5 Investment Planning Tips from a Seasoned Wealth Manager

Portfolio manager reviewing top 5 investment planning tips

Want to kick off the New Year on the right financial footing? This time of year is a perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at your finances, much like you might do with your health and wellness habits. Reviewing your financial goals – and whether you’re on track to achieving them – can help to ensure you’re setting yourself up for financial success in the long run. 

We asked Mary Lou Miles, Head of Wealth Management at Genus, to share some of the strategies she uses with her clients at this time of year. Here’s what she suggested:

Review your tax slips and portfolio performance reports

The beginning of a new year is a good time to start gathering your tax slips and checking your portfolio performance reports. Be sure to review new contribution limits and deadlines for your RRSP, RESP, TFSA and FHSA contributions for 2023, Miles says. “By getting everything organized now, you know you’ll be less stressed come tax deadline time.”

It’s also a good idea to book a check-in with your portfolio manager so you can review your goals and overall investment strategy. “This is often the only time of year clients will look at their portfolio,” she says. “When the calendar year starts, you can do a year-over-year performance comparison.”

Consider new contribution limits

couple reviewing their investment plan

Did you know that the contribution limit for the TFSA has been increased from $6,500 in 2023 to $7,000 in 2024? The larger it gets, and the more accumulated contribution space you have, the bigger your opportunity to take advantage of tax-free gains.

Analyze your cash flow for longevity

This time of year is also a good opportunity to review your overall financial situation, and particularly your cash flow. “We spend a lot of time going through a cash flow analysis with our clients,” Miles says. “They want to know whether their money will last through retirement, whether their investments are working for them given their withdrawals, and finally, whether they’ll be able to leave a legacy for their family. So we have a lot of conversations around that.”

Set up your legacy plan

Miles says that when it comes to legacy planning, many clients are interested in looking at scenarios for the best way to build a family legacy, including gifting money to their children, or incorporating philanthropy into their plan. “They need to assess how much money they’re able to spend, and work with planners, accountants and lawyers to align their plans.”

She cautions about avoiding the common pitfalls here, including joint investment accounts with the kids, fairness among siblings and cases where divorce settlements may factor in. “Some people loan their kids the money interest free,” she says, “but it’s simpler to just gift it.” Always check with your portfolio manager to discover the best scenario for you.

Revisit your investing policy

While Genus develops client investing policies designed for a long-term investment approach, these may occasionally need adjusting, particularly in the case of big life changes such as the receipt of an inheritance, the onset of retirement or a major purchase. If your year has included major financial changes, make a plan to revisit your investing policy with your advisor to ensure it reflects your current financial situation. 

Interested in exploring how you can get your financial future on the right track? Contact a Genus advisor today.


Client impact

“Graduating from a big bank to Genus was one of the best financial steps we've ever taken. Genus has delivered reliable asset growth despite our moderate risk tolerance. As our financial security has grown, we've also been the beneficiaries of a great client experience. The company's communications have been consistently transparent and informative, including educational webinars and a well-designed web portal where we can track investments daily. Most importantly to us, our portfolio manager has always responded swiftly and thoroughly to our questions and requests. ”
Martin T.
"Having relatively diverse financial goals and needs, along with a slight reticence regarding the stock market, Genus skillfully addressed all of our concerns, and put together a truly exceptional plan: Fossil free funds and a diversified investment portfolio, check; An effective Impact investment portfolio that coincides with our hopes and dreams for a better world, check; Professional advice and assistance to create a donor advised charitable fund with immediate charitable receipts for tax purposes, check. Returns? Way beyond our expectations! We even had some fun along the way and certainly enjoyed an incredible two-year start to what will be a satisfying long-term relationship with Genus."
Marc B.
“I love the service I get at Genus.”
Chris H.
“Leslie and I were fellow board members when we met twenty years ago. For the last ten she has been thoughtful in the construction of an investment strategy for my family and is executing the strategy as planned. The team at Genus has met my expectations and are a pleasure to deal with.”
Bob Q.
“For over 15 years, I have provided selection and performance evaluation of multiple investment managers for a significant family office. Leslie and Genus have been foundational for me in my role. I have always found Leslie and her colleagues to be insightful and proactive, and found the performance of their portion of the portfolio to be well above benchmarks. And they have been a great pleasure to work with.”
Douglas H.
“Genus is a very innovative firm. I am pleased to invest in their Fossil Free and Impact strategies that help me invest in line with my values.”
Marnie C.
“Great team of professionals. Excellent website and reporting. Responds to inquiries promptly. Very pleased with the process of changing from another company to Genus as well. Kudos.”
David L.
“Genus consistently provides a good, clearly explained, comprehensive picture of the general economic and financial situation, along with an excellent account of the investment decisions made in relation to this. Genus’ equally strong concern with clients’ questions and requests for further information is also a very important part of the service it provides.”
Allan S.
“Back in 1992 when I found myself at fifty with a substantial amount of money to invest, I knew just one thing — that I didn’t want to contribute to tobacco companies, arms manufacturers, or oil. But over the ensuing years the options for socially responsible investing have become far more sophisticated and I’m very happy that this is a big part of the Genus approach. I also very much appreciate the long-term relationship with my portfolio manager, Mary Lou.”
Ann P.

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