Category Archives: Financial Planning

The (Big) value of a Comprehensive Financial Plan

The slides that follow are from the Financial Planning Standards Council (Canada) of which I’ve been a proud member since 1999. The slides summarize a 3 year longitudinal study the FPSC developed to measure the impact a financial plan has on Canadians’ emotional and financial well-being and the impact of working with a CFP professional.

The impact of both are significant

Take a look and move forward with a financial plan

Get organized and reduce Personal Financial stress

Reduce personal financial stress by getting organized

A little organization can go a long way to reducing personal financial stress

A recent national survey conducted for the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) found that money is the leading source of stress among Canadians. Money and financial matters are a bigger stressor than work, personal health or relationships. 51% of women and 40% of men are losing sleep over financial worries and almost half or 45% are embarrassed about their lack of control over finances.   Highlights of the survey on financial stress can be found here 

Unlike other kinds of stress that can make your adrenaline go into overdrive and raise your energy level which can lead to a fight or flight response, financial stress is different. Financial stress often leads to a debilitating form of mental burden that is hard to shake and can have other long-term consequences of the very unfavorable kind.

What’s the answer?  How can you reduce personal financial stress?

  1. Breathe
  2. Organize
  3. Embrace Technology
  4. Review
  5. Simplify

Answer: All of the above and keep them going

Dealing with “cluttered” finances & personal financial stress can be debilitating

Organization is a key and positive first step to successful personal financial management & reducing stress that can help you achieve future success.  Organization & simplifying are both BIG stress reducers. Organization goes beyond where things are. Organization is about knowing what you have which is way better than not knowing and imaging the worst.

Knowing what you have is the first step in moving forward towards what you want to achieve and where you want to be down the road. Knowing what you have on an ongoing basis will help you monitor your progress and keep you motivated towards your goals.

Our web-based LegacyTracker personal financial organizer helps you reduce personal financial stress by helping you to organize and:

  1. Safeguard important documents by scanning/saving them inside LegacyTracker
  2. Enhance your peace of mind by sharing important information you wish to share with your loved ones or professional advisors
  3. Receive reminders and alerts about what you still need to do in terms of being organized around your personal financial affairs

Organization can also help you Assimilate, Eliminate, or Consolidate helping you to Simplify

The process of becoming more organized can better highlight the fact that you might have multiple accounts or providers that can be consolidated or eliminated which will mean less paperwork management and maybe reduced costs over the longer term. You might also find while you are organizing, that you have gaps or opportunities that you had not taken care of previously because they were missed in some of the clutter

Getting organized is a Gift to you AND your family in the short and longer term. Disorganized personal financial/estate information can cause additional grief, expense & stress inadvertently for a loved one that you care about. Helping a spouse or family member or friend organize their own affairs is also a gift worth offering.

Our LegacyTracker financial organizing tool provides the ability to share what you want to share with loved ones or advisors for that specific reason. LegacyTracker can help you and your family members reduce personal financial stress

 

Canadians are stressed about money

Canadians are stressed out about money

Money stress is the leading source of stress among Canadians

Money stress is causing significantly more stress than work, personal health and relationships according to a Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) survey released today.

The findings are being released in conjunction with the 6th annual Financial Planning week (November 16-22) during Financial Literacy Month (November)

The FPSC survey finds that financial stress is driving Canadians to lose sleep, reconsider past financial decisions, argue with partners and lie to family and friends about their personal finances.

Canadians’ experience financial stress to varying degrees depending on age, gender and openness to discussing personal finance issues.

Here are the key findings among respondents across the country (excluding Quebec):

  • A significant number of men and women lose sleep over financial worries (51% of women; 40% of men);
  • 45% of Canadians are embarrassed about their lack of control over finances;
  • Millennials are more likely than any other generation to lie about personal finances; 33% admit to being dishonest with friends, 25% with family and 15% with co-workers (compared with national averages across all age groups of 17%, 14% and 9%, respectively);
  • 87% of Canadians wish they had made better financial decisions earlier in life;
  • Four in 10 people in relationships with shared finances argue regularly over finances; and
  • 1/3 of Canadians believe that, on average, their friends are in better financial shape than they are.

