How can indebtedness jeopardize a business?

Business Banking relationships are important. If a business owner who has a good relationship with his bank were to die, chances are the bank may call the loan if the business begins to experience financial duress and defaults on repayment. Many businesses have no option but to acquire a bank loan collateralized by the full value of their assets to survive financially.

  • Avoid collateralizing personal assets. The prospect may not be favourable when the loan equals or exceeds the value of the business assets and/or personal assets.
  • Following established rules, a bank may ask a business owner to collateralize a loan, not just with business assets and land, but with additional personally owned assets, which may encumber a spouse’s co-owned assets.
  • Add to that a possible collateralizing of any assets of a son or daughter (and spouses), who also share in family business ownership.
  •  Family members of small business owners can also lose their financial security if the business defaults on loan repayments.
  • If you own a business, avoid being held financial hostage by the lending institution or forced into liquidation.

Can life insurance reduce the risk associated with family businesses debt? You can solve this to a degree in a family business such as a farm by insuring the oldest and succeeding generations using joint-first-to-die life insurance policies or individual plans. Where there are non-family businesses, each owner/partner should be insured to cover the debt. When the life insured dies, the tax-free life insurance proceeds can be used to pay back loans and essentially win back ownership and discharge any liens of personally owned assets.

What if there is a Critical Illness?  Also, for the same reason, consider purchasing a Critical Illness Insurance policy on each principal business owners and key persons. This product could provide a substantial sum of money to pay off debt if one were to experience a major illness such as a heart attack or stroke. If an individual were to be incapacitated, he or she may need to be bought out by a partner or an heir (there should be a buy-sell agreement in place). The risk of a loan being called increases when an owner-manager is critically ill, and the bank manager loses confidence in the stabilizing influence of that owner.

Group Benefits and Employee Addictions


Ten percent of the Canadian population report symptoms consistent with substance dependency. In the USA, the ratio is similar.

Source: Statistics Canada

Employers may watch for:

  • regular absence patterns
  • late for work
  • poor focus affecting production
  • confused about directives
  • appearing tired or stressed, or lazy
  • not collaborating well with other employees
  • a short temper
  • increased mistakes or wrong interpretations of duties

Have a policy for your employees who may suffer from substance abuse. Employers may have to find ways to approach, address, manage and/or get counsel for an addicted employee. The policy can also advise that your company suggest accessing an organization’s employee assistance program (EAP).

For an employee who suffers from an addiction to be eligible for group benefits, a group benefits plan may require that the employee disabled by addiction be introduced to a treatment program.


Group Critical Illness Insurance


Group Critical Illness Insurance 

News of a critical illness can be very upsetting to a plan member. When you can offer them financial support during a difficult time with a Group Critical Illness Insurance plan, the employee can manage with the extra resources better.

Group Critical Illness Insurance Allows the critically ill to focus on recovery rather than worry about finances. It pays a lump sum amount when a plan member is diagnosed with a covered life-threatening illness.  The insurance benefit payment can be used as the plan member chooses. It is available to plan members and dependants.

Once a claim is approved for someone diagnosed with a covered illness, he or she is paid a lump sum. The money may be used however the person chooses, such as private nursing or medical care, modifications to a home or childcare costs, allowing the person to focus on recovery and managing the illness.

You can offer Group Critical Illness Insurance to plan members and their dependants while giving them an option to purchase additional coverage for themselves and their spouse. Benefits can be structured as either a flat amount (i.e. $25,000 to $100,000) or a multiple of the plan member’s salary.

Covered illnesses

Most standard plans cover these common major illnesses:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Cancer

Dependent on the plan, it may cover the illnesses above, plus:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Aortic surgery
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Blindness
  • Coma
  • Deafness
  • Heart valve replacement
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of independent existence
  • Loss of limbs
  • Loss of speech
  • Major organ transplants
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Occupational HIV
  • Paralysis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Severe burns

How to prepare to qualify for a mortgage

When you apply for a mortgage, there are several questions that a lender may ask that you can prepare for. They will want information relating to:

The primary information they will need.

  1. Employment and income
  2. A summary of your outstanding debts
  3. Cash reserves, bank account cash, investments, and other assets
  4. The down payment that you have on the property you are purchasing and is it your own money
  5. Will the loan also be to consolidate any debts?
  6. What will be the use of the property?
  7. What is the equity you now have in your current home, if applicable?

