IG Wealth Management.

In addition to his “day job," Brett was appointed to the board of directors of FP Canada (formerly FPSC) in 2014, named as the board’s vice-chair in 2017 and took over as board chairman in 2019. 

Brett has been writing a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges that they face in every stage of life.

Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority of Brett’s and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer and on the regulatory side through the FP Canada board focus on this initiative.   

Please let Brett know if you have any topics that you’d like him to cover in future columns by emailing him at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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