Author Archives: legacytrackercanada

Only 2% of Advisors know how to maintain the next generation of clients

From Advisor.ca article “Adapt to Wealthy Client Needs, or else” by Dean Dispalatro October 2013

Mr Dispalatro writes in his article about some wisdom shared by Keith Sjogren, managing director of consulting at Investor Economics including what he outlined as the 3 trends impacting the wealthy. 

  1. Sluggish economic growth resulting in income being depressed and personal wealth not growing
  2. Concentration of wealth in Canada’s is growing steadily. Those with more than $1M in investible assets now control 2/3 of the country’s wealth
  3. Debt reduction is a top priority with the wealthy

All of this leads Sjogren to conclude that the wealthy need more advice; but wealth management advice not investment advice. He also suggests that more attention should be paid to those with high incomes who have not yet accumulated assets of $1M as they probably will as real estate or business interests are sold and inheritances are received 

But he also points out the demographics of wealth at play.  By 2022, more than half of wealthy people will be older than 65. & that demographic is not made up of conspicuous consumers but  capital protectors with a big focus on leaving a legacy for their children. Hence, he concludes that advisors should shift their focus from “accumulation to preservation.”

Indeed the $900 billion that is set to change hands in the next 10 years.at least half will happen in wealthy families, making estate planning a key priority offering. But the issue remains; advisors are not doing an adequate job of getting to know the families of their clients;  which as he says “is a sure-fire way to lose the next generation when wealth changes hands

Investor Economics data backs this concern up.  When assets are transferred to a widowed spouse, only 55% keep the same Advisor.  When assets are transferred to the children, a whopping 98% move to a different Advisor.

Even millionaires are procrastinating

This from a 2010 article ” Wealthy Worry about Next Generation” in Advisor.CA magazine by John Powell 

Referencing a study by RBC Wealth Management of Canadian Millionaires:

  • 58% of millionaires think their children are facing an uphill battle when it comes to managing their finances
  • 49% don’t have confidence in their children’s abilities to manage the inheritance. 
  • 67% feel it is their responsibility to preserve wealth for future generations and leave their children with a healthy legacy,
  • But, 39% have no estate plan to speak of.

Contradictory?
Tom McCullough President/CEO of Northwood Family Office chalks it up to people just being human and not wanting to face what the future might hold for them and their loved ones. 

“Estate planning is complicated. It is about the future. It is about death. They don’t want to have to make those decisions now,” he explains. “I think it is one of the most important things people need to do is to sort through their personal affairs and their estate but there are a lot of folks who don’t do it, don’t get to it or don’t know how to do it.”

Thane Stenner, Founder/Director of wealth management at Stenner Investment Partners, an independent private family office group within Richardson GMP Limited, is not surprised by RBC’s findings as it mirrors the results of his own company’s research from 2006. which highlighted the top concern of the high-net worth clients as being how their children would handle the family finances in the future.

“What is interesting is there still seems to be some procrastination taking place. That is not surprising. Most successful, wealthy families are busy. They have a lot on the go. Estate planning or issues like that are never seen to be urgent and that is one of the reasons why a lot of the times quite candidly, that estate plans are not updated and are not properly papered,” says Stenner

Canada – 34 Million people but Billions in Unclaimed Funds ?

$320M  Now…$500M* in the Bank of Canada (5 year change)

$125M Now    $259M*   in Matured CSBs (5 year change)

LegacyTracker Poster

 

 

+ 20-30% of insurance policies + Pension Funds + Shares + Bonds +

Safety Deposit Boxes + Security Deposits + Credit Union Accounts + Stocks + Dividends + Corporate Bonds + Pension Accounts + Trust Accounts + Prepaid Funeral Deposits + etc. etc.

Estimated Total:

 $4B-$6B (Canada) ?

No one knows for sure

That’s part of the problem

What are your digital assets worth?

McAfee the online security organization has commissioned a few surveys over the years that show the growing value of digital assets. Their research in 2011 (provided by MSI International) surveyed more than 3,000 consumers across 10 countries and shows varying values of digital assets.

mcafee-unprotected-digital-assets

Digital Assets? They include music and video downloads, software programs, photos, career info, personal records, email etc.

Canadians estimated their digital assets on average to be worth $47,074 which is slightly behind Americans ($54,722) and ahead of the UK ($38,360). McAfee’s study also suggested that it would take an average of some 82 hours for most of us to restore our digital assets if lost. That would be the estimate if we were alive. If we are not alive…it’s anyone’s guess if they could be restored at all. Digital assets/Digital passwords need to be backed up and shared somewhere safe

In 2013, they released a new survey specific to Canadian consumers’ attitudes towards online surfing, web security and data protection.  This survey showed Canadians placing a value of $32,000 on the digital assets stored on their devices (not sure why the decrease from the earlier study) This study showed that most of us are not taking appropriate precautions to back up and safeguard our digital assets.

