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For most of us, no matter what stage of life we are in, the evolving state of the Canadian economy can easily generate anxiety. We see inflation rates hitting their highest levels in decades and the steady upward climb of interest rates in a bid to tame inflation. And we see the intensifying drumbeat of media headlines touting a “looming recession.”
Many clients of TD Wealth Financial Planning are feeling apprehensive and seeking advice from their professional Financial Planners, says David Terry, Head of TD Wealth Financial Planning. The two groups most concerned, he says, are clients preparing to retire within the next 10 years and those who are already retired.
“The people planning for retirement are looking ahead and asking, ‘Am I going to be okay when I get there? Will I have enough to support my retirement dream?’ They are asking whether they should do something differently to better position themselves for success,” Mr. Terry says.
He believes that retirees are most likely to voice concern. “Many retired clients have seen their investment portfolios potentially down 10 per cent in a highly volatile market. The question they ask is whether they will see their future income opportunity eroded at the later part of their retirement,” says Mr. Terry.
“Our team of Financial Planners have the experience and knowledge to help their clients remain confident and focused on their financial goals,” he says. “A strong financial plan builds in options for dealing with contingencies, and when circumstances change, they can advise clients on whether adjustments are needed or whether to stay the course.”
Fight or flight?
TD Wealth Financial Planners are well versed in “behavioural finance,” the study of how influences and biases can undermine rational decision-making about our finances. TD Wealth also has an assessment tool to help clients learn about their “wealth personality,” their tendencies when it comes to financial decisions.
“In studies around behavioural finance, we’ve learned that significant loss in the stock market can affect our brain the same way as a threat of physical harm. We move into ‘fight or flight’ mode, and all we can see is the threat. We sense that we have to act in some way,” says Mr. Terry.
“The fact is, historically, a well-constructed financial portfolio can weather the storm. Sometimes the best choice is to do nothing.”
Head of TD Wealth Financial Planning
Mr. Terry says the Financial Planner’s role is to help their client broaden their perspective and reframe the question. Instead of asking “how much is the market down?” or “what is my rate of return?” – reframe with a focus on “am I still going to be able to achieve my goals?”
TD Wealth Financial Planners use planning software called TD Wealth Architect. “This tool allows us to plan out a timeline in the context of the client’s future financial goals and run simulations to test the impact of different developments, such as a decline in the markets,” he says.
“Our planners are able to rerun the client’s financial plan and show that uncertainties and changes in circumstances have already been built into the plan.” In most cases, the planners can reassure the client they are on track to reach their goals or recommend minor changes, he says.
Reliance on experienced planners builds confidence
It is natural for people to be worried about their future in times of economic volatility and uncertainty, Mr. Terry says. Experienced Financial Planners have witnessed economic fluctuations over the years and have many tools to help their clients develop a solid plan.
“Our Financial Planners recognize that a key part of their role is to take on their clients’ burden of anxiety and help them feel more confident.” This role is particularly valuable when clients are looking ahead to an important milestone in their lives, such as retirement, he says.
“One client expressed this concept perfectly: ‘I am only going to retire once. You’ve helped hundreds of people retire successfully. I want access to your experience and knowledge.’
“That’s powerful and very true,” Mr. Terry says. “These are big moments, and having someone on your side who’s made it their profession to help people make good financial decisions as they approach these milestones is critical and truly valuable.”
Want to learn more about TD Wealth Financial Planning? Visit td.com/FinancialPlanning
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.