At the start of a new year it is also important to review the goals you have put in place for your various investment accounts. If you have multiple accounts spread over various institutions, there are many benefits to consolidating them under one advisor. This will help you better monitor the progress of your investment objectives overall. You may also be able to save money as larger values often permit you to take advantage of economies of scale when investing, and will avoid the common pitfall of over-concentration in a security or sector.
When reviewing your investment accounts, it’s important to cover some critical components such as liquidity needs, time horizon, risk, and tax considerations. Working through these with your advisor will help you determine if the investment plan in place is appropriate going forward, or if adjustments need to be made. Also be sure to always update your advisor on material changes in your situation, such as your marital status, employment and residency.
Other planning considerations at the start of the year include starting or adding to your children’s education savings plan (RESP). Most financial institutions will assist you in setting up a plan, but to ensure you track with its progress regularly, it’s usually a good idea to have it wherever your other investment accounts are held.
An education savings plan in Canada provides a great benefit to parents who desire to assist their children in funding their post-secondary education. A wide variety of investments can be held within an RESP, and the government will provide a 20% grant when contributions up to $2500 a year are made (up to $7200 in grant over the child’s lifetime). Growth and income accumulate tax free which is a great incentive to invest in something that will provide a reasonable rate of return. However, it is our opinion that great care should be taken to ensure risk appropriate investments are chosen for this account. Because there is almost always a very specific timeline when these funds will be needed, and there is an automatic 20% free grant applied to the contributions, we usually recommend taking a fairly conservative investment approach to protect the capital and ensure it’s available when needed. For more information on RESP accounts and their advantages and restrictions, please connect with your investment advisor.
The start of another year brings many new beginnings. Why not start this year with an organized, consolidated investment plan and up-to-date funding for your child’s future education needs.