Plan Review Checklist
Snap Projections allows you to create quick and efficient financial plans to help answer your client's questions. In some cases, you may want to expand on the basic settings and assumptions in Snap Projections to further refine your plan. The following checklist was developed through conversations with Snap users to help you review your plans and to provide optional prompts for consideration.
The checklist is structured in three parts:
- Plan Construction - This section covers the base plan itself to confirm if data has been entered into Snap correctly and that the underlying assumptions are in line with the client's situation.
- Scenario Analysis - This section covers the insights generated from the plan to help determine if they're appropriate and comprehensive.
- Financial Planning Areas - This section serves as a prompt to explore other areas of the client's finances within the plan or through further discussions with them.
This list isn't all-encompassing. It's regularly expanded and refined as more plans are created. Please feel free to consider these questions at the end of your plan creation process and add more to your own list as you see fit.
- Is there carry forward contribution room for RRSPs and TFSAs and has it been entered?
- Are the government benefits pro-rated for the first year (if desired)?
- Do the Scenario Setup > General page assumptions match the final state of the plan (e.g., Does the employment income stop at the retirement age specified in the report)?
- Are all Capital Assets categorized correctly (e.g., Type set to TFSA)?
- Has the Cost basis been entered for non-registered assets?
- Are the rate of return assumptions net of management fees?
- Is there a future-dated debt? (this should only be used if the loan hasn't been received yet)
- If there's an RESP, is it over or underfunded for the projected school costs?
- Are there years with negative Base Expenses?
- Has the ATS entered been adjusted to remove debt payments, savings contributions, insurance premiums, and charitable donations (that have already been entered in Snap Projections)?
- Is the ATS reasonably consistent throughout the plan (e.g., does it jump up when a real asset is sold)?
- Are there surpluses/shortfalls?
- Are values entered as annual amounts unless indicated otherwise?
- If there's a Defined Benefit Pension Plan (DBPP), have their contributions been accounted for while working, and has the pension adjustment been entered?
- Are CFM Start Age, retirement age, and employment income coordinated?
- Are activities around retirement reasonable (e.g., contributions stop, pensions start)?
- Have you confirmed the client's CPP and OAS benefits (if desired) (e.g., Snap Projections assumes full OAS and the national average for CPP benefits)?
- Have transactions been modelled to correctly reflect the cash flow and tax impacts (e.g., when selling an investment property the rental income also needs to stop)?
- Do short-term/temporary cash flows (e.g., spousal support, inheritance) start and end in the correct year?
- Is there OAS clawback?
- Does the marginal tax rate vary substantially throughout the plan?
- Are there significant unrealized capital gains in non-reg accounts?
- Is there money in a non-reg account and room in registered accounts (e.g., TFSA (personal or spouse))?
- Are there material differences in the rate of return assumptions between accounts or registration types?
- Should they use the age of the younger spouse for RRIF or LIF withdrawals?
- Should RRIF withdrawals begin before age 72?
- Can you unlock a portion of the LIRA/DCPP upon conversion to a LIF and do you want to model maximum LIF withdrawals?
- If there's a corporation, is it being used for cash flow (e.g., dividends, salary)?
- Could the client defer government benefits (e.g., CPP, OAS)?
- How do variable returns impact the projection?
Financial Planning Areas
Have you considered all of the relevant financial planning areas for your practice and client engagement?
1. Financial Management
- Are the calculated Base Expense values in line with the client's budget and expected spending?
2. Insurance & Risk Management
3. Investment Planning
- Are the client's investment allocations appropriate?
4. Retirement Planning
- Are the target Base Expense values reasonable?
5. Tax Planning
- Are the client's contributions (e.g., TFSA, RRSP) efficient for their income and future goals?
6. Estate Planning & Legal Aspects
- Is the projection length appropriate?
As we mentioned at the start of this article. This list isn't all-encompassing. It's regularly expanded and refined as more plans are created. Please feel free to consider these questions at the end of your plan creation process and add them to the list as you see fit.
For additional tools to help you with your planning process, please check out our Snap Projections Toolkit which includes client questionnaires, checklists and sample reports.