Longevity & Aging

No doubt about it: at some point we’re neither semi-retired, findependent or fully retired. We’re out there in a retirement community or retirement home, and maybe for a few years near the end of this incarnation, some time to reflect on it all in a nursing home. Our Longevity & Aging category features our own unique blog posts, as well as blog feeds from Mark Venning’s ChangeRangers.com and other experts.

 Timeless Financial Tip #10: Making Legacy Planning more Meaningful

 

By Steve Lowrie, CFA

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Let’s face it: When families list their favorite financial planning projects, legacy planning rarely makes the cut. It may feel as if you’re putting the emphasis exclusively on death and taxes, rather than your lifetime pursuits such as building a career, pursuing your personal interests, stewarding your kids into adulthood, and retiring in style.

Then again, I believe the term “legacy planning” is misleading to begin with. It sounds so dry and formal — as if it’s only for uber-rich, multigenerational dynasties, or the tail end of your lifespan.

No wonder most people put off planning for it.

In reality, legacy planning can be worthwhile for almost anyone. And it’s not just for later in life; key aspects of it can help you enjoy a more enriched life today. In today’s Timeless Tip, we’ll cover the possibilities.

What is Legacy Planning?

Instead of treating legacy planning as a tedious, end-of-life chore, I like to think of it as being more like a bonus round of lifestyle planning across four core quests:

  1. Family Ties: Legacy planning helps you keep more of your wealth in the family. Importantly, it lets you define who your family is, in a world where multiple marriages and blended families may more often be the norm than an exception to the rule.
  2. You or your Heirs: Legacy planning can also be defined by what it is not. If your top priority is having enough to enjoy your retirement in style, your legacy planning will differ from someone who dreams of leaving the largest possible inheritance to their heirs.
  3. Charitable Giving: Legacy planning also helps you chart out how and when you’d like to support your causes and charities of interest. Hint: You don’t have to wait until you’re gone to leave a legacy.
  4. Tax Reduction: Even if you’re fine with letting inheritance laws guide how your estate will be distributed, most of us would prefer a tax-efficient transfer. Legacy planning strategies abound here.

How do you define “Family”?

First, let’s address the piece most of us associate with legacy planning: Who gets what stuff after you’re gone? If your estate seems perfectly straightforward, you may be tempted to just let your heirs sort it out. Unfortunately, this can leave you and your loved ones uneasy — not just moving forward, but right now.

Unintended Consequences: Check your provincial inheritance laws, and you may be surprised by what will happen to your assets if you die intestate (without a will). Your preferences may differ dramatically from the government’s.

Unresolved Heirlooms: Resolving which loved ones are to receive which treasured heirlooms and other portions of your wealth, can bring you and your family more peace — today, and moving forward.

The Angst of Uncertainty: Most of us also feel better knowing we’ve done what we can to spare our heirs the pain of having to untangle an unplanned estate at the same time they are grieving a profound loss.

The logistics of estate planning need not be extensive. They can range from essential to more advanced:

Wills: A basic will might suffice if you simply want to ensure particular people directly inherit particular pieces or portions of your estate, as permitted by law — especially when your preferences differ from provincial law.

Trusts and Foundations: You may want to up the ante with targeted trusts to cover additional nuances in your life. For example, trusts can provide for underage heirs, an heir with special needs, or other complexities, such as if your family owns a business in which some, but not all family members are involved. Private foundations come into play if you are interested in increasing the scope of your multigenerational charitable giving.

Insurance: Life insurance is also an often-overlooked tool for providing gap funding to cover taxable wealth transfers, especially when family businesses are involved.

Bottom line, making plans today for your wealth transfer to happen with minimal muss, fuss, costs, and complications can free you to better enjoy your assets throughout your life.

Spending or Preserving?

As we covered in “Retiring Reliably, Leaving a Legacy or Balancing Both?, ” another key question is: Do you want to earmark excess wealth for your optimal retirement, an optimal legacy, or a balance of both? Different lifestyles call for different legacy plans.

