When I Grow Up...

Peter Katevatis - Apr 14, 2016
One of my favourite questions to ask my clients is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  All of my clients are “grown ups” in the traditional sense, but they all know their future is still ahead of them.  Each person has his or her own goals a

One of my favourite questions to ask my clients is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  All of my clients are “grown ups” in the traditional sense, but they all know their future is still ahead of them.  Each person has his or her own goals and ideas, but very few verbalize them or put them on paper. 

 

 

Investment plans and stock picking used to be transferrable to everyone.  If the NEI Ethical Global Fund is a good performer, shouldn’t it be right for everyone?  Not anymore.  Today, we customize our investment plans based on each client’s individual risk tolerance and investment goals.  This is a key difference to the way things were done 10, 20, or 50 years ago.  Although sadly this methodology is still commonplace for some advisors today. 

 

The first step to a customized investment plan is to complete your own personal Wealth Assessment.  This initial step is often the most onerous for many individuals.  It’s that THING you always mean to do but never get around to it.  Your Wealth Assessment can sit on top of that pile of boxes in the corner of the garage and enjoy 10 years of peace being the quiet little elephant in the room. 

What is a Wealth Assessment?  A Wealth Assessment is a financial snapshot of your current situation and a list of goals and desires that you wish to achieve.  These are wonderful fun things like, "make the journey to see Machu Picchu" or "golf 3 times per week" or "grow the tastiest tomatoes this side of Rome".  Many clients avoid the Wealth Assessment and treat it like a financial enema. 

 

What do you do with this information? Once this step is complete, our team at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Planning Services can start laying the groundwork for your plan.  Here's the newsflash that no financial professional will tell you: IT WILL BE WRONG.  It is statistically impossible for a financial plan to be executed exactly correct... and that is ok.  Your investments will overshoot (hooray, bull market!) or under perform due to poor performance, or increased costs to your future goals (and that is ok too).  The key to a successful financial plan is to tweak it regularly and keep it updated. 

 

My experience is that an annual review is sufficient unless you have a major change in your finances or your goals.  A birth or a death in the family can also flip your financial plan upside down.  So, what do you want to be when you grow up?  For some it's an easy answer, for others a challenge. 

 

As Mark Twain wrote: 

 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 

There will always be things you didn't do, but with a solid plan you can keep that list as short as possible.