Insurance Planning

Insurance is often thought of as an optional extra in the area of personal and business finance – a “nice to have” which can offer protection if things go wrong but certainly not as an important asset in its own right. However, it’s true to say that intelligent insurance planning is a strategy which can protect the vital asset of your ability to earn an income – perhaps the most important asset that you have.

Of course, with so many different types of insurance policies out there, the key challenge lies in working out exactly what type of insurance can add the most value to your portfolio and offer you the most benefit.

If you are serious about ensuring robust protection for your finances and your family, here are the three main areas of insurance that you should consider:

Life insurance

Term insurance offers temporary protection of around 10 to 30 years, usually with an option to renew or convert your policy at the term end. On the other hand, permanent insurance lasts for a lifetime and often offers a death benefit which is payable to your beneficiaries.

Living benefits

This term covers a range of insurance policies, as follows:

  • Disability insurance offers income protection against injury or illness which means that the policyholder cannot work and earn an income.

  • Critical illness insurance covers many common illnesses such as cancer and strokes and offers lump sum payments upon diagnosis.

  • Long term care insurance is often used in later life to insure against the possible need of becoming dependent upon others for your care and can pay for care facilities or care providers.

Although many individuals receive some form of living benefit from their employer, it is recommended that they enhance this policy to ensure that they benefit from an appropriate level of cover which suits their income and financial needs

Understanding your insurance values

It could be said that your personal values dictate the type of insurance that you take out, reflecting what is important to you in their professional and personal lives and how you best want to protect such assets.

The key to smart insurance planning is making sure that your insurance portfolio perfectly matches your financial and life priorities and objectives.

Talk to us, we can help with what makes the most sense for your situation.

The Best Way to Buy Mortgage Insurance

Before buying insurance from your bank to cover your mortgage, understand the difference between self owned mortgage life insurance and bank owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiaries and portability.

Ownership:

  • Self: You own and control the policy.

  • Bank: The bank owns and controls the policy.

Premium:

  • Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.

  • Bank: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health.

Coverage:

  • Self: The coverage that you apply for remains the same.

  • Bank: The coverage is tied to your mortgage balance therefore it decreases as you pay down your mortgage but the premium stays the same.

Beneficiary:

  • Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

  • Bank: The bank is beneficiary and only pays off your mortgage.

Portability:

  • Self: Your policy stays with you regardless of your lender.

  • Bank: Your policy is tied to your lender and if you change, you may need to reapply for insurance.

We’ve created an infographic about the difference between personally owned life insurance vs. bank owned life insurance.

Talk to us, we can help.

Federal Budget 2023 Highlights

On March 28, 2023, the Federal Government released their 2032 budget. This article highlights the following financial measures:

  • New transfer options associated with Bill C-208 for intergenerational transfer.

  • New rules for employee ownership trusts.

  • Changes to how the Alternative Minimum Tax is calculated.

  • Improvements to Registered Education Savings Plans.

  • Expanding access to Registered Disability Savings Plans.

  • Grocery rebate.

  • Deduction for tradespeople tool expenses.

  • Automatic tax filing.

  • New Canadian Dental Care Plan.

Amendments To Bill C-208 Intergenerational Transfer Introduces Two New Transfer Options

Budget 2023 introduces two transfer options associated with the intergenerational transfer of a business:

  1. An immediate intergenerational business transfer (three-year test) based on arm’s length sales terms.

  2. A gradual intergenerational business transfer (five-to-ten-year test) based on estate freeze characteristics.

For the three-year test, the parent must transfer both legal and factual control of the business, including an immediate transfer of a majority of voting shares and the balance, within 36 months. The parent must also transfer a majority of the common growth shares within the same time frame. Additionally, the parent must transfer management of the business to their child within a reasonable time, with a 36-month safe harbour. The child or children must retain legal control for 36 months following the share transfer, and at least one child must remain actively involved in the business during this period.

