Q. I am concerned about the future but afraid to move forward. Any thoughts?

A. Moving forward will be life affirming for you.

Unfortunately the majority of people put far too little time into preparing for retirement. A common industry adage is that most people spend more time planning their last vacation than they will spend planning the next 30 years of their life. They are then surprised to find that their life unfolds in a series of events they have not anticipated forcing them to be always reacting.

It is the people who know what they want that are most likely to get what they want. These people thrive on taking the opportunity to explore their possibilities, make knowledgeable trade-offs of the potential options they are considering and then discover exactly what resources are needed to get the job done. These people make better financial decisions because they translate their advanced knowledge of how much money they need and when they need it into superior tax planning and investment decisions.

Our role as a Retirement Income Specialists is to work collaboratively with clients to help them gain clarity in what is possible, confidence in what needs to be done to succeed and then identify how to optimize the resources available to them.

Q. When should a person start this kind of planning?

A. In many respects it is never too early and never too late. However while much can be accomplished even after you stop working the 10 years leading up to the event give you the time to prepare the best possible foundation.

What makes Emeritus different from other financial advisors or planners?

In short: our process, tools, training and experience.

Emeritus is focused solely on helping clients attain clarity in their understanding of what is possible in their future life plan, confidence in their ability to access the cash flow to achieve their life plan and convergence of the life plan with the investment plan to create sustainable retirement income that will last their entire life.

Our proprietary planning process is the result of more than two decades of development, experience and application. Our growing client base is testimony to our unique business model.

Q. Who is a typical client?

A. Our client base is pretty broad and we work with many different types of people and occupations including bankers, entrepreneurs, company presidents, engineers, doctors, managers and small business owners. They all have one thing in common: They PLAN to succeed. They have learned how to define what success looks like for them and know what needs to happen for this to occur.

We try not to work with people who do not want to put in the effort needed to succeed at the retirement game. Success requires all parties to be involved. It requires ideas, reflection, debate, collaboration and compromise. Our C3 Process relies on our specialists to facilitate discussions to help clients define and achieve their desired life outcomes. Our Designing My OK™ process is powerful and engaging.

Q. When can I stop working?

A. When you have enough cash flow and assets to accomplish the things most important to you?

If you do not know what you really want to do in the second half of your life you will just have to guess and hope you are right. Our clients work to make work optional as they prepare a financial foundation to meet a clearly defined series of personal goals.

Q. I don’t want to stop working?

A. “Work optional” status is quickly growing in popularity as an alternative to retirement as baby boomers continue their transition through what have been the traditional stages of life. Change in how people transition however has the effects of nullifying the value of conventional wisdom.

The decision to work longer than the traditional nor of 65 should include a commitment to explore how your future saving and spending activities are impacted. Critically it is important not to neglect what the impacts are when you choose to start receiving some of your retirement income entitlements (regardless of whether you have stopped working or not).

The Emeritus C3 Process allows you to fast forward the projected outcomes of your current plans and offers a powerful future perspective that helps you understand if your intended decisions will best achieve your desired outcomes.

Regret can be eliminated when you have the ability to understand the outcomes of your decisions before you put them in to action. Remember there is no undo button when it comes to retirement.

Q. What if my husband and I do not discuss these things?

A. Can’t really help you with that one except to say that both parties need to be involved in planning for it to be successful.

Longevity statistics suggest in general terms that women live longer than men. It is difficult when a widow inherits an inadequately thought out financial mess. For your own security you need to get these issues on the table.

Q. Are taxes really an issue after I retire?

A. Absolutely.

Even in retirement income tax will likely represent your #1 expense. However, because of the many sources of funds you will rely on during your draw down years, you have far more flexibility and opportunity to take advantage of strategic tax planning. When the decisions of where, when and how you draw your cash flow are being made with the advantage of sophisticated tax planning, it is possible to significantly reduce the taxes you pay during your draw down years.

For those not yet retired this tax planning will help you identify when to stop contributing to RRSPs and how the addition of other types of investment portfolios can increase the impact of proper tax planning.

For those already retired, tax planning will translate into a carefully constructed customized draw down strategy that allows you to profit in the marginal tax rate system and steers you clear of the many tax traps that exist during your draw down years.

Q. What is income optimization?

A. Most people will draw income from a variety of sources including RSPs, annuities, CPP and OAS.

Our prescribed cash flow and taxation strategies will ensure you avoid the retirement tax traps and maximizes your sustainable retirement income by optimizing where, when and how much you draw from your different asset pools. In net dollar terms the difference between a random income draw and an optimized income draw can be hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

Q. What role does Emeritus play in money management?

A. Emeritus plays a critical role in money management for our clients. Our C3 process facilitates the convergence of their life plan with their investment plan. Over the last decade Emeritus has screened each investment management company before selecting and integrating them into our proprietary retirement income solutions.
Of great concern is the fact that mainstream money managers are designed solely to serve the interests of people in their accumulation years. We believe that a pension style money manager who understands and can address the unique and enhanced risks surrounding investment during your “drawdown” years is crucial. We work with the very few managers who specialize in the convergence of life plans with investment plans.

In the draw down years it is very important to create this direct link between the timing and amount of cash flow required to fund your retirement life plan and your overall investment strategy. This communication enables your money managers to strategically determine when, and how much of your investment portfolio, must be moving closer to the security of a cash position. These portfolio adjustments are made well in advance of the date funds are actually required.

By clearly distinguishing between money that will be withdrawn from the portfolio in the short term from the funds that are invested to provide long term growth, you are protected from the costly damage that can be caused by the inevitable significant market downturns.

