Investing is personal. It can also be intimidating. That’s why I interviewed a Meridian Financial Planner to find out what they do and how they help Members.
Meet Tyler Wood. He’s a Meridian Credit Union Financial Planner. He’s also a hockey-player and self-described nerd who admits to enjoying Excel formulations and Magic Cards (we can’t make this stuff up). Once, he climbed a mountain. He’s cool like that.
But when it comes to helping Meridian Members build their Wealth Esteem, Tyler knows all about setting financial goals. Whatever your stage in life, whatever your dreams, reaching those goals starts with a simple conversation with a Meridian Financial Planner just like Tyler.
So I asked Tyler to explain the basics of Wealth Esteem and how a Meridian Financial Planner can help Meridian Members chart a personal course for success – however they define it.
Kelly Waterhouse: What does a Meridian Financial Planner do?
Tyler Wood: My job is to help people grow and preserve their wealth. It’s that simple. We do that by understanding who you are personally and what you’re looking to accomplish. Then we build a plan that connects the two together.
KW: How “personal” is personal?
TW: Very personal. Before I can do anything from a financial perspective, I need to understand you as a person. What are your dreams? What are your goals? And then on the flipside, what are your concerns? What’s keeping you up at night? What do you feel is holding you back from getting to where you want to be? Once I understand that, on a personal level, then – and only then – can I really get to the point where I can assess the best financial decisions to help you make your goals a reality.
KW: I know I need to save money, but I’m just getting started. Why do I need a Financial Planner right now?
TW: A big part of what I do is helping people understand what is realistic and what’s not realistic and tailoring or adjusting different things to help them accomplish their goals.
KW: And if we don’t speak “finance?”
TW: I think the key thing here is, we want to take a step back from the numbers. We want to take a step back from any judgment too and really try to understand what you want to accomplish with your money. That’s what people want. They want to feel it’s easy. We understand that. When you walk into your Meridian branch and there’s a welcoming environment and someone is here to help you, I think it really breaks that barrier down.
KW: How do I define my financial goals?
TW: Ask yourself a simple question: if I change nothing about my current financial situation, am I going to be okay to buy a house? Start a family? Travel? Will I be able to do the things I want to do today and still save for my future?
If the answer is no, then you know you have to make a change. That change starts with a conversation with your Meridian Financial Planner. A simple assessment will help you define your financial goals and start on a path to achieving them.
Together, we will build a plan to help you control the factors around your financial situation, so you’ll feel more empowered, building that confidence in your financial situation. But it goes beyond finances. When you can relieve your mind from financial worry, you truly do have peace of mind.
KW: Why doesn’t Meridian have a one-size-fits-all investment plan?
TW: It’s such a case by case basis. A realistic debt load for you might be very different from a realistic debt load for someone else. It has to be tailored to your specific situation.
If you want to take a 6-month sabbatical, you’re going to have a very different plan than someone who wants to see their savings grow and build up their RRSP for a down payment using the first-time home buyers plan. You are going to have two very different plans even though you might be living in the same neighbourhood, and are the same age. You could even be best friends.
Our goal is to identify what is priority and how can we allocate your money to the right areas, for the right things, for the right time.
KW: I can’t predict the future. I don’t know where I’ll end up. What if I change jobs? Change cities? Start a family? How can I plan for what I can’t predict?
TW: Part of that is risk management. My goal, as a Financial Planner, is to ensure you’re saving enough, have a budget in place, and know that I am choosing the right funds to manage your risk tolerance. If you can’t sleep at night with the reality of your investments, then it’s not the right investment for you and I need to find something that will complement you.
Ready to get started? Book an appointment with a Financial Planner
A version of this article was originally published on July 30, 2018
Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc.