Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rebuilding Life One Step at a Time


No amount of financial planning can prepare you for the tragedies life can dole out.  Whether it’s the death of a loved one, an end to a relationship or marriage, your status can unexpectedly change from “We” to “I”. 
Friends of mine recently experienced a tragedy with the unexpected death of Paulette’s husband, Dick.   The day of his heart attack, the couple was preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and Paulette’s 70th birthday with family and friends. A joyous celebration changed in a moment’s notice to grief.  The least expected happened suddenly without any warning.  In mere seconds, grief shattered plans and dreams of a life together.
I am not a grief counsellor so I can only speak from experience that you need time to mourn before you can move on. Time will be a friend allowing faith to heal the pain and rebuild a life with new dreams.
Ruth, a dear friend who lost her husband on the threshold of her 51st birthday, shared this quote.  “Grief never ends but it changes.  It’s not a place to stay. The sense of loss must give way if we’re to value the life that was lived.” {~~Lois Wyse}  Eventually, on your own terms, you will find new ground to map your path. You need to go on living because there’s still so much good you can do. 
In the interim, you have to be careful not to make sudden changes. Some changes can result in everlasting regrets, both financially and emotionally. A client remarried within a year of his spouse’s death only to realize that he wasn’t ready to build a new life with another person.
During times of grief, your vision may be clouded so be extremely cautious of well-intended advice. A client entrusted her deceased spouse’s insurance money to an advisor. The investment was inappropriate, resulting in a financial loss.  She felt devastated by both losses, the death of her husband and the demise of her investment.         
In the life-changing days of your new “I” status, move ever so slowly and cautiously. Muster strength to get through one hour and one day at a time surrounding yourself with family and friends for support.  Build a network of trusted professionals as discussed in last week’s blog, Building Your Dream Team. AND only when you are ready, use the worksheet below to define new goals for yourself.

There aren’t enough bandages to cover the wounds created by death or a divorce.  The healing begins as one pushes through the pain and sadness in those raw moments. I came across the message below which provided hope for a brighter tomorrow during my darkness days.  These same words may comfort others afflicted with life’s tragedies.    

“Faith, at the very least asks us to believe this.  The path to heaven runs through suffering.  Through the sorrow of the world, through that certain fog of doubt and pain, we have faith, sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.  God is love. God is in control. God will wipe away every tear and replace it with a river of joy.” {~~Deforia Lane}


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Building Your “Dream” Team

Do you have a dream team working to build your dreams?  You may assume you can do things on your own with a little help “here and there”.  If you think you don’t need a dream team, you may choose to re-think your strategy.  With help from professionals, you can move your dreams forward effectively and perhaps more quickly. 

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional acts as your GPS system to guide you in the right direction and identify areas which require attention.  Only by working together as a team with other professionals do big and little things get accomplished.  Someone once said that when Mother Teresa spoke, everyone listened. Even today, her profound messages ring true.  One of my fondest quotes from Mother Teresa paraphrased is “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

Why is it important to rely on professional help?  Here are some reasons.

1.               Discovering effective strategies to accomplish our dreams may be identified by someone else other than ourselves. You’ve heard the common advice about getting a second opinion. When one effective strategy is put in place, we trigger a ripple effect for others. For example, when you can find ways to reduce your taxes, you redirect money to fund other dream ambitions.


2.               Knowing all the features and benefits of every financial product would be impossible.  We simply don’t know what we don’t know. Matching specific products to our needs is best discussed with an expert. For example, the most recent challenge is when it is suitable to use a Tax Free Saving Accounts (TFSA) versus a Registered Retirement Savings Account (RRSP)?  Again, the usual response is “it depends.” 


3.               Creating a smarter “you” happens when you seek advice from professionals.  A favorite proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We learn from each other.  “Book knowledge” is different when applied to real-life experiences.  Professed professionals learn from their clients’ circumstances and then pass on their experiences.
Financial Planning Wheel

With all the different aspects in the development of your financial plan, you need to engage others’ expertise.

q    A tax advisor needs to know the total amount held in registered investments in order to withdraw the money effectively. 

q    Having one investment advisor ensures investments are diversified so you do not face unnecessary market risk. 

q    An insurance representative determines whether you have adequate insurance to cover gaps in your coverage.

q    A lawyer designs your Last Will and Testament to safeguard your final wishes. 

q    A financial planner creates a picture with financial numbers to ensure you can retire with your desired income.

These illustrations are a sampling of the importance of hiring the “right people” to work with you to uncover the loopholes in your financial plan. When you engage the right professionals, you are in essence building your dream team to move your dreams forward both effectively and efficiently.