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Canadian Legacy Builder – Creating A Future Bigger Than The Past

This was originally published November 20th, 2013 online at fslocal.ca  To see the article online click HERE.

by  Jesse 

Death.

 It’s something that humanity has struggled with as long as we’ve been people. And though it touches each of us, we all have different ways of dealing with the end. When faced with the loss of family members, it can often be difficult to find the strength to carry on. But for Kevin Cahill, personal grief and pain sparked an idea to make his world a better place for those left behind. Out of the sadness of loss, the hope of Canadian Legacy Builder was born.

FS Local sat down and talked with Kevin about Canadian Legacy Builder and what’s behind the business.

On the face of it, Canadian Legacy Builder is a financial planning service that offers life insurance, but at its heart, Kevin’s company provides something much more important than money.

“Insurance would be one major product, but for Canadian Legacy Builder the whole focus is conversations.” We ask Kevin what he means by that. “It’s just getting people to realize that they might not be okay, or that they shouldn’t trust that everything will just go to their family.”

“I came from a science background – bio-med, bio-chem – but in 2004 I got headhunted into the financial industry, and like a lot of people that got into it, they train you into what to sell and promote. But on my first real day in the industry, my father-in-law passed away of cancer, then a year later my mom died and then a few years later my dad died. Over the first five years of my career, our families probably experienced 30 deaths. And you can’t go through that and not be impacted.”

“Although I was out there being what everyone considered a traditional financial adviser, talking about money and rates of return, and stuff like that, I really started to see the other side of it – rates of return are great…but wow; if you don’t plan, you potentially could lose 60-80% of what you’ve saved.”

In speaking to Kevin, the impetus to start Canadian Legacy Builder becomes even more obvious.

“We’re a little too trusting of the banking and government system. Shortly after my dad passed away I was with a friend and his parents had passed away the previous year and I witnessed him write a huge check to revenue Canada and the legacy of his parents suddenly became how could two educated people let this happen?“

Kevin decided that he would work towards helping surviving families avoid a similar fate. He knew what he wanted to do, but where to start?

“I was actually having a beer with a friend of mine on a patio on a warm summer day, and he said to me “Kevin, you’re not a financial planner”. Kevin laughs and continues, “Well, I almost hit him! I went to a lot of effort to call myself a financial planner with three designations and a whole lot of continuing education. So I said, “Okay, then – what am I?”

“I had worked with his family, and he knew where my heart and my passion rested, and he flat out said “financial planning is just the tool you use to implement the solutions – but you get people thinking about a future bigger than their past. You’re a legacy builder.”

It was the prototypical a-ha moment. From then on, Kevin Cahill and Canadian Legacy Builder would work to demystify the end of life. He recognized that we, as Canadians, are often reluctant to discuss the unpleasantry of death, and too often leave our families to deal with crippling financial burdens.

Today, many of his clients come to Kevin too late and they’re looking for a way to stop the chaos that ensues when proper planning isn’t done. But though it can sometimes feel like he’s swimming upstream, Kevin does feel like he’s making a difference.

“I’ve learned that one of my unique abilities is to bring families to calmness. I’ve had people tell me things that no one else has ever known about. There’s no story I haven’t heard – everyone has one – and I’ve discovered that if you have a conversation and focus with the end in mind – rather than anything to do with money – everything else just clicks along perfectly.”

So as much as Kevin needs to discuss death with his clients, he gleans an enormous sense of satisfaction knowing that he’s helped secure a family’s financial legacy. Kevin is also very sensitive to the fact that the financial industry has earned something of a reputation for greed over the years.

“I call it the ‘sleep test’. If I can put my head on the pillow at the end of the day and fall asleep knowing I did everything in my power possible to help, then I know it was a good day and I’ve got a clean conscience.”

I asked Kevin about his local community of Guelph. As evidenced by Canadian Legacy Builder’s Facebook page, Kevin is enthusiastic about the good work being done by the many amazing charities in the area. But while he’s certainly very active in Southern Ontario, Kevin relishes the ability to look beyond his own backyard.

“When I was filling out my profile on FS Local, it asked for a location. Thanks to the advent of technology like Skype, Canadian Legacy Builder is national. My goal is to get the conversation going nationally – the end can come; it’s not just about ‘do you rent or buy’, ‘do you own or lease a car’. We want all your bases covered.”

With all that’s going on in Canadian politics these days it’s clear to see that we have a reputation for just going along. But avoiding unpleasant discussions – like the end of life – can have lasting repercussions for our families. Kevin Cahill of Canadian Legacy Builder wants to bring that conversation out into the light so no one gets left in the dark.

Canadian Legacy Builder is on FS Local. They offer family philanthropy in the form of tax, estate and legacy planning. For more information visit their website at  www.canadianlegacybuilder.ca