Empowering Your Family’s Financial Future: A Comprehensive Guide to Budgeting

Taking charge of your family’s financial well-being through effective budgeting is a crucial step in securing a brighter future. We’ll explore the significance of budgeting and provide practical tips to help you manage your money wisely while ensuring the best possible support for your loved ones, including those with disabilities and their Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Why Budgeting Matters for Families

Budgeting is a powerful financial tool that holds importance for all families:

  1. Financial Clarity: It offers a clear overview of your family’s income and expenses, helping you make informed decisions about allocating funds.
  2. Goal Achievement: Budgeting helps you allocate funds not only for your loved one’s RDSP but also for other family financial goals, such as saving for education or a home.
  3. Expense Control: It identifies areas where you can cut back on expenses, freeing up money for your family’s financial priorities.
  4. Debt Reduction: By tracking spending, you can allocate extra funds to pay down debt faster, ensuring your family’s financial stability.
  5. Emergency Preparedness: A budget provides a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, which can be especially critical for families with additional financial responsibilities.

Steps to Effective Budgeting for Families

  1. Calculate Income: Determine your total monthly income, including salaries, government benefits, and any disability-related support for your loved one.
  2. List Expenses: Categorize expenses into fixed (e.g., housing, utilities) and variable (e.g., groceries, entertainment).
  3. Set Financial Goals: Define short-term and long-term financial goals for your family, ensuring that your loved one’s RDSP contributions are part of the plan.
  4. Create a Budget: Use budgeting tools or apps to allocate income to expenses, savings, and financial goals without exceeding your income.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Regularly track spending against your budget, making necessary adjustments to ensure your family’s financial health.

Tips for Successful Budgeting

  1. Be Realistic: Set achievable goals and create a budget that accommodates your family’s unique needs, including the financial responsibilities associated with the RDSP.
  2. Prioritize Savings: Ensure that contributing to your loved one’s RDSP is a top financial priority, but don’t forget to save for other family goals too.
  3. Emergency Fund: Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, which can benefit all family members.
  4. Review and Cut Expenses: Periodically review expenses to find areas where you can save and allocate more funds to your family’s financial priorities.
  5. Pay Yourself First: Treat savings, including RDSP contributions, as non-negotiable expenses, just like other essential bills.
  6. Seek Professional Advice: Consult a financial advisor who specializes in disability-related financial planning for tailored guidance.

Budgeting is your family’s pathway to financial security and ensuring a brighter financial future. By budgeting wisely and prioritizing your loved one’s financial well-being, you can control your family’s finances, reduce stress, and work towards a future filled with financial peace of mind. Remember, financial success for families means making informed choices that align with your values and aspirations. Start budgeting today to achieve financial wellness for your entire family, balancing the needs of all family members, including those who rely on the support of the RDSP.

How to Choose and Customize a Group Benefits Plan for Small Businesses

Building a Bright and Sustainable Future Together

As a small business owner, you recognize the significance of looking after your team and fostering a nurturing work environment. One method to demonstrate this is by providing a robust group benefits plan. This not only reflects your dedication to your team’s well-being but also is instrumental in drawing and retaining the best talent. Dive into the realm of group benefits and discover how to select and tailor the ideal plan for your small enterprise.

Understanding the Basics of Group Benefits

Group benefits plans are crafted to offer a variety of health, financial, and wellness advantages to your team members. These packages can encompass health and dental insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement savings alternatives, and more. The main benefit of a group benefits plan is its ability to distribute the risk among your team, making coverage more cost-effective and reachable for all.

Step 1: Assess Your Business Needs

Before diving into a group benefits plan, it’s vital to evaluate the requirements of your business and your team. Ponder over these questions:

  1. What’s the profile of your workforce? Think about age, family composition, and health statuses.
  2. Which benefits are most cherished by your employees? Is it health insurance, dental care, or retirement savings?
  3. How much can you allocate for group benefits? Keep in mind, offering benefits is a commitment to your team’s welfare.

Step 2: Collaborate with a Benefits Specialist

Teaming up with a benefits specialist is akin to having a navigator on your quest to devise the perfect plan. They will assist you in traversing the intricate landscape of insurance choices, rules, and compliance mandates. They’ll engage closely with you to grasp the distinct needs of your business and craft a plan that matches your budget and principles.

Step 3: Customize Your Plan

Adaptability is paramount when shaping a benefits plan that appeals to your team. Here are some avenues for personalization:

  1. Benefit Choices: Opt for a blend of health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance based on what your team values.
  2. Wellness Initiatives: Mull over introducing wellness programs such as fitness center memberships, mental health resources, and stress alleviation workshops.
  3. Retirement Schemes: Offer retirement savings avenues like a Group RRSP or a staff pension scheme.

