Pro bono financial planning: invest in your financial health with help from Lawyers Financial
Money is the biggest source of stress for most Canadians. And yet, only 4% of Canadians work with a financial planner.1 There are all sorts of reasons for this, including, for some of us, the sense that we don’t have enough savings, enough income, a nuanced enough portfolio (or any portfolio at all) to justify calling in the experts. There’s also the understandable fear that the price of all this advice will only add to our stress.
That’s why, at Lawyers Financial, the expert advice is free.
CBIA/Lawyers Financial is a not-for-profit organization. That gives us the freedom to support you in ways that promote your well-being—not our bottom line.
- What is a financial plan?
A full financial plan has seven components.
We’re here to help you with any of these components—or all of them at once.
- Financial management – your budget, net worth, and cash flow
- Debt management – The average law school graduate has $83,3000 of student debt1; the average homeowner has even more2
- Investments – from rainy-day savings to long-term wealth
- Retirement planning – all those short-term sacrifices you make on behalf of your future self (or if you are retired, all the decisions that will allow you to comfortably go on spending)
- Risk management – protecting the people and things that matter most to you
- Estate planning – using wills, trusts, and insurance to leave a legacy
- Tax planning – the component that runs through all of the rest, influencing every decision and outcome in your overall plan
Think of each of these seven components as a ring—a hula hoop, say.
Your financial plan isn’t a list of items to be checked off so much as it is a series of living, breathing Venn diagrams. At various points of your financial life, these components will overlap in different ways. Your retirement plan, for example, might involve investments, risk management, and tax planning (always tax planning), and you’ll have to adjust every part of your plan to keep all seven components gently spinning.
An experienced financial planner can help you find a balance—and an annual check-in can keep you on track.
You know, easy.
Sources: 1. The Canadian Bar Association, “Law Grads’ Student Loan Burden,” April 2019. 2. CBC News, “Canadian have record-high mortgage debt. What happens when rates rise?” September 2021.
- Who is financial planning for?
A financial plan can help you at any stage of your career—whether you’re navigating student debt, saving for retirement, or preparing to leave a legacy.
We’re committed to offering pro bono financial planning to every member of Canada’s legal community.
The term "pro bono” is short for pro bono publico— "for the public good." We don’t offer free financial planning because it’s good for business. We offer free financial planning because it supports the well-being of a community we’re proud to serve.
- What should you expect from your first meeting?
Your financial planner will want to hear about your priorities. What’s your number one financial goal? Your number one financial worry? Expect to answer basic questions about your income and your debt—but there’s no need for you to bring tax returns, bank statements, or receipts. This first meeting is a conversation—and the subject is you.
Your planner will recommend follow-up actions depending on your goals and might ask you to fill out a cash flow worksheet to help clarify your income and obligations.
If you’re a law student whose top priority is debt management, one meeting might be enough to create your customized plan. If you’re a mid-career lawyer who’s balancing mortgage payments, saving for your child’s education, and investing in your own retirement, your plan will likely require further conversation.
1. Source: FP Canada, “2022 Financial Stress Index.” 38% of Canadians name money as their number one source of stress. That’s nearly twice as many as those who name work as their primary stressor (19%). Most Canadians aren’t lawyers—and it’s no secret that stress comes with the job, as magnified by the University of Sherbrooke’s recent National Study on the Psychological Health Determinants of Legal Professionals in Canada. We can’t reduce all of your stress, and would never make that claim, but a clear, well-made financial plan can help.