Valley First

Keep Financial Planning Top of Mind

Have you taken a mental vacation from your financial planning?
August 6, 2013

Penticton, B.C.—Financial planning and household budget discussions are often left to RRSP season and tax time; usually revolving around how to find a few extra dollars to put toward your retirement or if you’ll see a tax refund or invoice.

During the rest of the year, however, little thought is giving to financial planning. This is even truer of the summertime when one in three Canadians say they take a mental vacation from thinking about their finances.

Jay Christensen, an investment specialist at Valley First says financial reviews shouldn’t be an annual event. Mid-year check-ups can help keep financial goals on track and summer spending in check.

Revisit or create or financial plan
“Summer is often a time for rest and relaxation,” says Christensen “With fewer distractions, this can put you in a great frame of mind for reviewing your financial plan. For those who don’t have a plan, which is more than 50 per cent of Canadians, it’s also a perfect time to meet with a financial advisor and get a written plan in place.”

Review your spending
For the third of Canadians who take a mental vacation from personal finances, there can be a big impact on savings and debt repayment. Not to mention increased non-essential spending as the people loosen the purse strings to enjoy the summer.

“When you’re away from your normal routine, it’s easy to justify additional expenses as a few dollars here and there,” say Christensen. “But, this spending can really throw a savings plan of track. Every time you pull out your wallet, ask yourself if you need to be spending.”

Check in on your budget
Even the best budgets can’t help you if they aren’t followed or aren’t an accurate picture of your spending. As part of your financial review, set or revisit your budget to figure out where your money is really going.

Start tax planning early
Many people don’t start thinking about effective tax strategies until February or March and by then, with the exception of RRSP contributions, it’s too late.

“By being proactive, you can work with an advisor to create an effective tax strategy—maximizing life stage changes, potential deductions and credits and RSP contributions,” says Christensen. “The summer doesn’t need to be a total loss when it comes to financial planning. Avoiding that mental vacation can move you closer to your financial goals.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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