You can learn more of the details here

What’s the answer?

According to Cary List, the President & CEO of the Financial Planning Standards Council, the FPSC wants Canadians to know that engaging in financial planning with a qualified professional can help enhance both their financial and emotional well-being,

“We urge everyone to source  a CFP professional on our Find a Planner tool at www.fpsc.ca and discuss their situation, goals and financial needs.”

The founder & CEO of LegacyTracker is a Certified Financial Planner and a member of the FPSC.  One of the primary considerations for building LegacyTracker was to enable individuals & families to become more empowered with their own financial/estate information enabling them to become more proactive with financial/estate planning.

Get ‘engaged’ with a Certified Financial Planner today. It’s easy with the Find a Planner tool provided by the Financial Planning Standards Council

Sharing is caring

Family Finances – Sharing is Caring

They say Sharing is Caring in life..& we think that’s particularly true with regards to your Family Finances …

Money management & communication is key when thinking about your family; your family’s emotional & physical survival often hinges on financial stability. Shared & effective communication about money matters is critical to money management but in many families defined roles are established where one spouse takes on the role CFO/Administrator and the other becomes reliant on their spouse to manage the family finances and keep it all ‘together’. It might work; but it’s a risk. It can increase the pressure & responsibility that one spouse feels with managing all that information while the other spouse is left dangerously vulnerable.

It’s not an ideal situation because we all know that life can take unpredictable twists, like a divorce, a death or an incapacity. That’s one of many reasons that we developed LegacyTracker..we think It’s critical that information is at minimum shared if not managed together. Our friend Mark Goodfield who blogs as the Blunt Bean Counter has written extensively on the topic of Stress Testing your finances for a sudden death.  He emphasizes the need for an information checklist for executors/spouses in case of death.

In combination with defining your goals together, we think sharing this information together will enable you to make wiser choices and reach those goals successfully.

LegacyTracker – allows flexible sharing – as little or as much as you wish. Share with your loved ones or your financial advisors or your executor.

Here is a list of some of the details that can be documented & stored inside LegacyTracker:

  1. Assets: including bank accounts, registered/non registered investments, real property, personal property & business assets etc.
  2. Liabilities—including loans, credit card debt, mortgages, lines of credit, business liabilities etc.
  3. Contacts-including medical contacts, professional advisors and family
  4. Digital Assets-including loyalty & reward programs, logons & passwords etc.
  5. Insurance-including disability, property, life, group as well as home & auto
  6. Estate Planning —including Power of Attorneys, Wills, Ethical Wills, Final wishes, Letters etc.
  7. Health & Medical—including immunizations, contacts, history etc.

When you consolidate all of the important information into one secure place in an organized manner we think the benefits are many for you and your loved ones.  LegacyTracker is not just about peace of mind & emergency preparedness in case of a physical or natural disaster or a death or incapacity. It’s about living – simplifying & securing your information which we believe is empowering . Knowing what you have and what you need to work on will help you become more proactive about your financial & estate planning goals.  That’s the mission behind LegacyTracker.

Who`s in charge of your family finances ?

Talking about your family finances makes for a happy marriage

So says a recent survey from Experian Consumer Services about Love & Marriage and Credit Open dialogue about family finances helps avoid conflict and can prevent one spouse feeling that they carry more of a burden over the other. It`s also apparently sexy! 73% of women and 60% of men in the survey said open communication with their spouse or partner about finances makes him/her more attractive.

So…It makes you wonder why on average, only 39% of all married adults are sharing responsibility for their family finances ?

Family Finances

 

Who`s in charge of your household finances

 

LegacyTracker can help you share & communicate information about your family finances. And, since open communication about such matters is key..We think that means that LegacyTracker can help you have a happy marriage.

