February - the month New Year’s resolutions go to die. All kidding aside, most of us begin the year with a zest for fresh beginnings and a commitment to change. As the days and weeks pass, the fire to pursue these resolutions seems to dwindle. So many New Year’s resolutions revolve around the idea of improved physical health. What if we committed to our financial health with the same enthusiasm? Maybe the way we tackle these two types of resolutions aren’t so different?
The importance of tracking
There are a million weight-loss regimes out there but most of them have one thing in common – the importance of tracking. Whether it be tracking calories, macros (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, etc.), points, or liters of water, the critical piece is knowing the data. Tracking your food intake provides insights as to where your daily calories are coming from, if you are consuming too much or too little, and potential nutrient deficiencies. The same idea can be applied to expenses. The purpose of a budget isn’t to lock-in a strict spending limit with zero flexibility. It is merely a way to show you how much you earn, how much you spend, and where you are spending it. If you don’t know where you are, how do you know where you are going? A simple net worth statement can be a powerful tool in starting to set goals and build a financial plan.
Short term pain, long term gain
An exercise performed with proper technique and intention will generally produce discomfort in the target muscle. Repeated regularly, these exercises result in improved long-term strength. Cutting an exercise short at the first twinge of pain (the “good” pain of course), won’t allow you to build that strength. The same things applies to your portfolio. History shows that time in the market is more important than timing the market. Selling out of an investment at the first sign of a headwind only realizes those loses. Documenting your goals in a financial plan and allowing that plan to be the blueprint for your investment strategy can help reduce anxiety when weathering the storm of short-term market volatility.
Enlist the help of a professional
Just as a personal trainer helps you to set fitness goals and creates a plan to accomplish them, working with a wealth professional can ensure you are positioned for financial success. Engaging with a qualified partner helps you plan for your future taking advantage of all planning opportunities, tax efficiencies and investment strategies. Most importantly, they ensure you keep your resolutions!
This article is supplied by Elizabeth de Groot, CFP, FCSI, CIWM, FMA, Vice-President, Investment & Wealth Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Member–Canadian Investor Protection Fund. This information is not intended as nor does it constitute tax or legal advice. Readers should consult their own lawyer, accountant or other professional advisor when planning to implement a strategy