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Asset allocation is the process of selecting a mix of asset classes that closely matches an investor’s financial profile in terms of their investment preferences and tolerance for risk. It is based on the premise that the different asset classes have varying cycles of performance, and that by investing in multiple classes, the overall investment returns will be more stable and less susceptible to adverse movements in any one class.
All investments involve some sort of risk, whether it’s market risk, interest risk, inflation risk liquidity risk, tax risk. An individualized asset allocation strategy seeks to mitigate the risks of any one asset class though diversification and balance.
When done properly, an investor’s allocation of assets will reflect his desired goals, priorities, investment preferences and his tolerance for risk. Asset allocation is an individualized strategy, so there really is no perfect mix of assets. Each individual’s strategy is built on the careful consideration of the key elements of their financial profile:
Investment Objectives: What it is the investor hopes to achieve using his investment dollars – improve current lifestyle; achieve capital growth; fund a specific goal, such as a college education
Risk Tolerance: This reflects the investor’s comfort level with market fluctuations that can result in losses. Inflation risk and interest risk need to be considered as well.
Investment Preferences: An investor may prefer one asset class over another based on a certain bias or interest towards the characteristics of that class.
Time Horizon: The length of time an investor is willing to commit to achieving his objectives.
Taxation: Investing in a mix of asset classes will have varying tax consequences.
A sound asset allocation strategy includes periodic reviews.
About the only certainty when it comes to the financial markets is that they will change, and so will your financial situation. Through market gains and losses, a portfolio can become unbalanced and it may be important to make adjustments to your allocation. As people move through life’s stages their needs, preferences, priorities and risk tolerance change and so too must their asset allocation strategy.
Asset allocation, which is driven by complex mathematical models, should not be confused with the much simpler concept of diversification.
Learn more about asset allocation by contacting us today.
Diversification/Asset Allocation does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss.
You worked hard to develop a business, and now is time to enjoy the results. Many entrepreneurs spend years of focused effort building up a business, but then fail to consider how to make the transition to retirement. A financial security advisor can offer expert advice in how to plan an effective business succession strategy.
Entrepreneurs can work to turn equity in the business into capital that can be used to fund retirement. A financial advisor can help business owners with tax-effective retirement strategies, such as using life insurance policies, paying yourself a salary as the business founder, or arranging for an heir to slowly buy up your shares.
Life insurance is another consideration when planning business succession. If the founder is nearing the end of his or her life, a well-planned life insurance policy can help successors transition into business owners. Upon death, successors face estate taxes on business values of more than $500,000—with the tax-free amount potentially offset by any capital business losses the owner declared during his or her lifetime. Life insurance is one way that successors can cover the remaining amounts.
Smaller businesses may not need to pay estate taxes, but can still benefit from a plan that ensures an equal legacy for their successors. A financial security advisor can help entrepreneurs plan an inheritance that is fairly distributed among all loved ones.
The death of a partner or major stockholder in a business can have devastating effects on both the business and the deceased partner’s surviving family. The business is concerned with gaining control of the deceased partner’s interest at a fair price so that it can continue operations without interference from the surviving family members. The family members are most concerned with receiving as much money as possible for their interest in the business and for capital that may be needed for estate settlement purposes.
Absent a written agreement, the competing interests of the business and the family members could lead to major conflicts, litigation and possibly the forced liquidation of the business. A buy-sell agreement can ensure that the business interest of the deceased partner will transfer in an orderly manner to the benefit and satisfaction of all parties. With a buy-sell agreement in place, the stability of the business for it clients, employees and investors (or creditors) is more assured.
Key elements of a buy-sell agreement include a mutually agreeable sales price and terms of the sale. The agreement needs to be funded in order to ensure that the capital is available at the time of the death of a partner. Life insurance provides a cost effective means of creating the capital necessary to buy out the interests of the family and establish a reserve for the business to use to continue its operations.
Entity Plan: Under this arrangement, used when there are multiple owners, each of the business owners has a separate agreement with the corporation or partnership as the entity. The entity, per the buy-sell agreement, will buy the deceased partner’s interest at his or her death.
Cross Purchase Agreement: Used in situations where there are two or three owners, a cross purchase agreement is established between each of the owners. At the death of one of the owners, the surviving owners agree to buy a proportionate share of the deceased owner’s interest.
Buy-Sell arrangements are a simple, yet effective way for business owners of privately held companies to plan for the orderly transfer of business interests where two or more owners are actively involved in the business. In addition to securing the needs of the surviving family members and ensuring the continuation of the business, a buy-sell arrangement also ensures each owner that there is a buyer for their business interest at a fair price.
Business succession planning involves legal, tax and personal financial issues. Guidance from a qualified attorney or tax professional is strongly recommended.
For more information on business succession planning, contact us today.
Contact us today to discuss strategies for business succession.
