Planning your last financial chapter

While most of the wealth management industry focuses on the savings side of investment, how much money you need at what age to retire to produce certain levels of income, David Little, director, Private Client Group and Senior Investment Advisor of HollisWealth, a division of Scotia Capital Inc. operating as Little Wealth Management Group and Retirement Income Planners of Canada Inc. takes a different approach.

“No one is formally trained on the other side of the equation,” Little says, “the last chapter,” as he likes to call it. “We can mathematically figure out how much you need to put away for the next so many years and the interest rate needed to achieve a desired level of income, but once you’re retired we don’t know any certainties.” 

Despite those uncertainties, including illness, housing needs and death, Little has specialized in advanced retirement income and estate planning – a specialization that’s come from more than 30 years in the industry and his passion for protecting the life-long efforts of his clients.

Most of Little’s clients come to him in the handful of years leading up to retirement, or once they’re already retired because he’s equipped to take them into the final chapter. One of about 7,000 IIROC advisors in Canada, Little is just one of a few advisors who has really delved into retirement income planning and his empathy for his clients is evident not only in his services, but also his passion for the subject. He always tells them to thank the advisor who got them there, but suggests they now need a specialist. “It’s no different than going to a general practitioner (doctor) who refers you on to a specialist,” he explains.

Driven by his passion to help, Little started Retirement Income Planners of Canada Inc. to specifically keep money in the hands of his clients and their families, rather than it going to the government. The services are offered through Little Wealth Management Group’s Burlington office, ranked amongst the top 10 for delivering financial services to Canadians according to Wealth Professional Magazine.

Many planners may say nothing about your financial planning changes once you retire, beyond converting RRSPs to a RIF by age 71, Little says that couldn’t be any more wrong. “That’s ridiculous. When you’re working you usually have two sources of income, but when you’re retired you likely have 8 to 10 sources,” Little explains, questioning how the average person is expected to manage that effectively.

“We become so important to our clients because our job is to make sure they’re financially able to do what they want to do and help their family when needed.” As such, Little is there to answer the call of his clients, getting the ball rolling to ensure not only their finances are in order, but their estates, their will and living estate planning. “It’s surprising how many people we see who don’t have wills and if it wasn’t for us driving clients to make sure they have their affairs in order they wouldn’t have wills.” 

Little also assists in the planning funeral arrangements when clients really need the help.

It’s that empathy and the fact that he’s only offered a flat fee based service with no up-front commissions since 2003 that makes Little a trusted investment advisor to manage his client’s money effectively and efficiently so they don’t have to worry about it. “The banks control this industry, without question,” he says, but he’s bound and determined to ensure his clients aren’t affected by that.