Financial Planning Week 2019
Now in its eleventh year, today marks the first day of Financial Planning Week (FPW) across Canada. FPW is an integral part of national Financial Literacy Month and I thought that it was a good time to remind everyone, regardless of what stage of life you are in, of the importance of building a financial plan.
What is a real financial plan? It is NOT a quarterly statement that shows how your investment portfolio is performing nor is it a one page document with some basic plans for how to draw out your retirement income.
A real financial plan is a living document that shows where you are today, where you’d like to be in the future and details exactly how you will get there. In addition, a living plan is one that is regularly updated to account for all of the changes that occur in the markets and your own life.
The goals of FPW are to raise awareness of the importance of proper financial planning and to provoke a call to action from both the financial industry and consumers alike. Repeated research studies have shown that Canadians who engage in comprehensive financial planning report significantly higher levels of financial and emotional well-being.
They are more confident in their ability to handle the inevitable bumps in life and are better equipped to achieving their goals. Most importantly, they report lower overall stress.
The results from one of these recent of these studies serve as a firm reminder of the importance of getting professional help:
- 79 per cent of Canadians don’t have strong confidence that they will achieve their financial life goals.
- Only 18 per cent strongly agree that they are knowledgeable about financial matters.
- A mere 20 per cent strongly agree that they’re successful in sticking to the financial strategies they do have in place.
- 68 per cent of Canadians say that they worry a lot about their financial situation.
The majority of Canadians don’t have a comprehensive financial plan in place and this is creating considerable (unnecessary) stress on many people. Whether you are in your early 20’s or already retired, a sound financial plan can significantly improve your well being and your economic situation.
Part of the focus of FPW is to help educate consumers on the differences of the quality of advice they receive and in particular, educate Canadians on the “Gold Standard” – the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. Unlike other designations, the CFP mark follows internationally recognized standards of knowledge, skills and abilities.
CFP professionals are ethically obligated to put their clients’ interests first and have completed a rigorous education program over four years which includes two national exams. To maintain their CFP designation, they must complete required professional education every year and continue to abide by the CFP code of conduct.
A sound financial plan will help you make informed choices when faced with life’s inevitable changes. More importantly, many people say that a sound financial plan helps them get a good sleep at night.
If you haven’t done so already, consider this year’s Financial Planning Week as your “call to action”. Make a plan to sit down with a Certified Financial Planner professional this week and get your own financial plan started!