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One of the Most Effective, Underused and Risk-Free Money Making Strategies that Everyone Should Use

Posted on 9 August, 2018 at 0:40 Comments comments (0)

One of the Most Effective, Underused and Risk-Free Money Making Strategies that Everyone Should Use.


Today’s blog is all about one of the best strategies for making money. I will warn you however, that this strategy is perceived negatively by some, mostly due to a misunderstanding of the concept. With that said, if this strategy is structured properly, it is - as the title says - one of the most effective, underused and risk-free money making strategies that everyone should use. 


For now, we’ll use a few letters to name this strategy - DPWLI. So what makes this DPWLI strategy so great?


1) Guaranteed Growth that actually gives a decent return.


The most frustrating thing about investing is that we generally have to risk our money in the markets if we want a return that keeps up to, or surpasses inflation rates. If we do not want to risk our money, our best option seems to be GIC’s. GIC’s usually give a return somewhere around 2%. Inflation rates are around 3%. With GIC’s, we are losing money value.


The DPWLI strategy works likes a GIC on steroids. It offers - over the long term - an annualized rate of return around 4.5%. Now that may not seem all that high but let me explain something. Most people see the Average Rate of Return on their investment statement. But I said Annualized Rate, and Annualized Rate of Return and Average Rate of Return are quite different. You can expect to need an Average Rate of Return of about 2% higher to have the same amount of money in your account as what an Annualized Rate of Return will give you. If you have money in the markets (ex. RRSP’s in mutual funds or index funds), you would need an average rate of return of about 6.5% to match the 4.5% Annualized Rate of Return that the DPWLI strategy offers. You may be thinking to yourself that 6.5% isn’t all that great. That may be true but it’s already better than the return most people are getting. There’s more to consider however… point 2.


2) It’s all Tax - Free


When the DPWLI strategy is structured properly, all the money you take out to use - now or in retirement – is received tax free. No Taxes! At all!


When you have your money in an RRSP, your retirement income is fully taxed. Taking into consideration the tax implications of this type of investment, you would now need an average rate of return around 8.5% over the investment’s lifetime to have the same amount of money in your account as the annualized tax-free 4.5% rate of return that the DPWLI strategy gives you.


Tax Free Savings Accounts also offer tax-free income, but you are significantly limited to how much you can invest in a TFSA, and you need to find a place to put your TFSA. Most people leave their TFSA at the bank gaining 2% (again, losing value). If you have your TFSA in the markets, you are dealing with the risk of loss.


3) You can use it during your life time and the value keeps growing.


One of the most amazing things about the DPWLI strategy is that you can use the money that has grown using this strategy without losing the value of the investment.


Albert Einstein said “Compounding interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… he who doesn’t, pays it.”


I think most of us understand this statement to some degree. None of us like taking money out of our investments (our RRSP’s, TFSA’s, etc.) because when we do, we are taking away the opportunity for our money to grow on itself. We are depleting the value and potential of our investment. We do not want to do that. This leaves us with two choices to ensure that we have money to deal with emergencies or issues that come up, or for opportunities that arise.


The first option would be to save money in an emergency or savings fund.

The problem with this strategy is that we now have a pool of money that is not working for us. This “emergency” fund is just sitting in an account making 1%, waiting for something to happen.


The second option is to borrow money from the bank.

There are a few problems with this strategy. First, we need to qualify to borrow from the bank. Second, the bank controls the whole arrangement. You’ll have set payments and interest to pay. And finally, plenty of issues arise if something unfortunate happens and you cannot continue your monthly payments, even if only for a short period of time. Your credit score will drop, and you will start paying interest on interest on interest.


With the DPWLI strategy, you are in control. You can use the money that you have gained and the value of your fund does not decrease. It actually continues to grow in value, even if you have used it. The principal of your investment continues to grow interest on interest on interest, increasing the value of your policy and you can use that money for emergencies or opportunities. This strategy relieves you from the need to have an emergency/savings fund, and helps you avoid the bank for loans.


4) The moment you put any money into the DPWLI strategy someone you care about is guaranteed to receive a large sum of money - tax-free.


This strategy has an inheritance - a guaranteed death benefit - attached to it.


The DPWLI strategy allows you to grow money at a decent rate in a guaranteed and safe manner. It allows you to receive all the money gained through its lifetime tax-free in retirement and to use that money in your lifetime – for emergencies and opportunities - without losing any value. And it allows you to give people you care about an inheritance.


DPWLI stands for Dividend Paying Whole Life Insurance. Most people view Life Insurance as an expense, but it doesn’t have to be. When your life insurance policy is structured properly, it is an asset. It is an investment, a TFSA account, an emergency and opportunity fund, a retirement account, a legacy for your family. It’s like a GIC on steroids wrapped in Life Insurance. And it’s all guaranteed whether you live till 40, 70, or 105.


To top it all off, the value of your life insurance policy - the death benefit - increases in value every year too.


Now, you may be thinking “what if I wouldn’t qualify for life insurance?”
You do not personally need to be healthy/insurable to use this strategy.


