Real Estate – Is now the right time to downsize?


By: Vivien Sharon

It was my pleasure to host an exclusive event at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Toronto recently.

Special guests included Ted Rechtshaffen, who discussed income & tax planning for Boomers and Ismail Barmania, a lawyer specializing in estate planning for Boomers. I discussed the real estate choices facing Empty Nesters planning to Downsize.

From a real estate perspective, here are 5 key concerns that Downsizers face:

  • What to do with all our stuff?
  • How do we prepare our home for sale?
  • Where to move to and when should we sell?
  • Will your next move be by choice or circumstance?
  • What is our house worth and can we afford to move?

What to do with all our Stuff?

That is one of the biggest concerns. If you are like most people, you’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the course of a lifetime.

Quite often, with the exception of a few family heirlooms, neither adult children nor grandchildren will be interested in these items.

Here are a few ideas that will make the downsizing process easier:

  1. Make a list of your furniture and household possessions. Decide what things you want to take with you to your next home.
  2. What does your family want? The best way to handle any potential disagreements is to have family members work it out themselves.
  3. What to do with valuable items that neither family nor friends want? Depending on the value, an auctioneer may be your best bet. There are auctioneers, appraisers, valuators and other experts who are knowledgeable.
  4. What can I donate? There are many charities that are interested in donated items that can be picked up or dropped off, usually for a tax receipt.
  5. Who can help? Fortunately, there is a network of specialists such as transition specialists, (downsizers), movers, packers, home stagers, decorators, contractors, etc., who can simplify the process.

I understand your concerns first-hand. I downsized myself, 15 years ago from a large North York home to a city condo.

Specialized Real Estate Agents for the Boomer/Senior Market

In the past 20 years the idea of specialization by real estate agents has become very popular. There are agents who only work with Buyers, some only with Sellers. Then there are agents like myself, who have chosen to make Boomers and the Seniors market a speciality. I have specialized training in working with Boomers, Seniors and their families as a Master-ASA (Master-Accredited Senior Agent).

I have been trained in what is important to this demographic and the extra time that is required when contemplating a late-in-life move.

What has changed in real estate?

If you are like most Boomers and Seniors, you haven’t bought or sold real estate in many years. The basics of the business hasn’t changed, it’s still all about helping make your move (or your family’s move) as easy as possible.

Agency Representation

Prior to 1995 in Ontario and 1994 in British Columbia, all real estate agents were representing the interests of Sellers. This was confusing to Buyers, who thought the agent helping them buy a home was working for them, when in fact, they were working for the Seller. Since the mid-90’s, Buyers are typically represented by an agent they have “hired”, so there is no confusion as to whose best interests the agent is protecting. In all jurisdictions of Canada, a real estate professional is required to present you with a written explanation of how representation works, at the beginning of a working relationship.

Different Commission Models

Sellers pay the Commission to the Listing Brokerage (for Sellers) and also to the Co-operating Brokerage (for Buyers) upon closing.

When dealing with such a large investment as your home, which is also a huge nest egg, it would be penny-wise and pound-foolish to base your decision solely on the fee. As with professionals in all areas of life, you really do get what you pay for.

Who Pays Land Transfer Tax?

Buyers of houses and condos pay Land Transfer Tax when they purchase a property. Each province has its own set of rules when it comes to Land Transfer Tax. Sellers never pay. Your lawyer will arrange for land transfer taxes to be paid when the deed to the new home is transferred in your name on closing day. The cost of your land transfer tax is a percentage of your home’s value.

The Paperwork

There is a significant amount of paperwork when you embark on a real estate transaction, whether buying, selling or both. A real estate agent will orient you on all the required paperwork. The forms are standard on a provincial basis, so real estate lawyers will be very familiar with them.

Please contact me if you have any real estate questions or concerns. I am happy to help.

Vivien Sharon, BA, Master-ASA, Seniors Real Estate
Real Estate Broker
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

IPP – Why so many dentists have set this up to save taxes in 2018 and beyond


As a dentist you know that from time to time you may be presented with a challenging case of a difficult extraction.  As a Wealth Advisor and Financial Planner, I can tell you we are also often presented with a case of a potentially difficult extraction but instead of it being a molar, our challenge is to how best extract funds in the most tax efficient manner from the Dental Professional Corporation (DPC) of a practicing dentist.

One of the methods which has become more popular, especially given the recent tax changes involving Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC), is the Individual Pension Plan or IPP.

An IPP is a defined benefit pension plan tailored to small business owners such as dentists.  It allows for the DPC, as sponsor of the plan, to fund a defined benefit style pension for the dentist and even their spouse if they are also employed by the practice. Thus, extracting corporate funds and directing them to a source which will provide tax efficient retirement income.

The amount of annual funding is similar to an RRSP in that it is a percentage of T4 earnings to a maximum annual limit; however, for an IPP that limit is even higher than the RRSP contribution limit – and grows each year.  In addition to the annual funding, the company can also contribute any past service earnings as well as a lump-sum terminal funding at retirement.  All these contributions are tax deductible to the corporation.  Like an RRSP, your investment choices are broad and any income or capital gains generated inside the plan are sheltered from taxes, but unlike an RRSP, all of the administration fees and investment management fees are tax deductible expenses to the corporation.

