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Life Events

Financial Planning for Every Step of that Journey Called Life

We all have our different problems, priorities, time frames and circumstances when it comes to financial planning.  All the same, I thought that I’d list some of the more common legal and financial planning considerations we face at different stages in life, as well as some of the steps to take to both efficiently accomplish your goals and to reduce the fallout if life intervenes in a negative way.  It is up to you to determine priorities and if anything is missing from the various lists.

First “Real” Job

When I took my first job after university, I was earning peanuts, worried about paying down student loans and trying to figure out what came next.   Looking back in time, I would have recommended the following steps to the younger, thinner me or congratulated my taller, darker-haired self for the things I did do. read more


Getting Married

I was like most young married people – no real financial resources and I didn’t really know what to expect when I started sharing my finances with someone else.  In fact, I barely gave it a second thought!  I soon realized that it was a lot more complicated than I anticipated.  Statistics suggest that financial issues are the #1 reason for fights between spouses.  Accordingly, here are some of the steps I suggest taking (preferably before saying “I do” or even living together) in order to hopefully head off problems before they arise or at least minimize their impact. read more


Death of a Spouse

Fortunately, I do not have any personal experience with this dreadful but inevitable event.   In this situation, many of the steps I believe will help you transition into the next phase of your life are similar to getting divorced.   As in the case of divorce,  many of my widowed clients have taken great comfort in updating their financial plan and feeling like they are taking control of their lives once again.  Here are some other steps to consider if you are recently bereaved or just want to start planning against that eventuality. read more



In theory, this should be an ongoing process and the last 5 years before ‘pulling the pin’ should merely be refining rather than starting from scratch.  Of course, life doesn’t always work that way and the adage “never late than never” is quite true, although so is “the sooner the better.”  Accordingly, if you haven’t started it makes sense to make this a priority rather than putting it off any longer.  Some of the suggestions may be more applicable in the years immediately preceding retirement but some of the steps are easier and lead to better results if done many years in advance.  Here are some ideas to help you plan and save for retirement, minimize your taxes and potential problems, and successfully transition to that next phase in life. read more


First House

I ended up buying my first home in a seller’s market when houses were often on the market for days rather than weeks.  The house I ended up owning had 3 offers of sale the first day it was on the market and I ended up paying very slightly less than the listing price.  While I stayed well within my budget, looking back there were several things that I would have done differently.  Here are some suggestions to consider when shopping for your first (or 21st) home. read more


 Having Children

Most of my friends with children tell me how much having kids has changed their lives, from free time, sleep schedules, social activies and their careers.  While I can’t give you any suggestions on good preschools or how to find a reliable babysitter, I can help you deal with your financial affairs so that fewer things fall through the cracks, your money goes further and your family is protected if something goes wrong. read more


Getting Divorced

One of the things that I took away from getting divorced and seeing friends going through the same experience is that things are better once you come up with a game plan.  My advice to anyone going through this dreadful experience is to put some time into redoing their financial plan, making the necessary changes, and taking some of other suggestions and considerations I list below into acount. read more


Estate Planning

Like retirement planning, estate planning is an ongoing process that needs to be revisited every few years or if there is a significant change in circumstances.  It is also like retirement planning – better late than never, but there are often benefits to starting sooner rather than later, as some of the steps may take years or decades to bear fruit.  Many people assume that they are good to go (so to speak) so long as they have a Will, a bit of life insurance and named beneficiaries to their RRSPs and pensions.  This may be true, but there are usually further steps that you can take to reduce taxes, probate fees, estate costs and the chances of unintended results.   Moreover, all Wills are not created equal – a good Will can also provide significant extra benefits to your heirs and make any inheritance go further.  Check out the following suggestions if you want to know more. read more

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