Employment and income.

  • Who is your employer?
  • How much income do you make, and can you provide payment receipts/stubs?
  • How long have you been working at your job?
  • Is your income a salary or other income such as sales commission?

Your liabilities.

  • What are your outstanding debts?
  • What commitment level per month do you have to pay debts?
  • What is the cost per month for auto loans?
  • How much of your income goes to pay off credit cards, and what is the gross credit card debt?
  • How much money will be left after you pay for your down payment and closing costs?
  • If you are refinancing debts, how much debt will your mortgage cover and reduce your equity?

What you will use the real estate for:

  • Will this be your residence?
  • Will you rent a portion of the home out?
  • Is it an investment property?

Property type

  • A condominium?
  • A duplex?
  • A single dwelling?

Responses that can work in your favour:

  • I have steady employment with the same employer for two-plus years.
  • I carry little debt with a debt-to-income ratio of 25 per cent or less.
  • The mortgage is only for a home purchase.
  • My down payment of at least 30 per cent of the sales price with my own money.
  • The cash reserves will pay several months of the mortgage payments once the property closes.

Responses that can work against you:

  • Self-employed or contract worker.
  • High debt with credit cards maxed out, with a total debt-to-income ratio of more than 30 per cent.
  • The property will be renovated for rental use.
  • The liquid cash situation is tight once everything is paid after we close the deal.

Mortgage planning cautions

Mortgage planning cautions

  1. Don’t overburden your cash flow. North Americans are taking on far too much debt, partly influenced by lower borrowing costs. When money is cheap, people take on more debt; when interest rates rise, they reduce debt.
  2. Rates Rates Rates Please do your homework and check our mortgage rates. It is far too easy to take out or renew a mortgage from your local bank that you visit regularly. When you get a mortgage renewal letter from your current lender, work at negotiating a contract or comparing lenders who may have fewer restrictions plus at a competitive rate. A broker or lender may offer much lower rates. A few basis points can make a big difference when it comes to paying off a mortgage.
  3. As a mortgage specialist, I can help. For personalized financial advice, you should speak with a licensed mortgage broker to compare and sell mortgages. He or she will focus on your specific needs, which is just as crucial as a reasonable rate.
  4. Read the fine print. Blessings or potential problems can be ascertained in the details. Know what you’re signing. What are the prepayment options, late payment fees, and refinancing penalties? Is a variable rate mortgage convertible into a fixed rate? If so, how will the lender calculate the fixed rate?
  5. Maximize the frequency of your payments. Consider paying bi-monthly versus monthly to shorten your payment amortization period.
  6. Further, reduce your amortization period. After paying a mortgage for five years, try to reduce the amortization period by those five years. In this way, a 25-year mortgage amortization period is reduced to 20 years.
  7. Know your mortgage facts. It is essential to know the facts about your current mortgage and one that you may renew. Check out what your interest rate is and what your monthly payments are per month. Find out when your mortgage is up for renewal. In certain cases, there may be a penalty for getting out of your mortgage early or restrictions. A change in your rate, such as moving from a variable rate to a fixed rate, might be a good move. Know your total income, liabilities, debt repayment costs and expenses. The lender will then determine how much you can afford. A good rule of thumb is that your mortgage payments should not exceed more than 40% of your net income.


A Mortgage Shoppers To-Do List

Before shopping for a new home, getting a preapproved mortgage lined up several weeks before closing is essential; you also want to look at what mortgage brokerages are offering. Often you can find a competitive rate with excellent terms provided by an advisor who offers mortgages.

Often the mortgage rates advertised by your bank are higher than rates that a mortgage broker can find. Also, avoid restrictions on making lump-sum payments or high fees if you need to leave the mortgage before renewal.

Your checklist:

  • If you own a current home, get it evaluated
  • Get your credit score from Equifax or allow a brokerage to acquire it
  • Taxes and assessments from the last two years
  • Careful accounting of your household income
  • Assess your liabilities, such as credit cards and loans
  • Assess your assets held in investments and savings accounts
  • Have enough for a down payment on hand
  • Also, have enough cash for closing expenses for legal fees, mortgage and title insurance, and transfer taxes.
  • Budget for extras such as buying new appliances or condo fees if applicable
  • Research the meaning of mortgage contract terms as it applies to each specific company offering a lower rate. Know about:
    • Variable rates
    • Fixed rates
    • Open versus closed mortgage
  • A line of credit works well if you are going to renovate.