Q. What’s the best way to invest when you have stopped working?

A. Carefully!

Integrating your retirement life plan with your investment plan is the foundation of investment success. Unfortunately most people nearing retirement follow the same investment approach that served them well during their saving years. In reality it is crucial to recognize that many of these approaches, like buy and hold, turn and work to your disadvantage during what we call the “draw down years”. (Those years that you utilize your assets to fund your retirement life plan.) Equity market volatility, that may have helped you build assets when you were younger, now poses an enormous risk.

In these draw down years it is very important to create a direct link between the timing and amount of cash flow required to fund your retirement life plan and your overall investment strategy. This communication enables your money managers to strategically determine when, and how much of your investment portfolio, must be moving closer to the security of a cash position. These portfolio adjustments are made well in advance of the date funds are actually required.

By clearly distinguishing between money that will be withdrawn from the portfolio in the short term from the funds that are invested to provide long term growth, you are protected from the costly damage that can be caused by the ravages of volatility.

Q. What do you mean by Clarity?

A. Clarity is the quality of crispness of an image or sound. As it applies to retirement and retirement income, clarity describes the degree of certainty for which a particular path will lead to the successful achievement of your specific life goals. Clarity is also about eliminating the distractions which prevent us from making the best possible decisions. Simply put, you have greater clarity about your life goals when you can separate the whimsical “in my wildest dreams” aspirations from the life events which will truly enhance your feeling of happiness and fulfillment.

In the C3 Process clarity about your future comes from the push pull process of consciously determining what you would like included in your longer term future and determining if you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices in the shorter term (if necessary). There will be some things you had on your wish list that when analyzed you come to the conclusion that you are unwilling to make the necessary compromises. While others are so important to you, you are willing to take the additional steps to bring these “Must does” on your bucket list to fruition. Think of it as being able to explore and discover your possibilities, prior to committing to a specific course of action.

By the time the first iteration of C3 Process is completed you will have begun to gain clarity about what your own sustainable future might look like. The process is a continuous journey and the more you engage with it the clearer the results; it is not a crystal ball but it is pretty close.

Q. I want to know more about how I will achieve Confidence in my plan?

A. Confidence is a feeling of self-assuredness that you will achieve what you want, when you want it.  In the C3 Process confidence comes from clarity.  The powerful process of consciously making necessary trade-offs is made much easier with the assistance of our Homestretch Formula and Work Optional Validator tools. The outcome promises to bring simplicity, focus, harmony and peace of mind into your lives.

Q. Tell me more about convergence?

A. Convergence is the process of strategically linking the cash flow demands of your desired life plan with your customized investment plan. Having achieved a position of Clarity of what is truly possible and Confidence in the specific actions that must occur to bring this personalized life plan to reality you now have access to the huge financial rewards that accrue to those who have the ability to share advanced knowledge of how much money they need and when this money is needed. As Retirement Income Specialists we know how to translate this information into hundreds of thousands of incremental dollars of either tax savings (tax minimization) or incremental income (income optimization). The specific strategies that fall out of this work is then translated into a prescribed formula of where future fund flows will be sourced and shared with our chosen money managers. They incorporate this information into their specialized “pension like” institutional money management approach to reduce the variability of funds as they get closer to actually being deployed (risk mitigation).

Q. How can an investment manager reduce risk?

A. It starts by operating like a pension fund manager.

Few people realize how the approach, skills and disciplines they need from their money management team differ as they transition from their saving years to their draw down years. Most of the strategies you came to rely upon during your savings years actually turn and work to your disadvantage as you transition from adding funds to your savings and instead begin drawing upon them.

We rely exclusively upon investment managers who specialize in serving the needs of those approaching, or in their spending years. These “pension fund” style money managers are focused on asset preservation and have a long track record of avoiding big mistakes. Protection is further enhanced as our forward planning techniques add a layer of cash flow management that are only available when you have taken the time to effectively link your life plan with your investment plan

Q. What do Emeritus’ services cost?

Retirement Plan Test Drive

The “Test Drive” is an opportunity for a second opinion or to see if your accumulated projected savings and cash flows will meet your projected life goals. The one time modeling uncovers opportunities, pitfalls, shortfalls and surpluses. It helps identify where changes need to take place to achieve a desired outcome.

In our experience the test drive, in outlining recommended changes to your plans uncovers thousands of dollars in additional retirement income.

The set up and programming fee is $500.  The cost of your Retirement Plan Test Drive is the lessor of, 10% of the identified extra income or $500. That’s a guaranteed 10:1 return on investment.

C3 Process

The C3 Process takes our clients through the examination and discovery of life plan options and provides them with clarity around what is really important to them in the years ahead. It then tests the ability of projected assets and income to meet this plan and helps formulate adjustments to make sure it can be met in a sustainable fashion. The confidence that comes from the knowledge of what can be done is a remarkable feeling. With this clarity and confidence the convergence of the life plan with the investment plan is put in place to secure the projected results.

The C3 Process costs $5,000 per family.

The Platinum Program

The Platinum Program is for those who want unlimited access to the C3 Process and other services we offer including; Investment Management, Tax and Estate planning and Insurance. Platinum Program costs are fee based and will vary from client to client.

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    Client Testimonial

    I now have the clarity, understanding and tools to plan the future I want and live out my dreams. Progressive stages in the process led to A-Ha moments and generated a lot of conversation which would otherwise not happen.
    — Lianne Knipping
Emeritus Financial