Or maybe you’re thinking “I’m too old for this, it’ll be too expensive.”
Not true. You can still do this with a very small investment amount. 


This truly is one of the most effective, safe, predictable, underused, and all-encompassing money making and family wealthy building strategies available.


Interested? Let’s talk. 
There is no charge to meet with us, so it’s probably worth it!


Your Children's Future Career Choices and their Impact on Insurances.

Posted on 25 July, 2018 at 15:45 Comments comments (1)

Children’s Future Career Choices and their Impact on Insurances.


A few weeks back I helped a client in their mid-twenties apply for $600,000 of life insurance at a monthly premium of just under $30 a month.


This client is a licensed pilot, but currently doesn’t have all that many flying hours and is currently not working for a reputable company.


When the insurance company contacted us with their decision, my client was given two options:


He could continue with the $30 premiums but aviation would be excluded from the policy. This, of course, meant if he passed away while flying the insurance company would not pay the $600,000 benefit.


His other other option was that he could include the aviation benefit in the policy but his monthly premium would increase from $30 to over $200. Yes, you are reading that right - a rate nearly 7 times higher than initially applied for.


This is just one example of an occupation that hugely impacts peoples ability to get good life insurance coverage to protect themselves and their families well. Roofers, Farmers, Construction Workers,Truck Drivers, Firefighters, and Police Officers are just a few of the people with occupations that can cause premium increases or there may be exclusions on their insurance policies.


Many of us teach our kids that they can do whatever they want to, become whatever they want to become. The reality is some of these career decisions can have a major impact building a healthy financial plan and protecting our families when life doesn’t go as planned.

 

There are many great reasons to insure your children and the ability for your children to choose any career they want, become whatever they want to become, without it impacting their ability to get insurance is one of them. By insuring your children you have ensured that they have insurance coverage for life at a monthly premium that will not increase, giving them the ability to pursue any career opportunity that interests them without it impacting their ability to take care of their future families, if something unfortunate happens.


When your children become adults, you can transfer the insurance policy over to them and they become responsible for the policy. This way you do not have to worry about the policy any longer but you’ve ensured that no matter what your children choose to do with their life, they are insured, and taking care of the ones they love.


If you’d like to learn about the many benefits of insuring your children, We’d love to talk to you.

5 Strategies to Protect Your Business and Grow Your Wealth.

Posted on 16 July, 2018 at 10:40 Comments comments (0)

Imagine this:


A few years ago you decided to open a business. It’s been steadily growing since opening day and you’re finally making some money. Maybe you’ve even got a few staff. Things are looking up and the expectations are high for the upcoming year.


But then…


You go to the doctor for a checkup and he tells you that you’ve got cancer. There’s a good chance for survival but you must start treatment right away and you realistically won’t be able to work for at least half a year.


Or


Your take a weekend canoe/camping trip with family and friends. You hurt your back, can’t do the required tasks of your job and it takes nine months for you to become healthy enough to work full time again.


What’s going to happen to your business?
Can the business sustain itself without you there?


Or


You are in a partnership and one of the two above scenarios happens to your partner.


Can you handle the work-load by yourself while your partner is away?
Can you afford to hire someone to replace your partner in the meantime
?


Or worse


Your partner passes away.


Do you have a way to buy out their share of the business?


These may seem like unlikely events, but statistically they are not.


Currently in Canada about..
1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime,
1 in 5 will have a heart attack, 
1 in 9 will have a stroke.


There is also nearly a 50% chance that someone 40 years of age or younger will go on disability for more than 3 months during their lifetime. If that occurs, the average time on disability is anywhere between 2.5 & 3 years.


When this happens to someone owning a business the consequences can be detrimental and many businesses are ill-equipped to deal with a situation of this nature.


Is your business equipped to handle a situation of this nature?
Have you thought about how to prepare for such a situation?
Did you know there are strategies available to protect your business if something unexpected and unfortunate happened?


There are too many businesses in Canada that are not prepared financially to deal with the fall-out of any of the events above.


Here are a few solid strategies to protect your business from unexpected illnesses, injuries or deaths. A couple of these strategies can even help you build wealth now and for the future.


1) Disability Insurance & Business Overhead Expense Insurance


Disability Insurance protects you - the business owner - if you are unable to work due to an injury or an illness. It typically covers about 60% - 70% of your pre-tax income - tax-free, and will help you continue to cover expenses such as bills, groceries, and family needs. Often business owners are not actually taking much of an “income”, but insurance companies will work with you to ensure your personal needs can be met.


Business Overhead Expense Insurance protects your business. This is great for Sole Proprietors, as you are often responsible for earning much of the business’s profit. If you are unable to work, Business Overhead Expense Insurance covers the monthly expenses for your business - such as wages, office space, and supplies - so it can stay afloat while you are on the mend. Having Business Overhead Expense Insurance ensures that you do not need to dip into your savings or increase your debt load to maintain the business while you’re injured or ill.


2) Shared Ownership Critical Illness Policy


This is a great financial strategy for a business to protect the business owner, and to receive retained earnings tax-free in the future.


