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Financial Fitness: The trick is to stay on track for retirement

Living paycheque to paycheque? Unexpected expenses regularly throwing your retirement savings goals off-track? This is a good time to schedule a financial-planning checkup with a financial adviser.

The key to staying on track for retirement is having a plan. Contrary to what you may think, developing a proactive plan is just as important (perhaps more) when money is tight as when it’s not.

A good wealth-building plan is one that not only structures investments positioned for growth but also engages in sound financial planning that takes into account your current income and probable future needs.

Whether you are just starting out in your career or nearing retirement age, a pro-active financial plan needs to be created, monitored and maintained to help you develop the consistency and discipline needed to achieve your financial goals.

Working with a professional financial adviser will enable you to assess where you are today, financially speaking. Many investors think they can do this on their own, but, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Reviewing your financial position with an adviser will help uncover any gaps and issues.

Important questions include:

  • What are my current assets, including my investments and home?
  • How much do I owe?
  • What are my current monthly expenses?
  • How much am I saving each month?
  • Do I have the appropriate amount of insurance?

You and your adviser should talk about your future financial needs, including how much money you might need in retirement. Your plan might also involve developing strategies to improve your savings outlook and uncover any untapped opportunities, such as:

  • Catching up on unused RRSP room
  • Taking advantage of income splitting with a lower-earning spouse
  • Maximizing TFSA contributions
  • Moving non-registered investments to a TFSA
  • Adjusting your asset allocation or investment mix in accordance with risk tolerance

Remember that an adviser is there to help you, not to judge what you have or haven’t accomplished financially. Start taking some small steps to greater savings for retirement or other life goals.

Deborah Leahy is an investment adviser with Edward Jones
Edward Jones, member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund

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