Retirement Planning and the Gridiron: Your Playbook for Success

TD Waterhouse's Sean Millington and retired CFL great Damon Allen team up to offer strategies for the Red Zone

VANCOUVER, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - Excitement is building for the most-watched football game of the year. While the big game may be circled on your calendar, there's another fast-approaching date to keep in mind: the deadline to contribute to RSPs for the 2010 tax year. Sean Millington, a former CFL player and Vancouver-area Investment Advisor with TD Waterhouse, and retired CFL great Damon Allen have teamed up to offer retirement-planning strategies, especially for those in the Red Zone, inspired by lessons from the football field.

"When I played football we used a wide variety of strategies, including specific tactics for the Red Zone. Now that I'm an Investment Advisor I can't help but notice the parallels between football and retirement planning," says Millington. "When you're in the time period immediately before you retire, you're in the Retirement Red Zone. There are specific strategies you need to implement to ensure you attain your financial goals before you stop working - when you cross the goal line."

"Football is such a big part of my life, I've also found it can be a metaphor for other things," says Damon Allen, who was a professional quarterback in the CFL for 23 years. "In football, when you get into the Red Zone, which is the last 20 yards before the goal line, you know that executing the correct play will make-or-break the game. You need to take advantage of your close proximity to the goal line, and make plays that can get you in the best position, so you can score." 

Whether you started saving as soon as you began working, or you're just getting around to creating a comprehensive financial plan now, Millington and Allen offer the following tips for getting ready for retirement.

Choose your plays wisely: don't risk it all if you don't need to.
Whether you're talking about football or your finances, you've worked hard to get to the Red Zone and the plays you're about to make are critical: you want to ensure the highest chance of a good result.

"For example, in football, when you're close to the goal line and on your last down, your team might decide to go for a field goal," says Allen. "And while a touchdown is worth more points, the field goal is a safer play."

"I agree with Damon: in football, a field goal is the safer play in the Red Zone. Similarly, when you're in the Retirement Red Zone, you should carefully evaluate your financial portfolio," says Millington. "The allure of the potentially-higher returns associated with riskier asset classes can be tempting, but it's less certain, just like going for a touchdown instead of a field goal. The more sensible play is to take a more conservative approach and decrease your level of risk by going for less-volatile investments."

Small actions can yield great results.
On the field, the greatest successes can result from the smallest tactics: an offensive lineman picks up a delayed blitz, giving the quarterback an extra second to throw for a touchdown; or a receiver uses the perfect fake to give him enough separation from the defender to make the game-winning catch.

"Like the football Red Zone, in the Retirement Red Zone, minor changes to your investments can have great outcomes," says Millington. "For example, consolidating your investments with one financial institution can make them much easier to manage. Grouping them makes it easier to implement measures to balance and enhance your portfolio, which will benefit you as you make the transition from your working years to your retirement years."

Behind many star quarterbacks are great coaches.
Even the best professional football players rely on direction and feedback from their coaches. Coaches pore over statistics, videos and scouting reports, and they have an outside view for better insight on precisely what needs to be done when their team is in the Red Zone.

"When your team is within yards of the goal line, coaches can use their expertise to make the right call," says Allen. "Good coaching and advice can be the difference between putting points on the board or heading back to the sidelines with nothing to show for your efforts."

"Damon and I had some great coaches during our football careers. Good coaches bring out the best in their players, helping them reach their potential.  In the same way, advisors can use their expertise to suggest strategies that will help our clients' financial portfolios achieve their full potential," says Millington.

Know your goals - and put yourself in the best position to reach them.
You need to know your goals in order to determine your strategy, whether financial or on the football field.

"A team that needs a touchdown to tie the game will have a much different strategy than a team that is leading by a large margin," says Allen.

"Field position greatly affects your strategy on the football field. Your goals for retirement should work the same way," says Millington. "Would your ideal retirement be spent at home with your friends and family, or would you rather spend your time vacationing in far-off places? Whatever your goals may be, working towards what you consider to be your 'retirement touchdown' requires a customized strategy, tailored to meet your specific goals."

About TD Bank Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (TD or the Bank). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 19 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD had CDN$620 billion in assets on October 31, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

TD Waterhouse represents the products and services offered by TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. (Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund), TD Waterhouse Private Investment Counsel Inc., TD Waterhouse Insurance Services Inc., TD Waterhouse Private Banking (offered by The Toronto-Dominion Bank) and TD Waterhouse Private Trust (offered by The Canada Trust Company).

SOURCE TD Waterhouse Group, Inc.

For further information:

Karen Williams / Steve Presant
Paradigm Public Relations
(416) 203-2223
kwilliams@paradigmpr.ca / spresant@paradigmpr.ca

Jeff Meerman
TD Bank Group
604-365-5341
Jeff.meerman@td.com

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TD Waterhouse Group, Inc.

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