Building wealth must be about more than just seeing a larger number on your investment statement each year. Wealth translates into life satisfaction when it has a purpose.

Saving taxes is very often the best return on investment you can get. Investment returns are unpredictable but sound tax planning can be a methodical way to improve your overall financial situation.

It is natural to be emotional when making a decision. Recently, I booked a vacation at a cost that I never believed I would ever pay. Pent-up demand, inflation and high season conspired to empty my wallet and fill my stomach with knots.

Most Canadians experience an increase in expenses during the winter holiday season. People enjoy giving gifts, entertaining, donating and generally feeling the spirit of the season.

So much of the investment industry is focused on the “how” – how to get enhanced returns, how to build a portfolio, how to save tax, or how to capture the “next big thing”.

Revisiting your tax strategy towards the end of the year is a terrific way to use the benefit of hindsight and market movements to optimize your strategy.

I selected this week’s article based on two amazing conversations I had this week. The common thread between these two conversations, and the article that follows, is that a financial plan helps you pause, reassess your current state of affairs and might even enable you to imagine a better path forward.

The 60-40 portfolio strategy is a touchstone for the industry, and shorthand for the tried and trusted method of protecting capital from wild market swings. There are endless variations on this theme, largely dependant on client risk tolerance and time horizon, but the navigational starting point of a “balanced” 60% stocks and 40% bonds mix has endured.

Everyone is talking about inflation and its effect on every-day life but few are changing their every-day behaviour. This article makes an interesting connection between the recent long-term bull market coupled with low interest rates and the “wealthy-ness” effect – the comfort that Canadians have felt in increasing their personal spending.

When most Canadians think of financial advantages, we think of high net worth, high employment income and large investment portfolios. To my mind, there is no greater differentiator between the “haves” and the “have nots” than a defined-benefit pension.