Protecting online assets needs to be made more of a priority for our families and that will come from education and having a good handle on secure technology.

mcafee-digital-assets-canadMcAfee Cares is an Online Safety for Kids program which hopes to train school aged children and adults on ways to stay safe, secure and maintain good ethics in online behaviour.  You can learn more about their program here http://mcafee.com/onlinesafety.

LegacyTracker has made provisions for safeguarding your digital assets

Mark Carney and Dead Money

Open letter to Mark Carney dated June 11 2013

Dear Mr. Carney:

There’s been a fair bit of ongoing analysis and controversy surrounding the remarks you made some months ago about Corporate Canada sitting on huge piles of “dead money” on their balance sheets that could be better utilized to feed the economy or failing that; returned to investors.

Financial Post Aug 22 2012
The Globe and Mail Aug 22, 2012
Toronto Star Sept 17 2012
Canadian Business Feb 12, 2013
Ottawa Business Journal Dec 3 2012
CBC News August 23 2012

 

Estimates vary but it seems that the total balance of ‘dead money’ has increased as much as 40% since 2009; and may total as much as $526 Billion… and that has you concerned.

That is indeed a lot of cash.  No question there.

But, as you head out on your new adventure and leave the Bank of Canada,  I think it’s only fair to point out that corporations are not alone in holding onto ‘dead money’ that could be better utilized to grow the economy.

I am a bit embarrassed to point out that our own highly respected Bank of Canada which you have so masterfully governed for the past 5 years, is itself currently sitting on $500Million in unclaimed funds which I think we could agree may also be described as “dead money” and money that could be much better utilized to feed the economy….if not the actual owners.  That might be possible, if only the Bank of Canada took a more proactive approach to finding those owners.

Indeed, the rise in the balance of unclaimed funds in the Bank of Canada certainly appears to rival the rise in ‘dead money’ in Corporations with an increase of 55% over the past 5 years (!) That’s an extraordinary increase on an extraordinary balance of ‘dead money’ given that the this balance of $500M only includes amounts turned over by federally (not provincially) regulated banks, and only after 10 years of inactivity and only where those accounts are held in Canadian dollars (no foreign $ amounts).

Alas, despite this extraordinary increase on an extraordinary balance on a population of only some 34M Canadians, very little awareness and very little effort seems to be being made in trying to locate owners. Granted, the Bank of Canada does update this balance once a year and provides an online database for unclaimed funds; whereas, the same treatment is not afforded to the balance of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds which are also piling up at the BoC.

It is not a published number but I understand the value of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds totaled $259M as of this past April which I believe would make that an increase of $147M or 231% or over the past 5 years.

Extraordinary and Sad at the same time.

So, using the same argument you have made for ‘dead money’ in Corporate Canada…for the sake of the economy AND in this case, for the sake of Canadians generally, don’t you think we could put a little more effort into reuniting this money with owners?  

This is after all, the age of technology so one would think we could apply a little technology to finding owners and making things right. But as well,  if some inspiration is needed into this challenge, we can also look south for some good ideas given that the US has had consistent & comprehensive unclaimed property legislation in place for 50+ years. In the US, unlike the situation in Canada, unclaimed property legislation is an  important part of consumer protection legislation. Sadly, that’s not the case in Canada; but it should be. Each state in the US has enacted unclaimed property legislation requiring the transfer of all unclaimed property to  that State who then takes a very proactive role in helping to return assets to owners.

So before you go…perhaps you and Mr. Poloz could give the ‘dead money’ in the Bank of Canada some thought.

 

 

Ontario-2nd try at Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation

Originally published by LegacyTracker July 25 2013

Despite Ontario being the first province to pass Unclaimed property legislation in Canada (1989), they could not get it all together (the rules) for a period of 22 years later and the Bill was repealed in Dec 2011. Yes. Sad. Many Ontario families are no doubt owed some money.

On the upside they are trying again. Consultations have been taking place and we await next steps. Read about the consultations with the Ministry of the Attorney General here 

My many suggestions to the Attorney General included this one:

No more push to paperless until Canada gets all Provinces on-board with Unclaimed Property Legislation.

