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Investment Risk and Volatility

Volatility and risk are different concepts, but both have a role in determining your investment success.

Volatility is simply how much the market will increase or decrease, whereas risk is the amount of loss or gain you are willing to accept. The volatility of your investments is often a result of the level of risk you are willing to accept. During periods of market volatility, it is important to stay focused on your asset allocation goals according to your predetermined risk profile.

Volatility is simply short-term instability that can affect all investments, including good equity funds, because of fear generated in the markets.


Investment Planning

An investment plan defines how you will invest your money, prioritize, fund, manage and evaluate your investments while you seek to meet your goals and objectives.

Investors may use an active and/or a passive management style for a portfolio depending on long-, medium-, or short-term goals, and their individual (or unique) determined investment style.

We can help you design the right plan.


Retirement Solutions

You will spend many years working. One day you will need to retire with a good income generated from your accumulated investments. Retirement planning is never finished. You will need to manage your investments carefully to maximize their return through life's various stages as you move closer to, and during, retirement.

Through good markets and volatile markets, we help individuals, families, and business owners with their financial needs. We realize one program doesn’t fit all investor needs, so we will take into consideration your changing goals—for example, if you have other short-term needs, we will help you tailor an investment plan to suit your specific goals.

We can help you to re-evaluate your investment strategy and advise you as we develop a balanced plan that is best suited to your overall investment needs. Retirement planning must ensure the best use of capital with minimization of tax during the investment growth stages, as well as during the period when you will depend on your investments to create wealth as it transfers to income.


Individual Pension Plan

An Individual Pension Plans (IPP) is a vehicle for retirement and estate planning for the right person (business owners over 40 or incorporated professionals earning around $100,000 or more). It is a defined benefit pension plan which provides greater tax deferred contributions than those available through a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).

Contact me to discuss the potential for a IPP for your needs.


Wealth Management and Tax Reduction

There are important wealth management tactics that can help maximize your long-term investment returns. These tactics in particular, have stood the test of time for investors interested in building a strong and balanced investment portfolio. Here is a list of investment tactics to help you achieve financial independence.

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  1. Deduct interest. If you plan to borrow money to finance a business and associated expenses, it is important to arrange your finances to deduct Interest on this type of borrowing against your income.
  2. Consider income splitting. Income splitting is the idea of moving income to family members who are in a lower tax bracket than you. To split family income with your spouse you can invest the lower-earning spouse's income, while the higher earner pays family living expenses and taxes. You may also want to contribute to a spousal RRSP. If you own a business, where applicable, pay your spouse a salary for work performed on behalf of your business. To split income with children, you can give them cash, or any other assets (if they are over 18). For children under 18, consider that there may be attribution rules.
  3. Structure your investments for tax. To avoid paying high taxes on income from earnings or interest, structure your investments to earn primarily capital gains and dividends outside of your registered accounts.
  4. Tax Deferral. If you are investing in non-registered holdings, but have not maximized your RRSP, you may be losing the opportunity to deduct up-to-the-maximum contributions from income. You also miss out on the pre-retirement tax deferral, during the time that elapses until you retire. You could be deferring these tax liabilities on investment income, until you withdraw the funds held within your RRSP, or your RRIF.
  5. Create trusts. Trusts are ideal if you hope to transfer income, and/or capital gains to a beneficiary. If you own a business, you can even use trusts to pass the business on to your children for tax purposes while still retaining some control. Make sure you obtain expert advice.
  6. Donate. Charitable donations are effective wealth management tools because they provide you with a tax break while allowing you to make a real difference for a cause important to you.
  7. Develop a plan. As with all things in life, good intentions are seldom enough. A professional investment plan can help ensure you reach your financial goals, while not depending on Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Begin to envision independent financial success.
  8. Start early as time adds value to money. Start early as time adds value to money. Habitually pay yourself first every pay-cheque, before you pay your bills. For estimation purposes only, use the simple "Rule of 72" to assess potential results over time - divide your annual percentage rate of return (yield) into 72. The answer will tell you how many years are necessary to double your money if the rate of return remains constant. Time can work against you if you procrastinate. Bear in mind that the "Rule of 72" is a math rule only - not an investment certainty. Thus, when investing in investment funds, because returns are market related and not guaranteed, they can experience drops instead of expected gains.
  9. Maximize your RRSP contribution. As long as one earns an income (or where an individual has unused contribution room), an RRSP contribution creates a tax break available to most Canadians. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows you to contribute a significant percentage of up to 18% of your previous year's earned income up to a maximum threshold, minus pension adjustments reported by employers.
  10. Invest with a global perspective. Different economies worldwide can experience market gains at differing times or at the same time depending where each economy is in its own distinct market cycle. Markets such as Canada and the USA influence one another closely in their market cycles. Canada's stock market capitalization is less than 3% of the total of the entire world. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in foreign securities. This can be accomplished by purchasing Canadian-managed foreign investment funds that invest in foreign equities—and your RRSP can hold up to 100% foreign content.

Disclaimer: A tax and/or legal expert such as an accountant or tax lawyer can help you in special tax areas, and can give you guidance about various topics for which we often can provide a financial product to solve.

You should consult a lawyer or accountant to get detailed tax information, especially if you own a business.


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How can Segregated Funds benefit an investor?


