April 13, 2024
Finance

I Meet With 4 Financial Experts Every January


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  • I have a personal banker I work with to learn about new products and services at my bank branch.
  • I also meet with my independent financial advisor, and I check in with an advisor at my online bank.
  • Finally, I ask my accountant about the tax implications for any of my big plans for the year.

I like to start the new year right by reflecting on the previous year and getting my financial planning in gear to support my goals in the year ahead. I meet with my financial team at least once a year, usually in January, and more often when I experience or plan big life changes, like buying a house.

Here’s how I engage my team of financial advisors and other experts to stay on top of my finances and plan for the future.

1. I check in with my personal banker

I have my personal and business banking as well as some of my investments with BMO. I have a personal banker I work with at my branch. He’s friendly and responsive, and I reach out to him periodically throughout the year with questions, usually about my business banking needs.

When I dive into financial planning for the year ahead, my first action item is to reach out to Andrew at BMO. I touch base with him about the products and services I’m already using and learn what’s new that might work for me.

This year, I have an investment that’s been locked away for the past five years that’s maturing. I connected with Andrew to get an update on the interest earned on this investment and to learn when the funds will be available to me. This information helps me get a clearer sense of my financial landscape and is essential to doing my homework in advance of my annual financial planning session.

2. I meet with my independent financial advisor

I really lucked out when I found my financial advisor, Liz, at the New School of Finance. We’ve been working together since 2017 and she continues to play a key role in my financial freedom. I genuinely look forward to our sessions!

The bulk of my planning work happens when I meet with Liz, preferably in January and after I’ve completed my reflection work on the previous year and gathered the necessary information from my bank. There’s some homework for me to prepare and send to Liz in advance of our session so that she can determine what we should cover.

This homework includes a detailed sketch of my current financial situation, including my monthly expenses and income, savings, investments, and debt. I also share my financial goals for the year ahead and any issues I want to be sure to discuss with her.

During our session, we address my concerns, develop a strategy for me to reach my financial goals in the year ahead, and discuss how to restructure my finances accordingly. We talk everything through, strategize, and sketch out a plan. Meeting with Liz is some of the best money and time I spend all year. I come away from our sessions feeling confident, capable, and armed with clear next steps.

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3. I meet with my wealth advisor at my online bank

With my financial plan for the new year in hand, I reach out to make an appointment with Scott, my wealth advisor at Wealthsimple. Liz and I will have already discussed what to do with my investments and savings accounts. I’ll share my plan for the new year with Scott and we’ll discuss my options for making adjustments to my savings accounts and investments.

I typically meet with Scott at least once a year, but sometimes more often — for example, when Wealthsimple has new offers that could work for my savings and investment structure and help me reach my goals faster. I really appreciate that I have a dedicated person I can speak to; Scott’s always happy to answer my questions and talk through ideas.

One of the advantages of an online bank is that you can be pretty autonomous. You can go in and make changes or transfers yourself. This is good, but I also like that Scott does some of this work for me in real time during our sessions.

4. I connect with my accountant

Finally, if my financial plan for the new year has tax implications I’ll reach out to Danny, my accountant. In 2023 I made the shift to paying my business-related taxes quarterly, and there was a big learning curve that Danny helped me navigate.

It’s taken me some time to find the right team of financial experts to help me manage my money and reach my financial goals. And I’m always honing the multi-step process. Over the years, I’ve learned who to speak to and when, and also how they can best support me.



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