Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Financial Literacy Month

Did you know that November is Financial Literacy Month?

Financial literacy is important. As financial advisors we help to provide the knowledge needed to appreciate money management and to make it clear and simple to navigate. Here are just a few things to consider on your way to financial well-being.

It's not magic - it is planning. Everyone needs a good financial plan and a qualified planner.

Start Planning
- Be prepared, financial planning is for everyone, the more aware your are the better. Get help from a CFP professional
- Understand the power of saving could have a huge impact on your life
- Consider using advisor provided tools to help learn how to make budgets and how to manage any debt effectively and efficiently. Our Budget Worksheet and many other tools are available to help
- Create goals and focus on your financial strategy
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Prepare for life's up's and down's
- Canadians are living longer, it is important to have a grasp on your plans for retirement and take steps to make sure your money lasts

Reduce Stress
- Personal finance can be a major stress for many Canadians, having an understanding of financial concepts could help to reduce anxiety and improve your overall well-being
- Know your financial rights and responsibilities
- Pass your financial knowledge onto your children, build their financial confidence
- It is not all about budgeting. It's about finding out what is important to you and your family


Understanding the basics about money is a critical skill, we encourage you to ask questions and get involved. Are you ready to get started, contact us today.
                                         
                                                                                          
For more information on Financial Literacy visit, www.canada.ca and https://www.financialplanningforcanadians.ca/

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Beware of 'Robo-advice'

Although most investors continue to work with human advisors, the rise of web-based investment platforms has made it more important than ever to understand the difference between 'robo-advisors' (Automated portfolio management services) and 'human advisors'.

Solutions Magazine has provided the following to help define the difference, and highlight the importance to maintaining 'human advice'.

How does “robo-advice” work?
Because these platforms don’t offer individualized advice, the term “robo-advisor,” although catchy, is a misnomer. It’s actually just software. When a client registers for a service, she or he answers a set of questions that determines a generic investor profile. The software then presents the client with choices of ready-made portfolios based on the profile. Because the profiles are formulaic – quite literally based on a mathematical formula – they can only account for a limited range of goals and risk tolerances. Robo-advisor software is designed to sort clients into broad categories and to serve those categories quickly and at a lower cost. This model relies on the investor answering the questionnaire accurately. It also places the responsibility of choosing the best portfolio on the client instead of the advisor, because there is no advisor.

The role of an advisor
Human advisors are licensed experts who create comprehensive financial plans designed to build wealth, minimize taxes and accomplish a diverse range of other goals. These may include everything from being able to afford next year’s vacation to buying a home to living comfortably in retirement. Because money is more than an account balance – it’s a family’s home, a child’s university tuition, an emergency fund for tough times – creating a plan requires understanding the emotional importance of each financial goal.

An advisor also does much more than portfolio rebalancing. She or he can help rearrange investments for tax efficiency, review budget and saving strategies, and put in place the right financial protection. As a result of understanding the full picture of a client’s life, a financial professional can handle varying degrees of complexity. If a client experiences major changes, plans can be adjusted to respond to the client’s new circumstances.

By the same token, if the economy changes, an advisor has the depth of knowledge to provide a proper analysis and plan of action. When faced with the decision of staying the course or making an adjustment, you can sit down with an expert intimately familiar with your investments. An advisor can evaluate what the decision will mean, not just for your portfolio, but for your long-term financial well-being.

Overall, the primary advantage of working with an advisor is nuanced “big picture” planning. Investing isn’t so much about buying a product; it’s about acquiring the component parts of a far-sighted strategy. Ideally, investments complement each other and click neatly into place within a financial plan. They’re allocated to generate growth or provide an income, to meet short- and long-term goals, to save taxes and to build a legacy. Furthermore, the plan must adapt – and the investments must be rebalanced – as the investor’s circumstances change. An advisor’s unique skill set supports the ability to translate a client’s vision into a concrete, achievable plan, where as a 'Robo-advisor' does not-to them you're just a number.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Health needs in retirement

Retirement is a milestone that many Canadians work towards for most of their lives. When preparing for that long- awaited goal of life after work, aside from ensuring you have enough savings to live comfortably, it’s also important to consider potential health care needs and costs.