Step 4: Educate Your Employees

The efficacy of a group benefits plan hinges on transparent communication and enlightenment. Ensure your team comprehends the worth of the benefits provided and the methods to utilize them optimally. Arrange seminars, online sessions, or informational meetups to aid them in making knowledgeable choices about their coverage.

Step 5: Regularly Review and Adjust

The dynamics of your business and the needs of your team will transform over time. Hence, it’s crucial to revisit your group benefits plan annually and make requisite modifications. This guarantees that your plan stays in sync with your objectives and consistently delivers value to your team.

Building a Sustainable Future Together

As you embark on the path of picking and personalizing a group benefits plan for your small enterprise, bear in mind that your collaboration with your team is central to the process. By placing their welfare at the forefront and presenting a comprehensive benefits package, you’re not merely paving a brighter path for your team but also cultivating a sustainable work setting that promotes allegiance, efficiency, and expansion.

Different types of life insurance explained

Different types of life insurance explained

You may already have or are interested in life insurance because it can provide significant financial protection for you and your family. To get the best coverage that suits your needs and lifestyle, it is essential to be familiar with the four most common types of life insurance available:

  1. Term life insurance
  2. Permanent life insurance
  3. Participating life insurance
  4. Universal life insurance

1) Term life insurance

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific period, such as five, ten, or even fifteen or twenty years. Once that term is up, you can choose to renew your policy – but your premiums may go up.

If you die while your term life insurance policy is in effect, your beneficiaries will receive a tax-free death benefit equal to the amount of coverage you selected. Your beneficiaries can then use that benefit to pay for whatever they choose, such as debts, a mortgage, tuition, and everyday living expenses.

2) Permanent life insurance

With permanent life insurance, you will have coverage for your whole life. In addition, the cost of insurance can be structured so that the cost does not increase as you age, even if your health worsens. However, the level cost for life means that permanent life insurance may be more expensive than term insurance premiums in the early years but potentially less costly than term insurance premiums as you age.

As with term life insurance, your beneficiaries will be entitled to a tax-free death benefit after you die. Permanent life insurance also offers a cash value feature. You can use this cash value as collateral for a loan or withdraw the value – but this will reduce your death benefit.

3) Participating life insurance

Participating life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance – which offers the added bonus of letting you earn dividends. With these earned dividends, you can either reinvest them to help reduce the cost of your premiums or withdraw them as cash.

As with all life insurance policies, upon your death, your beneficiaries will receive a tax-free death benefit to spend as they deem fit.

4) Universal life insurance

Universal life insurance is also another form of permanent life insurance. Along with a tax-free death benefit, Universal Life also lets you invest extra money (if you choose) that can grow in a tax-advantaged account! With universal life insurance, you can provide for your beneficiaries upon death while saving extra cash for yourself or your business.

We can help!

If you are unsure what kind of life insurance is best for you, give us a call today! We can answer any questions about these different kinds of life insurance and what features and benefits are best for you.

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.

2022 Federal Budget Highlights

Federal Budget 2022 – Highlights

On April 7, 2022, the Federal Government released their 2022 budget. We have broken down the highlights of the financial measures in this budget into the following different sections:

  • Housing

  • Alternative minimum tax

  • Dental care

  • Small businesses

  • Tradespeople

  • Canada Growth Fund

  • Climate

  • Bank and insurer taxes

Housing

There were several tax measures related to housing introduced in the budget.

Budget 2022 introduced a new kind of savings account – a Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA).

These are the key things you need to know about the new FHSAs:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Canada to open an account. You must also not currently own a home or have owned one in the previous four calendar years.

  • You can only open and use an FHSA once, and you must close it within a year after your first withdrawal.

  • Contributions are tax-deductible, and income earned in an FHSA will not be either while it is in the account or when you withdraw it.

  • There is a lifetime contribution limit of $40,00, with an annual contribution limit of $8,000. You can’t carry contribution room forward.

  • If you don’t use the funds in your FHSA within 15 years of opening it, you can transfer them to an RRSP or RRIF tax-free. Transfers to an RRSP do not impact your RRSP contribution room.

Two existing tax credits were increased, and a new one was introduced:

  • The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit amount was increased from $5000 to $10,000, giving up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers. This tax credit applies to all homes purchased on or after January 1, 2022.

  • The annual expense limit for the Home Accessibility Tax Credit has been increased to $20,000 for 2022 and subsequent tax years.

  • A new tax credit, the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit, was introduced, which will start in 2023. This tax credit is a 15% refundable credit for eligible expenses up to $50,000 (maximum tax credit is $7,500) for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability to live with a qualifying relative.

