It’s RRSP time again. The time when many Canadians wait until the very last moment to make a contribution to reduce the previous year’s taxes.

You know who you are. You race to the nearest financial institution at the eleventh hour to hastily ‘park’ a random amount of money just in time to get a contribution receipt, rather than planning ahead to make the best investment choices for your hard-earned cash.

There are many pitfalls to the procrastinator’s approach to personal finance, says Mary Ann Kokan-Nyhof, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional and vice president with Desjardins Financial Security Investments in Winnipeg, MB, including lost opportunities to secure the very best retirement from your money.

Banishing the last-minute RRSP rush is easy. Here’s how:

Imagine your retirement: Do you envision a four-month winter getaway? A grand vacation each year? Remaining in the home you’ve raised your kids in? Or simply having the peace of mind that comes from knowing your money will last your entire life? Picturing your retirement destination will help get you there faster.

Don’t go it alone: Work with a qualified financial planner who can guide you to the right choices by factoring in your year-round investments and other activities, broad financial picture and ultimate goals for the future.

Be open to alternatives: A CFP professional can review your entire financial picture that goes well beyond investment and retirement planning and will lay out an ongoing strategy that fits your lifestyle, income and objectives. After all, no two individuals are alike. There are many factors to consider when making financial choices. An RRSP is only one option – you won’t know until you speak with a professional whether it’s the best one for you.

Rinse and repeat: It’s important to revisit your plan regularly. Marriage, children, job changes, new legislation, tax changes…they all have an impact on financial planning and life goals. A refresher with your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional can help make any necessary adjustments to ensure you’re still on the right track to reach your ultimate retirement destination, while living the life you want today.

Having a well-thought out financial plan means you can relax and never have to rush to the finish line again!

A qualified financial planner can help you make the right choices, at the right time, while taking into account your unique circumstances. FPSC’s Find a Planner or Certificant tool can put you in touch with someone in your area. 

For more on achieving your financial goals, read 5 ways early tax planning keeps money in your pocket and 6 ways to balance your financial priorities.