Solutions For Financial Planning, lays out how to include health and dental benefits in your overall retirement plan. Longevity and wellness are top of mind for many Canadians, but we may be more prone to health issues as we age. Among Canadians aged 65 and older, almost 90 per cent have one or more chronic conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease. These conditions may require everything from accessibility equipment to physiotherapy to nursing care.

Canadian seniors generally spend more on health care than younger Canadians. A 2014 survey found that households headed by a person aged 65 and over spent 6.1 per cent of their goods and services budget on health care, whereas households headed by someone under 30 spent 2.8 per cent. It may not come as a surprise to learn that prescription drugs are one of the largest health care expenses for Canadians over 65, accounting for almost 30 per cent of their out-of- pocket health spending. Those fortunate enough to enjoy group health benefits during their working years may not be fully aware of the true costs of health care.


Plan for expenses. Understanding potential health care needs is only one piece of the puzzle – knowing how you will pay for it all during your retirement years is another.

A beneficial first step is  determining whether your employer offers continued coverage for retirees. Then, if it applies to your situation, consider your spouse’s coverage – will it be enough for your needs, and how long will it be in effect? If your circumstances dictate shopping for a new plan, there are a range of options to consider. Some of the common health services covered are prescription drugs, hospital stays, nursing and home care, vision care, and medical equipment, as well as dental services such as exams, cleanings, llings and root canals. Look for plans that offer a variety of levels, enabling you to choose one that most closely aligns with your needs and budget. Many plans also offer coverage for spouses and children, add-ons such as travel insurance, and supplementary features like special rates for couples and families with multiple children. 

Be Proactive. Securing health and dental insurance ahead of retirement can be beneficial for a few reasons. Not only will this prevent a gap in coverage, but certain plans feature guaranteed acceptance and no medical questionnaire if you apply within a specific time a er your group plan ends. Throughout the process, your advisor is the person with the best expertise to help you understand the different plans available and to assist in deciding what options fit your needs. Having the right health care plan in place can help alleviate concerns about paying for future medical requirements and put more focus where it should be – on enjoying retirement to its fullest. 


Contact our offices today for more information on retirement planning.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wow, what an exciting day!


I would have never guessed to have said that about life insurance, but I just did.

20 years ago my mother, Lise Andreana, basically forced me to buy a life insurance policy because it would be good for my future.  All I remember is asking myself, how am I going to afford this when I can’t even buy food? Why does someone at my age need life insurance?  Maybe she is just trying to reach a sales goal and using her kids to get her there? (Just kidding about that last one)

In my early twenties, $50 a month was, to me, a whole lot of money that I could have been spending on the necessities of life.  But I was a good girl and did what my mother asked me to do (well, in this case, lol).  As the years went by, the payments became easier and easier to make especially since it was on automatic banking.  Then about 10 years ago, it occurred to me that my premiums would be 0.9% less if I paid annually instead of monthly, so I then made that change to save some money, and again the premiums became easier to afford each year.

Fast forward to today… I received my annual policy statement and guess what it says?

I now have over $71K in death benefit and over $13K in cash values that are just going to keep on growing.  The best part of all? The single line that reads; PREMIUM: Your policy is now paid-up. There are no more premiums payable.  This is the exciting part!  The 20 pay policy my mother sold me when I was in university is now paid off in full, but I have coverage for life that will continue to grow!

So now, I sit here thinking to myself what will I do with my “new found” money?  I can tell you that purchasing another whole life insurance policy has surely crossed my mind.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Have you been asked to be an executor?

Has someone close to you asked you to be the executor of their will?  

To a friend or loved one, you might seem like the perfect person to be their executor. And while it may appear to be an honour, it is a huge responsibility. Before you agree to the job, here's what you need to know.



Estates big or small-it will be a lot of work.
- Any estate may have multiple properties, numerous possessions, extensive wealth or many beneficiaries.
- There may be numerous steps to get through before you can distribute any assets, including being responsible for taxes.

