Wednesday, January 17, 2018

6 Easy Ways To Save Money

6 Easy Ways To Save Money

Who wouldn't like to have more money?

Start the new year out right, and learn how to save more and stress less. Here are 6 easy ways to start saving money today.

1. Beware of the "sale" Sign - 90% off something you'll never use isn't saving money.
  • When an item is “on sale,” we act more quickly and with even less thought than if the product costs the same but is marked at a regular price 
  • Focus on what things cost, not how big of a discount you're getting
2. Money is money - People are more likely to spend their salary on “responsible” things like paying bills, because it feels like “serious money". Whereas "bonus money" is often spent on frivolous things-but money is money.
  • Every dollar is the same. It doesn’t matter where money comes from
  • Saving so-called "bonus money" can positively affect your savings
3. Try and use cash - Using cash has a bigger impact on your brain than swiping a card.
  • Using credit cards blurs the process of handing over money and makes you more likely to spend
  • You're more likely to overspend or loose track of your spending when using credit cards
4. "Fair" is a four letter word - The concept of "fair" messes with our heads and causes us to reject deals that still offer plenty of value.
  • It doesn't pay to get hung up on the concept of "fair
  • Think about whether you're getting reasonable value for the money you're paying. Otherwise the person who gets punished will probably be you
5. Try A "Ulysses Contract" - A Ulysses contract is any arrangement by which we create barriers against future temptation.
  • You probably already use a financial Ulysses Contract and don't even realize it. Ex: RRSP's-You've made the decision in advance to save for retirement
6. Drop Anchor - "Anchoring" is a potentially devastating cognitive bias where the first number mentioned in a given scenario unconsciously influences your future choices.
  • Example: You have consistently overpaid for lattes and oil changes in the past so you mindlessly keep doing it
  • Look at your regular purchases and ask if they really make sense and whether there are cheaper alternatives
 For more on each of these 6 tips, check out Eric Barker's blog, Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Group Benefits: HR and Administration Issues

Please join Peter Andreana and Andy Balaura on January 30th at 7:30am in a discussion focused on the issues they have both seen around Employee Benefits, many of which most people are unaware of. You will walk away with important information and tips you can start to implement in your HR immediately. See below for more details, along with registration info.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws

Despite a strong and growing economy the nature of work in Ontario has changed. Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work.

In order to create more opportunities and security for workers within Ontario's changing economy, the Ontario government announced the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

The act was officially passed on November 22nd 2017.

This legislation makes a number of changes to both the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 1995, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including major areas such as;
  • Minimum wage increase
  • Equal pay for equal work (casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers)
  • One week's notice or pay in lieu of notice for employees of temporary help agencies if longer-term assignments end early
  • Fairer scheduling rules
  • Vacation time
  • Expanded personal emergency leave in all workplaces
  • Unpaid leave to take care of critically ill family member
Minimum Wage Increase

Ontario is increasing its minimum wage rates [the lowest rate that can be paid by employers to employees].

As of January 1st 2018 the general minimum wage has been increased to $14.00/hr which will increase to $15.00/hr by January 1st 2019. Additional changes have been made to different employment categories.


Changes will allow employees to:
  • Request a schedule or location change once they’ve been employed for three months, without fear of being penalized
  • Refuse shifts if their employer asks them to work with less than 96 hours’ notice, without fear of retaliation, with certain exceptions
Employers will also be required to pay wages to the employees for three hours of work if the employee:
  • Regularly works more than three hours a day, shows up for work and works less than three hours or not at all (for example, the shift is cut short)
  • The shift is cancelled within 48 hours of their scheduled start time, with certain exceptions
  • Is scheduled to be on-call but, despite being available to work, is either not called in to work or works less than three hours. This will be required for each 24-hour period the employee is on call
Vacation Time
  • Under the new legislation, employees will be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years with the same employer
Personal Emergency Leave
  • The legislation will require all employers to give all employees 10 personal emergency leave days per year, including two paid days if the employee has been employed for one week or longer (7 days)
  • An employee who has been employed for at least 13 consecutive weeks will be entitled to up to 10 individual days of leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if the employee or their child experiences domestic or sexual violence or the threat of domestic or sexual violence. The first five days of leave, each calendar year, will be paid, the rest will be unpaid.
For more on the changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws, visit

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Estate Protection: Secure Your Legacy

You’ve spent a lifetime planning ahead to be prepared for every stage of your life. Leaving a legacy isn’t any different.

Estate Protection is a segregated fund that has the same benefits of potential growth and exibility for your investment portfolio. There’s also insurance protection for you and your beneficiaries through built-in guarantees.

Is Estate Protection right for you?
  • Are you in the later years of your retirement? 
  • Do you want to protect the money you have set aside for the important people that matter the most in your life? 
  • Are you looking to pass on your legacy? 
  • Do you want to participate in the financial markets, to potentially grow your money? 

If you answered yes to these questions, then Estate Protection might be the right choice for you.

What does Estate Protection offer?
  • 100% death benefit-When you die 100% of your investment is protected to pass on to those who are most important in your life
  • 75% maturity guarantee-When your policy ends (at age 105), even if the markets go down, Estate Protection protects most of the money you put in 
  • You can select funds which can allow you to lower the impact of market volatility on your investments
Saving money is an important part of protecting the legacy you’ve built for your loved ones. With Estate Protection you can have an increased sense of certainty. Because the amount that you’ve set aside does not flow through your estate, you can save the legal, taxes, executor and accounting fees, etc. that can be part of passing on your legacy.

Overall, when it comes to fulfilling your wishes you want a sense of security. You want to feel like you have made the right estate planning decisions. You want to know you have adequately prepared for the financial well-being of your loved ones. By partnering with a financial advisor, you can be confident you have secured your legacy.

Contact Continuum II today and let us help you secure your legacy.  

For more information on Estate Protection, read the full overview from Great West Life

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
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, and

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.