The True Value of HR

The True Value of HR

“Your people are your business’s most valuable asset.”

When it comes to an external buyer or investor looking at your business this adage is very true. A new buyer or investor can learn about a company from asking a few simple questions about the team and human resource function within it.

As a leader or owner in your business, you should have answers to these three questions. What your answers are say a great deal about the state of your human resources.

How often do people leave your company?

The person asking this question is interested to know what the turnover is in your company. High turnover is expensive because the team is constantly training and recruiting. High turnover is an indicator of possible culture or recruiting issues.

It is important to know why people are leaving and how you can take steps to slow down the turnover rate. If people are leaving your business, then uncover why. Is it the culture? Is it the work environment? Is it their role or responsibility? If your turnover rate is high because you are terminating people, it is important to understand what the core problem(s) is/are. Have people been properly recruited and vetted? Are fit, skills and experience all being considered? Is your training function working properly? Are expectations clearly defined?

At the end of the day, high turnover is a drain on a company. It is important to understand why people are leaving and how you can slow the flow.

What is the average tenure at your company?

Tenure is the opposite side of the turnover coin. The person asking this question is seeking insight about culture, but also about skill level, knowledge stores and key personnel. A high team retention rate (compared to similar industry averages) can be both an asset and a liability. An asset because it can speak to a positive culture, appropriate compensation packages and potential efficiencies. High tenure can be a liability because it may mean the knowledge or key customer relationships are housed within individuals, changes may be slow to be adopted or fought against and sometimes long-term employees may even be kept because of habit or out of fear.

It is important to understand if your company’s tenure data is an asset or liability. Here are some things to consider:

  • What is the culture of your organization? Does it lend itself to people choosing to stay?
  • If there are people with long tenure or inherited hires, are they still the right fit for the role they are in or is there room to modify to achieve better results?
  • Does the historical, institutional knowledge held within long-term individuals exist in writing anywhere?
  • Are relationships maintained with long-term employees also fostered by other individuals?
  • Do long-term team members impede evolution or changes due to habit or are they resistant to change? (i.e., ‘That’s not how we do it.’)
  • Are long-term team members a good representation of the culture and brand you want your company to represent?

Your answers to these kinds of questions will give you an indication of weather your company’s average length of tenure is an asset or liability.

Can I see your HR files?

Documentation is the backbone of any company. Having documentation on important functions, procedures and policies is key. Human resource documentation is varied and critical. From codes of conduct and role descriptions to vacation tracking and annual reviews. The amount and quality of HR documentation tells a story about the company.

If you were an outside investor or buyer, what story would your HR documents tell? Are your job roles clearly defined? Are there updated nondisclosures in place? Are HR policies and procedures up to date and enforced? How much vacation, sick or banked time is owing? (This can be a huge, looming cost if not properly managed.) Are reviews done regularly and with proper documentation? Regular reviews lead to an optimal team with proper competencies, attitudes and culture fit making sure those at the company are there for the right reasons.

If these three questions have given you pause and left you feeling a little uncomfortable, chances are your human resource function could use work. Like many parts of a business, HR grows and changes as the business evolves. It is important to keep all the elements of human resources current and relevant for maximum day-to-day efficiencies and in the event a buyer or investor is in your future, this effort will add value.

Getting a clear, unbiased understanding of your company’s human resources is a critical component in the overall value of your business. An external investor or buyer is very interested in the ins and outs of your organization’s human resources. There are immediate things you can do to improve where they are and move to where you want to be. Connect with us to help understand your human resources and next steps.

PIVOT – The Summary of 2020 and Business Decisions

PIVOT – The Summary of 2020 and Business Decisions

As soon as our alarm goes off in the morning, we begin making decisions and weighing options. Do I press snooze? Do I have time for breakfast? Should I stop for coffee? From these kinds of mundane choices to the critical ones at work with far-reaching impact (and possibly cost), our days are filled with decisions that need to be made.

Some might argue the decisions we make on our own with no input from others are the easiest to make. Afterall, you don’t require anyone else’s opinion, data or thoughts about consequences to weigh your options and make a choice.

However, the bulk of our daily decisions are made at work and typically involve multiple people with multiple interests and opinions. We have all been on teams where the decision-making process has been slow, painful and possibly even hostile or divisive. These experiences can taint future teamwork and projects.

