Skip to main content
Many of us may have a tendency to isolate education as something that's primarily limited to the formal schooling years. But with financial education, the reality is that it can and should be an ongoing process, and it's never too early or too late to start.

This is an edited version of a story previously published on RBC Wealth Management – Perspectives.

A snapshot of financial learning

According to recent survey findings from Phoenix Marketing International, among Canadian respondents (across a variety of age ranges), the top three financial management topics identified as important for younger generations to know about are financial planning, saving and budgeting, and investing. Furthermore, almost half of respondents felt that educating their family about financial topics is “very important.”1

Interestingly, however, in that same survey, when it comes to personal financial education, only 16 percent of respondents identified it as a priority for themselves.2 In other words, while many individuals and families place a high level of importance on building financial literacy among youth and younger generations, many may be overlooking the benefits and importance of their own financial knowledge and its value throughout every life stage.

Using your life stage as a catalyst for learning

Within each broad phase of life, there are generally some main milestones or areas of focus that commonly impact financial priorities and planning during those years and that will contribute to your overall financial picture as well. Depending on your current comfort level and familiarity with financial topics and your particular circumstances, it may be beneficial to use your current life stage as a driver for the type of learning you want to pursue.

In general, there are three main wealth stages individuals move through and between over the course of life:

StageDescriptionMain objectives
Early saversGetting established in a career, perhaps buying a home, getting married or starting a family
  • Earning and saving
  • Growing assets
Mid-life accumulators
  • Have a stable career, are a homeowner
  • Starting to think about retirement and estate planning and transferring wealth to the next generation
  • Creating a balanced portfolio for preservation and growth
  • Maximizing savings where possible
  • Focusing on retirement goals and short- and long-term intentions for wealth transfer
  • Retired or working less
  • Using accumulated wealth to generate income as a salary
  • Estate
    and wealth transfer planning is a priority
  • Protecting assets and making it last through the senior years
  • Minimizing risk
  • Managing
    wealth wisely in regards to income tax

With these details in mind, here are some financial planning tips based on your wealth stage:

If you’re an early saver…

  • Think about and record your short- and long-term financial goals, big and small.
  • Establish a budget that factors in all of your lifestyle expenses and other financial components.
  • Consider setting up a pre-authorized savings plan to help prioritize your savings.

If you’re a mid-life accumulator…

  • Review your short- and long-term goals to ensure your financial vision is matched with the right investments.
  • See where you may be able to increase your savings in RRSPs, TFSAs or RESPs; in general, try to make your retirement savings a priority and maximize your contributions where possible.
  • Ensure you have the appropriate mix of investments to build your savings within your projected time horizon before retirement.
  • Turn a focus to estate planning, including a Will and Power(s) of Attorney (called a Mandate in Quebec), and start giving thought to your preferences and intentions for transferring wealth.

If you’re a preserver/spender…

  • Revisit your financial plans to explore the options in structuring your finances to support your retirement lifestyle.
  • Consider the potential for senior care or other healthcare-related needs and how those costs may impact your overall financial picture or your wealth transfer intentions.
  • Take the time to review your estate plans and carry out any further planning as needed. If you haven’t done so already, work on building an inventory of all of your assets.

Need some help with your financial planning? Talk with one of our dedicated RBC Healthcare Specialists and see how we can help.

Similar Stories:

1 Wealth-Affluent Monitor-Canada. Spring/Summer 2019 key findings and proprietary data reports in partnership with RBC Wealth Management. Phoenix Marketing International. July 2019.

2 Ibid.Disclosure

+ View Disclosure

This document has been prepared for use by the RBC Wealth Management member companies, RBC Dominion Securities Inc.*, RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Counsel Inc., RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company (collectively, the “Companies”) and their affiliate, Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). *Member – Canada Investor Protection Fund. Each of the Companies, RMFI and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliates. “RBC advisor” refers to Private Bankers who are employees of Royal Bank of Canada and licenced representatives of RMFI, Investment Counsellors who are employees of RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Counsel Inc. and the private client division of RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Senior Trust Advisors and Trust Officers who are employees of The Royal Trust Company or Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, or Investment Advisors who are employees of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. In Quebec, financial planning services are provided by RMFI which is licenced as a financial services firm in that province. In the rest of Canada, financial planning services are available through RMFI, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, The Royal Trust Company, or RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Estate and trust services are provided by Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company. If specific products or services are not offered by one of the Companies, clients may request a referral to another RBC partner. The strategies, advice and technical content in this publication are provided for the general guidance and benefit of our clients, based on information believed to be accurate and complete, but neither the Companies, RMFI, nor Royal Bank of Canada, nor any of its affiliates nor any other person can guarantee accuracy or completeness. This publication is not intended as nor does it constitute tax or legal advice. Readers should consult a qualified legal, tax or other professional advisor when planning to implement a strategy. This will ensure that their individual circumstances have been considered properly and that action is taken on the latest available information. Interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors are subject to change. This information is not investment advice and should only be used in conjunction with a discussion with your RBC advisor. None of the Companies, RMFI, Royal Bank of Canada nor any of its affiliates nor any other person accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this report or the information contained herein. In certain branch locations, one or more of the Companies may carry on business from premises shared with other Royal Bank of Canada affiliates. Notwithstanding this fact, each of the Companies is a separate business and personal information and confidential information relating to client accounts can only be disclosed to other RBC affiliates if required to service your needs, by law or with your consent. Under the RBC Code of Conduct, RBC Privacy Principles and RBC Conflict of Interest Policy confidential information may not be shared between RBC affiliates without a valid reason. ® / TM Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC Wealth Management is a registered trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. © 2022 Royal Bank of Canada. All rights reserved.