How Segregated (Seg) Funds Work

Segregated (seg for short) funds are professionally managed investment funds holding pooled investments, with a life insurance component.

With predefined investment objectives and policies, a professional manager selects the assets the seg fund will hold. Many individuals pool their money for the purpose of investing in stocks, bonds, and other kinds of securities by purchasing shares or units. The price per unit fluctuates in relation to the market price of the securities the fund holds.

Fund investors get a share of the fund’s ongoing investment earnings or losses, based on the number of units they own. When they redeem or sell units, the redemption value or price they get depends on the number of units redeemed, the unit price at the time of redemption, and any applicable fees.

The advantages of segregated funds during market turbulence Seg funds can offer growth when the market increases in value. Seg funds allow investors who have only a little capital or limited investment knowledge to invest in a diversified portfolio of assets. Individual investors share the expenses of running the fund, such as employing a professional manager who buys and sells assets. They are very liquid; in other words, individual investors can cash out at virtually any time by redeeming their units with the fund issuer.

1. Diversity can reduce investor risk The more diversified a fund is, the greater the mix of assets it holds in its investment portfolio. As with all investment products, there are various kinds of investment risk, such as inflation risk, declining market risk (referred to as bear market), default risk, currency risk, interest rate risk, and political risk.

2. Safeguards certainties The most compelling reason for buying a seg fund policy is capital protection. While GICs also offer a guaranteed return, they are limited in their growth potential. Since seg funds are invested in capital markets, they have a greater capacity for appreciation. Segregated fund contracts have special features offering certainties over and above those offered by other investment funds.

3. A maturity benefit The seg fund’s contract at maturity date, or at death, may guarantee a minimum percent of your invested capital to be returned (by a life insurance company). Typically, at the time of maturity set in the contract, some companies permit a resetting of the new guaranteed capital amount and a renewed maturity date.

4. Money security options Regardless of market performance, at maturity you are entitled to receive most or all of your initial invested capital back (or more if the market has performed well), less any withdrawals. Note: Examine the conditions of the contract.

6. Estate planning benefits As with the certainties of the maturity benefit, some insurance companies allow individual contract owners to reset the death benefit periodically to lock in increases in the value of the segregated funds the contract has invested in, equal to at least a percentage of gross contributions.

This benefit is payable directly to the beneficiary of the contract upon the death of the insured person. If a beneficiary is named and the death benefit paid to him or her, monies can be protected from probate, government estate administration fees, and any attending legal fees incurred.

7. Why seg funds appeal to senior investors This is of particular value when an investor is nearing, or has begun, retirement and cannot afford to lose capital invested during a volatile market. Even if the fund’s actual unit value declined, your seg fund investment contract may guarantee that you will get back a very high percentage of the initial capital invested.

Also, at maturity, you will get back the guaranteed minimum amount or, if the market has risen in value, a higher amount. This means less worry, as you will know with certainty the minimum amount of money you will have when the contract matures (some return up to 100% of the original capital invested). This is particularly good for those who intend to pass the money on to the next generation if it is not needed for income or emergency during any period of market devaluation.

8. One or more beneficiaries Segregated fund policies allow you to designate one or more beneficiaries, much like a life insurance policy. At the time of your death, the proceeds from your seg policy may not be included with the rest of your estate. The proceeds from your segregated fund policy pass directly to your beneficiaries.

Note: The provisions of a seg fund contract, such as the guarantee periods and the MER, may be dependent on age and insurance underwriting. There are many new seg funds being developed offering various guarantees (and periods related to those guarantees). You should note that individual contracts have their own restrictions on the age to which you can invest. In addition, the level of payout can vary depending upon your age.

9. Potention creditor-proof investments Depending on jurisdiction, some seg fund policies might be protected from creditors for an investor’s lifetime if the policyholder ever faced a lawsuit or bankruptcy. This is because seg funds include insurance-related contracts. There must be an irrevocable or preferred beneficiary (or multiple preferred beneficiaries)—a child, grandchild, parent, or spouse—named on the contract. This can be beneficial for self-employed small business owners who take more financial risk (such as consultants, dentists, lawyers, and accountants). Equally, since those who own a significant number of shares in a corporation or serve as an officer or director of a corporation may be liable if lawsuits are filed against that corporation, they also can benefit from this creditor protection. For example, a sexual harassment or environmental lawsuit could affect a small business owner or corporate officer. Losing a serious lawsuit can put both your business reserves and personal investments at risk.

Note: Subject to certain restrictions, these strategies should be discussed with a qualified financial advisor. The creditor protection is allowed as long as money was not placed in the seg fund with the intent to protect the capital from an impending financial crisis. In most cases, however, the creditor protection is valid when the lawsuit or bankruptcy (in the case of both personal and business situations) is unexpected. Recent court rulings have shown that creditor protection may not always apply. You should seek legal advice to determine under what circumstances (especially intentional quick-fix shielding of money) a seg fund policy might not offer such protection.

Seg funds are best suited for the investors involved in long-term wealth creation and preservation of capital.

Capital protection appeals to a variety of people, including:

• Everyday investors who are conservative and yet want higher returns than GICs offer;
• Pre-retirees who need growth but can’t afford to lose money;
• Seniors who require estate protection and certain capital guarantees; and
• Businesspeople who have exposure to personal liability and want to protect their assets.




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