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Canadians have two great tools available for accumulating wealth, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) which were introduced in 1957 and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) which were introduced in 2009.

We often get asked by clients which account type is better to contribute to, RRSPs or TFSAs. Read more

Unfortunately, unlike many of our childhood heroes, we aren’t invincible… we can’t all be Superman or Batman, yet we still pretend like we are. The thought of an injury is the last thing that’s on our mind; yet we still have no problem helping a friend move, playing sports on the weekend, or doing chores around the house from the never ending “Honey Do- List”.

But what if we were to become injured off the job? Read more

Know What You’re Getting From Your Financial Advisor

Do you know how much you are paying your financial advisor? Are they doing a good job for you? Those both seem like reasonable questions, but most people cannot answer them. Can you?

One of the services that financial advisors provide is to manage your investments. When it comes to the world of investments, there are many different types you can choose from as well as many different people that offer them. So it’s no wonder that it can leave consumers with their head spinning. Here’s some information to help you make sure that you are receiving the best service for your situation. Read more

The Latte Factor…
No matter how much money one makes you can always find a way to spend it. Does your income keep going up but yet there is no extra money at the end of the month? Do you know where your money has gone? What happens in retirement once your income is fixed? Read more

Not knowing could cost you thousands!
Did you purchase the coverage offered to you by your lender? Most people have a mortgage in Canada and it is typically the largest debt most Canadians will ever assume. Before buying a house people will research and compare to find the best mortgage rates and terms but not necessarily the best insurance coverage. Read more

How technology has made a difference…
Remember that great invention, the magic eight ball? You ask it a question, shake it and then turn it over to reveal the answer. If only all of life’s difficult questions could be answered so easily!

When it comes to retirement planning, people have a lot of questions but often times they do not know how to address them. Our goal is to help our clients have a clear understanding of where they are at financially, where they want to be in the future and how to get there. Sounds simple and yet so many Canadians are not prepared for retirement. Read more

Four Tips For An Executor
Have you said yes to be an executor for someone’s will? Do you know what the role entails? If you talk with someone that has performed the duties it can be a lot more work than you might first think. Here are some tips to help prepare you for the task.

If you are asking yourself, what is an executor, here goes. An executor is the person named in a will to carry out the requests and estate distribution of the deceased. Read more

It’s Not That Much Anymore…
Is a million enough? It used to be that having a million dollars was a big deal, right? You were set for life with no cares or worries financially. When did that change?

Have you ever made any statements such as; I remember when gas was only 25 cents per litre. As my kids remind me, yes I am getting older but it also means that inflation is slowly affecting the cost of living.

If you had a million dollars saved to provide for retirement, how much income would you have? Read more

What Are Your Options?
What is the best investment plan to use to save for retirement? It used to be fairly simple; the answer was maximizing your RRSP. Do you know what is the best strategy for your situation? Do you know what your options are?

Here is a basic overview:
1. Save – The first rule of thumb to be concerned about is that you are saving money for your future. Too many Canadians are spending all of what they earn and not putting away any money for their future. A good place to start is to aim at putting away 10% of what you make.

2. Tax Efficient – Ever since the launch of the TFSA, there has been a debate by financial professionals over which investment plan is more tax efficient to use, the RRSP or TFSA? My opinion is that it depends on your situation both now and in the future and should be looked at on a case-by-case basis to see what fits best. I would be cautious if a financial advisor is always only promoting one plan type over the other, both have their benefits. (For more info on TFSAs, see my article from Sept 2013 – http://jaybrecknell.ca/demystifying-tfsa/)

3. Business Owner – If you are a business owner the question can get even more complex as you have more options. Should you use your RRSP, TFSA or instead save your retirement funds in a holding company? Since corporate tax rates are at an all time low in Canada more business owners are saving corporately versus in a RRSP or TFSA. There can be many benefits to saving corporately as it can provide flexibility to the business owner. As this can be complex it needs to be put together by a professional that understands your corporate structure and the tax and legal rules that are involved.

As with any financial strategy we would recommend ensuring that you have your personal situation reviewed by a professional to make sure that is done in the best way possible. If you have any questions or would like your plan reviewed feel free to contact us.

 

Questions?

Prepare Your Business For Sale
Only 9% of business owners have a documented transition plan in place and yet 70% of small business owners plan to transition in the next 10 years*! As a financial planner I continue to meet business owners who are planning to sell or transition their company but they do not have a plan. Typically they are either unsure of the process, so they procrastinate or the business is their baby and they do not want to let it go. It is understandable that a major decision like this is hard to make, especially without someone to assist you.