Canada's Financial Services Sector

Canada – A robust but confusing financial sector

Behold Less Bewilderment 

Thanks to H2 Central for the great infographic Canada’s robust financial sector my seem a little less confusing. H2 Central published their helpful infographic last week which they indicated, came about from “periodic encounters with clients bewildered by the intricacy of our respected but complex investment sector” 

Indeed. It’s a robust sector and challenging to grasp; full of regulators, financial literacy organizations, educators, advisors, investment companies, investment producers & distributors some who are AND some  who are not connected. Not sure? Check out the colour codes and note the associated abbreviations/acronyms …

 

 

Logo Toaster

It’s not about the free WiFi or the toaster anymore

Personal Finance Management Tools (PFM) can help users do a lot of things these days like budget, visualize their spending or cash flow, aggregate multiple accounts, receive bill reminders and generally help them engage in more proactive financial planning.

A US BankChoice survey from May of this year as reported by The Financial Brand  indicates that currently 32% of those surveyed use a PFM service or software for budgeting & financial planning but 23% are relying on a 3rd party tool like Mint.com or Quicken to help them. With only 9% using a PFM tool provided from their bank or credit union,,,that means that there’s a BIG gap in the market as 36% of the women surveyed & 31% of the men surveyed in the same study, want their institution to provide those PFM tools.

Consumers want PFM

Again…we suggest, it’s not about the free WiFi or cappuccino in the branch anymore or the free toaster or tablet that may come with opening a new account.

Life is BUSY. Give the “People” what they want.

  • Consumers want tools to simplify their lives.
  • Consumers need insight into their own information and help managing their multiple To Do’s when it comes to financial & estate planning.
  • Consumers want to make more informed decisions on spending, saving, borrowing and investing.

The majority of financial service clients are looking to their financial service provider to show more value and to demonstrate Customer Advocacy (show that they care about them and not just the bottom line). We think that adds up fairly nicely to the WHY behind providing a PFM tool to clients (and prospective clients).

LegacyTracker is a PFM tool that can help your clients simplify, safeguard, share their important financial, legal and estate information while tracking their financial progress along the way.  Better Organized Clients are Better Clients.

 

 

 

LegacyTracker Net Worth Tracking

Net Worth/Worth Tracking

Some say Net Worth is a GOOD number to track in order to determine whether you are making financial progress. Others say it’s the ONLY number to track.

What is net worth ?

Net worth, (also generally referred to as wealth) is one measure of an individual’s material wellbeing or financial success, measured by the amount by which assets exceed liabilities or debt. And yes; it’s possible to have a negative number especially for young professionals with student debt; don’t despair.

Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth 

Why does it matter?

Knowing your net worth is an important aspect of personal financial planning. It can be a wealth strategy. Net worth can also be a benchmark for wealth or financial fitness much like your weight is a benchmark in a weight management program. It can also be a powerful motivator to save more, spend less, pay off debt or to work proactively with a professional financial advisor to map out a financial plan.to financial success.

Net worth is worth keeping track of as it also represents the degree of flexibility one might have to respond to unexpected or unforeseen circumstances like a job loss, an unexpected illness or a drop in the financial markets. A healthy net worth can also provide individuals with opportunities like starting a business or going back to school. Ultimately, retirement will also be funded by net worth. At some time in the future net worth will be utilized in order to fund retirement.and cover living expenses.

Track or Update regularly

One thing is certain. Net worth will fluctuate over time but hopefully it will grow in the right direction. Regular updates can help you keep on track with your financial goals; a financial checkup; much like going to the doctor for a health checkup. Regular updating can help ensure that savings and spending are held in check. You don’t need to be an accountant to calculate net worth; a simple excel spreadsheet or an online tool can be used. We’ve included net worth tracking as an important feature inside LegacyTracker

Compare cautiously

A growing number of bloggers now post their progress around building their net worth online for all of their readers to see. That’s one way to compare. They say it keeps them accountable. I’m an accountant; we like to keep things nice and confidential.

