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If you have ever purchased a home or applied for a loan, you may be familiar with Mortgage Insurance. This is the insurance the bank is obligated to encourage you to take in the event you die or become disabled. It is intended to protect your loved ones from being stuck with the mortgage in the event life takes a wrong turn ie. death.   Sounds like a no brainer right? Wrong! There are MANY pitfalls with Mortgage Insurance that put the bank’s best interest ahead of yours for a price that’s not worth it. Read more

A recent study found over 8 million working Canadians are at risk of going into debt, delaying retirement or downsizing their home in order to cope with a critical illness.  When a critical illness occurs, the primary financial impacts are loss of income and inability to meet living expenses.

Critical illness insurance was created (by a doctor, not an insurance company) to help address these issues.  It provides a lump-sum payment upon diagnosis of any one of up to 25 serious illnesses, including heart attack, stroke and cancer. Read more

In a world of constant investment changes, it’s hard to keep up with all distinctions between the various fund options. Mutual funds tend to be fairly straightforward, but when it comes to segregated funds, they do offer some distinct differences that some people may not be aware of when differentiating the two. What is a segregated fund you ask? In simple terms, it’s a mutual fund wrapped around an insurance contract with a tidy bow on top. But what does that actually mean to me as an investor?

Segregated Funds offer three fairly distinctive advantages and disadvantages: Read more

For many Canadians the perfect retirement includes owning a vacation property. For some the decision to buy turns out to be a dream come true but for others it can be an expensive nightmare. Here are some things to consider before making the emotional decision to buy a vacation property.

Why do you want it?

Possibly owning a vacation property will allow you to spend more time at a destination you love, it will become a place where you can take your family and friends or you feel it will be a great investment. Whatever the reason, it is important to understand what your motivation is and then evaluate if that’s realistic and reasonable given your current situation. Read more

For most Millennials, the thought of retirement can seem like light years away.  While a lot can and will happen between now and then, ignoring it or putting a plan on the back burner is a major mistake.  In a constantly evolving society, Generation Y faces unique challenges compared to those faced by previous generations. For this age group (18- to 34-year-olds), gaining an understanding of their financial situation and potential hurdles is critical.

When it comes to the question of being able to retire one day, the biggest advantage Millennials have on their side is time. They are generally considered to be anywhere from 30 to 45 years away from retirement. The most important benefit to their age bracket is the opportunity to take advantage of compound interest.  Defined as interest on top of interest or earnings on earnings, compound interest is in direct correlation with time, and understanding its power is key for Millennials hoping to retire one day.  In other words, when it comes to saving money, the sooner the better.

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To Split or not to Split…That is the question.

Income Splitting Strategies                        

So what is Income Splitting, and who is eligible to quality for the benefit?

Income Splitting is a way for families to split up their income so that if one spouse earns more than the other, the higher-earning spouse can allocate some of their income to their lower-earning spouse’s tax return. Since our tax system has graduated tax brackets, Income splitting is a great strategy to pay less household tax, and keep more money in your pocket!  Read more

Financial Difference Makers…

How can I build wealth? How can I save enough for retirement?

As a financial planner I hear these types of questions on a regular basis. People in general want to know, what is the secret to success?

I find that I like to look at clients that we have that are already in retirement to see the traits that have led to their financial success. We can learn a lot from our history, and I find it interesting to hear about people’s lives. Read more

The way we look at it, if you’re going to own something you might as well get paid for owning it. The more things in life that can produce cash flow, the closer you will be to subsidizing your income as we prepare for retirement. Take real estate for example – you own a piece of land, you have the option to rent it out, and not only does your property have the potential to appreciate; you get paid while you own it through rental income. Any viable investment should produce some sort of income. That income values you, the investor, for putting your hard earned money into it. In fact, many of you are getting paid on your investments right now, without even realizing it. The way you get paid to invest is through earning dividends. Read more

If you’ve ever gone through the process of researching a new car, you’ve likely considered your options: should I buy or should I lease? Although there are many working parts to both scenarios, it really comes down to personal preference and current situation. Recently I went through this same decision process last fall when we were looking for our next car. How did we make our choice? Let’s first take a deeper look into the main differences between buying versus leasing. Read more

You may have built a successful business but have you planned your exit strategy?

Preparing for succession may not be at the forefront of every business – but it should be.  Having a succession plan allows for employees, owners and the company itself to have a clear direction on how the company will move forward in its life cycle. Often, the best way to explain a concept is to share a real life story. Recently my Father, Phil Singer, and I were published in a nationally distributed magazine called Collision Quarterly. It is directed to members of the ARA (Automotive Retailers Association).

The article describes how our team at Singer Olfert assisted my Dad in the selling of his business a few years back. I will summarize the two-page article and you may click the link to read more about our story. Read more

No parent likes to consider the likelihood that one of their children could get critically ill, be diagnosed with a childhood disease, or even pass away. The reality is that the prevalence of many childhood diseases is rising (i.e. diabetes). The emotional and financial stress that the whole family experiences through these times is significant.

In light of these realities, what discussions should you be having with your advisor regarding insuring your children with a life or critical illness insurance policy? Read more

This is the question I have been asked the most in my financial career: Should I pay down my mortgage or put money into my RRSP?

The answer I give is: It depends! I know it’s probably not the answer you were looking for, so let me provide some rules of thumb and opinion on how to walk this through.

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Do you remember the Got Milk ads and t-shirts that reminded everyone to drink your milk regularly? I think we should create a “Got a Will?” campaign. A will should be a standard document that every Canadian has in place but yet only around 30% have an up-to-date legal will*. That’s unbelievable! Read more

Canadians have two great tools available for accumulating wealth, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) which were introduced in 1957 and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) which were introduced in 2009.

We often get asked by clients which account type is better to contribute to, RRSPs or TFSAs. Read more

Unfortunately, unlike many of our childhood heroes, we aren’t invincible… we can’t all be Superman or Batman, yet we still pretend like we are. The thought of an injury is the last thing that’s on our mind; yet we still have no problem helping a friend move, playing sports on the weekend, or doing chores around the house from the never ending “Honey Do- List”.

But what if we were to become injured off the job? Read more

Know What You’re Getting From Your Financial Advisor

Do you know how much you are paying your financial advisor? Are they doing a good job for you? Those both seem like reasonable questions, but most people cannot answer them. Can you?

One of the services that financial advisors provide is to manage your investments. When it comes to the world of investments, there are many different types you can choose from as well as many different people that offer them. So it’s no wonder that it can leave consumers with their head spinning. Here’s some information to help you make sure that you are receiving the best service for your situation. Read more

The Latte Factor…
No matter how much money one makes you can always find a way to spend it. Does your income keep going up but yet there is no extra money at the end of the month? Do you know where your money has gone? What happens in retirement once your income is fixed? Read more

Planning On Selling Your Business…

Are you approaching retirement and planning on selling your business?
As an entrepreneur, you dreamed of building your own successful business. After all those years of hard work, you plan to reap the rewards in the form of a successful business sale. Sounds like a great plan! But, making the sale is not as easy as it may appear. Read more

Not knowing could cost you thousands!
Did you purchase the coverage offered to you by your lender? Most people have a mortgage in Canada and it is typically the largest debt most Canadians will ever assume. Before buying a house people will research and compare to find the best mortgage rates and terms but not necessarily the best insurance coverage. Read more