For the gradual transfer option, the conditions are similar to the immediate transfer, but with a few differences. The parent must transfer legal control, including an immediate transfer of a majority of voting shares and the balance, within 36 months. They must also transfer a majority of the common growth shares and the balance of common growth shares within the same time frame. As well, within 10 years of the initial sale, parents must reduce the economic value of their debt and equity interests in the business to 50% of the value of their interest in a farm or fishing corporation at the initial sale time, or 30% of the value of their interest in a small business corporation at the initial sale time. The child or children must retain legal control for the greater of 60 months or until the business transfer is completed, and at least one child must remain actively involved in the business during this period.

The extended intergenerational transfer now applies to children, grandchildren, stepchildren, children-in-law, nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.

The changes apply to transactions that occur on or after January 1, 2024. If the election is made, the capital gain reserve period is extended to ten years, and the limitation period for assessing a return is extended to three years for an immediate transfer and ten years for a gradual business transfer.

New Rules for Employee Ownership Trusts

The employees of a business can use an employee ownership trust (EOT) to purchase the business without having to pay the owner directly to acquire shares. Business owners can use an EOT as part of their succession planning.

Budget 2023 introduces new rules for using ownership trusts (EOTs) as follows:

  • Extending the five-year capital gains reserve to ten years for qualifying business transfers to an EOT.

  • A new exception to the current shareholder loan rule which extends the repayment period from one to fifteen years for amounts loaned to the EOT from a qualifying business to purchase shares in a qualifying business transfer.

  • Exempts EOTs from the 21-year deemed disposition rule that applies to some trusts. This means that shares can be held indefinitely for the benefit of employees.

Clean Energy Credits

The upcoming Budget 2023 is set to introduce a series of measures aimed at encouraging the adoption of clean energy. These measures include several business tax incentives such as:

  1. Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit: This is a refundable tax credit of 15% for investments in equipment and activities for generating electricity and transmitting it between provinces. The credit will be available to new and refurbished projects starting from March 28, 2023, and will end in 2034.

  2. Clean Technology Manufacturing Credit: This tax credit is worth 30% of the cost of investments in new machinery and equipment for processing or manufacturing clean technologies and critical minerals. It applies to property acquired and put into use after January 1, 2024. The credit will be phased out starting in 2032 and fully eliminated in 2034.

  3. Clean Hydrogen Investment Tax Credit: It offers a refundable tax credit ranging from 15% to 40% of eligible project expenses that produce clean hydrogen, as well as a 15% tax credit for certain equipment.

  4. Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit: This tax credit will be expanded to include geothermal systems that qualify for capital cost allowance under Classes 43.1 and 43.2. The phase-out will begin in 2034, and it will not be available after that date.

  5. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Investment Tax Credit (CCUS): The budget broadens and adjusts specific criteria for the refundable Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for CCUS. Qualified equipment now includes dual-purpose machinery that generates heat and/or power or utilizes water for CCUS and an additional process, as long as it meets all other requirements for the credit. The expense of such equipment is eligible on a proportionate basis, based on the anticipated energy or material balance supporting the CCUS process during the project’s initial 20 years.

  6. Reduced rates for zero-emission technology manufacturers: The reduced tax rates of 4.5% and 7.5% for zero-emission technology manufacturers will be extended for three years until 2034, with phase-out starting in 2032. The eligibility will expand to include the manufacturing of nuclear energy equipment and processing and recycling of nuclear fuels and heavy water for taxation years starting after 2023.

  7. Lithium from brines: Allow producers of lithium from brines to issue flow-through shares and expand the Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit’s eligibility to include lithium from brines.

Changes To How Alternative Minimum Tax Is Calculated

Budget 2023 proposed several changes to calculating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), including the following:

  • The capital gains inclusion rate will increase from 80 percent to 100 percent, while capital losses and allowable business investment losses will apply at a rate of 50 percent.

  • The inclusion rate for employee stock option benefits will be altered to 100 percent, and for capital gains resulting from the donation of publicly listed securities, it will be modified to 30 percent.

  • The 30 percent inclusion rate will also apply to employee stock option benefits if any deduction is available because underlying shares are also publicly listed securities that were donated.

