2024 March Update

by | Mar 11, 2024


March is a wild month. It ushers in what we hope will be the end of winter, bringing a few rays of sunshine for those of us starved of it in the Great White North. It’s also the start of the season that is our namesake: Spring!! If you’re a regular reader, you already know that we’re spring because we love summer so much, and to have a great summer, we need to get our planning done in the spring.

As you move into this season and start thinking about your summer – whether literally for 2024 or figuratively as that future point that you’re moving towards – we want to remind you that, in general, the point of planning is to have a good time when you get to that future time and place. Plus, you hopefully get to have a pretty good time getting there.

What can be tough when it comes to financial decisions are all the distractions about what is “right” and what is “smart” versus what is actually going to help support your best life. The concept is built directly into our tagline: Your life, well spent.

During a recent discussion about “best lives”, another professional told us about all the clients they had who continued to work late in their lives, building up wealth inside various assets but never really spending the wealth they worked so hard to build.

Now, for some people that is the definition of their best life. Professors and entrepreneurs are notorious for staying active in their careers long after people in other lines of work have chosen to buy a boat and hit the high seas. (A shout out to one of our clients who is sailing in the Caribbean right now! Love the photos!)

For many others, there is a “best life” that they really want to live… or would if they could even imagine that this was possible. What is the biggest thing that stops us from getting there?


Unsurprisingly, fear is scary. We are inundated with fear-based messaging every single day. It’s what increases click-rates online and sells both products and services. Fear is a natural and healthy emotion, so don’t beat yourself up about it if it’s a feature in your life.

However, we can recognize it for what it is: a very real concern about something going terribly, terribly wrong. Many of us have experienced financial trauma. It’s a real thing – we have a video about it coming soon! – that has made us reasonably careful about the steps we take with our finances.

Overcoming Fear

Overcoming fear is hard work, and the pathway isn’t the same for everyone. The place to start is with recognizing it for what it is and accepting that it’s not wrong. Geez, you’re allowed to have feelings. From there, it’s worthwhile unpacking what the fear is. Where did it come from? What is behind it?

For many of the amazing people we work with, what led to the fear was the confusing amount of information about their finances and how they interacted with other areas of their lives, as well as the kind of decisions they were actually facing. We live in the Information Age, which sounded kind of cool until we realized that it’s basically non-stop data of varying quality. It’s up to us to discern what is useful, what is not great, and what is downright awful. That’s pretty hard, but financial planning helps us work things through.

For some of the outstanding people we have met, fear came from some pretty serious places, including histories of loss, poverty, and more. While we can definitely provide some support, this can in some cases be what we at Spring call “above our paygrade”. However, we know some outstanding mental health professionals who can help!

Creating Stability

Financial anxiety often comes from the feeling that life, the future, and all the things are just so ambiguous. How do we know that the decision we make today is the right one for the people we’re going to be in the future?

That ambiguity can be terrifying. The truth is that we just don’t know. Many things can go awry, and even though we run tests with the goal of trying to account for things going wrong, the unique way that things might go wrong in each person’s life is … well… unique. Nonetheless, there are safety nets we can put in place for the financial fallout from many things, including sorting out legal documents (incapacity planning, estate planning, shareholder agreements), buying insurance, having a boring old emergency fund, and more.

Finally, as we like to say at Spring, what we do is a verb (Financial Planning) rather than a noun (Financial Plan). Life changes. You change. The world changes around us. It’s an ongoing practice.

The only stability we have is that which we create. We can create stability by having a system in place to manage through change and challenge. We make sure we talk about those changes. We spend time thinking things through. We wonder if those changes will have an impact on this area of our lives, or if it won’t. We stay mindful, rather than choosing to be mindless.

Speaking of mindfulness, we highly recommend any of the books written by the outstanding Ellen Langer, the Harvard Professor who is known as the “mother of positive psychology”.

Envisioning What You Want

When you know that you’re equipped to deal with a variety of challenges, then you’re ready to envision more fun things. You’re ready to focus on creating a life you’ll really love because it’s layered on top of a strong foundation of security. That security is confidence in your own resilience.

If you’re someone who loves your work and career, you’ll probably keep doing it. However, the decisions you make now will help you transition from working for an amount of money you earn to working for the amount of enjoyment you experience.

If you’re someone who isn’t all that engaged with work and career but cannot wait to engage heavily in hobbies, community, family, and more, you’ll know when that’s an option and feel really confident about making that happen.

If you’re someone who is building a legacy that will live beyond your lifespan, you’ll know how much time, energy and, of course, money you can allocate to that legacy.

When you feel safe, you can start to dream. We’re so lucky to be in the position to dream with you.

PS. Here’s a little thought about the power of kindness. Recently, we stopped at a coffee shop. The customer in front of us was ordering while talking on the phone and generally ignoring the staff member trying to help them. That staff member was super nice but clearly frustrated. When we were able to order, the staff member asked how we were and we said, “Great! We don’t work in retail!” The entire team behind the bar laughed… and we ended up getting our order ahead of everyone else. That wasn’t something we asked or expected, and we recognize that the other customer could have been dealing with some pretty tough stuff, which may have made it harder to be present at the coffee bar. We never know what anyone is dealing with. It’s just a little reminder that stopping to see people as people and recognizing their humanity can go a long, long way. Plus, it could get you a latte just a little quicker than you expected.


Your Spring Planning Team


Practice Notes:

It’s our Springaversary! While Spring Planning is seven years old this month, it is actually the third iteration of our advice-only planning service. We started back in 2012 as a sister company to a BC based accounting firm, and in 2015 became JYC Financial – which wasn’t the most original name.

In 2017, Spring Planning grew out of JYC Financial to serve clients across the country. At the beginning, our focus was to make financial planning available to all Canadians. “All Canadians”, it turns out, is a lot of people. In 2019, we were able to hand that mission over to the Financial Planning Association of Canada, which continues to grow and support amazing professional financial planners who can truly serve all Canadians.

Today, Spring Planning is a boutique firm focused on supporting individuals who have some tricky stuff to deal with, whether they are entrepreneurs with thriving businesses, “accidental entrepreneurs” who have found themselves in a family business, or incorporated professionals, and families who share visions, goals, and assets across multiple members, often in different countries. We are honoured to continue to serve our amazing clients and thrilled to celebrate our 7th anniversary… which is also our 12th if we go back to a few earlier names!


Spring in the News:

Join Julia on March 21, in person or Livestream as she talks Women & Investing with Sue Talbot and Mary Lou Miles from Genus Capital, plus the consistently hilarious Rose Shawlee from Boughton Law. Register for the event here.

Julia was delighted to talk about Advice Only Planning with David Toyne at Steadyhand. Check out the full interview here.

The Globe and Mail has been running a series on the CPP and asked Julia to comment on the interactions between Social Security and CPP. Read the full article here.

Please check out our media page here for videos, podcasts, interviews and more.


Planning News Digest:

  • Is CPP really worth it? We loved this article by Benjamin Felix explaining what a great program it is. Check out the full article here.
  • US Estate Tax: If you’ve been working with us for a while you may have been advised to “keep an eye” on the US estate tax exemption. This great article from O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers discusses the current discourse in US Congress regarding this tax.
  • Change is HARD. Change within families and within family businesses, can be even harder. Here’s a great article on how changes in the family can be a great benefit.


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Julia Chung