Retirement planning today has taken on many new dimensions that never had to be considered by earlier generations. For one, people are living longer. A person who turns 65 today could be expected to live as many as 20 years in retirement as compared to a retiree in 1950 who lived, on average, an additional 15 years. Longer life spans have created a number of new issues that need to be taken into consideration when planning for retirement.
Lifetime Income Need
There actually is a lifetime after retirement and the need to be able to provide for a steady stream of income that cannot be outlived is more important than ever. With the prospect of paying for retirement needs for as many as 20 years, retirees need to be concerned with maintaining their cost-of-living.
Health Care Needs
Longer life spans can also translate into more health issues that arise in the process of aging. The federal government provides some benefit through pharmacare, however, it may not provide the coverage needed especially in chronic illness cases. Planning for long-term care, in the event of a serious disability or chronic illness, is becoming a key element of retirement plans today.
Planning for the transfer of assets at death is a critical element of retirement planning especially if there are survivors who are dependent upon the assets for their financial security. Planning for estate transfer can be as simple as drafting a will, which is essential to ensure that assets are transferred according to the wishes of the decedent. Larger estates may be confronted with settlement costs and sizable death taxes which could force liquidation if the proper planning is not done.
Paying for Retirement
Retirees who have prepared for their retirement usually rely upon three main sources of income: Social Security, individual or employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans, and their own savings or investments. A sound retirement plan will emphasize qualified plans and personal savings as the primary sources with Social Security as a safety net for steady income.
Employer-Sponsored Qualified Plans
Most employer-sponsored plans today are established as “defined contribution” plans whereby an employee contributes a percentage of his earnings into an account that will accumulate until retirement. As a qualified plan, the contributions are deductible from the employee’s current income. The amount of income received at retirement is based on the total amount of contributions, the returns earned, and the employee’s retirement time horizon. As in all qualified plans, withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ may be subject to a penalty of 10% on top of ordinary taxes that are due.
Preparing for succession after death is a difficult issue to discuss, but it is also an important part of any comprehensive financial plan.
We can help you and your loved ones approach succession planning in a constructive manner that ensures they avoid problems and are well cared for in the event of your death. The process involves two main considerations: life insurance and preparing a will.
Life insurance can ease the financial burden and provide security for your loved ones in the event of your death. A lump-sum payment can be used for mortgage costs or to supplement lost income, helping your successors during a difficult period. Financial security and stability can make it easier to cope with the loss of a loved one.
A written will provides a means to guide your loved ones through the succession process. By naming your executors and providing instructions on the distribution of your estate, your surviving loved ones avoid having to guess your wishes. Rather than provincial law determining how your assets are to be divided—a situation that can result in lengthy court proceedings—a clear, carefully considered written will provides clear instructions to your successors. Save your loved ones the stress of dealing with financial issues by planning for your succession while you are alive.
Contact us today to discuss succession planning in more detail.
Buying a home can be one of the most exciting purchases of your life—but it is also a big decision that will have a major impact on financial planning. Whether you’re looking at a one-bedroom condominium or a five-bedroom house, we will work with you to help plan a mortgage strategy that fits your needs and considers your other financial responsibilities.
From choosing the right time to buy a house to deciding whether it is even a good idea, we can help guide you through this important decision. By assessing all the costs involved - from taxes to renovations - we will work with you to determine whether taking out a mortgage makes sense for your budget.
If you are considering taking out a mortgage, contact us today to discuss how to do so in a way that best fits your situation.
Financial Planning for Business Owners
Business owners face unique challenges—and opportunities—in terms of financial planning. You’ve worked hard to develop your ideas into a successful business, or perhaps you’re considering moving into self-employment. Regardless of your situation, choose a financial planning strategy that takes advantage of your unique situation.
If you are considering moving to self-employment, contact us to discuss how to revise your financial plan. Working together, we will help you adjust from a situation where a previous employer might have provided benefits, such as health or life insurance or a company pension. Life and disability insurance can be difficult to purchase at first, since many insurers want two years of tax results. As well, self-employed people can gain tax write-offs for some health insurance premiums.
You may also need to negotiate a bank loan or line of credit to help fund office space, materials and other business investments. We can help you explore options to effectively secure these start-up expenses.
Tax planning is another important component of a strong business strategy. Depending on your business, consideration may include paying wages or collecting GST. You also need to pay your own CPP and EI, and possibly make quarterly tax installments. As well, you can take advantage of capital cost allowances on equipment such as computers or vehicles, and business expenses such as advertising, salaries, or travel.
No matter what stage of growth your business is in, contact us today to design a tax-efficient business planning strategy.
Business Succession Planning
You worked hard to develop a business, and now is time to enjoy the results. Many entrepreneurs spend years of focused effort building up a business, but then fail to consider how to make the transition to retirement. A financial security advisor can offer expert advice in how to plan an effective business succession strategy.
Entrepreneurs can work to turn equity in the business into capital that can be used to fund retirement. A financial advisor can help business owners with tax-effective retirement strategies, such as using life insurance policies, paying yourself a salary as the business founder, or arranging for an heir to slowly buy up your shares.
Life insurance is another consideration when planning business succession. If the founder is nearing the end of his or her life, a well-planned life insurance policy can help successors transition into business owners. Upon death, successors face estate taxes on business values of more than $500,000—with the tax-free amount potentially offset by any capital business losses the owner declared during his or her lifetime. Life insurance is one way that successors can cover the remaining amounts.
Smaller businesses may not need to pay estate taxes, but can still benefit from a plan that ensures an equal legacy for their successors. A financial security advisor can help entrepreneurs plan an inheritance that is fairly distributed among all loved ones.
Contact us today to discuss strategies for business succession.