Many of us develop tactics to help teamwork and collaboration situations functional and as effective as possible. Unfortunately, ‘functional’ and ‘as effective as possible’ don’t always result in the best outcomes. In fact, it often results in more of a ‘this will do’ situation.

Imagine how you would benefit from tools and a framework you could take from team to team regardless of your role or the work that needs to be done. A framework to help the group collaboratively and decisively determine what matters so they can make decisions and work towards a shared purpose quicker.

Decision Dynamics, powered by Better Practice™, is a framework individuals, teams and business owners adopt and implement to facilitate collaboration, centre accountability and bring people together to define success and achieve it faster.

COVID-19 fundamentally changed how businesses operate and continues to demand fast-thinking and pivoting – the ability for individuals and businesses to rally and adapt with agility – in order to reimagine ‘normal’.. The team at Intent Planning was no different. While financial service is essential, the way we operated daily and interacted with clients changed immediately and continues to evolve.

Our leadership team leaned heavily on the principles of Decision Dynamics to help navigate the ever-changing environment the pandemic created. We were able to identify what matters, make better decisions faster AND act on those decisions with agility and confidence…together. Using principles like ‘the truth is enough’ and ‘beware of unintended consequences’, we were able to discuss options and reach decisions quickly while also remaining open to the need to change or modify as the situation evolved.

As professionals and team members, we highly recommend the self-paced course, Introduction to Decision Dynamics, powered by @BetterPractice, to enhance your individual skills and how you interact with teams. It is also great training for teams who want to expedite decision making and improve collaboration.

Teams are often asked to do more, quicker and with added challenges like time zones and competing priorities. The concepts, principles and tools Decision Dynamics offers will help you clearly identify what matters, make better decisions faster and act on those decisions confidently and nimbly, as a team.

Connect with us to learn more about great ways to add to your professional tool kit.

Mitigating Emotions when Investing

Mitigating Emotions when Investing

Making decisions when we are clouded with emotions – good or bad – tend to result in regret.

Investment decisions are no different.

When it comes to our finances and investments, each of us can be swayed by emotion-based reactions or the influence of non level-headed thinking. The advertising professionals know this about us as do the companies who set up their retail check-outs with the appropriately called ‘impulse items’ that often engage us on an emotional level.

The global financial markets are not human. However, from the outside, the impact of world events and uncertainty can often appear like an emotional reaction in how the markets behave. What appears to be emotional to those of us uneducated in the complicated workings of global financial markets are actually reactions based on a number of inter-acting elements.

Unfortunately, the headline grabbing behaviour of the financial markets elicits emotions from us as investors. Often the market reactions can push us to want to make emotional decisions about our investments at the very time when level headedness should prevail. In moments like these, having a well thought out financial plan and working with a financial advisor will help you navigate the options and mitigate decisions made from emotional reactions.

The best tool to utilize in keeping your emotions in check is a financial plan built by your advisor to plan for your short- and long-term goals. A plan will ease your worries about your financial future and also provide a clear path to achieving your goals. Both of these benefits will help you avoid making emotional decisions.

There are two primary strategies a financial advisor will propose in building your portfolio to help your investments weather long-term market trends and reacting to short-term emotional influences. Dollar cost averaging and buy and hold are tried and true strategies with proven effectiveness for long-term investing and keeping emotions in check when it comes to our finances.

Dollar cost averaging uses the advantages of routine to help you with your long-term investment strategy. Systematic routine deposits will allow your money to be invested regardless of what the market is doing. If the market is lower you will be able to purchase more and if the market is up your funds will purchase less. This will work in your favour over time, averaging your investment purchases while adding the inherent advantage of compound interest and a regular investment routine.

Buy and hold as a strategy is used to help with long-term investments. Once your financial plan is developed and your investment has been made, buy and hold means your investment should be in the market for the long-term. This allows compound interest and the long-term returns of the markets to work for you. Buying and holding supported by regular review with your advisor also removes the emotional desire for us to react and lock-in negative returns on our investments. Your advisor knows even the most seasoned stockbroker is unable to time the markets routinely and successfully to their benefit, making buy and hold a safe approach for long-term investments.

Daily rises and falls vary but ultimately are part of the life of the market. Buy and hold teaches us timing the market is nearly impossible and avoiding cashing in investments while the market is low requires investors to manage emotions and commit to the financial plan.

