July 2020

We’re three and a half months into the COVID-19 crisis!  It feels like it’s been around forever!  Prior to COVID-19, most people showed a remarkable lack of urgency with respect to organizing their financial lives.  They seemed to attach more urgency to buying hockey, basketball and baseball tickets.

COVID-19 has reminded us how fragile our lives are.  Despite this, I suspect most people haven’t used the extra time they have available to put their financial houses in order.  Here’s my top 10 list of items to address, in no particular order:

1.   Wills and POA’s should be reviewed to see whether they need to be updated.

2.   Review all insurance policies to see whether they fit with your current circumstances.

3.   Restructure debts to take advantage of lower interest rates.

4.   Use the CRA 1% interest rate, as of July 1st, for loans to family members and trusts.

5.   Since values have declined, consider an estate freeze for your assets.  It’s also an opportunity to complete a second freeze on assets that had been frozen in the past.

6.   Arrange to borrow funds for investment purposes and lock in a low interest rate for the next five years, at least.

7.   Given the turmoil in the equity markets, review your investment strategy.

8.   Consider how you can earn a better return on the fixed income component of your portfolio in a low interest rate environment for the foreseeable future.

9.   Restructure your finances to reduce your family’s overall tax burden.

10. Review your annual expenses and decide what you can eliminate.

Stop dithering and get on with it!

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