Our Mission

We believe that you need the tools to create financial success on your own terms.

Conflict-free financial planning equips you to make educated decisions about your future with the information available to you today.

Our Mission

We believe that you need the tools to create financial success on your own terms.

Conflict-free financial planning equips you to make educated decisions about your future with the information available to you today.

Julia Chung, CFP, CLU, FEA

Julia Chung, CFP, CLU, FEA

Co-Founder, Sr. Financial Planner

Areas of Specialty: Retirement Planning, Private/Family Business, Cross-Border Planning

Sandi Martin

Sandi Martin

Co-Founder, Financial Planner

Areas of Specialty: Retirement Readiness and Income Planning, Portfolio Reviews, and Cash Flow and Goal Planning.

 

Connect with the team on social media

What We Do at Spring

We believe that you need the tools to create financial success on your own terms…whatever they may be. Although our process is the same with every client, the outcomes are always delightfully different, and as unique as the people we have the privilege to work with every day.

Your values are the driving force behind any recommendations we make.

We want our recommendations to our clients to be influenced only by what’s in your best interest, and never by the potential for referral fees or third-party compensation.

We don’t sell products , accept commissions, pay or receive referral fees, or earn affiliate income.

We sincerely believe that financial planning – done well – can benefit everyone, and are actively invested in mentoring and developing new financial planners.

We’ve been running a practice management peer-mentoring group since early 2016…it’s how we met, in fact!

  • Comprehensive Financial Planning
  • Retirement Income Planning
  • Cross-Border Planning
  • Family/Private Business Planning
  • Portfolio and Cash Flow Audits

Our Process

Discovery

More than just document collection, we want to understand your personality, values, and strengths so our work together is productive and valuable.

Analysis

We roll up our sleeves and dig in, putting our expertise to work in testing our assumptions and developing concrete recommendations for you to follow.

Implementation

Your plan is only the beginning. We’re here to help implement your action list and adjust your plan as life unfolds.

What are your fees, and how do you calculate them?

We charge for our services based on the amount of time required and complexity of the planning – much in the same way that accountants do. Unlike tax returns however, no two plans are the same, because everyone has different questions and different service needs. Since the plan is customized to the individuals involved, the pricing is as well.

Planning costs can range from $3,000 to $15,000. A $3,000 plan would be for a client who is a Canadian citizen and resident with only Canadian assets, a standard employment situation (no corporations, holding companies, family enterprises), and a focus on retirement. Complexity increases as you add in dual citizenship, multi-jurisdictional assets, requests for multiple planning scenarios, multi-generational wealth planning, succession planning, legacy planning and so on.

What services do you offer?

Our standard process looks like this:

  • Discovery Meeting
  • Proposal
  • Engagement
  • Data Gathering
  • Foundation Meeting (to review data and confirm scenarios)
  • Plan Presentation
  • Check in meetings/calls at 6 months and 12 months
  • Open door for email and telephone queries for 1 year

We offer assistance with:

  • Cash flow planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Planning for U.S. citizens who are resident in Canada
  • Planning for individuals who own corporations and family trusts
  • Planning for individuals with disabled family members
  • Pension planning (including the interaction between Social Security and Canada Pension Plan)
  • Tax planning (not to the point that we complete your tax returns or implement specific planning strategies, but to the point that we plan your retirement/estate around tax concerns)
  • Estate Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Post-Secondary Education Planning

We don’t manage investments or offer specific investment advice. Canadian regulations requires that, in order to provide specific investment advice, you must be registered as an investment advisor – and therefore, manage investments. We can tell you what your goal rate of return is, advise on the dollar amount to allocate to specific types of accounts and when to draw from them, review the accounts you have, and point you in the direction of investment managers who we like and think would be a good fit. We do not accept referral fees or commissions.

What is your experience in cross-border US/Canada financial planning and tax differences?

Julia has been working with individuals with cross border US/Canada concerns for over 6 years. This work began when she was partnered with a Fraser Valley accounting firm that specialized in tax planning for private corporations and cross border individuals. She worked directly with the U.S. Tax Specialist for several years, and has a very clear understanding of where her work ends and an accountant’s work begins.

She has taken multiple courses in U.S. tax and estate planning, generally with CPA BC, and regularly work with clients with these specific concerns. She continues to work in partnership with cross border tax and legal advisors, as it must be a team effort in order to be successful.

