by Salman Ahmed
While watching Netflix’s Tiger King the other day my wife exclaimed, “there has to be something better to do than watch this stupidity”. Turns out she was wrong. The over-the-top cast of characters was too much to turn off, but her thought did prompt Steadyhand’s own cast to suggest investment-related things people might want to do with their newfound time.
Some of these tasks are for everyone to consider, while others are specific to accumulators or decumulators.
- Is your will current? Many lawyers are using video conference. Signing the will while maintaining social distance is still possible.
- Ensure beneficiaries on accounts are up-to-date. We list your beneficiaries in your quarterly statement.
- High-interest debt. It’s hard for any investment strategy to compete with interest-heavy debt. You should consider paying down the debt or consolidating it if you find a lower rate.
- Expected major life changes. Retirement, marriage and a home purchase have an impact on your investment plan. Let your advisor know if anything is coming up.
- Tax-loss selling in your taxable investment account. If the market value in your investment account is below the book value, talk with your advisor on ways you can harvest the loss.
- Review insurance. Your insurance needs may have changed since when you first purchased your policy. There might also be better products for your needs.
- Know your contribution room. Having this information handy for your TFSA or RRSP is useful. You can look this up through your CRA portal.
- Reduce complexity where possible. We’re big believers that simpler is often better. For example, many investors work with four or more investment providers. Consider narrowing that down.
- Max employer contribution in your Group RRSP. If your employer contributes to your RRSP, check to make sure you’re taking full advantage of this perk.
- RESP government grants. There are federal and provincial schemes that match a portion of your RESP contributions. You might have to apply for them. You can also catch up if you’ve missed out on previous matches.
- Set up a plan to invest ‘idle’ money. We’ve encouraged investors sitting on cash to have a plan to get into the markets. We can help.
- Explore whether distributions should be reinvested or taken in cash. You must pay taxes on any distributions you receive in a taxable investment account. In retirement it may make sense to take the payments in cash rather than have the proceeds reinvested. Talk to your advisor about what suits your needs.
- Keep advisors informed of your retirement income needs. Income needs can change and for many it takes a few years to know what your needs actually are in retirement.
- Does your mix of stocks and bonds reflect your life-stage? Rarely does retirement mean a sudden change in your portfolio. But there are subtle changes you can consider.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, nor is it in order of priority. But with all of us spending more time at home, this list may help you get caught up on those tasks you need to do as the CEO of your portfolio. Once you’re done reading Carole Baskin conspiracy theories that is.
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