Both of these strategies require investors to let logical, methodical and habitual routines take the lead over emotion. A financial advisor will work with you to build and regularly review your financial plan to make timing the market unnecessary and fighting the urge to react to your emotions easier.

Global markets are made up of individuals and organizations with people who do their best to keep emotion out of their actions. The markets’ daily activity is based on global events, various countries’ economies, the publicly traded companies making up the markets and a variety of other factors. 2020 saw some dips and rebounds as the impacts of COVID-19 on economies around the world became apparent. The market will likely continue to reflect uncertainties as the US election and global COVID-19 recoveries play out over the next few months.

One of the top benefits of working with a financial advisor is using their level-headedness to our advantage as an investor. Connect with us to put the professional skills of one of our financial advisors to work for you.

3 Ways Building a Household Budget Can Reduce Stress

3 Ways Building a Household Budget Can Reduce Stress

Uncertainty and money issues can increase stress and anxiety. Many of us have experienced stress due to money issues, at some point in our adult life. COVID-19 has impacted the financial health of many of us adding additional stress to an already uncertain situation.

Creating and following a household budget can help manage financial anxiety and reduce stress in three ways.

1.Monitor and allocate

The first step of building a home budget is to collect information about income from all sources and outgoing funds. Typically, regular monthly expenses like mortgage or rent, heat, water, phone, insurance (home, auto, personal) and so forth are easy to identify. Other, expenses like groceries, transportation, grooming, entertainment and so on can add up and will vary month to month.

Your first home budget draft can use estimates; however, careful tracking over the first three or so months will allow you to update your budget with actual expenses. (There are lots of online tools or mobile apps to help.) The tracking requires monitoring all expenses and income. A spreadsheet or several envelopes for receipts and invoices can be used to track all outgoing funds. Create four to six expense themes to track all the money your household spends in a month. Sample themes could be:

  • Groceries – This includes all groceries, from all sources used to cook or prepare food at home. Look at the main grocery shops as well as all the times you grab a few items between main shops.
  • Entertainment – This typically includes evenings out – movies, activities, cocktails, coffee with friends, etc. It can also include dining out, unless you would like to track dining out separately to monitor it more closely, especially if you eat out routinely.
  • Vehicles – It is important to understand the cost of your vehicle – gas, cleaning, maintenance, parking, all the associated costs to owning your vehicle. If you don’t own a vehicle, this can be a transportation category and track transit fare, taxis or vehicle rental/car co-op fees.
  • Clothing – Purchasing clothes, uniforms and footwear factors into monthly costs. If clothing isn’t a regular monthly expense, you can slot it into the miscellaneous category.
  • Children – Childcare, activities, events, supplies. Children have a wide assortment of costs and expenses some are routine and others fluctuate depending on the season. Tracking all of them is important.
  • Pets – If you have a pet, they come with their own costs. Be sure to track all of them – food, day care, grooming, toys, treats, vet visits and so on. 
  • Miscellaneous – This category should be for items that don’t occur every month. Gift purchases, in-app spending (buying books, music, etc.), special occasions, haircuts or other grooming can be considered miscellaneous.

It is important to make categories that are relevant and important to you and reflect your regular expenses. Categories should be broad enough to capture all the expenses but specific enough for you to have a good understanding of what you are spending your money on.

2. Set priorities

Once you have a good understanding of your regular incoming and outgoing funds you will be able to see trends. For example, it is one thing to have a vague understanding of how many times you ‘grab a coffee’ but when you see it tallied into a lump sum, you will reach a different level of understanding. Seeing all your monthly expenses itemized in one place, lets you make conscious decisions about how to best spend your money.

Having a full understanding of where your income is allocated – needs versus wants – puts you in a position to prioritize funds and determine if any changes are needed. This is especially true if building a budget has highlighted stressors on your finances and motivated you to find ways to reduce or eliminate the source of stress.

Setting priorities for your budget also includes identifying debt and building a repayment plan, especially for consumer debt with high interest rates. Debt is typically a source of stress for many of us, so determining how to reduce it can help ease stress right away.

3. Plan for the future

A household budget can help you prepare for the future, including a debt repayment plan. Once a plan for debt is in place and underway you can add a savings plan to your budget.

Savings can be divided into short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. If possible, automate savings with automatic withdrawals to ease the process. Having defined savings goals helps keep you on track and focused to remain committed to your budget.