What We’re Writing

RESP Rules & Tips with Sandi Martin & Julia Chung

Summer is the best time to learn about saving for post-secondary education. Julia Chung and Sandi Martin chatted with Modern Advisor on July 21st. Click here for the recording.

Sorry, Who Is It That’s Suffering? Advocis Doesn’t Want Embedded Commissions Banned, Because Financial Advisors Will Suffer

Sometimes, someone says something that is so egregiously wrong that it can’t be ignored. Take, for example, this piece, published this afternoon on Advisor.ca, an online magazine for financial advisors in the investment and insurance industries, which elicited this...

Business Model, Schmizness Model

The point: Financial advisors who are compensated based on how much money you have invested with them have less time for the equally complex needs of less affluent clients. You know the old saw "you have to have money to make money"? Apparently you also have to have...

What’s Sandi reading?

Sandi Martin reads a lot – and she tells everyone which ones were the best every month.  Starting in January, we will be sending you her reading list directly (if you’ve signed up for our email newsletter).  In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek:

Couple Money

The point of this post: if you can't be honest with your partner about money and financial planning, why are you with them? A healthy financial infrastructure is cost-effective, simple, flexible, and intuitive. It keeps you on budget, moves you closer to your goals,...

Valuation – How Much is Your Company Worth?

Ever wondered how to do a company valuation? Mary Gamble, Chartered Business Valuator at iValue Solutions, provides answers to common questions she receives from business owners.

Why Your Rate of Return Matters (and what to do – and not do – with it)

I sent my kids to school on the day after Labour Day with a feeling that it hadn’t been a great summer. We hadn’t gone swimming or canoeing enough. I worked too much. Woe, etc. This isn’t a new feeling. Friends will testify that I become a mopey sad-sack in the last...

The Because Money Podcast | Episode 11: Home Buyer’s Plan

In this week's episode of The Because Money Podcast, we finally got to fight a little. Agreeing all the time is so boring, isn't it? What did we cover that was so controversial? Only the Home Buyer's Plan, that allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 tax-free from your...

What do YOU want?

It sounds like an easy question.

Avoiding the Useless Retirement Plan, Step One

The point: A realistic retirement plan doesn't start with a number and work backwards; it starts with the question "why?" Quick, go to the personal finance section of you newspaper or feed reader and count how many articles and posts from last week start with the...

I For One Welcome Our Robot Overlords: The New World of Investment Advice and Asset Management

Before I let you read the rest of this post, I want us to agree on a set of facts: It is extremely rare (but not impossible) for any one investor, investment professional, or investment management company to consistently and reliably outperform the market for any...

An Admittedly Biased Argument in Favour of Banning Embedded Commissions and Instituting a Fiduciary Standard

The point: I stand to benefit if embedded commissions in mutual funds are banned, and if a fiduciary standard for advisors is enacted. I don't think it invalidates my argument, but - unlike some of the voices clamouring against the increased safety for investors - at...

Another List: The Best Personal Finance Posts This Week

The point: Last week, I started adding the best Canadian personal finance posts I read to a weekly list. Great idea, since whether I share something to Google+, Facebook, or Twitter is largely dependent on where I happen to be sitting at the time, and adding posts to...

Take Their Business… Please

“We’ll be there between 10 and 2 on Tuesday.”

This is not a utility company, which generally has customers at their mercy due to a bureaucratic structure that has legislated monopolies. This is a furniture company – a “high end” one at that. A private business that, just like any other business, needs its customers.

What I’ve Been Reading While I Haven’t Been Writing

The point: It's been a busy week here at Spring Personal Finance, and client commitments trump writing commitments. I've always got a few minutes to read, though, and the best in Canadian personal finance news every week to an open list I share with +Jackson...

How A Financial Planner Can Lighten Your Load

...

Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings Limits Increase in 2016

The YMPE Increases on January 1, 2016. What does that mean to you? Click here to find out.

Money Matters: Take Control

Julia Chung’s article in the Spring 2016 PowHerHouse magazine outlines the basics of goal setting.

What I Want For You In 2016

Last year, what I wanted most for you was clarity, remember? How would your life be better if you were absolutely clear about what you want your life to look like, the resources you have or will have at your disposal, and the obstacles that you’ll have to get over,...

Go Ahead, Spend Your Tax Refund

Ah, spring. The time of year when flowers bloom, birds sing, and the entire internet starts yelling at you for getting a tax refund or - even worse - getting a tax refund and then spending it.The horror.The conventional wisdom goes something like this: You shouldn't...

