“Not for ourselves alone” gains new life when we think and act for others. Great hurt arises from contentious divisions like the January riot in Washington D.C., or the testy tone too often found in social media. In a harsh and stormy world we can seek to encourage and help neighbours – near and far. This may mean immediate or enduring financial gifts (philanthropy), and can also mean changing social structures that tend to keep others vulnerable. So we direct personal giving and action to help lift others in our community and world.
I see this in you, and your concerned response to what’s happening in our world. In this respect our team is enduringly grateful. Whitney as principal of our firm has raised over $50,000 this season from her Wallet to Wealth initiative supporting Halton Women’s Centre. We’ve also given $15,000 to the Early and Lifelong Nutrition fund at Oakville and Burlington Foundations, supporting vital programming at “Open Doors” for needy families, children, and seniors in our community. Ask me about this … and be sure to share with me your own specific interests and charitable intents. We seek a fair and compassionate world – near and far – and while that’s a tall order, it certainly comes closer when we can extend our hearts and hands to the task.
Kindness is always in season, especially at Christmas, Hanukah, and such times in our lives. It may also be part of your tax-planning (turning tax into refunds) and estate planning (shifting tax to your own charitable purposes) … indeed with every effort we can rally as good neighbours to help others in need. You’ve likely heard someone say they’ll spend their last dollar the day they die. A bumper sticker mentions spending their children’s inheritance. But two things are clear: (a) we always need healthy savings because we cannot know when we’ll die, and (b) assets we leave behind get divided at least two ways: family and government, or family and charity. Choice is entirely yours. So with your financial planning we want to ensure how we will fulfill your wishes to achieve the greatest good for those you hold most dear.
Something we haven’t mentioned in some time: anyone whose family has a Registered Disability Savings Plan may name that plan as beneficiary of an RRSP, RRIF, or other savings/income plans. If this relates to someone you know, see this in the Investment Executive and reach me for details. Surprisingly, only five per thousand Canadians have RDSPs, though a quarter of us have disabilities significantly restricting independence and quality of life. Check the article — it’s worth sharing how to benefit from this tax-relief and the matched-grants to RDSPs.
Next to our recent survey, as we’ve been discussing your responses, question 6 puts us in two groups. Some are highly confident in their savings and financial future. Other aren’t at all sure how work-related and government pensions may survive or fall short of the lifestyle they want for retirement. (You can still view the survey at “Lifestyle and Retirement Poll”).
Q 6: Pensions & Personal Savings for Retirement.
Being 25-40 today you’re unlikely to have a traditional pension showing monthly income estimates for retirement. Perhaps you’re lucky and have at least a group RRSP with employer-matching (eg. an extra dollar or two for every dollar you invest). That’s a “slam-dunk” to boost your deposits by 50% or 100%. Ask me further on how to optimize this for your greatest benefit. The choices you make have a tremendous impact, even to retire sooner … or to strengthen your results and enjoy a richer and more flexible lifestyle. It’s all in how you use your plan. Right now as you have a moment, write down or reply to me here with any questions you and I can review about your pension and other savings so we can confirm how these are building your financial resources for the lifestyle and retirement you want.
Ages 40, 50, and up, your pension needs attention even more often. You may want to stop working already (someone exclaims “yesterday”), and you need to know how your pension fits with all your other savings, and how to confirm you can achieve and sustain the lifestyle you choose. Don’t be among those whose pension suddenly drops 25% or 50% when an employer hits hard times, or you discover they never contributed the way you thought. It happens. Ask people who worked for Nortel, or Stelco, Eaton’s and other places where pensions got slashed. In your 40s, 50s and 60s there are vital choices which can expand and extend the value of your pension, and even turn a pension-asset into a family-asset (where you can set your own income and keep what remains in your own family). I’ll show you how. Let’s discuss what this can mean for you.
In the attached picture or graph you can see that half or more are confident that personal savings and pension values (from employment & government) will strengthen and support your future desires. As we keep your financial plan up to date, you see how and when you’ll draw on these savings and how the combined values will support your lifestyle – age 70s, 80s, 90s – even to your family estate.
But nearly half of replies show less confidence. Perhaps you haven’t seen your financial plan in a while. Or in a busy life you may forget how these things fit together. We need to review how this picture comes together for you – your life goals and values, savings and strategies, current and future needs – to adapt, redesign, and enlarge on these for the future you want. If you’re among the 28% “unsure” or the 20% who have “no idea”, don’t sit on this. Don’t ignore it, scratch at it, or let it fester. Let me know and we’ll get time soonest to clarify and protect how you will be able to enjoy the years ahead.
Worth remembering — our approach is holistic because we’re not just looking at the piece you have invested here but your total picture. And we’re not just looking at money but the life you have today and what you want to create and preserve. We include all aspects of your income, spending, savings, and special needs. This includes work-related pensions, personal RRSP and TFSA savings, Canada Pension and Old Age Security, and values of other tax-preferred assets such as your home, life insurance, businesses, other real estate, and non-registered savings. As a result you come through this seeing your own personal goals, your current level of security for next steps and life’s ongoing seasons, and how to enjoy a strong income that supports the lifestyle you choose … even the comforts and care we all need when our later years arrive.
In the “blink-of-an-eye” we find ourselves older: tomorrow arrives in a flash. You will appreciate knowing, we have always been preparing and will continue to preserve your freedom and security for all life’s seasons yet to come.
Yours in Financial Security for LIFE!
Brian Weatherdon, MA, CFP, CLU, CPCA. 905-637-3500
627 Guelph Line, Burlington, Ont. L7R 3M7. 1-877-937-3500
Certified Financial Planner, Certified Retirement Coach
** This monthly letter touches on key strategies in Canadian and global investing and financial planning. This letter is not an offer to sell any kind of security, insurance, or program. Historical returns and risk measures are not a valid guide to future performance. Returns are from publicly available sources and research from a variety of firms including but not limited to Canada Life, CIBC, Dynamic, Mackenzie Financial, RBC / PH&N, and more. Opinions in this letter belong solely to the author and no other body is responsible for the content expressed here. We value opportunity to coordinate with your legal and accounting advisers to further your financial goals in home and business. We are grateful always to receive your comments and questions.