A comprehensive plan starts with comprehensive information

Many investors hold savings, investments, pension plans and insurance policies with a number of financial institutions - but while diversification is a good strategy when investing, it's not always such a good approach to planning and managing your financial assets.

Having multiple accounts and products spread across various providers can make it difficult to get a holistic view of how well your portfolio is working as a whole. Fortunately, your Financial Advisor can help you. All you need to do is make sure he or she is aware of all your holdings. When your Advisor has a comprehensive view, you can benefit in five important areas.

1. Asset allocation

Your optimal mix of investments lies along the "efficient frontier" that provides the highest potential returns for a given level of risk. Your Financial Advisor can work with you to establish your ideal portfolio based on your objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance. But if you have a heavy concentration of equities, fixed-income investments or cash in a number of places, keeping track of them may be more difficult, increasing the risk of duplication, overlap and gaps. Consolidating your investments can help lead to better overall asset allocation. In addition, consolidating your savings and debt in one place can help you see your financial picture more easily.

2. Retirement planning

No matter what your plans are for retirement - for example, leaving work to relax and travel, staying at work part-time or starting a business - your income is likely to come from more than one source. These might include government benefits, employer-based pensions, and your own registered and non-registered savings, as well as inheritances and money from downsizing to a smaller home.

Your Financial Advisor needs information on all these potential sources in order to provide you with tailored investment advice for income and growth and to help craft a retirement income plan that takes into consideration various factors such as income-linked government benefits like Old Age Security.¹ Your Advisor may also suggest that you consult your professional tax advisor for advice on deferring or minimizing income tax.

3. Tax planning

Different types of income (salary, interest, dividends, and so on) are subject to different kinds of taxes. With an understanding of what you hold and where, your Financial Advisor can help you take advantage of tax-deferred and tax-free accounts as well as non-registered investments that receive preferential tax treatment. Your CIBC Financial Advisor may also encourage you to consult your professional tax advisor with regard to certain strategies like income-splitting.

4. Estate planning

In order for your CIBC Financial Advisor and other tax and estate planning professionals to help you build an estate plan, you need to provide information about everything you own, including your investments, home and vacation properties, valuable collections (art, wine, etc.) and pension plans with survivor benefits. Sharing this information with your CIBC Financial Advisor means you can work together on your plan, make strategic decisions about who inherits what, and explore effective ways to reach your estate planning goals.

5. Goals-based planning

Goals-based planning simply means identifying your goals first and then choosing the right combination of solutions to meet them, and a holistic view plays a key role in it. It is important that all your assets work together and not at cross-purposes, regardless of what institution they're with. For example, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSPs) / Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPs) and non-registered accounts all play an important part in helping you achieve your goals.

Next steps

Savings plans, employer group RRSPs, and Canada Savings Bonds are just a few examples of items that are easily overlooked. Before your next meeting with your CIBC Financial Advisor, take a few minutes to collect all of your savings, investment, and pension plan account statements. Reviewing them together will give both of you valuable perspective on your financial situation.

Finally, keep in mind that choosing to consolidate your savings and investment assets with one financial institution can provide the added benefit of streamlined statements and reduced fees.

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