Comprehensive financial planning: a road map to retirement

Most of us dream of an idyllic retirement, but few of us set out a plan as to how we're going to get there. John S. Clark, President and Founder of Pacific Spirit Investment Management would like to change that.

"At Pacific Spirit, we believe that every client should have a formal, written retirement plan," he says. "It serves as a road map and tells us where you are now, where you need to be when you retire, and how you're going to get there. If you don't have that road map, you increase the odds that you're not going to get to your financial destination."

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A financial plan is also the best communication tool for your portfolio manager to discuss with you your objectives, risk tolerance, and future expectations.

"All those things are captured in a good plan," John explains. "If the market experiences a shudder and isn't performing as well as we'd like, we can refer back to the plan and give our client some comfort that they're still on the right road to their retirement destination."

In John's opinion, the worst thing a client can do is to abandon their plan at the wrong time.

"In our experience," he says, "a well thought out plan keeps a client focused on the long term goal. Abandoning the plan at the wrong time, such as when the market takes a temporary downward turn, can have disastrous effects and destroy a family financially. With a plan in place, an investor can stay the course."

Establishing a comprehensive financial plan is not a one-time event and should include some flexibility for life changes.

"With every significant life change," John says, "we'll update the plan. It could be a career change, a death or illness in the family, or a birth of a child. Whenever there are circumstances that may warrant a change in direction, we advise updating the plan."

Offering financial planning and wealth management advice for more than 20 years, John and the Pacific Spirit team tailor their services to each individual client family.

"The key members of our team have been with Pacific Spirit for between 10 to 20 years," John says. "We have trusted designations appropriate to the profession and we all believe in being client-focused. We're not a huge firm, so clients can pick up the phone and call us for personal attention. In fact, we probably know more about our clients than any other professional in their life."

For more information on Pacific Spirit Investment Management and to make an appointment, call 604.687.0123, check out the website, send an email, or visit the offices at 1100-800 West Pender Street, Vancouver.

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