(NC) Do you hit a roadblock every time you think about retirement funding?

Canadians face an array of investing choices all year long, including Retirement Savings Plans (RSP), the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), as well as individual investments like mutual funds. Studies also show that affordability continues to be the primary barrier when it comes to investing more money.

So what can investors do? It depends on individual circumstances and goals, according to financial experts who recommend seeking professional advice to get a retirement plan up to date.

“Our research shows that those who feel they are on track to meet their financial goals also have a written financial plan,” says Ahmad Dajani, vice president of investments, GICs, and sales tools at Scotiabank. And getting that plan on paper doesn't have to be daunting or complicated as most people may think. “A qualified financial advisor at a nearby financial institution can review your investments with you - free of charge – to create a personalized plan and identify opportunities to help you get ahead financially.”

A good plan balances all your priorities, adds Dajani, and ensures financial readiness for life's ever-changing needs and challenges – such as retirement, home ownership and an education fund for the kids.

Within the framework of a good financial plan, even small contributions can have a big impact over time and get people to the place they want to be financially. To help maintain that disciplined mind-set, Dajani recommends setting up a pre-authorized contribution from your bank account to your investments, such as RSP.

“Start with a small amount and adjust it depending on your financial situation,” he explains. “By making an automatic, monthly contribution to investments that complement your plan, your portfolio will grow naturally over time. Then, review your investments once a year with your financial advisor to ensure things are on track.”

Ask your financial advisor these five questions

(NC) If you want a long-term financial strategy that addresses everything from saving and investing, to vacation and retirement planning, speak to an advisor about a plan to make your money goals a reality.

“Planning for retirement involves more than setting aside money. It means thinking about what your goals are and how you can achieve them,” says Farhan Hamidani, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director at HollisWealth. “Contributing to an RRSP is one of the soundest ways to turn your retirement dream into a reality.”

A well-planned retirement strategy takes a holistic view of your financial plan, including such topics as maximizing tax efficiencies and risk/return in your portfolio. Here are the top five retirement planning questions you should ask your financial advisor to ensure you're on the right path:

1. What is the approximate annual cost of retirement based on my standard of living?

2. How often should I contribute to my RRSP and other investments?

3. Which debt should I be focused on paying down first?

4. Should I explore insurance and risk management options to protect my investments?

5. How can I ensure my spouse and family are included in my retirement plans?

The key to a successful retirement plan is to work with an experienced financial advisor. First, determine your lifestyle goals, develop a plan to meet those goals, and then work with the advisor to ensure you are on track towards the retirement you deserve.

More information is available online at holliswealth.com.