  • Certain deductions and expenses will now be limited to 50 percent, and only 50 percent of non-refundable credits (excluding a special foreign tax credit) will be permitted to reduce the AMT.

  • The AMT tax rate will increase from 15 percent to 20.5 percent.

  • The AMT exemption will rise from the present allowable deduction of $40,000 for individuals to an amount indexed to the fourth tax bracket, expected to be $173,000 in 2024.

  • The AMT carryforward period will remain unaltered at seven years.

Improving Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)

Budget 2023 introduces the following changes to RESPs:

  • As of March 28, 2023, beneficiaries may withdraw Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) up to $8,000 (from $5,000) for full-time programs and $4,000 (from $2,500) for part-time programs.

  • Individuals who withdrew EAPs before March 28, 2023, may be able to withdraw an additional EAP amount, subject to the new limits and the plan terms.

  • Divorced or separated parents can now open joint RESPs for one or more of their children.

Expanding Access to Registered Disability Savings Plans

Qualifying family members, such as a parent, a spouse, or a common-law partner, can open an RDSP and be the plan holder for an adult with mental disabilities whose ability to enter into an RDSP contract is in doubt and who does not have a legal representative.

Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to extend the provision that allows this until December 31, 2026. To further increase access to RDSPs, the government also intends to expand the provision to include adult siblings of an RDSP beneficiary.

Grocery Rebate

The Budget 2023 will implement the Grocery Rebate, which will be a one-time payment managed through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) system. The maximum amount that can be claimed under the Grocery Rebate is:

  • $153 for each adult

  • $81 for each child

  • $81 for a single supplement.

The implementation of the Grocery Rebate will be gradual and will follow the same income thresholds as the present GSTC regulations.

Deduction for Tradespeople’s Tool Expenses

Budget 2023 increases the employment deduction for tradespeople’s tools to $1,000 from $500. This is effective for 2023 and subsequent taxation years.

Automatic Tax Filing

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will pilot a new automatic filing service for Canadians who currently do not file their taxes to help them receive certain benefits to which they are entitled.

The CRA also plans to expand taxpayer eligibility for the File My Return service, which allows taxpayers to file their tax returns by telephone.

Canadian Dental Care Plan

In Budget 2023, the federal government is investing in dental care for Canadians with the new Canadian Dental Care Plan. The plan will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family incomes of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those under $70,000.

The budget allows the CRA to share taxpayer information for the Canadian Dental Care Plan with an official of Employment and Social Development Canada or Health Canada solely to administer or enforce the plan.

Wondering How This May Impact You?

If you have any questions or concerns about how the new federal budget may impact you, call us – we’d be happy to help you!

Ontario 2023 Budget Highlights

Ontario 2023 Budget Highlights

On March 23, 2023, Ontario’s Minister of Finance delivered the province’s 2023 budget. Here are some of the highlights.

No Changes To Corporate or Personal Tax Rates

Budget 2023 did not change Ontario’s corporate or personal tax rates.

Corporate Tax Credits

Budget 2023 introduces a 10% refundable Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit for Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs). This tax credit applies to qualifying capital investments related to manufacturing or processing, with the goal of helping Ontario manufacturers lower their costs and become more competitive.

The budget confirms extending eligibility for Ontario’s film and television tax credits to productions distributed exclusively online.

Budget 2023 also confirms that the province will align with the federal government’s increase in the upper limit for the small-business deduction phase-out range from $15 million to $50 million. This change will take effect for taxation years beginning on or after April 7, 2022.

Consequently, the small-business deduction will only be reduced to zero once a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC) and its affiliated companies have a combined taxable capital of $50 million or more.

Indirect Tax Changes

As of July 1, 2023, a single 12% tax will be applied to wine and wine coolers sold in off‐site winery retail stores. This includes wine boutiques. This tax will replace the four separate tax rates currently applied and is expected to result in an overall tax reduction of about $4 million per year.