Be aware of potential conflicts
- If you are being asked to be an executor by a friend, you might want to consider why? In some circumstances, it could be to prevent family conflicts, in which case you could be on the hook to mediate some explosive discussions as to who gets what.

Are you ready for litigation? 
- If the beneficiaries don't like the decisions you've made, you might find yourself the subject of a lawsuit.

Compensation
- There are no rules about how much an executor should be compensated, although the rule of thumb is typically 5%.
- Be sure to note that if the beneficiaries file a lawsuit, and it is found that you haven't used the estate funds the way they were intended, you could be liable to to repay the funds from your own pocket.
- Ultimately, you have to awknowledge that all your hard work could be for pennies.

The bottom line is that being an executor is a lot of work, before you take on the job be sure to consider all of the possibilities.
Talk to your Continuum II advisor today, we can help guide you in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Test Your Financial Knowledge


Studies show that Canadians aren't as financially savvy as they think they are. When asked, 70% of Canadians claimed to be financially literate, but when asked to test their knowledge 60% failed. How do you compare?

Test your knowledge by answering the following 15 statements with ‘true’ or ‘false’

1. A mortgage term refers to the length of time you need to pay off your mortgage.

2. You must pay for government insurance on mortgages where you put down less than 20% of a down payment-unless the home is worth $1 million or more.

3. A car that is more expensive always costs more to insure than a cheaper car.

4. You never have to report interest and profits gained in your TFSA when filing taxes.

5. You can have multiple TFSA accounts with different banks at the same time.

6. Your auto insurance automatically goes down when you turn 25.

7. Applying for a credit card can negatively affect your credit score.

8. Home insurance can sometimes protect you if your dog bites someone in your home.

9. Your home insurance will always cover you if a tree falls on your home.

10. Checking your credit score has no impact on the score itself.

11. The colour of your car affects your car insurance rate.

12. All banks charge you money to have a chequing account.

13. Auto insurance premiums can be cancelled mid-way through their term.

14. You need to be licensed to buy stocks in Canada.

15. There's no need to get travel insurance if you're travelling within Canada between provinces.

How did you do?

Check your answers below.

Answers: 1. False  2. True  3. False  4. False 5. True  6. False 7. True 8. True 9. False 10. True
11. False 12. False 13. True 14. False 15. False

See how Pattie Lovett-Reid scored on her financial quiz.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Financial Plans For Your Future


Here at Continuum II we get asked all the time "What's the most beneficial way for me to invest my money?".

Our answer is always the same; everyones financial landscape is unique, and that everyones financial portfolio should reflect that. But overall, the most important thing is that everyone has a plan.

Many people don't realize that there is difference between a financial plan and an investment plan. 

An investment plan focuses solely on your investments, and your return on those investments. While investments are important, they are nothing without a solid financial plan.

What you have to ask yourself is, will your investment plan stand up if something goes wrong in other areas of your life? What if you suffer from one of the four D's (death, divorce, disability or disaster)?. This is where a financial plan will help to ensure you're protected.

Here is what a financial plan can offer, that an investment plan can not.
  • A financial plan looks at all of the financial aspects of your life, not just your investments.
  • Financial plans look at insurance and estate needs, educational planning.
  • Financial plans help you to make big financial decisions, like whether to buy or rent.
In acknowledging you need a plan, the next step is to hire a financial planner. A financial planner typically provides a written financial plan that outlines your goals, challenges and considerations, recommendations and action plan. A comprehensive written financial plan generally includes the following:
  • A clarification of your short, medium and long term goals
  • A statement of Net Worth
  • An analysis of your cash inflows and outflows
  • A detailed budget and debt-reduction strategies
  • A review of your current investments and investment strategy advice
  • Projections regarding your retirement, including pension recommendations
  • A review of your insurance needs, group benefits and estate planning, including recommendations
  • The action steps needed to implement your plan
Do you have an individualized comprehensive financial plan? Get started now with the quick RediNest questionnaire below. With RediNest you'll discover how your financial readiness compares to other Canadians with similar goals. It’s easy to use, free and a great way to preview the work we do here at Continuum II Inc. - C2Inc.