Should you rely on group insurance alone?

How individual insurance can complement your group insurance

Your employer may offer group insurance coverage – for example, life insurance, critical illness insurance or disability insurance as part of a benefits plan.

It’s a basic way to help protect you and your loved ones.

But what if you could do more than just cover the basics? Your lifestyle is important to you and your family, so what if you could complement your group benefits coverage with individual insurance and help keep the lifestyle you’d want for your family, if you died or became too sick or injured to work?

Knowing the details of your group insurance plan is crucial. You want to make sure you have the right type of insurance, and the right amount of coverage, to cover all your bases when dealing with the unexpected.

Individual insurance, such as life, critical illness and disability insurance is coverage you can get outside of work. They typically offer more control and choice based on the needs of you and your family. And it’s all about you: you own it and you choose the products and options you want that are customized for your needs.

Together with your group insurance, they can help protect you, your family and your lifestyle from unexpected events that could jeopardize your financial goals and keep you from meeting your obligations.

Uncover your needs to find out if your group insurance is enough

Does group insurance cover your needs? Consider the following questions:

1. If something were to happen to you or a loved one would you be able to:

2. Does group insurance coverage include the types of insurance you and your family need?

  • Will your insurance protection last a lifetime?
  • Does your partner have group insurance coverage through their work?
  • If you’re too sick to work, would your coverage give you a lump-sum payment to help with recovery?
  • Can you increase your coverage if your needs change?

Better together: Group and individual insurance

For some people, group insurance is enough, but an individual insurance plan can complement your group insurance benefits. I can help sort out the details and fill in any existing gaps.

Helpful tips for first-time life insurance buyers

Buying life insurance doesn’t have to be difficult

Buying life insurance for the first time can seem daunting. It’s a big decision, there are many options to consider and it can be stressful to think about what might happen if you’re no longer there to support your loved ones.

Getting insurance coverage that’s right for you is one of the most important ways you can financially protect those you care for from the unexpected. Buying life insurance is essential at any age and there are key advantages to starting early.

Here are some helpful tips to make the whole process easier for you.

Remember why you need insurance

Insurance can help financially protect those you care about when you’re no longer there to support them. It means there could be money available when it’s needed the most, so your loved ones can spend more time helping each other through a difficult time, and less time focused on how to pay the bills.

Life insurance can help:

  • Cover everyday living expenses
  • Settle debts
  • Keep the family home
  • Continue plans you’ve made for your loved ones, like an education fund

Once you know what type of life insurance you want, you’ll then want to determine how much your family will need to continue their lifestyle after you’re gone.

Life insurance that’s right for your needs and budget

There are two kinds of life insurance:

Term life insurance – temporary, lower-cost insurance coverage (at least initially) which you buy for a set period of Life Insurancetime. When that time’s up, your coverage can be renewed or you can convert to permanent, lifelong, coverage without having to answer further health questions.

Permanent life insurance – typically costs more, but lasts a lifetime and includes features that can grow money inside your policy over time (called cash value). You can access this money while you’re still alive or leave a larger legacy for those you care about.

Once you know what type of life insurance you want, you’ll then want to determine how much your family will need to continue their lifestyle after you’re gone.

To start, calculate:

  • Monthly household expenses – groceries, bills, mortgage, loan payments, etc
  • Planned expenses – RRSP or contributions to your children’s education, for example
  • Expected one-time costs – for instance, funeral expenses

You should figure out how much these expenses will cost for a full year, then how many years your loved ones would need to rely on this income. It’s a good starting point, so you have an idea of your insurance needs, which you can finalize with the help from me.

Don’t forget to insure your health

Did you know you’re much more likely to experience a serious illness or injury before you retire than you are to die? Ask yourself: if you were too sick or injured and couldn’t work for a month, six months or even a year, would you need an income source (that’s not your own) to support yourself and your family? If your answer is yes, critical illness and disability insurance may be valuable additions to your financial security plan that can protect what you’ve planned for and help ensure your loved ones are taken care of.

Consult a financial professional

I can help you create a plan – including life, critical illness and disability insurance – to help protect yourself and your family from any financial or non-financial issues that might come up.

A stronger, better you: Why it’s important to look after your financial health

We all know how important it is to take care of our physical health – it keeps us strong and helps ensure we’ll be around for years to come. But what about looking after our financial health? It’s just as important but often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves.

