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For too long, financial advisor Mike Preto would come across investors in their 70s and 80s with big portfolios who never had the confidence to spend their hard-earned and well-invested money.

“They were always worried about running out,” he says, adding that many expressed regrets they didn’t enjoy their money more when they were younger.

Frustrated by these unfulfilled experiences, Mr. Preto and his team at Vancouver-based Hillside Wealth Management with iA Private Wealth Inc. decided to reframe the business to help clients create bucket lists earlier in life – and then save and invest to fulfill those dreams sooner rather than later.

The firm, which manages about $200-million in assets, has developed what it calls the “dreamscape” process to help clients identify their personal dreams – like taking a year off to travel with family, buying recreational property, or purchasing an RV and driving it across the country. The advisory team then creates what it calls a “dreampool” with surplus funds not needed to fund their retirement lifestyle.

“We take the time, even before that dreampool forms to really figure out what people want,” Mr. Preto says. “That way, we know the money is going to the right place.”

The planning approach isn’t new – some might say it sounds just like a savings account. But Mr. Preto and his team have set it up as something they see as more intentional, relatable and enjoyable for clients.

Mr. Preto recently began posting the “dream of the week” on his LinkedIn profile to inspire others to think about what excites them in life and take action toward experiencing it.

The hardest part for many clients is figuring out what their dreams are, Mr. Preto says. Of the firm’s 300 client families, he says about 80 have gone through the process over the past couple of years.

Some of the dreams he’s helping clients realize include a family looking to buy a recreational property on an island up the British Columbia coast, while a man in his 50s plans to fly his family to Australia to meet a half-sister he just met a few years ago. Another client with a love for cooking is working toward taking a three-week trip to attend a culinary school in France.

“Some people have dreams they can’t afford yet and, as soon as they can, they’ll jump all over it,” he says. “While others can afford to do whatever they want but are too nervous to spend the money.”

The dreamscape process is intended to inspire clients to set a lifestyle goal and make it happen.

For Mr. Preto, it brings more colour to retirement planning, something many believe is “dark and boring, because you are supposed to just plan for the worst.”

Still, the shift from more staid financial planning to dream creation and management hasn’t been easy.

“It has been a bit of an adjustment. But it has inspired me to really look at our business differently,” he says.

“We have something here that’s simple, logical, sustainable and powerful. And we want to build this out so that we attract people who share that same philosophy we have.”

Life is short and we should enjoy it, he says.

– Brenda Bouw, special to the Globe and Mail

Must-reads from Globe Advisor this week

How to use tax refunds as inflation and interest rates rise

With inflation at a three-decade high and interest rates expected to keep rising, how are advisors guiding clients on the best ways to use their tax refund? Making a debt payment, setting up an emergency fund, and contributing to a registered retirement savings plan or tax-free savings account are some ways to reap the long-term benefits. Alison MacAlpine looks at strategies to maximize investment on the returns.

Six dividend stocks to combat inflation

Companies now face a more challenging environment given the rising cost pressures, but some businesses can weather the storm better because they have pricing power. That is, the ability to raise prices without reducing demand for their products. Shirley Won speaks to three portfolio managers for their top picks in North American dividend stocks that can power through rising consumer prices.

Demand for flow-through shares to rise with new tax credit, commodities rally

A combination of a new tax benefit announced in the recent federal budget and a recovery in the commodities market is sparking renewed interest in flow-through shares (FTS) from miners. The Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (CMETC) offers a 30-per-cent credit for FTS from companies exploring metals and minerals such as copper, nickel and rare earth element needed to advance clean energy technologies. Brenda Bouw looks at the pros and cons of paying a premium for FTS.

Women invest for the long term in top companies they know

Women often prefer to invest in companies they know well and that make the products they use, according to advisors. Many want to ensure their investments meet their goals – specifically taking care of themselves, their kids, and potentially their aging parents. Research also shows women often outperform men, who take more risk and trade more often. Gillian Livingston takes a look at what women like investing in and what makes them successful.

Also see:

How to manage the tax implications of transferring a new client’s assets

Opportunities in ‘recession-proof’ consumer staples as inflation and interest rates rise

How advisors can engage clients at a time when options abound to forgo advice

U.S. regulatory scrutiny of ‘complex’ ETFs prompts fears of crackdown

Providence seeks to exit music market with US$600-million song sale

What you and your clients need to know

Class action lawsuit to proceed against Horizons ETFs

An Ontario court has approved a controversial class-action lawsuit that was originally dismissed against Horizons ETF Management (Canada) Inc. that claims retail investors lost 90 per cent of the value of their investment in one day when a complex inverse exchange-traded fund collapsed. Clare O’Hara reports on the case in which estimates imply the investors lost more than $40-million.

BMO appoints new co-heads for private wealth management

Bank of Montreal (BMO) is expanding the leadership team for its private wealth management business in Canada with two new co-heads who will oversee its investment advisors and private banking team. Meghan Meger and Geoff Newton have been appointed to the roles and will start in the positions in June. Clare O’Hara looks at what’s driving the bank’s strategy.

Why working on your marriage matters before retirement

How confident are you that your marriage will adapt to the changes in life and finances that may come after retirement? That’s a question in an annual retirement survey in which there’s been a slight shift toward thinking about lifestyle rather than finances. Rob Carrick breaks down the survey results and why getting divorced later in life can be a big financial mistake.

- Globe Advisor Staff