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The past year has brought far-reaching, sobering reminders that life really isn't simple—circumstances and goals can change, personal and family situations can be complex and we need to expect the unexpected sometimes.

When life experiences or milestones take place (big or small, good or bad), you might find yourself giving more thought to what's important to you and your family. Certain experiences could also raise more questions about your finances, and your financial goals might become more of a priority. In all of those scenarios, regardless of your age or situation, it's incredibly important to look at the value of having proper plans in place, and the peace of mind that personalized wealth planning offers.

What is wealth management?

When hearing or reading the terms “wealth planning” or “wealth management,” it's important to unpack what they mean and what they entail. For those who haven't pursued formal wealth planning before, there can often be a tendency to zero in only on the investment side of things. There can be an assumption that your financial goals and objectives are solely tied to your investment portfolio and its performance.

Without a doubt, your investments and planning in that regard are crucial pieces, but they're only part of the bigger picture. When managing wealth as a whole, there are other areas of planning that can—and should—be brought into the equation as well.

Depending on your circumstances, broader wealth planning may include any number of aspects, like financial planning or tax considerations, charitable giving, retirement, saving for education, business-owner planning, estates and trusts, wealth transfer, financial literacy, and the list goes on. These exist in addition to your investment portfolio.

It's through all of these different avenues of planning, and bringing them together in a personalized, efficient way for you, that creates the unmatched value—or what we sometimes refer to as “wealth alpha.”

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Understanding the costs and value of complete wealth planning

Not only in the context of financial services but in any service industry, anytime there's a discussion about value, the cost is always the element that's right in front of you—it's the easiest thing to see. But regardless of what the service is, it's really important to understand exactly what the cost comprises and critically look at the value you're getting for that cost. It's really about the cost-benefit relationship that determines the true value you're getting.

Going back to financial services specifically, that value or “wealth alpha” is really embedded in the comprehensive, personalized planning—and in the trusted relationships that are built.

When you choose to work with a qualified advisor and full-service firm, there's value in the collaborative approach. It's backed by a broad team of experts who specialize in various disciplines. With the depth of the planning and resources available to provide personalized guidance, and with a dedicated team looking at every angle of your situation, many different opportunities or strategies may be uncovered that you may otherwise not have known were available. And over time, just like there can be a compounding effect with your investments, there's an incremental benefit that accrues as certain strategies and approaches are woven into your overall plans.

What are the benefits of a wealth advisor?

Alongside the strength of planning is what a professional wealth advisor brings to the table. The depth and breadth of personalized planning kick in because that advisor takes the time to understand you, your family, your values and what you want to achieve.

That relationship also extends to the entire team of experts who, with that same understanding, look at the full scope of your situation now and for the future. They consider all the different areas of planning that may be beneficial to you and put together comprehensive plans that work seamlessly together.

And, in times of change or life milestones that may impact your goals, that value shows up again—your advisor will be there to advise on the best course of action. It's the assurance of having the right people who can help every step of the way.

Get started with wealth planning

For those new to wealth planning, a starting point could be as simple as having a discussion with an RBC Wealth Management advisor about what wealth means to you. From there you can establish some short-term and long-term goals.

The next steps could also involve completing a financial review and wealth projection to help give you a clear picture of where you stand today and possible approaches to consider.

Those first steps can be a great way to open the door to exploring the different paths of planning and what makes the most sense for you.

Regardless of your situation, the complexity of your needs or circumstances, or the financial goals you have, at the core of wealth planning is you. Behind the strategies and approaches, when you break it down, it's truly about effectively planning for your personal and family objectives, and there's nothing more important than that.

Find out about our approach, and how we help individuals and families reach their goals.