1. Creating forward knowledge of how much you need and when you need it.

“More is what you want, when you don’t know what you need. Enough is what you need when you know what you want.”

Better financial decisions will always be made when you have advance knowledge of the what, the when, and the how much of your desired lifestyle. Emeritus’ Cplanning process will get you there. People who blindly chase the unknown amount of “more” are the people who make the most financial errors

2. Link your life plan to your financial plan

The key to financial success in the second half of life is to directly connect your desired life plan to your investment plan. If your money managers do not have an intimate understanding of your year by year cash flow demands or the specific portfolios you plan to source these funds from, you are not getting the level of protection you deserve.

3. Your retirement income plan is not a static product, it needs to continually change just like life

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” (Churchill) Confidence in your retirement income plan comes from testing it, stressing it, and readjusting as life unfolds. Only by engaging in a planning process that evolves with your life will you achieve success and security.

4. Don’t do what you have always done

Too few people realize that the investment strategies that served you well during the first half of your life, turn and work to your disadvantage during the second half of life. When the flow of funds switches from adding to your investments (savings years), to drawing down on them (spending years), many investment strategies turn on their head, and quickly turn punitive. As a simple example, “dollar cost averaging” turns to “dollar cost ravaging”.

5. Optimize your recurring retirement income streams

Just like tuning a race car, the best performance is achieved when all parts of the system work together optimally. Your retirement income plan is no different, optimize the plan as a whole to get the most out of it. Integrate your recurring income streams (Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Defined Benefit Pension Plan, Annuities) with all other elements of your plan to optimize the benefits you receive.


Taxes don’t stop with retirement and neither do the opportunities to create tax efficiencies. For many people effective tax planning in retirement can yield greater benefits than it did during their working years. However similar to the necessary changes in investment strategies, those who continue to rely upon the tax strategies of the first half of life will unfortunately create a myriad of punitive tax traps during their second half.

7. Embrace Variability, not averages

Life was not a straight line average before you retired. This reality won’t change after you retire. The second half of life passes through 3 distinct phases – your GoGo years, your SlowGo years and your NoGo years. Each have distinct differences in spending. Add to that the need to replace automobiles, renovations such as a new roof, new furnace, new windows, not to mention special vacation plans. Significant financial advantages are available to those who embrace the reality of the variability in annual spending over the second half of life. Most of the significant strategic financial opportunities lie in the valleys between the years of higher spending.

8. Don’t trust your future to “rules of thumb”

“Conventional wisdom” that served past generations well, is no longer applicable. Baby boomers are in the process of redefining retirement.

Tremendous new opportunities exist for those who find them, devastating risks await those who fail to recognize the new reality.

9. Make small mistakes

Mistakes will be made, all money manages make them. The difference between a good money manager and a bad one is that a good money manager keeps their mistakes small. A money manager whose first priority is to avoid significant market down turns is critical if you want to avoid the mathematics of catastrophe during your draw down years.

10. Work at it

A plan is not a plan until the people who have to live it have played an active role in crafting it. The level of commitment one has in performing tasks is directly proportional to the confidence they have that these activities will lead to successful achievement of the life outcomes most important to them.

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    Client Testimonial

    I am intimidated by investments and complex financial matters, but this gave me more confidence in my capacity to make appropriate decisions. I wish we had done this 10 years ago. One very important aspect of this whole process was working through with my husband what our values, hopes and expectations are.
    — Joan Belford
Emeritus Financial