How market volatility can work for the investor

What is market volatility? Volatility is when prices of stocks and equity funds increasingly shift in value up or down. When a low-volatility period is followed by increases in volatility, stock markets may begin to offer lower prices, which can effectually present lower priced fund units, both offering a buying opportunity for the investor.

The stock market can both gain value in a “bull market” and can have periods of slow down referred to as a “correction” or if more prolonged, a “bear market”.

Many investors have seen their investments increase dramatically since the 2008-9 financial crisis that affected all the world’s markets. Further, since 2020 during the pandemic, the market has experienced remarkable gains as investors moved into another big opportunity after an extreme correction based on fear in mid-March 2021 occurred. Many of these investors have also witnessed a remarkable bull market taking many stocks and equity funds much higher than their previous years’ valuation. Conversely, investors who unwisely sold their holdings out of fear lost money.

The ideal strategy exercised by most successful contrarian investors like Warren Buffet is to buy investments when others are fearful, and they are selling their holdings at lowering prices.

When buying opportunities abound The market can experience increased volatility due to fears such as various wars, debt crises of countries, economic slow-downs, or the potential of rising interest rates.

Nevertheless, during periods of higher volatility, wise investors think positively, relying on the professionals managing their investment portfolios.

Predesigned investment plans are important Though periods of volatility occur, it is important to exercise patience while maintaining a balanced and well-diversified portfolio according to a prescribed investment plan.

Plan with your advisor to establish a buying plan when others may be fearful. Market cycles of volatility are normal and expected.

 

Is a Life Insurance benefit taxable?

The advantages of life insurance are well known: It is foundational to a sound financial plan to ensure peace of mind for your family if anything were to happen to you.

A policy’s death benefit, payable to your estate or beneficiary when you die, maintains financial stability. The family can pay final expenses, any debt such as credit cards or business debts, and cover ongoing costs.

Is the death benefit taxable?

Most of the cash received from a life insurance contract is not subject to income tax. Your beneficiaries — spouse, children, grandchildren or other beneficiary allocated will not need to report life insurance benefit proceeds on their tax return as taxable income. However, if you have assigned your estate as the beneficiary, the death benefit could be subject to tax. Moreover, fiscal gifts or inheritances generally are not taxable. 

Beneficiaries or heirs do not owe estate inheritance tax or death tax. It is the estate of the deceased that pays any such tax due to the government. If the policy owner’s estate is the policy’s beneficiary, the death benefit may — in some cases be subject to tax. 2 

When could a taxable situation arise?

When you own a permanent life insurance policy, accumulating interest or equity investments made to a policy’s cash value, taxes will be payable on that growth gained above the cost base of money invested. 3 

Upon your beneficiaries receiving any investment earnings from the policy, along with a death benefit, the increase on investments, not the death benefit, would be taxable as income.

Likewise, you will pay taxes on any increase in cash value based on the investments in the policy fund — should you surrender the policy and receive its cash value in return. 

Tax Reporting Rules for Life Insurance Payouts

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) makes receiving life insurance proceeds easy for beneficiaries relative to tax reporting. Unless the tax is due on the above-stated earnings, these amounts do not need reporting as taxable income on a tax return.

What if there is an increase in the cash value? 

These amounts don’t need reporting as taxable income on a tax return unless some tax is due on interest earnings. If there are interest earnings, it will be reported to the beneficiary by the insurance company on a T5 slip, reportable on line 121 of the beneficiary’s return (or of the policy owner when surrendering the cash value of the policy).

1 Canada.ca 

2 Turbo Tax

3 Turbo Tax

4 Canda.ca

 

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) 

We face a rapidly ageing population.

Since the 1920s, the ratio of seniors over the age of 85 has more than doubled. This number increases into the 2050s will be over age 85.

Who will care for you in your old age? When our health is fine, it is hard to imagine that we may, as many will, lose the ability to manage basic daily activities such as bathing, toileting, walking, dressing, feeding, or moving from our bed to a chair. Many also lose mental faculties that we often take for granted, such as memory, logical or conceptual thinking or referencing dialogue with others. Without assistance, it is near-impossible to function without these capacities.

