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Investors can learn a lesson from Canada’s federal election

Investors can learn a lesson from Canada’s federal election

October 22, 2015

Kelly Watson, daughter of Peter Watson, takes a 'selfie' with Justin Trudeau during one of the federal Liberal leader's campaign visits to university campuses.
Kelly Watson, daughter of Peter Watson, takes a ‘selfie’ with Justin Trudeau during one of the federal Liberal leader’s campaign visits to university campuses.

What an opportunity: to take an election result and use it to propel your personal finances.

Back in the lazy days of summer when this historically long 11-week election began, the Liberals were in third place in the polls.

The ads the governing Conservative Party ran said Justin Trudeau was “Just Not Ready”.

To the contrary. A two-decade high voter turnout decided he was and rewarded him with a majority government.

The Liberal Party that faced extinction in 2011 has regained power and now Justin Trudeau is moving back into his old family home at 24 Sussex Drive where he lived when his father, former prime minister and the late Pierre Trudeau, led the Liberal Party.

So what happened?

Did Prime Minister Harper suddenly not know how to govern?

No. Stephen Harper has won three elections and last time around earned a majority. He did not change.

Nearly a decade in power, he was the most experienced person to lead us.

Canadians wanted change and it was change that won this election. We voted strategically and traditional Conservative and NDP voters hopped on the Liberal band wagon to ensure Prime Minister Harper would be defeated.

Justin Trudeau ran an energized and positive campaign that captured the country with his enthusiasm. He participated in thousands of selfies across our nation, including one with my daughter Kelly Watson while making one of his many university campus visits.

Our question now is what can be learned from one of the longest and most interesting elections in our country’s history?

What changes, based on your own personal strategy, should be made to help you improve your personal finances?

There are many options, including items as diverse as updating your personal power of attorney for both health and finance, and adjusting your will to reflect your current wishes.

Maybe it’s to develop a savings program to assist your child continue with their education after high school.

Are your investment fees too high and even worse are they hidden to the point you have no idea what you are paying? How have your investments performed?

Have you articulated your financial planning goals? When will you be debt-free? When will you be able to retire and what kind of cash flow and lifestyle can you expect during retirement?

Lesson from federal electionCommon wisdom says that when we set a goal we need to set a deadline.

Procrastination can be our worst enemy.

The election was on Monday and 36 million Canadians used that day to change government. There was a deadline.

Perhaps your strategy for change starts with a To-Do List. Write it out and set a deadline beside each item on the list.

Holding yourself responsible to meet these deadlines is going to be a challenge, so you might want to break down the larger goals into manageable chunks, and share the deadlines with someone you trust in the hope that doing so will make you more accountable.

On Monday Canadians voted for change. Canadians voted strategically. It was a bold move.

If you have issues that need a change, now is a good time to make your own bold move. Be pro-active and make those changes.

If you’ve been saying you’re ‘just not ready’ to tackle your financial goals, think again. Don’t underestimate yourself.

We recommend you harness the energy and emotion of Monday’s strategic vote for change and use it to advance your own personal finances.