Establishing your Mortgage down payment


Establishing your Mortgage down payment

Accumulating a down payment for a first-time homebuyer or a reno can be a challenge. Many younger adults have other obligations such as student loans, rent, and basic monthly expenses.

What are some tactical options to enable you to acquire a down payment:

  1. First, consider what you can afford By calculating what you truly can afford for a down payment or a renovation plan if you are considering staying in your current home, we can look at the refinancing scenarios. By calculating your post-reno value, you may be eligible for more mortgage money.
  2. Your RRSP may have the answer The Home Buyers’ Program (HBP) allows first-time home buyers up to $25,000 withdrawal (double that for a couple to $50,000). This manoeuvre is tax-free from accessible RRSPs. Consider that you will be taking on the responsibility of establishing a repayment plan. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows the HBP insofar as you pay back your RRSP funds at approximately 1/15 of the funds borrowed per year, over 15 years. If those monies are not paid back on time, they will be taxed as income at your going rate.
  3. A tax-free gift of money Gifted funds from a parent or a blood relative may provide a downpayment. A written document must be provided, indicating that the funds are a gift without any requirement to pay back the money.
  4. A loan from a friend or relative Perhaps a grandparent or a friend can loan you the down payment with a fair interest rate, with a manageable repayment agreement. Consider also using other borrowed funds or using an unsecured line of credit.
  5. Consider a lower-priced starter home Consider a fixer-upper or a lower priced first home. With current lower interest rates, pay down the mortgage as quickly as possible. Then with your good credit rating, apply your new equity to purchase your dream home.

The necessity of a licensed mortgage agent

Many Canadians are stunned by what has happened to the Canadian Real Estate market in our key cities. Some think it has been wealthy foreigners buying up our best houses and lands. Others believe the problem is due to the misdirected legislation federally and provincially — an absence of reasonable laws designed to protect the home prices for Canadian citizens from being artificially inflated. Still, others think it is the low-interest environment offering near-zero interest rates responsible for the crazy inflation. Or is due to houses being quickly flipped, increasing the value sometimes by up to or more than double what the home initially agreed to be sold for? During the pandemic, there was an extreme bidding up of house prices. It may be a mixture of all of the above.

Many intense studies are underway. Josh Gordon of Simon Fraser University has studied all potential causes. Historically, there is a lack of essential data available, despite being in an age when data influences our life decisions.

Michael Babad, of the Globe and Mail, published as far back as Apr. 21, 2016, that millennials — children of baby boomers — find it difficult, or near-impossible financially, to live in Vancouver or Toronto. 

Millennials who are just starting out and want to buy a home may find it hard to afford a mortgage. Michael Babad goes on to note that: 

“Paying for a house has become so difficult that saving for a down payment takes years in Toronto and possibly decades in Vancouver, new research suggests: Toronto is troublesome, and Vancouver positively out of sight, according to a National Bank Financial study, although it is far easier in other Canadian markets such as Montreal and Calgary” and “in Toronto and Vancouver, affordability for homes other than condos is the worst in National Bank records dating back to 2000, based on first-quarter data”.

National Bank’s senior economist Matthieu Arseneau and associate economist Kyle Dahms analyzed comparative real estate prices and increases, in contrast to incomes, required down payments and the mortgage payment required as a percentage of income (referred to as the MPPI). Vancouver and Toronto markets pop off the grid compared to other prices.

Based on the time it takes to save a down payment for a single-detached house, semi or townhome, you might consider using a mortgage specialist.

National Bank’s senior economist Matthieu Arseneau and associate economist Kyle Dahms, analyzed comparative real estate prices and increases, in contrast to incomes, required down payments and the mortgage payment required as a percentage of income (referred to as the MPPI). Vancouver and Toronto markets pop off the grid compared to other prices.

Based on the time it takes to save a down payment for a single-detached house, semi or townhome you might consider using a mortgage specialist.

We are only a click away. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you.

Understanding mortgage amortization

Amortisation refers to the number of years it will take to repay your mortgage in full. Based on your down payment and current legislation, amortisation periods can run up to 30 years.

Shorter amortisation periods allow you to accelerate paying off your mortgage. The other advantage is that you will pay less interest the more the timeline shortens. The tradeoff is that you will pay more for your monthly payment.