Because an IPP is a formal pension plan, it must be registered with the provincial government and must make annual filings and reporting.  In addition, a triennial valuation must be performed by an actuary.  The plan administrator will generally perform all these requirements and the cost for these is customarily included in the annual administration fee, which is tax deductible.

At retirement the plan can be set up to provide a regular stream of income by way of a pension or the commuted value of the pension can be transferred to a Locked-in Retirement Account or LIRA.

The difference in value over an RRSP at retirement can be significant.  One projection we had calculated for a 55-year-old dentist and his 50-year-old spouse had them with over $1 million more in the IPP than if they just went the RRSP route at retirement.

This will not only allow them to extract more money from the company in a very tax efficient manner, but it will also provide them with a known pool of capital at retirement, which will provide them with a predictable income stream through retirement.

Upon death of the annuitant the remainder of the plan can be transferred to a surviving spouse or if there is no surviving spouse, the annuitant’s estate.

However, there are some drawbacks to an IPP.  The most common drawback is that it limits contribution room to an RRSP. However, this limitation isn’t a major one for dentists since the bulk of retained earnings, is destined to provide for a retirement income in the future. Some of the other drawbacks are because regular contributions are required to be made, this can be problematic for businesses that don’t have regular income streams.  Another small limitation is that funds within the IPP can’t be accessed before the age of 55, but for most dentists these constraints are not an issue.

At TriDelta Financial we recognize that the recent tax changes, IPP’s have become a very effective tool for extracting funds efficiently from your DPC and should be given serious consideration by every incorporated dentist over the age of 45.

Alex Shufman
For more information, please contact:
Alex Shufman
Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Wealth Advisor
(416) 733-3292 x 231

Arlene Pelley
For more information, please contact:
Arlene Pelley
Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Edmonton office: (780) 222-6502

Helping to Care for Aging Parents


by Raynia Sauvageau MSW, RSW

When it comes to helping aging parents, many feel they are ill-prepared for this part of life. As children, we looked up to our parents to care for us, protect us, and eventually help launch us. Many of us go on to marry, have our own families and set up the same pattern of caring for our children. We are not expecting that our parents will age and possibly that we will be the ones to provide care as they once did for us.

parentsSome people say that the roles “reverse” ; that as your parents once parented you, you are now “parenting” your parent. This conception however is not entirely accurate. The reason being, is that while our parents may be losing some of their independence, whether mentally or physically, they are still and always will be our parent. Even though they may have “lost” some of their abilities to do certain things, or may have increasing challenges, they are still the driver of their decisions as long as their capacity for that is intact.

One of the frequent questions I have been asked is “How do I help my aging parents?” and the answer will greatly depend on the individual situation. The following is a good place to start:

  • Engage in a dialogue about their wishes. This may seem small but this is a critical step. Too often, I have observed that discussions do not take place until after a crisis happens and adult children are left having to guess or make decisions on what they think their parent may want. This includes asking your parents how they envision “the next five years”, helping to map out a plan for modifying the home if needed or any possible transition from their home, and ensuring that Powers of Attorney for Personal care and Property exist. These conversations are not always easy, particularly given the different relationships and dynamics of your relationship but they are important ones to have.
  • Define “help” by how your parents define it. In an effort to help our parents, sometimes our own worries and needs obstruct our abilities to help in a way that is meaningful to our parents. I have often observed very well intentioned adult children making plans and providing assistance that their parents feel they don’t need. To avoid this, you might want to ask your parent directly what they would find helpful.
  • Get Informed. Whether or not your parents are ready or at the stage of accepting help, it doesn’t stop you from knowing what is available in their community and in the market. With the increasing aging population, there are many services and products available to help people stay independent. There are also programs available from local agencies. These may include someone to come to the home to help with bathing, personal care, cleaning, meal preparation or transportation. Keeping informed of what exists helps you in knowing what is available to your parents and can be introduced to them when they are willing.
  • Accepting help is a process not an outcome. If you can shift your focus from “what” to “how” it happens, you may be pleasantly surprised. Some adult children become frustrated when they are met with rejection when offering to help their parents. Sometimes however, it takes time before your parent is “ready” to accept the help and so remaining patient and involved through this process is key.

Helping your parents, while not a part of the lifecycle that was necessarily planned, can be a positive experience with the proper help and support around you.

Raynia Sauvageau has a private practice as a Geriatric Social Work Consultant and has a strong passion for working with aging families and assisting them through transitions and experiences. She has spent most of her career working in acute care hospitals as a professional social worker with aging patients and their families. To find out more, you can visit her website at or reach her directly at

Updated Retirement Income Guide


When you retire, not only does your daily routine change, but you also stop receiving a pay cheque. With the traditional pension becoming less of a reality for many Canadians, building steady retirement income through your investments, asset base and government programs is a key part of any financial plan.

