The three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic have formed the foundation of our educational systems since the early 1800’s. While educators might argue these basic skills are necessary to learning other skills, I would argue we teach them at the expense of never learning the equally practical and important skills. To properly prepare our young for today’s world should we not be teaching them how to cook, how to clean, how to look after the environment? What about learning interpersonal skills and the give and take needed to survive in a relationship, not so much how to fit in but, how to celebrate differences and be tolerant and accepting of others? Surely teaching the three R’s is necessary in creating a successful person but so too is learning interpersonal skills.
Another skill all of us should be taught from an early age is basic finance. When do we ever learn how to balance a budget or a cheque book, how to read a balance sheet, a financial paper, a company report or, a basic understanding of how markets work?
For most of us our financial education comes from the school of hard knocks. Personal budgeting is a perfect example. I believe the majority of us only start to budget when we have figured out we are spending more than we are bringing in. Many of us use the same school when it comes to protecting and growing our financial assets. Until we can grasp the basics of finance we really have no yardstick by which to measure our financial helpers.
Let me tell you about when I met with a new client. We started our meeting, not discussing his finances but rather his story. Who he is, where he came from and what his views concerning money were. I discovered he grew up with very little money and he had built his contracting business from nothing. He knew every aspect about his business. He worked hard every day from 6am to 6pm. Financial well being meant a great deal to him.
However, what really became evident during our meeting was that he didn’t know how to read his monthly investment statements. As I stated earlier, he knew every aspect of this business that earned him his wealth but not much about the business that was needed to grow and protect it. We spent some time going over all the information on the statements. When he left my office that day he was going home to show his wife what he had learned.
Look for an advisor who you trust and feel comfortable telling YOUR story to. Ask questions such as how are they compensated, what is their accreditation, experience, expertise and what kind of services you can expect. Keep asking the questions needed until you fully understand what your financial situation is and where it is going. A good place to start is with understanding every line on your statement.
This article is supplied by Elizabeth O’Connor, an Investment Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. (Member–Canadian Investor Protection Fund). This article is for information purposes only. Please consult with a professional advisor before taking any action based on information in this article.
Elizabeth O’Connor can be reached at 705-789-2100 or email@example.com.
Whether you are looking for a full time, full service financial advisor or seeking expert financial advice as a second opinion, call Elizabeth. With offices in Haliburton, Huntsville and Bracebridge, Elizabeth works closely with clients in cottage country from the lakes and surrounding towns.
Elizabeth O’Connor is an Investment Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities, which is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. 705-789-2100