In the final month of 2022, we saw central banks raise the key interest rate again. There was some optimism that this could be the final hike, although the tone at the recent meeting suggests that higher rates will last longer, and the potential is there for future rate hikes. Markets initially reacted optimistically but proceeded to correct themselves in the recent weeks. We are still months away from getting inflation under control and recessionary pressures are still at the forefront. Heading in to 2023, it is expected that we see some uncertainty and volatility in the markets throughout the first half of the year. If inflation does get under control, and the economic outlook improves, we could see the markets finish stronger in the second half of next year. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023.
Setting Goals and Having a Comprehensive Financial Plan
Setting Goals and Having a Comprehensive Financial Plan One of the most talked about items in the news regarding the Canadian education system is the lack of financial literacy. It's not taught. I certainly didn't learn about balancing a budget or RRSPs in school. My introduction to investments was my dad coming home with two copies of "Investing for Canadian Dummies" - one for me and one for my brother - with instructions to read it like it was the manual for managing money. I was one of the lucky ones. Many of my peers didn't get the 'manual'.
The problem is that many Canadians do not know where to start when trying to reach their peak financial fitness and many find it difficult to see any holes in their current plans.
In all honesty, it takes three steps to assess your overall finances and develop goals to fill in any missing pieces.
Step One, Understand What you are Missing
Financial professionals agree that a complete comprehensive financial plan must take into consideration six areas. There are complexities to each one and many overlap with each other but here's a quick overview to get you started:
1. Cash Management - Have a balanced cash flow, including inflows, outflows and debt management.
2. Retirement plan - A good retirement plan must include when you want to retire and what you want retirement to look like, along with a method to save for it.
3. Estate Plan - Have an up-to-date will, powers of attorney, and beneficiaries named on all insurance policies and registered accounts (RRSPs, TFSAs, pensions, etc.).
4. Investments - Hold investments that suit your comfort level and complement your goals. These goals can include retirement, kids' education, vacations, gifting, or other large expenditures.
5. Tax Planning - Ensure all areas of your financial plan are tax efficient.
6. Risk Management / Insurance - Have a plan in place to protect your finances from any unforeseen hazards such as illness, disability, or death.
Now that you know what areas make up a comprehensive financial plan, consider where you are and what you have in place. Ask yourself - Will what I have in place now get me what I want? What areas need improvement? What areas are important to me? Does my plan need to be updated because my circumstances have changed?
Step Two, Create Your Goal(s)
After you've explored your financial plan against the six areas of financial planning, it's time to create some goals to improve your plan. You want to make sure your goals are SMART goals:
SPECIFIC - State a clear target or area you want to improve.
MEASURABLE - Create a method of tracking your progress - to mark both your successes and note any areas in need of improvement.
ASSIGNABLE - Who is doing the work? Or who is doing what tasks to achieve your goal?
REALISTIC - Your goal must be achievable given the resources you have. Take into consideration not only your monetary resources but also your knowledge base. Do you need help? If so, where can you find it?
TIMELY - Specify when you will achieve your goal - set a date.
Step Three, Reach out and Execute Your Plan
It will take time and thought to go through steps one and two. However, if going through this process leaves you feeling overwhelmed and/or unsure about where you are in comparison to where you want to be it's time to consider calling in reinforcements – it’s time to call in your financial advisor.
A financial advisor has a duty to assist clients in achieving their financial goals. We know the ins and outs of comprehensive financial plans. We know the rules, laws and strategies that need to be considered for various unique circumstances. And we know when to get other experts such as accountants and lawyers involved.
Financial planning doesn't have to be a game where everyone does the best they can with no manual containing rules, so reach out when trying to develop, update, strengthen or implement your plan. Heck, don't hesitate to reach out even if it’s simply to get a second opinion.
To learn more about financial plans and goal setting contact us at KLT Wealth Management.
- Courtney Beach, QAFP
Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple
and Red Lentil Soup
Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Place the chopped sweet potatoes, carrots, apple, and onion in the pot. Stir and cook the apples and vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir the lentils, ginger, ground black pepper, salt, cumin, chilli powder, paprika, and vegetable broth into the pot with the apple and vegetable mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Using a stick blender puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Bring back to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes. Add water as needed to thin the soup to your preferred consistency. Serve with yogurt for garnish (if desired).
¼ cup butter
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 onion, chopped
½ cup red lentils
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon paprika
4 cups vegetable broth
plain yogurt (optional)