Even if it seems like you don’t have enough money to invest or buy insurance, it doesn’t take much. If you cut down on extra lattes or meals out, you could set yourself up with a plan for a successful financial future.

Build your personal road map

When it comes to financial security planning, it pays to start small. If you change your spending habits, even just a little bit, the long-term results could be big.

For example, let’s say you made your morning coffee at home instead of picking it up on the way to work. It may not seem like much but the amount you save could be enough for a $500,000 life insurance policy.1

If you cut down on your dining-out expenses by even $20 a week and invested that money, it could grow to almost $37,000 over a 20-year period.2

No matter what you’re saving for, you’re on the road to achieve your future goals.

Other savings ideas:

  • Leave the car at home, carpool, use public transit or ride your bike
  • Shop around for better auto and home insurance rates
  • Install LED light bulbs to reduce energy costs
  • Go to the movies on “cheap Tuesdays”
  • Clip coupons for groceries or buy in bulk
  • Cook at home instead of dining out

With those savings each month, you could:

Invest and watch it grow

A small but regular contribution into something like a tax-free savings account (TFSA) or registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) could grow substantially, if it’s invested wisely and given enough time to grow. Use this money to help fund your retirement or perhaps go on the dream vacation you’ve always wanted.

Protect your family

What would your family do if something happened to you? Insurance is a flexible and cost-effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones financially. It can help pay down your mortgage, cover outstanding debt or fund education or retirement plans.

How we can help

Spending money feels good, but knowing you’re not only protecting yourself and loved ones – but unlocking future potential – feels even better.

I can help you build a customized financial security plan to help you achieve your goals.

1Cost of coffee based on $1.70 per cup. Assumes 30 cups a month. This comparison is based on London Life term 10 life insurance, male and female, up to age 45, non-smokers, standard risk, monthly premium payments. Monthly premium depends on your age, amount of coverage and general health information. Life insurance coverage amounts represent the policy’s death benefit. Rates as of December 2015. Term 10 life insurance premiums increase on renewal after 10 years. The example provided is not complete without the London Life illustration, including the cover page, reduced example and product features pages all having the same date. Read each page carefully as they contain important information about the policy.

2Assumes $80 is invested in a balanced mutual fund portfolio on a monthly basis with a six per cent annual rate of return. Rates of return are hypothetical and provided for illustrative purposes only. Mutual funds are not guaranteed; their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Unit values and investment returns will fluctuate.

Protect Your Business from the Loss of a Key Person

Like many smart business owners you’ve insured your assets from theft or damage.

What would happen if you or one of your key people died prematurely or suffered a life-threatening illness?

Every Company has Key PeopleKey Person Insurance

You probably don’t have to look far to identify people essential to your company’s success.

These are people with:

  • Proven ability to grow sales
  • Highly specialized technical skills
  • Personal relationships with valued customers
  • Responsibility for major projects

Whether it’s a valued employee, a business partner or yourself, each key person brings energy and expertise that can be difficult and costly to replace.

How would losing a key person impact your business financially?

Consider the effects of a key person’s critical illness or premature death.

  • Could it affect your short-term or long-term profits?
  • How much will it cost to replace the key person?
    • Recruiting $     ?
    • Training    $     ?
    • Relocation $     ?
  • Will creditors shorten payment terms or call in loans?

Insurance on you and your key people can help prevent an unexpected loss from financially harming – even destroying – the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Key Person Protection – It’s Simply Good Business

Two proven building blocks for key person protection are life insurance and critical insurance.

Your business can use the insurance funds to:

  • Pay debts and expenses to help keep operations running
  • Find and train a suitable replacement
  • Increase cash flow to compensate for lost revenue
  • Assure creditors and suppliers that funds are available to meet commitments
  • Show customers that the business has the means to continue

Determine the value of your key people

Ask me how you can implement key person protection as part of your business plan. 519-860-4223

What’s the Best Life Insurance for You?

To build the right financial plan for you, it’s important to know:

What are your life insurance options?

When it comes to life insurance, you have two choices: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Both are great choices that protect you and your family, but each has different features. Deciding what’s Life Insurance for Familyright for you depends on what you need.