Personal Critical Illness policies pay a large lump sum of money when the insured person has a Critical Illness. The major four illnesses are Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, Coronary Artery Bypass, but about 25 illnesses are covered under these policies.


With a Shared Ownership Critical Illness Policy, the policy is jointly owned by the corporation and the business owner. Both parties share in the monthly premium payments, but the corporation pays the majority of it. Because you are both the corporation and the owner, this strategy allows you to benefit financially, no matter what the outcome.

The three possible outcomes to this strategy are:
If the owner is diagnosed with a Critical Illness, the corporation gets paid the large lump sum of money.
If the owner passes away, the corporation gets their premium payments paid back to them, in full.
If the owner stays healthy for a set period, say 15 years, the owner will receive all of paid premiums back – both the corporations share and their own – tax-free.


Using this strategy, you protect your business financially in the case you get ill, if you pass away your corporation does not lose a dime, and you’ve created an opportunity for yourself to receive your retained earnings as tax-free income in the future.


3) Dividend Paying Whole Life Insurance


A properly structured Dividend Paying Whole Life Insurance policy acts like a guaranteed tax-free GIC on steroids.


This is a great strategy for business owners to protect their families, to build a tax-free pension for themselves, and to finance their needs - personal or business - throughout their life without dealing with a bank.


How it works:


Once you’ve purchased this life insurance policy, your family is automatically guaranteed a death benefit. It is a permanent insurance policy, so if you pass away - no matter what age you are - your family or other loved ones are provided for financially. Your policy will also be earning interest and dividends, so your death benefit is guaranteed to grow every year.


In the meantime, cash values (savings) are also guaranteed to grow within your policy on daily basis, which can be used throughout your life for emergencies, business or investment opportunities, and anything in between. 


Come retirement time these cash values can be withdrawn against your policy - tax-free. Your pension.


This can be structured so all premiums are paid through the corporation but you, the owner still have all the control.


4) Immediate Financing Agreements


Lots of business owners like the idea of, or at least know they should have life insurance but would rather put their earnings back into the business instead of using it to protect themselves.


An Immediate Financing Agreement allows you to purchase a life insurance policy but receive the entire annual premium back immediately to invest in your business at a low interest rate from the bank.


This is an awesome strategy for all business owners that qualify, as it ensures that you are insured and that your family and business are well protected. The insurance policy is creating a healthy tax-free pension for you in the form of cash value growth, which we spoke about under strategy 3. Every dime that you paid into the insurance policy as a premium payment, will also be immediately given back to you to use for, and grow your business.


5) Funding Buy-Sell Agreements.

Insurances - especially Disability Insurance and Life Insurance - can and should be used for buy-sell agreements for businesses with partnerships. Many businesses will have buy-sell agreements in place in preparation for unexpected situations, but do not actually prepare for how to fund these agreements.


If your partner passes away, do you have the cash to buy out their shares?
Do you have a plan in place to buy out your partner if they become disabled and can no longer function in their leadership role?


Purchasing Insurance policies on partners is a simple and wise way to fund buy-sell agreements.


One Example:
Bob and Jane each own 50% of their business worth $500,000.
Bob buys a policy on Jane for $250,000, making himself the beneficiary. J
ane unfortunately passes away. Bob receives the $250,000 benefit to buy out Jane’s shares of the business and provide for her family.


This of course would also be done by Jane, in the case that Bob passes away.


Protect your Business


It is hard work to start a business, to make it sustainable, and then successful. It’s tough to watch people go through so much to create and sustain a business they love, only to see it disappear because they were unprepared for an unfortunate event like an injury or illness and didn’t have the cashflow to hold it together. And it happens all too often.


When we meet with clients and their families to build a healthy financial plan, one of the first things we tell them is that their greatest asset it not their house, or their business, or their car. It’s their HEALTH!


Without your health you are unable to work, to bring in an income and provide for yourself and loved ones around you. The foundation to any healthy financial plan should be insurances, because insurances protect what you already have and ensure that an income is always coming in, even if you can’t provide it.


It’s the same for your business. Protect what you have.


I love watching small local businesses pop up and grow. I also hate watching them fail. This is especially true when it could have been avoided by simply protecting the themselves and their business.


If you’d like to learn more about these strategies, we’d welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss how you can protect yourself and your business, save some taxes and interest, and build a tax-free retirement income.

What Motherhood Has Taught Me About Money.

Posted on 29 June, 2018 at 9:55 Comments comments (0)

So, your wondering what got in to us to post an article about mothering and money! We're definitely not speaking from experience but thought it was a good article. I hope you enjoy it.


What Motherhood Has Taught Me About Money.

I never realized just how much disposable income I had until I gave birth to my first kid.

Before my daughter was born, it was so easy to throw money around. Weekend getaway? Sure, let’s go! Get my hair highlighted for $200? Yes, please!


Now every penny that we have that isn’t socked away for the future is accounted for—and the vast majority of it goes towards our family.

If you’re looking for a lesson in personal finance, all you have to do is get pregnant. Parents learn so many life lessons, in such a short time, that they form a special club of their own. I’ve found that, when you’re a mom, you just get it.


