How a financial planner can help with “the money talk”
There’s a lot to think about when you’re preparing to get married. And very likely, financial planning isn’t at the top of the list. That’s where a good financial planner can be invaluable. In my own practice, I counsel young couples on these and many other financial matters that will be specific to each couple. Setting out in marriage should be a happy occasion. And it will be a whole lot smoother if you get the “money talk” out of the way now. A Certified Financial Planner can provide invaluable help for young couples just starting out:
1. A foundation in trust. First, planners want to get to know you as a couple – your life goals, values, investment goals, and financial objectives. Likewise, you’ll want to get to know your planner – who they are, how they work, their goals and aspirations. It’s all about trust. Only then will a planner provide you with an action plan with specific recommendations.
2. Building a long-term portfolio. A competent planner should review your combined portfolio in light of your financial plan. They’ll create a detailed statement of investment objectives, defining the optimal allocation of your investment assets – and advise you on the best way to combine assets or keep them separate if that’s your wish. And they’ll provide a detailed strategy for the investment management team.
3. Protecting what’s important. No one likes to talk insurance. But the fact is that insurance is a critical part of your overall financial plan, especially for couples getting ready to tie the knot. And all too often, we have too much in some areas, too little in others, and we’re typically paying too much. A planner with insurance training will analyze your current protection, including all employment coverage and benefits, assess your true needs, and create a cost-effective plan that truly protects your family, your home, and your health in the most cost-effective way possible.
4. Tax planning. You are legally entitled to arrange your affairs to pay the least amount of tax. In fact, you’d be foolish to do otherwise. A financial planner will analyze your current tax situation and recommend any major tax-planning opportunities you might have missed or new ones that arise when you are married. This includes specialized tax-minimization planning for those who are business owner/managers, professionals, senior executives, and self-employed. Your planner should have access to a network of trusted legal and accounting experts that you can consult. Or they should be willing to coordinate with your own accountant. Either way, your aim is to cut your tax bill to the bone.
5. Giving your kids a head start in life. Most newlywed young couples plan on having a family. The hope is that eventually your kids will attend post-secondary school. But the facts are frightening. Today, an average four-year university education can cost a minimum of $64,000 by the time you factor in all the costs of tuition and books, residence, travel, and living expenses. Much more if you’re considering a professional degree. And that’s using current costs. In 17 years, it’ll be more. Do you really want to saddle your kids with a $64,000, $74,000, $104,000 debt on graduation? Of course not! You want to give them a head start in life. A financial planner should be able to show you how to start saving for your kids’ post-secondary education with tax-efficient plans like RESPs and TFSAs.
6. Estate and will planning. In fact, wills are only one part of an estate plan. Other key items could include trusts, registered accounts, and insurance policies. All of these elements, and more, go into creating an estate plan that provides for your family and determines how your assets are transferred to the next generation. A financial planner should help you create an estate plan if you don’t have one. Or review what you already have.
It should be clear now that real financial planning requires more than what you can get out of a box. So think outside the box! Take the time to study this list and take it with you when you interview candidates to be your financial planner.
© 2018 by Robyn K. Thompson. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. This article is for information only and is not intended as personal investment or financial advice.