The greatest gift you can give yourself is a visit to a financial advisor before RRSP season closes on March 1st. It may be one of those things you’ve been putting off for another day, but the peace of mind a visit to @Scotiabank gave me was worth its weight in couture – trust me.

Photo by Phillip Chin

As I embark on a new freelance career, it’s more important than ever to know that I have a solid financial foundation for my retirement. I’ve let the money minds at my corporate jobs do the heavy lifting for me for the past 20 years but now it’s up to me, as chief writer and bottle washer of my own business, to take care of the planning myself. And as my Dad has told me in the past, “nobody cares about your money like you do.”

While I want to feel in charge, I’m fully aware that I don’t have the background or know-how to make retirement planning decisions on my own. This tax season, I’m collaborating with Scotiabank to make sure my RSP planning continues on track. I spent just over an hour with one of their professional financial advisors reviewing my past financial investments, current expenses, and future retirement wish list, but the length of your session will vary depending on your needs. Derrick, my advisor, usually suggests scheduling an hour. Together, he helped me pull together a realistic customized plan that I feel comfortable with. It’s worth nothing that this is a free service Scotiabank provides, with no minimum balance required.

Photo by Phillip Chin

One area that I focused on in our conversation was my current investment mix. My financial advisor’s advice acted like a GPS to the car that I’m driving. I’m making the decisions and he’s helping me map my future road while making maintenance and upgrade suggestions. His advice made sense – we’re in that car together but I’m driving – and he was quick to explain his points and answer all of my questions. I don’t want to repeat past mistakes when I took advice that I wasn’t comfortable admitting that I didn’t understand.

Because self-employment can be risky, we talked about my need to slightly alter my asset mix from 100% equities to include 10% fixed income investments such as bond funds or GICs. I’ve done a good job of managing my portfolio to date but need to include some more conservative investments.

Our conversation ranged from taking into account my future income stream (existing government and company pension plans, and part-time income); my tolerance for risk (medium to high); my retirement goals (travel and shoes); and how much money I’ll need to prepare for a life expectancy of age 90 (that was weird but so necessary).

Homework: My big takeaway is that I need to plan a disciplined budget that will monitor my monthly fixed expenses like my home, transportation and food. I consider those fixed costs as my “cake” before I add the “frosting” which is my travel and fashion wants. Scotiabank has a helpful budgeting tool called the Money Finder Calculator that I’ll use.

I left with a customized financial plan, complete with helpful graphs, for me to build upon. And I plan to meet with my advisor soon to follow up on my homework and next steps. After that, I’ll be booking my appointments every six to nine months (like my dentist), and any other time that I experience a major life change – like a move or new job. For now, I have the peace of mind that I’m on the right track and prepared for whatever curve balls life throws at me … and that is so comforting!

#financialplan #freelancelife #lisatant #rrsp #scotiabank #scotiasavings #sponsored

This post is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be specific financial or tax advice.