Loneliness – How Risky Can It Get?

“Loneliness is the ultimate poverty” (1). So said the everyday philosopher Pauline Philips, better known to millions as “Dear Abby”, the legendary advice columnist. The theme of loneliness runs deep in our past and present society, inspiring music, literature, film and a long list of commercial endeavours to alleviate what another great legend, Bob Dylan, described as “endless emptiness” (2). It’s all a little grim. In more clinical terms, it can be described as a subjective feeling related to the lack of social relations or simply a sense of disconnectedness or isolation (3).

So, why discuss loneliness in an underwriting setting and why now? Well, the simple answer is that when it comes to medical reporting, loneliness as a component of psychiatric disorders has long been a red flag for concern. That same report would typically also reveal a history of depression, insomnia, disturbed appetite and other markers of reduced well-being. In more extreme cases, there can be the misuse of alcohol, marked stress and drug use. Physicians have long recognized that loneliness can predispose the sufferer to a broad range of illness, including cardiovascular and immune system diseases (4). In older populations, isolation can accelerate cognitive decline, interfering with day-to-day functioning and the quality of life (5). In younger people, social stress and isolation are cited as precipitating factors for suicide, which accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year-olds living in Canada (6). In fact, every day we lose ten Canadians to suicide (7). Continue reading “Loneliness – How Risky Can It Get?”

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Loneliness – Hope on the Horizon

Critical Illness Insurance – Financial Protection for Your Client

Critical illness insurance (CI) is still one of the most compelling protection products on the market today. In addition to providing lump-sum payments in the event of 20+ major illnesses, it also gives your client flexible options to return their premiums (in full!) should they live a long and healthy life.

The fact is that 1 in 3 women and 2 in 5 men have a chance of developing a critical illness in their lifetime – an illness that could derail your client’s financial security, retirement planning or even their way of life altogether (1). The risk is real and all of us have witnessed how an illness can affect a family and its finances.

Yet, unlike life insurance, your client will be able to actually see the benefit of this product, beyond providing for a beneficiary, during their lifetime. CI allows your client to protect themselves financially, allowing them to focus on treatments, a speedy recovery, as well as the purchase of additional medical care if needed. Continue reading “Critical Illness Insurance – Financial Protection for Your Client”

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Critical Illness Insurance – Financial Protection or your Money Back!

Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider For Renewal

You already know the benefits of term insurance, one of them being its lower cost when it comes to covering a larger temporary need. Term insurance helps your client to maintain their same standard of living by providing income replacement, and even paying off existing debt. So far, pretty impressive.

However, if you have a client with term insurance, it is important to reach out and review their needs on a regular basis. In fact, you will want to contact your client long before the term insurance is available for renewal – giving you and your client adequate time to evaluate their needs and review all of their insurance options.

Below, are a few of the things that you will want to consider when your client’s term insurance comes up for renewal. Continue reading “Term Insurance – What Your Client Should Consider For Renewal”

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Things to Consider When Renewing Your Term Insurance Plan

Gene Therapy – The Fix Is (Almost) In

Since its completion in 2003, the Human Genome Project has garnered a great deal of attention for genetic testing. All of this focus has resulted in the identification and mapping of the three-billion pairs of human gene structure, known as the genome. Today, geneticists can perform many different types of analyses that have never been seen before, including deep sequencing, RNA sequencing and epigenomics, the overall study of the complete set of epigenetic modifications on the genetic material of a cell – all of these allow scientists to study the expression of genetic patterns from person-to-person and more.

Genetic therapy is a developing area of our unprecedented understanding of the human genome. Imagine being able to add a normal, healthy gene where a person has inherited a defective gene variant? In some cases, this may improve outcomes from a disease and in the best cases, cure or prevent it altogether. Continue reading “Gene Therapy – The Fix Is (Almost) In”

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Gene Therapy – The Fix Is (Almost) In

The Beneficiary Challenge

Designating a beneficiary for a life insurance policy just got more complicated with the recent Calmusky v. Calmusky Ontario Superior Court case, overruling a beneficiary designation and ruling a RRIF as part of a deceased’s estate. As a result of this decision, there is a concern that beneficiary designations in favour of adult children in life insurance policies can now be challenged. This could be applicable in all common-law provinces, which excludes Quebec.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to have a detailed conversation with your client about their designations and ensure their intentions are documented both clearly and thoroughly in order to avoid their assets falling into litigation and/or estate. Continue reading “The Beneficiary Challenge”