The mortgage payment and method need to unify with your overall financial plan. For example, a mortgage of $400,000 at an average fixed rate of 5% and a 30-year amortisation will have a $2,134 monthly payment, and you will pay $368,506 interest over the 30 years. Reducing the period to 25 years, you’ll pay more at $2,326, but your total interest expense will be reduced to $297,924, saving $70,882.

In our calculator section on this website, we have mortgage calculators, which may prove helpful for planning.

Homeowner Mortgage Default Insurance

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides Homeowner Mortgage Loan Insurance, which is required by law to insure lenders against default on high-ratio mortgages.

A high-ratio mortgage This a mortgage with a loan value of more than 80% of the value of the home purchase price (the borrow puts down under 20%). 

Note: Bear in mind, legislation may change from the date of this article. Talk to your mortgage agent for an update.

A conventional mortgage This is a mortgage with more than a 20% down payment, which means it has less than 80% of a loan to value ratio — less than an 80% stake in the home’s equity value when purchased.

Homeowner Mortgage Loan Insurance required by law

When a person is buying a home, a new homeowner, in most cases, takes out a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan taken out by a borrower referred to as the mortgagor from a lending institution, referred to as the mortgagee. The property is used as security for the debt. Homeowner Mortgage Loan Insurance is required by law to insure lenders against default on a high-ratio mortgage.

You repay the principal amount loaned to you The principal is the actual loan amount that the mortgagor is expected to repay to the mortgagee (loaning institution). Additionally, the interest is paid over the repayment period (amortization) of the mortgage.

A mortgage is a fully secured loan A mortgage is a fully secured form of financing. Thus, the interest you pay is usually less than with most other types of financing, such as when you buy a car or use a credit card. Once you have built up equity value in your home, a mortgage can finance many different things, including:

  • Constructing a new home
  • Purchasing an existing home
  • Consolidation of debts
  • Financing a renovation
  • Financing the purchase of other investments
  • Financing the purchase of investment property

How do you qualify for Homeowner Mortgage Loan Insurance?

  • The home is in Canada.
  • For CMHC-insured mortgage loans, the maximum purchase price or improved property value must be below $1,000,000. Note: Legislation may have or change at any time.

Consideration to How Much Can You Afford

Before you begin shopping for a home, it’s essential to know how much you can afford to spend on homeownership. You will want to plan ahead for the various expenses related to homeownership. In addition to purchasing the home, other significant expenses include heating, property taxes, home maintenance, and renovation as required. Two simple rules can help you figure out how much you can realistically pay for a home. You must understand these rules to understand if you will be able to get a mortgage.

Ask your mortgage agent what the typical minimum down payment is currently for the purchase price of the dwelling, depending on the dwelling type.

  • Single-family and two-unit dwellings 
  • Three- or four-unit dwellings 

Typically, the minimum down payment comes from personally owned resources. However, a down payment gift from an immediate relative is acceptable for dwellings of 1 to 4 units. For eligible borrowers, additional sources of down payment, such as lender incentives and borrowed funds, are also permitted. Check with your lender for qualifying criteria and availability.

Your total monthly housing costs, including Principal, Interest, property Taxes, Heating (PITH), the annual site lease in the case of leasehold tenure and 50% of applicable condominium fees, shouldn’t represent more than 32% of your gross household income (Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio). Use the GDS form to calculate how much you can afford in housing costs to be eligible.

Your total debt load shouldn’t be more than 40% of your gross household income. The Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio is your PITH + the annual site lease in the case of leasehold tenure and 50% of condominium fees (if applicable) + payments on all other debt / gross annual household income. Add up your costs and determine your Total Debt Service ratio using the TDS form.

It would be best also to consider closing costs (for example, legal and land transfer fees) equivalent to 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price. Many first-time buyers are surprised by these costs. 

Closing costs include but are not limited to one-time items such as lawyer fees, GST and PST as applicable, land transfer tax if applicable, adjustments, etc., to allow you to complete the house purchase.

Other requirements may apply and are subject to change.

Definitions: Since the buyer/borrower is pledging the property, he/she is “mortgaging” the property and is known as the “mortgagor”. The lender is the recipient of the pledge and therefore is the “mortgagee”. The mortgagor mortgages the property to the mortgagee.

Source: © Adviceon ® and CMHC