Here are six things I learned about money after I became a mom. If you’re a mother, you may know what I mean. If not, well, here’s what you have to look forward to:


1. Going out for lunch is a luxury — diapers aren’t.

When you become a mom, your priorities change. Drastically. Enough said.


2. You won’t believe how fast kids grow.

A pair of tennis shoes for a 4-year-old can cost as much as $50! So your best bet is to often shop consignment stores for the wee ones because kids grow so fast that second-hand clothes are basically brand new. If you shop carefully, you’ll likely find expensive brands that you may not be able to purchase new. The same goes for you: Gently worn clothing is a great way to save on items that you won’t wear often—like maternity clothes!


3. If you grocery shop without a list, you’ll spend double.

When you have a family, planning ahead for meals and snacks reduces your food budget significantly. Additionally, before you make an impulse buy, think seriously about the trade-off between time and money. For example, some moms will advise you to forgo the bag of pre-cut baby carrots, but I think my time is worth more–it’s a fast, healthy snack kids love that you don’t have to prepare


4. Rainy days happen (and umbrellas are important).

Even a few dollars saved every month can build a significant nest egg–or an emergency fund. Should you or your spouse get laid off, that cushion can see you through tough times. Or if one of your children suffers a significant illness, you won’t have to worry so much about paying for treatments. Being a mom means being prepared for everything … even the worst-case scenario.


5. Don’t feel guilty about spending on yourself.

Okay, spending your monthly mortgage payment on a spa weekend isn’t smart, but a good haircut or a new dress every now and then makes for a happier mom. Here’s why splurges are important and how to splurge wisely as a mother. For example, check out local deals site for coupons for a massage. You’ll feel even better because you got pampered for a steal.


6. The desire to spoil kids is almost overwhelming.

If we could give them the world, we would. There are lots of reasons not to create your own little Veruca Salt, but saying no all of the time can be a real bore–and not just for your child. No matter how hard you try to shelter them from the massive amount of marketing aimed at kids, they will inevitably want the latest gadget and the hottest toy. At some point, all of us wonder, “Am I spoiling my child?”

Here’s a secret: Although it’s important for kids to hear “no,” timing your gifts responsibly and making sure kids understand the value of a dollar means that you can sometimes indulge them. For example, you can find toys, sporting goods and entertainment for cheap if you shop carefully, and you’ll reap huge rewards in the form of that big smile on your little one’s face.


Amy L. Hatch is a writer and editor, as well as the co-founder of chambanamoms.com. She currently lives in Illinois with her husband and two children.

Your Financial House Pt. 2 - Debt Elimination & Wealth Building

Posted on 20 June, 2018 at 17:25 Comments comments (0)

Your Financial House

Part 2: Debt Elimination & Wealth Building

A couple of weeks back we discussed the Strong Foundation to any financial plan - the insurances. Once your insurances are in place, you can start dealing with the other 4 areas of your financial house - debt elimination, wealth building, retirement planning and legacy planning.


Throughout our lives we will focus on some of these areas more than others. In the earlier years of financial planning, when you have young families and are building careers, you’ll typically be dealing more with debt and trying to create wealth, with much less focus on retirement planning and legacy planning. This of course makes sense but keep in mind that the decisions you make with your finances today - even in the areas of debt elimination and wealth building - will impact your retirement and your legacy. Thus, you must make your decisions now, with what you hope for your retirement and legacy in mind.


For many who have debt, getting rid of it is the first priority, causing them to dump much of their extra income into their mortgage or loans. Paying off debt quickly is important but do so without compromising the rest of your financial house. Warren Buffett says, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” Even if you have debt, saving should come first. Saving puts you in a position of strength, as those who do not save are generally indebted to and reliant on the people who do. We’ll discuss savings and wealth building shortly but the first step to getting rid of debt, is to not get into more debt. The best way to avoid more debt is to save first, ensuring you have a surplus every month.


Now that we understand that, let’s discuss some basic strategies to paying off debt most effectively. 


The key to dealing with debt is unification. With multiple debts, payments typically end up covering interest cost, with little going to the debt load. Unifying debts at a similar or lower interest rate will see more of those payment dollars going to principal, thus speeding up the progress. There is a great strategy to pay off our houses more quickly, with less interest using the unification strategy.


If unifying your debts is not an option, deal with one debt at a time. Choose one loan to push most of your payment dollars into and pay the minimums on the rest. Once the first loan has been paid, take those dollars, and push them into your next loan.


As mentioned earlier, saving first is the first step to wealth building. If there is no surplus at the end of every month, it is impossible to build wealth. Saving also gives us access to money in case of an emergency or opportunity. Having access to money allows for more opportunities to present themselves, creating the ability to build more wealth. A good goal is to save 10% of net income. And the earlier we start the better, as that money has more time to work for us. If you currently aren’t saving, the best thing to do is to start. Begin with 1% or 2%. As that becomes a habit and manageable, increase it. Slowly progress towards the goal and build wealth.


