Q. What’s the difference between a financial plan and a Total Wealth Plan?
A. About 40 hours of analysis and consultation.
There was a time when financial plans contained little more than a simple graph showing what your investments might be worth in future years. But Canadians want more out of their financial plan these days. A fine meal involves a master chef, great farmers, and quality ingredients. A financial plan is more useful if it is carefully crafted following a full “discovery” that provides personal context to each client’s numbers and unique circumstances.
“Clients receive a 40-60 page document that contains everything from micro-details of how much they’ll earn from each pension source to personal information like how they plan to spend their time in retirement and how their kids or parents affect their plans. That’s why we call it Total Wealth Planning, not just financial planning,” says Dave Lee, Scotia Wealth Management Senior Wealth Advisor.
Think of Dave as your project manager, your primary contact every step of the way. Dave will introduce a number of specialists as the need arises, and Michelle Embree is often the first.
“Dave and I are both Certified Financial Planners, but my role is more like the architect who puts your plan on paper, and Dave is the builder and then the property manager making it all happen through the months and years,” Michelle says.
Soft and hard facts
Most financial planners can tally your income, expenses and other hard facts, but Total Wealth Planners like Michelle have a talent for building trust with clients, and that reveals ‘softer’ information.
“Soft facts are things without a specific dollar value, which are still very important. Are you expecting to spend time or money caring for ageing parents? Are you planning to travel when you retire, volunteer, or move closer to your grandkids? Would you like to contribute to your children’s education or help with a down payment on their first house? You may not yet know the specifics, but the more information we can gather the better sense we’ll get of what’s possible,” she says.
Once Michelle has put together your Total Wealth Plan, it is shared with a range of specialists in tax, estate planning, risk, investment management, etc. who identify “blind spots” and suggest appropriate solutions. Should your estate be put in trust? Could insurance improve your tax strategy?
“Once all those specialists weigh in, I meet with my clients to review the recommendations and set priorities,” Dave says. “This document is something we continue to revisit over time. It’s also something clients share with their accountant and their lawyer. We create an action plan for the next year and set goals for various time frames. And as we refer back to the plan and keep it updated, it gains further value over time.”
Call 604.535.4743 to book an appointment with Dave Lee in White Rock, or email email@example.com to discuss investments, life insurance, retirement planning, estate planning, generating income and minimizing your taxes. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more financial insights.
ScotiaMcLeod, a division of Scotia Capital Inc.