Yesterday I received a note from my RESP provider (Invesco Trimark). No more PRINTED semi-annual statements effective 2014. Not cool because this increases the risk that any funds with Invesco Trimark will go unclaimed. But Age Unfriendly as well. Do all Invesco Trimark Investors have online access? Really?

The US considers such legislation as an important component of Consumer Protection Legislation-and it is! So…why are we some 40 years behind? The US has $58B in unclaimed funds/property despite the program but searching for assets is much easier.

In Canada ? The total is at least $4B and the searching is difficult.

Your Growing Digital Estate-Why we worry

This is a good article from the Student Lawyer website  The choice for aspiring lawyers (& us)

Digital Estate Planning: Is Google Your Next Estate Planner? 

This article picks up on a discussion with Jamie Hopkins who is Assistant Professor of Taxation at New York Life Center for Retirement Income about the challenges facing traditional estate planning in relation to the disposition of digital electronic assets

Google your estate planner

…”the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, presents new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques…”

While many people do not have an estate plan in place for the disposition of their traditional assets, even fewer have a specifically designed digital estate plan to manage their digital assets upon death. By the end of 2012, almost 30 million Facebook accounts had outlived their owners, but only three million had been memorialised [4] for their deceased owners. This leaves millions of photographs, private messages, and other digital assets stored on the deceased’s Facebook account, which is inaccessible to his or her family and friends.[5] These forgotten pages become a virtual shrine, creating ‘a pixilated Dorian Gray, colored by iPhone photos, ‘pokes’, and ‘LOLs’ — possibly for an eternity.’[6] As such, the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, present new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques, requiring more complex planning techniques than previously used for the disposition and management of traditional estates.

What will happen if you or one of your loved ones sets up all of their accounts online but the access information is not shared? A family already grieving is subject to even further distress. The last thing you or your family need is a time of grief is the frustration and potential financial loss because proper digital estate planning was not considered especially in light of the fact that there are unique issues that plague digital assets like ownership and transferability.

LegacyTracker does provice for digital estate planning

USA Unclaimed Fund total is $58B yes $58B

Originally published by LegacyTracker Feb 13 2013

The unclaimed fund balances were recently updated as they are each year..by each State, federal and other organization as required in the United States. That gives us the most recent estimate for unclaimed funds waiting for owners to be reunited with their money:

The new estimated value for unclaimed property is …$58 Billion.

Buried US cash

Again, sad but true.

That’s a lot of money as it works out to approximately $186 per resident of the US. Imagine if that money was all put to use in the economy.

The list of assets included in what the US defines as unclaimed (or abandoned) property (or sometimes referred to as unclaimed assets or unclaimed funds) is quite wide ranging in the US and actually getting wider.

Common forms of unclaimed property in the US includes savings or chequing accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificate/cards (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safety deposit boxes.

Here’s some further detail on this $58 Billion estimate:

·        $300 Million in pension benefits from employment owed to 38,000 individuals

·        $16 Billion worth of matured US savings bonds (more than 45 million bonds)

·        $153.3 Million in tax refunds that were not deliverable by the IRS

·        $1 Billion in unclaimed insurance policy proceeds

·        $41.7 Billion in unclaimed funds held by individual states.

This last figure of $41.7 Billion is worthy of some further explanation. .While rules vary slightly between each state, specific types of property are considered as being ‘abandoned’ or unclaimed when there has been no activity for 1-5 years. At that point, all financial organizations or any organization holding such property or funds are required to turn them over to the State Treasury.

Each state then takes over the search for owners through websites, newspaper ads, and booths at Malls and events like State fairs and Exhibitions. While searching for the owners, the State can use those assets to fund government operations but the owner’s claim to the property remains intact. Of the $58 Billion in unclaimed funds that has been reported, $41.7 Billion is being held by individual States. .

“The money belongs to the owner in perpetuity. Even if the owner dies, then their heirs could come back and claim it,” said Carolyn Atkinson, West Virginia’s deputy treasurer for unclaimed property and a past president of National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

More on this story:

To learn more about the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and for a link to all State databases : 

NAUPA Website

USA Unclaimed Fund total is $58B yes $58B

Originally published by LegacyTracker Feb 13 2013

The unclaimed fund balances were recently updated as they are each year..by each State, federal and other organization as required in the United States. That gives us the most recent estimate for unclaimed funds waiting for owners to be reunited with their money:

The new estimated value for unclaimed property is …$58 Billion.

Yes, sad but true.

That’s a lot of money as it works out to approximately $186 per resident of the US. Imagine if that money was all put to use in the economy.