You may not think of investment management as part of traditional legacy planning. But you’ll be better at both if you combine forces. For example, if you want to emphasize leaving a legacy, your investment portfolio’s average expected return should exceed your withdrawal rate, so inflation doesn’t eat away at the balance. This usually means keeping more of your investments working in the markets, while also arranging for a way to take out cash on a regular, tax-efficient basis. Continue Reading…

In the pursuit of financial security for all, we can’t overlook older widowed women

Image by Pexels: Andrea Piacquadio

By Christine Van Cauwenberghe

Special to Financial Independence Hub

Canada has a bold vision – to build a more accessible, inclusive and effective financial literacy ecosystem for all. The five-year plan, laid out in the National Financial Literacy Strategy 2021-2026, is an important step forward to achieving sweeping financial literacy. But one cohort is noticeably absent from this ambitious strategy – older widowed women.

During Financial Literacy Month in November, we had an opportunity to cast a light on financial education and empowerment for this often overlooked and underserved, but statistically significant, group. In 2022, there were approximately 1.5 million widowed women compared to the roughly 472,000 widowed men, reports Statista Research Department. As our nation nears “super-aged” status, where 20 per cent of our population will be 65 years or older, these numbers will continue to climb.

Longer life expectancies for women, paired with women generally marrying or partnering with older men, leaves them more likely to spend at least some of their retirement in widowhood. As such, it’s estimated that 90 per cent of women will become the sole financial decision-maker at some point in their lifetime, representing a substantial segment of Canada’s wealth management sector.

Lower financial literacy than male counterparts

However, this same group generally reports lower levels of financial literacy than their male counterparts. While many reasons account for this disparity, traditional societal norms play a significant role – older generations of women were more likely to stay home and rear children while men typically joined the workforce, granting them greater financial exposure.

Now, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to change this. Widespread financial literacy matters, but in our effort to educate the masses we can’t leave certain groups behind. By narrowing the knowledge gap, we can empower widowed women from and after the Silent Generation with a voice – we can give them a say in their own financial future.

Women will soon control half of accumulated Wealth

By 2026, women in Canada will control roughly half of all accumulated financial wealth, estimates Strategic Insights, up from one-third a decade earlier. While this is a welcomed shift, many women’s’ lack of core financial understanding and involvement is sobering. Too often, it’s men who assume a leading role in personal wealth management, specifically retirement and estate planning. This despite the fact that women, on average, survive their husbands by roughly five years. Yet, only 17 per cent of women in Canada over the age of 65 have an up-to-date will, according to a survey from LegalWills Canada. Continue Reading…

How to find your likely estate value and lifetime tax bill (for free!)


By Ted Rechtshaffen, CFP

Special to Financial Independence Hub

In my role as a Portfolio Manager, Financial Planner and President at TriDelta Private Wealth, the number one question that people ask is “Will I run out of money?”

This question comes from people with a $10 million net worth, a $3 million net worth, and a $300,000 net worth.  There may be different levels of angst involved but they still wonder.

The fundamental issue is fear.  Even if it isn’t rational, there is always a bit of fear about running out of money.  Even if running out may mean different things to different people.

Of course, for those with more wealth, the related question is almost always “Am I paying too much in tax?” and “Is there tax smart things that I should be doing that I am not?”

While we do a lot of work in each area with Canadians, we decided to build a free tool to help answer that number one question.  We have done this through our TriDelta My Estate Value calculator.  By someone entering in several core pieces of financial information, the calculator does some pretty heavy lifting.  Behind the scenes are actuarial tables to show life expectancy, tax tables, and a variety of stated assumptions around inflation, real estate and investment growth expectations.

The output is an estimate of your likely estate value in future dollars, along with a lifetime estimate of your income taxes paid.

You will find the calculator here:

My Estate Value Calculator – TriDelta Private Wealth

Donation Calculator

One other tool we have put together is a donation calculator.  It takes the information from the My Estate Value calculator and provides some ability to see the impact of annual charitable giving.  What if you gave $5,000 a year?  What would be the impact to your likely estate value and to your lifetime tax bill?  What if you gave $10,000 or $20,000 a year?  One of the reasons that we put this together is that many Canadians would give more to charity of they felt confident that they could afford to do so.  This calculator helps to show in real time the impact of higher levels of giving.  The link is here: Donation Planner – TriDelta Private Wealth

We have found that even among the free tools online, most are focused on retirement savings, and deliver a monthly savings target.  The My Estate Planner calculator is focused on the years after retirement, and what potential estate you will be leaving to your family and/or charity. Continue Reading…

Most near-retirees would keep working if they could reduce hours and stress

Statistics Canada

Canada’s aging population means more retirees but most Canadians contemplating retiring say they would keep working if they could reduce their hours and stress. That was the top line of a Statistics Canada Daily release issued early in August. It was also the subject of a CBC Radio interview I conducted that aired in multiple cities on Thursday, Nov. 2.  Here’s the link.  Go to Episodes, then Nov. 2nd, then click on the line that says Canadians would choose to work past 65 under certain circumstances.

