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Holistic Wealth Management

Haven’t heard of holistic wealth management before? It is not a term that is generally known … yet. You have probably heard about holistic health which focuses on trying to use natural approaches to being healthy and having balance in life. It encompasses lifestyle, diet, spirit (frame of mind) and ties everything together.

Holistic Wealth Management is similar. Holistic wealth management looks at more than just the numbers. Rather than an advisor focusing primarily on only one aspect of your financial circumstances (often in relative isolation such as your debt, your investment portfolio or insurance protection), a holistic wealth management advisor encompasses all of these aspects including the emotional satisfaction. This means you can truly work with one practitioner to help address each and all of the issues.

Holistic Wealth Management is also based on ‘traditional’ solutions rather than using synthetic or hybrid products that can at times be even difficult for an investment advisor to understand.

A comprehensive financial plan needs to include both the different components of your financial circumstances as well as your personal goals and a strategy and solution to accomplish them.

The end result is that you feel better and more confident that you have a plan to succeed.

Life is stressful enough without having to worry that your goals could be derailed by an unexpected event at the wrong time impacting your financial success.

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Travel insurance is important to help protect you, your family or visitors to Canada from costs that can occur due to an unforeseen medical emergency during a trip or an unexpected reason to cancel or interrupt a trip. Without it, travelers may be left to pay significant out of pocket expenses.

Real Life Stories

Suzie (age 30) always wanted to be a mom. She is a professional earning a good income and has not found a life partner. She wonders if the dream of being a mother can come true. She owns a home worth $400,000 and has a $285,000 mortgage with no other debts. Suzie has $80,000 in her RRSP and an additional $25,000 in non-registered investments. Suzie has also just learned that shortly, she is inheriting $125,000 from her Grandmother who passed away a few months ago. Suzie has been investigating either pregnancy via a donor or adoption.

Len gathered information from Suzie and provided some recommendations. They included:

  • Suzie should move the maximum available from her non-registered account into a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA).
  • Suzie supplement her group/association disability coverage with a private policy in addition to reviewing her critical illness and life insurance protection.
  • Suzie completed a budget reflecting any changes of income anticipated should she either have a child or adopt a child in addition to the anticipated changes in expenses that would ensue.
  • Len proposed a tax efficient and yet conservative solution to investing the anticipated inheritance allowing the flexibility of drawing on the income and capital to supplement her income and meet expenses if necessary.

The end result was that it financially possible for Suzie to plan on being a mom. She is excited to be now taking the next steps.

Walter (age 36) has met the woman of his dreams, has goals of marriage, purchasing a home and starting a family. Walter met Linda (age 32) at the local pub after a weekly hockey scrimmage with his buddies. After dating for a while, Walter proposed to Linda on Valentine’s Day. Following Walter’s parents suggestion, they met with Len Colman to map out the next few years.

They wondered about the challenge of paying for a wedding, purchasing a home and were both anxious to start a family. Walter who was renting an apartment had $38,000 saved up in his RRSP’s in very aggressive investments in addition to $19,000 in savings. Walter owed $5,000 in a car loan and another $3,000 on a high interest credit card which he had only been making the minimum payment each month. Linda was still living with her parents and had $15,000 in savings and no debts and no RRSPs yet.

Len gathered information from Walter and Linda and provided some recommendations. They included:

  • Walter to use some of his savings to pay off the high interest credit card debt. As Walter was not able to claim and deduct his car expenses on his tax return, Len suggested he also pay off the car loan immediately as there was no early payment penalty. This eliminated about $1,100 of interest payments John would have paid over the next year. Walter would need to earn about $1,500 before tax to service this debt.
  • The next recommendation was for Walter to switch $25,000 of his aggressive RRSP investments into more conservative investments to preserve the capital to have available to withdraw as a first-time home buyer.
  • Walter should switch his fully taxable savings funds into a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). Walter had $10,000 available room for contribution. The funds can earn interest tax-free and be taken out to use towards the new home, wedding or other expenses.
  • After calculating a projected tax analysis, Linda’s tax savings were optimized by contributing $4,500 into an RRSP which she could later use towards the home purchase (provided the funds were there at least 90 days).
  • Linda should then invest most of her remaining savings into a TFSA.
  • Down the road, Walter and Linda should get pre-qualified for a mortgage, purchase adequate life and critical illness insurance and establish a reserve to supplement Linda’s income for the time she is on maternity leave and will have reduced income.

The outcome was that Walter & Linda now have a plan to realize their dreams of marriage, purchasing a home and planning for children without the financial fears of being burdened beyond their limits.

John (age 58) and Kathy (age 56) saw retirement around the corner. Then one day, John learned that his company was downsizing and he was offered a severance and told that after 21 years of tenure with the firm, his services were no longer required. Filled with emotions and financial concerns, John and Kathy came in to see Len.

John and Kathy had many decisions to make and even more questions. John had 48 hours to accept a severance package. He would have to decide if he should leave his pension with his now ‘former’ employer or transfer it to a Locked-in RRSP. He had 30 days explore what his group benefit plan offered for coverage conversion options. John had an option of transferring part of the severance to his RRSP as part of a retiring allowance in addition to transferring some of the funds into his RRSP plan as a contribution. John and Kathy also wondered how this would impact their retirement plans.

John and Kathy had been working with an advisor where they bank and investing in some mutual funds but felt that the person was not qualified to deal with these more complicated issues and they wanted to deal with someone with more experience and who was also a Certified Financial Planner. After quickly interviewing a few local advisors, John and Kathy felt that they were most comfortable with Len Colman’s Holistic Wealth Management approach and his professional process in dealing with his clients.

Len gathered information from John and Kathy and provided some analysis for them to help in the decision process. This included:

  • The first thing was for John to visit with an employment lawyer and seek an opinion and advice regarding the amount and the structuring options of the severance package. These fees for advice as it relates to employment are generally tax-deductible in Canada.
  • Calculation of the amount of the severance that is available as a retiring allowance and the amount of RRSP contribution room. In this case, John was able to transfer $14,000 of his severance directly into his RRSP without taxes being withheld and without using any of his existing contribution room. In addition, John also had $9,500 of unused RRSP contribution room available. The balance of payment for the severance would be taxable to John.
  • Unfortunately, John had less than ideal health and was unable to obtain the desired private insurance coverage for critical illness or life insurance. Following Len’s advice, John was able to convert some of his group insurance coverage under a guaranteed 30-day conversion privilege.
  • Finally, Len provided John and Kathy with an integrated and comprehensive (complete) financial plan which included three different planning options.
  1. One was for John to look for new, full-time employment (potentially at a lower wage than previous).
  2. The second was for John to seek part-time employment.
  3. The third was to project the retirement lifestyle that would be available should John either choose not to work or be unable to obtain new employment.

The end result is that John and Kathy have a clear understanding of how their lives will be impacted as a result of the unplanned change in John’s employment. They feel better knowing that they have found a professional they can trust and knowing what their options are and the impact these decisions will have on their lives.