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The main goal of retirement planning for most Canadians has been saving enough money to fund that stage of their lives, but the COVID-19 pandemic has also forced them to examine the type of life they want to live in retirement.

Advisors are becoming even more integral in helping clients navigate the non-financial aspects of retirement planning as the pandemic has led many to consider what they may have overlooked when making decisions for the future, such as whether they plan to keep on working.

Globe Advisor editor Pablo Fuchs spoke with Susan Latremoille, co-founder and managing director of Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors and a former wealth advisor, on how advisors can get to the heart of what really matters to their clients and help them plan for that.

How has the pandemic affected the way people want to live in retirement?

COVID-19 has been the dress rehearsal for retirement because you’re stuck at home. You can’t travel, you can’t go anywhere. You may be too close to the family members who you live with, and you’re not prepared for it. The impact that’s had is, ‘Well, I’d better figure out what I’m going to do other than watch Netflix.’ It’s also prompted some to say, ‘I don’t want to quit work. I can’t wait to go back to the old way of things,’ or ‘I can’t wait to be at work again.’

For others, it’s meant that they’ve had to keep working because perhaps they were an industry that experienced a shutdown. It’s curtailed or affected their financial plans. So, they have no choice but to continue to work now.

And for another group of people, especially those that perhaps lost loved ones or saw how precarious life can be, they’ve said, ‘I don’t want to waste one more minute of my life at a job or career I may not love. I want to retire sooner and enjoy what’s left for me.’

We’ve seen a real diversion disparity. It’s a very individual situation and different circumstances for different people.

How does a change in the timeline for retirement affect plans, and how can advisors revisit these decisions?

I would go back and revisit it with the scorecard we developed, which allows clients to articulate and think about their life plans and also has the benefit of informing advisors of how to manage money for them. That’s because a lot has changed for people in terms of what they do want to do professionally, and what they’re going to do in their leisure time as travel is off the table for now.

Questions such as have they taken care of their health during this time period, or did they use these years to actually eat better and exercise more, or have they let themselves physically go downhill are also important.

The most important area advisors need to focus on is clients’ professional plans because that’s what affects their financial situation the most. Are clients going to continue working, consult, or not work at all? These have huge implications for how they’re going to spend their time and how the advisor does the [retirement] plan.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Watch the entire interview here.

– Globe Advisor Staff

Must-reads from Globe Advisor this week

How will new advisors get paid without DSCs?

A world without deferred sales charges (DSCs) on mutual and segregated funds could make it more difficult for advisors new to the investment industry to earn a living. But experts say the end of DSCs will result in new forms of compensation such as salaries or a Netflix-style subscription fee model. Jameson Berkow reports on the big changes ahead as Canada follows the lead of countries around the world where a sales commission ban has already been implemented.

Demand for private investments takes off

Investors are turning to private markets for returns as volatile markets, low interest rates and high valuations for stocks take the shine off investing in traditional equities and fixed income. Experts say private investments’ low correlation to publicly traded assets and volatility should drive better risk-adjusted total returns. Terry Cain digs deeper to find out which sectors offer opportunities ranging from private credit to real estate.

Six bargain stocks with upside potential

Value stocks – wallflowers for over a decade – are turning heads again. They’re getting attention as high-priced growth stocks take a hit – especially in the tech sector. But investors still need to watch out for “value traps” because some stocks are cheap for a good reason. Shirley Won speaks with three value-oriented portfolio managers for their top picks in this space.

Tax season changes advisors should watch out for

It’s that time of year when taxpayers scramble for tax slips, but filing a claim for the 2021 taxation year has been made more complicated with all of the government programs related to the pandemic that clients relied upon. Advisors can provide a lot of value to their clients by keeping track of the tax changes and helping them navigate the process. Alison MacAlpine reports on the various deductions and what applies in each case.

Also see:

Having a ‘roadmap’ to ease retirement worries is key amid these uncertain times

How advisors can help renters build wealth when home ownership is out of reach

Advisors face higher cybersecurity risks as geopolitical tensions rise

Investors struggle to trade Russian assets as sanctions hit market plumbing

Russia-focused funds with more than €4-billion in assets freeze redemptions

What you and your clients need to know

Why some people may end up owing up $2,000 on CERB

An unspecified number of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) recipients are being told they may have to pay money back almost two years after they received the pandemic-related benefit because of an extra payment from Ottawa. Erica Alini reports on why the government overpaid people and how it will now work with taxpayers to get the money back.

Fund managers face uphill battle to sell Russian shares

More than a dozen Canadian fund managers hold shares of Russian companies that have been on Canada’s trading sanctions list since 2015. No exchange-traded funds or mutual funds in Canada are made up entirely of Russian stocks, but managers still have exposure to the country in their emerging market funds. Clare O’Hara and David Milstead focus on money managers’ struggle to find buyers to eliminate their positions.

Private debt manager freezes investor redemptions

Ninepoint Partners LP has suspended redemptions on four of its private credit funds on a spike in payout requests from investors related to the collapse of Bridging Finance Inc. and the resulting tension in private debt markets. The affected funds account for $2.9-billion in the Toronto-based firm’s $8-billion in total assets under management. Greg McArthur and Tim Kiladze report on the fallout from the move and what lies ahead.

– Compiled by Globe Advisor staff

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