Term life insurance is temporary, lower-cost insurance coverage initially, where your payments stay the same for a set period of time. When that time’s up you can renew your coverage or convert it to permanent life insurance without having to answer further health questions.

Permanent life insurance also helps protect those you care about and provides you with more security because it lasts a lifetime.1 Initially, it costs more than term life insurance but includes features that can grow money inside your policy over time (called cash value). You can access this money while you’re still alive to help you achieve what you’ve always wanted – more retirement income or perhaps to start your own business – or leave a larger legacy for those you care about.

Deciding which option is right for you can be difficult. Here’s some information to help you make a decision.

So which option do you feel best suits your needs: term insurance, permanent insurance or a combination of both?

No one knows your situation better than you do. However, I’m here to help you. I can review your needs, help you choose the right insurance option and work with you to build a financial security plan to protect what matters most.

All-in-One Life Insurance Guide

What can life insurance do for you?

  • Protect the people who rely on you
  • Build value you can access during your lifetime

What types of life insurance are available?

  • Term life insurance
  • Permanent life insurance

Who needs life insurance?

  • People who are supporting others financially
  • Young and healthy people
  • Single people
  • People with assets or an estate to protect
  • People who want to leave something to charity
  • Parents who want to set up their children for success
  • Business owners

When should you buy insurance?

What about other types of life insurance?

  • Mortgage or creditor protection
  • Group life insurance

How do you select the right life insurance for you?

  • Professional advice

Read this guide, and talk things over with me to better understand the choices you have with life insurance. Making the right life insurance choice today can help both you and the people you care about most in the future.

Life Insurance Planning Solutions

Help protect the people who rely on you

Life insurance is one of the best ways to help protect the people who rely on you. Buying life insurance shows you are Life Insurance Guidecommitted to creating a positive future for your loved ones and can reassure them that they will be taken care of.

When someone dies, loved ones left behind have to make important – and often difficult – decisions at a stressful time. Life insurance provides options for the people you care about, allowing them the time and financial help needed to make decisions. Insurance proceeds can be received within days. This money can be used to cover funeral costs and other expenses, such as:

  • Legal fees
  • Taxes
  • Outstanding medical expenses
  • Mortgage payments
  • Loan payments
  • Credit card bills
  • Child care

Life insurance can also help replace the loss of your income and help fulfill your future plans in your absence, such as funding a child’s education or your spouse’s retirement plans.

Build value you can access during your lifetime

Permanent life insurance provides an opportunity to grow cash value over time. You can use it to help you achieve your big goals in life: to supplement your retirement income, to help pay for your children’s education, to go towards starting a business, or leave as a larger legacy to those you care about. **

You can access this cash value in your life insurance policy several ways**:

  • Take out a loan
  • Make a cash withdrawal
  • Use it as collateral to help obtain a bank loan

What types of life insurance are available?

Term life insurance is temporary, low-cost coverage where your payments stay the same for a set period of time. When that time’s up you can renew your coverage at a higher cost or convert it to permanent life insurance without having to answer further health questions.

Permanent life insurance provides you with more security because it lasts a lifetime, as long as payments are made. It costs more than term insurance, but can grow money tax-free inside your policy over time (called cash value), which you can access while you’re still alive.*

Who needs life insurance?

Life insurance can help you, no matter what stage of life you’re in.

People who are supporting others financially

Whether it’s your spouse, partner, children, another family member or a friend, life insurance is a great way to help provide for the people who rely on you.

Young and healthy people

You may not think you need to have insurance if you’re young and healthy, but there are many advantages to buying it at this stage of your life.

  • Your payments for insurance will be lower when you’re younger, meaning you can afford more coverage. And that means a larger legacy for loved ones, or a charity you choose.
  • With permanent life insurance, it means more time to build up cash value.
  • Buying life insurance when you’re young ensures you have coverage if you later develop health issues. Single people Life insurance is an important part of your financial security plan. During your lifetime
  • You can use permanent life insurance to supplement your retirement income or support your long term goals.** After death
  • Proceeds from a life insurance policy can take care of final expenses, unpaid bills and other debts, or be left as a gift to a friend or loved one.

As a parent, you want the best for your children, but sometimes big dreams come with big costs.