Many people will take what little savings they have and throw that money into the market, using RRSP’s and putting them into mutual funds. While this can work, it may not be the best option. The market is volatile, constantly going up and down. If you have money you’re willing to lose, putting it into the market is just fine, but safe, consistent, guaranteed strategies are what to look for with your early savings. Growing your savings consistently and safely is better than losing what little you have.


For more information on the topics discussed today, feel free to contact us for a free meeting, or sign up for Session 2 and/or 3 of our summer education series “Financial Planning for Young Families.” You can find out more and register for the sessions under the Financial Education tab.


Next Blog we’ll discuss some of the things we need to think about now - in regard to building wealth, saving, and investing - that will have an impact on retirement and legacy planning.

Your Financial House. Part 1 - The Secure Foundation

Posted on 29 May, 2018 at 14:30 Comments comments (0)

Your Financial House 

Part 1: The Secure Foundation - Insurances


As most of us already know, building a house upon a strong foundation is important. I recently read an article about building a house that read: “A proper foundation does more than just hold a house above ground. It also keeps out moisture, insulates against the cold, and resists movement of the earth around it. Oh, and one more thing: It should last forever.. without a good one, you’re sunk!”


When it comes to our financial houses, the foundation to build our house upon is the personal insurances. These insurances are Life Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance, and Disability Insurance. Just like a proper foundation of a house allows it to stand strong when elements out of its control are happening around it, insurances allow our financial houses to stand strong when things we cannot control happen to us and around us. And as we all know life doesn’t often go as planned and things that we don’t want to happen, happen all the time. If are foundation isn’t built properly - just like a house without a proper foundation - we’ll be financially sunk.


The role of all three insurances is to protect you, your family, your income, your current lifestyle, and offer you financial stability in the midst of hardship. Most people view insurances as an expense but they really are investments in yourself and your family, ensuring financial stability no matter what happens. And the younger you get them cheaper they will be.


Life Insurance is designed to protect your loved ones in the case you pass away. This applies to both the income earner and the stay-at-home parent. The stay at home parent does a lot of work that has ecumenic value, and thus replacing their efforts would cost a significant amount of money. Would the income earner be able to afford those extra costs? The wage earner makes a lot of money in their lifetime. How will the family live without that income for years to come? A good rule of thumb for life insurance is 10 x ones annual salary plus all debts owed. Realistically, the rule of thumb is still not enough to match most peoples economic value.

Term insurance is cheap to start but gets expensive later on in life, however, often we need a lot of insurance when we’re young and this can be a great way to make sure your family is well protected at a affordable cost. Permanent insurance lasts forever - like a strong foundation should - and it grows in value every year if properly set up, so this is can also be a really great option.

Death is mandatory, so ensuring you have a well valued life insurance policy is a good way to start building your strong foundation.


Disability Insurance (DI) is designed to protect you and your loved ones in the case you cannot work due to a disability or critical illness. Stay at home parents unfortunately do not qualify for DI, but it would be very wise of the wage earner to ensure they have a disability policy that covers their income. DI pays 60 - 70% of ones gross monthly income tax free, on a monthly basis. This ensures that ones needs and expenses can be met whether it’s groceries, bills, daycare costs etc. Six months of disability can wipe out 5 to 10 years of retirement savings. Having a monthly income from an insurance company helps protect those savings or prevents going into debt, when your typical paycheque is not available.


Critical Illness Insurance (CI) - just like DI - is designed to protect you and your loved ones in the case you are diagnosed with a critical illness. Cancer, Heart Attack, and Stroke are the 3 major illness but most policies will cover 20 - 25 different illnesses. This pays out a lump sum of money (starting at $25,000) when diagnosed with a critical illness. This lump sum payment allows you and your loved ones to cover the costs of the illness without having to use regular income, retirement savings, or borrow. You can use the money however you choose: pay for medications, for personal care, travel for specialized treatments. It can also allow a loved one to take time off work to support and provide care without having to worry about their own income. A good rule of thumb for CI is 1 to 2 times your annual salary and - if set up properly - CI can last forever, and if you don’t ever use it your family can receive all the premiums back - meaning that in the long run you haven’t lost a penny.


When something unexpected happens insurances provide financial stability, allowing us to continue paying off debt, meeting todays’ needs, and saving for the future. It also allows us to deal with the emotional turmoil of such an occurrence without having the financial stress. When uninsured or under insured, an unexpected illness, disability, or family death can have a tremendously negative and lasting impact on our finances.


Session 1 of our Summer Series Financial Planning for Young Families will dive deeper into all three of these insurances, and more. Check out the Financial Education page for more information and to register.

Four Tips For Talking Money With Your Spouse

Posted on 25 May, 2018 at 11:00 Comments comments (0)

Forbes

Liz Frazier Peck

May 15, 2018

Think back to the last time you and your honey talked about money? I’m going to guess that it wasn’t a positive experience. That’s because most of our money conversations are reactive; they’re based around bills, budgets, overspending or other issues that pop up. Rarely do couples have positive discussions about their dreams, values and feelings around money. Talking about money with your spouse is critical not only to your future planning but also to the strength of your marriage. Marriage.com lists money as the No. 2 reason for divorce among couples (only behind infidelity). And it’s easy to see why. Money touches everything. If you and your spouse don’t have positive communication around money and support each other’s values, it can lead to constant bickering, fighting and worse.

