An advisor’s six top tips for personal finances

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AdrianBy Adrian Mastracci, KCM Wealth

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Investors know that not all parts of personal finances are created equal. Some areas definitely have more impact on the money strategies.

Questions always arise as to which ones to best consider closely. I’ve identified a half dozen key money moves for practically everyone.

A smart step for individuals and families is to prioritize my six core financial matters. Place them at the front of the line and attend to them in detail.

Try not to start the discussions within the comforts of your home. Instead, plan a few walks with your spouse and, perhaps, Fido.

It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and have a relaxed chat about the finances.
Make it a fun outing by indulging in that favourite treat.

My suggestions touch on the core of investing, estate planning and retirement.
Your mission is to ensure that each area delivers.

Explore whether a few tweaks would fortify your foundations.
You want each area to fit like a glove into your total game plan.

I summarize six core areas that benefit from your focus:

1.) Saving target

Adding savings to your game plan is critical to achieve retirement.
Decide on your saving target and in whose hands it’s best realized.
Aim to equalize assets and retirement incomes between spouses.

2.) Portfolio refresh

Have you managed the risks? Is your money well invested? Do your investments fit?
Everyone wants to check the portfolio but many are hard pressed to find ample time.
Your nest egg should be aligned with family goals, so make every effort to refresh it.

3.) Beneficiary designations

Many financial instruments allow you to designate beneficiaries.
Such as life insurance policies, wills, pension plans, RRSP, RRIF and TFSA.
Also understand the implications of a second marriage and designating the estate.

4.) Will & POA

Ensure the family Wills and Powers of Attorney are valid, up to date and synchronized.
Start with your wishes for the estate allocations and providing for special needs.
Appoint capable executors, trustees and guardians who are prepared for the long tasks.

5.) RRSP

Don’t put off your 2016 RRSP deposits to February 2017 if cash is available.
Your 2015 tax notice of assessment outlines the contribution details of Registered Retirement Savings Plans. Those turning 71 in 2016 must convert the RRSP by December 31, likely to a RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund).

6.) TFSA

The young Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA)  is becoming a trusty contributor to your retirement fund. It dovetails with the RRSP and it’s available for a lifetime, not just to your age 71. A starting TFSA can receive a maximum $46,500 deposit to 2016 for each spouse.

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Be ready to pencil in these six money moves as top priorities.
Keep it simple by dealing with one key topic per outing.

Together they form solid foundations for your finances.

They are pillars you and the family will rely on for the long run.

Adrian Mastracci, MBA,  is president and portfolio manager for Vancouver-based KCM Wealth Management Inc., specializing in designing and stewarding retirement portfolios.

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