Focusing on the big picture

Focusing on the big picture

Fall 2006

T.E. Wealth provides comprehensive wealth management and strategic group services that encompass a global view of client needs. Here’s what some of our consultants have to say about how individual and corporate clients alike can benefit from our big picture view.

“We have the insight to ask the key questions.” – Gilles Couturier, Regional Vice-President, Montreal

Through our total wealth management approach we are able to integrate the different facets of tax, investments and estate for optimal wealth management solutions. Integration means that we have the necessary insight to ask the key questions and draw better conclusions about a client’s finances and actions required.

We look at investments, insurance, retirement, tax and estate planning for a global view of a client’s situation. And we encourage both spouses and partners to be involved so that their financial actions are working together and not at cross-purposes. To understand how our total wealth management approach benefits clients consider the following.

An executive of a Canadian subsidiary of a U.S. company receives stock options for shares of the company, which are only traded in the U.S. As a result, the executive may be exposed to U.S. estate tax even though she is not a U.S. citizen or resident. The tax is a wealth tax based on the value of U.S. assets at the time of death. With knowledge of the executive’s situation, we would examine all of her other assets to monitor and minimize her U.S. estate tax exposure, which can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars if left unchecked.

“For corporate clients, we provide strategic and tactical financial education programs.” – Ismo Heikkila, National Director, Group Services, Toronto

Our Group Services can touch the employee experience in a variety of ways from financial education to individual financial counselling and retirement planning. These programs can promote the company as a “best” employer, aiding in employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

As an example, one of our programs, Understanding Your Benefits, targets new hires within the first six months of employment and presents benefits within the context of personal financial planning. Not only does this foster greater appreciation of the benefits program the company provides, it also helps empower employees to make the best use of their benefits. When our strategic financial education programs are introduced to assist employees with planning for their current and future financial security, companies also fulfill the good governance requirements for capital accumulation plans such as defined contribution pension plans, Group RRSPs and other employer-sponsored savings and retirement plans.

“Tax preparation is a pivotal service.” – Gayle Harris, Regional Vice-President, Calgary

In my experience, total wealth management is the right approach for most clients. It’s really a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Full financial planning leads to better investment management; full investment management results in better financial planning. And when you are looking at a client’s total financial picture, tax preparation is a pivotal service.

By completing the tax returns for my clients I can give better advice in all areas – income planning, investments and estate planning. Keeping an eye on taxes is especially important when monitoring spending in retirement. You need to know how much tax someone will pay in order to plan income effectively and ensure that they aren’t at risk of running out of money. Understanding the tax situation also comes into play with more effective investment management. With in-depth knowledge of the client’s tax position, I can take steps to minimize the tax consequences when adjusting investments or rebalancing a portfolio.

“We deliver financial education that empowers employees.” – Karen Hall, Vice President, Group Services, Calgary

T.E. Wealth’s comprehensive financial education programs for corporate clients are designed specifically to empower employees to achieve financial security. But learning styles differ dramatically within organizations so programs aimed at educating employees about their benefit, pension and retirement options must address this reality. Our strategic approach to financial education accommodates diverse learning styles through a variety of delivery methods ranging from individual financial counseling and group workshops to online access to tutorials and a library of articles on financial topics. From experience, we know that education must be ongoing to be effective, delivering life-stage appropriate knowledge throughout the employee’s career.

Prior to recommending a financial education strategy, we conduct a full analysis of the employee audience and work with the organization’s management group to fully understand their situation. Each program takes into consideration the company’s environment, mix of demographics, geography and learning styles present. And program delivery can be periodic or rotational to provide access over time to all employees in a cost-effective manner. Ultimately, our goal is to work hand in hand with our corporate clients to ensure education programs are relevant, cost-effective and give employees what they need to make the right decisions to achieve financial independence.

“We have all the expertise in one person” – Sam Chinniah, Senior Vice-President, Toronto

Everything that affects my clients financially is my concern and I want to be the first person they consult when they are selling a house, changing jobs, thinking about retiring, going through a divorce or death in the family or acting as an executor for an estate.

In the old days, people would go to their accountant in April for their income tax return, work with a broker throughout the year on investments and consult a lawyer when they wanted to address estate issues. The problem with this approach is that it was left to the client to keep an eye on their total financial picture and coordinate with the various experts. When clients come to us, we look after all aspects of their wealth management, regularly monitoring and managing their financial plan and investments. Busy executives and professionals don’t have time to keep on top of everything associated with their finances. At T.E. Wealth, we conveniently offer all of the expertise needed through one trusted advisor.

“We show employees the real value of their benefits.” – Sophie Labonne, Manager of Financial Education Services, Montreal

Recently I worked with a company where the word amongst the employee group was that the pension plan wasn’t worth their participation. Not surprisingly, participation in the plan was poor and the investment choices among those who were participating revealed a lack of understanding of how to use the plan to their advantage. Another common occurrence is that employees think they don’t have to plan for retirement because they have a pension plan. In both of these cases, employees are likely to end up disappointed and the company’s good intentions of helping employees prepare for retirement is unlikely to be realized.

When a company invests in providing employee benefits, they want to know they are getting value for their efforts and that means making sure employees recognize the real value of their benefits. Through objective financial education, I show employees how to benefit as much as possible from what their employer offers. Working through the calculations to see exactly what the company offers lets employees plan ahead of time to get the retirement they want and avoid disappointment. Ultimately, financial education is all about empowering employees to understand and manage the benefits that their employer provides and take control of their personal financial situation well in advance of retirement.

Wealth management for the next generation

Wondering how the kids will handle their inheritance? You’re not alone. This is an issue that causes concern among many parents today. One way to alleviate your concern is to educate your children on financial matters well before they receive their inheritance. For some time now, T.E. Wealth has been helping clients do just that.

Consider having your T.E. Financial Consultant meet with your adult children when they start their first job to discuss the basics of financial planning and investing. With our help, many parents choose to set up a “training portfolio” for their children so that we can guide them through the investment process.

Sam Chinniah, Senior Vice-President at T.E. Wealth in Toronto has assisted many clients with the financial education of their children. “I find that a training portfolio is an excellent opportunity to teach my clients’ children about investing and financial management. Parents are confident that the children are in good hands and that they have been trained to handle the money they will eventually inherit,” said Sam. If you’d like to make sure your children will be ready to manage their inheritance when the time comes, talk to your T.E. Financial Consultant.

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These articles are for general informational purposes only. Please obtain professional advice before taking any action based on this information. No endorsement or approval of any third parties or their advice, information, products or services should be implied by any references to third parties contained in any article. Trademarks cited in these articles are the respective properties of their owners.

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