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Lifestyle Financial Planning

Investments

Managing money is by far the smallest part of my job. Some people may think its the most important part, but I disagree. I think that, while yes, it is important to make sure you engineer a good portfolio, what you want to use that money for is what matters. Its also the least fun and most regulated. 

I use behavioral finance to determine the best investment options. I manage your money in a way that fits with your risk tolerance to ensure that your money will be around to do what you want to do with it.

Lots of people compare their returns to the benchmark, but what benchmark? S&P 500? If you ONLY invest in U.S. Equity. The only benchmark that matters is YOURS. If your plan will work at a 4% annual return, that's what we strive for. If you get 7%, that's extra money for future you!

The market does what the market does. We can’t control it, so why not focus on the the things was CAN control, like

  • How much are you saving to you RRSP each year
  • Are you taking advantage of the TFSA
  • Are you saving for your child’s or grandchild’s education in an RESP

 

Insurance

I always thought that insurance is a type of product that you buy to bet against the insurance company on when you’re going to die. I’ve come to learn this isn’t true, but a lot of people still think that. Insurance is actually a part of financial planning that replaces your income if you pass away or are unable to work in case of injury or disabled. Insurance can fund your children’s education if you aren’t around to do so.

Everyone does need insurance, however the type of insurance you need depends on your personal situation – and we’ll look at every type of insurance to figure out what you need.

Cash Flow Management

What is cash flow management? Is it just a fancy-pants word for budget? I hate the word budget because cash flow management is so much more than restricting what you can buy.

A budget is…

An estimate of expenditure for a set period of time

Cash flow management is…

The total amount of money being transferred into and out of your account

86% of the time (never trust a statistic that ends in a 0) when I help clients with a cash flow management exercise they say "I spend that much on [fill in the blank]?"  I am not going to tell you to stop drinking lattes everyday or to forego the next vacation, but I will show you how to use your money more effectively to achieve your financial goals.

Retirement planning

When do you want to stop working? That’s what people think retirement planning is. I believe it’s more a question of when CAN you stop working.  We look at all potential sources of income such as employer pension plans, government benefits (CPP and OAS) and personal savings (TFSA and RRSP).

We compare that income to your estimated retirement expenses to find a match in your desired lifestyle in retirement. We make sure you have money to do the things you want to do in retirement, when you want to do them.

In my experience, I have come to realize there are two phases of retirement:

Early retirement

You're healthy, you have all this new time, you travel and take on new hobbies. During this stage you need money to live it up

Late retirement

You are less than the perfect specimen of physical health and can't travel as much or swing a club, but you still need money to live, just not as much as in early retirement.

Tax planning

Let’s talk tax. Effective tax planning is so much more than investing in a TFSA. We all pay too much tax. Tax planning with a financial planner includes how to withdraw tax efficient income from your portfolio, how to defer taxes as long as possible and how to transfer money to the next generation through estate planning without the government being your first beneficiary.

We work with a team of tax professionals, including your accountant, to figure out the most tax efficient way to invest now and enjoy more of your money later.

Estate Planning

Not too many people think about what happens to their finances after they’re gone. But Ben Franklin was right when he wrote "..in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". We all have one final financial obligation; terminal taxes. Yes, you need to pay taxes even if you're dead. Traditionally, there are three options:

  • Beneficiary pays
    • The beneficiary pays out of pocket to cover off the taxes 
  • Comes out of your estate prior to beneficiary disbursement
    • The tax man takes their share before it even makes it to your intended beneficiary
  • Use insurance policies to cover your final expenses
    • When you die, the policy pays out a tax-free lump sum that is used to cover the taxes so 100% of what you wanted to pass on...passes on.
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Making sure you intentions are fulfilled is why having an up to date Will is an important piece of estate planning.

  • Do you have a will?
  • What does it say?
  • Is it current (within the last three years)?
  • Is your money going to the people you want it to?