Increasing Healthcare Options

Budget 2023 commits $200 million to help the healthcare workforce grow, including training more nurses and helping foreign-trained nurses and doctors attain accreditation in Ontario. In addition, $569 million will be spent to expand home care options.

To help address backlogs, an additional $72 million has been committed to providing OHIP-covered surgeries at community surgical and diagnostic centres.

Over three years, $425 million has been committed to mental health services.

Supporting Communities

The Guaranteed Annual Income System, designed to assist low-income seniors, is set to expand. With an increase in the private income threshold, approximately 100,000 more seniors will be eligible to benefit from the program starting July 2024. The Ontario 2023 budget includes plans to adjust the benefit annually to keep pace with inflation.

Budget 2023 contains $22 billion to build more schools and childcare spaces.

Supporting The Economy And Infrastructure

Ontario is investing an additional $3 million this year to help junior mining companies finance mineral exploration and development.

Budget 2023 commits $224 million to build and upgrade training centres in Ontario and $75 million to the Skills Development Fund over the next three years. The Skills Development Fund aims to help employers address challenges related to hiring, training or retaining workers.

Budget 2023 also includes funding to help ensure Ontario has the infrastructure it needs:

  • $27.9 billion will be spent to support highway expansion and rehabilitation project planning and construction.

  • Over the next ten years, $70.5 billion will be spent on transit, strongly emphasizing supporting GO transit and expanding the Toronto subway system.

We can help!

Wondering how the budget will impact you? Reach out to us – we’re here to answer any questions!

2021 Personal Year-End Tax Tips

The end of 2021 is quickly approaching – which means it is time to get your finances in order, so you are ready when it comes time to file your taxes.

In this article, we cover four types of 2021 personal tax tips:

  • Individuals

  • Investment Considerations

  • Families

  • Retirees

Individuals

It is essential to make sure you are not paying taxes unnecessarily.

These are the main COVID-19 benefits for individuals:

  • You can apply for the Canada Recovery Benefit if you are not eligible for EI and can not work due to COVID-19 or have had your income reduced due to COVID-19. This benefit ended as of October 23, 2021, but you can still claim the last eligible period until December 22, 2021.

  • You can apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit if you are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19. This benefit is scheduled to end on November 21, 2021, but legislation has been proposed to extend it to next May.

  • You can apply for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit if you can not work because you need to supervise a child or other dependent family member because they are ill with COVID-19 or their usual school or other facility is closed. This benefit is scheduled to end on November 21, 2021, but legislation has been proposed to extend this benefit to next May.

  • A new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides $300 a week if you can not work due to a government-imposed lockdown (and are not receiving EI). This benefit is proposed, and legislation for this benefit has not been passed.

You must apply for these benefits no later than 60 days after the end of the claim period. You will receive a T4A from the CRA and must report any money received from these benefits as income on your 2021 tax return.

All Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB) are subject to a 10% withholding tax. If you earned over $38,000 in net income in 2021, you might be required to reimburse the government some or all of the CRB at tax time. You can use tax deductions such as RRSP contributions to avoid either additional tax on these recovery benefits or reduced benefits.

If you have to repay any COVID-19 benefits, you can deduct the repayment amount from your income in the year you received the benefit.

For 2020, the CRA introduced a simplified process for claiming a deduction for home office expenses for employees working from home due to COVID-19. An employee can either claim using a new temporary flat rate method or use the more traditional method for claiming home office expenses. We assume a similar approach will be allowed for 2021, so be sure to track all your home office expenses.

Do you expect to have any capital losses? If you have capital losses, you must first deduct them against any capital gains you had in the current year. After that, you can carry back any excess capital losses up to three years or forward indefinitely. Trades can take up to two days to settle, so be sure to sell any investments you want to claim a capital loss on by December 29 at the latest.

You can deduct any fees you pay to manage or administer your non‑registered investments. As well, you can usually deduct interest charges paid on borrowed money if you used the money to earn income from non‑registered investments or a business. If you have non-deductible interest, like a mortgage or car loan, talk to your tax advisor to see if you can restructure your investments to make the interest on these loans tax‑deductible.

