Topic: How To Invest

Investment Planning for Retirement & the Problems that Can Arise

Successful Investment planning for retirement not only takes into account ways to save for retirement but also the distribution of assets amongst children, for example

Investment planning for retirement should focus on the best investments for Successful Investors to make, but it’s also a good opportunity to consider a range of potential issues.


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Investment planning for retirement: Tips and recommendations

Here’s a tip for something you should begin before you retire. Start by doing a detailed study of how you spend your money now. Then analyze your findings to see what personal expenses you can cut or eliminate. This too can have fringe benefits, especially if it helps you break unhealthy and expensive habits, like smoking.

These days, more investors suffer from what you might call “pre-retirement financial stress syndrome.” That’s the malady that strikes when it dawns on you that you don’t have enough money saved to be able to earn the retirement income stream you were banking on. The best way to overcome this is with sound investing following our Successful Investor philosophy.

Tax-free savings accounts let you earn investment income—including interest, dividends and capital gains—tax free.

However, if you want to pay less tax on dividends while you’re still working, investing in an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) is a great idea. You only pay taxes on your RRSP investment, and the investment income it earns, when you make withdrawals from your RRSP.

Successful investors put only their safest investments in RRSPs. If they indulge in penny stocks, stock options or short-term trading, they do so outside their RRSPs. That way, they can use any losses they do suffer to offset taxable capital gains.

All in all, retirement planning is an essential part of investing and you should start as early as possible.

The best way to deal with the distribution of assets while investment planning for retirement

Our work with our portfolio management clients sometimes gives us a window into problems that can arise with the death of parents and the distribution of their personal belongings and financial assets.

For instance, siblings may assume they were supposed to get particular items of jewelry or furniture. When they learn that somebody else asked first, they can harbour a grudge that lasts for decades.

The best way to spare your family this problem is to head it off while you’re still alive. Tell your kids that you want to be fair to everybody. Ask them to send you a note or an email if they want to express interest in any particular article. But don’t put too much emphasis on who asked first, and don’t feel you need to rush into making a list of who gets what. Some of your children may be slow to think of what items matter most to them. Or they may feel shy about asking for them.

Everybody should understand that if one child gets valuable household items from the estate, they may wind up receiving less cash.

More instances of potential dissension and how to deal with them

Dissension can also arise when a child stays in the family home long after his or her siblings have moved out. Living at home and taking care of a parent can hold a child back from career advancement, and may get in the way of the child’s social or romantic life. But siblings may see it as simply taking advantage of free room and board. If you think it’s appropriate, you may want to add a line or two in your will that acknowledges the personal contribution of the stay-at-home child.

Unpaid loans from parents can also cause dissension. Sometimes adult children run into money problems and wind up having to sell their home, for instance. Later, they may want to borrow the down payment to buy another home. If you grant that request, don’t simply write a cheque.

Instead, have a lawyer register a mortgage on the new home for the full amount of the loan. Explain to your child that this protects the money from attachment by creditors if new money problems come along, and keeps it in the family. You should also be aware (no need to mention it to your child) that this step also keeps the money in the family in the event of divorce.

It’s hard to avoid all tension that grows out of these all-too-human conflicts. But if you think about them and talk about them with your children, things will go much more smoothly than if you leave them for the kids to sort out on their own.

Bonus tip: Prepaid funerals have a lot of negatives

The one advantage you get by investing money in a prepaid funeral is that you fix the cost. However, it’s easy to spot a number of disadvantages.

For instance, you don’t get any return on the money you’ve paid, though the funeral home (or the insurer) may hold your money for decades. Depending on the plan, you may be stuck with your initial choice of funeral home, even if its service has deteriorated. You may also be stuck with your initial funeral plan, even if it’s hopelessly out of date in relation to community standards or the personal circumstances of you or your survivors.

Knowing that you are largely a captive customer, the funeral home may drive a harder bargain on related services than it would if it had to win your business as a new customer.

Do you think the RRSP contribution limit is fair?

What difficulties have you run into with your retirement planning?

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