Monday, January 18, 2016

2015 Year in Review

2015 was one of the most volatile years we've seen in a while, ending with the loonie at an 11-year low. Why? Dropping oil prices and diverging interest rates. Read our Year in Review for more.

2015 Year in Review

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A financial plan is … yours

The term ‘financial plan’ is pretty generic – but yours shouldn’t be. Your plan should be as good a fit for your life in the future as it is today, be easily adaptable to the constant changes you’re bound to encounter in the future, and be focused on achieving your long-term life and retirement goals.
To get you started, here’s what you need to know when starting your financial plan.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all financial plan: Your plan must be a personalized and precise road map of the things you need to do to achieve your current and future goals.
  • The starting point is a discussion of your financial goals:  Your goals may include educating your children, paying off debt, protecting your family, buying a house, planning a holiday or a major purchase, leaving money to your family or a favorite charity, and, of course, funding your retirement.
  • Get specific: Once you’ve zeroed in on your financial goals, get specific about how much they will cost and how you will meet those goals.
  • Financial inventory: Then, take an inventory of all that you own and owe including the value of your home, investments and other assets, pensions and the amount of debt you carry (e.g., mortgages, personal loans, credit cards).
With all the right personal information on hand, a financial plan can be developed that gives you:
  • A snapshot of your current net worth – and a blueprint for increasing your net worth over time by increasing the value of what you own and decreasing the amount that you owe.
  • A framework for a workable budget that includes your income, expenses, taxes and savings. You want to aim for a budget that gives you a cash flow surplus (meaning you’re spending less than you earn) and not a cash flow deficit (meaning you’re spending more than you earn).
  • The knowledge about whether you can achieve your goals based on your current assets and savings patterns or what you need to do to meet your goals by increasing savings, changing your investments or delaying the timeline for some of your goals.
  • Advice on what types of accounts to put your investments in; e.g., RRSPs, TFSAs, or non-registered accounts.
You need a comprehensive and personal financial plan. Talk to a professional advisor with the qualifications, tools and track record of developing financial plans.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Survival is Paramount - but the hit to retirement savings can be insurmountable

We all know that we should do what we can to protect our assets ... and for the vast majority of us, our largest asset is our ability to earn. If we lose that, we risk losing everything. Employer's group plans can help if you have one, but frequently they have caps, which mean patients have to come up with the funds for their treatment. Private Disability and Critical Illness coverage may not be the answer for everyone, but it is certainly worth investigating.

Your professional advisor can help you decide how Disability and Critical Illness insurance fit with your existing insurance coverage and your overall financial plan.

The Globe and Mail. - Preparing for the cost of catastrophic illnesses-before-retirement

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Active insurance – a must for active kids

Your kids are active and that’s a good thing – it’s healthy, engaging and fun. But with their active lifestyle comes the possibility of injury. Usually it’s just a matter of getting out the disinfectant, a dressing and a hug – but there’s always the chance your child could have a more significant accident. That’s why your active kids may need active insurance.
Student accident insurance is active insurance. It provides 24-hour coverage for medical, dental, disability and accidental dismemberment/death for students participating in any school activities. Plans can also be expanded to include 24-hour coverage wherever your child is – at home, at play, or even on vacation. Coverage for expenses such as private tutoring, eye glasses and much more can also be included.
Student accident insurance is usually available for any child over six months of age who is enrolled full-time in kindergarten, elementary or secondary school, college or university or is registered in daycare, play-school or pre-school. Children who are home-schooled in a provincially approved curriculum are also eligible for this type of insurance.
Your school may offer student accident insurance. It is also available from many insurance companies.
Student accident insurance is typically inexpensive, yet it can provide your family with some protection against those unexpected accidents. In addition, you may want to consider children’s critical illness insurance for those far more serious concerns.
Your professional advisor can help you decide how student accident insurance – and children’s critical illness insurance – fit with your existing insurance coverage and your overall financial plan.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada

Financial literacy means having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions. To raise awareness and promote financial literacy across Canada, the Financial Literacy Action Group (FLAG) has named November "Financial Literacy Month".

Canadian youth today are faced with financial decisions that can affect their lives for many years. To help them gain the financial skills and knowledge that will benefit them throughout their lives, Investors Group has partnered with the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) to produce the "Money and Youth" program which is offered free of charge to Canada's approximately 3,400 high schools, to help young people acquire the tools and understanding needed to undertake economic and financial roles, responsibilities and decisions with confidence and competence.

For more information on the "Money and Youth" program, take a look at the following video, visit the CFEE website or talk to your advisor.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

CAN YOU AFFORD TO RETIRE? – DO YOU WANT TO?

"Can I afford to retire?" has always been a tough question that those approaching retirement age must ask themselves, and it has never more true than now.  

Whether they hadn’t saved enough money for retirement or they faced higher living costs than expected, almost one in three retired Canadians has had to return to the workforce.

The Canadian Press recently reported on two new online surveys conducted by ING Direct that found the divide between how much people saved, and how much they actually needed, was too wide to handle without a paycheque. “Among the many other financial priorities we face during our prime working years, we need to make sure that retirement planning doesn’t get overlooked.” remarked ING Direct president and CEO Peter Aceto.

Follow the link below to read the article and be sure to talk to a professional advisor about your retirement plan ... before your 'Golden Years' become a little tainted.





Monday, November 11, 2013

Financial recovery from divorce

Divorce happens – approximately one in three marriages now ends that way – and without the right kind of planning, the financial fallout can be devastating. There are always legal issues involved in any divorce proceeding – everything from the right to division of family property and pension benefits to spousal and child support requirements – so contacting a lawyer is an absolute necessity. But there are certain financial recovery steps that need to be taken in almost any divorce.

Financial issues
  • Close joint accounts and open individual accounts
  • Cancel joint credit cards and any automatic payments made in favour of the former spouse
  • Develop a new, individual financial plan – including a personal budget and retirement plan
  • Transfer/assume joint assets – such as responsibility for mortgage payments and entitlements from RRSPs and non-registered accounts
Family law issues
  • With your lawyer, establish your right to a division of family property, pension benefits, spousal support and child support
  • Obtain a release from your ex-spouse’s financial liabilities
  • Decide who will continue paying for RESPs
Tax issues
  • Notify government agencies (CRA and RRQ in Qu├ębec) about your change in marital status for the Canada Child Tax Credit and other credits/child support calculations
  • Remove the ‘spousal’ designation on any spousal RRSPs/RRIFs
  • Assess the tax liabilities when negotiating the division of property – such as the principal residence exemption – as a means of reducing the resulting tax burden
  • Investigate the tax credits/deduction that may be available for spousal support, child support/child care expenses and other fees/expenses/payments
Insurance issues
  • Review your life, medical, disability, critical illness, long-term care, mortgage and other insurance coverage (including house, car and liability) and make any changes as required
Estate planning issues
  • Change beneficiaries for registered accounts, life insurance policies and any registered pension plans
  • Review your will, living will, health care directives and Powers of Attorney
Divorce is always difficult and expert advice is an essential requirement at this emotionally trying time. Your professional advisor can be the ‘team manager’ you need to keep your financial recovery on the right track.