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Doug Dahmer says Canadians lose a fortune by skipping strategic tax planning.supplied

Want a richer retirement? Too many Canadians needlessly hand over far more in taxes than they have to during retirement, missing out on the opportunity to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in their own pockets. The secret to achieving serious tax savings is making better funding choices during your spending years, says Doug Dahmer, chief executive officer at Retirement Navigator in Burlington, Ont.

“Unfortunately, most Canadians – and more troubling, most financial advisors – lack the knowledge and tools to make the proper choices of where and when to source required cash flow during your draw-down years. Significant amounts of incremental cash flow can be uncovered by following a strategically designed retirement income plan. This ‘found money’ gives you the freedom to do more in retirement, worry less and potentially retire sooner.”

When doing retirement planning, most advisors focus all their attention on determining how much money you need to save before you can afford to stop working, says Mr. Dahmer. Their singular goal is to grow your portfolio to achieve the pre-determined number.

What they’re missing, he says, is how much income tax will continue to eat into your retirement cash flow. A retirement income plan that specifies how to reduce your tax obligations, and generate incremental cash flow, can be a key component to reducing what he calls your “how much is enough” number.

The transition from your working years to retirement also requires a shift in goals, from achieving growth to preserving and improving the purchasing power of your accumulated nest egg. Tax planning is the easiest way to accomplish this and, with the right advice, is completely within your control, says Mr. Dahmer.

Though he has been designing and deploying retirement income strategies for clients for over 30 years, he didn’t start his career in financial services. After completing his MBA, Mr. Dahmer spent 16 years working for multinational corporations, building corporate strategic plans. He says his colleagues were highly talented executives, quickly climbing the corporate ladder based on the quality of their business decisions. But in conversations with them, he learned that the quality of their personal financial choices was not of the same caliber.

“Their excuse for this disconnect: ‘We don’t have access to the types of systems and tools that we rely upon at work. Give us access to the proper tools and we’ll make better choices in our personal lives’,” recalls Mr. Dahmer.

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By thinking ahead, retirees can optimize their cash flow, minimize their tax obligations over years and enrich themselves.Getty Images

That triggered a career change. Mr. Dahmer recognized the approaching demise of corporate-sponsored defined benefit pension plans. He knew this would leave most Canadians on their own, with the daunting retirement funding responsibilities previously performed by pension plan managers. So, he became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Trust and Estate Planning Practitioner (TEP) and focused his time and energy on building tools to help Canadians make better retirement funding choices.

That includes Retirement Navigator’s proprietary software. Mr. Dahmer says it’s the key to uncovering the clues to identify the most tax-efficient cash flow sourcing choices over time, ones that align with the expenditures required to fund lifestyle choices.

Instead of playing the long game, he says retirees tend to muddle through their lifestyle choices without a forward-looking road map. That leads to cobbling together inefficient funding and tax strategies. The evidence is how often individuals find themselves caught in inescapable retirement tax traps.

The solution, says Mr. Dahmer, is employing tax-aware funding strategies over the entire tenure of your retirement. “Often, people are wise to pay a little more tax earlier to pay significantly less later. It is the accumulation of many tax-saving opportunities, over the many years of retirement, which translates into the significant amounts of incremental cash flow that are available.”

Mr. Dahmer builds retirement income plans that frequently generate $300,000 to $700,000 in incremental cash flow over the tenure of his clients’ retirement. “But anyone, regardless of their financial picture, can make smarter tax moves in retirement with the right planning.”

Want to get a better understanding of the relevancy of strategic tax planning to your circumstances? Book a complimentary assessment with Doug Dahmer. In less than 30 minutes, he’ll project the amount of incremental cash flow that can be revealed through tax-saving funding opportunities. To schedule a virtual meeting, visit

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Retirement Navigator. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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