Today as I write it is the 17th anniversary of 9-11. Strangely today's news is nearly silent about the events of that day which irrevocably changed the world. One of my colleagues had meetings scheduled for the 110th floor of the World Trade Centre that day. While he missed those meetings he became a key part of the survival plan for many families over the coming weeks. He delivered over $30 Million in death benefits from life insurance he had written to protect his clients’ loved ones. No one had imagined so great a tragedy would occur in a single day. His service has continued these years, guiding how that money would continue to protect these widows and children. … This is the work we do, passionately, energetically, and continually, protecting clients and their loved ones from so many kinds of loss that can destroy their life and future.
Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of the worst global financial meltdown since 1820. Its roots stemmed back to fraudulent securitization of sub-prime mortgages. On Sept 15th 2008 Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering an international banking crisis. Some say the worst was over in six months but losses of 65% or more and the disappearing of many banks and other major corporations led to prolonged pain for a full 6 years while indexes clawed to an eventual recovery. Even now at the 10th anniversary, interest rates remain artificially low (in some instances still less-than-zero) as the medicine continues.
Now too we have the 7th anniversary of another sizable loss, September 2011, despite markets still in intensive-care and worth only ¾ of their 2008 levels. 2015 ended with another sharp correction. 2018 in January to March was the same again. While 2008 was the worst financial upset in nearly two hundred years, the world has been plodding on through what feels like the longest-ever recovery. The patient still isn’t home: governments continue their earnest therapy to undo 2008’s damage, with loose economic and fiscal policy, reduced taxes, and (except the white house) fostering expanding trade.
KEEPING TRUST FOR LIFE AND LOVED ONES.
Holistic financial planning must focus on Life and loved ones, today and in perpetuity. As we see above this includes life and death, sickness and health, present circumstances and future dreams. All we are, and all we seek to enjoy in life comes into this ongoing exercise of financial planning. As a result you can be confident that things will be okay, your future remains secure, loved ones will have what they need, and special concerns for a family estate can be expedited (see Trusts, below). All this fits our careful stewardship to regularly meet, monitor, and manage progress.
Within such holistic planning we also address specific needs depending on your age, stage, and circumstances.
Debts. Interest rates are gradually rising and you want to become free of debt that isn’t tax-deductible. When families are young and debt may grow faster than income, we can yet find how to reduce costs and clear that debt more quickly. Doing so lightens your load and can accelerate your other goals and dreams.
Travel. Most people say this is their greatest aspiration for retirement. Younger generations too are traveling more now than ever before. Discussing how this fits in your lifelong plan may be an important priority for our upcoming meetings. What experiences do you most want to gain through traveling? How can you be sure this expense will fit with your planning for future needs and lifestyle?
Spending and Saving. Behavioural economics tells us that for many people, saving money feels the same as being robbed. Wrong of course - but emotions can be tricky. It happened to someone who changed employers and his new job paid $6000 in the opening months but suddenly reduced to $5400. He felt cheated … until he discovered the lost money was his deduction to a pension plan. It wasn’t lost at all but will grow for future spending. This is a vital lesson if we can see that saving isn’t losing; it is “deferred spending”. $1 saved today can be $2 to spend later -- especially with our tax-planning. (You’ve likely heard of the marshmallow experiment; if not, it’s important you have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX_oy9614HQ.)
Avoid false news, fake news, whatever format is shrewdly bent to steal your attention. The world is brimming with misleading reports and broadcasts. Fox is quite a different world from CNN or NBC, and all these are different from BBC, CBC, Global, etc. We even find false suggestions as media launch directly into our eyeballs and adrenalin. A heading, “Can we survive the next financial crisis?” isn’t exactly false yet it presumes and triggers a panic to prepare for impending crisis like 2008 again. Markets will have meltdowns, at least two per decade like 2011, 2015, and early 2018, and probably another between late-2019 and 2021. You and I survive and overcome such periods with a laser focus not on entire markets or recent leaders and fads, but sustainably on lower risk, deeper value, and global growth.
Stay in touch with your Financial Plan. It’s your roadmap through all seasons to build and sustain prosperity, health and wealth. I’m saddened to hear many certified advisors invest clients’ money without a certified plan, and excuse themselves with the complaint that clients never remember or follow the plan. I know I’m responsible to provide the plan and ensure our meetings monitor your progress and any changes, so your “certified life and financial plan” will succeed. It’s a living document; even in six months it can change so we capture this in our ongoing discussions and notes. More than just investing money, your personalized plan guides through your specific dangers, opportunities and strengths to achieve lasting security for the Life You Choose.
BRIEFLY: TRUSTS IN ESTATE PLANNING.
We always have families needing to discuss their estate planning – and oftentimes specifically Trusts. Consider a few points or stories so if something here catches your attention let us know.
- Disabled adult receives inheritance as a Henson Trust to offer support without losing Ontario Disability Support benefits.
- Parents can set up future inheritances via trusts to protect against wasteful spending due to illness or problem behaviours.
- Seniors may sell a business or property for a significant fortune: option to manage value as alter-ego or joint-partner trusts.
- Grandparent leaves substantial gift through one or more trusts to grandchildren – administered by family or professional trustee.
- Estate pay-outs can reach children at pre-set ages or developmental stages, eg. age 25/30/35 or as key life events are achieved.
- Trusts also can include insurance, investments, business planning, etc., to guide and protect the future. Yes even to care for a family pet!
You may know, Virginia and I enjoyed traveling in Newfoundland for two weeks last month. Too brief to master the Newfie dialect but we greatly enjoyed many feasts, hikes, and the magnificent landscape (visit my FB pictures). It is truly a distinct society. If you’ve missed Nfld, at least attend “Come From Away” in Toronto. Among our special highlights were St. John’s, Bonavista, a Beothuk centre, Twillingate, Gros Morne and the Tablelands, St. Anthony and the Viking Village restoration, and many places which our friends have called home.
The joy and opportunity of travel is to open new pages in the book of our shared humanity, to broaden our experience and understanding, to taste different forms of cuisine, and feel the spirit of people who so vigorously adapted to challenging times and geography. Newfoundland expressed all this and more. 🙂
Always feel free to share this letter when it can help a friend or neighbour, or ease the concerns or questions of someone you know. Introduce us -- let us help.
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