Budget 2022 proposes new rules, effective January 1, 2023, that anyone who sells a residential property they have held for less than 12 months would be subject to full taxation on their profits as business income. However, there will be some exemptions to these rules due to life events such as a death, disability, the birth of a child, a new job, or a divorce.

Budget 2022 also announces restrictions that would help ensure that Canadians, instead of foreign investors, own housing. A two-year ban will be introduced on non-residents buying residential property, with some exceptions, such as individuals who have work permits and are living in Canada.

Alternative Minimum Tax

In Canada, the top federal tax rate is 33% and starts at an income of $221,708. However, many high-income filers end up paying less tax than this due to tax deductions and tax credits.

The goal of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which has been around since 1986, is to ensure high-income Canadians are paying their fair share of taxes. However, it has not been substantially updated since it was introduced. In Budget 2022, the government indicated they would be investigating changes to the AMT, which will likely be disclosed in the fall 2022 economic update.

Dental Care

For many Canadians without private coverage, going to the dentist is too expensive. Budget 2022 commits $5.3 billion to provide dental care for Canadians with family incomes of less than $90,000 annually. Coverage will start for children under 12 this year and expand to children under 18, seniors and those living with a disability in 2023, with the program will be fully implemented by 2025.

Small Businesses

Small businesses currently have a 9% tax rate on the first $500,000 of taxable income (compared to the corporate tax rate of 15%). However, after a small business’ capital employed in Canada reaches $15 million, it is no longer eligible for the 9% tax rate.

Budget 2022 proposes gradually phasing out the small business tax rate so that businesses are not discouraged from expanding. The new cut-off for the lower tax rate will be $50 million.

Budget 2022 also includes a proposal to create an Employee Ownership Trust. This would be a new, dedicated trust under the Income Tax Act to support employee ownership.

Tradespeople

Budget 2022 introduces the Labour Mobility Deduction. This would allow eligible tradespersons and apprentices to deduct up to $4,000 a year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses.

Budget 2022 also commits to providing $84.2 million over four years to double funding for the Union Training and Innovation Program, which would help 3,500 apprentices from underrepresented groups each year.

Canada Growth Fund

Budget 2022 introduces a new Canada Growth Fund, with the goals of both diversifying our economy and helping achieve our climate goals.

The Canada Growth Fund aims to attract considerable private sector investment, support the restructuring of vital supply chains, and bolster our exports. The Canada Growth Fund will also provide backing to reduce our emissions and invest in the growth of low-carbon industries.

Climate

Budget 2022 continues to confirm the government’s commitment to fighting climate change. It commits $1.7 billion over five years to extend the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles Program until March 2025 and also provides funding to create a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Budget 2022 also commits $250 million over four years to support the development of clean electricity, including inter-provincial electricity transmission projects and Small Modular Reactors.

Bank And Insurer Taxes

Budget 2022 introduced a new financial measure called the Canada Recovery Dividend. Banks and insurers will have to pay a one-time, 15% tax on 2021 taxable income above $1 billion. This tax will be payable over five years.

Budget 2022 also proposes increasing the tax rate on income above $100 million for banks and insurers to 16.5% (currently 15% for other corporations).

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!

Life Insurance after 60- is it necessary?

You may have had life insurance for as long as you can remember. You wanted to make sure that your family would be
taken care of and be able to pay their bills if anything happened to you.

But now that you’re older and your children are grown – and hopefully your mortgage is paid off – you may not feel you still need life insurance. This could be a valid assumption; however, there are some circumstances under which it may still make sense for you to have life insurance. They are:

  • You still have substantial debt.

  • You have dependent children or grandchildren.

  • You want to leave a financial legacy.

You still have substantial debt

No one likes the thought of leaving their loved ones to pay their debts if they die. If, however, someone has co-signed a loan with you –
for example, for a mortgage or a car – and you die, then they will be on the hook for the entire amount.

If you have life insurance and name your co-signer as the beneficiary, this will help relieve any financial burden your death could cause
them.

You have dependent children or grandchildren

If you have children who are still dependent on you because they have a mental or physical disability, life insurance can be an excellent way to ensure they will still have access to funds after you die.  Lifelong care can be expensive, and a life insurance benefit will go a long way to helping fund it.

You may have grandchildren you are caring for or that you are not responsible for but want to leave money they can use towards higher
education.  A life insurance payout can be a great way to help a grandchild get a good start in life without having to
go into debt.

You want to leave a financial legacy

You may not have dependent children or grandchildren but still want to leave them something when you die. Life insurance can be a great way to do this without cutting back on your spending during your lifetime.

Life insurance can also help make sure that you have something to leave everyone in your will. If you have a family cottage, it can
be complicated to leave it to more than one person or family. Life insurance gives you the option to leave one person or family the cottage and another person or family the cash equivalent.

