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Once you’ve started your career, start paying taxes, have goals to save and grow assets for retirement, have a home or want to own a home, get married, have children and so on, you’ll benefit from having a financial plan created by a qualified financial advisor. A Financial Advisor has the experience to guide you through these life stages, and ensure you are following a plan or taking on products that are best for your unique situation, while mitigating risk. You will have someone to be accountable to, someone to help you understand your investments and ensure you are prepared for all of life’s unexpected events.
Being an informed investor is one of your best defenses against investment fraud. Although most investment advisors are honest and work in your best interest, you still need to carefully choose who you deal with. Securities industry professionals are required to register with the securities regulator in each province or territory where they do business. Registration helps protect investors because securities regulators will only register firms and individuals if they are properly qualified. Use the National Registration Search to check if an individual or firm is registered.
Financial certifications signify expertise in the industry, and there are many different certifications available for professional Advisors today. While a financial planning professional or Financial Advisor can have any of several designations or certifications, at the very least you should make sure that he or she is licensed and in good standing with the licensing authority for your province. Below are some of the common designations in Canada:
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is internationally-recognized designation is granted by the Financial Planning Standards Council and helps professionals demonstrate the knowledge and skills needed to work with clients to build a financial plan.
Chartered Investment Managers (CIM) work in the area of portfolio management for high-net-worth and institutional clients. CIMs are involved in advanced money management and investment strategies.
Registered Financial Planner (RFP) is for those who have been in the financial planning role for a while and illustrate an advanced commitment with ongoing education. Planners must have been in the industry for a minimum of three years to become an RFP and be actively practicing. There is also a requirement to adhere to the institute’s code of ethics and professional standards to maintain the designation.
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) has competency and experience in all areas of financial planning. A CFP has completed courses of study in over 100 topics of financial management including equities, taxes, and retirement planning. He or she must also follow the Certified Financial Planner code of ethics. A Certified Financial Planner has a fiduciary responsibility to put your needs and interests above his or her own. While a CFP may profit from a product that is recommended to you, it is unethical for a CFP to recommend a product that is not in your best interest. Hiring a strictly fee-based (as opposed to commission-based) advisor is also a good choice if you're concerned about the advisor pushing products.
When you come in for your consultation, your advisor will often give you a list of helpful information to bring. Generally, you may be asked to bring your latest financial statements (banking, investments, employer provided retirement plans, etc.) and a current tax return. Your Advisor will review this information and discuss income sources, retirement contributions, financial or real estate assets, insurance coverage, mortgages, other debts, and estate planning documents that you may have. Prior to the appointment, you may be asked to complete an Information form that provides basic information about you and summarizes your current financial situation.
Estate Planning is the process of preparing for the transfer of your wealth to family, friends, charities, etc. after your death. Preparing to care for your loved ones after you are gone, or ensure the details of your assets are handled how you want involves preparation. It can also help to minimize the taxes paid on the transfer of assets upon death.
Estates are also set up to provide specific instructions on how one’s wealth is used to care for that person into old age when they might lose the ability to care for themselves. It is an excellent idea to begin estate planning early.
To help you organize your paperwork and know more timelines, there are different types of tax receipts and slips to prepare. To see a thorough list of these deadlines and documents, you can visit this helpful guide from our partners at Manulife Securities, by clicking here. ↗
Trust services are administered by a trust company. Trust companies offer services similar to banks along with the administration of trusts and estates. Trust companies may also act as trustee for a range of registered and tax-deferred savings products and plans.
A trust company can assist you with estate planning to minimize taxes and transfer your wealth, managing the administration of your trust or distributing your estate upon your death, among other things. Your advisor can provide you with the support and guidance you need to understand how a trust company could assist you.
Tax Tips & Tools
Try these helpful links and articles to learn more about your taxes.CRA Tax Tips ↗
Source: Government of Canada
Estate Planning Tools
There are many decisions you will have to make when you draft a Will. If not thoroughly considered, some of these decisions can have unintended consequences. Try the Will Planning Workbook and Will Planning Checklist below.
FINANCIAL TOOLS & CALCULATORS
We are here to help. Contact us to help explain your results and what they mean for your situation.
InsureRight Needs Calculator ↗
Use your financial information today to help decide how much insurance you may need.
Retirement Income Calculator ↗
Estimate your retirement income, employer pensions and other sources of income.
*These calculators are for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon as an accurate indication of your financial retirement needs. As each individual’s situation is different and changes over time, the results are limited by the accuracy of the assumptions you make in providing the information used in the calculation. I (we) do not guarantee that these calculators are reliable, accurate or complete or that they will be compatible with your computer.