Long-Term Care Insurance is an insurance contract with an insurer designed to provide care for our chronic illness, disability, or an accident, all of which have a higher potential of occurring as we age.

Some families are incapable of caring for a senior LTCI protects our families from the financial strain of providing long-term care, just as important as life and disability insurance protects the income of younger families. The question is, who will financially support long-term care for you? LTCI is not just for seniors but for those who become similarly incapacitated at any age.

Without a plan, your choices may be limited. It is essential to plan for our long-term care independently because our government healthcare budgets and initiatives are limited. They generally place people in government-funded facilities that have beds available. As we witnessed in the pandemic, many long-term care facilities had difficulty coping with the virus spread.

Most people entirely overlook the enormous expense of paying for a private long-term care facility (some cost up to a quarter of a million dollars for five years). Why are they so expensive? They offer 24/7 high-level nursing care in a highly secure environment. Note: Anyone can call a few private long-term care companies and inquire about their care costs.

Ageing baby boomers retiring will increasingly depend on long-term care insurance, either paid for by themselves, their children or professional health care services.

The need for Long-Term Care Insurance is increasing as medical intervention and medications keep us living longer.

  • Every year, about 50,000 strokes occur in Canada. A stroke is the leading cause of a transfer from a hospital to a long-term care facility.
  • Nearly 10% (1 in 11) of Canadians over age 65 are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.
  • An increasing demographic (7%) of Canadians age 65 and over are residing in healthcare institutions.
  • An additional 28% of Canadians age 65 and over receive care for a long-term health problem outside of a healthcare institution.

As the populace ages, more care for the elderly, such as respite care (additional home care services), will increasingly be needed to provide family members with the medical guidance and support they need to continue caring for their loved ones. With this in mind, are our families financially prepared to deal with peripheral costs associated with providing long-term care for loved ones?

  • A study authored by Dr Marcus Hollander and Neena Chappell of the University of Victoria found that approximately $25 billion worth of unpaid care is provided willingly by family members and friends in place of paid care.

What does Long-term Care Insurance (LTC) offer? Long-term care insurance provides money to pay for the care that you both desire and need. With LTC insurance, you have:

  • Broader choices about the quality and amount of care you receive.
  • An increase of options when determining where you receive care and by whom.

Source: Statistics Canada, pre-baby boomer info

Sources: Canadian Institute for Health Information, Alzheimer Society website, Statistics Canada

 

The Fundamentals of Financial Independence

Here are some essential strategies that will help you achieve financial independence. It is important to get solid advice to design a plan that incorporates planning values such as those noted herein.

Separate your savings from your investments. Before you begin to invest for a long-term financial goal, you’ll need to save for an emergency fund – up to six months’ worth of your salary. Then you are prepared for an unexpected expense such as an engine job on the car, a leaky roof or loss of employment. Otherwise, you may need to tap into your investments intended for retirement or other purposes.

Budget based on your income, not on your desire. Plan to spend less than you earn and don’t take on debt that your future income cannot service. Budgeting is based on your income, not on your past spending habits. Total your monthly expenses such as housing, utilities, food, clothing, child-care, transportation and debt repayment. This sum should not exceed 75% of your after-tax income.

Invest by paying yourself first. You will only beat the habit of procrastination if you focus on paying yourself first. A rule of thumb: save 10% to 20% of every paycheck. You can achieve such investing by purchasing units in a potentially promising investment fund systematically, using an automatic payment program.

Use beneficial debt to build equity. Minimize and pay off consumer debts – monies borrowed to purchase cars, clothing, vacations, stereos and other gadgets that devalue over time. Acceptable debt can help you achieve an education or mortgage a home.

