By Karin Mizgala, co-founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada
Week 7 of the lockdown. Unlike some of my friends and family, I haven’t taken up baking, crafting or the ukulele, but I am following the news more than ever. A bit obsessively, I must admit. I keep hoping with every article I read to find the facts or insights that will predict the impact that COVID-19 will have on our clients, our coaches, our business and on the whole concept of long range planning.
Nope, the future isn’t clear yet. And, I know I’m not the only one who finds this stressful.
With so much out of our control, I have found that focusing on small organizing tasks that I get a sense of completion and satisfaction from, like reorganizing my bookshelf, doing the dishes, deadheading flowers, is helping me stay grounded.
Here are a few financial tasks that you might want to check off your list during the next few weeks.
- Review your bank accounts, investments and credit cards
- Do you need all of them?
- What are the fees and interest charges?
- Can any of the accounts be consolidated or closed?
- Cull tax stuff and other financial paperwork
- Keep 6 years of supporting documents for tax returns from 2014 to 2019
- Unless they are needed for tax back-up, you don’t need to keep investment, bank or credit card statements. Electronic records should be available from the issuer if needed. If you rely on paper copies, keep the statements for last year, then Dec 31st statements for the previous few years.
- Shred the old documents
- Review and update beneficiaries on your RSP, TFSA, insurance and pension
- While you likely selected beneficiaries on account opening documents, your life may have changed (marriage, divorce, children) and the beneficiaries could be outdated
- You might find the beneficiary info on your statements or on your online account. If not, contact your advisor or HR department
- Confirm that legal documents are up to date
- If you haven’t reviewed your will, power of attorney or health care directives in the last 3 years, this is a good time to do so
- Is your pre-nup or domestic contract still relevant?
- Have you moved countries or provinces recently? Legal agreements may not be valid where you live now. Have a local lawyer do a review
- If you haven’t gotten around to these important legal agreements, make an appointment with a lawyer and get the ball rolling
- Check-in on your investments.
- How are your investments holding up against the markets in general?
- Is it time to reassess your risk tolerance?
- Book a meeting with your investment advisor for a review
- If you haven’t heard from your advisor in the last few weeks, it might be time to get a second opinion on your portfolio.
One last to do! Here’s a more comprehensive Financial Plan Checklist. If you’ve answered No or Don’t Know on more than 5 items on the checklist, reach out to a Money Coach to help you take control. With so much uncertainty around us, there has never been a more compelling reason to do so.