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- To mark Financial Planning Week, TD Waterhouse reminds Canadians to think both long- and short-term when planning -

TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - A financial plan is an essential part of working towards your long-term financial goals, but it's also a critical tool to help prepare for the unexpected. However, 61% of Canadians ages 45 to 64 don't have a formal plan in place, according to the TD Waterhouse Financial Planning Poll.

When asked why they don't have a financial plan, 50% said that while they think it's necessary, they just haven't gotten around to creating one. "A financial plan is the best way to take an in-depth look at your current financial situation and help you prepare for the future," says Lee Bennett, Senior Vice President, TD Waterhouse Financial Planning. "But, it's also important to be financially prepared for unexpected events."

An advisor can help you create a plan that works towards the long-term goal of a financially-secure future, but also has measures for unexpected events such as critical illness, accident, divorce or sudden death of a family member. "A good plan should include tools such as an emergency savings fund and insurance, to help minimize the use of your long-term savings and investments if the unforeseen arises," says Bennett.

Falling behind - and getting back on track
Forty-three percent of Canadians polled said their financial plan has fallen off track in the past due to an unexpected event or to cover expenses for which they hadn't saved. The most common reasons included: job loss (34%), new car or unexpected car repair (27%), unplanned housing costs (25%) or health-related expenses (16%).

Thirty-four percent of those who fell behind said they worked with an advisor to help get them back on track. More than two thirds (69%) revised their spending or investing, and 39% said they had to revise their goals.

The majority (77%) of those who have fallen off track financially have this advice to share with those in a similar situation: have an emergency fund in place for unexpected expenses.

Considerations for market volatility in your plan
In recent years there has been a great deal of volatility in the markets. And while this may cause many to worry about reaching their long-term financial goals, having a plan and working with a professional can alleviate some concerns.

According to the poll, even considering recent market volatility, 75% of Canadians with a financial plan or investments feel at least somewhat confident in their savings and investments. And 76% of those who worked with an advisor feel that, because they did, they worry less about market volatility.

"Advisors consider a wide variety of factors, such as future interest rates, inflation and taxes when creating your plan, making it more resilient in volatile markets," says Bennett.

Having a plan that continues to work for you
Half of Canadians with a financial plan review their plan once a year to ensure it still works toward their goals and make updates accordingly. However, an annual review may not be enough if you have had significant changes in your income, expenses or lifestyle, or in times of market volatility.

"Your advisor is there for you, in good times and bad, so don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns," adds Bennett. "They can review your investment portfolio to help minimize any negative impact from the markets or unexpected life events, and ensure you're feeling comfortable about your investment strategy. Your plan is in place to guide your financial and investment choices, but if your needs and priorities change, your plan should adjust along with them."

About the TD Waterhouse Financial Planning Poll
From September 28 to October 3, 2011, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,207 Canadians aged 45-64 who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error on the full base — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 2.73%. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About TD Bank Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (TD). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 20 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust, TD Insurance, and TD Auto Finance Canada; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, and TD Auto Finance U.S.; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 7 million online customers. TD had CDN$665 billion in assets on July 31, 2011. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

About TD Waterhouse
TD Waterhouse represents the products and services offered by TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. (Member - Canadian Investor Protection Fund), TD Waterhouse Private Investment Counsel Inc., TD Waterhouse Insurance Services Inc., TD Waterhouse Private Banking (offered by The Toronto-Dominion Bank) and TD Waterhouse Private Trust (offered by The Canada Trust Company).

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