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Couple aim to boost their savings and investments now that they are nearly debt-free – The Globe and Mail

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Barbara and Burt.

Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Barbara and Burt are laying the groundwork to retire from their respective jobs in June, 2022. Barbara, 58, earns $104,000 a year, while Burt, 63, earns $30,000. He also gets $4,800 a year in Canada Pension Plan benefits.

The mortgage on their Alberta home will be paid off by year-end, as will their line of credit. Apart from Barbara’s pension, which will pay her about $30,000 a year at the age of 60, their savings are modest, so their No. 1 goal is to “save and invest as much as possible,” Barbara writes in an e-mail.

They wonder if they need all the different life insurance policies they have, whether they should manage their own investments using a discount broker and when Barbara should begin collecting government benefits.

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Their retirement spending goal is $50,000 a year after tax. They plan to spend their postwork years travelling in Canada and “maybe abroad,” doing volunteer work, and maybe opening a home-based business.

“How soon can we realistically retire?” Barbara asks.

We asked Tom Feigs, a financial planner at Money Coaches Canada in Calgary, to look at Barbara and Burt’s situation.

What the expert says

After they have paid off their mortgage and line of credit, Burt and Barbara want to bump up their savings substantially to $5,000 a month as a final push to retirement, Mr. Feigs says.

He recommends they both open tax-free savings accounts and transfer non-registered funds to their TFSAs “such that their TFSA contribution room of $69,500 each is used up.” This will shelter growth in the TFSA accounts from tax.

To supplement Barbara’s pension with retirement savings, the planner suggests Barbara continue to use up her registered retirement savings plan contribution room each year ($4,800) until she retires. He does not recommend contributing to Burt’s RRSP because his income is relatively low.

“The balance of savings should first go to their TFSA accounts as contribution room permits and then to non-registered accounts,” Mr. Feigs says. When employment earnings end and savings stop, they should continue to transfer funds from their non-registered accounts to their TFSAs each January until the non-registered accounts are empty.

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He recommends Barbara start Canada Pension Plan benefits at the age of 65 rather than taking CPP earlier. “This serves to create higher lifetime income for basic spending.” Barbara and Burt should start collecting Old Age Security benefits at 65.

“Barbara and Burt will indeed be able to retire in June, 2022,” Mr. Feigs says. “They will have no debt, good pension income and their savings will peak at about $400,000,” he adds. They will be able to sustain after-tax lifestyle spending of up to $64,000 a year (in today’s dollars), surpassing their goal of $50,000.

“It’s nice to know financial independence is close at hand,” the planner says. “Barbara and Burt have some lifestyle flexibility, so they could spend more if they chose to.”

In preparing his forecast, the planner assumed a rate of return on investments of 5 per cent a year after fees, which gradually becomes more conservative over their retirement years. He assumes an inflation rate of 2 per cent and that they both live to the age of 95.

Life insurance is a way to support the survivor in case one or the other dies before financial independence is reached, Mr. Feigs says. “In the case of Barbara and Burt, they are within one year of being financially independent based on their $50,000 retirement lifestyle spending target,” he says.

As Barbara suspects, the couple have more life insurance than they need.

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Barbara has group insurance at work, which will end when she retires, and she has term insurance of $35,000.

Barbara also has whole life insurance with a cash surrender value of $18,000 and a death benefit of $65,000. Burt has a term policy for $105,000 and a universal life policy for $100,000. The planner recommends Burt cancel the universal life policy immediately because Barbara doesn’t need the insurance money, and that they cancel both term life policies in one year. He suggests they sit down with their insurance agent when Barbara retires and explore whether her whole life insurance has continued value.

Next, Mr. Feigs looks at the couple’s investments and how they might manage them differently. Excluding their chequing accounts, Barbara has $140,000 in GICs with the rest managed by an investment adviser. She has asked whether she should “divorce” her financial adviser and go solo using a discount brokerage.

Mr. Feigs recommends she reduce her GICs (safe cash savings) from $140,000 to $30,000 and invest the balance with a single, low-fee investing service, where it should be invested for medium to long-term growth. “That way, it’s easier to monitor performance and keep the draw-down of savings on track,” the planner says.

