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> Client Profile: 52-year-old business owners

> Client Profile: 75-year-old retired widow

*For privacy reasons, please note that the names and all identifying facts have been changed.


Retired Couple

Dan and Judy Cohen

52 year old business owners

“We know how to make money. We’ve worked hard and built a successful business. At some point we want to sell but in the meantime we have excess cash that we want to invest for retirement. We’re not looking for anything fancy, just solid, conservative growth … and don’t lose our money”

Dan and Judy Cohen started a plumbing supplies company 25 years ago and have grown it from a two person operation to a rapidly growing business that employs 16 people. Originally they rented space in a building owned by Judy’s father in North York. They have since bought an industrial building just north of the city worth approximately $2.5 million.

The Cohen’s own a home in North York and a cottage in Muskoka. They have no debt. They still love to go to work and do not foresee retiring for at least 10 years. However, they are getting a bit tired of the cold winters and wouldn’t mind spending some time in Florida. In the summers, the entire family enjoys the cottage.

They have three children, Jacob (25), Dave (23) and Amy (19). Jacob completed a computer science degree and has started his own I.T. business. Dave lives at home and is in his second year of law school at Osgoode. Amy is in second year science at Western University. She is considering medicine or dentistry as a profession.

What keeps them up at night?

  • Debating whether or not to move
  • Considering buying a home in Florida
  • Concerns about employees
  • Realizing that they have not made any transition plans

Wyndham created the following solutions for Dan and Judy:

  • Created projection of funds needed to support Judy and Dan through retirement starting in 10 years. Estimated the annual savings required to accomplish this goal.
  • Developed a comprehensive investment strategy using various registered, non-registered and corporate accounts. After assessing the Cohen’s risk tolerance, cash flow, tax situation and projected retirement needs, we were able to select the appropriate asset allocation and investment choices.
  • Reviewed their company’s corporate structure. Suggested the use of a holding company for investments. Advised on using different shareholder classes to distribute dividends to their children in a tax efficient manner. Provided contacts for lawyers well versed in small business reorganizations.
  • Discussed pros and cons of purchasing a property in Florida. Gave our opinion on different ownership structures if they decide to invest in a U.S. property. Referred to several knowledgeable cross border lawyers for recommendations.
  • Explored business expansion and employee issues. Gave contact information to several experienced employment lawyers if they wish to discuss employment contracts for staff.
  • Evaluated their insurance coverage and recommended business overhead expense insurance for their growing company. Also discussed key person insurance for one essential salesperson who is responsible for many of their new accounts.
  • In conjunction with their accountant, devised a transition framework to sell their business in 10 years. This plan will be reviewed annually and initiated in 6 years. 

What Dan and Judy appreciated from their experience

  • Knowledge and expertise in dealing with multiple concerns.
  • Diligence in providing detailed options so they could choose the path most comfortable for them.
  • Identification of and proactive planning for future events.
  • Trustworthiness, confidentiality and prompt attention.

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Retired Woman

Margaret Tanner

75-year-old retired widow

“My parents lost everything in the depression and I’m scared my money will run out.”

Margaret Tanner is a retired teacher living in Kingston, Ontario. She is in good health. She owns a condo downtown near the water and a cottage on Stoney Lake. Her husband died three years ago from cancer. Margaret lives on her teacher’s pension as well as savings from her husband’s RRIF and a CPP pension. She also received a lump sum life insurance settlement when her husband passed away.

Margaret has three children, two married and one divorced, and six grandchildren. They all like to spend time at the cottage, which she loves.

What keeps Margaret up at night?

  • Not having enough money to last through retirement
  • Spending too much
  • How to pass on the family cottage to the next generation
  • Who will take care of her when she is unable

Wyndham created the following solutions for Margaret:

  • Created a cash flow summary and retirement projection reflecting Margaret’s income from her work and CPP pensions as well as her personal savings. The projection gave Margaret comfort in knowing that her finances are in excellent shape.
  • Developed and implemented an investment plan to generate a steady income from her RRIF and non-registered investments. The dividend and interest income generated will supplement her guaranteed pensions. Investments were designed to minimize volatility and provide steady dividend growth. 
  • A RRIF withdrawal schedule was designed for Margaret in order to draw down RRIF assets in a reasonable time and still keep her income under the clawback threshold for government benefits.
  • Established a liquid emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses.
  • Initiated discussions with Margaret and her family regarding assisted living and long term care options in the event that Margaret requires more help. Projections were created to fund the possible options.
  • Scenarios were presented to keep the cottage in the family and to pay for the eventual capital gains tax bill on the cottage appreciation. In the end, an insurance solution was adopted to fund the transfer of the cottage. 
  • A semi-annual review of assets and income was set to ensure Margaret’s retirement plans are on track.

What Margaret appreciated from her experience

  • A friendly and approachable team that was always ready to listen.
  • Advisors who cared about not only her finances, but her life.
  • Gave recommendations and options tailored to her individual situation.
  • Relieved her anxiety about money matters through clear explanations and comforting reassurance. 

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