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

Your Financial Plan is Not a Slap-Chop

The point: If you financial advisor is giving you a financial plan for "free", what's his incentive for doing it well? These days, we all want to believe that we're savvy consumers. We scoff at TV commercials for products that are worth hundreds of dollars but can be...
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Caring for a Forever Child…

“These are things that are going to seriously affect your life and the lives of people after you,” said Julia Chung, a financial and estate planner with Spring Financial Planning. “Spend the money.” You will likely need both a financial planner and a lawyer that specializes in estates, and possibly an accountant to review tax ramifications.

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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...
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September’s Great Reads

In my world, September is a BIG month. Summer effectively ends on Labour Day, the kids are at school, and it’s time for a hard reset (what I privately think of as a second New Year) to prepare myself for the whirlwind of the last three months of the year. In your...
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The Best Discount Brokerage for Small Index Investors, and How Much it’s Going to Cost You

The point: If you're starting out as an index investor, and are going to be regularly contributing in a self-directed brokerage account, the best discount brokerage for you is TD Direct Investing, but not for any of the reasons most reviewers list. *UPDATED* This post...
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Double the Trouble…

Two kids in university at the same time means double the costs. The secret to saving for – and affording – two.

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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...
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Important Changes to the Principal Residence Exemption

On October 3, 2016, Finance Minister Morneau announced new measures to address the housing market, with the intention of improving fairness and integrity of the tax system as it relates to the principal residence exemption. The changes include new reporting requirements, modifications to the calculation of the tax-free amount for individuals based on a residency requirements, and an extension to the period in which a reassessment may occur.

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Family Values: How to Pay For a Large Family

Want to have four, five, even six children? Plan ahead and make some smart decisions early to ease the financial burden. Full article on BBC Capital: Family Values: How to Pay For a Large Family...
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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...
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How to Get the Best Discount on Your Mortgage

The point of this post: do the work to understand how the mortgage lending system works so you can save the most money. If you want to get the very best interest rate (read: lowest bottom line price) on your mortgage, you need to know how to see yourself the way the...
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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!

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Capital Dividend Account: Changes to Note

The March 22, 2016 federal budget has resulted in significant changes to the credit to the capital dividend account arising upon the receipt of life insurance proceeds. While these proposals are not yet final, it is expected they will be enacted before the end of 2016 with certain retroactive effect.

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Because Money Episode 14

Despite +Robb Engen's absence from this week's podcast, +Jackson Middleton and I had a great time talking with our guests about why regular Canadians should care about the regulation of financial advice. I've written about the incentives that are holding even the most...
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OPTIMIZE!

Financial planning is misnamed. It really should be called Figuring Out How Much What You Want Out Of Life Will Cost And How to Pay For It By Finding The Happy Medium Between Doing What You Have To Do And Doing What You Want To Do. I imagine this will never take on....
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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...
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Fun With Retirement Calculators

The point: retirement calculators are only as good as the information you put in them and the underlying assumptions of the calculator itself, and are useful only to model the future, not predict it. The lure of the retirement calculator is that it will tell you your...
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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.

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Fill in the Blank (Part One): I Don’t Want to Spend Money On…

At first glance, it sounds like an incredibly stupid exercise, I grant you. Um, I don't want to spend money on insurance, on my mortgage payment, on those never-ending, teeny-tiny little school activity requests that dribble home every other day, on fixing my car...
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Success = Joy + Freedom

Have you ever set goals and just felt kind of… “meh”? Julia’s latest article for Niche Magazine gets to the heart of why that happens, and how you can change it.

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Numbers, Numbers, Numbers: Avoiding the Useless Retirement Plan, Step Two

The point: You can't plan where you're going until you know where you want to go and where you're starting from. Do you know what you want out of life? If that sounds like a surprisingly navel-focused question coming from a financial planner, it's only because - dare...
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HST and Small Business: Onus is a Dirty Word

The point: Trusting the government to tell you what you need to give them and when is like asking your three-year-old to make supper: remarkably inefficient. This post ends with an appeal to write your MP begging for a change in the way small businesses are notified...
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You’re Just Not That Interested In Cars

The point of this post: It makes sense to hire a professional for an essential job you can't make time to do yourself. Do you take your car to a mechanic? You're smart. Presumably you can read. Why are you paying someone else to do work that you could - with a little...
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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...
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Price Shock: The Sting of Moving Abroad

Imagine being asked to do your job in an exotic city in a far flung country… Julia gives BBC Capital her planning tips.

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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...
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Salesman or Advisor?

The point of this post: If your financial advisor is paid a commission based on what products they sell to you, instead of a straight fee for their advice, that advice is compromised by self-interest. What if I told you that your otherwise competent and experienced...
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July’s Great Reads

Another monster list for your July reading pleasure. These top three are the ones you shouldn't miss, but the whole list is down there...I'm sure you'll find something interesting on retirement income satisfaction, how to handle a windfall, surviving close encounters...
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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.

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August’s Great Reads

I love my reading list this month, I really do. I know I say that almost every month, but guys: there’s some real gold in here for everyone, whether you’re spending the month of August toiling away at work like you do every month, relaxing in a canoe or on a beach...
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June’s Great Reads

I've got a monster reading list for you this month, and I'm still fighting that nagging feeling that there was way more good stuff out there than I managed to catch. If you've got the time, scroll through the entire list down there at the bottom, and catch Preet...
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How A Financial Planner Can Lighten Your Load

...
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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.”

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How Much Do Mutual Funds Cost, and Relative to What? Part Two

The point: management expense ratios do a poor job of communicating the price you're paying for a mutual fund and the value you're getting in return. This is the second of a two-part rant, and you can find the first part here. If you walked into the grocery store...
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If You’ve Ever Tried and Failed at Budgeting

If you've ever tried and failed at budgeting, or if you've never tried at all because it sounds so hard and boring, this post is for you. Those of you with a budgeting system that works and that you possibly even love and want to have babies with are excused for the...
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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...
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What I Want For You In 2015

My hope for you this year is that – no matter what your circumstances – you take the time to get really, really clear about what those circumstances actually are, and plan to repeat the process when they change.

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Quick Update: Retirement Income Interview

In case you've been missing Because Money (on hiatus as we plan for Season Three), I just did an interview with Kornel Szrejber on retirement income planning, and we managed to squeeze a few laughs out of what is traditionally a less-than-hilarious topic. Some of the...
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Because Money Episode 21 | The Rise Of The (Not) Robo-Advisors

This month, we were delighted to welcome Michael Katchen of WealthSimple to the show to talk about what's wrong with the asset management industry, how he and others like him plan to break it, and why regular Canadians who, for whatever reason, shouldn't or can't DIY...
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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.

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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...
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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.

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Announcement: Sandi Martin

Announcement! A new collaboration with Sandi Martin of Spring Personal Finance…

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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

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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.

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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...
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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.)

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What do YOU want?

It sounds like an easy question.

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How Your Advisor’s Bad Investing Behaviour Costs You

The point: Yes, your own bad investing behaviour costs you, but your advisor's bad investing behaviour has the potential to cost you a lot more. First off: I'm not a portfolio manager or an investment advisor (or adviser, for what it's worth). I was a registered...
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Frugality Isn’t A Virtue

The point: being frugal just for the sake of being frugal isn't being virtuous. It's being cheap. Let's pretend this is the first time you've been on the internet, and you feel like you need personal finance advice (one of these scenarios is probably easier to imagine...
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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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