The Basics

Knowing where you stand and finding the financial plan that works for you are important pieces of the financial planning process. Initially, this involves gathering information about your current and expected expenses and your sources of income, to create a budget. 

Your financial plan should also examine healthcare, lifestyle, insurance and estate planning issues. Your plan will need to be re-evaluated from time to time to account for major life changes, such as health or marital status.

Tips

  • Consider consulting an expert, especially if you have doubts about your finances. The Financial Planning Standards Council has information about financial planners, their services, qualifications, and how they are paid (e.g., does the planner charge a fee for service or do they receive a commission for selling a particular product).
  • Think through your plan, write down your goals and create a timetable for them: travel, renovations on your home, paying down debt, buying a new car, or saving for the future? How do you see your life in five or 10 years?
  • Evaluate your insurance needs to make sure you are not under-insured or over-insured.
  • Manage credit carefully to keep it from becoming a personal liability. Pay off high-interest debt first (e.g, credit cards), and shop around for credit products.
  • Know the rules for government programs. For example, income-tested benefits from programs such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), the Allowance, and provincial social assistance will take your total income into account, including your OMERS pension.
  • Investigate tax benefits to take full advantage of all credits and deductions available.
  • Have a power of attorney in place, so the appointed person can look after your financial affairs or health care decisions if you become unable to. Pension-related issues require a continuing power of attorney for property. Be sure to send OMERS a copy of the power of attorney document.