Doug V. Nelson

Hi! Welcome to our Road To Mastery website. I am a financial planner based in Winnipeg, Canada, and currently in my 29th year of providing financial advice to Canadian individuals, families and businesses.

Our purpose with this blog and our business is to help you gain maximum mileage from your financial resources. We do this by applying a consistent process based on time tested principles, benchmarks and rules.


Our blog posts provide comments, perspective and educational insights on current news items.


Master Your Retirement, is now in its 4th edition and is a Canadian Best Seller.


To increase your odds of success, we have mapped out a monthly plan.

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If so, you can contact us here to arrange for a one-hour consultation. We work with clients from Ontario through to British Columbia and would be happy to assist you in any way we can. If you engage us to write a custom financial plan for you, many of the topics described earlier are provided to you as part of the educational component of the finished planning document.


I would describe it in the following ways:

The first thing I learned is that there are certain things that work against our best efforts each and every day.  We now refer to these things as the 5 Great Killers of Wealth:  Taxes, Fees / Expenses, Long Term Debt, Market Volatility and Inflation.  We need to pay attention to these things on a continuous basis.  Every time you evaluate your current situation or every time you make a financial decision, the question should always be:  to what extent does this decision help to reduce the negative impact of the 5 Great Killers of Wealth?  I talk about each of these areas in more detail in the Master Your Retirement book.

The next thing I learned is that there are 7 Key Truths about Money and Life. The first of the 7 Truths is that “something is only as good as to what you compare it to”. Over the years I have found that every idea, concept or strategy had its merits, but to determine if this was a good idea for you today, we needed to compare it against something. But what do you compare it to? This is where the 2nd key truth comes into play: “In any analysis you do, always go broad and deep”. In other words, anything can be a good idea, except when you evaluate it across a broader and deeper spectrum of ideas, concepts or criteria. Comparing three cars from the same manufacturer is one approach, but why not compare three cars across multiple manufacturers and then, for each option, look at the incentives offered for a cash purchase vs. financing vs. leasing?


The 7 Key Truths About Money and Life is available to our clients as a core educational tool to assist them in making informed decisions.

As a result of the 7 Key Truths, my team and I were able to nail down what we feel are the 6 Key Financial Skills that everyone should have.  These are the 6 things that you should have learned about money in high school and form the foundation of financial literacy.  These 6 key skills can be learned by everyone at any age or stage in life, and are a large part of the financial education program we provide to our clients.  These 6 key skills tie in perfectly with what I refer to as Your Financial Core.

Along the way we also began to realize that we needed to have a clear starting point.  For example, life begins when you earn an income.  You can earn money in a lot of different ways, but you can’t do much with this income until you pay tax on this money.  Once you earn an income and pay your taxes, now you have money left over and you can now decide what you are going to do with this money.  Over time you can measure your success by looking at something called your Net Worth statement.  The Net Worth Statement is a chart that shows you the things you own vs. the debts you owe.  The Net Worth statement is the scorecard of how well you have a) earned an income, b) efficiently managed your taxes, and then c) deployed your hard-earned resources into things that grow in value.  The Net Worth Statement is an indication of how well you have protected against the 5 Great Killers of Wealth and about how well you have followed the 7 Key Truths About Money and Life.  Therefore, your Financial Core is always your starting point:  a) what is your income, b) what taxes do you pay on this income, c) how are you then deploying your hard earned resources, and d) as a result of all of these steps, what is the outcome as shown on your Net Worth statement?

Your Financial Core should be measured each year and should be measured again whenever you do forward looking projections.  In that way you can begin to see how the decisions you make going forward will either positively or negatively impact your income, expenses, tax picture and net worth.  Since “something is only as good as to what you compare it to”, every financial decision you make should in some way improve your income, reduce your taxes, reduce your expenses and improve your net worth.  If this outcome doesn’t occur, then is this really the best decision to make with your money?  The Financial Core is the cornerstone of all of the financial planning and financial analysis work we do each day and it is always the best place to start.  The Master Your Retirement book applies this approach in what we call an “income first” orientation.

Finally, most of what I have learned, I have learned from my clients.  Over 29+ years I have observed many lives and the resulting good decisions, bad decisions, great outcomes and sometimes just rotten luck.  Over my career I have seen clear patterns emerge regarding the core beliefs of those clients who have continuously met their goals while protecting against unforeseen events.  As a result, in the beginning of the Master Your Retirement book, I talk at length about those things that “the Masters” believe and therefore apply to how they think about money.  For example, Mastery Belief #3 is “The Masters are Forward Looking”.  This means that I have witnessed over and over again this common trait between those clients who have been consistently more successful than others.  These people are always looking ahead and considering the consequences or benefits of different options, ideas or scenarios.  Another common trait is that the Masters are very purposeful in their actions and they make gradual changes over time (Mastery Belief #1).  The Road to Mastery is like flying an aircraft or sailing a boat:  you continuously assess and adjust your course, in small, incremental and purposeful steps throughout your journey.