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Retirement Planning

What is a “Bucket List”?

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What is a “Bucket List”?

Do you have a list of all the goals you want to achieve, the dreams you want to fulfill and the life events you want to experience before you die?

Here are 100+ very cool ideas to inspire you.

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Introducing Our New PM Platform

We are excited to announce that all three of the advisors on our team - Michael Holden, Rob Parrish and Andrew Chowne - have been elevated to the status of Portfolio Manager, the highest level of industry accreditation for an Investment Advisor in Canada. 

Fewer than 3% of Canadian financial advisors have attained the proficiency requirements to become a Portfolio Manager, and for good reason. Applicants must meet or exceed education and work experience hurdles. We also needed to submit full documentation - a business plan, the proposed security selection process, our investment philosophy, benchmarks, a sample Investment Policy Statement (IPS) and our service model - to a review committee of senior managers. The whole process is rigorous and well beyond the industry norm. 

We believe upgrading to this new platform is the most significant improvement we have made to our business in the past 20 years. 

Being Portfolio Managers allows us to employ a discretionary approach to managing investments, meaning that if we need to change an investment in our client portfolios, we can now adjust all discretionary accounts on the same day. In the past, we had to contact each client directly in order to attain the required authorization for the change. Our new designation enables us to be more proactive and nimbler. It also offers our clients a wider range of investment choices. 

Our investment philosophy has not changed – this is simply a better way to manage money. 

Of course, we do more than managing your investment portfolios. We spend a significant amount of time ascertaining your priorities; helping you to incorporate insurance to protect your families; making the most of your mortgage options; accumulating for your children's education; reducing your tax bill; coordinating your retirement income; and exploring estate planning issues for you and your extended family. Now that we can make portfolio adjustments faster, we have more time to spend on those other aspects of our practice to create even more value for our clients. 

But at the end of the day, you want your portfolios to go up in value - and you want to have some downside protection in these uncertain times. Our new discretionary platform will give us significantly better options for achieving this! 

We look forward to meeting with you to outline the benefits in more detail and address your questions. We are very excited about the direction our business is heading and we believe you will be as well!

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The ABCs of CPP and OAS

Retirement Road Sign with blue sky and clouds.The tidal wave of baby boomers is now rolling toward retirement. To develop realistic plans around household income, boomers want to know how CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security) fit into their futures.

When their parents retired, it was simple: CPP and OAS began at age 65. Today we have many more options.

A – The Basics

  • CPP pays a monthly taxable pension to retired Canadians who contributed to the Plan through employment, such that the more you earned when working … the more you have coming to you in retirement (to a maximum of $1012.50 per month at January 2013).
  • OAS, while also paying a monthly taxable benefit, is the same for all Canadians over 65 who meet the base requirements: $546.07 per month at January 2013.
  • Both are adjusted periodically based on the Consumer Price Index (reviewed annually for CPP and quarterly for OAS).

B – The Complications

Today Canadians can choose when they want to begin receiving CPP and OAS. The amount of your benefit is determined by your choice.

  • Start taking CPP early – You can initiate CPP payments as early as age 60 but your pension is reduced by 0.54% for each month under age 65. For example someone taking CPP at 62 in 2013 will see their pension reduced by 19.4% from what they would have received at 65 (36 months X 0.54%/month).
  • Delay starting CPP – You can defer receiving CPP until as late as age 70 with the added benefit of a 0.7% increase for every month you wait past 65. So someone taking CPP at 70 would receive the maximum 42% more than at age 65 (60 months X 0.7%).
  • Taking CPP while continuing to work – You can now trigger CPP anytime after age 60 - even if you are employed - without any work interruption.
  • Delay starting OAS – Like CPP, retirees who now delay receiving OAS benefits will receive an additional 0.6% per month of deferral to a maximum of 36% at age 70 (60 months X 0.6%) beginning July 2013.
  • Changes to OAS eligibility – In spring 2012, the government announced changes to OAS such that current eligibility at age 65 will increase to 67 for those born after 1957.
  • The OAS Clawback – OAS must be repaid (or “clawed back”) if an individual’s net income is over $70,954 for 2012. The clawback is 15%, meaning that all of the OAS received would be clawed back for a retiree whose net income is over $114,640.

C – The Analysis

There are a number of alternative scenarios to consider, but we can help with the details. We make it as easy as A-B-C.

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A Wealth Of Information Just A Few Clicks Away

One of the most powerful sections of our new website is the “key concepts” section listed on the resource page. Each concept links to a much more thorough discussion of the key points to consider for each concept and further resources/tools that might help clarify your options. There is a wide range of topics and I’d be amazed if there wasn’t something of interest there for everyone. Have a look…

Key Planning Concepts

Have you ever wondered about the following:

  • What are my options when dealing with an ailing parent?
  • How do I keep the family cottage in the family?
  • What do I need to think about as I approach retirement?
  • How do I start a small business?
  • What do I do when a loved one dies?
  • What do I need to consider when buying my first home?
  • And more

Take a look at our resource page - and take that extra step by clicking on one of the concepts to see the depth of information available to you!

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Estate Planning through Family Meetings (without breaking up the family)

Most parents want to make sure they have enough money saved up to enjoy their retirement. If there is anything left over, they would like to leave it to their children in a smooth, tax efficient manner. Most children are likely concerned with the health care issues their parents may face in their later years. Do their parents have an enduring power of attorney or a health-care directive in place? What happens if their parents need long term care? How much would that cost? Will their parents be able to pay for it or will the children have to use their own savings to help?

Quite often families don’t spend enough time talking about financial issues and estate planning. But communication between generations is extremely important.Proactive advisors are beginning to initiate family meetings, inviting adult siblings and their parents to engage in a coordinated discourse about intergenerational financial issues. Rather than procrastinating and forcing an executor to be the first to illuminate the parent’s estate wishes, families are increasingly open to the idea of sharing thoughts and ideas beforehand in an attempt to pass assets as efficiently as possible from one generation to the next.

Cover Image - Estate Planning Through Family MeetingsLynne Butler’s recent book “Estate Planning through Family Meetings (without breaking up the family)” can also help with the process. Here are a few of the topics that Lynne covers.

  • How do you start a constructive conversation on a potentially awkward subject?
  • Who should be involved?
  • What is the process going to be like?
  • How do you get things going without causing any family disharmony or upsetting anyone?
  • Can it possibly be done without tears or shouting?
  • What can you reasonably expect to achieve?
  • Is it really possible to take all of the emotion and talking and form it into a legal plan of action that will be in place when you need it?

Whether clients are motivated by tax issues, health issues, a family member with special needs or an inability to settle on an executor, this book will help in the process of simplifying and clarifying the various options for all parties.

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