Client Testimonials
This web page highlights financial planning work we have completed for appreciative clients recently.
A 55 year old man who recently lost his job suddenly engaged us for three hours of consulting time at $200/hour plus HST.
We reviewed and advised on the seven different options for taking a pension or transferring out a committed value. We discussed all tax implications of employment termination and the various compensation components. We helped him to purchase a private, person health and dental insurance plan. We referred him to an employment lawyer to review his former employer’s offer. And we helped him make important tax cash flow and investing decisions related to his company stock option.
A young couple 39 years old wanted a one time evaluation of whether it was better to buy a bigger house or renovate their existing home. We looked at the short term and long term impact on their cash flows of various scenarios. Variables we examined included higher future interest rates, changes to their income levels, and various levels of home purchase amounts and renovation costs.
Newly retired couple engaged us to design their retirement cash flows now that their pay cheques are gone. They said their current Investment Advisor appears to lack the planning skills to do this type of planning work and they feel he is just a product salesman. They don’t believe he has any professional credentials! We prepared excel-based retirement cash flows forecasting income levels, taxation, and spending to age 100. We advised on when to claim CPP to meet spending goals and minimize taxes paid. We discussed how to avoid drawback of OAS premiums after age 65. We developed a tax smart approach to converting their RRSPs to RRIFs and thoroughly explained how RRIFs work. We integrated our advice with their personal tax return to ensure tax credits and tax deductions were optimized between the two spouses. We evaluated the impact of real estate downsizing, the death of one spouse and explained health care costs in old age. We completely redesigned their investment portfolios to provide for new, staged pre-tax and after-tax cash flow over time. There was no indication that the existing Investment Advisor had started any pre-retirement investment portfolio repositioning despite the fact that they are now retired. He should have started the retirement planning five years ago. We even looked at the couples wills to make sure our plans for retirement also matched their estate goals.
With these comprehensive forecasts that tied together all of their finances, we then looked at “what if” scenarios, evaluating how cash flows would change as goals change, if investment returns are worse as tax rates change and other variables. The couple told us they felt more in control of their finances than any time in the last 20 years. They fired their existing Investment Advisor after 20 years of working together. We transferred their portfolio to our dealer and immediately started working on a more retirement focused portfolio layout. We implemented strategies that saved $5000/year in income taxes and we cut their investment fees $6000/year. Importantly, they liked the fact that we would update the cash flow forecasts yearly and meet with them regularly to review progress and adjust as needed.
We guided a lawyer to understand the advantages and disadvantages of professional incorporation at this stage of his career.
We worked with a lawyer, an accountant, and a business owner client to design a comprehensive business recession strategy in the event of death, disability, or divorce. Our work looked at calculations of taxes due under various scenarios, shopping among five insurance companies for life insurance, disability insurance and key person insurance suitable for the two main shareholders of the business. We helped two separate small business owners to build and price-out a health and dental plan and a group RRSP program for the employees of their companies. We price-compared across several insurance companies that provide these programs. We showed them both effective ways to lower program costs and will review plan expenses each year with them.
We worked with a 65 year old affluent couple to explore how to use life insurance as a tax shelter that will leave more money for their heirs when they die. We explored universal life policies, whole life policies, and term to 100 policies. We explained the differences between types, price shopped insurance companies across Canada and reviewed various scenarios including different size death benefits, different policy funding levels over time and more.
Young couple in their early thirties have recently had a child and are now struggling to make ends meet with one spouse on maternity leave. Money issues are causing heated discussions between them. We completed a review of their expenses, made suggestions on how to cut costs and scheduled quarterly review meetings to assess progress. With a newborn now in their lives as well, we conducted a life insurance needs analysis, recommended a $750,000 twenty year term insurance policy for him and $300,000 for her. We also set up a basic registered educational savings plan (RESP) and started a $25 / month automatic transfer from their bank account and scheduled a one year follow up meeting to review investment results in the RESP. Finally, we referred them to one of our friendly lawyers in order to get their Wills, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills prepared – an important planning point now that they have a child. We will review the documents before they are finalized and maintain a copy of the documents in our offices permanently so the client does not have to rent a safety deposit box.
Retired couple in their 60’s have been unhappy with the investment results from their long-time discretionary portfolio manager. We provided a second opinion on their investment portfolio, reviewing performance from the last five years, fees paid, level of risk, tax efficiency, quality of the products, complexity of the holdings and the reports they were getting from the money manager. They agreed to become our clients based on our proposal for a new portfolio of stocks and bonds (eliminating the pooled funds). We proposed to eliminate all advisory fees on bonds saving them $5,000 a year in fees. And we will include retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning services and four meetings a year at their home for this single lower fee. We have a meeting scheduled shortly to complete the paperwork to move the investment accounts. We are reimbursing the client for all transfer fees.
Existing client is preparing her own tax return and would like some guidance. She is an existing client where tax planning services are provided at no extra cost. We asked her to email us a copy of her tax return in draft form and I reviewed it for accuracy. I also examined the return for tax planning opportunities, discovering that she had omitted to claim the medical tax credit and the fitness tax credit. I also pointed out an income splitting opportunity to consider between her and her husband. We have a phone call to talk about this further next week. (Tax services are provided in my capacity as Kurt Rosentreter, Chartered Accountant).
Existing client called seeking direction on whether to buy a new car or lease it. We asked them to fax us the lease contract and arranged a call to discuss the facts. We also had them consider financing the purchase as a third option. We explained the pros and cons of each method, priced all three out and concluded that financing was their best option according to the data provided.
Existing client meeting to review the status of their progress towards retirement. The man and woman are in their mid 40’s, an age where we have already started to prepare detailed excel-based forecasts of their net worth, investments and saving levels, benchmarking growth each year towards pre-determined targets that are necessary at age 60, their ideal retirement date. We are also tracking the speed to which their mortgage will be gone, targeting no later than age 50. We have set specific saving targets each year to hit their goals – savings targets in their pension plan at work, in their RRSPs that are held with us, in their Tax Free Savings Accounts and in their personal joint investment savings account that are held with us. We are also concerned about how saving for their children’s educations after high school will affect their ability to retire on time as this will occur when the couple are in their mid 50’s – a key time to focus on retirement savings. This kind of engagement is one of the most common types we help with, assisting clients with strategy cash flow planning between competing financial goals. Once this update is done, we will also make sure the investment plan is in-sync with the retirement plan. Far too often we discover folks investing without any plan at all and without a clue as to where they are at on the road to retirement. In our practice, we are committed to helping you reach your goals through a sound financial plan and a clear vision of the future.