If you have eligible medical expenses that were not paid for by either a provincial or private plan, you can claim these expenses against your taxes. You can even deduct premiums you pay for private coverage. Either spouse can claim qualified medical expenses for themselves and dependent children in a 12-month period. However, it is generally better for the spouse with a lower income to claim the expense because the credit is reduced by a percentage of net income. If the lower-income spouse does not have enough tax payable to offset the medical expense tax credit, it may be beneficial to move the expenses to the higher-income spouse.

Tax credits for donations are two-tiered, with a larger credit being available for donations over $200. You and your spouse can pool your donation receipts and carry donations forward for up to five years. If you donate items like stocks or mutual funds directly to a charity, you will be eligible for a tax receipt for the fair market value, and the capital gains tax does not apply.

If you have moved to be closer to school or a place of work, you may be able to deduct moving expenses against eligible income. You must have moved a minimum of 40 km.

If you care for a dependent relative with a mental or physical impairment, you may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit.

Will your personal tax rate be lower in 2022 than it will be for 2021? If so and have the option, you may wish to defer receiving income to 2022. And if your tax rate will be higher in 2022 than for 2021, try to accelerate income and receive it before the end of 2021.

There are a few options available to you when it comes to tax tips if you are enrolled in school:

  • If you are between the ages of 25 to 65 and enrolled in an eligible educational institution, you can claim a federal tax credit of $250 for 2021.

  • You can claim tuition paid on your taxes, carry the amount forward, or transfer an unused tuition amount to a spouse, parent, or grandparent.

Investment Considerations

Depending on your circumstances, there are up to three different ways you can set aside money in registered accounts to save for the future:

  1. Contribute to your Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). You can contribute up to a maximum of $6000 for 2021. You can carry forward unused contribution room indefinitely. For instance, if you have never contributed to your TFSA, the cumulative total from 2009 to 2021 is $75,500.

  2. Contribute to your RRSP or a spousal RRSP. Remember, you can deduct contributions made in the year or within the first sixty days of the following calendar year from your 2021 income. You also have the option of carrying forward deductions.

  3. Suppose you have an RDSP open for yourself or an eligible family member. You may be able to have both the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and the Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB) paid into the RDSP. The CDSB is based on the beneficiary’s adjusted family net income and does not require any contributions to be made. The CDSG is based on both the beneficiary’s family net income and contribution amounts. In addition, up to 10 years of unused grants and bond entitlements can be carried forward.

If you need extra money this year because your income was unusually low, you may want to consider making an RRSP withdrawal before the end of the year to boost your income. This is generally only a good idea if you are in the lowest tax bracket. Be aware that you will permanently lose that contribution room if you withdraw money from an RRSP. However, if you are concerned about whether making an RRSP withdrawal is a good strategy for you, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Families

If you paid someone to take care of your child so you or your spouse could attend school or work, then you can deduct these expenses. Various childcare expenses qualify for this deduction, including boarding school, camp, daycare, and even paying a relative over 18 for babysitting.

Be sure to get all your receipts and have the spouse with the lower net income claim the childcare expenses. Some provinces offer additional childcare tax credits on top of the federal ones.

A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) can be a great way to save for a child’s future education. However, the Canadian Education Savings Grant is only available on the first $2,500 of contributions you make each year per child (to a maximum of $500, with a lifetime maximum of $7,200.).

If you have any unused CESG amounts for the current year, you can carry them forward. If the recipient of the RESP is now 16 or 17, they can only receive the CESG if:

a) at least $2,000 has already been contributed to the RESP and

b) a minimum contribution of $100 was made to the RESP in any of the four previous years.

Retirees

Are you turning 71 this year? If so, you are required to end your RRSP by December 31. You have several choices on what to do with your RRSP, including transferring your RRSP to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), cashing out your RSSP, or purchasing an annuity. Talk to us about the tax implications of each of these choices.

65 or older and receiving pension income? If your pension income is eligible, you can deduct a federal tax credit equal to 15% on the first $2,000 of pension income received – plus any provincial tax credits.