People with assets or an estate to protect

Life insurance can play a very important role in preserving the estate you’ve built over your lifetime and can help you leave the most assets possible to your heirs. But as your estate grows, so can the burden of taxes and fees that may have to be paid when you die. Life insurance can help cover these costs, allowing you to pass on your estate as planned.

People who want to leave something to charity

Life insurance gives you the opportunity to leave a personal contribution to your favourite charity or nonprofit organization.

Parents who want to set up their children for success

As a parent, you want the best for your children, but sometimes big dreams come with big costs. Imagine being able to say yes to your child buying a car, traveling, having a dream wedding or purchasing a home because you’ve bought them permanent life insurance today. **

  • Any cash value that grows within the policy can be accessed during your child’s lifetime** and if it isn’t needed right away, your child can use it later to supplement their own retirement income.**
  • Buying your children life insurance now can help provide a lifetime of protection.

Business owners

When you own a business, your most valuable asset is your ability to create revenue. But what would happen if you or one of your essential employees suddenly died, creating a risk to your business? The ripple effect could be significant, jeopardizing your lifestyle and even those of other employees.

Protecting your business means more than just protecting its physical assets—it also means thinking about what will happen after you die. Will your heirs and any surviving owners be able to work together? Will your heirs need to sell the business to cover capital gains, probate fees and other costs?

Insuring yourself and your key people can help protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. * If the accumulation stays within prescribed limits, the cash value is only subject to income tax when it’s withdrawn. **Borrowing or withdrawing money from your policy will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value.

When should you buy insurance?

Whether you’re just starting your career, supporting a growing family or preparing for retirement, life insurance helps you meet different needs at different stages of your life.

In particular, there are some key times when you should be thinking about your insurance needs, such as when:

  • Purchasing your first home or cottage
  • A child or grandchild is born
  • Starting a business
  • Succession planning
  • Taking on a new job
  • Getting married or divorced
  • A parent or spouse dies
  • A child leaves home
  • You’re approaching retirement

Mortgage or creditor protection

These are types of term insurance offered by lending institutions as part of their mortgage loan or line of credit products. They provide simple, low-cost insurance to cover the balance owing if you die before the mortgage or line of credit is paid off.

However, there are some important differences between mortgage, creditor and individual life insurance. When it comes to mortgage or creditor insurance:

  • The lender or mortgage broker owns the policy
  • Your coverage typically decreases as your mortgage is paid down
  • The insurance money can only be used towards the balance of your mortgage
  • Often, you can’t make changes to your coverage as your needs change
  • Your coverage ends when your mortgage or debt is paid off

Group life insurance

If you’re working, there’s a good chance your employer offers group life insurance. You may also have group life insurance through an association, professional body, union or club.

While this form of insurance provides simple, low-cost coverage, there are some important differences between group and individual life insurance.

  • Group life insurance normally provides basic protection or benefits. Unless you get added coverage, your insurance could be significantly short of your actual needs
  • Group insurance benefits are pre-set and not personalized to your specific situation
  • You’re often only insured as long as you’re part of the group
  • Employers own their employees’ coverage and can change it at their discretion, based on an annual review

What about other types of life insurance?

Get professional advice

Life insurance is definitely not one-size-fits-all and buying coverage that meets your current and future needs can be complex. That’s why professional advice is essential. I can advise you by:

  • Take the time to understand your personal financial goals, insurance needs, risk tolerance, and how hands-on you want to be in managing your insurance
  • Help you evaluate your options and select the type of insurance that’s a good fit for you now, and in the future

Five Financial Steps for New Parents

While personal finances may not be on your mind (likely getting enough sleep is), here are five important steps for new parents to consider when bringing your bundle of joy home for the first time.

1. A social insurance number (SIN)

To claim children as dependants or set up savings accounts in their name, they must have a social insurance number. Most provinces offer a Newborn Registration Service that allows you to apply for a SIN. In British Columbia and Ontario, you can apply for their birth certificate at the same time.

New Parents Financial Planning

2. Baby comes first – but don’t forget about your other financial goals

Children can be costly: food, childcare and education costs are just some of the expenses you will need to add to your budget. New parents often prioritize those costs over their own financial goals, such as saving for a home, vehicle or vacation. Remember to pay yourself first and benefit from the power of compounding interest (making interest on your already-earned interest) to increase your savings.

