What is a Professional Financial Advisor?

Do you like to talk about Insurance, Cash Flow Planning or Investment Planning? Financial Planning is a topic most people do not enjoy talking about openly. Kind of like when you’re asked to pick which Grandma is the better baker.

It can also be very confusing as there is a lot of moving parts, and how do they all fit together? But it shouldn’t be. With the right help creating a sound financial strategy – from investing and saving, to protecting your money and family it can be a rewarding experience. And the best part is you are never too old to start.

So, what’s a Professional Financial Advisor?

Simply put, a Professional Financial Advisor is your financial quarterback, advising you of options you may not have realized are available to benefit you. They will take the time to get to know you and find out what is important in your life. They will help you determine what financial well-being means to you. It might be things important to you, such as saving for a short-term purchase, saving for your children’s education or something long term like purchasing your first home. Every goal requires a plan that is unique to your financial situation, so there will never be one cookie cutter path to reaching your goals.

Areas that we help you with.

1. Insurance – you work hard to get where you want to be, and one unexpected life event can derail what you have been working towards. It’s not about the probability but the consequence of your death or being disabled or sick. How will you and your family manage if your pay cheque stops? Where will the money for mortgage payments come from or monthly living expenses?

2. Cash flow – We provide a plan to help you take control of your money so you can feel good about your spending and saving. A plan where you can achieve your short-term financial goals and see the long-term results when we sit down for a financial review.

3. Investment Planning – Whether you are retiring next year or decades from now, you need an investment plan customized to your goals. We will always design a strategy that encompasses both savings and investing which might include high yield savings, RSP’s TFSA and even Whole Life or Universal Life Insurance.

4. Tax Planning – Regardless of what tax bracket you are in, planning and properly using savings vehicles such as TFSA’s, Spousal RSP’s and permanent insurance can help you keep more of your money.

5. Income Planning – We work with you to identify all your income sources in Retirement and how they integrate with government benefits. We will also ensure they are properly positioned to keep income taxes at a minimum.

6. Wills and Estate Planning – We will work with you to identify how you would like your estate set up and look at strategies to preserve and protect your estate for your heirs.

7. Life Stages and Changes – Life is not static, and it does not always stick to a plan. Life is a journey that will see lots of changes – whether it is a career change, buying a new house or getting married, we are there to help you navigate the unchartered waters, keeping your plan in check.

So how does all this come together?

Well, we love to talk about all this stuff and to develop long term relationships with our clients. Our first meeting is centered around getting to know you and taking a snapshot of your financial picture. We ask questions to find out your attitude about money and based on your answers we select one or two areas to focus on right away. We require you to take an active role in our discussions to ensure the focus reflects your unique goals.

During a second meeting we will review recommendations and a course of action to help you achieve your goals. We look at the merits of each recommendation and discuss the tools available to help you get there.

Keep in mind, to navigate through the steps, it could be over several meetings or months depending on the complexity and any third-party professional that may need to be brought into the discussions.

From here we will lay out a mutually agreed upon “check in” with each other and when we will meet to review your plan. We won’t be able to drive your kids to soccer practice as I’ll be heading to the ball diamond, but we will do everything we can to make sure your goals are achieved.

Helping you Grow, Save, Manage and Protect is our passion.

Do you need to tidy up your financial plan, or maybe your looking for a second opinion? Email us at information@zakuskowalchuk.com to set up a time for a chat.

The information contained in this post is of general nature and should not be considered professional advice. Its accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed, and Zakus Kowalchuk LLP assumes no responsibility or liability

The Lazy Days of Summer….but keep to your plan

As we celebrated July 1st earlier this week, we are reminded of the history of our country. It is the effective date of the Constitution Act, 1867, which united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. It also represents the beginning of Summer when we spend time with friends and family, throw a backyard BBQ, and for our family it means countless hours at a baseball diamond. So, the last thing you want to be thinking about is money when you want to enjoy the lazy days of Summer.

With warmer weather, we all want to be outside, floating on the lake or hanging on a patio and as a result our cash flow plan can suffer. How do you keep the family entertained this Summer without blowing up your finances? Here are a few tips that can simplify your Summer finances.

Explore local attractions – Staycations

Have you heard friends say they are taking a staycation? This is a great way to unwind in the Summer without the stress of traveling. Think about all the attractions in your area that you can explore by staying home. The idea of a two-week trip down the Oregon Coast may sound appealing but it may not be financially feasible. Plan day trips to local attractions or take advantage of free or inexpensive parks and community events. These day trips will make lifelong memories, allowing for you and your kiddos to see things in your own backyard, and it won’t break the bank.

Go All-In

If you are planning a Summer Vacation away from home, consider an all-inclusive resort or a cruise. These are great getaways that offer something for everyone, and they are cost efficient. Most all-inclusive holiday packages include flights, accommodations meals and drinks so it is an easy holiday to plan and can be cash flow friendly.

Have a Summer bank account

While you are working on your Cash Flow Plan, consider setting up a separate bank account solely for your Summer spending. This is something we recommend to our teacher clients as having that “Summer” account will help ensure you are not overspending and using credit facilities for your Summer fun.

Being Spontaneous is fun……but

We all hear people telling us to plan and budget but being spontaneous is fun right! As much as we all want to take that last-minute holiday it can be disastrous to your Cash Flow Plan. Thinking about what you want to do and when can keep your finances on track. If you have that adventures side for last minute trips, make sure you look at discount sites like Sell off Vacations for best rates, or if you decide on that last-minute road trip make sure you ask for a deal. You never know unless you ask!

Go Green – save some green at the local markets

Fresh fruits and veggies reign supreme during the Summer months and the Okanagan has lots of local markets you can choose from at prices substantially less than the chain grocery stores.

Make it fun! Bring your kids to a U-pick that lets them pick their favorite fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherry’s, peaches and more. The picking season is short so don’t miss out!

One final thought. Always contribute to your emergency fund. Emergencies don’t take vacations and unforeseen costs still happen when you and your family are enjoying the Summer months. Make sure your emergency fund is healthy to avoid any financial pitfalls and most important avoid using your emergency fund to pay for your vacation. You might need it if you fall out of your hammock while napping at the lake.

Whatever your Summer looks like, make it one for the memory books.

Do you need to tidy up your finances or are you looking for a second opinion? Please email information@zakuskowalchuk.com or call 778-215-7230 to set up a complimentary chat.

The information contained in this post is of general nature and should not be considered professional advice. Its accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed, and Zakus Kowalchuk LLP assumes no responsibility or liability.