Hourly Based Fee
Only Advice
Call today to arrange a meeting.
1 (902) 393-1248
P.O. Box 1201     Charlottetown, PE     C1A 7M8
T: (902) 393-1248 (direct)     CorkumFinancial@pei.sympatico.ca     www.CorkumFinancial.ca

A Life Planning To Do List

The best way to get the most out of life is to do plan now. It is important to use your time and money to enjoy today but, also, to save enough to provide for tomorrow…financial planning for a balanced lifestyle.  Review the following list, which is by no means complete, and take steps now to ensure you meet your life’s goals and provide protection for your loved ones.

  1. Make or update your Will and Power of Attorney; consider a Health Care Directive. Consider the benefits and risks of joint ownership with your family members (or others), but only after obtaining professional advice on legal, tax and creditor issues.  You could incur immediate taxes and/or lose your assets because of unforeseen issues of your co-owner.
  2. Make a list of your important documents, information, assets (including original costs) and liabilities, and keep it with your Will.  Remember to include your “digital assets”, such as your social media accounts and online banking accounts.
  3. Pre-plan your funeral, whether you pre-pay for it or not.  See my web article – Planning Your Funeral – A Guide for You to Use. I
  4. Review your insurance coverage – life, health, disability, home, liability, travel, critical illness, long-term care, etc.  Is it adequate? Are the features appropriate for your personal situation? Are you getting the best price?
  5. Make a list of what you want to do before you are physically unable, and then plan when and how.
  6. Review your savings and investment plans: 
    • At any time, and for young adults:
      • Do you have a liquid emergency fund of 3 – 6 months of living expenses?
      • Are your cash needs for the next 5 – 10 years invested in safe securities?
      • Do you have a written financial plan setting out a savings plan to meet your goals, such as travelling, buying a home, raising a family, educating the children and, of course, retirement?
      • Are you taking advantage of all tax-beneficial plans, such as TFSAs (when in low tax brackets and for short-term needs), a First Home Savings Account, a RESP for children’s education needs, a RRSP for retirement, and A RDSP for disabled family members? Obtain professional advice on which to use when .
      • Are your long-term needs invested in a portfolio that you understand and well-diversified between safety and risk?
    • Pre-retirement
      • Are you saving 5 – 10% of your take-home pay on top of any employer savings or pension plans, or 10-15% (minimum) if you have no employer plans?
      • Are you increasing the safety of your investments as you get closer to retirement?
      • Are you planning your liabilities to be debt–free by retirement?
      • Are you meeting at least annually with your professional financial planner to review your progress?
    • Retirement
      • Are your day-to-day spending needs for the next 7 – 10 years in short-term, safe (i.e., fixed income) securities?
      • Are you still evaluating your investment performance at least annually?
      • Review your lifestyle expenses looking for savings. Buy only what you need, and comparison shop on all expenses,  such as your telephone, Internet, television, insurance, bank account fees, etc. Remember senior discounts.
      • Consider downsizing on housing and automobiles.  Get tax and legal advice before transferring your home to family members, especially when using a life interest.  See my article Life Interests and the Family Home.  Remember to report all real estate title changes, including your tax-free home transfer, on your tax return.
      • Understand the financial costs and available subsidies for seniors housing, including long-term care homes.  For PEI, see my article, Nursing Homes / Long-term Care Financial Assistance in PEI.
      • Educate children on financial management.  If called on to assist financially, obtain advice on the pros and cons of using a loan instead of a gift.  Consider helping them save money in a First Home Savings Account, TFSA, RESP, etc.
      • Do not miss deducting any new medical expenses.  See my article, Medical Expenses and Taxes.
  7. If you own a business, think about business succession planning at least five years before you retire.
  8. Think about how you can help others.  Donate to charity, now or in your Will. Feel good about helping others and reap significant tax savings as a bonus.  Volunteer for a cause that you like. Enjoy the personal enrichment from doing so.
  9. Expand your horizons with education and take an interest in your own financial situation:
    • Visit a professional tax planner; write down your questions and objectives before attending and insist on good answers.
    • Take continuing education through associations, community courses, self-study online, etc.
    • Arrange workshops and seminars for your non-profit groups or your company.

Blair Corkum, CPA, CA, R.F.P., CFP, CFDS, CLU, CHS holds his Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Registered Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist as well as several other financial planning related designations. Blair offers hourly based fee-only personal financial planning, holds no investment or insurance licenses, and receives no commissions or referral fees. This publication should not be construed as legal or investment advice. It is neither a definitive analysis of the law nor a substitute for professional advice which you should obtain before acting on information in this article. Information may change as a result of legislation or regulations issued after this article was written.©Blair Corkum