5 Steps to Streamline Your Investments in 2018

A few simple moves can help you get the most out of your money this year.

Financial adviser

Spring is a great time to zero in on your life goals and re-evaluate your investment strategy, whether that means saving for retirement, your child’s education, a home or a vacation. But you don’t have to go it alone—an investment adviser can help you get into great financial shape. They’ll work with you to ensure that you’re making the right choices for your future and maximizing your 2017 tax return. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get yourself set up for success.

1. Contact an adviser

The first step is to book an appointment with a financial adviser. Your adviser is able to paint the clearest picture possible of all your financial affairs, including your evolving goals and family situation. With one investment adviser, you have the advantage of a unified direction for your personal wealth strategy rather than dealing with conflicting advice or overlapping investment styles from two or more people.

2. Set goals

Ensure that your investing goals are realistic and specific. Evaluate and calculate how much you will need to retire comfortably, and work with an adviser to create a plan to accumulate that amount by age 65 (or whatever age you’re planning to retire at). Developing an investment policy statement can also help you stay on track. The statement should include your goals and strategies to meet your objectives, plus a timeline for returns. It should also provide information on how much risk you would be willing to take, guidelines on the types of investments that comprise your portfolio and when or why it would need to be rebalanced.

To start creating your plan, use an online calculator, which can help you determine how long it would take to pay off your debts and build emergency savings, whether you should lease or buy a home, how to take out a loan and how to see if your investment plan is helping you achieve your goals.

3. Evaluate your investments

An adviser can work with you to develop and manage your investment strategy, as well as help minimize your risk with portfolio diversification. A portfolio can be made up of cash, stocks, bonds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Once one is made, it will require regular checkups to ensure that the risk level is in line with your investment strategy and goals.

Your needs will also evolve over time and when major life changes occur, such as having a family, starting a business or buying a house. Start putting money away for your child’s education with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). It’s also a smart choice to start engaging in estate planning to ensure your family will be cared for if something were to happen to you.

4. Benefit from savings and simplicity

Investors that have more of their assets in one place benefit from paying lower annual fees. Advisers charge an annual fee, made up of a portion of the client’s assets, to manage investments. That fee is typically calculated on a sliding scale—meaning the more you invest in one place, the lower your annual rate will be.

Combining your investment accounts adds simplicity to your financial life and can save you valuable time and effort. Plus, pooling your assets with one investment adviser means you’ll receive consolidated statements on a regular basis.

5. Earn more profit share

If you’re starting a new series of investments or planning to work with a new financial establishment, choose a bank that offers more bang for your buck. For example, Servus offers a Profit Share Rewards program, which benefits members who have multiple banking products and services with the company by putting extra money in their pocket on top of the interest earned on their investments. Profit shares are paid out in December in cash, and common shares are paid out based on what Servus earns and how much its shares are worth.

Personal banking members get cash back based on a few factors: the percentage of interest they have paid on their loans, the amount that they’ve earned on their deposit and the average balance they hold in their chequing and savings accounts.

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