Do you not currently have any pension income? Then, you may want to think about withdrawing $2,000 from an RRIF each year or using RRSP funds to purchase an annuity that pays at least $2,000 per year.

If you have reached the age of 60, you may be considering applying for the Canada Pension Plan. However, keep in mind that the monthly amount you will receive will be lower if you apply at 60 versus a later age. Keep in mind, you do not have to have retired to apply for CPP.

If you are 65 or older, ensure that you are enrolled for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. Retroactive OAS payments are only available for up to 11 months plus the month you apply for your OAS benefits. If you are running into OAS “clawback” issues, consider ways to split or reduce other sources of income to avoid this clawback.

Need some additional guidance?

We hope you have enjoyed all of our tax tips. If you have questions or want help to make sure you use all the tax deductions you are eligible for, reach out to us and set up a time to talk.

Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a legacy

There are so many options designed to help you to use a portion of your estate to benefit a good cause when you pass away. The estate planning process helps you to ensure that your estate is distributed as per your wishes and in the most tax efficient way as possible, but legacy planning goes further than this and aims to involve your family and loved ones in your plans to make a difference according to your personal values. The input of your family in this process should not be underestimated – they play a critical part in supporting the process to make your wishes become reality, so be sure to share your thoughts and intentions with them in good time.

In which ways can I leave a legacy?

  • Gift your real estate

Your will can state your intention to gift a property to a charity. If you choose this option, your estate will benefit from a tax receipt which can be used against any final taxes to your estate.

  • Name a charity as your life insurance beneficiary

You can choose a number of beneficiaries to your life insurance and may decide that a charitable organization should be one of them. Again, your estate will not pay taxes on this gift.

  • Leave a charitable bequest in your will

The most common and easiest way to donate money is to add a charitable bequest to your will, though you should be aware that it is likely to increase probate and/or executor costs.

  • Charitable remainder trusts

This involves naming a charity as the second beneficiary after yourself and spouse, who will receive income from the trust during your lifetime. After your death, said charity will receive what is left.

  • Using RRSPs and RRIFs

It is possible to avoid probate fees and also have your estate receive a charitable tax receipt to minimize tax, by adding a charity as a beneficiary of your retirement plan.

  • Annuity agreements

This process works by agreement between yourself and the charity whereby you provide them with funds in exchange for a guaranteed income for a set time period (often lifetime). When you die, they will receive what is left of your original contribution. Tax breaks are available depending on your age at the commencement of the annuity (ages between 75 and 90 years of age is tax free, whereas ages 65-74 benefits from a partial tax break).

  • Residual interest

You are able to gift an item of your property to a charitable organization upon your death. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of it during your lifetime (it could be a property or an art collection, for example) but allow the charity to take advantage of its value in the future, as well as your estate receiving a tax receipt for the value of the property at the time of the gift.

Do you REALLY need life insurance?

You most likely do, but the more important question is, What kind? Whether you’re a young professional starting out, a devoted parent or a successful CEO, securing a life insurance policy is probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make in your adult life. Most people would agree that having financial safety nets in place is a good way to make sure that your loved ones will be taken care of when you pass away. Insurance can also help support your financial obligations and even take care of your estate liabilities. The tricky part, however, is figuring out what kind of life insurance best suits your goals and needs. This quick guide will help you decide what life insurance policy is best for you, depending on who needs to benefit from it and how long you’ll need it. 

Permanent or Term? 

Life insurance can be classified into two principal types: permanent or term. Both have different strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you aim to achieve with your life insurance policy. 

Term life insurance provides death benefits for a limited amount of time, usually for a fixed number of years. Let’s say you get a 30-year term. This means you’ll only pay for each year of those 30 years. If you die before the 30-year period, then your beneficiaries shall receive the death benefits they are entitled to. After the period, the insurance shall expire. You will no longer need to pay premiums, and your beneficiaries will no longer be entitled to any benefits.

Term life insurance is right for you if you are: 

  • The family breadwinner. Death benefits will replace your income for the years that you will have been working, in order to support your family’s needs.