The good news is if you’re reading this article, you want to improve your communication with your partner. Congrats. Below are four tips to having positive and open money discussions as a couple.

Set a “money date”:

As the very first step, Megan Lathrop, co-creator of Capital One’s Money Coaching Program, recommends setting a money date with your partner. Don’t worry, this isn’t what you’re thinking; we’re not asking you to bring your budget spreadsheet to review over a romantic dinner. The focus of this date is to have an open conversation about your relationships around money. Don’t even set an outcome or goal, just talk. Make sure you’re in a supportive and connecting environment, such as a hike or over wine (wine always helps). This begins to build a foundation of trust and understanding as you embark on future conversations.

Discuss your values around money:

In Lathrop’s workshops, she encourages couples to list their top five values. It doesn’t need to be about money, just whatever’s important to them. From there, compare your lists and identify your similarities and differences. This can be eye-opening to why you may have issues with your spouse around money. Lathrop states that typically what comes out of her workshops is the realization that the couple is not arguing about money, but about values. For example, your spouse may list adventure as a value, while you may list stability. After digging deeper you may realize that this is why he spends so much money on travel, and why you are always buying pieces for the home. The beauty of this conversation is if you make the discussion around values, both partners typically step in and want to support each other. This type of larger structured conversation is non threatening and positive. 

Plan for your future: 

This seems obvious enough, but according to Capital One’s Financial Freedom survey, one-third of couples never talk about their retirement plans with each other. If you don’t discuss your hopes for retirement then you end up making assumptions about what the other wants. Maybe your husband wants to garden with you ten hours a day like you planned. Maybe he doesn’t. The only way you’ll know is by asking him. Most importantly, having open conversations about your future allows you to plan for it, rather than just letting your future happen by default. 

Turning triggers around:

We are all human and we all have our triggers. You know how it goes. You intend on just having a quick talk about the budget, and within five minutes both of you have your arms crossed and are glaring a hole through the other. What’s the best way to avoid these trigger flare ups, according to Lathrop? Slow down. “If one person is triggered, how they respond naturally can trigger the other person. Then we have two triggered people.” Think of it as the stop, drop and roll fire safety method. When you feel your blood heating, take a pause. Acknowledge how you’re feeling and take a break from each other to reflect. Then come back together to discuss when you’ve settled down.

This article was written by Liz Frazier Peck from Forbes and was legally licensed by AdvisorStream through the NewsCred publisher network.

Live Life Prepared - The True Value of a Death Benefit

Posted on 27 April, 2018 at 16:55 Comments comments (0)

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Live Life Prepared

The True Value Of A Death Benefit

MAY 1, 2017 NOAH KELSCH

My perspective about life insurance was changed forever when I was looking up into the faces of my family from a hospital bed. We didn’t know if I was going to make it one more day or live to see my next birthday, let alone having a long life. I had been diagnosed with cancer and was in the hospital receiving a bone marrow transplant. For anybody who doesn’t know, that’s a one-way street. You either make it or you don’t. During my stay in that wing of the hospital where they only do bone marrow transplants, four other patients didn’t walk out.

 

One of the things that was weighing heavy on my mind was how my loved ones’ lives would change if I never made it out of this hospital. What standard of living was my family going to have if I wasn’t there to provide an income? At that time, more than any other in my life, I realized that, although I had provided a good living for my family throughout, I had neglected to protect my family in the event something happened to me.


Often, when life insurance is considered, it is mistakenly put in the same camp as other types of insurance, ie. Auto, home, disability, health etc. Here’s the thing – all other insurance is based on the “possibility” of a loss. Auto: in case there is an accident. Home: in case there is a fire, flood or earthquake. Health: in case we get sick.


I have never met anybody that got out of this life alive. We are guaranteed to die. It’s just a matter of time.


So why is it that when it comes to insurance, while the greatest majority protect their homes, cars and health with insurance, far less cover the event that is guaranteed to take place?


It’s like placing a bet where you know the odds of winning are 100%. It probably has something to do with the human genetic makeup and the fact that a part of our core survival mechanism is to deny our own mortal fragility and the fact that any one of us could die at any time for a multitude of reasons. This outlook is for the best, as it would be pretty bleak if everybody just waited for the inevitable to happen.


What if we took a different approach to life insurance? What if we approached it from an abundance mindset, rather than a mindset of fear?

 

If we were to look at the death benefit as a way to protect our loved one’s standard of living, whether we are with them or not, then we could justify owning enough life insurance on ourselves and our loved ones that they would not have to struggle financially in the event of our “sooner than expected” passing.


Instead of “Till death do us part,” we take the approach of “In life and in death.” Perhaps, the first thing we would look at before we buy that first house together, is to own adequate life insurance that we can both stay in the house, even if something were to happen to one of us.


