Personal finance if often compared to a game of chess.

On the surface, chess seems like a straightforward game. The goal is deceptively simple: capture your opponent’s king.

But, of course, there many ways to accomplish that. (So many, in fact, that mathematicians have not calculated exactly how many!)

Although the end might be the same, the game will look quite different depending on what moves you make to get there.

Think of retirement as the checkmate of personal finance.

There might be many ways to achieve your goal, but some might cost you a lot more, take a lot longer, or carry more risk along the way.

Recently a couple came to me because they were not sure what their next move should be, financially. They were in their early 40s, about twenty years away from retirement. They owned their home. They had goals for their retirement and had begun to work towards their goals.

But they were stumped.

Should they focus on prepaying their mortgage, or on investing into RRSPs?

They heard conflicting advice.

“Pay off all your debt first! Then you’ll have more cash flow for investing.”

“No, no, mortgages are good debt. Focus on investing before paying it off!”

But like a game of chess, the right strategy for them would depend on how the pieces are laid out on their board.

So, just like a chess grandmaster, we mapped out the potential moves available to them.

In option 1, they would continue to pay their mortgage as normal, and focus on investing into RRSPs.

In option 2, they would prepay their mortgage, and then concentrate on RRSPs only once the mortgage was paid off.

In both options, they would end up with no mortgage and a retirement income they were comfortable with. In both options, they would capture their opponent’s king.

But each option had drastically different consequences.

By considering tax savings, their monthly contributions, and a host of other personally specific variables, we worked out a net cost for each option.

Option 1 would end up costing them about $145,000.

Option 2 would end up costing them about $285,000.

Unlike a game a chess, although both options would result in a checkmate, Option 1 is the clear winner.

Unlike a game of chess, the path to get to the goal is just as important as reaching the goal itself.

Without thinking like a grandmaster, they could have pursued a path to get to their goal that would have cost them a lot more than it needed to.

$140,000 more!

But the average person isn’t a personal finance grandmaster – nor should they be. Grandmasters take years and years to develop their skills and strategy, to learn to map out potential moves and evaluate the risks and rewards of each choice.

A great financial advisor can map out the moves that are unique to you. Conventional financial wisdom – the kind you’d hear from a generic bank advisor, a financial blog, or a well-meaning relative – won’t necessarily work for you.

Your chess strategy needs to be unique to your board. Working with a financial advisor means the strategy you use to achieve your checkmate considers all the variables unique to your board.

Book a call to learn how you can get a checkmate, without it costing more than it should to get there.