Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/11/2018 (428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I’m sure you already know this, but Nov. 18 to 24 is the 10th annual Financial Planning Week in Canada. This is a big part of Financial Literacy Month, proclaimed as such by Parliament in 2012.
The FPSC (Financial Planning Standards Council) and the IQPF (Institut québécois de planification financière) created planning week in 2009, as part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the value of financial planning with a trained professional planner.
All of this is part of a greater co-ordinated effort to raise the level of financial literacy in Canada. As FPSC consumer advocate Kelley Keehn says, it has been "my mission to make Canadians feel good about money."
It’s a mission that is shared by all financial planners who hold a professional designation and follow the six-step process of systematic financial planning.
How can this help you?
I suggest in several ways, including taking advantage of available resources, using this event as a motivator to review your personal financial plan and, ultimately, availing yourself of the services of a professional financial planner.
The FPSC (fpsc.ca) has a number of valuable resources available to consumers, including great articles and videos on its website. These cover a wide variety of topics that are valuable to people in many stages of their financial life.
The IAFP (Institute of Advanced Financial Planners) also has a number of valuable articles on its website — iafp.ca — focusing more on the process of planning, the regulatory environment and useful links.
Both financial planning organizations have a "Find a Planner" tool to help you locate a professional in your area, with the speciality you seek.
CPA Canada — the organization of Chartered Professional Accountants — is also very committed to advancing financial literacy. It holds an annual conference in conjunction with Financial Planning Week, called the Mastering Money Conference. In conjunction with CPA B.C., this year’s event is in Vancouver on Nov. 22 and 23. The fact that it is sold out speaks volumes about the significant need for education on personal finance.
CPAs are traditionally tax and audit professionals, but more and more of those involved in personal tax have obtained their CFP designation, qualifying them to provide financial planning advice in conjunction with tax advice. However, having the designation and expertise does not automatically mean that the tax adviser is holding themselves out as a financial planner.
Before making the assumption, ask any adviser if ongoing financial planning and success measurement is part of their practice. Professionals will give you a clear answer. (And, of course, don’t approach a CPA about a financial plan in March or April, when tax practitioners are up to their ears in preparing personal income tax returns.)
CPA Canada and CPA Manitoba (cpamb.ca) are big supporters of Financial Literacy Month, partnering with local organizations to offer free educational sessions. Their website provides resources for attending and even setting up a financial literacy session with your organization.
More specific knowledge about investment adviser regulation can be found at the website — iiroc.ca — of the home of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, and at website like taxtips.ca.
So, there are lots of resources to raise your knowledge, find a practitioner and get professional advice. Your job is to start the process, which involves developing a compelling vision for your future, setting specific goals that you want to achieve with clear deadlines, then working either on your own or with a professional adviser to develop a realistic plan to reach those goals.
It’s not that hard, and I can pretty much guarantee that becoming clear about your finances and regularly measuring your progress toward your goals will make you feel more confident about your future, and your present.
That’s a lasting good feeling you can’t buy through "retail therapy."
Dollars and Sense is meant as an introduction to this topic and should not in any way be construed as a replacement for personalized professional advice.
David Christianson, BA, CFP, R.F.P., TEP, CIM, is a recipient of the Fellow of FPSCTM Distinction and repeatedly named a top 50 financial adviser in Canada. He is a portfolio manager and senior vice-president with Christianson Wealth Advisors at National Bank Financial Wealth Management, and author of the book Managing the Bull, A No-Nonsense Guide to Personal Finance.