2023 February Update

by | Feb 16, 2023

Making decisions is hard. Even simple decisions like where to go for dinner or what show to watch can lead to analysis paralysis and frustration.

Making financial decisions is harder still: the stakes are high, the options infinite, and there’s no shortage of ambiguity.

Nobody knows what the markets will do, where interest rates will go, or which investment manager will have the best strategy in the next quarter or next year. On a personal level, none of us knows for certain how long we’ll live, whether we’ll become disabled, or what our assets will be worth at some far off point in the future. There are rules and laws, taxes, account types, forms and formulas and other parameters to navigate. On top of that, we have expectations from our families and peers, and our own messy feelings and beliefs. Suffice to say it’s incredibly hard to make sound decisions amidst all these variables.

The work we do at Spring (helping you make great decisions to create your vision of your life, well spent) hinges on a question so paradoxically hard that many people struggle to find the answer:

What do you want?

What do you actually, really, truly, deeply want out of your remaining time on this planet? Can you picture it? Smell it? Taste it? Can you imagine a life for yourself so rich with possibility and meaning that any other path seems laughably inadequate?

We realize finding the answer to this question is no small task. There’s no shortcut or rule of thumb or formula or algorithm that will give you the answer. You have to focus inward, and define it for yourself.

Once you really have a handle on your own ideas about your life, we can help you figure out what kind of trade-offs actually make sense for you within that framework. As things change, we can help you adjust.

Trade-offs can include things like putting that bonus money in your RRSP or your TFSA or your corporate investment account (and we can help you determine which one) rather than allocating it to charity, your family, a new wardrobe, car, vacation, or other things that you might find a lot more enjoyable. You might choose saving and investing if the future you’re building with that investment is of higher priority to you than the other allocation options.

But the other stuff is probably a lot more fun and your life, well spent is also now, not just in the future. So how much of now do you want to trade to benefit the future version of you?

Another trade-off might be using a system of accounts to manage your regular cash flow so that you’ve got money set aside for annual expenses that sometimes catch you by surprise, emergencies we can never imagine, and that fun thing you like doing or having that always ends up on your credit cards.

Setting up that system of accounts is not, for many people, a very good time. Deciding when and how much money gets automatically transferred to each account is often not fun for most people. Even worse for many folks who don’t love reviewing data is monitoring and adjusting those amounts and accounts through change. You might have significantly more fun ways to spend your time and energy.

It might also be true that a system like this really falls apart for you and you find it hard to maintain, so something else might be better. That’s definitely okay – it’s your life, and you know what works and doesn’t work for you.

If you’ve worked with us for a while, you’ve probably picked up on our militancy around time-blocking (here’s an article Julia wrote about it when she was leading Admin Slayer). You might think – and we’ve heard from many people – I can’t live like that! For us, it’s a trade-off we’ve accepted to achieve our goals, but we know it’s not for everyone.

Understanding yourself really well and having the information you need to understand the trade-offs you’ll want or not want to get where you’ve decided to go are key components of great decision making. Looking at your goals, and your decisions, through the lens of your own value system is a useful way of making hard decisions easier.

We’re looking forward to an exciting, challenging, and fulfilling year, now that we feel well and truly in it. We love helping you make great decisions that support your vision of your life, well spent.

Spring Team



Practice Notes:

It’s our Springaversary! Sandi and Julia met online in 2014, co-founding the Advice Only Planners’ forum, which is now the Financial Planning Association of Canada. We began working side by side (our “engagement”) in 2016, and merged our practices to become Spring Planning in 2017, growing our team in various ways since then. 2023 marks six years of Spring Planning, which we always like to celebrate on Spring Equinox, which is March 20th this year. As you might remember, we call ourselves “Spring” because we’re planning each year for a great summer. Thanks for being here with us over the years – we’re thrilled to have made it this far and excited for all we’ll be doing in the years to come!

March 8th is International Women’s Day! We just like telling people. March also features Spring Break for children across the country. There’s lots going on at Spring, with Sandi, Ashlee, and Krysten each taking time to spend with their families. Julia is an empty-nester, and will be traveling to both Thailand and Toronto in March, working in both locations but outside of her usual Pacific time zone.

“Free” Fridays remain booked permanently in our calendars. These days are free to us at Spring in the sense that they are our opportunity to work on becoming better planners, whether through collaboration and discussion, education, research, or even a little down time. It’s been a regular practice since the summer of 2017, and we will continue to set aside the time to become better versions of ourselves every week. Even 1% better is solidly worth it, because we know that will be reflected in the work we do for you.


In December, we noted that we were giving our holiday gift money to two great charities, Gravenhurst Against Poverty and Covenant House Vancouver. Julia had the opportunity to tour Covenant House’s new building in January, which provides a safe space for youth. We invite you to take your own tour by video right here. It’s a wonderful place for youth to find sanctuary, have their basic needs met, and access support services.

Spring in the News:

Inflation is causing some to think twice about having kids. Julia had the opportunity to discuss the costs associated of having children with Global News and how decisions to have children or not are being affected. Read the full article here.

Family Day in B.C celebrated amid mounting financial challenges. With an increased financial strain on parents, Julia discusses with CTV news how measuring what your time is worth and how that factors into how much time to spend on saving money. Watch the full segment here.

Julia spoke with Emerge from the University of Guelph-Humber about guiding students in making better financial decisions through the development of gaining a greater understanding of finances. Find out what she shared right here.

Planning News Digest:

  • Fun Isn’t Frivolous: It’s an important component of daily life. Find out how fun can make you healthier in this great (short!) TED talk by award-winning science journalist Catherine Price. Watch here.
  • What does retirement actually look like: What does retirement actually look and feel like from the other side? Here is the full story from one Canadian’s perspective. Read here.
  • Out of Province Estate Trustees: There are legal and tax implications to having an estate executor or trustee who doesn’t live in your province. Find out more, and if it’s worth it, in this great article. Read here.

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Julia Chung
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