Easily found comparables might be the annual surveys that report the average net worth of Canadians or Americans as an indicator of financial well-being over time. For example, the average Canadian household net worth broke $400,000 at the end of 2012, which was a 5.8% increase over 2011; slightly ahead of the US by about $19.000.

Whether or not it is used as an indicator of financial status, tracking net worth can be motivating and so keeping it updated on a regular basis and making sure you are making progress, is a positive move. I have found too many clients who are so focused on the estimated value of their assets (say the growing estimated value of a home in Toronto for example), that they don’t take into consideration the growth of their debt over time.That’s the advantage of tracking Net worth as opposed to Total Asset Accumulation.

It’s the NET and the NET movement in financial progress that matters over the long-term for you and your family. That’s the reason we included a Net Worth tracker in LegacyTracker.

More about the what and why of LegacyTracker

LegacyTracker essentially ? A branded online solution that helps Users organize their personal financial & estate records in order to become more empowered with their own information

Longer Description:  A web-based personal financial management (PFM) & organizing tool that helps individuals and families bring all of their important information & documents  together simply and securely, allowing them to better track progress towards financial goals, be more proactive about financial/estate planning & be better prepared for an emergency.  As a branded offering, LegacyTracker provides an opportunity for Organizations to build more valued relationships with their clients, account holders, employees or members.

LegacyTracker Screenshot

Our Mission:

We are on a mission to help individuals & families simplify, safeguard, share & succeed  by

  1. Reducing the risk that users will become separated from their hard-earned financial assets
  2. Helping users GET OUT from under their paperwork so they can engage in more proactive financial & estate planning
  3. Ensuring that users are better prepared for WHAT IF situations
  4. Helping users facilitate important conversations with family & advisors about estate planning  issues

We think that organizations offering our web-based & branded personal financial/estate organizing solution to clients, account holders, employees or members is a WIN/WIN opportunity. Get in touch and connect with us to learn more: info@legacytracker.com

Perfect Storm Challenges and Solutions

We think there’s a perfect storm coming in the financial services market with challenges being faced by both consumers and the providers they deal with. ….LegacyTracker can help 

Too extreme? Maybe

We’ve been collecting some evidence in the form of published surveys, research & articles for quite some time. We think all of that reading and collecting has paid off. We think there’s a lot of evidence to support the need for LegacyTracker which is our personal financial management tool . This is an ongoing list in no particular order from our growing collection of supporting surveys, articles and research. Note: George Clooney did not help with this project; he was busy filming the Perfect Storm among his many other activities.

From Digital Insight: The  88% of consumers who now pay bills and transfer funds online, 62% would like a single place to manage their complete financial picture, no matter where the information originates. Households on average have more than three financial institution relationships for wealth and savings solutions and up to six credit card accounts. LT: Legacy Tracker provides a safe & accessible place to safeguard all of the important information and documents in life

2011 US Trust Insights on Wealth Survey: A survey of wealthy Americans with $3M or more of investable assets 56% of those surveyed have not documented personal property and assets, and roughly half have not documented instructions about the distribution of personal property or assets among heirs; even though 25% acknowledge their heirs don’t understand their wishes for how to divide special possessions LT: Helps consumers safeguard their hard-earned assets & can help facilitate important conversations with family members and loved ones about estate planning or final wishes 

2008 Innovations in Retail Financial Services IG&H Consulting & Interim, Woerden:  In financial services these days, a lot of companies struggle to win in severe price competition. However, a financial institution should develop it’s business on long-lasting & customer value driven business models; price is not enough. An element could be innovation.            LT: Helps financial service providers innovate & differentiate their offerings

2011 Banking on You by Thomas Watson, Canadian Business Magazine: Canada’s biggest banks are desperately trying to find new ways to connect with customers. Increased competition has heightened the banks’ interest in offering value and quality to customers, and forced banks to form individual identities. “The ability to introduce new fees is limited, raising the importance of gaining share through better service, broader relationships with clients and growth markets” (Margaret Willis, HSBC Executive VP of Retail Banking and Wealth Management) LT: Helps financial organizations differentiate in a busy marketplace and provide a meaningful way to demonstrate customer advocacy which can deepen client relationships