Differentiate your risks. Inflation risk will compete with long-term investment risk. Equity investment funds or the stocks of many companies are not guaranteed, meaning there is a risk. Yet equities have a much better chance to outpace the adverse risk of inflation—or as some have humorously termed shrinkflation—when compared to a savings account over time. Inflation is the single most significant long-term risk. At 4% over 20 years, inflation will cut the value of today’s purchasing power by half.

Determine to diversify. A properly diversified portfolio will hold several types of funds, including a mix of equity funds. Equity funds should differ in terms of what sector of the economy they invest in, such as agriculture, technology, mining, or finance. Though each fund would hold many stocks, make sure they diversify among the various sectors. One sector may gain while another may lose some value, balancing over time. Equity funds can also diversify by country (such as holding domestic, US and global funds); investment style (such as growth funds or value funds); or company size (such as small, mid, or large-cap). Consider adding bond funds to the mix to diversify even more.

Optimize your portfolio. If you can optimize your portfolio, you may minimize the risks to help your return on investment. To truly optimize, one needs in-depth knowledge only obtainable from a professional whose job is to study funds as a speciality. To diversify in a balanced manner, one needs to weigh many factors concerning economic sectors, managers’ styles, company size, and foreign economic conditions.

7 ways life insurance protects your financial foundation

Life insurance has been called the foundational strategy of building and protecting your net worth. The initial stages of your financial strategy should include adequate life insurance coverage.

shutterstock_29869180

The following 7 tips will give you a template for your life insurance planning for a lifetime.

  1. Term life insurance is affordable protection when you are young When young, term insurance coverage offers the lowest cost per thousand dollars of coverage. It comes in various renewable periods of time, for example, 5-,10-, 20-year term and term to age 100.
    • Upon each renewal of term insurance, the cost can increase and may have a final term period ending at a certain age such as age 65, 75 or age 100.
    • Many term plans can be converted to lifetime insurance coverage without medical evidence, that will continue to cover you for the duration of your life.
  2. Life insurance can pay off large accumulations of debt  Many owe thousands of dollars on their credit cards or a large amount of business debt.
    • Replace the debt monkey with cash money Term life insurance often solves debt concerns. It can offer you the peace of mind that you will not be saddling your family with ongoing debt.
    • If you own a business You and your partners can enter agreements to redeem debt or buy business interests providing cash to your heirs.
    • Debt-free succession plans work better Infusions of cash into a business can help a succession plan to work well.
  3. Your life insurance plan can change to adapt to your needs Review your life insurance during each of life’s stages. Our circumstances change dramatically and so do our needs for life insurance. It may be time to review your life insurance and verify beneficiaries, policy amounts and any riders associated with the plans. As you evolve financially, so do your life insurance needs.
  4. You can protect your family when you have young children When you are newly married and starting a family, life insurance is purchased to provide tax-free capital in case one of the parents should die.
  5. When your children are going to college protect your liabilities Many of us tap into our savings to help meet their children’s tuition and housing expenses. We may purchase a child’s first car, or pay him/her an income for one or more years. If you die without providing continuing support, your young adult child may need to quit seeking a higher education due to a shortage of funds to pay for tuition and expenses.
  6. Special Estate Planning solutions When your estate will face a large tax bill, or you desire to leave a large sum of money to an heir or a charity, there are life insurance solutions. The proceeds of a death benefit can solve estate-related problems such as paying an estate’s tax liability on capital gains.
    • As you approach retirement, you may have accumulated assets that will be taxed as capital gains: such as a cottage, business, equity fund holdings, or a stock portfolio. Life insurance that continues for a lifetime, such as Term to age 100 or Whole Life (or Permanent Life)—can help pay the income tax due in your estate.
    • This can also replace an estate’s money used for paying taxes on remaining Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) holdings, as these funds are fully taxable to the estate where there is no surviving spouse or dependent child.
    • It can also pay off large business debts that may be left as an ongoing liability, weighing on a surviving spouse’s financial security.
    • You may have an heir who will need a large sum of capital invested to provide a lifetime income from a trust fund. This is often the case with disabled children who may have special needs which can be expensive over a lifetime.
    • You may want to leave a significant sum of money to a charity of your choice.
    • You may want to transfer large sums of wealth in a controlled manner using life insurance beneficiary directives which may in some cases circumvent probate and notification to others when you desire privacy in your estate outside of your will.
  7. Your exact life insurance needs can be calculated Life insurance specialists use a calculating system referred to as “capital needs analysis”. Consider insuring the adults in your family. The breadwinner’s income can be replaced to protect your family’s financial security. You may have debts that you’d like redeemed. Final expenses can be paid. A mortgage can be paid off. Retirement money can be generated. There are many good reasons to strengthen your financial security with life insurance.

