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Understanding the Money Value of Time

In the realm of financial planning, time is our most valuable asset.  It’s available to all of us, providing each individual with the same opportunity to optimize its value in building wealth. It’s the only resource we all have over which we have some degree of control. However, it is a wasting resource if it is not optimally utilized.  Each day that passes, without some contribution of money, either in savings or interest, the cost of our financial goals increases. As time marches on, the obstacles to achieving goals of any time horizon become increasingly insurmountable. 

The 4 Essential Elements of a Retirement Plan

Until recently, many retirees have been able to rely upon the three-legged stool of retirement income sources: a defined benefit pension plan that guarantees a lifetime income, their own savings, and the Canada Pension Plan. Within the last couple of decades, the first leg of the stool has all but disappeared as many defined benefit plans have been replaced with defined contribution plans such as an RRSP. This has shifted the responsibility for creating a retirement income source to the individual. With expanding lifespans and increasing retirement costs, it will require serious retirement planning to ensure that your income will last a lifetime. Here are the four essential elements of a sound retirement plan:

Money Sense Approved Adviser Status

We are pleased to announce that Conrad Toner received the MoneySense Approved Financial Adviser designation from MoneySense Magazine, one of Canada's best known personal-finance media brands.

Will you be Psychologically Ready to Retire?

For anyone approaching retirement you’ve probably got a checklist for your countdown to the big day.

Do I have enough saved for a long, financially secure retirement? Check.

Did I file the right paperwork at the office? Check.

Is my professional exit strategy in place and ready? Check.

Is my estate plan prepared so that I don’t have to worry about my legacy once I stop working? Check

Seems like a good check list. What is missing?

 

Anyone can call themselves a Financial Planner and that's not good for Canadians

This month, you have a chance to speak up on an issue that is close to my heart, and affects all Canadians—better protections for those seeking financial planning.

Confusion abounds for many would be retirees

The process of preparing for retirement is a confusing task for many would be retirees. Surprisingly the real key to a happy and successful retirement isn't just about the money.  Here's a real life story of how one couple overcame the challenge through advice from a professional retirement income planning specialist.

Clayton and Helen first met Conrad at a Retirement Planning Seminar.  They were both winding down their careers and were anxious about giving up their “paycheques” when they finally decided to pull the plug on work.  They felt that they had decent enough pensions and managed to save a considerable amount of money over the years.  The problem was, investments were spread out among a couple of banks, a life insurance company and an independent mutual fund representative.  They really weren’t sure if it was invested properly or if it would be enough.  They had no overall plan, and found it difficult to monitor things when they were so spread out. 

Determining Your Risk Tolerance

Perhaps the most important factor in formulating your investment plan is your risk tolerance; that is, the amount of risk you’re willing to assume in order to achieve your most important objectives. More precisely, your risk tolerance is based on the your financial and emotional ability to withstand negative returns on your investment portfolio.  Before embarking on any investment strategy it is important to know your risk tolerance to ensure that you select the right kind of investments and you are able to set clear objectives. More importantly, when your investments are aligned with the proper risk-reward continuum, you’re assured of many more restful nights.  So, how do you go about determining your risk tolerance?

 

Investors Beware: The Media Noise can be Deafening

Most people would argue that living in a digital world, with instant access to an endless stream of information has made us smarter and more self-empowered than past generations. Investors believe that it has “leveled the playing field”, enabling them to make investment decisions based on the same information once only available to the investment pros. The incessant quest for information has reached such a fever pitch that the media outlets, including the cable channels, print media, and now the blogosphere, are churning out content 24/7, and it still isn’t enough to satiate peoples’ ravenous appetite for information. So, it’s all good? WRONG.

Planning for the Long, Long Term

Most people looking to implement a financial plan are making decisions with the long term in mind. While what long term means tends to vary depending on factors like age, individual and family goals it’s safe to say most planners and their clients would agree that long term is usually measured in years, not months. Whether it’s the young professional first considering a still-distant retirement age or a retiree trying to leave a financial legacy, the idea is the same: plan today for an uncertain future.

What often gets lost in this perspective is just how long the long term can be.

Retirement Income Planning Requires Realistic Spending Assumptions

If you have read any literature on retirement planning or have received advice from a financial professional, chances are you were presented with the 70% rule, the one that suggests that retirees will need between 70 and 80% of their pre-retirement income in order to maintain their standard of living. There are several flaws with this formula, the least of which is that it doesn’t consider your actual income and expenses at the time of retirement.
Retirement income planning needs to be grounded in today’s realities and it must anticipate the cost of aging, not just the cost of inflation. It also must be based on the practical expectation that you will only be able to save as much as you are able to sacrifice while you are working. More planners are applying the concept of “consumption smoothing” that combines an attitude about current spending and lifestyle needs with a vision of the same in retirement.

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