What We Do
We believe our role as your transition planner is to coordinate the bevy of attorneys insurance agents, accountants, stockbrokers, etc. to ensure your best interests are served at all times, and focused on the achievement of your goals and objectives. We believe “Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself.”
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Our Planning Approach
Our Transition Experience™ starts with you…your spouse/partner, your family, your dreams, your goals, your objectives. It doesn’t start with a conversation about your investments, a financial product or a particular tax saving strategy. It starts with you, what you are trying to achieve, where you are trying to go and what you are trying to do. It is a kin to knowing what we are building so we know what tools to use. If we are building a roof, we don’t need a trowel… likewise if we are building a concrete pad, we don’t need a hammer. Once we know where we determine the feasibility of getting there and what needs to happen to ensure you get there. Overall, your plan provides the context in which to place day-to-day decisions. Changes in tax constantly affect your ability to achieve your goals. Therefore, financial planning is a lifelong process.
Every financial plan contains in-depth analysis of eight areas with a focus on achieving your desired lifestyle now, and into the future.
This part of your plan addresses any specific issues related to packing, moving and transporting your personal property when relocating to the other country. Items like the transportation of pets, guns, cars or a wine collection have unique issues that need to be dealt with in advance of your move.
Immigration/ Citizenship Planning
We help you design an immigration strategy that will allow you the freedom to return back to your country of origin remaining unencumbered by the tax authorities. Alternatively, maybe it is your desire to become a citizen in both countries so you can live and work anywhere your desires take you. A solid immigration plan is the foundation to your cross border lifestyle.
Currency, Asset and Debt Analysis
This section shows you how to avoid the risks of fluctuating currencies on your financial situation and how to get the best rates on currency exchange. In addition, we develop a net worth statement and then analyze the ownership of your assets between spouses, look at the domicile of assets in Canada vs. the US and determine the best way to manage any debt(s) in either country. Your net worth statement then serves as a benchmark to evaluate the progress to your goals.
Income Tax Planning/ Preparation
This is a complex area that is wrought with landmines particularly with the IRS aggressively pursuing those with foreign accounts. We start by reviewing your past three years tax returns to ensure they are prepared correctly, in compliance with the tax authorities and with a view to minimizing your tax liability. Then, in anticipation of your move, we can quantify your tax exposure in the other country and identify the tax implications you face. We also prepare Canada/US tax returns but understand that tax preparation is purely a historical event sometimes leading to unintended consequences. Tax planning reviews your current and projected tax situation and looks for opportunities to optimize your current and future tax situation. We also ensure any tax planning gets implemented because we prepare both US and Canadian tax returns.
Retirement and Education Planning
We don’t like the term retirement as it implies the unscheduled pursuit of leisure which in our experience, grows old. Instead, we prefer the term becoming financial independent as it begs the question “Independent to do what?” To understand where you are at, we run a set of detailed projections out to age 100 using current assets, current and future income and expenses to determine the feasibility of you achieving your lifestyle objectives. This helps provide insights into what actions, if any, may be necessary to achieve your goals. Education planning determines how much of your resources are required, at what point in time and what saving needs to take place to fund the future education liabilities for your children, etc.
Financial Risk Management
Here we examine your current situation for risk exposures that could thwart your plans and determine the best course of action to address any risk exposures discovered, usually by sharing those risks with insurance companies. For example, fire, theft, an accident, illness, disability, death, lawsuit, etc. are all potential events that could devastate what has taken a lifetime to build.
Here we help you arrange your affairs so you can:
- continue to control your property while alive;
- provide for the needs of loved ones in the event of disability; and
- give what you have to whom you want, when you want, the way you want, at the lowest overall cost.
The focus is on control first and tax dollars, professional fees and court costs saved second. Then, we help you find the right attorney that can meet your unique needs.
To start, we develop an Investment Policy Statement that outlines your investment objectives and how we aim to achieve that for you over your lifetime. These objectives are derived from your financial plan and help us design an investment portfolio to achieve your required rate of return. Once we all agree on a path forward, we implement your plan in a cost and tax effective manner. On-going monitoring, reporting and rebalancing of your portfolio is required over the long-term to ensure it is achieving your goals and risk tolerance.