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TD Waterhouse's Patricia Lovett-Reid and retired CFL great Damon Allen team up to offer strategies for the Red Zone

TORONTO, 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. Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice President, 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.

"Everyone goes football crazy from November to early February because of the championships and bowl games. I've overheard discussions of different strategies, including tactics for the Red Zone, and I couldn't help but notice the parallels between football and retirement planning," says Patricia Lovett-Reid. "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 that I often find 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 plan now, Lovett-Reid 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."

"Similarly, when you're in the Retirement Red Zone, you should carefully evaluate your financial portfolio," says Lovett-Reid. "The allure of the potentially-higher returns associated with riskier asset classes is like going for a touchdown instead of a field goal. The more prudent play at this stage may be to take the conservative approach and gradually 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.

"In the Retirement Red Zone, small adjustments to your investments can have great outcomes," says Lovett-Reid. "For instance, consolidating your investments with one financial institution can make them significantly easier to manage. With everything grouped together, it's easier to implement measures to balance and enhance your portfolio, which will benefit you as you transition from work to retirement."

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."

Just as good coaches bring out the best in their players, financial planners can use their expertise to suggest strategies that will help clients build and develop their financial portfolio for retirement.

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.

"Your goals for retirement should work the same way," says Lovett-Reid. "Are you hoping for a comfortable retirement spending time at home with family and friends, or do you want to travel the world? 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).

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