Life insurance is something you have when you love someone else. It is a gift of love that will be delivered when everything else in life feels chaotic or is crashing down.


It will be the calm in the storm and the path to be able to move forward. It is the peace of mind that allows a family to sleep at night, knowing that the standard of living that they have become accustomed to, will not suddenly disappear without warning. No one will ever get rich from a death benefit. The allowed coverage is based on one’s ability to earn over a specified period of time and is a multiplier of income. That means it is NOT possible for a person to be “over-insured.”

When Should I Start Saving for Retirement?

Posted on 16 April, 2018 at 15:20 Comments comments (0)

I recently read an article about a survey that examined the financial situation of seniors in the U.S. The article opened with this line: "When it comes to building a comfortable retirement, proper preparation is key. But as a new survey suggests, people tend to set aside too little — and realize their mistakes too late.

Below you can read the rest of the article which offers insight into why most American seniors are not set up to have a comfortable retirement and a few things that we can learn from their mistakes to increase our chances at a lifestyle in retirement that we feel comfortable with. Below the article, I'll also offer some insights as to when, how, and where to save your money.

"In its latest poll of 1,000 senior citizens aged 65 or older, US-based student loan platform LendEDU examined the financial situation of older Americans. Among the respondents, 55% said they haven’t saved enough for retirement, 27% felt that they have, and 18% said they weren’t sure." 

The survey also asked respondents to name some financial decisions from their 20s that they regret today. Not saving enough for retirement was the biggest mistake for a plurality of respondents (21%), followed by spending too much on non-essentials (17%), not investing their money (12%), and incurring too much debt (10%).

“I put off starting to save for retirement … until I was a bit over 31 years old,” Timothy Wiedman, a senior and professor at Doane University, told LendEDU. “I justified this by telling myself that I could always "catch up" later on my long-term financial plans after establishing a solid career and seeing my income increase. But the earning power of compound interest is based on time, so an initial delay can have severe consequences.”

One question asked what seniors know or understand about personal finance today that they did not at 25 years old. The top answers included “how to live within my means” (29%), “how to budget” (26%), “how to save for retirement” (16%), and “how consumer credit works” (15%).

Because of their lack of retirement savings, many respondents in the poll said they were critically dependent on social security (69.1%) as well as life insurance (46.9%)."

Now while this is an American survey, I would suggest that we as Canadians are in a similar situation. Currently, the average debt for Canadian seniors is around $15,000 (not including mortgages), 30% of retirees report growing debt, and government data shows that the number of Canadians working past the age of 65 continues to rise. 

Here are a few thoughts for everyone - whether you are 20 or 50 - that can help you be better prepared for retirement. 

1) Start Saving Now -  55% of the survey respondants said they had not saved enough for retirement. Start saving. The earlier you start saving for retirement the better. As mentioned in the article "The earning power of compound interest is based on time, so an initial delay can have severe consequesnces." The more time you give your money to work, the more it will grow. 

2) Pay Yourself First. Try to save 10%. The more you save, the more prepared you will be. Warren Buffet said "Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving." Paying yourself first is key. Make saving money for yourself your first priority. You'll thank yourself later. Warren Buffett also said "If you cannot control your emotions, you cannot control your money." Take control of your emotional spending (a coffee here, a burger there, whatever it may be) and make saving for yourself a discipline. 

3) Grow your money in places that offer Tax Free Retirement Income as much as possible. Many people love the idea of saving on taxes now by putting money into RRSP's, but you are actually just  deferring your tax bill. If you plan to have a similar or better lifestyle in retirement as you have now, and all your retirement income is taxable, you could pay all the taxes you "saved/deferred" back to the government in only a few years. And in retirement you'll likely no longer have all the other deductions that you do now. Research has proven over and over again that people who have at least a portion of their retirement income coming to them guaranteed and tax free are happier and live longer. 

It can be difficult to think about retirement in our younger years (20s to 50's) as we've got other things to worry about like buying a house, raising kids, building our business, and enjoying what we have. These are all valid, but I would bet the last thing we'd like to do is take a pay cut come retirement.  I think most of us would rather continue in retirement with a similar or better lifestyle to the one we had during our working years. 

If you'd like to chat about some good strategies to prepare well for your future years, we'd be glad to help. 



Why You Shouldn't Get Mortgage Insurance (and if you have it, why you should get rid of it)

Posted on 21 February, 2018 at 17:05 Comments comments (0)

So you’ve bought yourself a house and you need insurance to ensure your loved ones can cover the cost of your mortgage in case you pass away. It only makes sense to get Mortgage Insurance. It’s easy to get, after all. The bank just gave you a Mortgage and they are now offering you Mortgage Insurance. All you have to do is fill out a small form and there you have it, a Mortgage Insurance policy. You are now insured.

This is a regular occurrence for those buying a house. And it’s not all bad. It’s important to have insurance. Mortgage Insurance financially protects those you care about in the event you pass away. It helps them cover a huge financial expense. And I do believe everyone should have insurance, but my question: Is Mortgage Insurance the best option?

