Rights & Money

Resources for Do-It-Yourself Financial Planning

Even if you’re working with a financial advisor, these online resources can help you take control of your financial future.

By Matt Smith

Financial planning means more than just making a budget and keeping track of expenses. As you approach retirement, it’s important to take the time to draw up a game plan for where your money is coming from and where it’s headed. You’ll want to be able to predict your future income and expenses, taking stock of your net worth, and projecting the growth of your retirement savings plans and investments.

The traditional wisdom is to hire a professional—either a Financial Advisor or a Financial Planner—to get into the nitty-gritty of your money matters. You’d certainly be wise to do so, but a growing number of online resources makes it easier than ever to take charge of these duties yourself. Even if you’re working with a professional, these tools can be indispensable in giving you a clearer picture of your financial situation before you meet with your advisor.

If you’re in the market for a financial planner, these listings for Registered Financial Planners and a Certified Financial Planners may help you find the right person for the job.

As for taking things into your own hands, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers this online course to help you brush up on your money skills as a good place to get started. The site offers many other resources, as well, covering topics such as retirement planning and income tax. In addition, here are some further online resources to help you take charge of your financial planning:

The Government of Canada’s comprehensive Retirement Income Calculator will help you get a sense of your cash future cash flow, including OAS and CPP benefits.

This calculator from the Ontario Securities Commission website GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca will help you calculate the growth of your RRSP savings.

GetSmarterAboutMoney also has a useful form for calculating your budget in retirement. You won’t want to forget about the effects of inflation on your financial plans either, and the Bank of Canada offers this tool to help you project what your money will be worth in the future.

If you’re thinking about downsizing your home in retirement, The Globe and Mail provides you with a handy worksheet to help you better visualize how this will affect your finances. Considering a condo? The paper has you covered here, too.

Two resources from TaxTips.ca can provide you a wealth of insight into your current income tax rate—and what it’ll look like in retirement. Here’s the Federal version, and Quebec residents will want to look at this one.


Photo: iStock/Tinpixels.