What would happen if everything in your life changed, practically overnight?

Would you know who to call and how to manage your finances to shift gears quickly enough to land on your feet? Do you know exactly what protections you have in place, and how and when they would kick in?

I had a client come to me recently who found herself reeling and anxious about her future after life hurled some curveballs at her.

Two years ago, she made fantastic money. She is one of those people who pulled herself up by her own bootstraps from a single mother on social assistance to a department-lead, well ensconced in the highest tax bracket.

She bought her dream home and renovated it to a level of beauty Home and Garden would drool over – all financed by her bonuses and diligent saving habits.

She went on a luxury safari by herself, bought a pickup truck, and poured money into her RRSP.

All her I’s were dotted and her T’s were crossed.

Until she was let go.

It was completely out of the blue. After 12 years of exceptional work for this corporation, they decided to switch away from allowing some people to work from home. Her boss was as shocked as she was at what he had to do.

Then she was diagnosed with cancer.

It seemed like an impossible one-two punch.

All of a sudden, she went from making upwards of $250,000 a year with a clear financial plan to living off the corporate pay-out with no idea what was going to come next.

Although she was great with her money, her plan didn’t exactly include “lose exceptionally well-paying job in mid-fifties while also dealing with a life-altering health condition”.

She did not want to be figuring out the stock market and her CPP and rejigging her investments during chemo treatments.

She had no idea how to navigate her insurance benefits (and no energy to try).

She needed to set up her will to be sure her children would get the maximum they could from her estate should the worst happen.

She had an advisor – the same one her parents had – but she realized she had no idea what was actually going on with her money. She was simply told what amount she should be investing, and her advisor did the rest.

But as her life spun wildly out of control, she wanted a stronger plan. She wanted to see trajectories, she wanted to see the exact numerical outcome of her various options. She wanted more than a rate of return.

And most of all: she wanted someone to talk to about all of this. Someone who would get to know her as a person, who would meet with her regularly, who could run scenarios for her without question.

To me, that’s what a financial planner should be. Your finances influence every aspect of your life. So when your life changes, they should be able to work with you to establish your new financial normal. They should work with you to make sure you understand your financial picture, so if that picture ever changes you don’t feel like you’re scrambling.

The relationship between a certified financial planner and a client is just that: a relationship. Not a transaction.

If you want to work with a financial planner who is invested in YOU, not just your money, book a call.