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Financial planning makes a meaningful difference: FPSC

Canadians with a plan save more, live well, and are more content

By Fiona Collie | January 22, 2013


A full comprehensive financial plan is key to clients feeling comfortable about their financial future, according to a recent study from Toronto-based Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC).

The results, released on Tuesday, are more highlights of the FPSC's Value of Financial Planning study, which was first released at the FPSC Financial Planning Vision 2020 Symposium in November 2012.

According to the study, Canadians with comprehensive financial plans are more satisfied with their lives financially. For instance, those with a comprehensive plan scored 85% higher in regards to their financial well-being and 62% more for emotional well being than those people without plans.

This is a call to action not just for the average investor to seriously consider financial planning but also for financial advisors, says Cary List, president and CEO, FPSC.


"If you are currently just a single-purpose advisor or sales person, providing product solutions and mutual funds or securities or insurance, you may well find yourself left behind in the future," says List, "because there continues to be a clear and strong message that an integrated approach to financial well-being is the way to go."

Even those advisors doing informal financial planning may find many of their clients feeling dissatisfied, according to the study.

Of those people surveyed, 78% working with a certified professional report that their finances are on track. In comparison, only 64% of people dealing with "non-certified" planners feel as confident about their finances.

Specifically, the study revealed that most clients believe a comprehensive plan helps them prepare for the worst while still being able to enjoy their wealth. For example, 60% of people with a comprehensive plan said they felt prepared for financial emergencies, compared with 53% of clients with limited planning and 28% of Canadians with no plan at all.

On the other hand, 74% of survey respondents said they intend to take annual vacations because of their comprehensive plan. In comparison, 70% of those people with limited planning and only 44% of clients with no planning at all will be booking flights and hotels.

Going through the details of financial plans to prepare for these scenarios and more takes time and a lot of effort, says List, but in the end it's worth it for both advisors and their clients.

"These are things that are not immediately earning trust with clients," he says, "but over time, I think this rubs off on clients and [they] can see there's a difference between being there to sell something and being there to truly serve [their financial] needs."

The survey is a longitudinal study started by FPSC in 2009. The study is compiled of 8,546 online surveys of Canadians (excluding Quebec). The research was done between April 30 and Aug. 10, 2012.

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