When A Plan Comes Together: How And When To Start Saving For Life's Big Moments

01/25/2016 12:02 EST

Today, the world is less linear than ever before, and considering life's many unpredictable moments, saving for tomorrow can sometimes feel a bit daunting. When you consider that covering everyday costs and wanting to enjoy the moment, our typical spending habits can lead to big bills and debt. Whether you're collecting your first paycheque or gearing up for the golden years of retirement, a solid financial plan can help guide you towards a brighter life, regardless of what path you choose to take.

Here are a few handy hints to help plan for some of life's big moments.

Save early

If you’re starting in the work force, there's a good chance that what you earn is focused on paying off student debt, covering your first apartment or house and funding health and pension benefits. Just because you have a long list of expenses doesn’t mean you can’t stow even a small amount into a savings plan.

A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) can come in handy, as your annual tax deductible contributions can benefit your tax refunds.

Another approach to reaching your short and long term goals can be through a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), where you can add up to $5,500 to the account in 2016, plus any unused contribution room from prior years. While these contributions aren't tax deductible, the bonus is that the money grows tax-free and withdrawals aren’t taxable, meaning your money is easily accessible in a pinch.

Smart spending habits and saving with a purpose

Grabbing a double-macchiato before you hit the office every morning may be part of your morning ritual, and hitting the movie theatre for the latest blockbuster may keep you entertained, but consider how much you're spending on these little luxuries in the long run.

Stocking up on a bag of coffee beans or getting a Netflix membership are good ways of keeping your spending in check, leaving you able to build a financial base for purchases like a car or a house. Building a budget with your advisor can help you see the bigger picture.

Marriages and Mortgages

You’ve fallen in love, and now you want to merge lives. Marriage can lead to the need for more responsible financial management. Sitting down with an advisor to talk about major investments, the need for protection and longer-term financial planning can help guide you through the process of bringing your funds together.

Though it can be an uncomfortable discussion for a couple, planning your future together can also lead to planning your life apart, in case of death. A solid life insurance investment helps protect your finances should something happen to you, by covering debts and keeping your spouse and family comfortable.

Building a Family

Financial priorities tend to shift once a baby is thrown into the equation. While you may have used extra cash to book an all-inclusive retreat, you’re more likely to redirect any discretionary funds to the new little person in your life. A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) can not only help your future, but also your child's. Income earned inside the account accumulates tax-free until withdrawal, and the Government of Canada currently matches 20 % of your contributions for each eligible child (up to $500 a year, to a maximum of $7,200).

Reevaluating Retirement and Savings

Managing your finances is like a marathon, where pacing ultimately counts. Life will likely have its ups and downs, but staying in touch with your financial advisor to plan what's best for you today and tomorrow will help you stay the course.