The past year has been packed with non-stop head-spinning action around my career and home that has involved a move across the country ... twice. One of the things I'm most grateful for is my personal financial safety net. I've been able to pivot quickly and embrace new opportunities because I knew I'd be ok. There would be no crossing my fingers and praying that I'd be able to cope with unexpected bills. 

Photo by Tara West.

Thanks to lessons passed down from my parents, I've always appreciated the value of money. When they divorced, eighteen year old me figured out pretty quickly that no matter what happened in my life, I had to take care of myself. My Mum was ill-prepared for life on her own. She didn't know the first thing about preparing for her financial future as a newly single woman in her 50s. Her challenges became a scary example for this high school graduate. 

From that point, it was critical for me to learn how to take control of my money and future. Nothing was ever handed to me. In my 20s, I worked hard, juggling both a part-time retail job and thriving full time freelance writing schedule. I expected to have a big career and wanted to travel, be mortgage-free asap, buy art (and shoes of course), all without having to rely upon someone else - ever. I saw how life could throw all kinds of curve balls - from divorce to cancer - so I knew that I had to be on my game all the time. I started freelancing at 21 and bought my first condo at 24, all the while contributing monthly to an RRSP. Driven? That was an understatement.

Over the years, I've moved between managing my own money and working with a financial advisor. Today, I know that I can't afford a DIY (do it yourself) approach anymore. My home and retirement funds are my biggest assets - I can't make any big mistakes, or miss out on potential growth. 

Home design by Aya McMillan

I've moved back to Toronto and started a new job so this is the perfect time for me to partner with Scotia Wealth Management to learn more about their holistic Enriched Thinking offering. I need someone experienced to look at my big picture with me - from my real estate plans to travel dreams - not just which investments I should have in my portfolio. I'm not one of those women who hands all of her retirement funds over to someone and scurries away. Many of my single friends have admitted to doing just that and openly admit their ignorance (and fear) of their financial situation. Some spend more time planning five star vacations than their finances. I want a voice in my planning with a female advisor who understands that this is my money, my future and my life. I'm looking for a more collaborative approach that is the cornerstone of Enriched Thinking. Sure, I care about the returns on my investments but I'm more concerned that my plan will help me reach my goals - now, in 5 years, 10 years and beyond. I value advice but don't want to be patronized or ignored. 

In the next few years, I want to buy another condo or an investment property, and take a couple of major bucket list vacations. I need to understand how I'm going to pay for all of this on my own - and still sleep at night. I have a retirement plan but not a comprehensive plan where one advisor understands (and cares about) all aspects of my life. Once I've locked this down, I'll have peace of mind to enjoy the next chapter of my adventure. 

http://www.scotiabank.com/swm/en/0,,9077,00.html