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What are your greatest assets?
How planning can help safeguard the important things in life
Many of us share the same beliefs about what’s most important in life – family, security, and the need to make a meaningful contribution, for example. But while our values remain steadfast, our needs change as life evolves. Whether you’re just starting out, in your prime earning years, or just retired, your chances of financial success are better with proper planning and expert guidance. In this edition of Investment Matters we offer portraits of some of the common threads that run though our lives, and some advice on how to start on the road to financial security.
Portrait 1: The building stage
Building a life together

Tim and Vivian know they’re making good progress. After two years of marriage, they’re looking to buy their first house together, a small bungalow on a tree-lined street, and hope that this will be home to the children they plan to have over the next few years. Both work at jobs they love – Vivian as an office manager in a small accounting firm; Tim has just started his own practice as an occupational therapist within a team of rehabilitation specialists.
But there’s a feeling of worry that neither can put aside. They’ve just come through a period of hardship while they paid off Tim’s student loans and saved the down payment for their house, only to find there are more uncertainties than ever when it comes to their finances. They’ve had to fall back on a line of credit a few times in the last couple of years, and are still working on paying that off. And, with all the different options they’ve heard about, they’re worried the mortgage they get may not be the best one for them. Though it seems a long way in the future, they know they must also start thinking seriously about their retirement savings but feel that this is nearly impossible right now. At this rate, they fear, they’ll never get ahead.
Where to start
A first step to the peace of mind Tim and Vivian are seeking is to create a budget that outlines their day-to-day financial needs and looks at how these shorter-term requirements will be met. Then, they must create a plan for debt reduction in the shorter term and retirement saving in the longer term.
Using Scotiabank tools to review and rank their personal and financial goals, and to analyze their income and spending, a Scotiabank representative can help Tim and Vivian gain a better understanding of their current financial situation. A consultation with their Scotiabank representative, an expert on personal borrowing and investment needs, can help them choose the best mortgage, and develop regular savings and investment plans to match their needs.
Portrait 2: The establishing stage
Established values
Hal and Janet feel very fortunate. After years of hard work, the construction company they started 10 years ago has started to do well, a payoff from the housing boom of recent years. Thanks to the sacrifices they’ve made over the years and business success, they find themselves with significant levels of assets, both in their RSPs and outside. Though they have a mortgage on their home, the amount they owe is falling steadily, and the children are growing up quickly.
But there’s been a lot to think about lately. For one thing, the untimely death of a close friend has left Hal worrying a lot about what would happen to his family if something unexpected were to happen to him. Also, what about the family business – where would that end up? And with the eldest of their three children starting high school next year, the rising cost of post-secondary education, so much in the news lately, has also been weighing on their minds. Where to start
Hal and Janet have a growing number of financialplanning needs that must be addressed as soon as possible, and that may be best served by a comprehensive financial plan that uses a “whole-life” approach to integrate all their diverse requirements. In terms of saving for their children’s education, they must review options for saving, such as registered education savings plans (RESPs). A ScotiaMcLeod® Financial Planner, with the assistance of Hal’s and Janet’s Scotiabank representative, can help them deal with these and other significant issues. The Financial Planner will help Hal and Janet develop a long-term investment strategy. A key aspect of this disciplined approach is establishing the appropriate investment mix to provide the best return possible for their appropriate level of risk. The investment strategy then guides the professional portfolio monitoring and recommendations as part of an ongoing relationship.
Protection also extends to planning their wills and estates. It’s important to look at appointing a guardian for their young children as well as someone to serve as substitute decision maker, in case either or both of them become incapacitated by illness or injury. Through the will-planning process, Hal and Janet, can determine their goals and how best to meet the needs of their beneficiaries.
Portrait 3: Preservation stage
Planning for the best

Until her husband died a few years ago, Rose had little reason to pay attention to money. Her unexpected widowhood, however, has forced her to take responsibility for her finances. At the age of 62, and one year into retirement from the administrative assistant job she held for 20 years, she finds herself wondering more than ever about whether she has enough to live comfortably for the rest of her life. She’d also like to fulfill her lifelong desire to travel, and leave something to her two grandchildren who are so dear to her. Especially with the way markets are behaving lately, she’s wary of investing and wants to be reassured that the nest egg she’s built so diligently is safe.
Where to start
A retirement projection that lets Rose know exactly where she stands in terms of her retirement income and expenses is a good place to start. With the help of her Scotiabank representative and some of Scotiabank’s financial tools, she can get an overall financial picture – that is, how much income she can expect to get from various public and private pensions, her non-registered savings, RSPs, and how this relates to her retirement goals. With this information, she can prioritize her “wish list” and determine which of her dreams to fulfill first. In terms of her savings, her Scotiabank representative can help determine her risk tolerance and time horizon and suggest a range of suitable investment options.
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