Financial plans aren't just for the 1%



Budgeting

Unfortunately, many people think of budgeting as depriving themselves, as if they were on a diet. In reality, it means making intentional choices in how your spend your money so you can live for today and save for tomorrow.

Savings

It is not how much money you make, it is how much you keep. We give you options to make it easier it to grow savings, reduce your taxes, and help eliminate financial worries.

Protection

A financial plan will help you meet your needs today and in retirement as well as to help protect you from the unexpected along the way. It includes the right mix of income, savings, and insurance protection to help you meet your financial goals.



Financial Planning

A comprehensive plan can benefit people of all income levels and stages in their lives. Yet, if asked, most Canadians would say they do not have a formal financial plan. We all know that we need to get rid of debt and put money away for retirement  - ever wonder if there are more efficient ways to reach that goal?

Reasons to have a financial plan:

  1. It will help define your financial goals
  2. It will help see if your goals and timelines are realistic
  3. It will help bring your spending in line with your goals
  4. It will help identify risks you didn’t know you have
  5. It will help you maximize your money and reduce debt
  6. It will give you peace of mind

Planning

This should never be a one-size-fits-all process. We believe it is should always be a method that is tailored to meet your needs.


Should you rent or buy a home? Pay off debt or invest? Which should be a priority?


Each of these entails very different plans. We cannot stress the importance of having a plan. Let us be your second opinion if you already have a plan. If you don’t, we can help you put everything to in place to ensure all your financial needs are met.

The reason so few people achieve wealth is because they don’t adopt habits that lead to wealth. There is a prevalent behavioural theory when it comes to wealth, which we see time and time again: As a person’s perception of their wealth increases, it unfortunately results in an increase in spending. Statistics Canada released 2017 data that showed the amount of Canadians' household debt compared with disposable income rose to 167.8%. This means the average household had nearly $1.68 in debt for every dollar of disposable income. We, as Canadians, are spending more than we earn. At the end of the day, it is how much money you keep, not how much money you make.

Plan

Creating and following a financial plan is crucial to eliminate the cycle of debt Canadians are falling into.  There are several steps in creating a financial plan and the first and foremost is to understand where you are and a general idea of where you want to be.  Then a road map can be created, and if the plan is good, it will guide you and be flexible enough to accommodate the adjustments to meet life’s deviations.  Financial plan elements:

  • Set goals: A financial plan is based on an clearly defined financial goals, including funding a college education for the children, buying a larger home, starting a business, retiring on time, etc. Financial goals should be quantified and set to milestones for tracking.
  • Understand current situation: Create a net worth statement, which is a snapshot of assets and liabilities and serves as a benchmark for measuring progress towards financial goals.
  • Cash flow analysis: Where is your money going? An income and spending plan determines how much can be set aside for debt repayment, savings, and investing each month.
  • Retirement strategy: The plan should include a strategy for achieving retirement, which should be independent of other financial priorities. The plan should include a strategy for accumulating the required retirement money and have it support you through out your lifetime.
  • Comprehensive risk management plan: Identify all risk exposures and provide the necessary coverage to protect you, your family, and business against financial loss. The risk management plan includes a full review of life, disability, and health insurance, personal liability, property and casualty, and catastrophic coverage.
  • Long-term investment plan: Include a customized strategy based on your specific investment objectives and a risk profile. This investment plan sets guidelines for selecting, buying and selling investments, and establishing benchmarks for performance review.
  • Tax reduction strategy: Identify ways to minimize taxes on personal income to the extent permissible by the tax code. The strategy should include identification of tax-favored investment vehicles that can reduce taxation of investment income.
  • Estate plan: Create arrangements, review and update wills, power of attorney, medical directives, etc.

Net Worth

To understand where you are, it is vital to understand your net worth. We recommend looking at every year as it is one of the key factors in determining how well you are financially doing. It also helps by pulling the emotion out of situation and let the numbers speak for themselves. Your net worth is calculated by adding up all of your assets and subtracting all of your liabilities. Let’s take a look how a simple loan situation might impact net worth:

Imagine that you have no assets and no liabilities. You go down to the bank, take out a $10,000 loan and deposit the money into your checking account.  What was the impact on your net worth?  Zero … there was no impact. You now have $10,000 in the bank and $10,000 in liabilities. Your net worth did not change. You probably feel a little richer because you have money in the bank, but you also feel a little poorer because you have a loan to pay back.

If you used the $10,000 to go on a vacation, your net worth would look dramatically different. You would have $10,000 on the debt side and nothing on the asset side; leaving you with a negative $10,000 net worth.

Don’t blame debt.  It’s not debt that is bad. It is how you use it that matters.

MONITORING AND MAINTAINING
YOUR CREDIT SCORE

This is an important part of your overall financial plan. Obtaining a good credit score will allow you to access the lowest rates possible when you need to borrow money.

Far too many people experience difficulties and sometimes embarrassment because of having bad credit and this could be avoided through proper monitoring of your credit report. You can order a free copy of your credit report from either one of Canada’s two credit rating agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. Keep in mind that each agency may have different information about you in their files so check your credit report from both agencies at least once a year for possible errors and get them corrected as soon as possible. Consider requesting your report from one agency and then waiting six months before you order from the other agency. By spacing out your requests in this way, you may be able to detect any problems sooner.

