Here you need to prioritize the steps in your financial plan and then carry them out. If you have a planner, they may serve as your "coach." They will coordinate the whole process with you and with any other professionals you need, such as lawyers or stockbrokers. If you do not have a planner, you will need to contact these people yourself.
Once you get started, review your progress regularly. As part of this review, be sure to look at:
- The impact of changes to tax laws and other economic factors. For instance, if there is a major upset in financial markets, you will need to look at how this has affected your progress toward your goals. You may need to make some changes to your plan to get back on track.
- A review of your life circumstances. For instance, after you get married, your financial future will look very different. The same thing is true if you start a family, divorce, retire, or start a business.
If you are working with a financial planner, he or she should review your situation with you from time to time. They should help you adjust your plan, if needed, as your life changes.
You will need:
- A budget form, spreadsheet software like Excel, or a computer program like MS Money to track your income and expenses.
- An electronic or paper file where you keep all account statements as well as your own paperwork and plans.
What you need to think about:
To implement your plan, you will likely have to make changes in the way you live now. For instance, you may have to spend less and save more. You may need to open new investment or savings accounts. You may even want to open a separate savings account for each major goal.
To review your progress, it helps to follow regular steps. For example:
- Make it a habit to review all statements for your Registered Retirement Savings Plan, Registered Education Savings Plan and other investment accounts carefully when you receive them. Tip: Learn how to read your account statement.
- Track your progress on your goals monthly or at least quarterly.
- Update your plan and your budget as your situation changes. For instance, if your income changes or your financial goals change, your plan will need to change, too.
Remember: Financial planning is a process. For most people, it's not something you do once. Your financial plan will unfold and change after life events such as birth, illness, marriage, retirement, and so on. That's why it’s so important to review your progress and adjust your plans over time.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.