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Press Kits - Investing - 2009 RSP

Media Room

TD RRSP Boot Camp:
General Hillier: “Focus on the long-term mission, rely on your ‘battle buddies’ and hold out for daylight”

TORONTO (January 7, 2009) – When times are tough, call in the troops. General (Retired) Rick Hillier, former Chief of the Defence Staff and Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice-President, TD Waterhouse, can help you navigate through this year’s RRSP season with TD RRSP Boot Camp: sound, strategic military principles that you can apply to your financial plan. With many investors currently feeling like they are losing ground in a battle to preserve their investments, the following, proven military directives can give you more control, confidence and a plan of action to help you through volatile economic times.

“In the chaos of battle, uncertainty, instability and fear are all part of the scenario. It’s intense, but there are methods to counter those emotions and help you stay focused on the mission,” says General Rick Hillier.

“That ‘battle’ environment describes well how investors have been feeling in the past few months. And the applicable military principles are surprisingly appropriate for battle-weary investors contemplating this year’s RRSP contribution,” says Patricia Lovett-Reid.

TD RRSP Boot Camp:

Below are five key military principles that General Hillier advocated during his career as Canada’s top soldier and Ms. Lovett-Reid’s advice on how to successfully apply them to your financial planning.

1. Go back to the basics

“Soldiers need to conduct their basic drills first and foremost, otherwise they’ll lose the fight,” says General Hillier.

“The same strategy applies to investing in your RRSP. There is a tendency right now to want to put your financial statement away, but you’ve got to confront the facts even though it might be tough,” says Ms. Lovett-Reid. “You need to start off the new year by reviewing your financial plan and assessing your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon. An advisor can work with you to make sure your portfolio is properly allocated and diversified, and keep your long-term financial plan on track.”

2. Think long

“Leaders in military strategy ‘think long’,” says General Hillier. “In battle, it is essential to stay focused on the mission at hand, which means thinking about the long-term goal and not abandoning everything to overcome short-term setbacks. It is the difference between losing the battle and winning the war.”

“Think about your long-term strategy, such as saving for your retirement which might be 20, 30, even 40 years away,” echoes Ms. Lovett-Reid. “History has shown that the current economic situation will not last, so it is essential to focus on the long-term goals and not panic when the markets are volatile.”

3. You are not alone: rely on your battle buddies

“In the middle of a mission, what’s most important to us are our ‘battle buddies’,” says General Hillier. “It’s all about the people you can rely on, who get you through the worst and who are your trusted advisors.”

“The same tenet applies during tough economic times. Canadians may develop what feels like a ‘siege mentality’, but you need to realize that you’re not alone and that there are experienced professionals you can rely on for advice and counsel to get you through it,” says Ms. Lovett-Reid.

4. Always keep a reserve

“Never commit to anything completely and always have a little something up your sleeve,” says General Hillier. “A reserve gives you flexibility.”

“Make sure that you keep a reserve of cash in your portfolio,” says Ms. Lovett-Reid. “It will give you the flexibility to take advantage of buying opportunities when they present themselves. Be prepared for the unexpected, keep 3-6 months worth of living expenses in safe, liquid investments like a cashable GIC or savings account to act as an emergency source of funds if you need it.”

5. Hold out for daylight

“When you are in a siege, nights are the toughest, but in the morning, daylight will come and your confidence will increase dramatically,” explains General Hillier. “There are always tough times but we make it through to the good times; we just have to stay focused on the long-term mission and wait until daylight comes.”

“The key is to not let this short-term volatility cause you to overreact and change your long-term plans. It is likely going to be a tough year ahead, but history has shown it won’t last, so stay focused on the future: balance your expenses, find focused ways in your own household to reduce costs and continue to be growth-oriented by making your RRSP contribution. There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” says Ms. Lovett-Reid.

General (Retired) Rick Hillier joined TD Bank Financial Group in September 2008 as a senior advisor, to support select client/customer experience initiatives, and leadership development and training activities.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the seventh largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 17 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 through TD Banknorth and TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading on-line financial services firms, with more than 5.5 million on-line customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$563 billion in assets as of October 31, 2008. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

For more information, contact:

Barbara Timmins
TD Bank Financial Group