Many financial decisions are too important to make with incomplete information. We endeavour to understand the complete scope of our clients’ financial affairs. Taking a holistic approach allows us to consider the big picture, one in which investments are only one part of the equation.
Where we believe it may be useful, we will work with a network of experts (consisting of both internal and external contacts) in order to make sure that our recommendations are appropriate and detailed.
One of our core business beliefs (as detailed in 'Our Philosophy' tab) is that investment portfolios should be managed in the context of big picture financial planning. There are many topics that can be encompassed in this plan, but the most important is often retirement projections.
We’ve read press articles suggesting a specific dollar amount that a Toronto-based couple is required to save in order to retire comfortably. We believe that this is far too simplistic for several reasons:
We use our sophisticated retirement planning software to help put together a plan that consider all of these factors, as well as your unique circumstances. This software can help our clients understand many different "what if” scenarios, such as:
- Our clients have vastly different requirements. It is important to understand what means are required to sustain your lifestyle, not someone else’s.
- The amount of savings required to fund this lifestyle can be hugely impacted by the size of one’s pension. Individuals with no company pensions obviously have a greater shortfall to cover.
- A dollar saved in an RRSP is not the same as a dollar saved in a TFSA, LIRA or non-registered account. The differences in taxation mean that their relative impacts on your retirement lifestyle are also hugely different.
- What will be the impact to my lifestyle (or estate) if I decide to retire 5 years earlier?
- Can I afford to buy a cottage and still retire comfortably at 60?
- How will it impact our retirement plans if one spouse decides to stay home and look after the children?
- What is the minimum investment return I need to reach my goals? Based on historical variances, what is the likelihood of achieving this or any other return?
- Should I accept my company’s offer of an annual pension or take the commuted value in the form of a LIRA?
- What do I need to save annually in order to start a charitable foundation in my estate?
The most commonly used means of saving on behalf of a minor child or grandchild are Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs).
If you believe it is likely that your child will pursue a post-secondary education, then an RESP is the obvious choice. By contributing to an RESP, you are eligible to receive a government grant of up to $500 per year & per child (and up to $1,000 if you have contribution room to carry forward – i.e. have not contributed to the RESP in some years since they were born).
Feel free to give us a call for more information, or if you’d like to open an RESP for your child or grandchild.
Click here to learn more about RESPs.
Most people are familiar with the concept of buying life insurance for income protection – the idea that if you die prematurely, a lump sum payout can help keep your family comfortable in your absence.
There are many other uses for insurance as well, however. Sadly, it is often more financially damaging to contract a serious illness or incur a disability. For this reason, many clients choose to purchase Disability Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance, or Long Term Care Insurance.
Beyond the conventional uses of insurance for income and asset protection discussed above, is it also possible to use insurance as an investment tax shelter. These types of strategies may be effective for:
- High-income earners looking to grow their savings tax-free (beyond what they can contribute to an RRSP or TFSA)
- Retirees looking to generate tax-efficient income well beyond what can be earned on a GIC while still maintaining their capital for their heirs (via the use of an Insured Annuity strategy)
- Business owners looking to pull money out of their corporation in a tax-efficient manner
Each situation is unique, and we work together with a BMO Nesbitt Burns Estate and Insurance Advisor to determine the optimal strategy.
Give us a call if you’d like to discuss how any of these strategies apply to you or your family.