2011 Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) : A national online survey of 1,504 Canadians over 18 by Leger Marketing showed only 26% of Canadians think their personal and financial information would be easy to access in an emergency. 56% said their personal & financial information is “somewhat organized” while 11% said it was “not very organized”  LT: Helps users enhance their level of emergency preparedness and by safeguarding important financial legacy & information

2010 Intuit Financial Online financial management survey: Banking customers view online financial management solutions from their bank or credit union as competitive differentiators. 52% of those surveyed said they would leave their current financial institution for one that offers better money management capabilities. Nearly 50% of respondents said they’d already switched banks or credit unions recently. and one-third of them switched because their financial institution did not provide satisfactory online solutions LT: Financial institutions need to offer their customers more in the way of tools & solutions that help them manage their money –a differentiator in the marketplace

 2011 Investment Executive Magazine – Prevent Executor headaches Bank of Montreal Survey confirmed CHLIA’s figures, almost 50% of Canadians who have been appointed to be an executor of a will have experienced administrative “complications” More than 25% have experienced legal issues. “If everything is not written down and documented, the difficulty in sorting out the mess can tie up the settling of an estate (Carol Bezaire, VP of Tax & Estate Planning with Mackenzie Financial. ” Technology has made some things invisible. In their capacity as executors, in some cases, the bank has had to take possession of the deceased’s computer and hire experts to search the hard drive to find crucial information (Royal Bank Estate and Trust Services)  LT: Reduces financial risk for individuals & their loved ones of unclaimed funds for families but it also safeguards families from incurring additional grief in the form of additional delay, cost and stress in times of emergency

2013 For the Love of Money Blog  Are you finances organized? Get into the habit of organizing your finances and you’ll be in for some happy surprises. …..The truth is, we create needless work and worry for ourselves when we do not make a little effort to get financially organized. Often, the biggest leap to getting a house in order is getting over a negative mindset. A lot of people are unwilling to organize their finances because they think there is simply too much to do.  LT: We provide the place for consumers to get organized & stay organized. Simple on boarding and Simple to stay updated. Our built-in net worth tracker & alerts are intended to motivate you to stay up to date

2011 Investment Executive A New Focus on Financial Literacy by Keith Costello of CIFP     A new focus on Financial Literacy “What we have heard (The Canadian Institute of Financial Planners) is the need for unbiased but comprehensive learning materials. Consumers want content that will help them understand financial concepts in a more detailed way and that will guide their financial decisions. We should ensure that these types of materials are readily available” “there is no better marketing and brand positioning than investing in your customers”  LT: Providing tools and opportunities to enhance financial literacy will pay off for financial services providers-by way of better engagement and increased revenue opportunities and ultimately the success of their clients  

2011 Investment Executive Having the “talk” with your clients by Brent Jolly  As most clients have experienced lower investment returns over the past 5 years, it is becoming more challenging for advisors to demonstrate their value to clients. LT: Our online solution allows Advisors to offer a valuable tool to clients and their families, allowing them to safeguard financial assets and some assistance in facilitating discussions about estate planning. Advisors in effect are provided an opportunity to reach out to the next generation

 2013 21st Century PFM for a Mass Audience  Capitalizing on the power of personal finance management will first require the industry to break free of 1980s thinking about
who uses PFM and why. Today, 21% of U.S. consumers mix and match 1 or more of the 3 primary sources of PFM services:  1) desktop software, 2) bank PFM offered through online banking 2) bank PFM offered through online banking, or 3) web PFM offered through an explosively growing number of online and mobile players. That translates into 49.3 million adult users – and 191 million who use none of them.  Financial institutions are at risk of losing loyalty from PFM hungry customers.

We’re not exactly done. We’ll add to this list as we find the time. We’ve got lots more to add.