The Power of Confusion

The point of this post: the world of personal finance can be as confusing as a room full of five-year-olds playing soccer, and the financial industry needs to stop pretending that it's not. Yesterday was my oldest daughter's first day of soccer.     It...

Because Money Podcast: An American in Paris (Ontario)

Julia joined the Because Money podcast to talk cross border planning, TFSAs and play silly money games with other money nerds.

Life Insurance as an Investment

We get asked about this every once in a while. Life Insurance and its salespeople get a bad rap. Some of it is incredibly well-deserved, and some of it is just not. Here’s a breakdown of some life insurance basics that you should understand.

Kickin’ Chickens

Whether you’re gathering eggs, building a reputation, gathering customers, or just making enough money to pay the bills, you can choose to kick chickens like everyone else, or you can stop and think of a better way.

Three Great Reads You Might Have Missed

It's great to be back in the reading saddle again, and have I got some outstanding pieces for you! For those of you who are new around these parts, I'm a reader. (My friend Noel asked me the other day if I'd gotten to the last page of the internet yet. I haven't, but...

Is my pension… a pension?

“I have a pension through my employer,” says Tim*, in a recent call. “But I don’t understand it.” If you’re like Tim, you’re not alone. In Canada, we have many different potential sources for retirement income, with all kinds of different names. Pensions can be...

The Surprising Downside of a Sunny Retirement

If your residency is changing, it may affect how you’re taxed. Canada, for instance, has many residents that spend half the year in warmer parts of the U.S. “One of the issues there is when you’re considered a resident of most countries in the world, you have to file taxes there,” said Julia Chung. “We have a lot of Canadian residents who are just finding out that they’re supposed to file a tax return with the U.S. every year.”

Magic Potions, Snake Oil & Get Rich Quick Schemes

Multi-level marketing, supposedly free seminars, pyramids, ponzis and more – oh my. Lately, it seems my radio, television, and internet feeds are promising more and more straight up cash for less and less effort.

VIDEO SERIES: Carrick Talks Money

I had a chance to meet with Rob Carrick at the Globe and Mail in February and record three Carrick Talks Money segments. Our goal was to demystify financial planning for regular people and to demonstrate that it's not an exclusive exercise for the wealthy. Carrick...

Julia Chung at PowHerTalks Victoria June 18th

We’re proud to announce that Julia Chung has been selected to speak at the upcoming PowHerTalks Victoria on June 18th! We invite you to join us at this powerful event.

Julia Chung Live at PowHerTalks: 4 Fears to Conquer

Julia’s PowHerTalk in November was “Start Ups: 4 Fears to Get Over”.  Julia will be the Host and MC for the upcoming Vancouver PowHerTalks on January 30th. Register here

Not A Litre Of Milk: Evaluating The Utility Of Management Expense Ratios, Part One

The point: When you buy mutual funds from the bank, or an advisor, or through your employee plan, how do you know if you're getting what you're paying for? I'm not a fortune teller, but I can probably guess what mutual funds you hold in your RRSPs. You have at least...

UPDATED: Canadian Investment Fee Calculator

NOTE: The calculator has outgrown its old Google sheet and is now at autoinvest.ca. Welcome to the investment fee calculator, built to compare the cost of investing across Canada with online portfolio management companies like Nest Wealth, Justwealth, WealthBar,...

I’m 22…do I need a financial planner?

Hi Sandi, I am a 22-year-old and just starting my career. Do I need a financial planner and is talking to a financial advisor at the bank the same thing as talking to a financial planner?  Thank you, Denise -- Hi Denise, You know, you have an enormous opportunity to...

10 Signs You’re Not Ready to Retire

Have you been retirement planning, but now you’re not sure if you’re ready to retire? The Motley Fool notes 10 signs you’re not ready, and Julia Chung of Spring Financial Planning weighs in on #6 and #8.

RRSP Basics

Many people feel pretty confused about RRSPs – how they work, and why they’re useful. At the same time, people can feel embarrassed to ask for a full explanation. 

To help you move forward with this useful tool, here is your RRSP Primer!

The “Invest Better” Calculator

  Our own Sandi Martin collaborated with John Robertson, author of the Value of Simple, to create this useful calculator to help investors make an educated decision when choosing from the variety of low-fee robo-advisors now open in Canada. You can try it out...