  • A stay-at-home parent. You can set your insurance policy term to cover the years that your child will need financial support, especially for things that you would normally provide as a stay-at-home parent, such as childcare services.

  • A divorced parent. Insurance can cover the cost of child support, and the term can be set depending on how long you need to make support payments.

  • A mortgagor. If you are a homeowner with a mortgage, you can set up your term insurance to cover the years that you have to make payments. This way, your family won’t have to worry about losing their home.

  • A debtor with a co-signed debt. If you have credit card debt or student loans, a term life insurance policy can cover your debt payments. The term can be set to run for the duration of the payments. 

  • A business owner. If you’re a business owner, you may need either a term or permanent life insurance, depending on your needs. If you’re primarily concerned with paying off business debts, then a term life insurance may be your best option. 

Unlike term life insurance, a permanent life insurance does not expire. This means that your beneficiaries can receive death benefits no matter when you die. Aside from death benefits, a permanent life insurance policy can also double as a savings plan. A certain portion of your premiums can build cash value, which you may “withdraw” or borrow for future needs. You can do well with a permanent life insurance policy if you: 

  • …Have a special needs child. As a special needs child will most likely need support for health care and other expenses even as they enter adulthood. Your permanent life insurance can provide them with death benefits any time within their lifetime.

  • …Want to leave something for your loved ones. Regardless of your net worth, permanent life insurance will make sure that your beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to. If you have a high net worth, permanent life insurance can take care of estate taxes. Otherwise, they will still get even a small inheritance through death benefits.

  • …Want to make sure that your funeral expenses are covered. Final expense insurance can provide coverage for funeral expenses for smaller premiums.

  • …Have maximized your retirement plans. As permanent life insurance may also come with a savings component, this can also be used to help you out during retirement.

  • …Own a business. As mentioned earlier, business owners may need either permanent or term, depending on their needs.

A permanent insurance policy can help pay off estate taxes, so that the successors can inherit the business worry-free. Different people have different financial needs, so there is no one-sized-fits-all approach to choosing the right insurance policy for you. Talk to us now, and find out how a permanent or term life insurance can best give you security and peace of mind. 

Wealth Protection – Disability Insurance

Everybody understands the value of life insurance and most of us who take our finances seriously have a solid life insurance policy in place. But what happens if you are unlucky enough to sustain a serious illness, chronic disease or disability which prevents you from working? Such a scenario could be disastrous for your family finances and this is where disability insurance comes in.

What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance provides you with a portion of your income in the event that you suffer from an illness or accident that renders you unable to work, either temporarily or on a permanent basis.

Studies show that you are actually more likely to sustain a disability during the course of your working life than to die whilst of working age. A disability can have a dramatic and long-term impact on your earning potential – in fact, the Council for Disability Awareness has found that the average absence from work for a long term disability is nearly three years.*

Types of disability insurance

There are two main types of policy – short-term and long-term disability insurance.

Short-term disability insurance generally offers the policyholder a maximum of 6 months of benefits.

Long-term disability insurance usually kicks in at the end of a short-term disability insurance. Policies differ in terms of the length of time that they offer benefits for and the criteria that must be fulfilled to be eligible.

An important factor in this regard is the definition of “regular or own occupation” or “any occupation”. A “regular or own occupation” policy covers you if you are unable to work in any capacity – meaning that, even if you could perform a role different to the one that you worked in prior to your disability, you will still receive benefits under the plan. Alternatively, an “any occupation” policy means that you will only receive disability benefits if you are unable to work at all.

It’s important to figure out which type of policy suits you better, depending on the cost of the premiums, the type of work that you do and your personal preference. We can help you with this.

Factors to consider when taking out disability insurance

  • How much do you or your family depend on your income?

Dependency is the key question here – if you have a spouse, children and/or other individuals who rely on your income contribution to the household finances, disability insurance is likely to be valuable to you.

