Getting the most out of your day involves a significant amount of organization and goal setting.
Working on your big-picture goals may take some time.
Sometimes you have to stop everything you’re doing and step back to establish your work-life balance goals. Although you may lose some time in the short-term, you will be on track to saving significant time in the long-term.
First, working on short- and medium-term goals that have actionable steps will lead to your bigger long-term goals. It is surprising how doing multiple little changes can free up more of your time.
One of the biggest time wasters is spending too much time on things that we are not experts at. If you believe “time is money,” then spinning your wheels on something that requires specific expertise is a mistake.
One of my favourite lessons in microeconomics is the concept of opportunity cost. The concept can be applied at various levels. To illustrate, let’s assume Louise can earn $80 an hour doing her self-employed professional job. Louise has a small home that needs a paint job, but also wants to have some vacation time. Louise has the option to either hire a painter or take time off work and paint the house herself. The painter could paint the house in four days (32 hours). The painter’s hourly rate would be $30. The painter has the tools and the expertise to paint the house quicker. It would likely take Louise six days (48 hours) to paint the same house. From a purely economic standpoint, it would make no sense for Louise to paint her own house. If Louise hired a painter, she would have to pay $960. Louise would lose $3,840 in lost income if she decided to do this herself. Although she would save $960 by painting the house herself, she would either lose six days of her vacation time or lose $3,840 in lost earnings. Either way, Louise should likely not paint her own house.
Hiring a wealth adviser.
The same concept of opportunity cost can be applied to financial services. Whether working or retired, individuals have the choice to either manage their own money or getting a wealth advisor. An adviser would have all the tools and the expertise that will hopefully save their clients a significant amount of time. If in the short-term, you spend time finding the right wealth adviser, this should save you a considerable amount of time in the long run.
Consider a managed account
Portfolio managers are also able to offer managed accounts that enable them to execute trades on a discretionary basis. It is not necessary for the portfolio manager to talk to you about every trade in your account. You will know that if you are busy, away on holidays, or simply have other interests — someone is always keeping an active eye on your finances.
Periodic phone meetings
Not every meeting with your wealth adviser has to be done in-person. When your time is limited, you can ask your adviser to set up a phone meeting. As a suggestion, you can rotate in-person meetings with phone meetings. Some clients would prefer not to deal with traffic and parking. When phone meetings are set up, we will send the agenda, holdings detail and recommendations out ahead of time by secure email. The benefit of the phone meetings is that you can look at the documents before the actual phone conversation.
Handling less paperwork will help you get more out of your day. For risk management and efficiency purposes, we encourage clients to consolidate accounts with one financial firm. Having multiple RRSP and TFSA accounts, at different investment firms, increases the amount of time you need to effectively manage your overall holdings. Position size, sector diversification, geographic exposure and underlying holdings are all easier to manage if you are at one financial institution. You will also have fewer income tax slips come tax time.
Online access allows you to look at your investments at your leisure, either through a phone app or via a website. Once you have online access set up, you also have the option of going paperless. This can save you time in the long run either looking information up or not having to file or shred paper copies that are mailed to you. Online access will assist you in getting rid of some of the paper clutter and knowing that your financial information is always available at your fingertips. Paperless option also ensures that you will not be impacted in the event of a postal strike or disruption to mail service.
One of the most important parts of meetings is for us to stay connected with our clients on important financial cash flow updates and issues outside of financial items. I encourage clients to email me any specific questions prior to our telephone meeting or in-person meetings. We will always add those specific items to a meeting agenda and ensure the proper amount of time is allotted to cover everything. As wealth advisers, we realize that not all goals are financial. In many cases it takes financial resources to achieve non-financial goals. If you have a life event or a situation in your life that is concerning you we have likely had a past client that has gone through something similar. We can either propose options to you that will save you time or point you in the direction of the right people to talk to.
Kevin Greenard CPA CA FMA CFP CIM is a portfolio manager and director of wealth management with The Greenard Group at Scotia Wealth Management in Victoria. His column appears every week in the TC. Call 250.389.2138.