The list of assets included in what the US defines as unclaimed (or abandoned) property (or sometimes referred to as unclaimed assets or unclaimed funds) is quite wide ranging in the US and actually getting wider.

Common forms of unclaimed property in the US includes savings or chequing accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificate/cards (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safety deposit boxes.

Here’s some further detail on this $58 Billion estimate:

·        $300 Million in pension benefits from employment owed to 38,000 individuals

·        $16 Billion worth of matured US savings bonds (more than 45 million bonds)

·        $153.3 Million in tax refunds that were not deliverable by the IRS

·        $1 Billion in unclaimed insurance policy proceeds

·        $41.7 Billion in unclaimed funds held by individual states.

This last figure of $41.7 Billion is worthy of some further explanation. .While rules vary slightly between each state, specific types of property are considered as being ‘abandoned’ or unclaimed when there has been no activity for 1-5 years. At that point, all financial organizations or any organization holding such property or funds are required to turn them over to the State Treasury.

Each state then takes over the search for owners through websites, newspaper ads, and booths at Malls and events like State fairs and Exhibitions. While searching for the owners, the State can use those assets to fund government operations but the owner’s claim to the property remains intact. Of the $58 Billion in unclaimed funds that has been reported, $41.7 Billion is being held by individual States. .

“The money belongs to the owner in perpetuity. Even if the owner dies, then their heirs could come back and claim it,” said Carolyn Atkinson, West Virginia’s deputy treasurer for unclaimed property and a past president of National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

More on this story:

To learn more about the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and for a link to all State databases :

NAUPA Website

Are Cdns really wasting $1B in unused Gift Cards a year?

Originally published Feb 17 2013 by LegacyTracker

I think I have written about my aversion to Gift Cards before. Yes I have several on hand myself and I have certainly given out my share but that doesn’t mean they don’t make me nervous. They make me actually jittery. What if the Company is no longer around when I get around to using a Gift Card I have? What if I lose a gift card? Right now my husband is searching for a $50 Keg Card and I can’t get it off of my mind. 

gift-cards

Some surveys seem to suggest that up to 56% of cards don’t get used.That seems really high. Consumer Reports magazine had last estimated that 25% of cards remain unused more than a year after received , CardSwap which is a Canadian site for buying, selling or donating gift cards estimates that Canadians spend around $6B each year buying gift cards. They estimate that every Cdn household has approximately $300 in unused gift cards lying around and that wasted cards add up to as much as $1B thrown away each year.

No matter the actual total-it’s  a lot of money. The most popular reason for not using a gift card is reported as  “not having enough time to shop “(59%). I am definitely included in that group. The second most popular reason given by consumers for a gift card not being used is not finding an item that they want to buy at that particular retailer (35%).  So, that sort of defeats the entire reason that the person gave the gift card in the first place. Lost cards are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10% and some estimates of cards issued in a year are as high as $90 Billion.. I prefer not to do the math on this.  

In some US States retailers are now required to register the cards in a name because gift cards will now be covered by “unclaimed property”  legislation (which I have definitely mentioned on this blog before)  Oh America you are beautiful sometimes.

In any case, the article lists the following sites with some pros and cons of each. As an added bonus, most of these sites are also able to check your card balances as well (a much more efficient way to find the balance instead of searching through each retailers

CardSwap appears to still be the largest platform where Canadians can buy, sell or donate their unused gift cards; although donations seem to be restricted at this point to specified gift card drives

Here are a couple of other sites for buying/selling your gift cards:

Gift Card Granny-Canadian Site 

Giftah – Buy and Sell

Many Canadian charities now gladly accept gift cards and the information for doing that is on their website

The rules about gift cards related to expiries, fees, terms or conditions vary by Province. The Retail Council of Canada had a summary of Gift Card legislation on their site but it has now disappeared. 

Perhaps this long weekend might be a good time to clean up and out our wallets if you have too many old gift cards lying around

I aspire personally to use all of my gift cards this year and not to acquire any more; I think gift cards are really only suitable when you are absolutely, positively sure that the recipient will use them quickly and happily

 

 

 

Life is…. complicated. Death more so. Get Organized.

Orginally published Jan 13 2013

Stop procrastinating…Get your stuff together (please)….

This is a poster published first in the Wall Street in 2011 – It’s a good one..with an article from Saabira Chaudhuri titled “The 25 documents you need before you Die”  It’s cdrtainly an attention grabber.

25 important documents article

It’s a great poster and a fascinating story which talks about the financial consequences that befalls your family and loved ones if you fail to keep all your documents and important papers in order. In the US where they track, report and actively look for owners of unclaimed funds they know that the toll is great. $33B (now $58B) approximately in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets like paid up insurance policies.