However, it is likely that, as you age and your children become less financially dependent on you or you have saved enough retirement funds to help you through a potential early retirement due to ill health, disability insurance becomes less fundamental.

  • How much does your company plan protect you?

Some companies offer a disability policy and this is a common reason for people failing to purchase a personal plan. However, it’s important to understand the level of coverage that your company policy offers you, as it is common for such plans to only replace a small proportion of your income (often capped) across a short-term basis which is unlikely to be sufficient for your needs.

  • Work out your budget and shop around for the best deal

You could benefit from working with an independent financial advisor to help you in the purchase of your disability insurance. They will be able to search the market in order to find you a customized plan which fits your budget, rather than falling back on off-the-shelf policies which may not meet your individual requirements as well.

  • Don’t cut back on your level of coverage where possible

That said, it’s easy to underestimate the level of disability coverage that you actually need should the worst happen. Not only would you have to replace your existing expenditure, but you are likely to accumulate new expenses if you were to become disabled, such as the purchase of medical equipment, healthcare or home help, additional childcare, home renovations etc. Make sure that the benefits that your policy pays out are sufficient to cover all of your financial needs adequately.


Key questions to ask when purchasing disability insurance

There can be a lot of small-print involved in a disability insurance policy. Make sure that you understand the answers to the following, non-exhaustive questions before proceeding:

  • Terms and conditions of the policy- Including how disability is defined, which conditions are eligible and which are excluded and if pre-existing conditions are covered and, if so, to what extent.

  • Policy premiums- Including the total cost of the policy and whether contributions are still required if you are diagnosed with a disability and claiming on the plan.

  • Benefits of the plan- Including the level of benefits you will receive, whether they are adjusted for future inflation and whether they are taxable, any waiting periods for receiving premiums and how a disability is diagnosed.

  • Group plans- Including how the plan is funded (by an insurance company or self-funded by your employer), how your benefits will be affected if the company goes bankrupt and how your coverage will be treated if you leave your job.

Disability insurance is an important cornerstone to achieving your financial goals. Talk to us, we can help.

The Best Way to Buy Mortgage Insurance

Before buying insurance from your bank to cover your mortgage, understand the difference between self owned mortgage life insurance and bank owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiaries and portability.

Ownership:

  • Self: You own and control the policy.

  • Bank: The bank owns and controls the policy.

Premium:

  • Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.

  • Bank: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health.

Coverage:

  • Self: The coverage that you apply for remains the same.

  • Bank: The coverage is tied to your mortgage balance therefore it decreases as you pay down your mortgage but the premium stays the same.

Beneficiary:

  • Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

  • Bank: The bank is beneficiary and only pays off your mortgage.

Portability:

  • Self: Your policy stays with you regardless of your lender.

  • Bank: Your policy is tied to your lender and if you change, you may need to reapply for insurance.

We’ve created an infographic about the difference between personally owned life insurance vs. bank owned life insurance.

Talk to us, we can help.

Self Owned vs. Bank Owned Mortgage Insurance

Before buying insurance from your bank to cover your mortgage, understand the difference between self owned mortgage life insurance and bank owned life insurance. The key differences are ownership, premium, coverage, beneficiaries and portability.

Ownership:

  • Self: You own and control the policy.

  • Bank: The bank owns and controls the policy.

Premium:

  • Self: Your premiums are guaranteed at policy issue and discounts are available based on your health.

  • Bank: Premiums are not guaranteed and there are no discounts available based on your health.

Coverage:

  • Self: The coverage that you apply for remains the same.

  • Bank: The coverage is tied to your mortgage balance therefore it decreases as you pay down your mortgage but the premium stays the same.

Beneficiary:

  • Self: You choose who your beneficiary is and they can choose how they want to use the insurance benefit.

  • Bank: The bank is beneficiary and only pays off your mortgage.

Portability:

  • Self: Your policy stays with you regardless of your lender.

  • Bank: Your policy is tied to your lender and if you change, you may need to reapply for insurance.

We’ve created an infographic about the difference between personally owned life insurance vs. bank owned life insurance.

Talk to us, we can help.