We all know that strange combination of fear and excitement that comes with starting something new. Maybe you experienced it walking through the front door of your first real job: excitement to have a solid grip on the first rung of your career ladder; fear that a shiny new degree and limited life experience would not be enough.
Or maybe you felt a similar mix when you brought your first child home from the hospital: excitement to embark on a new life stage as a parent; fear, because you were suddenly vividly aware that you had no idea what you were doing.
Fortunately (for our colleagues and our kids), we learned how to figure things out. We learned how to succeed in our work, and how to raise mostly wonderful human beings. We learned a lot through trial and error, yes. But we also learned by asking the right questions of people who’d been there before us – our coworkers and mentors, our parents and friends.
Investing can feel both exciting and scary too, especially if you’re just starting to take an active role in managing your wealth. Taking that first step into the unknown is always the hardest part. But it doesn’t take long to grow your confidence – with kids, with work or with money – if you know the right questions to ask.
Here are three questions you can ask your wealth advisor today.
1. How do I build the right financial plan for my future?
When we think about our finances, we often focus on two things: where we are today, and where we want to be in the future. But although we may spend time dreaming of the things we’ll do “someday” — someday, I’ll travel; someday, I’ll build my dream home — it’s easy to get so caught up in the daily grind that you have no time to find the answers you need to get you from here to there.
Answers to questions like: Am I saving enough money? How should I be handling my mortgage? Am I taking too much risk with my investments – or maybe not enough? How long is it going to take to reach my financial goals? Will I ever get there?
This is where your wealth advisor comes in. They can answer all of these questions and more. And they’ll also ask you a lot of open-ended questions to understand your current life and the kind of future you want to create.
Of course, your goals and priorities are apt to evolve and shift as you move through different stages of life, which will likely lead to more questions. Like, how will a career change affect my retirement goals? Or maybe, what happens to my RESPs if my kid decides not to go to post-secondary school?
The more you involve your wealth advisor in your investment planning process, the more they can help you adapt your financial strategy to your changing needs.
2. How do I protect my investments?
You’ve got a plan in place. Now, you just need to follow it. Sounds easy, right?
Except … life doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes we’re the driving force behind change and we can choose our direction. And sometimes those changes are thrust upon us by external forces beyond our control. At best, these result in minor inconveniences. At worst, they’re devastating events that seriously alter the course of our lives, like losing your home to a fire, or being struck by a critical illness or injury. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling to watch the things you’ve worked so hard for – the things you’ve built your lives around – slip away.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Although you may not be able to predict the turns your life while take, you can prepare for them. And one of the best ways to do this is by asking your wealth protection specialist about insurance.
Having the right insurance in place to protect your assets is an investment in peace of mind. Knowing with confidence that your loved ones are protected, and that money is the last thing you need to worry about in times of stress, means that you can turn your full focus to where it needs to be: overcoming the challenge at hand.
Your wealth protection specialist can answer all your ‘what if’ questions, and help you figure out the type of insurance and amount of coverage you need to feel protected.
3. Who should I involve in my investment planning?
You should involve the people who have a stake in your financial future: those contributing to your financial situation, like your spouse or partner, and those who stand to benefit from it, like your children.
Most wealth experts will advise you to talk to your kids about money from an early age. This becomes even more important as your kids start making major financial decisions of their own, like where to go to school and where to live (once they’ve vacated the basement). They (and you) need to have a clear understanding of the level of financial support you’re planning to provide before those decisions are made.
As a member of the sandwich generation – where you get to worry about your parents and your kids –you should also be talking to your parents about their finances. Do they have enough wealth to support their future needs? Do you need to prepare to receive a future inheritance?
If you have yet to have these conversations, you’re not alone. IPC Private Wealth found that nearly 60% hadn’t shared their estate plans with their families and other beneficiaries, and less than 20% had involved their family in talks with their wealth advisors.
These can be difficult conversations to have, and family dynamics can quickly escalate the emotional aspect of money. That’s why its important to involve an impartial third-party, such as your wealth advisor, in those conversations. They’ll work with you and your team – whether that includes your lawyer, accountant, spouse, parents or kids – to keep the focus on building the right strategy for your wealth now and in the future.
Your wealth advisor is ready to answer any questions you have about managing your wealth. All you have to do is ask.