One of the biggest worries people have when managing their wealth is knowing how much money to spend today, while still having enough for retirement and to possibly transfer to the next generation.
According to a survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) more than half (51 percent) of respondents in Canada say an inability to predict the future is their greatest challenge in meeting life's goals. Often, that includes knowing how much wealth to set aside for a comfortable retirement, including future costs of aging such as health care, while also living life to the fullest by pursuing hobbies, traveling and spending more quality time with loved ones.
The new face of wealth and legacy research, commission by RBC Wealth Management, surveyed 1,051 high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs), including 259 respondents in Canada, from March to May, 2018. The survey explores how the meanings of legacy and wealth are being redefined across regions, genders and generations.
Women and the bucket list
The issue of not outliving your assets — and still enjoying life — is of particular concern to women given they traditionally live longer than men and may need to financially prepare to live alone for many years. The challenge is figuring out how to cover the cost of living — regardless of your lifestyle — while also financing your personal passions and potentially setting aside money to give to the next generation. You may want to donate assets to charitable causes, too.
Jennifer Lemieux, vice president and branch manager with RBC Dominion Securities, works with a number of women on establishing a wealth management plan, which includes earmarking funds used to knock items off their bucket list.
"Frankly, the first step is getting women to take the time to make a bucket list," says Lemieux.
She encourages women to start small by thinking about one or two things they want to do, or keep doing, in their lifetime. That may include travelling, perhaps buying a cottage or an apartment close to the grandkids, or maybe it's purchasing a new red convertible.
"Then they start to get excited," she says of the bucket list conversation. Lemieux also encourages clients to do the things they love, if they can afford it, while they're still in good health. "You never know what unexpected events life might bring. Don't wait to pursue the things in life you enjoy."
For many, a fulfilling retirement is spending more quality time with family. The EIU survey shows 44 percent of women in Canada believe their most important life goal is strengthening relationships with their family.
Lemieux says that may include traveling with kids and grandkids, which may require them to fund all or part of the trip. She encourages women to see it as an investment in a life experience, if it makes them happy. "Remember, it's not only money you're giving to the next generation, it's the experiences you're having with your children and grandchildren that will stay with you all for your lifetimes," she says.
Regardless of what's on the bucket list, Lemieux encourages women to make one — at any age — and build a financial plan to help make it happen.
"Often, my role is simply helping define their bucket list and then helping them to understand what they're able to do," Lemieux says. "It takes courage to take control of your finances and to execute on your plan, but done well it's the greatest gift you can give to yourself."
Eighty-seven percent of women in Canada say they are in control of their legacy, yet just half say they are the primary decision maker when it comes to financial planning.
Mixing work and pleasure
For some, living out a bucket list is less about abandoning work and more about finding the extra time to spend with family and to pursue personal passions. Many Baby Boomers, especially those who run their own business, don't want to fully retire to the golf course or poolside. Enjoying their careers is part of their bucket list, says Sonia Park-Root, vice president and private wealth consultant at RBC Wealth Management.
"They are enjoying life and their work is something they love," says Park-Root. "It's not that they don't want to spend money. It's almost that they're conflicted between their passion for their business and their passion for life. For them, it's a balancing act around not feeling guilty about spending too much time on their business — because they love it — and not spending enough time with their family — because they love them too."
Park-Root says her clients in this position seek the security of a wealth management plan (and a succession plan in the case of business owners) to ensure they can take time away from work to enjoy the personal pursuits that energize and complete them.
"At the end of the day, if you ask them what's really important, they say their families. It's a matter of building in time and being present," she says.