The planner suggests three distinct options, each with different fees and requiring different degrees of involvement:

  • Self-directed using an online brokerage, where fees are the lowest (0.1 per cent to 0.5 per cent) and clients make all the decisions;
  • Actively managed index portfolios, where fees are 0.7 per cent to 0.9 per cent and clients also get full service planning/investment advice;
  • Actively managed, low-fee mutual fund companies, which charge more (0.8 per cent to 1.2 per cent) and clients also get full service investment advice.

Client situation

The people: Barbara and Burt, 58 and 63

The problem: Can they both retire in mid-2022 with $50,000 a year after tax in spending? Do they need all that life insurance? Should they switch to a discount brokerage to lower their fees?

The plan: Pay off debt quickly and increase savings with the extra cash flow. Maximize Barbara’s RRSP contributions and both Barbara and Burt’s TFSA savings. Cancel the term life and universal insurance policies. Review investing service.

The payoff: Financial freedom

Monthly net income: $8,970

Assets: Bank accounts $5,100; GICs $140,000; her RRSP $30,000; his RRSP $25,000; non-registered $68,000; estimated present value of her DB pension plan $500,000; house $350,000. Total $1.1-million

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Monthly outlays: Mortgage $1,100; line of credit $1,500; property insurance $105; property tax $205; property maintenance $50; cellphone/landline $155; electricity $150; natural gas $75; city services $50; cable/internet $160; health care $50; life insurance $330; vehicle insurance $200; fuel $200; vehicle maintenance $115; parking $5; pets $200; groceries $800; personal care/vitamins $30; entertainment, dining, lunches $400; clothing, shoes $50; gifts $100; charity $100; bank fees $10; RRSP $400. Total: $6,540. Of the surplus, $2,000 would go to newly opened TFSAs.

Liabilities: Mortgage $8,000; line of credit $20,000. Total: $28,000

Want a free financial facelift? E-mail finfacelift@gmail.com.

Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.

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Canadian pension giant writes off $150mn Celsius investment – Financial Times

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Canada’s second-largest pension fund manager has written off its $150mn investment in crypto lending platform Celsius Network and conceded it went into crypto “too soon”.

Charles Emond, chief executive of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), said its investment in Celsius last October marked the end of its foray into the digital asset industry.

Celsius became one of the biggest names to be caught by the sharp collapse in the price of digital assets in the spring. In June it froze customer withdrawals and weeks later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York, a move that revealed a $1.2bn hole in the company’s balance sheet.

CDPQ, the $304bn investment firm that manages pension plans and insurance programmes in Quebec, said on Wednesday the stake in Celsius was written off “out of prudence”.

“For us it’s clear when we look at all of this, even if the last chapter has not been written, that we went in too soon into a sector that was in transition, with a business that had to manage extremely quick growth,” Emond said.

The group’s comments on Wednesday mark a sharp contrast to October, when it said its Celsius investment was a sign of its “conviction” in blockchain technology.

The write-off of the group’s Celsius holdings — a small slice of its overall portfolio — came as the fund manager reported a C$28bn ($22bn) fall in assets in the six months to the end of June this year. CDPQ said its portfolio was hit by a “rare and simultaneous” fall in both equity and bond markets, which led to a 7.9 per cent hit on its portfolio.

“The first six months of the year were very challenging,” said Emond, adding that its portfolio had still performed better than its benchmark, which was down 10.5 per cent.

Responding publicly for the first time since Celsius’s slide into bankruptcy, Emond said: “Whether it is Celsius or any other investment, needless to say that when we write it off, we are disappointed with the outcome and not happy.”

Emond said he was aware there were challenges regarding crypto investments, but that “perhaps we underestimated the challenges”.

He felt “a lot of empathy” for Celsius investors, and said the fund manager was “reserving our comments and exploring our legal options” related to the situation.

Asked if he regretted the Celsius investment, Emond, said: “As an investor it is a constant and never-ending learning process. You learn and make sure you don’t repeat the mistake.” He added the company never takes “any dollar loss lightly”.

Emond declined to go into detail on the internal repercussions of the investment. However, he added that “the teams will be accountable, as they always are”.

He also confirmed that CDPQ is not interested in further investments into crypto but said the pension fund manager was still optimistic on the future of blockchain technology. “The straight answer would be yes . . . you know, in these disruptive technologies, there’s ups and downs.”

What does the future hold for digital currencies? Our digital finance news editor Philip Stafford and digital assets correspondent Scott Chipolina had a broad discussion on an Instagram live about this topic, including the impact of regulation and inflation on crypto. Watch it here.

