My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with BDO. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humour/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Monday, January 14, 2019

This Simple Tool Can Help Organize Your Estate


I have written numerous times over the years urging you, my readers, to get your financial affairs in order, by stress testing your finances should you pass away suddenly. While clearly a morbid topic, the rationale for the discussion is this: if you do not get your affairs in order and you pass away suddenly, you leave your family a financial mess at a time of emotional distress, anxiety and confusion.

I have had many readers personally write to thank me for urging them to undertake this task, since it provided them with financial peace of mind. They told me that in many cases, this undertaking was the catalyst for them to sit down with their spouse or significant other, review their finances, and communicate and document what financial assets they have and where they can go to find them. In addition, other non-financial issues surrounding their passing were discussed, such as funeral arrangements.

In my professional practice, I have practiced what I preached and have urged my clients to write their financial story and organize their affairs. As clients, I was able to provide them a fillable estate organizer to make their task somewhat easier.

You can link to the estate organizer and download the document here.

If you have not already taken the time to write your financial story and organize your estate, you now have no reason to procrastinate — you have a simple, fillable document to make the task much simpler.

In my next post two weeks from today, I will walk you through the organizer and what you can accomplish in completing each section of the document.
The content on this blog has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The blog cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO Canada LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Canada LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information on this blog or for any decision based on it.

Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation.

BDO Canada LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Scratching the Eight-Year Itch — The Blunt Bean Counter Gets a Facelift

It’s been eight years for The Blunt Bean Counter. Sometimes I can’t believe it myself, but there you have it: we’re nearing a decade of blog posts (535 to be exact). It’s an opportunity to sit back, reflect and consider how the popularity of this blog exceeded my wildest expectations.

I’ve been fortunate to have an audience that keeps tuning in and has grown over the years. You are what makes the blog a success. Based on your comments and feedback, I try to include your interests and needs when deciding on topics and writing the posts. Your positive reinforcement has been an essential source of inspiration.

When I first took baby steps into the blogosphere, my career focused on tax, so the vast majority of my posts drilled down on tax topics. I loved — and still love — clarifying complicated topics, eschewing the technical jargon that we accountants hold dear. Or, as my wife keeps telling me, “write in plain English.”

Over the last few years, my interests have changed. My focus has shifted to wealth advisory, and helping Canadians get their financial affairs in order. Sure, tax will always inform the wealth advisory journey — and you’ve heard me go on about the perils of ignoring the tax piece. No financial plan is complete without tax considerations baked in at all stages of the process, from beginning to end, as long as the tax tail does not wag the dog. But it’s a matter of emphasis, and now my emphasis is certainly on the wealth and financial side of the equation.

My professional situation has also changed since I first began blogging. When I started the blog on essentially a dare from a social media consultant, I was the managing partner of Cunningham LLP, a seven-partner firm. Now I count myself as part of a great national firm, BDO Canada LLP. To reflect my status as a partner at the firm, I’ve decided to include the BDO logo in the top left-hand corner of the blog along with a bit of a re-design and freshening up of the blog.

Along similar lines, I’ve decided to open up The Blunt Bean Counter tent to more of my BDO colleagues. I will still be writing and editing, but I will now be including more posts from the professionals I work with, who also have important viewpoints and knowledge to contribute. I think the blog — and you — will benefit from their take on various topics. I joined a large firm in part because of the top-quality people I work with every day. Now you can gain the same benefits that I have been enjoying.

Here’s what won’t change: my commitment to bringing you clear, unvarnished financial insight on topics that make a difference to your bottom line, in your business or personal life. And I'll continue whether as writer or editor, to bring you this insight in the plain-spoken tone that gives The Blunt Bean Counter its name and part of its appeal.

Watch out for my next post, which will unveil something I call the “My Financial Story and Estate Organizer.” It’s a tracking form that can help you store important personal information — to help you organize your financial story and estate. Many of my clients and colleagues have found it extremely useful and tell me it has given them peace of mind. I hope it can help you summarize your financial affairs in one spot.
The content on this blog has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The blog cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO Canada LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Canada LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information on this blog or for any decision based on it.

Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation.

BDO Canada LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms.