Many Canadians are not planning their financial future because ‘blind spots’—things they don’t know how to deal with or avoid because they don’t understand—may be getting in the way of issues like understanding how much they need to save for retirement or even if full retirement is within their grasp.
In fact, almost half of respondents in a recent survey conducted by Leger for FP Canada, indicated this was a significant blind spot for them, closely followed by their lack of clarity about their long-term financial goals. One in three identified with being so overwhelmed by the options they would “wait until I can figure it out.”
Waiting is not a wise option, says Tina Tehranchian, a Certified Financial Planner® professional at Assante Capital Management Ltd. in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
“Financial planning can appear intimidating for most of us. When we’re faced with something that seems overwhelming, it’s easier to ignore it,” she says. But not confronting our blind spots to the extent that they prevent a person from planning for their future will only make the situation more challenging as time goes on.
“CFP professionals help people understand that everything is not done overnight – we break it down into small steps, making it digestible and easy to understand so we can move forward with confidence,” adds Ms. Tehranchian.
Peter Ficek, a CFP professional with Calgary-based Terra Firma Financial, believes one of the reasons people have blind spots about financial planning is the myriad options available in the marketplace.
“With all the choices and different channels – investments, insurance, risk management, estate planning – people often don’t know which to choose so they don’t choose any at all,” he says. "A CFP professional is trained and certified through a rigorous educational program to develop a plan that takes into account all the different financial aspects of their life. It’s absolutely necessary to consider all these different channels and how they interrelate with one another. A CFP professional is an educator, a coach and the quarterback to manage the relationship with any other advisers.”
Ms. Tehranchian says defining objectives is important.
“A professional planner will help you create a vision for your future and will work with you to refine that vision as life and priorities change over time," she says.
Prioritizing and focusing on achievable goals will help build confidence and over time will expand our realization on what is possible for our lives and how we have the capacity to make that happen.
"At each stage of life different goals take priority. A plan of action will show what needs to be and can be done to achieve your goals,” she adds.
Ms. Tehranchian likens financial planning to climbing a mountain.
“Remember that while a climbing mountain can look daunting at first sight, mountaineers start their expeditions by setting realistic goals, use a guide that knows the mountain terrain well and helps them navigate the landscape, and then devise a step-by-step plan for reaching the peak. If you follow the same process when it comes to your financial planning, you can achieve your financial goals the same way that mountaineers manage to reach the peak of the highest mountains,” says Ms. Tehranchian
Ms. Tehranchian says those who don’t have a financial plan should meet with a CFP professional to start the process.
"Don’t go it alone. You don’t have to. That’s why we are here,” she adds.
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To learn more about setting and achieving your financial goals, read Get SMART to achieve your financial goals and Live your bucket list: 8 ways to turn goals into reality and watch Your million-dollar plan.