Dream Big Dreams… a process can help make them happen!

Process, process process… everyone has a process. What is a process?

Well, years ago I absorbed a saying from one the greats in the insurance world by the name of Ben Feldman. (Don’t worry, this post has absolutely nothing to do with life insurance, but it does have everything to do with increasing the probability of your achieving your life goals and objectives). The late, great, Ben Feldman once said, “if you have a problem, make it a process, and then you won’t have a problem.”

So what is a process? A process is a repeatable sequence of predictable actions that change a known undesirable condition to a predictable, hopefully more desirable condition.

I think a majority of Canadians have a problem; a big problem. This problem is that many Canadians have not spent the time moving through the process of planning for their financial future with a professional. I’m not talking about filling out a risk tolerance questionnaire with the mutual fund advisor at the bank, or completing an insurance analysis with your insurance agent at your kitchen table. I’m talking about big picture thinking; getting a clear understanding of where you are today and where you want to be in 20 (or 30, or 40) years from now, and then figuring out if you have the capital resources to do what you want to do!

If there’s one thing I like to do for clients, it’s solve their problems. What we’ve done at Fransen Financial is take the ‘problem’ and turn it into a ‘process’ for our clients. And guess what? It’s no longer a problem! Simple.

Our process takes a ‘whole wealth’ approach to your retirement plan and will answer your most important retirement planning questions:

“When will I be able to retire?”
“How much can I spend?”
“How much do I have to save?”
“What rate of return do I need to earn?”

We call it the “6 Steps to Your Financial Future” process and it draws on our 19 + years of experience and proven financial planning strategies. Our goal is to make sure we address our clients most pressing concerns and to make certain that we not overlooking the details when it comes to your big picture thinking! And good news; we are also committed to making the planning process as easy as possible. There are a lot of moving parts in this vehicle, and we do our best to make sure the well oiled machine remains on track. We do the tune ups, we do the oil changes, we replace the parts when they get worn out. You simply drive the bus.

Do yourself a favour and make a date with a CFP® who is planning focused, not product driven. One who follows a repeatable sequence of predictable actions that can change a known undesirable condition into a predictable, hopefully more desirable condition.

I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice from Ben Feldman, something he’d often scrawl on to $1 dollar bills and then hand to new employees:

Dream Big Dreams

Until next time, continue to live for today, but plan for tomorrow!



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Is it better to contribute to a TFSA or an RRSP?

While the two savings plans have different features and benefits, they are designed to complement each other. As a Government of Canada brochure states, while an RRSP is primarily intended for retirement, “The TFSA is like an RRSP for everything else in your life.”

Generally speaking, whether it is better to contribute to a TFSA or an RRSP depends on two variables – your tax rate when you contribute funds and your tax rate when you withdraw funds.

If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket when funds are withdrawn, an RRSP is probably a better investment.

If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket when money is withdrawn, a TFSA may be the better choice.

However, each individual situation is unique and other factors may come into play. Please feel free to give me a call to figure out a strategy that will work for you.

Until next time, continue to live for today, but be sure to plan for tomorrow!



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Everyone is talking RRSP (or was that TFSA?).

Well it’s that time of year again when out of the blue everyone is talking RRSP (or was that TFSA?). From the local bank teller, to the sophisticated stock ‘jock’ broker, to the barber, to the soccer coach! Everywhere you turn someone has an opinion as to where YOU should be investing your hard earned money. Someone is always ready to tell you about the next big opportunity… a “flavour of the month” IPO or sector specific stock, or gold and dividends, or stable low yielding GIC’s…and don’t forget about under the mattress!

For whatever reason, February seems to be that time of the year when everyone is an expert. So with that being said, here are my top 10 questions to ask yourself before you hand over your hard earned cash, or take the advice of your best friend’s cousin’s brother (the landscape architect living on Salt Spring Island). Not that there is anything wrong with living there. Or being a landscape architect.

1. Do you have a clear understanding of your current financial situation?

2. What are your short term, medium term and long term goals?

3. What is your tolerance for risk (the V-word… volatility)?

4. What types of investments are best suited to help achieve your goals?

5. How will you monitor your investments as well as the managers who are managing your money?

6. How much should you be investing every month / year?

7. Do you have an investment process/strategy to stay on track when the markets go off track?

8. What type of investor are you? Are you a Buy & Hold or Market Timer?

9. How will you follow the markets and keep track of where the opportunities are?

10. Are you a DIY investor, or would you be better off working with an experience and qualified investment advisor?

From my experience of 18 (soon to be 19) years in this wonderful industry, the one common theme among the most successful investors is that they all stick to a process. Sophisticated investors – institutional investors, pension plans and clients of discretionary portfolio management services – all use an IPS. What is an IPS? An Investment Policy Statement is a written document that outlines the general rules for the management of an investment portfolio. It sets out the investment goals and objectives of the investor and describes the investment strategies that are suitable to meet those objectives. In my opinion, you are traveling without a road map, on cruise control to somewhere you may not want to get to IF you do not have a disciplined investment process in place.

So back to the time of year. Enjoy all of the RRSP/TFSA noise that seems to get louder at this time of year, and if you need any help/clarification in answering any of the above top 10 questions, you know where to reach me!

Until next time, continue to live for today, but be sure to plan for tomorrow!



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Aaron Fransen   CFP® , CHS, CPCA   |   CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, Investment Advisor   |   Suite 203 - 15350 34th Avenue, South Surrey, BC V3S 0X7   |   Tel: 604.531.0022