Meetings + Events

The power of gathering people

room space calculator

Find out how many people will fit in your room or what size room you need for your number of attendees.

Step 1
Choose a Room Layout type:

Step 2
Enter one of the following to determine the other:

Room Size:



NOTE: This is a starting guideline only. Accuracy for your particular event cannot be guaranteed.


latest issue

Latest Issue

Financial Smarts

By Connie Jeske Crane

As an event professional, by definition you spend a lot of time meeting other peoples’ needs. But let’s turn the focus around for a minute.

Are you protected in case of an emergency? Saving for retirement? Ready for tax season? In other words, have you been applying your well-honed planning skills to your own financial health?

Rita Plaskett, president of Agendum Inc., a Toronto event planning firm, says of event entrepreneurs, “I think there are a lot of people who just decide to do this but they don’t think of the ‘what ifs.’ And the ‘what ifs’ will hopefully never happen but if they do, you need to protect yourself.” Plaskett calls financial planning the “job on top of a job.”

While financial planning can be daunting and it doesn’t get your day job done, being proactive is crucial. We asked Plaskett, a veteran third-party event planner, and two Toronto-area financial planners for advice on meeting the financial challenges of self-employment.

Reframe your perceptions: Chris Enns is both a professional opera singer and a financial planner serving self-employed creatives through his business, Rags to Reasonable. He sees financial stability as possible but says for entrepreneurs it isn’t “tied to a big corporation that you’re pretty sure is going to pay your paycheque every Thursday for the next 40 years. We can’t make that kind of stability but we can get a lot closer.”

Improve your financial skills: Even if budgets, tax forms and RSPs aren’t your jam, there’s hope. Financial planners liken financial literacy to exercise—it hurts, it takes time, but you’ll get stronger.

Know where you stand: Want to sleep at night? Working out the numbers can help you build real stability. “Start out with the right processes, because if you don’t and get behind, for some people it could be almost impossible to get caught up,” says Plaskett.

Define YOUR success: Too many people omit this, but Enns says thinking about how you define success is important. “It’s really easy to take the financial checklist, where you’re supposed to be at age 30, 40, 50, 60 and just say ‘Oh that’s success.’” He recommends questions like “What is my money for? What am I trying to do?” before you stuff money into financial vehicles.

Practical Measures

Since starting her business 18 years ago, Plaskett says she’s carried three kinds of insurance: business interruption insurance, $5 million worth of commercial general liability and $3 million in errors and omissions liability. The latter two, she adds, are viewed as a plus by other companies if you’re responding to an RFP

Supplemental Health Benefits
If you’re not covered under a partner’s plan, Plaskett advises looking into personal supplemental coverage (medical, dental, life insurance, etc.) and also long- and short-term disability coverage. Check into discounts through professional associations like CanSPEP and MPI. 

A Will and Power of Attorney
Adam McHenry, an investment advisor and associate portfolio manager with Manulife Securities Incorporated, says everyone should “make sure they have their will and their power of attorney in place with a lawyer.” Financial planners can also steer you towards professionals such as lawyers if needed. 

A Financial Cushion
To smooth out the rollercoaster ride of variable income, Enns recommends saving one to three months’ salary, adding this isn’t a traditional emergency fund, because “variable income isn’t an emergency, it’s an inevitability.” A buffer brings more debt resilience, and is often the first thing Enns helps clients create. “Afterwards we can start making progress on bigger goals.” 

“One thing I see getting ignored over and over is tax,” says Enns. “If you’re not getting tax taken off your cheques, it can be really stressful.” Beyond standard practices (organizing receipts, hiring an accountant), for entrepreneurs, McHenry says, “What I recommend is having an account set up that, when you get paid, you will automatically deduct, say 30%, and move it to that account, which sits until tax time so that when you do have a tax bill at the end of the year, you have a source to pay it with and there are no surprises.” Such an account gives you some flexibility too—talk to your advisor about putting some funds towards RSPs to lower your tax owing, for example. In a further step, Plaskett maintains a separate account for the HST she collects and remits it quarterly. “In my mind it’s just an HST account, I never look at it.” 

Vacation Time
If you’ve created some financial stability, you can also think about time to recharge, says Enns: “Knowing when you can afford to do that—so you don’t have to sit there for two weeks and just stress about how you really should be working—is a game changer.” 

