Wealth Management Services
Carol Plaisier FMA is an Investment Advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional with over 30 years experience specializing in investment, retirement, insurance, estate planning and income requirement services. She can help you get the most out of your investments, minimize your tax obligations, and can help make your business dreams a reality.
Click on the sections below to learn more about the specific Wealth Management services she offers, or Contact Carol to Learn More.
Once you have determined your retirement objectives you need to consider the sources of income to support those objectives. You will probably be receiving benefits from the government as well as from your personal savings and pensions. The sources of income are:
- Government Benefits
- Registered Assets
- Non-Registered Assets
Call Carol to discuss how to maximize your registered and non registered income.
You can start planning for your retirement as early as possible; decisions you make today will decide what lifestyle you will be able to maintain in your retirement. People are living longer and staying healthier; a 30 year or longer retirement span will be more and more commonplace. It will be important to be able to access an income stream from your portfolios, and, a tax efficient income stream will allow you to maximize the government benefits you will qualify to receive.
The most well known retirement savings vehicle and retirement income vehicles are RRSPs and RRIFs:
- A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) allows you to make contributions toward retirement savings, while allowing a tax deferral.
- A Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) is a tax-deferred investment plan; this is one of several options available to RRSP account holders after age 71, the age the government sets for the collapse of RRSPs
The links on this page will provide you with more information regarding your retirement. If you would like to discuss your specific situation, please call me to arrange an appointment.
Tax Efficient Strategies
Here are some guidelines to consider to manage your retirement in the most tax-efficient way:
- As the general rule, defer taxes when you can. This translates into liquidating your non-registered investments first. When you sell your non-registered investments you are only taxed on the growth (capital gain) of the investments. Registered investments (RRSPs) are fully taxable on the whole amount you withdraw. By leaving funds in your RRSP, you will pay less tax today.
- You have to take the size of your portfolio into account. If your RRSP is of significant size, there could be a downside to leaving funds sheltered longer. You will have to start making withdrawals no later than the year after you turn 71, and the portfolio could have grown considerably so your taxable withdrawals will be larger.
- Consider your available tax benefits. If you are able to make withdrawals from your RRSP in a tax efficient manner because of flow-through share or other deductions, the impact of making RRSP withdrawals won’t be extreme and could make sense.
Financial spring cleaning is more than culling your files so that they aren’t so thick. An often ignored, yet integral part of a complete plan is ensuring that your estate planning is up to date. What would you do if your husband died tomorrow? Do you even know where you would start? In addition to the shock and grief that comes of losing your loved one, you may start worrying….about money, about bills, about the location of important papers; what if you always let your husband take care of the finances?
At this time, the help of family and friends is welcomed for their comfort and assistance, but, the majority of ‘duties’ that are necessary to be carried out in the event of a death may be positioned so that one can focus on grieving and staying strong in the immediate term.. As soon as possible, securing investments and reassuring creditors should take place, but an arranged plan will relieve some stress.
The choice of an executor is one of the first steps that both of you should discuss and should not be taken lightly. There is a large amount of time, work, and legal responsibility that may be involved; make sure that your executor is up to the job.
In many cases, the executor packs up the will and death certificate and hands off the task to an individual, sometimes a lawyer or an accountant, to have them carry out the executor duties. The further removed from the task of settling the estate, the longer the process may take and the more the process may cost.
The appointment of a corporate executor, with or without a family member co-executor is one way of ensuring the efficient process of settling the estate. The benefits include knowing the cost to the beneficiaries upfront, knowing the executor will not pre-decease you, knowing that any family disagreements will be dealt with by an impartial party that will follow your wishes; no one family member will have to shoulder any infighting.
Corporate executors usually have a minimum estate size to make the cost reasonable.
Investment advisors are sometimes asked to be executors of their client’s estates. Policy may vary with different firms, but it is not a good idea, due to a perceived conflict of interest. Investment advisors can assist you in setting up your plan and be a contact for the survivor and the executor throughout the process.
Summarized below is a list of the three top steps:
Step 1: Locate specific documents. Will, Birth certificate, marriage certificate, death benefit-related items, life insurance policies, trust agreements, certificate of discharge from the military (if applicable), citizenship papers (if applicable)
Step 2: Notify relevant contacts - Lawyers, accountants, advisors, Banks, Insurance Companies, clients (if business owner), employer, beneficiaries
Step 3: Simple yet critical - Cancel social insurance, re-direct mail, destroy and cancel credit cards, review safety deposit boxes and create a list of contents, change voicemail message, determine existing liabilities, re-register assets, determine what property was owned solely, jointly owned property can be transferred to the survivor.
Even a relatively simple estate can take a year or longer to finalize so be prepared.
Ideally, clients learn about the guidelines before an event occurs, but all too often this does not happen. Estate planning may seem like a depressing subject to bring up with your partner or family, but knowing everything is looked after should take a weight off your shoulders.