A source of stress for many of us is the unknown and the impact of possible scenarios can have on your family’s finances. A budget that plans for the future includes ways to protect your family and mitigate risks. For example, an emergency account with three to six months of expenses to help in the event of an interruption to your income.

Other unexpected events can be planned for with insurance plans to help in the event of a critical illness or disability. Having specific insurance solutions in place can bring a great deal of comfort and reduce concerns for our family.

A financial advisor can work with you to build a plan to determine your family’s specific insurance needs and help automate your savings with pre-authorized deposits. Engaging with a financial advisor also adds an element of accountability and support for you to live within the budget you developed.

Money insecurity in any size and at any point in our lives can affect our mental health with increased anxiety and stress. If your expenses are over-taking your income or if you would like to make changes to how you feel about your household finances, connect with us and we can help you work through your situation with you.

If you are looking for resources, here are some that can help:

Budget Building and Planning Tool

Credit Card Pay Off Calculator

Accelerated Debt Payment Calculator

Compound Interest Calculator

How do you know you are ready?

How do you know you are ready?

We face many ‘readiness’ questions for big and small things throughout our lives. Am I ready to get married? Am I ready to be a parent? Am I ready to change my everyday habits?

For family farmers, farm transition readiness is a question that brings up as many emotions as it does logical thoughts. Unlike many careers, farmers tend to live and work in the same place and their land ‘or work’ has been part of their family heritage for much longer than their lifetime. Being a farmer is quite often more than what you do, it is often who you are.

Being ready to transition your family farm goes well beyond circling a date on the calendar and getting finances in order. Knowing when you are ready to transition your farm involves several discussions with family, on-farm workers and trusted professionals as well as time spent reviewing options, finances, needs and current situation. Plus, the time spent preparing yourself and your family emotionally for the changes to come on the farm.

According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census of Agriculture[1], the average age of Canadian farmers is 55 years old – with only 9.1% being under the age of 35 – and the average size of farms has increased. Like Canadians as a whole, the population is aging, and baby boomers entering retirement age en masse, are considering what their futures hold. 

The same Statistics Canada report shows 8.4% of farmers have a formal farm transition plan. The findings also show that sole proprietors (4.9%) are less likely to have a written succession plan compared to farm corporations (16.3%).  Farm transition is too important to leave to chance and the longer it takes to establish a plan increases the risk of an unsuccessful transition.

There are many components of farm transition planning and very few farmers have qualified professionals to help them navigate the process. Team members at Intent have been working with Canadian farmers for over 25 years to ensure their farm transitions are successful and therefore able to continue thriving well into the future.

We have created and implement a multi-facetted process where we take the farm and family members through:

  • various types of financial analysis for family members and farm;
  • farm business strategy including structure and human resources;
  • economics of the farm’s production;
  • family dynamics and communication;
  • an overall risk assessment and solutions for mitigating them; and
  • review any value-added ventures.

Each phase in the process also considers tax implications to farm and family, the various family dynamics involved and the longevity and future prosperity of the farm. Our approach is truly holistic and focused on the most positive outcome possible.

The team at Intent has also developed a 10-point questionnaire to help farmers determine how ready they are to transition their farm to the next generation. The higher the point value the more likely it is that you’re ready to transition your farm. We would encourage you to take five minutes to answer the questions and get a better sense of your farm transition readiness. This is an excellent, mindfulness exercise regardless of whether you’re just starting or are well on your way to establishing a farm succession plan.

In our experience the most difficult step in planning to transition the family farm is starting the conversation. Having trained, experienced professionals by your side is a critical asset to you and your family. To talk about how farm transition ready you are and add us to your team of professionals, connect with us today.


[1] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/170510/dq170510a-eng.htm?HPA=1

Documented Procedures are for Companies of ALL Sizes

Documented Procedures are for Companies of ALL Sizes

Whether you have four staff or forty, documenting your business’s procedures will make for a stronger workplace, smoother ongoing operations and make it easier to on-board new people. Plus, should you ever want to sell or transition your business, documented procedures – how things are done – will add value to your business in the eye of a buyer.

Anything your business does repeatedly, involves more than one person or is key to your success, should be documented. When you first started your business, you likely relied on ‘having everything in your head’ and knew what needed to happen to deliver your product or service. While this may work initially, standardized practices will help keep your business efficient and sustainable, long-term. If your team expands and the opportunity to delegate arises, it is important to ensure your processes can be replicated in order to provide a consistent level of service to customers.