Remembering (Gratefully) Jim Flaherty

James Daw wrote a piece for the Toronto Star that appeared there Oct 4 ,2010 where Daw asked Jim Flaherty about some of the financial wisdom that he had shared with his sons as they were growing up. The boys were 19 then and preparing for a `life on their own. It`s tragic that a short 3.5 years later they have now lost their Dad who after a life of TRUE public service had his life cut short when he died last week at the relatively young age of 64. Canada owes him much.

No matter your particular political preference you may be most agree. Jim Flaherty was an honourable & outstanding individual and the Truest of TRUE Public Servant. He made great sacrifices for Canada and Ontario and made them better when he could have been working in the private sector making as we know, 4-6 times the salary. He represented Canada extremely well on an international level being highly respected & regarded for his work during the financial crisis. I had the opportunity to meet him a few times and worked on one of his projects. He was a great role model for how Public Servants and those elected should behave and I’m terribly saddened by his passing. It’s a tragic loss for Canada, but obviously, for his Wife and his 3 young(er) boys, John, Galen and Quinn. He deserved a long and happy retirement. He died too young.

Jim Flaherty will be laid to rest today. Today also happens to be both Advanced Care Planning Day and Talk with our Kids about Money Day. It seems fitting to share these 4 pieces of advise that  Jim Flaherty said he had shared with his sons in that article by James Daw. Read the entire article here 

jim_flaherty_andsons

 

1. Education is vital

That’s the first and most important thing. Once you have a good education, the world is your oyster; really. You can live anywhere in the world and move from job to job. You can retrain and be trained.

Half of the jobs that people will work at in the next 10 or 20 years don’t exist now. So the idea of having some focused, narrow education, to go do this particular job for the rest of your life is unlikely.

Once you are well educated, and you are not afraid to work – because work is important, not just to make money, but to have character and to feel good about yourself – then save. Employing one’s skills and aptitudes creates a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Being useful is good for the soul as well as the pocketbook.

2. Spend less than you earn

I am a big Warren Buffett fan, and understand the miracle of compound interest. I think my sons are starting to as well, making money at summer jobs and so on. They are starting to see they can invest and earn interest and have that interest multiply.

These are the fundamentals and it will help later when they save for retirement. I try to encourage them to use tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), because a dollar saved now is worth such a multiple over a lifetime.

TFSAs or registered retirement savings plans? Tax free accounts are more flexible. Then once you do that you go RRSP. But it is virtually an open field with TFSAs. In 20 years, most capital gains should be immune from tax if people use them properly. And governments will do nothing but raise the (annual contribution) limit over time. No government will abolish tax-free savings accounts now we have created them. They wouldn’t have the nerve.

3. Buy property

Real estate is a good long-term investment. But pay off your mortgage as soon as you can. Investing in the purchase of a principal residence early on is a tax-free way to accumulate capital. Then move on to another principal residence. Renting doesn’t produce capital gains.

The (boys) have grown up on a large piece of land in a fairly large house. I expect their experience (as adults) will be smaller and greener, probably more urban and transit focused. (Galen and Quinn were up early this summer to catch the GO train to get to summer jobs at Bay Street investment houses by 7 a.m.)

4. Be frugal

(There are) risks with debt, especially credit cards. We have given (the boys) credit cards in the hopes they will learn to manage them, because so many people get into so much trouble with credit card debt. The tendency some young people have is to over-extend themselves on credit to buy fancy houses and cars which they can’t really afford if, for example, interest rates rise. So, it’s important to avoid over-extending on credit, especially on depreciating assets such as cars.

I would also really discourage them from buying expensive homes and cars. We will see what they actually do when they get out of university, whether they buy expensive cars. (Flaherty senior drives a Chevy) I consider that such a waste; money you could use doing other things.

He will be missed tremendously by Canada but most particularly by his wife Christine and sons, Quinn, Galen and John. A Great Father and a Great Canadian gone too soon.

