SOME KEY QUESTIONS
According to the Ontario
Seniors’ Secretariat, a good
financial plan will help individuals
understand what choices they
have, reduce uncertainty about
the future, and help them make
sound decisions. Specifically, the
government department says, a
financial plan should answer
these types of questions:
How much income
do I need?
Do I have
enough money to
Should I keep
EDWARD J BOCK 111 / DREAMSTIME.COM
Tailoring a financial plan
When people retire, the need
for a financial plan doesn’t
diminish, but according to the
experts, the amount of money
within the plan usually does.
Advisors play a key role in protecting seniors’ finances — and
the seniors themselves.
“There is a fundamental mind
shift when someone stops working.
We find even seniors with one, two
or three million dollars are worried
about running out of money,” said
Catherine Watson, a partner with
McInnes Cooper in Halifax.
Two financial factors are at
She pointed to money-savers
play, said Jeff Turk, client port-
folio manager with Cumberland
Private Wealth Management Inc.
in Toronto. “For most seniors, the
main investment consideration is
income for their current needs
and having enough assets to out-
last their future needs. People
don’t realize you’re not trying to
get the growth up. You’re trying
to mitigate losses. That means
you have to monitor the portfolio
on a regular basis.”
Seniors and their advisors also
need to focus on where money is
being spent. “The key is to look at
expenses. Nowadays, there are
ways to save money that won’t
affect your lifestyle,” said Marcy
Ages, a senior consultant with T.E.
Wealth, a national wealth man-
agement firm, in Toronto.
such as discount companies Deal-
find, Groupon and TeamBuy,
which offer local products and ser-
vices at significantly reduced rates.
“You can still get a manicure but at
half price,” said Ages, a certified
professional consultant on aging.
Managing expectations is
essential. Of course, not all sen-
iors have the same outlook on
saving and spending. Attitude
and actual cash outlay often
depend on age, said Ages. “Sen-
iors who went through the
Depression, they know what to
do. They know not to waste.
Other people who never had to
worry about money may have a
completely different approach.”
The latter may have to learn
self-denial. “For many people, a
financially successful retirement
is about saving money instead of
spending it, and investing wisely,”
said Kay Gray, a partner, tax ser-
vices, with Grant Thornton LLP
in Vancouver. “Most seniors
should not buy a U.S. vacation
property, a new car, or take a
Financial concerns for seniors
are also intimately linked to con-
cerns about health care. Aging can
bring with it new and increasing
medical problems, many of which
come with a hefty price tag. Nurs-
ing homes and round-the-clock
care, for example, can run into the
tens of thousands of dollars a year.
A lot of seniors worry about
how these costs will be met.
Others — often erroneously —
think they can breathe easy
because they have a home as an
asset. “Many think their house will
pay for this if nursing care is
required. But if you want to stay in
your home, you need to ask where
the money will come from for
care,” Ages said.
For seniors, the issue of money
is also tied into susceptibility.
“Many seniors become increasingly reliant on their children or
caregivers. That can result in
increased vulnerability in terms of
financial abuse and power of attorney abuse. We all have lots of files
where that is a concern,” said Watson, who is leader of McInnes
Coopers’ regional Estates and
Trusts Service Group.
The onus is on the advisor —
lawyer or accountant—to know
his or her client, she added. “You
need to be more sensitive about
the circumstances of a person’s
life. You shouldn’t embark on
any planning until you under-
Understanding takes two
forms: their finances and their
personal situation. When it comes
to discussing money, there should
be no holding back. “The key to
talking to anybody is you have to
be up front and honest about the
markets and how their plan is
going to work,” Turk said.
“There can be a lot of mis-
See Plan Page S12
conceptions about investing.
People need to understand this
is long term. With seniors who
haven’t been investing or plan-
ning to this point, you really
have to temper their expecta-
tions. You have to tell them
what they need to hear.”
Those are not easy conversa-
tions. “Many seniors don’t want
to talk about money. It’s one of
the taboos,” said Gray, who is
leader of Grant Thornton’s suc-
cession and estate planning team
for the Greater Vancouver Area.
“Wealthy seniors can be an excep-
Do I need to
sell property or
coverage do I
How much money
will I receive
How much will it
cost me to live
once I retire?
How do I
start making a