My partner and I recently met with a financial advisor. We are currently in the midst of planning for our future, feeling caught between student loan debt and an uncertain job market, while looking ahead to home ownership and starting a family.
In a city like Vancouver, the financial prognosis is grim and we have often put off facing our finances due to the stress and overwhelmingly gloomy outlook that comes with it. We have met with advisors at our banks in the past, but often left feeling as though we had sat through a sales pitch instead of a counselling session. Denial was our financial strategy of choice, but that can only work for so long.
In last month’s editorial, I wrote about embarking on an emotional cleanse and getting rid of the negative impact that bottling up emotions can have on our health. I think that this same idea applies to finances. We (as a society) tend to not talk about money. We have been socialized to keep financial matters to ourselves, as well as dealing with the myriad of emotions that come along with them. Keeping all of this stress and uncertainty to ourselves can take a toll on our mental health, relationships and overall wellbeing.
What I discovered is that it feels great to talk about money out loud, especially with someone who knows their stuff. Our discussions with the financial advisor were calm, frank and filled with humour and even prompted discussions with friends on the subject. The advice was invaluable, as well-sensitive and honest.
This month, I invite you to talk about money. Say the words out loud, either to yourself, a loved one or a financial professional. Letting someone else in, especially on this topic, can alleviate some of the inevitable financial crunch that we feel we are under.
5 fun facts I learned from financial planning
It’s ok to dream and to say what you want out loud. Do not apologise for lofty goals. You will only have a chance to achieve them if you are realistic in planning for them.
You find out where you are. Knowing where you stand, whether positive or negative will always set you up in a better position for success than not knowing at all.
Financial advisors are not all sales people. I used to fear going into see a financial advisor because I always felt like I was being pushed towards something I didn’t really need. Find someone you trust and stick with them.
It feels great to have a plan. The benefit of seeing professional advice is that you no longer have to guess at whether you are doing the right thing or making the right financial move. The decisions are still yours accompanied with guidance from a professional.
We don’t need it all now. Of course we have dreams and plans for the future but waiting for them is okay. Taking the time to plan and save now will ensure that our goals are all met in the long run.
Looking for free or affordable financial advice?
Financial Support Services from UBC’s EFAP provider Shepell.
Know Your Financial Advisor-online search tool