I would suggest that rather than purchasing Mortgage Insurance, instead you consider purchasing your own personal Life Insurance Policy.

Here are 3 major reasons why - if you’ve already got Mortgage Insurance, or are planning to get Mortgage Insurance - you will be better off by switching to or choosing Life Insurance instead.

Life Insurance Is Cheaper

A Term Life Insurance policy is almost always cheaper (sometimes significantly cheaper) than Mortgage Insurance.

Why?

One simple reason: Underwriting.

Underwriting is the process that Insurance Companies go through to assess your health. This includes a health questionaire and maybe some minor tests, including blood and urine (these tests will happen on larger policies). They do this before they offer you a Life Insurance policy, so they know what kind of risk you are to them. This way they know the likelihood of needing to pay out the benefit and can offer your an accurate rate. If you are healthy, your life insurance policy will be cheap because the insurance company knows that your risk is low. 

Banks do not underwrite beforehand. They do not know what kind of risk you are to them. Because of this they increase the cost of the monthly premiums. They have no idea if you are healthy or not and putting them at more risk. More risk equals more cost. 

This process alone makes a huge difference in the cost of your policies. We have had clients switch from a Mortgage Insurance Policy to a Life Insurance policy and their monthly premiums were nearly cut in half.

We all love a good deal.

You walk past your two favourite stores. You can only go into one. Store 1 has a 40% to 50% off sign in the window. Store 2 does not. Which store do you choose?

The first and most obvious reason to choose a Life Insurance policy is because it’s going to save you money.

2) Life Insurance Has A Greater Benefit Value (most of the time)

What many don’t realize when they purchase Mortgage Insurance is that the policy's benefit will decrease in value as your mortgage value decreases. Now, if you have mortgage insurance through a credit union this may not be the case, but generally it is. 

The Diagram Below Compares the value of a typical Mortgage Insurance Policy and a personally owned Life Insurance Policy.


With either policy - Mortgage Insurance or Life Insurance - your monthly premiums will stay the same over the course of the term (but again the Life Insurance premiums will likely be significantly cheaper), however you’ll notice that the value of the policy differs dramatically.

In the diagram example, you've got a $100,000 Mortgage Insurance policy (we're using easy, low numbers). As your mortgage value decreases (The blue dotted line), the value of your Mortgage Insurance policy also decreases (The solid red line).
Let’s say you pass away in year 19 of your mortgage. Your initial $100,000 mortgage now only has a value of $60,000, the bank receives $60,000 but you’ve been paying the same monthly premiums for 19 years. 

With a personally owned Life Insurance policy of $100,000 the policy value will not change (the solid blue line). The policy keeps a value of $100,000 throughout the entire term. 
So just like with the Mortgae Insurnace example, it's year 19 of your mortgage. Your mortgage now only has $60,000 left and you pass away. With your own personal Life Insurnace Policy your beneficiary receives the full value of the policy - $100,000.

This leads us to point number 3.

*Side note: Can you believe that mortgages are so front loaded with interest that 19 years into your mortgage you could still have over half your house to pay off? There are other options. We'd love to discuss them with you.*

3) Life Insurance Gives You Greater Flexibility

Because your Life Insurance policy does not decrease in value and YOU get to choose the beneficiary (with Mortgage Insurance the bank is the beneficiary) there is much more flexibility for those with such a policy. Your beneficiary could be your spouse, a child, your parents and the beneficiary(ies) you choose decide what they would like to do with the money they receive.

So let’s go back to the example where your mortgage now only has a value of $60,000.

With Mortgage Insurance, the bank gets the money and that’s that. Your loved ones receive nothing.

With your own personal Life Insurance policy the beneficiary of your choice will receive the full $100,000. They can choose to use $60,000 of the benefit to pay off the rest of the mortgage if they want too. If they do that they would be left with $40,000 to invest, to replace the income they lost in your absence, or go on vacation. The choice is theirs. If they are able and would like to continue paying the mortgage payments, they could do that aswell and keep the entire $100,000 for themselves to do whatever they want with it. Your beneficiary of choice has all the control as to how they use the benefit they’ve received. 

Owning a personal Life Insurance policy offers you cheaper premiums, a greater death benefit value, and greater flexibility, so we would encourage everyone to go this route. 

Mortgage insurance is a better option than having no insurance though. 

For those of you who already have Mortgage Insurance, switching is Life Insurance is a fairly easy process. The steps are 1) Apply for your own personal Life Insurance policy with an Independent Insurance Broker. 2) Cancel your Mortgage Insurance policy, BUT ONLY once your Life Insurance policy is in place.

Another thing to note: Because there is no underwriting done prior to being given a Mortgage Insurance policy, receiving the benefit can be much more difficult as well. We encourage you to click on the the link below and watch the 2 videos on Mortgage Insurance for more information on the difficulty of receiving Mortgage Insurance claims.
http://www.freshgroundfinancial.ca/mortgage-insurance

If you have any questions, if you would like to learn more about Life Insurance, or if you would like to apply for a Life Insurance policy, we would love to assist you.


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