Investing

Live for today, we’ve got your future covered.

Want customized investments? Uncommon expertise? Proactive service? Open and honest communication?

With us, you never have to sacrifice one thing for another. We know our stuff and we make it simple for you. Regular communications, including market updates, reports, and meetings ensure that you have a clear understanding of where you are, where you are going, and how you are doing at all times.

Investing shouldn’t be something that causes you stress; you have more important things to do. We provide you with unbiased professional management and a disciplined process that manages your overall levels of risk and return, ensuring it is customized to your needs.

Understanding Risk

Understanding the risks of your investment choices is a key element in financial planning. Risk is not limited to how much you might lose in the markets. That’s only downside risk. Risk also includes opportunity cost or upside risk. While most people think of an investment’s risk in relation to how much they might lose if it goes down after they buy it, upside risk is how much you might miss out on if the markets go up and they are not invested.

Wealth Rules

While investing during volatile times can sometimes challenge your discipline and commitment, there are timeless principles that can help ease your mind and keep you focused on the long term.

Be rational, not emotional

In good times, investors are excited, they want to invest more and often “buy high”. When markets turn negative, investors become fearful and decide to cut their losses and “sell low”. Stay disciplined and committed to your long-term plan to avoid riding the emotional roller coaster.

It is not what you make, it is what you keep

There are different types of income that you can get from your investments, which have different tax implications and advantages. While RRSPs are taxed at your highest marginal tax rate, TFSAs are tax free. Some investments pay dividends, which are very tax advantageous, the same holds true with capital gains. Tax diversification may help you improve your after-tax returns by owning an appropriate mix of taxable and tax-advantaged investments. These help reduce sensitivity to changing tax rates.

Measure performance over time, not overnight

Accept the fact that markets will rise and fall yet realize that over time it has always moved higher. Taking a long-term perspective can help you stay the course when markets move from crisis to opportunity and back again.

Retirement

Have you ever taken a dog to an off-leash park and watched it run with complete and unrestrained glee? That is financial independence.


Financial independence is that point where you are no longer driven by financial necessity. Not to over-simplify the process, but to reach this, it is about setting a goal, living within your means, and creating active and passive income in retirement.

Thoughts to ponder on when preparing for your retirement or financial independence:

  • Take advantage of financial freebies
  • Sequence your withdrawals
  • Early withdrawal pros and cons
  • Reduce taxes and fees
  • Borrow money for investments (not to finance a lifestyle)
  • Find multiple sources of income for retirement (active and passive)
  • Keep breathing room in your budget
  • Create entrepreneurial tax breaks
  • Government policy changes
  • Longevity Risks

Don’t worry, no one expects you to know everything and that is why you have us.


Business

Boss of 1 or a boss of many brings a plethora of challenges. You not only have to manage growth but also risks. Although pitfalls and challenges can't be avoided, they can be mitigated with the proper precautions, planning and insurance coverage.

Buy/Sell Insurance

If you have at least one partner, planning for the transfer of the ownership whether it is through retirement, disagreement, disability, or death is vitally important. At death or disability, for example, the remaining owners may not want to be in business with the non-active disabled owner, or the deceased owner's heirs (who may inherit share of the business). Proper funding should be in place to ensure that money is available to buy the shares of one partner. Insurance provides the necessary dollars at a far lower cost than borrowing to fund a buy-out. We can help you structure these in the event of the following:

  • Death
  • Disability
  • Critical Illness

Business Overhead & Risk Insurance

Every business is different and that’s why we do not offer one-size-fits-all insurance. You can build the right insurance coverage for your business needs which includes coverage for:

  • Your building and contents, including POS, software and computers
  • Your valuable papers and records in off-site storage
  • Loss of business income in the event of a claim
  • Errors & Omissions
  • Privacy/Data Breach
  • Coverage for the bills when your business is interrupted
  • And much more

Group Benefits

Employees are looking for more than just a higher paycheque, they want to feel valued. Offering your employees flexible benefit plans and RRSP matching are a few ways to do just that. Benefit plans don’t have to be rigid and strict, there are many with flexible options that let you customize it to your needs, regardless of how many employees you have.

We can help you customize the plan, source out the best provider, and negotiate the best price. Best of all, we put it together a comparison of the best options for you in a simple, easy to comprehend format.

Some of the frequently asked questions business owners have:

  • Your tax situation—What are some options for becoming more tax efficient with your business?
  • Your business valuation—Do you have a precise assessment of the value of your business? How does a valuation assessment affect your personal financial status?
  • Your employee benefits program—Does attract and retain quality employees? Can you use it to reduce your taxable income?
  • Your insurance and protection—What kind of protection plan helps to safeguard your business against a disruptive event of or the loss of a valued employee?
  • Your business succession plan—What's the most effective strategy for either selling your business or handing it over to a family member?
  • Your retirement—How do you plan to save for retirement? Are there ways to tax effectively do this within your corporation?
  • Your investment strategy—Is your stock portfolio suitably aligned with your level of risk tolerance? Are you offering your employees valuable options to help them retire?

We will help you answer all these questions