*The financial analysis and recommendations are not intended to replace the need for independent tax, accounting, or legal review. Individuals are advised to seek the counsel of such licensed professionals.
Everyone has their own reason for gifting their assets or a portion of their income to charitable organizations. Some find comfort in helping others who are less fortunate, while others simply want to share their good fortune. Many of the institutions of art, sciences and education are supported in large part by those who want to give something back in appreciation for their contributions to the community or the individuals themselves.
Presently, the tax code offers incentives for gifting of one’s assets or incomes. Tax deductions are given for current contributions and, for estate owners, charitable gifts can reduce the size of the estate to help minimize estate taxes.
Often times, an individual will designate a charitable beneficiary in their will to benefit the organization after the individual dies. By using charitable gifting techniques, a donor may be able to benefit the charity while living without having to sacrifice the income that an asset can generate. Understanding how properly structured charitable gifts can provide current benefits for both the donor and the charity could be important for the charitably inclined.
Also known as an Income Trust this vehicle transfers the income rights to the charitable organization. Generally, the income rights are assigned for a specified period of time after which the remainder passes to the donor.
Charitable planning involves tax issues that should be discussed with a qualified tax or financial professional.
For more information of charitable planning, please contact us today.
Business owners face unique challenges—and opportunities—in terms of financial planning. You’ve worked hard to develop your ideas into a successful business, or perhaps you’re considering moving into self-employment. Regardless of your situation, choose a financial planning strategy that takes advantage of your unique situation.
If you are considering moving to self-employment, contact us to discuss how to revise your financial plan. Working together, we will help you adjust from a situation where a previous employer might have provided benefits, such as health or life insurance or a company pension. Life and disability insurance can be difficult to purchase at first, since many insurers want two years of tax results. As well, self-employed people can gain tax write-offs for some health insurance premiums.
You may also need to negotiate a bank loan or line of credit to help fund office space, materials and other business investments. We can help you explore options to effectively secure these start-up expenses.
Tax planning is another important component of a strong business strategy. Depending on your business, consideration may include paying wages or collecting GST. You also need to pay your own CPP and EI, and possibly make quarterly tax installments. As well, you can take advantage of capital cost allowances on equipment such as computers or vehicles, and business expenses such as advertising, salaries, or travel.
No matter what stage of growth your business is in, contact us today to design a tax-efficient business planning strategy*.
Depending on your stage of life, chances are you’ll have a distinct approach to saving. New graduates or young couples have different needs than retirees or mid-career families. But no matter your personal situation, we can help you develop financial habits that will lay a strong foundation for your savings.
Younger individuals and couples have a number of benefits in terms of financial management. Low insurance costs and a long investment horizon, combined with few responsibilities, can make for an excellent financial base. We can help you build on these advantages, while at the same time considering a debt load that might include student loans, car payments or perhaps a mortgage.
Couples planning for a first child enter into a new level of commitment—both personally and financially. Learn how to save for a child through specialized insurance and investment products, such as a Registered Education Savings Plan.
Mid-career professionals typically have higher incomes than younger investors—but they also carry more responsibilities. From mortgage payments to a child’s education, consider a financial plan that balances your needs and obligations.
Retirees have worked hard at their careers, and now is the time for relaxation and celebration. Chances are children have moved from home, the mortgage is mostly paid off and a few investments are coming to fruition. However, income levels may have dropped after retirement. Find out how to manage your finances in a way that allows you to fully enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
In short, no matter your life stage, contact us today to learn how to balance savings and investing with your other commitments.
Preparing for succession after death is a difficult issue to discuss, but it is also an important part of any comprehensive financial plan.
We can help you and your loved ones approach succession planning in a constructive manner that ensures they avoid problems and are well cared for in the event of your death. The process involves two main considerations: life insurance and preparing a will.
Life insurance can ease the financial burden and provide security for your loved ones in the event of your death. A lump-sum payment can be used for mortgage costs or to supplement lost income, helping your successors during a difficult period. Financial security and stability can make it easier to cope with the loss of a loved one.
A written will provides a means to guide your loved ones through the succession process. By naming your executors and providing instructions on the distribution of your estate, your surviving loved ones avoid having to guess your wishes. Rather than provincial law determining how your assets are to be divided—a situation that can result in lengthy court proceedings—a clear, carefully considered written will provides clear instructions to your successors. Save your loved ones the stress of dealing with financial issues by planning for your succession while you are alive.
Contact us today to discuss succession planning in more detail.
No one likes taxes. But through the advice of a professional financial advisor, you can access products and services that help ease the burden. Charitable contributions, life insurance policies and investment products purchased through RRSPs or RESPs can all be useful tools in an effective tax strategy*. Working together, we will consider your personal situation and design a tax plan that fits your needs.
Choose from a variety of products and services, such as:
Contact us today to learn more about tax-planning products and services that are specifically tailored for your needs.