Sidney financial planner Alistair Mackay.

How to build a successful financial plan: expert answers common questions

Communication is key at all stages of your financial planning process

Getting your financial advice from your neighbour or plumber is rarely a good idea. But neither is neglecting to regularly revisit your financial plan with your advisor.

While knowledge and experience are key to creating a successful financial plan, so too is communication with your advisor, whether you’re just starting out, you’re in the accumulation stage or ready to draw income from your investments, says financial planner Alistair Mackay, with 30 years in the industry.

“I’m a big believer in two-way communication. I build a plan with the client, then we review it and adjust it based on factors like market conditions and their stage of life,” Alistair says from his office on Fifth Street in the heart of Sidney.

“I like to say, your plan is built from plasticine, not concrete.”

When should I start? “It’s never too early to begin your financial plan, but it’s also never too late to do any kind of financial planning,” Alistair says. Families can even begin the planning discussion with their children’s allowance. Then, as children get older, planning becomes more meaningful, as they save for their first car, their first home and then for retirement.

What should I consider in my plan? In addition to factors like the length of time you have to save and your other assets and liabilities, consider questions such as whether you’ll have an employer pension in your retirement, the expected size of your self-funded plan, how early you hope to retire and the income level you’d like to enjoy.

“There’s so many questions people have and that’s where I come in and tailor make the plan to suit their needs,” Alistair says.

Are there programs I might be missing? Today, many families know about the Registered Education Savings Plan, where they contribute to a fund and the federal government tops up with a grant. “However people often aren’t aware additional grant money is available from the province and it’s just a matter of getting their share of it,” Alistair says.

Also often missed is the Registered Disability Savings Program, which works in a similar way. Parents of those qualifying for the Disability Tax Credit can also to save for their support down the road, and receive grant money to complement their savings. “It’s a great way the government helps you to save for your child’s future,” Alistair says.

Do I need to think about my beneficiaries? Planning for your legacy is also important, not only to ensure your assets are distributed as you wish, but also so your beneficiaries receive all you want them to, Alistair notes.

“If at the end of the day you’ve earned well and saved well, what else do you need to do to pass that on to the next generation?”

To learn more about planning for your financial future, call Alistair Mackay at 250-514-8424 or email alistairmackayfp@outlook.com

Disclosure: Mutual funds are offered through Worldsource Financial Management Inc., sponsoring mutual fund dealer. Financial planning services are offered through Alistair Mackay Financial Planning.

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