Again you can read the entire article here 

Read more about Talk with Our Kids about Money day here 

Read more about Advanced Care Planning here 

Financial Tech Habits of Baby Boomers

Behold yet another interesting infographic…this one on the Financial Technology Habits and the Finances of Baby Boomers compliments of emoneyadvisor.com.

No surprise, this is a US survey but luckily Canadians have much in common with our friends to the South…so we think this information is likely similar to Canadian habits and estimates.

First things first. We all know that Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are an important demographic. How important?  While Baby Boomers make up approximately 26% of the US population (82M people in the US), they represent 70% of disposable income and earn an average income of $50K or so a year. Their average net worth is approximately $727K. Further 46% of boomers have savings or investments exceeding $50K  & 20% having savings or investments exceeding $250K.

So yes. An important market  and yet:

  • Only 54% of Baby Boomers have a personal financial plan
  • Only 34% of Baby Boomers have a comprehensive financial plan and
  • Approximately 48% don’t have a financial advisor

As for emoneyadvisor’s surveyed facts on how Baby Boomers are using Technology…It turns out that this age demographic is keeping up (quite nicely) to younger generations after all.    (I know I’m trying hard). Baby Boomers actually spend more money on technology  than any other age group (an average of $650/month) AND Boomers have a high adoption rate for online financial management tools. 57% bank online. 35% pay bills online. 41% research financial information online. It should be of no surprise to also find that approximately 70% of this same age group buy online.

Indeed, this Infographic seems to sum it up all up and tie these survey results together quite nicely for us.   …Baby Boomers are in need of financial advise and they are ready for technology driven financial applications to help simplify their lives. It makes sense to us that A financial advisor that offers a technology driven financial application will provide Advisors/Clients (or Potential Clients) a win/win scenario. But that’s only the beginning of the Win/Win.
Fin Tech Habits of Boomers

Life is Complicated/Death is more so/Get Organized

When did life get so complicated with multiple everything and not enough time ?Which is why you need to Get your stuff together …

The poster above is from a 2011 article from the Wall Street Journal (Saabira Chaudhuri) The 25 Documents you need before you Die It was a good read then with a great poster and even more so a few years later. The Article 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. The author makes reference to the very large investigations & lawsuits that started around that time into the obligation of insurers to pay out unclaimed life policies to beneficiaries. I think it was what prompted Saabira to write the article since that  BILLION dollar story is still ongoing in the US, 3 years later.

The article makes reference to the $32.9B in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets. That total is now $58B. The US has had legislation since the 1930’s around unclaimed assets to tracking, reporting and actively looking for owners of unclaimed funds is common place. No such luck in Canada outside of Alberta and Quebec

LegacyTracker is built much like the cabinet you see in the poster except it’s Secure, Accessible online, Template based to reduce info that might not be included otherwise, the flexible sharing, printing, saving, more comprehensive and comes with built-in alerts & reminders and a net worth tracker…since LegacyTracker is not just about death; it’s about living as well.

Read the article from the Wall Street Journal Here

BMO study finds many Canadians unaware what investments they hold

A BMO study released in April 2012 made note of these results:

Approximately 80 % of Canadians were confident in their investment portfolio, but …..nearly 50% were unaware what investments they actually had..

Many not aware of their investments

BMO made these suggestions when they released the report:

  • The key is to monitor and add to your investments all year round.
  • Consistently examine your portfolio to make sure that diversification exists between stocks, bonds, cash and real-estate
  • Look to the long-term instead of the short-term as often times, Investors are scared by volatile markets and focus on the potential for short term-loss
  • The best fix includes consolidating your assets to keep track of where your money is being held.

As an accountant, I know first hand that many of my clients when I was in public practice were (and most likely are still) part of these stats. I know because I opened up a lot of their mail each April in order to prepare their tax returns (!) It’s one of the many reasons that I felt the need to develop LegacyTracker.

LegacyTracker can help you with these suggestions. Legacy Tracker offers individuals and families a simple, comprehensive and common sense online solution for monitoring, tracking, sharing and safeguarding important financial, legal and estate information.