We can help you!

If you’re unsure whether or not it still makes sense to have life insurance after the age of 60, we’d be happy to sit down with you and talk
through your options. Give us a call or email us today!

Insurance Planning for Business Owners

For business owners, making sure your business is financially protected can be overwhelming. Business owners face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing risk. Insurance can play an important role when it comes to reducing the financial impact on your business in the case of uncontrollable events such as disability, critical illness or loss of a key shareholder or employee.

This infographic addresses the importance of corporate insurance.

The 4 areas of  insurance a business owner should take care of are:

  • Health

  • Disability

  • Critical Illness

  • Life

Health: We are fortunate in Canada, where the healthcare system pays for basic healthcare services for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. However, not everything healthcare related is covered, in reality, 30% of our health costs* are paid for out of pocket or through private insurance such as prescription medication, dental, prescription glasses, physiotherapy, etc.

For business owners, offering employee health benefits make smart business sense because health benefits can form part of a compensation package and can help retain key employees and attract new talent.

For business owners that are looking to provide alternative health plans in a cost effective manner, you may want to consider a health spending account.

Disability: Most people spend money on protecting their home and car, but many overlook protecting their greatest asset: their ability to earn income. Unfortunately one in three people on average will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before the age of 65.

Consider the financial impact this would have on your business if you, a key employee or shareholder were to suffer from an injury or illness. Disability insurance can provide a monthly income to help keep your business running.

Business overhead expense insurance can provide monthly reimbursement of expenses during total disability such as rent for commercial space, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, equipment leasing costs, accounting fees, insurance premiums for property and liability, etc.

Key person disability insurance can be used to provide monthly funds for the key employee while they’re disabled and protect the business from lost revenue while your business finds and trains an appropriate replacement.

Buy sell disability insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner were to become totally disabled. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the disabled partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Critical Illness: For a lot of us, the idea of experiencing a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer can seem unlikely, but almost 3 in 4 (73%) working Canadians know someone who experience a serious illness. Sadly, this can have serious consequences on you, your family and business, with Critical Illness insurance, it provides a lump sum payment so you can focus on your recovery.

Key person critical illness insurance can be used to provide funds to the company so it can supplement income during time away, cover debt repayment, salary for key employees or fixed overhead expenses.

Buy sell critical illness insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to suffer from a critical illness. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Life: For a business owner, not only do your employees depend on you for financial support but your loved ones do too. Life insurance is important because it can protect your business and also be another form of investment for excess company funds.

Key person life insurance can be used to provide a lump sum payment to the company on death of the insured so it can keep the business going until you an appropriate replacement is found. It can also be used to retain loyal employees by supplying a retirement fund inside the insurance policy.

Buy sell life insurance can provide you with a lump sum payment if your business partner or shareholder were to pass away. These funds can be used to purchase the shares of the deceased partner, fund a buy sell agreement and reassure creditors and suppliers.

Loan coverage life insurance can help cover off any outstanding business loans and debts.

Reduce taxes & diversify your portfolio, often life insurance is viewed only as protection, however with permanent life insurance, there is an option to deposit excess company funds not needed for operations to provide for tax-free growth (within government limits)  to diversify your portfolio and reduce taxes on passive investments.

Talk to us about helping making sure you and your business are protected.

Insurance Planning for Young Families

For young families, making sure your family is financially protected can be overwhelming, especially since there’s so much information floating online. This infographic addresses the importance of insurance- personal insurance.

The 4 areas of personal insurance a young family should take care of are:

  • Health

  • Disability

  • Critical Illness

  • Life

Health: We are so fortunate to live in Canada, where the healthcare system pays for basic healthcare services for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. However, not everything healthcare related is covered, in reality, 30% of our health costs* are paid for out of pocket or through private insurance such as prescription medication, dental, prescription glasses, physiotherapy, etc.. Moreover, if you travel outside of Canada, medical emergencies can be extremely expensive.

Disability: Most people spend money on protecting their home and car, but many overlook protecting their greatest asset: their ability to earn income. Unfortunately one in three people on average will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before age 65. Disability insurance can provide you with a portion of your income if you were to become disabled and unable to earn an income.

Critical Illness: For a lot of us, the idea of experiencing a critical illness such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer can seem unlikely, but almost 3 in 4 (73%) working Canadians know someone who experience a serious illness. Sadly, this can have serious consequences on you and your family, with Critical Illness insurance, it provides a lump sum payment so you can focus on your recovery.

Life: For young families, if your loved ones depend on you for financial support, then life insurance is absolutely necessary, because it replaces your income, pay off your debts and provides peace of mind.

Talk to us about helping making sure you and your family are protected.