Recently, I sat down to dinner with two of my clients and had an informal yet frank discussion about what kept them up at night. The number one issue was not money in of itself, but rather their failure, and one partner’s refusal to sit down as a couple and have a discussion about money and their financial future. This is not uncommon regarding many of the  families  that I serve every day, and too often the failure to have frank, difficult and uncomfortable conversations about money has destroyed many marriages.

When was the last time you sat down with your spouse and discussed your individual and collective goals, and your current financial situation? Do you have a solid yet flexible plan in place? Have you reviewed your plan within the past 12 months? Is simply making your “RRSP contribution” every year going to get you there? Do you even know what your RRSP is invested in?  Should you be investing your money in RRSPs?  What does retirement mean to you; what does it look like?

I like the definition my clients came up with :

“Retirement is about how we manage the money we have today, to ensure that in the future we can maintain and finance the lifestyle we desire. It is all about our ability to do all the things we currently do and love to do, and then some, even though we are no longer working. It  is the process of ensuring that our income doesn’t stop when our employment stops.”

Retirement is a process, and therefore the actions we take today will determine the quality of our lives tomorrow. If Canadians put 10% of the effort  that they put into planning a vacation into planning for their financial future, we would significantly reduce the risk of  anyone outliving their money, or having families destroyed financially when the unexpected happens.

It is not a difficult or complicated process, it’s a matter of (regardless of how much money you make) putting in place a plan to pay off debt, minimizing your tax liability (legally), keeping more of your money, having emergency money, and growing your money all at the same time. Debt and taxes are two of the silent killers of many retirement dreams, and unfortunately the destroyers of many families including hard working responsible middle class families like yours.

Would you like to pay off your debts, minimize your tax liability, keep more of your money, grow your money, finance your children’s education, have a guarantee that you can never lose your principal, and ensure (especially if you are self employed) that you will have a guaranteed pension for life?

If you answered yes, then its time deflate the elephant in the room; have the difficult but necessary conversation with your spouse and then sit down together with a financial advisor who is passionate about showing you how to pay yourself first, do all the things you like to do, enjoy life and not worry about money.


About the Author

Karl Marshall is President of Marmac Financial Services Limited, an independent insurance and investment brokerage. He lives in the Durham Region and on Saturday nights he hosts The Party Mix on G98.7 FM in Toronto. You may contact him via email @marmacinsurance on Twitter or on Facebook.