Testimonial from Françoise: planning your estate

When an inheritance and a retirement plan come together in harmony

In 2014, Françoise Davoine turned 58; and she thought her 65th birthday milestone was still far away! After more than 20 years as a radio host specializing in classical music, she was thinking of retiring. She wanted to trade her microphone for nursery rhymes and be a full-time grandma. But first, she needed to sit down and make some calculations.

Understanding her needs for better planning

Françoise had to act on her idea quicker than expected when she received a small inheritance from the sale of a family home overseas. That settled things! She picked up the phone and made an appointment with her advisor at Desjardins, asking straight up if she could retire earlier.

Her advisor couldn't answer her right away. She had to review Francoise's objectives, assets, savings, desired lifestyle, wishes, plus a million other things!

Scattered assets

Françoise has RRSPs with different financial institutions. She also contributed to Radio-Canada's retirement plan and, to a lesser degree, to the collective RRSP of the Union des artistes. In addition to those assets, she had the small, unexpected inheritance and an apartment on Saint-Hubert street, in which she raised her three children and was still living.

The music lover made her wishes very clear: "I've always worked on contract and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't have to return to work if I retired earlier. Above all, I wanted to be able to bequeath something to my children and future grand-children." This was a no-brainer for Françoise, for whom bequests were a family tradition. "My advisor quickly understood who I was and she took into account my personality and my values," said Françoise.

Melodia strategies and goals

While developing her scenarios, Françoise's advisor also factored in an additional variable that is dear to many who aspire to retirement: gifting part of their assets during their lifetime while continuing to carry out their personal projects. "It was important to me that my children have access to what they need when they need it most, so they can build a strong foundation during their adult lives."

In order to manage her business more easily, the advisor suggested that Françoise group all of her RRSPs in a diversified portfolio, and that she open a TFSA. She meticulously selected the funds to make sure Françoise benefits from a maximum portfolio return. In addition, Françoise wants to "buy back years" at Radio-Canada to maximize her annuity. Even knowing that her pension will be reduced by a few thousand dollars a year when she retires before the age of 65, Françoise went ahead with her idea.

"I also understood that I needed to sell my apartment," said Françoise. It was a difficult decision but one that would allow her to buy back her years of service with Radio-Canada, lower her financial burden by buying a more modest home without taking out a loan, contribute to her grand-children's RESPs and gift a fair portion of her wealth to each of her three children right away. As suggested by her advisor, Françoise had her will drawn up by a notary, making sure it specifies that her children will inherit her new mortgage-free residence upon her death. They'll also receive a bequest, as per the Davoine tradition. It'll be easier for them to settle the estate through the will.

Slowing down, close to her loved ones

Today, Françoise is newly retired and she already has four grand-children. Thanks to Desjardins's strategies, she won't have to dip into her RRSPs for a long time to come. Her new advisor also monitors her finances closely to give Francoise complete peace of mind. "Throughout the process, I felt like I was important, regardless of how much money there is in my account. Now that I'm retired, I bike to my meetings with my advisor to discuss how to better manage my investments so I can continue to benefit from them for as long as possible, while keeping my taxes at their lowest."

If, at the beginning, Françoise was more at ease in front of music sheets than her investment portfolio, the tools and support at her disposal have made her feel confident and she understands it all. She's proud to have been able to retire at 62 and is happy to support her children rather than depend on them. "I know that I'm going to live a life that suits me. I'm there for my children and grand-children, and I'm reassured that they can count on what they'll inherit from me when I won't be there anymore. I certainly intend on treating myself to a trip every now and then! Investing in oneself is fun!"

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