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The Clock is Ticking!

Don’t Put Off Your Decision to Buy Life Insurance

2016 is an opportune year to buy life insurance.  New laws affecting the taxation of life insurance come into effect on January 1, 2017. After this date new policies will not perform as well as they do currently.

The good news is that the proceeds of life insurance policies paid at death still remain tax free.  What has been affected is the amount of cash value that may accrue in a policy and the tax-free distribution of death proceeds from a life insurance policy owned in a corporation.

How will this impact your existing and future policies?

Adjustment to the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve

Whole Life and Universal Life policies are valuable vehicles in which to accumulate cash value. The limit of how much can be invested is governed by the Maximum Tax Actuarial Reserve (MTAR).  If the cash value ever exceeds the MTAR limit, the policy is deemed to be “offside” and will be subject to accrual taxation. Read more

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Do You Need Individual Life Insurance?

Canadians may need to rethink their risk management

In a recent study conducted by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA), it was reported that 61% of Canadians hold some form of life insurance.  Surprisingly, it also revealed that only 38% of Canadians own an individual life insurance contract.

In another study of middle class Canadians, Manulife reported that 79% had no individual disability insurance and 87% had no individual critical illness coverage.

What both of these studies conclude is that most Canadians rely heavily on their group benefits for their family’s insurance protection.  Read more

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Canada Pension Plan – Should You Take it Early?

The new rules governing CPP were introduced in 2012 and they take full effect in 2016.  The earliest you can take your CPP Pension is age 60, the latest is 70. The standard question regarding CPP remains the same – should I take it early or wait?

While you can elect to start receiving CPP at age 60, the discount rate under the new rules has increased.  Starting in 2016, your CPP income will be reduced by 0.6% each month you receive your benefit prior to age 65.  In other words, electing to take your CPP at age 60 will provide an income of 36% less than if you waited until age 65.

CPP benefits may also be delayed until age 70 so conversely, as of 2016, delaying your CPP benefits after age 65 will result in an increased income of 0.7% for each month of deferral.  At age 70, the retiree would have additional monthly income of 42% over that what he or she would have had at 65 and approximately 120% more than taking the benefit at age 60.  The question now becomes, “how long do you think you will live?” Read more

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Taxation of Life Insurance – New Rules Offer a Window of Opportunity

Permanent life insurance, such as Whole Life or Universal Life, has long been accepted as a tax efficient way of accumulating cash for future needs.  Soon the amount of funds that can be tax sheltered within a life insurance policy will be reduced by new tax rules which take effect January 1, 2017.  These changes may make 2016 the best year to buy cash value life insurance.

The changes to the tax rules regarding life insurance have resulted in an update to the “exempt test” which measures how much cash value can accumulate in a policy before it becomes subject to income tax.

Highlights of the new rules and their effect

For Cash Value Life Insurance: Read more

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Are You On The Right Track?

In bull markets some investors develop unhealthy expectations as to the long term yields their investments should provide.  Ten years ago, some came to accept returns as high as 15% to 20% per annum as the base return their fund and portfolio managers were expected to provide. Of course, these expectations came crashing back to earth in 2008 as the bull was chased away by a very large bear. Today, many fund managers are of the opinion that double digit returns are going to be very difficult to achieve with any consistency over the long term.

Is it time for us to lower our expectations?

If we have to accept lower rates of return, do we still want to be exposed to the same previous level of risk?  There can be tremendous volatility in the equity markets and, as a result, many wonder if they are on the right track with their investment strategy.

4 Questions to ask yourself about your investment strategy

What are my goals?

Read more

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

13
Jun
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What to do if you’ve (just) been fired

by Kira Vermond, Moneysense

Dismissed, downsized, dumped? There’s no easy way to hear you’re suddenly out of work. To soften the blow, we’ve pulled together six steps you can take right away to put more money in your pocket, and give yourself a better chance at finding a new job.

Don’t sign anything

At least not until you’ve taken your severance package home to read it properly. Check whether your ex-employer is offering salary continuance or a lump sum payment, and whether you’re still entitled to extended benefits or any kind of employment support. Although there’s no official deadline to complete this process, a week is typical. That’s usually enough time to get legal advice if you feel that’s necessary.

Keep it together

You’re probably feeling shocked or worried about the sudden change in your financial status. Who wouldn’t be? Yet the moment you hear the words, “Effective immediately,” you need to zip it and start listening. Not only will you be more likely to take in vital information, starting a shouting match does nothing but damage your professional reputation. Definitely a no-no heading into a job search.

Read more

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9
May
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Preventing Fraud All Year Round: How to safeguard your identity and financial information from theft

By, Carla Hindman, Visa Canada

A generation ago, most families didn’t think about financial fraud. Today, it can come in many forms – over the phone, through the mail and increasingly, online. It’s an equal opportunity crime that affects consumers of all ages.

This March marked the 12th anniversary of Fraud Prevention Month (FPM) in Canada. FPM raises awareness about fraud, while helping Canadians learn how to recognize, reject and report it. To combat fraud, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada launched the ‘No Surprises‘ campaign to help Canadians understand their financial rights and responsibilities. Read more »