You may or may not know (maybe this is your first visit here) that Canada is not so lucky. Only 2 provinces have any real unclaimed intangible property legislation in place (Alberta & Quebec).  That’s not the way it should be but that’s the way it is right now in Canada.

That sad fact, makes it even more critical to ensure that your records are organized and shared to make sure you reduce the financial risk that comes from not being so organized. So yes. Please stop procrastinating around this topic.

Read the article from the Wall Street Jounal here 

Secret life of unclaimed safety deposit boxes

From a story by the New England Cable News Feb 16 2013

Unclaimed Property/Untold Stories

I am sure any day now someone will realize that they could make the story of unclaimed safety deposit boxes a reality TV show but until they do so, I pass along this story by  New England Cable News which shines some light on how the US handles unclaimed safety deposit boxes (for obvious reasons, it fails to shine any light on what happens here in Canada but we will keep trying)

safety deposit boxes

Read the story from NECN here 

In the US, each State takes responsibility for the boxes after 5 years of no activity (most importantly, missed payments) because safety deposit boxes are considered unclaimed property and well, the US has had unclaimed property legislation for about 40+ years.

After reading the story of a typical day of opening abandoned safety deposit boxes in in a typical state like Wisconsin I have a new appreciation of why they REALLY try to return the boxes to the rightful owners.

Hundreds of boxes arrive at this particular office in Wisconsin but each State may vary in the additional amount of time they will hold abandoned items after receiving the boxes from the banks who have already held them for 5 years.. Wisconsin holds boxes for 2 years while Iowa will hold boxes for 10 more years.

“We’ve really tried to push our outreach efforts to let people know about unclaimed funds and getting money back to people,” said Scott Feldt, the deputy state treasurer. “That’s our major effort, that’s why we are here.”

They do so at by way of public events, radio, TV and newspaper interviews. They also publish lists of people owed unclaimed property in various newspapers and in their searchable online database.

More commonly, they hold coins and jewelry, old stamps and personal documents, like wills and marriage certificates. But often times unusual items of no monetary value re found in the boxes and they have no choice but to destroy. This story details some of those finds:

·        One box contained a Band-Aid box and two toenails, wrapped in tissue.·        One box contained an empty envelope.(only)

·        One box contained nothing but spoons.

·        One box contained a Rolex box, but alas, no Rolex.

·        One box contained dental gold, teeth still attached

Some of the items are sold in monthly eBay auctions. The office holds the proceeds for the owner in the event someone later claims them. Perhaps not these particular items but some items that are found to have value are sold in monthly eBay auctions and then the proceeds are held for the owner in the event someone later claims them.

And, while it may depend on the State most Sates will hold onto certain special items ‘in perpetuity’ like photographs and war medals which they know would mean the most…if they eventually find the rightful owners.

All in all, it seems like a fairly civilized and respectful process and transparent… so what is our process here in Canada? It has yet to be told I’m afraid. Or at least, I haven’t found it yet. If you happen to know; please let us know or maybe a new Cdn Reality Show will help us unravel it first….

What happens to uncashed certified cheques or Money orders ?

Originally posted Feb 19 2013

UnCashed certified cheques or UnCashed Money orders maybe waiting for you!

Maybe…you haven’t thought about checking the Bank of Canada unclaimed funds website because you are pretty careful about providing the bank with your forwarding address and you have not left any old bank accounts behind….but there might be another reason to check.

You may have provided a certified cheque or a money order to someone in the past and it was never cashed or provided to the payee…

TD money order

A certified cheque or money order can become “Unclaimed” funds

In the case of both of these kinds of transactions, funds for the certified cheque or money order are deducted from your account right away when the Bank draws them up for you . However, if you never gave the certified cheque or the money order to the payee as you had intended to for any reason or if that payee never actually cashed that payment…it becomes an unclaimed amount related to the account it was withdrawn from.

There are plenty of “Unclaimed” certified cheques or money orders in the Bank of Canada  – enough to make it worth your while to check

Please do and let us know if you come across some of those kinds of transactions or a bank account you or a loved one had forgotten about.  Please keep in mind that the Bank of Canada unclaimed bank balance account includes only accounts in Canadian dollars(we are not sure why) and only federally regulated bank accounts (not provincially regulated credit unions)

Please get in touch if you have any other questions about unclaimed funds we would be happy to try and help.  We don’t have all the answers but we can try …

The link to the Bank of Canada website is  here