  • Congratulations! Becoming a parent is filled with new joys, new challenges, and yes, new financial goals.

3. Start saving for post-secondary education

With the average full-time Canadian undergraduate student paying annual tuition fees of nearly $6,000+, post-secondary education can be an overwhelming expense. A registered education savings plan (RESP) can help get you closer to that goal. Not only does the money grow tax-free within the plan, but the government chips in with substantial grants.

4. Plan to protect your family’s financial security if the unexpected happens

It’s not easy to think about. But you need to help ensure your family will be taken care of financially if you or your partner died unexpectedly. Once you’ve calculated how much you’ll need to pay off your mortgage, help put your child through post-secondary school, and replace your lost income, you can approximate how much life insurance you may need.

Also, consider these basic estate planning steps for new parents:

  • Create an inventory of assets and debts and store it in a safe place that only a trusted person can access.
  • Review your insurance policies and update beneficiaries if any changes are needed.
  • Prepare a will and identify the person you would request to be the child’s guardian.

5. Budgeting for baby

When infants first come home, the financial resources you require to take care of their needs may be basic. But as they grow, previously unconsidered expenses – such as increased health insurance premiums – can surprise parents. That’s why it’s important to start your budget now. Setting up a category just for your child and logging all childcare expenses under it makes it easy to see how much you’re spending.

Getting your finances in order is a great way to manage the challenges of being a new parent. And hey, as they grow up, your child may even pick up a few tips!

Help Insure Your Child Get’s Off to a Head Start

Tuition costs have nearly tripled over the past quarter-century ­– good enough reason to start planning for your child’s university or college education.

With the average cost of a post-secondary education in 2010-2011 at $58,000 – and climbing – and with the maximum contribution to registered education savings plans (RESPs) set at $50,000, you may be looking for other ways to fund your child’s education. Life insurance can help your children fund their post-secondary education if you or your partner die unexpectedly.

Child Life Insurance

Insure Your Child

How does it work? Most permanent life insurance products offer a guaranteed cash value accumulation component that allows the cash value to grow tax-free (within limits).

When it’s time to withdraw funds for your child’s education, you can either withdraw the accumulated cash value or take out a loan against the policy’s accumulation. If you take out a loan, your cash value can continue to grow, provided you repay the loan. Alternatively, you can surrender your insurance policy if coverage is no longer required and apply this money to your child’s education needs (tax may apply).

Purchasing participating life insurance for your child or grandchild is a gift that keeps on giving. A participating life insurance policy has cash value that can grow over time and can be accessed to pay for things like tuition, a new car, or a down payment on a house. With their insurance needs taken care of for life, they can focus on other key priorities.

I can help you make sense of using permanent life insurance to pay for tuition.

Protect Your Family’s or Business Well-Being

Life is full of risks, and most we simply have to accept. But some we can do something about. Life insurance is an essential tool in protecting a family’s economic well-being if a partner or parent dies.

Life insurance is designed to pay loved ones a tax-free lump sum death benefit if you die. The benefit should be large enough to allow them to have the lifestyle and choices that your financial security plan set out to achieve.

  • Personal insurance policies represent an important part of prudent financial security planning.

The money from the death benefit can be used as needed. Some examples may be to help pay off debts, help ensure loved ones can afford to remain in the family home or pay for the children’s education. The benefit can also be used to help ensure the well-being of a sibling with special needs, or aging parents who lack adequate retirement savings.

Protect Your Family

Good business

Life insurance could also play an indispensable role in protecting a business. If you and a business partner start a company, you should each have a life insurance policy. The reasons make pure business sense.

The death of one business partner may have a significant impact on the company’s operations and life insurance can help the surviving partner manage through the resulting challenges. Life insurance can provide funds to allow the surviving partner to buy out the deceased partner’s share in the company without having to sell assets. Moreover, the deceased partner’s family receives the full amount they deserve from selling their share of the company.

Research tools

There are many online resources and calculators to help you learn about the different life insurance options and coverage needs. The large variety of options allows you to customize a policy to fit your needs, and that may include the flexibility to increase coverage as needed.

Professional counsel

Once you have done some primary research, you can consult me. Life insurance may play a starring role in your financial security planning.