baby boomer concerned on the challenges of retirement

The silver tsunami

How working with an Advisor can help you prepare for some of the challenges of aging

In just over 10 years, the youngest Baby Boomers will be turning 65, meaning that one in four Canadians will be a senior citizen by 2030.

“There is unquestionably a seismic shift in demographics taking place in this country. As a firm, we are heavily focused on helping aging Canadians deal with many inter-related issues,” says Sylvia Azoulay, Vice President, Tax & Estate Planning at Richardson Wealth. 

“There is a feeling of uncertainty about retirement. As people get older, many face concerns regarding the loss of independence and the challenges of downsizing among other lifestyle changes; that you will outlive your resources; or how you will be impacted by the cost of health care,” she says.

“Richardson Wealth Advisors are focused on understanding the client’s whole situation – including what retirement means to you as an individual. We used to think of retirement as ‘you stop working, then you go golfing’. Not anymore. Retirement now means you’re changing gears – maybe you’re working part time, maybe you’re doing volunteer work, but you’re not stopping. If you’re a business owner, retirement adds an extra layer of complexity: how do you let go when your identity is closely tied to the company you’ve built?” 

The role of the Advisor, therefore, is to best prepare and reassure clients for the road ahead.

“We build retirement projections before clients reach retirement age to answer those tough questions before they come up: When can I retire? How much can I spend? Will I have enough?” Ms. Azoulay says, adding that more questions are inevitable as clients stop working, sell their business and need to draw income from their retirement savings and investments.

“You have all of these ‘buckets’: RRSPs, TFSAs, Old Age Security (OAS) pension, Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Our Investment Advisors can analyze your unique situation and help you to choose the right strategy regarding how to draw from the various buckets with the expertise of our tax and estate planning group.”

Azoulay points out that as high net worth clients age, estate planning also becomes a priority.

“Among the key issues are questions like, ‘How do I transfer my wealth to the next generation in the most tax-efficient way possible?’ and ‘How do I plan today in the event of my incapacity?’ These are some very difficult conversations involving power of attorney (sometimes called Personal Directives), but we can help you to have these discussions with the next generation,” she says.

“Ultimately, we want to assist our clients’ families make a smooth transition of wealth so that everything is clearly stated, easy to administer and with minimal conflict,” Ms. Azoulay says. “We’re here to help individuals have these important conversations, choose the right financial strategies, and offer reassurance that we’re here for them.”

Enhanced advice for unique clients

“The average age for widowhood in Canada is 56 according to Stats Canada,” states Sarah Widmeyer, Director of Wealth Strategies at Richardson Wealth and the host of the new podcast series Conversations on Wealth. “And because women have a longer life expectancy than men by several years, it’s primarily women who are faced with the issues surrounding health and wealth as they age.”

For women, who are becoming the dominant holders of wealth in Canada, money is tied mainly to security, independence and lifestyle.

“It’s not simply a dollar and cents issue for us. Richardson Wealth Advisors understand how to talk to women and how to relate financial matters to our lives – what our money can do and how it can sustain our lifestyle as we get older,” she says.

“Another consideration is that women are largely considered the main caregivers. We take more time out of the workforce to raise families or care for aging parents, the implication being that if I’m caring for an elderly parent or other adult, I’m not focusing on earning enough to sustain myself through retirement. As trusted Advisors, we take these things into account when creating a wealth plan for women.”

With the silver tsunami now underway, Ms. Widmeyer sees aging Canadians, particularly women, in a stronger position to demand exceptional value-added advice from Advisors.

“Individuals and business owners with substantial assets should not settle for mediocre advice that doesn’t address your unique circumstances or provide truly multi-dimensional solutions that take into account all facets of your life, including wealth planning for the next generation of your family.”

“For clients, good advice is like gold as you face retirement and the issues surrounding aging. This advice extends well beyond where and how to invest to ensure we have helped you make the right decisions to enhance your lifetime standard of living.” 

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