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Beneficiary Designations – Making Sure Your Money Goes Where You Want

Accumulation and Decumulation – Preparing your Clients for Retirement

Your client has been diligently putting some money away for their retirement, contributing to their RRSP or their TFSA. Perhaps they even have a defined contribution pension or, if they are lucky, the defined benefit version. In either case, there are two very distinct stages within the retirement planning rubric that your client should be aware of.

As you are aware, the accumulation phase is typically the easier of the two and occurs during your client’s working years – this is where they try to allocate as much as possible to an RRSP, TFSA, pension plan or some combination thereof. The main objective here is to accumulate assets for retirement and can be as simple as making regular deposits to an efficiently diversified portfolio and keeping fees in check. Straightforward, right?

The decumulation phase is a little more challenging and refers to the stage in your client’s life when they are no longer earning income from work. During this stage, the main objective is to use the funds that were saved or accumulated to set up income sources for the remainder of their lifetime. The challenge arises through a host of different issues, some predictable and others not so much. Continue reading “Accumulation and Decumulation – Preparing your Clients for Retirement”

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Changing Gears – From Accumulation to Decumulation

SMART TALK…about will planning and drafting

Will and estate planning can be a complicated, but important process for your client. They have the vision, but as an Advisor, you can recommend the solutions that will transform your clients’ dreams into a reality.

Share this video to illustrate how will and estate planning can benefit your client, their family and their business.

Continue reading “SMART TALK…about will planning and drafting”

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SMART TALK…about will planning and drafting

Estate Protection for your Client

Your client has worked hard all of their life. They’ve accumulated some assets, perhaps even more than they will need for a secure and comfortable retirement. However, the ownership of some of these assets will result in a tax liability upon your client’s or their spouse’s death. As an Advisor, you have both the knowhow and the tools to not only assess your client’s assets, but also guide them in protecting their estate and ensuring that their hard-earned dollars go directly to their loved ones. Continue reading “Estate Protection for your Client”

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Protecting Your Estate

A Convo with your Client about the Death Benefit Guarantee in Seg Funds

Segregated funds have several uses as a financial planning tool, primarily in the area of estate planning. As you may know, segregated funds (or seg funds for short) combine the features of a mutual fund with elements of an insurance contract. One of those insurance elements is the death benefit guarantee, which ensures that a specific percentage of the value of your client’s investment pays directly to their beneficiaries at the time of death. This death benefit payment may even bypass probate, which streamlines the process of estate settlement and makes it easier for your client to pass investment assets on to those they love. Seg funds must provide at least a 75% death benefit guarantee, but the guarantee can be up to 100%.

The death benefit guarantee also adds a level of security that is not available in a mutual fund. This can be increasingly powerful for clients who are in retirement or approaching retirement – it allows them to participate in funds with potentially higher returns than guaranteed options such as GICs. The death benefit guarantee forms a “safety net” that provides an element of protection against market risk in these funds. Continue reading “A Convo with your Client about the Death Benefit Guarantee in Seg Funds”

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Segregated Funds and the Death Benefit Guarantee

Travel and Underwriting – What in the World is Going On?

There was a time not too long ago when the term “travel bug” simply referred to someone with a penchant for adventure, someone with a desire to travel and see the world. Today, that term has a far more sinister meaning as travel is discouraged, airlines are more of less grounded and many Canadians are hesitant to even visit family in the same city for fear of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Whether it be a day-trip to the beach or weeks of wandering around Europe, travel has been indefinitely put on hold. As of the start of December 2020, there have been over 65 million cases and over 1.5 million deaths worldwide due to COVID-19, with no assurance that this will end any time soon (1).

So, the question remains – what is the impact on your clients who travel or plan to travel and how does the underwriting community view the travel risk as 2020 draws to a close? Continue reading “Travel and Underwriting – What in the World is Going On?”

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The Travel Bug – When Travel is Too Risky