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Why it might be time to speak with a financial advisor.


Many of us understand the basics of managing our finances. But life gets busy. Between hectic work or school schedules, family and our social lives, there isn’t always a lot of time to think things through and you may start to wonder if you’re making the right choices. That’s why financial advisors exist. They’re here to guide you so you can balance your financial needs today with your goals for tomorrow.

This is especially true during important stages in your life when you’ll need to make big decisions that’ll have a significant impact on your financial future. Here are a few examples of when it’s probably a good time to make an appointment with a financial advisor:

1. When you’re budgeting for school.

If you’re planning on a post-secondary education, one of the first things you’re going to need to consider is how to afford the many costs including tuition, books, supplies and potentially food and lodging. A financial advisor can help you figure out how much you might need and put together a plan. Every case is different. It may involve a part-time job to save up money, a little help from mom and dad and/or a student line of credit. There are also accounts and financial tools designed for students. Knowing your options makes everything a little easier.

2. When you’re entering the workforce.

This is an exciting time in your life. You’re earning your own money for the first time. But do you know what your financial priorities should be? A financial advisor can help walk you through some of the things you should be thinking about, like starting an emergency fund and beginning to save for a home and even retirement. That’s right – the earlier you start saving, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement, so it’s time to start learning about the benefits of RRSPs and TFSAs.

3. When you’re getting married.

Congratulations! This is a wonderful milestone in your life. But what does it mean to your finances? It usually means that you’re ready to merge your accounts and finances with your significant others’ finances. A financial advisor can help walk you through this part of your journey and what steps need to be taken. You may also want to consider life insurance now that you have someone else to take care of no matter what happens.

4. When you’re purchasing a home.

Purchasing a home requires a special type of financial advisor – a mortgage advisor. Your home is typically one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, so it’s important to do it right. An advisor can help you figure out how much you can afford, what you’ll be able to put towards a down payment, which mortgage options make sense for you and provide guidance through every step of your homebuying journey.

5. When you receive a financial windfall.

If you’re lucky enough to receive a financial windfall – maybe you inherit a large sum of money, do very well on an investment or even win the lottery. You may have a substantial amount of money on your hands – do you know how to make the most of it? A financial advisor can help steer you in the right direction. It may involve paying off any debts or your mortgage, and then assessing your investment options, including mutual funds, GICs and more.

6. When you want to help pay for your children’s education.

We all want to give our children any help we can. One of the most impactful ways is by helping them pay for their post-secondary education. It usually begins with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). A financial advisor can explain how you can contribute, all the special tax benefits, and eventually how your son or daughter will be able to draw upon the fund to help pay for their tuition, books and various student costs.

7. When you need to take care of aging parents.

You’ll be surprised how much a financial advisor can help you with this complicated issue. First, you’ll need to look at your options – can they move in with you, do they need care at their own home or is it time to move them into an seniors’ living centre? What are the costs involved, and how will you be able to pay for them? Looking after your parents in their old age is a big responsibility and can be costly – some good advice can go a long way.

8. When you’re approaching retirement.

It’s time to do an audit on your retirement savings and determine exactly when you can retire with the confidence that you have enough to carry you through your golden years. A financial advisor can help you examine your finances and explain how your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) will transform into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). Based on the amount you saved, you’ll be able to determine your annual payout.

9. When you’re ready to make a will.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to put together a plan to pass on the wealth you’ve accrued to the next generation. This is often called estate planning. While a financial advisor can’t write up a will for you, they can help you understand the tax consequences, how to reduce probate fees and create a plan to match your wishes.

As you can see, meeting with a financial advisor can be hugely beneficial. And it’s typically a service that’s completely free of charge. So, why not get advice from an expert, right? It doesn’t need to be for one of the reasons above. Anytime you have questions about your finances, just make an appointment with a local financial advisor and get the answers that you need.