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Local startups benefit from $35000 investment – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Kingston Economic Development Corporation is investing $35,000 in 12 entrepreneurs in Kingston through their Starter Company Plus program.

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These micro grants will aid in the growing of the local startups in getting their feet off of the ground alongside business training and personal coaching for business owners.

According to Rob Tamblyn, Business Development Manager of Small & Medium Enterprises – the pandemic as resulted in many Kingstonians pursuing their own businesses.

“We are proud to be able to offer support and guidance to them through the Kingston Economic Development,” said Tamblyn.

The wide array of businesses that will benefit from this grant span from tattoo and spa services to contracting and driving schools, he said.

“Since the pandemic, we have certainly seen an uptick in the number of inquiries from people who are wanting to go into business for themselves.” Tamblyn said, explaining the need for funding.

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Kingston Economic Development Corporation was created with the mission of supporting the Kingston economy through providing mentorship and funds to a variety of business enterprises.

Little Friday is one of the twelve businesses in the spring cohort, Soren Gregersen and Ciara Roberts, co-founders of the new video production company, spoke to the Whig about the program.

Officially opening it’s doors in February of this year, Gregersen and Roberts heard of the Starter Company Plus Program from a business that participated last year.

“We’re going to spend the money on (Search Engine Optimization) to get some online presence and a bit of money on gear so that we can up our production value and capacity,” Gregersen said, referring to the vitality of a virtual presence in early stages.

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“We’re fortunate in Kingston to be able to offer two separate cohorts, one in the spring and one in the fall.” Tamblyn said. “So we’re able to inject $70,000 into startups or existing businesses seeking to expand.”

Each year, the corporation provides $35,000 in micro grants for each cohort to local businesses with funding from the Government of Ontario. Business owners are able to receive up to $5,000 based on the strength of their business pitches, decided on by a panel of community judges.

Accepted participants not only receive funding, but also attend a week-long virtual boot camp covering market research, digital marketing, small business financing, and hiring practice to ensure that each entrepreneur is set up with the resources and information for success.

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Roberts told the Whig that the boot camp and additional resources offered by the program has been invaluable. “It gave us a week to really sit down and put pen to paper on what we wanted little Friday to be about.”

“We focused on figuring out long term goals, marketing strategies, and marketing sales forecasts (in the boot camp)”

The pair has been receiving one on one coaching from business experts where time is allotted to get specific on obstacles that arise in the early days of business.

Interested start-up owners can apply to the Fall 2022 cohort from now until September 11 through the Invest Kingston website.

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Federal government touts London, Ont. region as possible site for investment by Boeing – CTV News London

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A pair of initiatives aimed at attracting high-skilled jobs to the region have captured the attention of the federal government.

On Tuesday, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Philippe Champagne sat down for an interview with CTV News London to discuss the growing electric vehicle (EV) sector and other high-tech industries in southwestern Ontario.

“I don’t know if you’ve been following me!” joked a surprised Champagne when asked about rumours that aerospace company Boeing is considering a significant investment in London and the surrounding region.

He says talks are ongoing with Boeing about further investment in Canada — and confirms this region is in the running.

“London has the key ingredients that you [need] to attract this type of investment in the industry,” the minister explains.

Boeing is one of the largest aerospace design and manufacturing companies in the world.

Champagne suggested he is targeting investments that reduce the environmental impact of the aerospace industry, in particular, greener propulsion.

“What we’ve done in the automotive sector I dream of doing in the aerospace sector, which is greening the industry,” he adds.

Earlier in the day Champagne was joined by London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos on a tour of Toyota in Woodstock, Ont. focussed on EV investments and technology.

Fragiskatos says the federal government’s ongoing push for electric vehicle and component production in Ontario brings high paying jobs to the region.

“We’re talking about close to $40/hr plus benefits, particularly in this economy its jobs like that that are going to get people through,” says Fragiskatos.

In June, the City of St. Thomas announced the purchase of a 325 hectare (800 acre) parcel of serviced land in the community’s northeast corner aimed at attracting an EV battery plant.

Champagne was aware of the shovel-ready property and enthusiastic about the opportunity.

He believes the EV industry wants to reduce the carbon footprint of battery production, making Ontario’s mostly renewable energy hydro grid very attractive.

“I would applaud what is being done in St. Thomas, and certainly that is the type of creativity that we need,” he says. 

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