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The importance of annual portfolio reviews

November 3, 2023
min read

By reviewing your portfolio regularly, you can ensure you’re on track to meet your investment and retirement goals.

Advisor and client review investment portfolio

A lot can change in a year. That’s why your finances aren’t something you can set and forget; as your life changes, your investment portfolio and retirement plan should change, too.

We encourage our members to meet with us and review their portfolios every year. This gives us the opportunity to assess your portfolio performance, discuss recent life events, and note any changes in your financial situation.

To learn more, we sat down with Megan Bednar, Senior Financial Advisor at Cambrian and Credential Securities, to discuss annual portfolio reviews:

Why are portfolio reviews so important?

“During your review, we can make sure you’re on track to meet your goals,” says Megan.

“By checking in regularly, we can set financial priorities that you can work towards. This helps you feel confident that you will be comfortable in retirement.”

To ensure your portfolio is still aligned with your goals, your advisor will review:

  • Tax strategies. Could you be saving or investing in a way that’s more tax-efficient?
  • Risk tolerance. It’s important that your portfolio matches your risk comfort level, but you also must ensure you’re taking on enough risk to meet your financial goals. Your advisor can make sure your portfolio is still balanced accordingly.
  • Life priorities & financial goals. Do you want to leave a legacy behind for your loved ones or donate it to charity? Do you want to fund your child or grandchild’s education? We’ll consider what’s most important to you and balance your portfolio with that in mind.

What happens during a portfolio review?

“The meetings can be very broad depending on what you’re looking for,” says Megan. “A typical review meeting takes about 1 hour.”

You can expect to discuss questions like:

  • What aspects of your finances need attention?
  • Are you making contributions to your RRSP or TFSA, and can you increase those contributions?
  • What are your financial goals and the timeframes of those goals?
  • Is your Will and Power of Attorney up to date? What about your beneficiaries and health directives?

Adjusting your plan

During your review, you might discover that your priorities have changed or that you aren’t on track to meet your goals.

“If so, we have to talk about what you’re willing to do to change that,” says Megan. “Do you need to work longer, contribute more to an RRSP, or adjust your risk tolerance?”

If that’s the case, there are 4 changes we can make:

Work longer

By delaying when you retire, you can get more money from CPP (up until age 70). This also gives you more time to save for retirement.

Save & invest more

Not meeting your savings goals? If you aren’t ready to consider lowering your expected retirement income, you can instead increase the contributions to your RRSP or TFSA.

Expect less income in retirement

Megan says, “One question I always ask members is: ‘What do you plan to do in retirement?’”

Certain lifestyles are more expensive in retirement - for example, travelling each year will cost more than staying at home. By adjusting your lifestyle, you can potentially achieve retirement sooner.

Change your rate of return by adjusting your portfolio

“To meet your financial goals, you may need to consider making market-based investments as opposed to having just a high-interest savings account,” says Megan.

“We can make asset allocation changes to help you outpace inflation.”

Megan also encourages members not to panic when they see portfolio drops from one year to the next. Don’t lose sight of how the psychology of investing affects your decisions and keep your long-term goals in mind!

“The worst time to take your money out of the market is when it’s down—you crystalize your loss when you do that,” says Megan.

Once you exit the market, there’s no chance of recovering the money you may have lost during a market downswing. As the saying goes, it’s best to sell high and buy low—not the other way around!

How often do you need a portfolio review?

We recommend reviewing your plan at least once a year.

“But if there’s a financial change in your life, you may want to come in sooner,” says Megan.

A few examples of those changes include:

  • Birth of a child
  • New job
  • Career change
  • Promotion or salary increase
  • Marriage or divorce
  • New home purchase
  • Death or inheritance in the family
  • Pay off a major debt

Discover what makes Cambrian different

Ready to review your portfolio? These meetings help your advisor understand where you are on your financial journey, and how they can help.

“What sets us apart is the value we offer to our members,” says Megan. “We provide personalized investment plans.”

“Once you share your goals with us, we ask questions to get a clear sense of your financial plans. We work together so that you understand what you own in your investment portfolio and why you own it.”

Our advisors can meet with you online or in person. Book a meeting for your portfolio review today!


Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc.

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