The interviewer is CBC Business columnist Rubina Ahmed-Haq, who focuses on money, workplace and financial wellness.  The 4-minute interview with me and others touched on most of the topics this site does, including semi-retirement, entrepreneurship, Findependence and Victory Lap Retirement (the latter a book I co-authored with ex banker Mike Drak.). At the outset I clarified that I myself am still working at at 70, albeit self-employed through this web site and regular writing and editing for MoneySense.ca.

I was asked about the FIRE movement (Financial Independence/Retire Early) and I explained that while there are many FIRE proponents who claim to have “retired” in their 30s, in my experience these people have not really retired: rather, they have ceased to be salaried employees with the commuting grind, bosses and meetings and all that comes with it. Most have in reality become self-employed or semi-retired entrprepreneurs: in fact, many of the FIRE bloggers I have read are running web sites that accept advertising, and/or writing books that pay royalties and in some cases are on the speaking circuit accepting speaking fees. Having done all of these myself over the years, that’s not my idea of full retirement!

10% of 70-plus cohort still working at least part-time

Statistics Canada

Going back to the Statistics Canada Daily, it reported that in June 2023, 21.8% of Canadians between ages 55 and 59 were either completely or partially retired. That doubles to 44.9% for those aged 60 to 64, and doubles again to 80.5% for those 65 to 69. By the time Canadians reach my age (70), it plateaus around 90% who are at least partially retired.

Interestingly, as I may have alluded to on-air, I can think of several people who are working well past 70, including some prominent journalists and financial gurus. I guess both are seen by proponents as a relatively satisfying occupation, particularly those who like myself do both by writing (or editing) about money.

Not surprisingly, for those who are completely retired, the main factor in determining the timing was financial: usually having qualified to start receiving pension benefits. This was cited by 35% of the men and 28.2% of the women who reported being completely retired.

Continue Reading…

Retired Money: A new DIY financial literacy course for aspiring Retirees

Kyle Prevost: https://worryfreeretire.com/

My latest MoneySense Retired Money looks at a new Canadian DIY financial course created by MoneySense Making Sense of the Markets columnist Kyle Prevost [pictured above].

For the full column, click on the highlighted text: How to plan for retirement for Canadians: A review of Four Steps to a Worry-Free Retirement course.

November is of course Financial Literacy Month in Canada. And Kyle Prevost is well qualified to help Canadians boost their financial literacy, especially as it relates to Retirement.

In addition to being a subject matter expert in Canadian personal finance, Prevost is also a life-long teacher, which makes him doubly qualified to create this course, which he describes as a first in Canada.

And the combination shows: it’s a slick multi-media package that features snazzy graphics with voice-overs by Kyle himself, plus more in-depth PDF backgrounders and videos with various experts gathered through one of Prevost’s other projects: the annual Virtual Financial Summit (for which I have often been interviewed.)

Entitled 4 Steps to a Worry-Free Environment in Canada, the multi-media course is targeted to those thinking seriously of retiring from the workforce in the next decade or two, and even semi-retirees or those who have already reached that milestone but who want to finetune their retirement income strategy.

An ongoing theme throughout the course and related materials is “No one will care about your retirement as much as you do.” That’s a variant of the oft-used phrase “No one cares about your money more than you do.”

From CPP/OAS to Working for a Playcheck

You can find the course at this site: https://worryfreeretire.com/. You can get a flavor of what’s included before committing to payment by clicking on the “Tell me more” button. If you’re ready for the full enchilada, click on the “Get Started” button. There are various payment options, including major credit cards.

At C$499, the course does represent a major investment but the outlay could be considered a bargain if it helps some DIY retirees escape the clutches of a conflicted securities salesperson who cares more about their own retirement than that of their clients. Continue Reading…