Money 201 with Yours Truly and John Robertson

Once you’ve already mastered the basics of paying off debt and saving, what are the next steps to take in your financial life? We’ll walk through long-term planning to provide the context for how to fit the financial pieces of your life together, that takes into account your individual needs and goals, and will help you make sensible investing decisions.

Women & Money ebook

On March 8, 2016, we released the Women & Money ebook in honour of International Women’s Day. It’s still relevant, and still free.

Dear Everyone, Mutual Funds Are Boring. Please Go Buy Some.

Mutual funds are profoundly boring, although their ETF cousins have been known to be a little saucy. As an investor, you probably have a vague feeling that by buying mutual funds, you're performing the financial equivalent of buying a pink tract home and driving the...

Effective Retirement Planning is About Spending, Not Saving

The point: planning for your retirement isn't just about your investments, although you can be forgiven for thinking it is. It involves exactly the same activities as planning for tomorrow, next week, and next month: active budgeting, debt elimination, robust savings,...

The Secret to a Successful Financial Plan

The daily practices of a life with direction can either be onerous, and chafe so much that you give up or grumble your way through a miserable life, or you can settle into them with an attitude of contentment and get happy on the way to your goals, not just when you eventually reach them.

I Feel For You, But Busy Isn’t an Excuse to Ignore Your Money

The point of this post: being busy doesn't excuse you from having to pay attention to your money. You know that feeling you get when your to do list is so long that you have to turn pages to see it all? When you're overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that your...

Planning for Summer… Within Reason

Summer is pretty exciting for most of us here in Canada. No matter which province or territory you live in, the season is often short and spectacular. We save so many things for summer, from barbecues and weddings to vacation days and that book we always wanted to...

Now What?

Hi Sandi I know you are often looking for article ideas and I'm wondering if you would feel in the mood to write something to motivate folks who are doing okay, have a plan, no debt,....but need to avoid the temptation to go into debt (aka buy a cottage). It's nice...

Thoughts on Privilege In Financial Advice

Normally on the first or second Tuesday of the month I'm compiling and sending out a Top Three email to subscribers, highlighting the latest collection of thought-provoking, or informative posts on investing, the finance industry, retirement planning, or budgeting...

What I Want for You in 2017

What I dearly want for you this year is structure. (Just what you'd expect from an introverted money nerd who once answered "spreadsheets" when asked to name one thing that made her happy to her son's kindergarten circle, am I right?) Listen, when you hear "structure"...

In the Trenches: Living With Your Financial Plan and Avoiding Budget Fatigue

The point of this post: living on a budget is (most of the time) tedious and hard. Reward yourself and remember why you're doing it to make it seem less so. If you are in the first, exciting stages of setting up your financial plan, organizing your money, and living...

UPDATED: How (and Why) to Choose Between NestWealth, Wealthsimple, WealthBar, ShareOwner, and Steadyhand

Each online investment management company has a slightly different fee structure and value proposition. Calculating their relative cost for your circumstances will let you compare their relative value depending on the kind of service you want to pay for. (Includes a link to the Canadian Online Investment Advisor Fee Calculator.)

Incoming: Avoiding The Useless Retirement Plan, Part Three

The point: Retirement planning using general assumptions about your future income is just retirement guessing. And - surprise - it's useless. Seriously? Three posts into a retirement series and we haven't even answered the question "how much do I need to retire?" To...

Working with Sandi was everything I hoped for. I felt like you got to know me well and very quickly. I feel like your recommendations reflected my current reality as well as my personality. That is, you didn’t recommend things that I would never commit to.

After going through this process, I feel like I have a much better understanding of my financial picture. I so wish that I would have done this years ago!!

H. Bellerose

Having an impartial 3rd-party review our entire financial situation is one of the best business decisions my wife and I have made. We consider Julia our personal CFO and have incorporated her services into all aspects of our financial lives.

There’s no pressure to purchase any investment or insurance through her or any associate she has introduced us to; but rather an assessment and guidance on plans we have for the future.

C. Dewar

My fiance is currently in the first two years of business and Julia has been a pillar in ensuring that she invests enough money back in to her business to ensure stable growth, as well as develop a plan to save for long term life goals. This can be near impossible for entrepreneurs to strive for, yet Julia set aside a plan that was clear and achievable.

Julia is a fantastic source of knowledge and support for anyone running a business.

K. Foot

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