When a business owner is considering selling here are some things to consider:

1. Don’t Leave the Party Last – You see this with professional athletes when they face the question of when to retire? In my opinion you are either growing your business or it is shrinking it, there is no standing still. A lot of business owners later in their career can get into maintenance mode, which usually means the business is starting to decrease in revenues. At first the revenues may hold but after a couple of years you typically see them start to decline. If you want to maximize your selling price and be attractive to potential buyers be careful to wait too long.

2. It Takes Time – Selling a business can take you longer than you think. You need to find the right candidate to take over your business. You are looking for an individual that is an entrepreneur; remember there are more employees in the world than business owners. Also, in most transitions the current owner is asked to stay with the company to assist with the passing of the reigns. You should plan for 1-2 years to sell. This means you should be creating a plan 5-7 years prior to your planned exit.

3. Change – Every industry is faced with changes due to technology, regulatory, competition, etc. If you owned a video or record store in the 80 or 90’s, when was the best time to get out? What if the technology that Google is working on to make it so that cars drive themselves eliminate car accidents in the future. Could that affect you if you own an auto body business? What changes face your business?

4. Financials – Often times the financial statements for a business are ignored until it is too late. Yet they will play a very important role in the sale of the business. You want to make sure that your financials present the best view of your company so that a potential buyer is enticed to make an offer.

There are many things to consider when selling a business. The first is to get a professional that can assist you with putting a plan together to ensure that you maximize the value, save tax, and control when and how you sell your business. As with any financial strategy we would recommend ensuring that you have your personal situation reviewed by a professional to make sure that is done in the best way possible. If you have any questions or would like your plan reviewed feel free to contact us.

Questions?

*Source – http://www.advocis.ca/Update2014/index.html

 

The Most Overlooked Risk
What is your biggest asset? Most people might answer your house, boat, car, or investments. When in fact it is your income and your ability to earn a living.

When I review a person’s financial situation, one of the most common areas that is overlooked is to protect their ability to earn a living. Disability insurance is a critical part of a person’s risk management plan. When you think about all of the things that people have insurance for, cars, houses, electronics, death, etc. Unfortunately if you do not have an income all of these other areas fall apart.

When it comes to managing risk, a financial planner looks at two main factors:
1. Risk – what is the chance of this happening?
2. Impact – If it does happen, what is the potential damage?

As an example, the risk of a house fire is low but the damage it can cause financially is extreme. Hence why people buy home insurance.

The Risk Is High:
Did you know that 1 in 3 people, on average, will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before they reach age 65?*

The Impact Can Be Severe:
How long could you survive for without your income? Most families could last maybe 4 to 6 months before they would have to start selling other assets such as investments or their home. How would you survive till age 65 and then into retirement?

The main way to manage this risk is to have long term disability insurance to protect yourself in case of an illness or injury.

Possible Options:
1. Canada Pension Plan – This will only pay for the most severe disabilities and the amount is small.
2. Worker Compensation – This only covers you if it is a work related injury.
3. Group Plan – This is how most Canadians are covered. IMPORTANT! You should have your coverage reviewed to make sure you are properly protected.
4. Individual Plan – You can purchase this through the major insurance carriers.

Key Facts:
• If you are an executive or earn over $80,000 per year and you have group coverage you should have it reviewed, as you may not be fully protected.
• If you have group coverage your plan definition typically will change after 2 years of being disabled. This can allow the insurance company to decline your coverage if your disability is not severe enough. This is done to keep your rates lower for your group plan. You can get individual insurance to protect against this.
• The definition of a disability policy is critical.
• Most disability insurance is designed to cover you till age 65; some may have only a 5-year benefit period.

As with any financial strategy we would recommend ensuring that you have your personal situation reviewed by a professional to make sure that is done in the best way possible. If you have any questions or would like your plan reviewed feel free to contact us.

 

Questions?

*Source – “A guide to disability insurance”. Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association

 

Did Your Pension Move When You Did?
Do you have a UK (United Kingdom) pension? There are a good number of British expatriates who are now Canadian residents that have pensions back in the UK. Have you forgotten about that plan from an old employer? Do you know your options?

When I create a retirement plan for a client I review what savings and pensions they may have. Quite often, past pension plans can be forgotten or misplaced, so this exploratory part of the process is critical so that nothing is missed. Read more

That Is The Question
Should we downsize our house? If so, when? Maybe never? I think that downsizing too early or without planning can be one of the most costly retirement mistakes. I have seen couples that have downsized, found that they have not liked it, and then purchased a house similar to what they originally owned. The cost to do so was thousands of dollars. Read more