It's never too early—or too late—to start planning your financial future. But when it comes to financial planning, we all have different goals and objectives. Sound financial advice and the right investment strategy can determine how well you live now—and in the years to come.
These six steps can help you build the foundation for a solid financial future:
1. Choose a professional advisor
Working with an advisor is an important step in the financial planning process. A trusted advisor can help you create a personalized financial plan. When establishing this new relationship, it's important to understand the level of financial planning services that'll be available to you.
You and your advisor should also talk about and align on:
- Expected time frame
- Frequency of plan reviews, as well as costs associated with reviews and amendments
2. Identify your goals and objectives
Although it's important to set realistic financial goals, you also want to dream a little. Consider ranking your goals and objectives by level of importance and setting reasonable timeframes for completion. Before determining whether your goals and objectives are attainable, you'll need to spend time gathering your personal and financial data and assessing your current financial situation. Some common examples of personal financial goals and objectives include:
- Paying for a child's education
- Buying a home
- Gaining financial independence
- Planning for retirement
- Making sure your estate plan is set up according to your wishes
3. Assess your current financial status
After you've identified your goals, the next step is to determine how to achieve them. In order to do this, you need to take a careful look at the state of your finances. After analyzing your current situation, your advisor can help by making specific recommendations that consider your personal circumstances and developing strategies to meet your unique short- and long-term goals.
4. Review your advisor's recommendations
Schedule a face-to-face meeting with your advisor to discuss the analysis and recommendations made in step three. Come with a list of questions and be sure to get them answered. By the end of the meeting, you should understand and feel comfortable with the recommendations presented and feel confident in your ability to achieve your financial goals.
5. Implement your plan
Achieving your financial goals requires putting the recommendations and strategies into action. So it goes without saying that implementation is a critical part of the process.
6. Review your plan
Financial planning is an ongoing process. To ensure your goals continue to meet your needs, your advisor will conduct periodic reviews, assess your progress and recommend any necessary adjustments.
In Quebec, financial planning services are provided by RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. which is licensed as a financial services firm in that province. In the rest of Canada, financial planning services are available through RBC Dominion Securities Inc.