If your business is like most others, there is an extraordinary amount of institutional knowledge within the minds of you and your employees that doesn’t exist in documents – virtual or hard copy – anywhere. What people do ‘naturally’ in their day to day jobs is near impossible to replicate without an instruction manual. This may mean your day to day business gets done, but what happens if people with the institutional knowledge are absent or worse, leave?

If a buyer came knocking at your door with the offer of a lifetime, would your business procedures be readily available today?

Procedures, big or small, are key to the ongoing success of any business. Well documented and updated procedures allow for multiple people and entire teams to share in the collective institutional knowledge. Your company will experience many benefits, for example:

  • The knowledge of senior team members, or even the owner, can be documented and shared.
  • Documenting and sharing procedures across the team can often lead to fresh eyes and new perspectives and lead to finding ways to improve processes.
  • Ideal and what-if scenarios can be put in place for contingency or less than ideal situations.
  • Procedures make onboarding new team members easier, quicker and more consistent.
  • Accessible and shared procedures add defined expectations and increase accountability.
  • Documented and implemented procedures improves consistency of the deliverable which can build your brand and increase market share.
  • Having clear processes can help with covering off people or positions in the event of vacations or illness.
  • Documented procedures also help with human resource monitoring by adding specific language to job descriptions and performance reviews.

These and a host of other benefits will be felt by your business from the moment your procedures are documented until the time you choose to sell your business. In fact, having up to date documented procedures is something a buyer will be very interested in and will place a high value on this information when considering the purchase of your business.

Putting in the effort to document all the procedures in your business and keeping them current with regular updates is well-worth the investment of time. Start documenting the key functions and keep working at them until all your processes are done and then create a schedule for review and updates.

We can help you determine your business’s top value drivers and help you build a plan to improve your business’s overall value. If you want to increase the value of your company, connect with us.

Brand Value: Not as Easy as A + B = $

Brand Image

The value of your business is the sum of many parts. Some are easy to quantify with financial information, like equipment, inventory and even intellectual property. However, there is also a long list of other items which are far more difficult to quantify with dollars and cents. Things like staff moral and the value of your business’s brand are more open to interpretation and less based on a tally of quantifiable digits.

So, what exactly is a brand? The term ‘brand’ has moved well past its origin of simply being a logo or trademark. A brand is the sum of all tangible and intangible parts of your company and product, and what they elicit from your consumer (and those who aren’t yet your consumers) in terms of perceptions, real or otherwise.

Your brand can bring great value to the overall worth of your business. Your brand value is related to a variety of components including market share; product reviews, customer loyalty, consumer perception, market position and top of mind awareness.

There are three key areas where a brand can be improved and with improvement the company’s value will increase as a result:

1. Your Product or Service

If you sell a product or a service, there are likely improvements that could be made which would boost quality and increase the brand value of your business. Ensuring your product or service is as strong as it can be will help to improve what people think of your brand and how they speak about it to others. Should your product or service consistently miss the approval of consumers, not only will sales suffer, but so will public opinion and the perception of your brand. First indicators for the approval of your brand, product or service is your position in the marketplace, customer loyalty and customer feedback.

2. Consumer Perception of Your Product

This is tied to the first point. No matter how great you think your product or service is, it is what consumers actually think that build or detract from your brand value. What consumers think is what they tell people and share about your brand and product. Consumer perception is typically driven by emotion rather than logic. A product’s performance results in good or bad feelings – from happiness to anger. Add to this the notion that people tend to more readily share their negative opinions and experiences than the positive ones making managing consumer perception super important. In this environment, properly managing the perception of your brand is key. Ideally, the perception of your brand and the products or services you offer should be positive, next neutral and worst, negative.  

3. Your Team as Brand Ambassadors

The people who work at your company are the largest asset when it comes to building or destroying your brand. The team who works for your company every day has an impact on the perception of your company. When they are on the job, are they friendly, consumer-focused, passionate about your company, product and service? If yes, that’s fantastic and even better if maintain the positivity about your company when they aren’t at work. If they are negative and share their opinions overtly or through actions with your customers, that can damage your brand. Considered to be ‘your brand experts,’ a consumer who sees one of your team members speak negatively about your company/product has a big impact on what they think of your brand. Conversely passion and pride in the company and product they are representing, can sway a customer to have an increased opinion of your brand.

