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MD Advisors help Ottawa couple find peace of mind on the road to retirement

Dr. Peter Kuling helped build the Ottawa Riverside Campus Family Health Team over a period of 20 years and was looking forward to his retirement in spring 2020. Then COVID-19 struck.

As he deferred retirement and the realities of the pandemic unfolded, Peter faced the same challenges that many other physicians did, including concerns about financial stability. Yet he and his wife, Tina Van Dusen, who had already entered into retirement following her career as an association executive, knew they were in good hands thanks to long-standing relationships with their MD Advisors*.

“MD Financial Management was there to support us and to assure us that things would stabilize and recover, and our Advisor always answered our calls promptly to discuss any concerns we had,” Peter says. 

Tina adds that they noticed even greater levels of communication from MD Financial Management (MD) during COVID, with consistent support despite the volatile situation: “We got a strong sense that our Advisor was backed by a high-level, experienced team who was monitoring the situation and preparing for the eventualities to come.”

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Peter’s relationship with MD stretches back decades. He became a client in 1983, just before launching his first community family practice in northern Saskatchewan, and years before he became president of that province’s medical association and chair of the Canadian Medical Association’s Political Action Committee. “When I started my career, I wanted to start contributing to my retirement on day one,” he says. “I could have gone to any institution, but I knew that MD Financial was dedicated to physicians, and as a result I had trust in them.”

He says it’s been easy to stay with MD through the decades because of the meaningful relationship that has been cultivated along his career journey. That journey led Peter from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to the nation’s capital, where he joined a family health team and began teaching medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Peter remembers that he was juggling multiple roles after arriving in Ottawa and could find no windows of time to respond to the MD Advisor, Grace, who was seeking to help him with his transition. He fondly recalls Grace researching the days he would be in the family clinic, and telling him there was a bagel shop nearby where she could wait for him over the lunch hour if he could find the time to step out.

“She immediately established a rapport,” Peter says. “She was tenacious, but also very personable and professional. She helped me find the right focus, get my ship turned in the right direction — so to speak — and, really, it cemented my relationship with MD Financial.”

At that point, in mid-career, Peter knew that registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) wouldn’t be enough and that he needed help building a broader, holistic financial strategy toward retirement. “It’s not always clear what a plan should look like, and Tina and I had a lot of questions about retirement,” he says. “Fortunately, our MD Advisor answered those questions and made sure our strategy was far more than a deposit receptacle for RRSP contributions.”

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“Trusted relationships mean that you always feel the other person puts your best interests first,” says Tina. “Over the years, we’ve felt a genuine commitment from our Advisor to help us achieve our goals, and consistently find the answers we needed.”

Both Tina and Peter express appreciation for MD’s collaborative approach, particularly when it comes to retirement planning. Their Advisor collaborated with other professionals, like their accountant, to build a comprehensive strategy on all fronts, a strategy that considered every detail of their financial lives.

“In my previous dealings with other financial institutions, it wasn’t the same holistic approach,” explains Tina. “With MD, there was a lot of time spent on the strategy of our retirement plan — our goals in the first 10 years of retirement and beyond, compared with the typical scattered approach to investing that I had experienced in the past.”

During the pandemic, in particular, Peter and Tina say MD provided them with not only financial guidance, but also emotional support and perspective during volatile times. “They kept our funds safe from market volatility as we moved into our final phase before retirement, ensuring our risk was well managed,” says Tina. “They go the extra mile for us — planning, looking ahead, listening and holding our trust.”

Now with retirement in focus, they continue to feel that level of comfort and confidence. The MD Advisor, Grace, who initiated the bagel shop meet-up so many years ago has since retired. But she put a transition strategy in place, and Peter and Tina have established an excellent relationship with their new MD Advisors.

“With all the work we’ve done together with our Advisors, we truly believe we are well prepared for retirement,” Peter says. “We’re really looking forward to what the future holds for us.”

* MD Advisor refers to an MD Management Limited Financial Consultant or Investment Advisor (in Quebec), or an MD Private Investment Counsel Portfolio Manager.