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Our team specializes in creating conversations, ideas & strategies for high net worth clients, growth minded business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and those seeking advice on retirement & income planning. We are committed to providing you genuine, bias-free, investment and financial planning advice through all life stages. By having a robust, forward thinking, advice centric model, we deliver advice where its most needed. Utilizing a hybrid of technology, clever ideas, and old world values, advice is delivered with integrity, teamwork, and care.

Turning advice inside out.

Our team specializes in creating conversations, ideas & strategies for high net worth clients, growth minded business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and those seeking advice on retirement & income planning. We are committed to providing you genuine, bias-free, investment and financial planning advice through all life stages. By having a robust, forward thinking, advice centric model, we deliver advice where its most needed. Utilizing a hybrid of technology, clever ideas, and old world values, advice is delivered with integrity, teamwork, and care.

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Wisdom is the reward of experience and should be shared.

Not today. Why we don’t like thinking about risk.

By: Shawn Todd, CFP

Many of you will know that throughout my life, I haven’t minded risk at times.  Before I was 35 yrs. old, I was a police officer, I was a diver with the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit, and I was an Explosives Disposal Technician. I’m currently a business owner [a lot of business owners have an appetite for risk]. I downhill ski, I have a motorcycle, and I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro with my spouse Michele.

I imagine many of you have your own interests. You enjoy sailing, or camping, or travelling overseas. Flying to see family, swimming at the cottage, or having a steak on the BBQ. Some may enjoy biking in the city, ice skating on the canal, or smoking a cigar. Risks show up all over, and we all don’t enjoy talking about it.  We like the excitement of a ski weekend getaway in Tremblant, but we don’t enjoy talking prior to the trip about the potential of breaking our leg.

When I first came into the financial planning and advisory business eighteen years ago, that version of myself believed that insurance would be the least interesting part of my work. I spent hundreds of hours researching investment portfolio theory, financial planning, marketing, building a business, but the very last thing that I felt was needed by most up and coming young professionals was some of the insurance products that I was learning about.

I was dead wrong.

Five years into my financial planning career I had a terrible ATV accident while out with friends and clients. I broke my back in five places, split my liver, broke three ribs, tore my adrenal gland and almost died in a field in Calabogie, Ontario.  It was the scariest moment of my life. I had just met the person I have always wanted to be with, and I had children to care for.

Today, eighteen years after beginning as an advisor, I have had had several important and close clients experience terrible and demanding situations. I’ve lost some great clients and friends to a variety of illnesses, accidents, and situations. No one was planning on not being here in 20 years.

One of the things that strikes me as incredibly common about both my experience, and the experiences that I have had with clients, is that its difficult to talk about what might happen if we get sick, or if we die. It’s terrifying.

 

In my time as a financial planner, I have picked up a great deal of more experience and knowledge since my beginning days as a new advisor. I have seen well planned out life insurance policies provide enough income to a family after the unexpected loss of spouse. I have watched planned gifting to children and grandchildren that has allowed full lives after a loved one’s passing. Business owners have used it to ensure security while their business started, and while success ebbed and flowed. Professionals have used it to protect their occupation and income. Tax planning has allowed it to be used as a formative tool in dealing with business owners, passive income strategies, or dealing with terminal tax.

There are a few distinct things that talking about risk, and protecting ourselves, can provide.

  • It can remove a lot of stress from your life. No more worrying about what happens [even if you don’t want to talk about it normally]
  • It can help provide income to you or family members if you are sick, injured or die.
  • Some may be able to pay off debts.
  • During key parts of a financial plan, it can provide a great deal of stability for income and assets needed to achieve goals.
  • It can be used as an opportunity to diversify how you invest or use business capital.
  • Its usage may help in minimizing taxes – both now, and later
  • During business growth periods it can provide a great deal of security to the business, the shareholders, and their families.
  • For some it can offer an ability to gift to children, grandchildren, or even charities that are important to you.

 

While 92% of people believe talking with family and loved ones about the end of their life is important, only 32% do. [ Seattle Times – “Why don’t we talk about death” May 2019]

To conclude…

It may well be time to begin opening the conversation about your own risks. What risks do you have in your life that you are most concerned about? How would they affect your financial plan, or financial integrity? Are there opportunities you should consider for your business, your own portfolio, our own situation? If you didn’t speak about your risk concerns – would the situation have changed for the worse of the better in ten years time?

Speaking about risk, and what may come may be difficult for most. There is never a better time to start this conversation than today.

Just my thoughts for the day.

Hitting more Fairways & Success in investing.

By: Shawn Todd, CFP

Most of us have golfed at one point or another during our lives. It may have been once, or it may have been many times throughout the summer. No matter how often you have golfed you will always remember the feeling of a firing a shot into a bunker [when you were going for the green], or just firing a ball into the water on a par 3. It’s tough, and it really starts to take the fun out of the game.

Most of the people reading this will have also invested at one point. Your home is one of your largest investments, and you may have several other investments in your portfolio. If you’ve been doing it as long as I have, then you also will have memories of the tech wreck, the financial crisis, and the market correction during Covid.