As stated, brand can impact the value of your company, so how do you measure it? Unfortunately, there is no easy mathematical formula to apply to quantify your current brand value or brand equity.

There are some quick indicators you can do to get a taste of what your current brand perception is:

  • Listen to your team when they are interacting with your customers. How are they engaging with customers? What is their tone? What are they saying?
  • Google your company, overall brand and the specific product(s) or service(s) you offer. What are people saying about them? What are the reviews? What is the tone of the first few results in the search regarding your brand, product and service? What is being said on social media platforms?
  • What are your refunds or credits like? What is your customer loyalty level? How many customer complaints are you receiving and what is being said?

A true measure of your brand should come from a third party. They will do a 360-degree environment scan including: competitive analysis, product or service value, online presence and tone, consumer awareness, customer satisfaction, emotional connection, internal team, and many other key elements.

If you want to increase the value of your company, connect with us. We can help you determine your top value drivers and help you build a plan to improve your business’s overall value.

Non-traditional options for non-registered assets

Non-traditional options for non-registered assets

Whether you have accumulated a portfolio of non-registered assets or are simply looking for alternatives to RRSPs and traditional investments, life insurance may be a great option to complement your overall portfolio.

Life insurance in a portfolio of assets, can be used to both build long-term growth and maximize your estate. Many investors may not think of cash value life insurance as an investment option and are not aware of the ability to grow investments within a policy to help support your financial goals.

Part of determining what types of investments you hold in your non-registered portfolio depends on the tax advantages of each. Your financial advisor should look at the tax consequences of investments to determine what the best options are to protect you from tax and diversify your portfolio.

Life insurance is an extremely valuable tool in tax and estate planning. If you have specific savings earmarked to leave behind in your estate or if you are accumulating assets for use in retirement, either way life insurance can tax shelter these investments and provide an estate benefit for beneficiaries.

Benefits of cash value life insurance in your portfolio:

Tax advantaged growth: Depending on the type of insurance, you can build cash value within a life insurance policy. If the cash value stays in the policy, it allows for tax-advantaged growth. The cash value accumulation within a policy’s prescribed limits is only subject to tax if it is withdrawn from the policy. This allows for tax efficiencies within your portfolio and potentially higher savings for you in the future.

Provides access to funds when needed: Life insurance can help replace income if something happens to the income earner in the family. You have the ability to access the policy’s cash value to generate additional cash flow for personal use. The death benefit would also provide an immediate tax-free benefit for potentially less cost and risk than many other asset classes.

Provides income to your family if you can’t: The payout from your insurance can go directly to your beneficiaries tax-free when you die and provide a tax-free benefit for potentially less cost and risk than many other asset classes.

Provides an alternative to traditional fixed income investments: Consider cash value life insurance – specifically participating life insurance – as a complement to your fixed income portfolio. It is a unique asset class that can add stable growth, risk management, balance and tax advantages to your portfolio. Tax efficiencies can create opportunities in asset efficiencies and growth in the long term.

Leave a legacy:  The tax-free death benefit can be paid out to whomever you choose. Whether it is your family or a favourite charity you can feel confident that your estate will be preserved and your beneficiaries will receive a tax-free benefit.

Life insurance is designed to reduce risk and deliver long-term value. Talk to one of our financial advisors to discuss your portfolio and determine if life insurance fits in your plan.

Sharing Your Legacy in Real Time

Sharing Your Legacy in Real Time

The older we get the more planning for retirement takes centre stage, closely followed by thoughts of what our legacy will look like.

Legacy means different things to each of us. For some it’s about family traditions, or the shared love of a season or place. For others it is about monetary things like contributing to the betterment of society or family members.

For many of us, thoughts of legacies and plans for life-after-work can bring up a lot of emotions and uncertainty.

A comprehensive retirement plan lays out how our expected needs and anticipated resources will work together in our post-work life. A good plan will consider contingencies for potential scenarios that may require funds during your retirement and build in solutions. Having a detailed, flexible plan often brings comfort knowing you have thought of all aspects and have a clear picture of your financial future.

One of the great and reassuring things a financial plan allows for is ongoing review, monitoring and updating. As retirement progresses and estate planning becomes increasingly important, you have a clear picture of how the retirement savings you built up are being implemented and how they are enduring.

As many people live their retirement years, it becomes clear that the resources they saved during their working years has grown to be a large sum; perhaps one large enough that the funds will likely not be used during their lifetime.