Download our latest questionnaire which provides valuable insight in Estate Planning Objectives:
We can help you evaluate your financial goals and choose the best insurance solutions for your personal situation. Whatever your needs, we offer access to the highest quality insurance products at competitive rates.
- Life Insurance
- Critical Illness Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Travel Insurance
- Lifetime Income
Single and Joint Life Option
- Prescribed Annuities
Provide Tax Efficient Income
- Cashable Annuities
Unlock Income when needed
- Segregated Funds
Women in Transition
Losing a spouse is one of the most emotional occurrences in one's life. Although it also has one of the most financial impacts as well, it is important to take the time to grieve and know that everything doesn't have to be done at once. Typically, women experience a drop in income and have to deal with a variety of issues such as taxes, insurance, estate planning and handling financial decisions that may have been made by their spouses previously. A financial professional can help you to:
- Establish a to-do list; this will help you to prioritize and to move forward, as slowly as you need
- Liaise with your attorney and accountant to ensure your beneficiary designations and your investment strategy will meet with your needs.
- Review all life insurance policies, government and work pension plans.
- Review the current investment portfolio to see if risk and income requirements are still appropriate
Divorced or Separated
It is important to think about your financial well-being not just now, but in the years ahead. You must consider the long-term effects of owning or selling certain assets. Here are some issues that must be considered:
- Retirement plans have to be revised. Instead of visualizing sunset strolls, hand in hand, you are concerned about who gets what and how to pay bills.
- It is especially important for women to not only focus on short-term needs, such as caring for the children, and lose sight of the big picture.
- If women have not been managing household finances, or have been jointly managing with their spouse, it will be important to get assistance.
- A 50/50 split is not easy when the assets include cash, RRSPs, cars, home and future pensions.
- Accepting a present value for an asset may not be equitable in the future. For example $25,000. in jewellery and furniture today will probably not be equal to $25,000. in a stock portfolio.
- Consider tax implications-selling your car for cash will not be looked at the same by Canada Revenue Agency as selling some of your portfolio.
- You have to divide your debts, ensure that you are not responsible for any future debts that your spouse incurs, and take steps to preserve your credit rating.
- You may not have any interest in long term planning for some time after divorce, but you can take steps to ensure your retirement plan survives your divorce.
Divorce can be a long and emotionally draining time in your life. It is important to obtain the support and expertise of professionals to help you to not only survive, but thrive.
When the single mom is the sole income earner, much of her salary may be needed to cover living necessities and long term financial planning may not be a priority:
- A stay-at-home mom may have to go back to work or back to school to upgrade her skills
- Review beneficiaries of RRSP and life insurance plans
- Retirement savings may have to be used for immediate needs; thereby causing retirement plans to be revised
- Unexpected changes in income and expenses making a new budget essential
It isn't possible to plan for every occurrence in your life, but you can certainly have a financial plan in place that will provide the base for your future.
Personal Health Service Plan
As a "small business owner" you can deduct health and dental costs the same way you deduct other business expenses. You wouldn't buy a computer for your business without it being a tax write-off, so why not take advantage of write-offs for all health and dental costs? Small Business Owners (their family and any employees) can take advantage of tax deductions that were only available to major corporations. Imagine being able to make tax deductions for all dental costs, all health care costs, travel insurance costs, costs for Blue Cross (if you feel a need for an insured health plan), the user pay portion of health and dental plans (i.e.: the deductible and coinsurance portion), voluntary procedures in and out of the country, and any other health care costs for services that are performed by a health care professional. Have your eyes lasered, get that plastic surgery done, and buy the best health care plan when you travel; you name it and you will be able to deduct it as an expense.
After researching this plan, I have been setting them up for clients. It works like this. Small Business Owners (sole proprietor or incorporated) can establish a Private Health Services Plan (PHSP). I use a trust company to administer the plan, to hold funds in trust to pay claims, scrutinize the claims, and issue appropriate accounting records for tax purposes. You are not required to make monthly payments. You use a "pay as you go" account. You will submit any paid receipts for medical and dental costs, along with a cheque for payment of the medical bill plus an administration fee (generally 10%) to the administrator. The administrator then sends a cheque to you personally to reimburse you for the expenditure on health and dental costs along with a receipt for tax purposes. All of the costs for medical and dental expenses and the administration fee are a write-off for your small business. This is not a taxable benefit to you from your business.
Set up is simple. You pay a one-time enrollment fee (it is tax deductible) to the trust company. There are no monthly premiums to pay (unless you want to prepay some of the costs).
There are no waiting periods and no medical history requirements. As the kids say today, this looks like a "no brainer" for Small Business Owners.
If you have questions, comments or wish information on details to set up the PHSP, please contact me. (Depending on the makeup of your firm, some limits may apply).