What does golf and investing during these market corrections have in common?

A well thought out gameplan.

If we approached golf without any consideration for the inherit risks of the game, well we would just feel the consequences. We’d lose a ball here, bogey there, it would be a miserable experience.  Some of us all can feel that pain. Playing the game more smartly, hitting more fairways, staying out of the bunkers, well of these efforts make for far better results.

Investing needs to be focused, and well thought out. Ensuring you understand the risks of the portfolio you are in, the timelines you have, the goals of each portfolio, and the risk of each investment in your portfolio; is incredibly important. There needs to be a well thought out plan for taxation, capital gains [this is the topic of the day – thanks to the recent budget], and a discussion of the solutions that make the most sense for each investor. Often what works for you, may not be what works for your neighbour or colleague. Like golf, we all have different risk tolerances, capability, and performance needs. You need to play your own game, and your own pace.

Unlike golf – there are some great opportunities that will enhance your experience. Portfolio management, risk management, diversification, and a deep understanding of your needs – will all allow for an exceptionally smooth ride.

Imagine golf is someone could just tap your shoulder right before you started your ill-fated swing and said – “I just wouldn’t take that shot”.

It might make the game a lot more fun.

Consider helping your investing experience by adding a professional wealth management team to help you understand your own gameplan.

My thoughts for the day.

Unlocking the Hidden Value of Group Benefits: Why You Shouldn’t Rely Solely on Your Spouse’s Coverage

By: Brian P. Adams CLU. CH.F.C

Many employees opt-out of their health and dental benefits because they are listed on their spouse’s benefits plan. After all, why bother with additional group benefits if you’re already covered, right? Wrong. Beneath this assumption lies an oversight that could leave you vulnerable in times of need.

While your partner’s plan may offer a safety net for routine health and dental expenses, it does leave you open for potential financial risks. Here’s why:

  • Firstly; relying solely on your spouse’s benefits means neglecting critical protections like Long Term Disability (LTD). Your partner’s employer can’t extend LTD coverage to you, as it’s contingent upon direct employment—a fundamental requirement you don’t fulfill.
  • Secondly; the life insurance component of your spouse’s plan might offer a modest cushion, typically ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. While this might suffice for some, it pales in comparison to the comprehensive coverage you could secure through your own group benefits.
  • Thirdly; if, for any reason, your spouse loses their coverage, you are going to have a problem. Most plans allow for all members to come onto the plan no questions asked at the time it is set up or when they are first hired. Attempting to secure coverage through your employer’s plan later is either disallowed or exceedingly difficult to qualify for.

Why subject yourself to such uncertainty? The answer is clear: secure your financial safety net by enrolling in your own group benefits plan for life and disability coverage. By doing so, you not only safeguard yourself against unforeseen hardships but also ensure seamless access to health and dental benefits through your employer, should the need arise.

Remember, the foundation of financial security lies in proactive planning. Don’t gamble with your future. Invest in your well-being today, and rest assured that you’ve built a shield against life’s uncertainties.

Living Well. Aligning your time and your values.

By: Shawn Todd, CFP

There are lots of ways to spend your time.

In fact, I find there is just no end to how we can use it.  It can be spent reading, hiking, watching TV, time with friends, playing boardgames with your family, a sport you love, or you can literally watch time pass doing very little – if you choose to.

When I spend time with a variety of business owners, or growth minded clients – having a conversation about what is most important to them, a majority of time they will always write down that family is the most important thing to them.  Everything they have built or spend time doing during their day – is all done with the intention in appreciating, supporting, or helping their family.  This makes sense – it is their most cherished part of their life.

Surprisingly, even though all the activities they are doing are meant to help their family, this is not necessarily where they are spending their time.  This speaks to me as I’m also guilty of this.  I’m going to give full credit to my spouse Michele for showing me a great values exercise that came up in conversation a few years ago.

When wanting to consider if you the time you are spending in your life aligns with your values – then write out two columns.  Write your values and things that are important to you – in one column.  Write where you are spending your time in the second column.  Rate each of the values that you have on a scale of 1-10. How important is being dependable to you?  Love? Health? Self-Improvement?

Now compare what is most important to you, to how you are spending your time.  Are they aligned? If not, are there areas of your life that you need to reconsider or change?  Do you need to consider adjusting some of your routines, or being more focused in other areas?

Spending time reviewing my own values, and they way I spend my own time has allowed me to begin [its not perfect yet] aligning my time with what is most important to me.

Living well begins with ensuring you are spending your time doing the things that will best advance your life in the way you really wish it was moving.  This exercise may help as you contemplate your life goals now, and in the future.

In a recent article “97% of retirees with a strong sense of purpose were generally happy, compared with 76% without that sense” – the Retirement Manifesto 2023

Even spending time reading this article is conscious decision on how you wish to spend your time.  Should I read this article, or should I go for a walk outside?

There is no end to how we spend our time, and I hope this helps in all of our efforts in spending our time well.

Just my thoughts for the day.

Shawn Todd CFP – Partner – ECIVDA

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