4 tips for wealth planning to suit your lifestyle and long-term goals
By Trent Hamans, Vice President, Private Banking and Wealth Planning 30 November 2020 3 min read
Having money is great. Having money work for you is even better.
Even if you’ve focused on growing your investments and assets throughout your career, it’s important to look toward the future and decide what you want to do with your money, and what your money should be doing for you. It is time to start wealth planning.
This may sound like a task for your financial advisor or investment specialist, but wealth planning is more than just growing your investments. It involves taking a proactive approach to identifying your goals and aspirations, and understanding how you can view money and investments as a tool to meet an objective.
Whether you are looking to pay off debt, travel, support charities or play golf every day, you will need to make a plan to ensure your finances support your goals. Here we run through some important planning considerations to get the most value out of your wealth.
1. Finding a focus
The first step is to start with your trusted financial advisor and talk about all your goals and aspirations. Your advisor can help you to start prioritizing those goals and figuring out how to reach them. These are important foundational questions to wealth planning and, while it’s nice to have a lot of goals, focusing on two or three will help create a realistic wealth plan.
After you identify a few personal goals, it’s a good idea to consult with those closest to you — especially those who have a direct connection to your wealth. Your significant other also has dreams and goals, so discussing what your wealth can do for you as a couple is an important step. Depending on what stage of life you are at, this could also include how your wealth can benefit children or grandchildren.
2. Planning for all stages of life
Wealth planning may sound a lot like retirement planning, but retirement is only one part of wealth planning. Having finances in place to support yourself after you stop working is important, but it is just as important that your wealth supports your goals in all stages of life.
In one stage you might want to live comfortably in your home, travel to a few select destinations and upgrade to a new car every few years. In another, your focus could shift to supporting a charity close to your heart, having season tickets to your favourite sports team or being a generous supporter of the art community.
Remember that retirement is just a date on the calendar — it’s what you want to do in retirement that is important. Wealth planning will help you meet those retirement goals, but also your other goals in life along the way.
3. Change can be good
Wealth planning is not just about the destination, it’s a lifelong journey. Your goals are going to change during your lifetime, so the wealth planning process will need to continue throughout your life and not be a one-time event.
How often should you reassess your wealth plan? A few times per year is likely enough for most people, though this will depend on what stage of life you are in, whether you’re focused on short-term or long-term goals, and how quickly those goals are coming up on the horizon.
If you are focused on a goal 10 years in the future, that is still only 20 check-ins over the course of a decade. After reaching a goal, it's another good time to reassess, adding or removing goals based on your current situation and potentially changing preferences or circumstances.
While reassessment provides an opportunity to make adjustments, it also provides an opportunity for confirmation that you’re on the right path and on your way to achieving your main goals if your situation hasn’t changed.
4. End of the road
Succession planning is another important step in wealth planning. There are multiple options for this phase of wealth planning, including passing all assets along to family members, creating an endowment or taking the philanthropic route and leaving your wealth with a not- for-profit organization — or a combination of these options. Considering this step early can help ensure that however your wealth is divided in your succession plan, it will make a lasting difference to those involved in your wealth journey.
It's time to start or revisit your wealth plan. Let ATB Wealth work with you to build a plan to meet all of your future goals.
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