As a kid, I thought that hitting a baseball would be easy. Until I tried to hit a curveball. I wanted that homerun. So I had to learn how to adapt to the ball that was thrown at me. Then I had to learn how to hit a fastball. With each pitch, I learned it wasn’t about just hitting a baseball, or avoiding being hit by that baseball! It was about hitting the baseballs I was thrown. And running the bases with all my heart.

When I became a Wealth Advisor, I realized that personal finance is another place where one question might be answered with five questions instead of a simple answer. For example, a member may ask “should I invest in a TFSA, RRSP, or pay down my mortgage?” In response, I might ask:

  • How much income do you make?
  • What income sources will form your retirement?
  • Have you in the past or are you currently part of a pension plan?
  • What is the interest rate on your mortgage?
  • Do you have other debts to pay down first?

Financial planning is not a one-size-fits-all mentality. Each investor is unique unto them self and needs to be treated that way.

As I work with Members in their 40s and 50s, I see how dreams and realities differ for people in their pre-retirement years. These people have often dealt with more curveballs than they care to remember. I think about the Member who lost his job, or the Member who lost her wife, or the Member who found a child living at home again after a divorce. These Members could have seen their situations as lemons. They definitely presented financial challenges. But I worked with them to adjust their financial plan to curve with them. We looked at the bigger picture of wealth, as it related to them. We individualized their plans to follow the path of their life and achieve the wealth they wanted.

Look beyond the lottery: Find a strategy to achieve your dreams

Have you seen the commercials featuring the happy couple that won the lottery? They bought a cottage and their life was so great because they had so much money. Those ads always make me laugh. In small print at the end, it should say, “Odds of being killed by a vending machine (1 in 112 million) are significantly higher than winning the lottery.” There are two takeaways from this example: 1. Don’t shake the vending machines. 2. Come up with a realistic financial plan.

Most of the Members I meet know that the lottery is not a long-term strategy for funding their wealth, retirement, or happiness. But sometimes I need to help pull them out of that dream. I try to be gentle. I ask what would happen if they took the $25 a week they spent on lottery tickets and directed it to an investment that averaged a 5% return over the long term? I explain that they would have approximately $100,000 after 30 years, which is approximately $100,000 more than their friend who is still buying lottery tickets would have.

When PenFi Wealth Advisors meet with Members in their pre-retirement years, we help them assess their spending, their definition of wealth, and their needs to create and work with a viable financial plan. At this stage of life, they can focus on accumulating assets and planning more realistically how they want to share their wealth. We help them look beyond the small picture, like rate of returns on investments, and see the bigger picture: the importance of getting advice on decisions that make a bigger impact on meeting your goals and giving back. Investing in your future with an individualized plan makes sense.

At PenFi, we want you to have the freedom to choose the life you want. We won’t lock you into a one-size-fits-none plan. We’ll educate you and work with you to live a financial plan that offers backup for life’s curveballs. We’ll make sure that plan evolves with you at every step of your life to give you hope and a chance for more.

Ready for some one-on-one coaching?

Reach out today to define and build your wealth with PenFinancial.

Mutual funds and related financial planning services are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc. This article is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal advice. Please speak to your personal financial representative before making any financial planning decision or implementing any strategy.

Trevor Lagerwerf

Written by Trevor Lagerwerf

Trevor is a Wealth Advisor serving the St. Catharines and Pelham communities. Trevor loves reading daily about all things financial and his passion is to help improve members’ lives by listening and providing solid, free advice. As a family Trevor and his wife and two young children, love to give back to the community that they’re so proud to call home.