Sometimes this realization is one you come to on your own, but more often this comes from retirement and income planning introduced by your financial advisor.

Regular reviews of your plan allow you to track and predict future spending. Once you understand how your spending impacts your retirement savings and if in fact there will be a surplus, you may be able to share some of your financial legacy during your lifetime.

Giving a financial gift during your lifetime allows you to witness the impact it has on those you choose to share with. What might sharing your resources and legacy during your lifetime look like?

For some people this may be transitioning the family cabin to the next generation so capital gains are dealt with and new traditions are able to take hold and grow with you. By transitioning ownership during retirement you are able to witness the memories from a new perspective and start to transition the maintenance and care of the cabin.

For others, it may mean sharing cash gifts, large or small, with younger generations so they are able to put it to use in their lives whether it be help towards tuition for university, a down payment on a car or home or enjoying a small luxury,  you are able to watch and enjoy the positive impact it has. Some people choose to invest in a multi-generation family vacation to build memories and share time together.

In other instances, people may choose to increase their charitable contributions to organizations they feel a connection to. This can also have a positive tax impact with added benefits.

No matter the size of your resource surplus, monitoring it and making informed choices about how to use it will bring you comfort and perhaps enable you to personally witness the impact your legacy will have on the next generation.

Connect with us to review your retirement and estate plan with one of our professional financial advisors to see how your resources and legacy can work together.

Leaving a Charitable Legacy can Have a Big Impact

Leaving a Charitable Legacy can Have a Big Impact

Canadians are generous with their time, skills, energy and money when it comes to supporting charitable initiatives in their communities.

Canada has more than 15,000 charities and not for profit organizations requiring ongoing support to keep our communities and society running. During some time in our life, many of us or our loved ones, will need to tap into the resources some of these organizations offer. Whether to support us through an illness, or help us in a rough patch, sometimes we all need a hand.

Perhaps that simple understanding is why people give to support the causes important to them. For this reason, many of us include charitable giving as part of our financial plan. Charitable giving can take place during our lifetime and even once we have passed.

While we are still alive, we work with our financial advisors to make sure we contribute when and how we want to the charitable initiatives important to us. A financial advisor will work with you to monitor the amount you currently donate and how to continue or enhance your contributions into the future.

The notion of continuing our charitable giving after our death is one many of us may not have considered. For some people the opportunity to carry on their philanthropic endeavours even after their death is important to them.

If charitable giving – today and in the future – appeals to you, life insurance is one of the most effective ways of doing so. There are two primary ways to use life insurance policies for charitable giving:

  • the charity is designated as the owner and beneficiary of the policy on the insured or;
  • the insured is designated as the owner with the charity designated as the beneficiary.

Each of these options have different advantages for you and the charity. A financial advisor can help determine which is best for you.

 Benefits of Using Life Insurance for Charitable Giving

• Doesn’t tie up assets today as the gift is deferred until after death

• Leaves funds free to produce income during your lifetime

• Enables you to make a substantial gift in the future while paying smaller premiums today

• Tax credit choice: you can structure the policy to receive a charitable tax credit annually or a charitable tax credit for your estate

• Personal fulfilment from supporting a cause you believe in

Benefits to Charity

• Receives larger gift than may have through a cash donation

• Possibility for future planning based on knowledge of future gift

• Prompt payment of proceeds to charity

The alternatives for gifting life insurance policies can be flexible to meet your specific circumstances, including:

Gifting an Old Policy to a Charity: If you have a policy you no longer need, you can gift it to your favourite charity.

Buying a New Policy for the Charity: This can potentially provide a large gift relative to the premiums paid. Since the charity is the owner and beneficiary of the policy from inception, the life insurance death benefit will not be part of your estate.

Changing a Policy Beneficiary to a Charity: You can designate a qualified, registered charity of your choice as the beneficiary for a portion or the entire proceeds. This allows you to retain control of the policy because you remain the owner. The owner’s estate receives a full charitable estate deduction for the amount donated to the charity.

Life insurance is becoming increasingly popular as a means of continuing to give. In fact, many charities have resources for people considering this option and are happy to work with you and your financial advisor to make sure your wishes are known and implemented. Check out this infographic showing some statistics about charitable giving in Canada. If you would like to talk to a financial advisor about enhancing your philanthropic endeavours using life insurance, connect with us.