Reaching your financial goals little by little

Financial planning doesn't have to be complicated

Sarah Twomey | Desjardins Group

Given your many professional and personal demands, you may wonder how you'll ever be able to save for a new baby, a new home or even pay down your debt. Maybe you'd like to be able to deal with the unexpected by building an emergency fund. Perhaps you simply want to prepare for the future. But it all seems so complicated and it's hard to know where to start. 

Desjardins' financial experts believe that you can make it happen and that it all starts with a budget. It doesn't have to be too complex, just start by listing your expected income and expenses. Some expenses are easy to identify: rent, car loan, groceries, entertainment, utilities, etc. Remember to also add a savings component to your budget.

If you feel like there isn't much wiggle room for savings, try tracking all your expenses for a month. If you use your debit or credit card for most purchases, all you have to do is download the information from your statement into a spreadsheet or financial software. 

That way you can see where your money goes and identify those items that can be cut back or eliminated. The result is that you may find some extra money that you can stash away.

Another easy way to improve your savings habit is through pre-authorized transfers from your chequing account to a regular savings account or a registered savings account like an RRSP or a TFSA. The best part is that you're in control because you're choosing the amount and frequency (i.e. monthly, weekly, bi-weekly). 

It also helps to discuss your objectives and concerns with a financial advisor. He or she can help you create a solid financial plan that allows you to maintain your lifestyle, protect your loved ones from financial worry and safeguard your assets in case of death. 

Be sure to bring all your relevant personal documents to your meeting, like:
  • Group insurance statements 
  • Pension plan statement(s) 
  • Insurance policies 
  • Legal documents (will, power of attorney, etc.) 
  • Investment statements

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