Valley First

Expert Tips For Maximizing Your Inheritance

Maximize your inheritance with these tips from a Valley First expert
July 31, 2014

Penticton, B.C.—Findings from a recent BMO survey indicating the average inheritance for British Columbians is just over $120,000 may be welcome news for many people as news of rising housing costs and increasing debt loads continue to dominate news headlines. In the same survey, more than half of Canadians polled indicated they received an inheritance at some point in their lives, with two-thirds acknowledging they will likely receive one in the future.

With such a large proportion of Canadians anticipating a significant transfer of wealth, Donna Erickson, a branch manager at Valley First notes that it presents a golden opportunity for investment advisors to remind people of the importance of early and thorough planning to maximize their inheritance dollars.

“It’s definitely an important topic of conversation, and one that should take place with a trusted financial advisor,” says Erickson. “But there’s no one size fits all strategy that will work for everyone as each situation is unique and each client has different priorities. Take the time to do your homework and seek advice for your personal situation”

She continues, “If you don’t work with an investment advisor currently, make sure you choose someone who’s trained to look at the whole picture and will take into account any debt you may have, your retirement income needs and will work with you to build a plan around that.”

“The best way to approach it is to take a look at your lifestyle, both current and in retirement and then figure out how much you’ll likely be spending to help you figure out where and how best to invest,” says Erickson. “For example, if you’re planning on doing a lot of traveling in retirement, you may need to allocate more funds in that direction, but if you’re planning on staying closer to home then you may not need to direct as much into that.”

Erickson also says that the frequency with which clients should meet with their investment advisor is really dependent on the stage of life they are in. “Generally, if clients are in transitional life stages, which includes the retirement years or any time someone receives an inheritance or a transfer of wealth, it’s important to check in with their investment advisor every four to six months, or even more frequently to make sure everything is still on track to meet your goals. If a client is in the growing stages of their portfolio, meaning they’re still years away from retiring, a check-in every six months to once a year is probably appropriate to make any minor adjustments.”

She adds, “This is a good time to review your own insurance and estate planning needs. A significant sum of money may mean that you need to consider adjusting your own estate plan.”

“However, regardless of what stage of life you’re in, it’s important to keep in mind that your retirement plan is fluid,” cautions Erickson. “It’s not a document that you just create and then leave alone until you retire. You need to make sure it’s current and reflective of what’s happening in the marketplace and in your life.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, with 38 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the province operating under the Valley First, Envision Financial and Enderby & District Financial brands. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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