Retirement Planning and Investments
In a 2019 survey of “flexforce” Canadians, TD found 72% are finding it difficult to save for retirement. While long-term planning is challenging, if you’ve achieved some stability, small monthly contributions do add up, says Plaskett. As for specifics, she says that’s highly personal: “Real estate, US currency, tax-free savings accounts, RSPs—these are some tools I have used over the years, and they all do something different… Your financial advisor would be the best person to advise you. 

Financial Advice
Finally, speaking of advisors, get a good one. Expect to meet with your advisor twice a year in person (at times like RSP season), says McHenry, and also contact them when you have questions. Of his role, McHenry says, “I try to get ahead of things, so I reach out to my clients…. We check you out and catch any problems in advance and address any of the foreseeable planning points that need to be looked at.” 

Retirement by the numbers

According to a 2018 TD survey of “flexforce” Canadians, more of us are feeling unprepared for retirement—making this a key aspect to discuss with your financial planner. TD found:

64% anticipate they’ll work into their senior years because they don’t have enough saved to retire

72% find it difficult to save for retirement

41% are not sure when they'll retire given their employment situation

75% wish they had made financial contributions towards retirement at an earlier age

other articles in this section

Digital Event Boosters

What’s Ahead in Events

Event Decor in 2024

Tips for the Accidental Meeting Planner

Holiday Party Rethink

Destination Q&A: Bermuda

Event Design Roadmap

How Destination Vancouver is Building a Social Procurement Strategy

Sustainability in Action

Talk it Up!

International Women’s Day

The Dilemma: The Rising Cost of Events

Event Profile: Raising funds and spirits

2023 Trend Report

Better Booths

A Shift in Perspective

Timing is Everything

Spring Barometer Report

Getting Back Together Safely

Keep it Moving

Meetings Forecast

Ignite your Photo Ops

Post-pandemic Staffing Issues

Put DEI in your event’s DNA

Ignite your Video

Caring for the Caregivers

Green Business = Good Business

The Ignite Platform Primer

Case Study: Testing event restrictions

Making Space

Team Building Now

The Disposable Dilemma

Video Star

Case Study: Virtual Awards Show

Are you virtually covered?

Lights, Camera, Action!

2021 Trend Watch

Flight Forecast

Case Study: A hybrid event for meeting planners

Trading Spaces

Terms of Empowerment

Feeding the Future

Milestone reflections

Virtual Holiday Party Ideas

Case Study: Canadian Event Industry Awards

Stress Busters

Case Study: 100-person virtual mentoring event

The Power of Story

Event spotlight: ConferenceDirect meets at Caesars Forum Las Vegas

By the Numbers: October 2020 Edition

A Whole New [Virtual] World

Level Up

The Time is Now

Grab the Mic, Grow Your Business

Should you give interns a turn?

Up for Interpretation

Balancing Act

Back to Business: Insights from the MTCC

Back to Business: Insights from byPeterandPauls Hospitality Group

Back to Business: Insights from Industry Associations

Hands Off

Must-haves for the New Reality

Back to Business: Insights from White Oaks Resort & Spa

Gotta Get It: Golf Edition

The Art of Communication

Back to Business: Insights from Casa Loma Escape Series

The Ignite Guide to Masks

Parting thoughts

Back to Business: Insights from JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka

The new reality for... Speakers

The new reality for... Caterers

Fight Right

The new reality for... Team Building

Virtual Sponsorship How-To

The new reality for... Hotels

CanSPEP Connext Conference Kit

The new reality for... DMCs

How to turn delegates into social media brand ambassadors

The new reality for… CONVENTION CENTRES

Job Hunting Today

Your Event Contract Questions Answered

The New Reality for… RESORTS

Hack Away

Beyond Talking Heads

Keeping Connected

Be a Part of the Solution

Time Wise

One Big Virtual Reunion

There's No 'i'solation in Team

New Direction in a Time of Need

Financial Smarts

On the Bright Side

Talk to Me

Food Forward

The Value of Employee Sustainability

All the Right Moves

The Real Cost of RFPs

Valuable Video

Meetings Forecast 2020

RFP Writing 101