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Critical Illness – Are you Protected? April 2014

We all face many risks – contracting a critical Illness is one of them. Being diagnosed with a life threatening illness is not something anyone wants to contemplate; however, you can purchase critical illness insurance to protect against the financial impact.
The Back Story
Critical illness insurance was invented by Dr. Marius Barnard. Marius assisted his brother Dr. Christiaan Barnard in performing the first successful heart transplant in 1967 in South Africa. Through his years of experience with cardiac patients, Marius observed that patients with minimal financial stress, recovered more often and much quicker than those with financial hardship. He came to the conclusion that he, as a physician, could heal people, but only insurance companies could provide the necessary funds to create the environment that best promoted healing. As a result, he worked with South African insurance companies to issue the first critical illness policy in 1983.

Medical practitioners today will confirm what Dr. Barnard observed – the lower your stress levels the better the chances for your recovery. Read more


Taxation of Life Insurance – New Rules Create New Opportunities – March 2014

In August the Department of Finance published their changes to the taxation of life insurance as previewed in March 2013 Federal Budget.  When final legislation is passed later this year, these changes will result in an updating to the “exempt test” which determines how much tax-deferred value can accumulate in a life insurance policy before it is subject to accrual taxation.  The new rules take effect and will apply to policies issued January 1, 2016 and later.

Highlights of the new rules and their affect


For Cash Value Life Insurance:

  • Effective with policies issued after 2015 the new rules will reduce the ability to tax-shelter accumulating cash values;

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What Are Segregated Funds & Are They Right For Me? – February 2014

The world of investment choices can be confusing. Do you sacrifice security for higher returns? Or do you take the safe path and take the guaranteed route, locking yourself into low returns? Fortunately for Canadian investors there is another option: Segregated funds.

What are Segregated Funds?

Segregated funds are similar to mutual funds but are only offered by life insurance companies. This allows for the special “insurance” features that can make segregated funds a safer investment and provide added advantages.

Like mutual funds, segregated funds have a wide range of investment choices: Read more


Critical Illness for Juveniles – January 2014

Many people recognize the need for Critical Illness insurance to protect them from the financial risk that could result if diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Although a difficult subject to think about, children should also be protected from this risk as well. If our children were to become ill the emotional and financial toll it could have on the family may equal that of the parent. Read more


Year-end Tax Planning – December 2013

While you are busy with your year-end tasks and planning your holiday merrymaking, you should also include a little tax planning. There are receipts to find and records to review – not just for the upcoming tax season but for the year ahead.

Take a moment to review the following list of important items and important deadlines:
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Estate Planning Tips for Real Estate Investors – November 2013

For many Canadians the majority of their wealth is held in personally owned real estate. For most this will be limited to their principal residence however, investment in recreational and real estate investment property also form a substantial part of estates. Due to the nature of real estate, it is important to do estate planning to realize optimum gain and minimize tax implications.

Key Considerations for Real Estate Investment

  • Real estate is not a qualifying investment for the purposes of the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption
  • Leaving taxable property to a spouse through a spousal rollover in the will defers the tax until the spouse sells the property or dies
  • Apart from the principal residence, real estate often creates a need for liquidity due to capital gains, estate equalization, mortgage repayment or other considerations
  • Professional advice is often required to select the most advantageous ownership structure (i.e., personal, trust, holding company).

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Creative and Friendly Banking – Really!

Creative and prudent methods to employ debt in financial planning can assist in reducing cost (by reducing interest), providing access to cash values of insurance products on a tax-free basis, and creating wealth through leverage. 

You may find a bank that owns a life insurance company but it is rare to find a life insurance company that owns a bank.  Manulife Bank provides banking solutions which can be part of an overall financial planning solution.  With debt management so important to financial planning it is beneficial to be able to use creative products from Manulife Bank.  Some of the key lending products from Manulife Bank are as follows: Read more »