No matter what their age, many Canadians aren’t putting their retirement vision on paper. Those who have developed a written retirement plan represent a startlingly small minority: from a low of 3.9% in the 30- to 46-year-old segment, to a not-much-better 7.2% in the 57- to 66-year old segment getting ready for retirement.1

What’s the solution? You! That answer appears in the popular Today’s Economy blog by my colleague Kevin Press. He suggests that a financial advisor can help Canadians understand how each of three retirement pieces – the government’s pension system (CPP-QPP/OAS), employer plans and personal savings – fit together.

Unfortunately, only four out of 10 working Canadians (39%) had a workplace pension plan in 2011, down from 42% in 1997.2 How can you help your clients create a plan with enough retirement income to last as long as they live, especially if they don’t have a workplace pension?

Personal savings

Government pensions and any workplace plans your clients have can provide a good foundation of retirement income. If clients don’t have a workplace pension, or if those two pieces don’t provide enough income to meet your clients’ retirement needs, work with them on their personal savings to fill the gap.

Diversifying their portfolios can enrich the personal savings piece of their retirement plan, while safeguarding those assets:

  • Mutual funds – offer the opportunity for growth to reduce inflation’s effects, can provide income to augment lifestyle needs and give access to cash when clients need it
  • Life insurance – protects assets for beneficiaries, in case of a sudden death of a client
  • Health insurance – protects your clients’ assets if they become very sick
  • Participating life insurance – provides permanent protection and the opportunity for tax-preferred cash value growth
  • Insurance GICs, or accumulation annuities – in the guaranteed portion of the portfolio, provide a guaranteed interest rate, flexibility with a laddering strategy and the benefit of designating a beneficiary

The following strategies can help take retirement plans to the next level for your clients, especially your high-net-worth clients:

  • Asset Protection Plan – uses participating life insurance to ensure an efficient transfer of clients’ estates
  • CII Asset Protection Strategy – diverts a small amount of retirement savings to pay for critical illness insurance to protect savings and preserve lifestyle
  • Personal Retirement Account – supplements clients’ retirement income with an exempt life insurance policy cash value on a tax-preferred basis

You can make a difference in your clients’ lives when you detail their vision of retirement. Take a holistic look at their financial situation and promote investment and insurance solutions to meet their retirement needs.

Employer plans

Asking your clients about their employer plans can lead to a conversation about retirement. Does their employer match any of their contributions in their company pension plan? For clients who can buy stock in the company, does their employer match their purchase? Even if it’s only a 50% match up to a certain limit, they should take advantage of what’s considered free money and not leave it on the table. If their employer doesn’t offer these programs, they’ll need an even more robust personal savings plan to meet their retirement needs.

By talking to more of your clients and prospects about government pensions and employer plans, you’ll create more opportunities to discuss their personal savings and increase sales in an expanding market. At the same time, more Canadians will move into the group having a written retirement plan and being better prepared for the future.

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1 2013 Sun Life Canadian Unretirement™ Index

2 Statistics Canada

Rocco Taglioni, Senior Vice-President, Head of Distribution, Individual Insurance and Wealth, is responsible for the overall leadership of Sun Life Financial’s distribution organizations across its Retail business in Canada. His role encompasses the leadership of the distribution company, as President Sun Life Financial Distributors Inc., as well as the Insurance and Wealth wholesaling sales organizations. Through the various leadership teams he oversees the development, direction, and execution of the Distribution strategies centered on wealth management, protection, retirement, and estate and financial planning.

Since joining Sun Life in 2004, Rocco has held various executive leadership roles, including Vice-President Business Development, Group Benefits; Head of Individual Wealth Management; Senior-Vice-President, Client Solutions; and most recently Senior Vice-President, Distribution and Marketing, Individual Insurance and Wealth. Throughout his tenure at Sun Life, Rocco has led various business strategies centered on building, transforming, and evolving organizations and teams to drive higher levels of performance and success.

Rocco has 36 years of experience in strategic leadership in the insurance and investment industries. He has served on and is a member of a number of boards. Rocco is currently President and Chair, Sun Life Financial Distributors (Canada) Inc. and is a member of the Sun Life Financial Investment Services (Canada) Inc. board. He is a member of various industry associations, including Advocis, GAMA Canada, the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute, and the Association of Canadian Pension Management.

Rocco holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from York University.