The Best Holistic Financial Plan Has Multiple Accounts

Dr. Roxanne Arnal, CFP®

You want to build wealth for your future – a retirement that lies somewhere between now and infinity. For years we were told to aim for a retirement ten years before the standard age 65 to declare that you were successful in your work.

Freedom at any age is fantastic, but retire at 55? The closer I get, the more I think that I will work into my 70’s. Why? Work gives us purpose and now in my second career I find myself rejuvenated and excited. Regardless, building a retirement portfolio should be a checklist goal built on forecasting goals that allow us to achieve our dream goals.

Building a plan involves several assumptions in order to create forecasts. And just like the weatherman, forecasts and assumptions are never completely accurate. Regardless, the planning and forecasting are necessary for us to know what to pack in our suitcase before we leave for that next vacation.

Financial planning is no different. You need to know what types of accounts should be in your suitcase, and what back up plans should exist should you encounter a storm along the way.

How can we plan for a retirement that will occur at some unknown point in the future?
Step one involves understanding where you currently are. First you need CLARITY on your current cash flow and your net worth to build the foundation and appreciate your lifestyle expenses.

Step two is to develop some mid and long term goals. At 25 I wanted to own an optometry practice and retire at 55. At 50, I had already sold that practice and was celebrating that I pulled through a major critical illness that was poised to prevent me from seeing my 49th birthday. Point is, goals change and morph over time and we need to be flexible.

Step three is to forecast what our needs will be in order to reach these goals. How much money do I need to save? What rate of return do I need to achieve? How will tax impact my future withdrawals?

Step four is to understand that what we know today won’t necessarily be what is true tomorrow.

Prepare for the unknown
Yes, yes, YES! Despite that we might like to think we know what our future will bring, the reality is that we can’t control the wind.

Pandemic? Didn’t see that coming. Cancer? Surprised me. Premature death of a partner?

I left the practice, but my ex-partner did pass away prematurely. CRAP HAPPENS people. The best plan needs to address these possibilities to ensure that should the CRAP happen to you, your business, your family, your wealth aren’t all depleted in the process.

But what about taxes?
Now you’re talking my love language! As we live in a socialist and infrastructure rich society, we are all expected to contribute to the greater good.

There were eight tax changes that occurred on January 1, 2020 alone.1  So can you imagine how many tax changes have occurred in the past 20 years? And how many will occur before you turn 65?

When we create your personalized financial plan, we typically do so based on the current tax knowledge. You can quickly see why forecasting for something many years down the road won’t be 100% accurate. Financial plans are not “set it and forget it” plans, they are living documents.

Capital Gains Taxation
On January 1, 2022, Canada will be celebrating 50 years of Capital Gain taxation. And just like a 50 year marriage, things change with time. The inclusion rate alone has changed five times2 and rumors are swirling that we are in for another rate change as part of post-pandemic revenue generation.

Different Money has Different Tax
We’ve spoken before how different accounts are subject to different tax treatment. Same holds true for different forms of income. Essentially, not all money is the same – despite the tax reforms we have seen in the past 5 years to equalize the dollar.

Hedging your Bet
When we forecast we are essentially placing our bet based on our best judgement at the time. I’m betting that despite all factors changing, that I will still create a lifestyle income that will allow me to live my best life. I build in contingencies for inflation, utilize various types of accounts to eliminate and defer taxes, and create a portfolio that will create multiple sources of revenue, including tapping into some of those social programs Canada offers.

I know that my portfolio won’t grow at a consistent year over year rate of return, so I build in strategies to take advantage of buying opportunities, and insulate myself from having to withdraw when markets are down. Sure a capital loss can be offset by a capital gain, but I still don’t want a loss, even if it saves me some tax dollars.

The Best Plan
The best plan is one that is built around a solid investment policy statement that addresses your time horizon, risk tolerance and objectives. One that incorporates various account types and looks at my entire situation: my family, my business, myself.

As your Chief Financial Officer, I’m here to help you set your plan in place, monitor and adjust it as the wind changes. I help you manage a team of financial professionals and ensure that you have thought about the potential issues and opportunities.

Have more questions than answers? Educating you is just one piece of being your personal CFO that I offer. Call (780-261-3098) or email ( today to start your plan.


  1. Canadian Tax Foundation, Capital Gains Taxation In Canada: History And Potential Reforms, Catherine (Cathie) Brayley, Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver & Lesley Kim, Gowling WLG, Calgary;

Roxanne Arnal is a former Optometrist, Professional Corporation President, and practice owner. Today she is on a mission to Empower your Finances.

These articles are for information purposes only and are not a replacement for personal financial planning. Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different. Errors and Omissions exempt.


Optometrist and Certified Financial Planner

Roxanne Arnal graduated from UW School of Optometry in 1995 and is a past-president of the Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO) and the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS).  She subsequently built a thriving optometric practice in rural Alberta.

Roxanne took the decision in  2012 to leave optometry and become a financial planning professional.  She now focuses on providing services to Optometrists with a plan to parlay her unique expertise to help optometric practices and their families across the country meet their goals through astute financial planning and decision making.

Roxanne splits EWO podcast hosting duties with Dr. Glen Chiasson.


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