In our new updated 2015/16 guide, you will learn about some of the best ways to build your own retirement “paycheque” using the resources you already have.

Common questions about different retirement income streams will also be answered, and tax minimizing tips will be provided along the way.

We provide you with some of our best insight on when and how much to draw from RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, investment options, how to access government pensions and where to find other sources of cash flow.

We trust that our new updated guide will be helpful to you. If you have any questions on the ideas and strategies presented or to find out more about our income solutions, please contact us.

To request your free copy of our guide simply click here.

TriDelta Client Leading the Charge on Environmental Issues


From time to time clients have mentioned some of the interesting things that they are working on and we are pleased to be able to share them. This month Aaron Freeman talks about GreenPAC – an organization that he has launched that is aimed at helping to get Environmental leaders elected to public office:

GreenPAC Will Change the Game in Ottawa on Environment

By Aaron Freeman

Experts and activists often point to the devastating consequences of government failures to enact policies that protect our environment. And understandably, this is what public and media attention is drawn to when a mining disaster destroys a salmon fishery, when floods, storms and droughts are exacerbated by unpredictable changes in our climate, or when we lose an endangered animal or plant forever.

But when governments shirk their responsibility on the environment, there is an even greater consequence: the failure to reap the broader benefits of environmental solutions.

My new organization, GreenPAC, has just launched to build the leadership we need in Canada to implement these solutions.

earthConsider a few opportunities that have emerged in recent months. Early this year, Deutsche Bank joined an emerging chorus of financial institutions that recognize solar energy as now more cost-competitive than conventional electricity sources, including fossil fuels. It is poised to leap from 1 percent of the world’s electricity market today to 10 percent by 2030, and 30 percent by 2050. Yet the International Monetary Fund notes that the Canadian government continues to subsidize fossil fuels at an astounding $34 billion a year.

Second, a study this month by Cambridge, Princeton and the World Wildlife Fund found that every dollar invested by governments in parks and protected areas generates 60 dollars in tourism revenue. Yet Canadian governments continue to compromise and under-fund what makes these areas unique – their ecological integrity.

Finally, climate skeptics are fond of saying that Canada shouldn’t have to do much to combat climate change, because we only contribute about 2 percent of global emissions. But imagine if we were 2 percent of the solution. Imagine if we had 2 percent of the emerging $2.5 trillion market for clean technology. This would mean a $50 billion industry in Canada creating sustainable, well-paying jobs, that punches above its weight in research and development investment. We could be creating environmentally friendly consumer products and technologies that reduce pollution rather than contribute to it. That vision for Canada is well within reach, according to an extensive new report by Ottawa-based Analytica Advisors, which states, “we can and should build a significant economic sector, relevant across the country, through coordinated and patient policies and wise investment.”

As a country, we are long on affordable solutions and short on the leadership that can make them a reality.

Canadians are taking action in their homes and workplaces, and experts are generating game-changing technologies and opportunities. But global, complex problems like climate change and endangered species loss won’t be solved without government action. And we’re still waiting for most of our elected leaders to catch up.

GreenPAC aims to narrow that gap. Its goal is to make environmental concerns politically relevant by recruiting, nominating, electing and supporting environmental champions. GreenPAC will build environmental leadership in Canadian politics.

The political achilles heel of the environmental sector is that support for environmental issues is broad but diffuse, spread out across the country. This support doesn’t translate well in a geographically based electoral system. Worse, environmentally minded candidates are typically placed at a disadvantage to well-funded and better-connected opponents.

GreenPAC exists to level the playing field for these candidates, and to translate Canadians’ environmental concerns into political action.

GreenPAC’s Expert Panel is made up of non-partisan leaders in various environmental fields. None have paid ties to any environmental organization. The Panel assesses the candidates running for office and endorses a short list of candidates, including at least one from each major party. The criteria will be transparent, and candidates will have the opportunity to provide information on their qualifications to the Panel.

GreenPAC is looking for political leaders who know how to get things done. To receive an endorsement, the candidate must have a reasonable shot at winning. They are assessed not on the basis of their platform or on-the-record comments, but on what they have accomplished on environmental issues. These accomplishments may be in the private, public, or NGO sector.

Polls consistently show that Canadians want to see their elected leaders doing more to protect our environment. Yet this concern is not getting translated into political action. GreenPAC will help find solutions-oriented leaders, and help get them where they need to be: elected government.

– Aaron Freeman is the Founder and President of GreenPAC

TriDelta High Income Balanced Fund


Today’s investors face significant challenges, not least of which is generating sufficient income in the multi-decade low interest rate environment.

We launched the TriDelta High Income Balanced Fund in late 2013 and have since delivered significant returns to early investors. Our fund overview can be reviewed.

Opportunities to invest are restricted to ‘accredited investors’ currently, but the exciting news is that from May 5th 2015 regulations have been amended by the Ontario Security Regulators to all non-accredited investors to participate as well. This is however subject to it being an appropriate investment given the elevated risk profile. We will however review your situation carefully to determine this beforehand.

The Financial Post published this recent article about our fund:


Click here to read the entire story.