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

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.

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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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Dear Big, Enormous Bank With Little Competition, Please Blow My Mind

Hi. You probably don’t remember me. I was one of a series of warm bodies in that cubicle in Newmarket, the office (with a door!) in Huntsville, and the other office (with a window!) in Bracebridge. I mostly didn’t meet my sales targets and never made my cold-call...
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Why Budgets Don’t Work (The Real Reason)

Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish: The Dark Side of Personal Finance, says in an article for Slate that budgets don't work because hardly anyone's income is predictable and somehow the government is to blame. That budgets- in fact - "offer the illusion, not the...
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Profiting from Real Estate

Planning on earning a fortune in the real estate market? Read this first. 

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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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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"...
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Why You Don’t Want Your Child to Be a Genius

“Find experts in the fields that your child is interested in,” said Julia Chung of Spring Financial Planning. “Talk to them and ask them for help and support. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help.”

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Cynicism, The Canadian Pension Plan, And You

The point: scoff if you like, but we have a public pension system in Canada that will likely make up a good portion of your retirement income, and its existence should be factored into your plans. I hear it all the time - in banking, in financial planning, and now...
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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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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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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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Free Money for School: A Guest Post for Renegade Planner

Julia Chung from Spring Financial Planning is excited to provide a guest post for Renegade Planner, a “Startup Concierge” that helps businesses grow and learn.  Jessica Oman, the founder of Renegade Planner, is providing tips and information to her business owner audience on personal finance, something that really does confuse everyone.

Julia’s article “Free Money For School: Yes, Even Entrepreneurs Can Save for Their Children’s Education” provides a clear outline of how to use the RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) to maximize grants, reduce taxes, and pay for post-secondary school.

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What do YOU want?

It sounds like an easy question.

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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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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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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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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...
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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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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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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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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...
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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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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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Is Private School Worth The Cost?

Sending your children to private school can mean making some big sacrifices.

 

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Rainbows and Unicorns: What lenders really mean when they say “affordable”)

The point of this post: it's your job as the borrower to figure out if you can actually afford the mortgage the bank says you can. When you think about how much money you make, do you use made up numbers or real ones? If you think that's a strange question, then...
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Distressingly Common Investment Advice

I was recently part of a presentation for financial advisors, put on by someone whose work I respect (and who I imagine probably would not have said this if he had had more time to think about it). Just before the end, this came out of his mouth: Words I just heard!...
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A Spender Marries a Saver – Now What?

You’ve heard that money is the cause of many arguments between partners. But can a spender marry a saver and live happily ever after? BBC Capital interviewed Julia Chung of Spring Financial Planning to find out.

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On Hiring a Financial Planner

The folks at Mint.com interviewed me a few weeks ago about working with a financial planner, getting started on a financial makeover, and advice for beginners on investing.  When enlisting help to manage your money, what should you look for in a planner? You should...
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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.

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RRSPs: Hunting Season

The point: buying an RRSP sometime between January and March doesn't mean you have a retirement plan. Go into any bank between January 2nd and February 28th and you will be haunted by the specter of an underfunded retirement. You will be offered "retirement planning",...
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Making it on his own

Sam Omeretti feels financially ready to live on his own. His parents aren’t so sure.

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Canada Pension Plan Maximums January to December 2016

With few exceptions, Canadians over 18 who work in Canada and earn more than the minimum amount ($3,500) must contribute to the Canada Pension Plan.  Your contributory period starts at  the time you begin work and ends at retirement.

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The Biggest Mistake New Entrepreneurs (Almost Always) Make

The point: have a plan for the money you earn within your business, and be ruthless about it. Otherwise, you'll only succeed through sheer luck. A short meditation, today. Losing power for forty-one hours during the busiest week I've had in my practice has set me back...
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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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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...
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Your Financial Advisor Might Be A Nice Person, But… (Because Money, Ep 13)

Last week's CBC Marketplace episode Show Me The Money took an average investor (with a hidden camera and glowing lights in her pants) into BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, TD, Dundee Securities, Edward Jones, Investor's Group, Money Concepts, and Primerica shopping for...
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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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Planning for Retirement: Uncertainty is Certain, so Pick Your Poison

If you're planning for retirement and make the mistake of scrolling through any finance section in a slow news week, you have to ask yourself: what kind of questions are they asking to produce breathless headlines like these? Half of Canadians don't think they'll be...
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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...
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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,...
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A Little Discouragement To Start You On Your Way. You’re Welcome.

The point: Learning to live on a budget is hard. Pretending it's not is stupid, and counter-productive, and will eventually end up being the reason you quit. Let’s talk about the most important part of personal finance: debt repayment investing budgeting. I’ll wait...
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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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Cooking At Home To Save Money Will Still Cost You

If you want to get your spending on food or any other category to line up with your income and goals, you’ll have to spend one of your other resources – your time, your capacity, even your social capital – until it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice anymore.

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On Bank Hating Skepticism (Stop Shooting Yourself in the Foot)

The point of this post: treat the people you're dealing with like people to reduce the chances of getting screwed by a faceless institution. Also because it's the right thing to do. I'm going to warn you: all this talk about skepticism is going to sound a bit rich...
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Corporate Control: When Are Corporations Associated?

Associated corporations share the SBD, which provides access to a low tax rate on the first $500,000 of operating income.  Obviously, this could be a concern to small business owners.

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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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Violating the Foundational Tenets of Personal Finance for Fun and Profit

The point: There's no universal equation into which you can plug your details and receive a perfectly optimized solution to all your personal finance questions.     I still pay bank fees. (Hear that? That's the sound of ten thousand personal finance bloggers...
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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...
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The Budgeting Resource Everyone Has (And Nobody Uses)

Does this sound familiar? You've read a book or a blog series or watched a show about budgeting and getting your money under control. You're all fired up, ready to really get it together, and get to work on that budget. The first few lines are easy: Monthly net...
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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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