Testimonial from Josée: planning your estate

Plan your estate to avoid unwanted side effects

Josée Falardeau owns a pharmacy and is a mother of three. When she learned that she'd be travelling to Vietnam to fetch her fourth daughter, something clicked for the 39-year-old entrepreneur: she wanted to spend more time with her kids. But first, she needed to plan her financial future—and theirs.

"The year following my daughter's arrival, I decided to put my three pharmacies up for sale. In spring 2012, I began the process and in September of the same year, I was accepting offers to purchase," said Josée. After closing the sale, the businesswoman quickly understood that she needed to surround herself with the right people who can help her with her wealth management and put in place the best strategies to preserve, grow and transfer her assets to her daughters. "I already had my personal accounts with Desjardins, which also happened to be the creditor for my pharmacies. I knew that I was making an emotional decision but they made me feel at ease right away."

While reviewing Josée's case, her long-time advisors immediately saw the wide range of new options made possible by selling her pharmacies. "They referred me to Desjardins Securities," said Josée. Before talking business, the wealth management specialists took the time to understand what motivated Josée to sell her pharmacies. She was only in her early forties, so it was a rather unusual case. "They understood the reason behind my decision and proposed several scenarios that would secure my future and that of my children."

Every situation is different

Just like her clients need her expertise to treat their health problems with the right molecule, Josée realized that the cutting-edge expertise of her own advisors was a major asset in planning her project. "My wealth management advisors quickly understood my needs and explained what I couldn't see. This human aspect was what convinced me to go all the way."

Josée seized the opportunity to review her investor profile according to her new reality. "My idea was to liquidate my mortgage but Desjardins advised against it because of the low interest rate on my loan. Instead, they recommended that I invest my cash assets in various investment products that suited my risk tolerance. With this high-return strategy, every month I get an amount that meets my needs, and which my advisor helped me calculate."

In addition to taking care of her investments, Josée modified her insurance coverage and updated her will and her mandate in case of incapacity.

RESP, a triplex and a company

Energetic Josée is now semi-retired—even she can't believe it sometimes—and can enjoy being with her kids, with peace of mind, knowing that she can withdraw enough money during her lifetime to provide for her family. Her two eldest daughters are now in university and live in the same triplex she bought. "The two eldest each have a floor and I invested in everybody's RESP. And, because equality is non-negotiable in our household, I divided my wealth equally, making sure all of my four girls are covered," said a happy Josée.

Today, Josée puts on her lab coat and gets back behind the counter once a week, just for the fun of it. She's happy to watch her eldest daughters thrive and to be there every day for her youngest, especially her seven-year-old whom she adopted from Vietnam. She promised that she'd spend more time with her and she can now say that it's mission accomplished! In terms of finances, the big decisions are behind her. Josée keeps in touch with her advisors because liquidating three pharmacies is not an overnight job. She also regularly reviews her investments with them in an effort to lower her tax burden as much as possible.

Planning for your retirement

Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur? No doubt, Josée still sees herself as such: "But this time, I'm taking care of my finances. Maximizing assets and wealth management have replaced pills and cough syrup. However, I'll never be able to put a number on a day spent with my family. That's priceless!"

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