It is necessary to calculate the capital needed over any short or long period to meet any financial situation. Call for an appointment to have us review your life insurance.

Note: Talk to your advisor about potential tax exemption changes to investment components of life insurance.

Copyright by Adviceon.com

Life Insurance can solve the final RRSP/RRIF tax bite

shutterstock_61205419

Did you know that you cannot pass on your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) holdings tax-free to your heirs? Once the second spouse dies, all monies in an RRSP or RRIF are taxable as income in your final tax return unless there are dependent children.

An eligible individual is a child or grandchild of a deceased annuitant under an RRSP or RRIF, or of a deceased member of a Registered Pension Plan (RPP) or a Specified Pension Plan (SPP) or Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP), who was financially dependent on the deceased for support, at the time of the deceased’s death, because of an impairment in physical or mental functions. The eligible individual must also be the beneficiary under the Register Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), into which the eligible proceeds will be paid. 1

In most cases, significant tax may be due, depending on your marginal tax rate and final calculations in your estate. Consider talking to your advisor about buying a joint last-to-die life insurance policy timed to pay after you and your spouse die. It can equate to a small percentage of your RRSP/RRIF holdings per year to make up for the taxes due on what has become, for some, a small fortune.

1 RDSP – Canada.ca

Can life insurance fund RRSP estate tax erosion?

shutterstock_54167626

When planning your estate. It is important to consider how taxation will affect the future distribution of your estate.  For individuals that are married, when the first spouse passes away, the assets generally are able to achieve a rollover free from taxation to the surviving spouse. However, when the last surviving spouse passes away, all assets are deemed to have been sold at the time of passing, and this includes your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) holdings. 

Concerns leaving wealth to the next generation. Registered assets are taken into income in the year of the surviving spouse’s death, and taxes must be paid.  These taxes will be due after the death of the second spouse where there are no dependent children. An eligible individual is a child or grandchild of a deceased annuitant under an RRSP or RRIF, or of a deceased member of a Registered Pension Plan (RPP) or a Specified Pension Plan (SPP) or Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP), who was financially dependent on the deceased for support, at the time of the deceased’s death, because of an impairment in physical or mental functions. The eligible individual must also be the beneficiary under the Register Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), into which the eligible proceeds will be paid. 1

Without an eligible dependent, a $500,000 RRSP or RRIF could be reduced to about half the sum after the death of the second spouse (assuming the highest tax rate).  How can this be avoided? How can you leave more of your wealth to the next generations?

A joint last-to-die life insurance policy may be a solution. A joint last-to-die policy insures two lives, usually two spouses for the purpose of paying for an estate’s tax liabilities such as capital gains on a cottage or business. In most cases where there also exists significant family wealth in RRSPs or RRIFs, taxes will eventually be due upon the second spouse’s death.  At that time, the entire remaining RRSP or RRIF funds are brought into income. Though this is not creating a liability as such, the taxation of large holdings of registered monies can deplete a family’s overall wealth.

By purchasing a joint last-to-die life insurance policy, the taxation of assets in a family’s estate plan can be offset by the significant life insurance proceeds.2 In the above example, a joint last-to-die life insurance policy for $250,000 would replace the estate value lost to taxation, therefore helping to preserve the estate’s net worth more fully for the family. This is especially true if the RRSP or RRIF owner is expecting to leave the entire amount to his or her heirs.

What about the life insurance premiums?  The premium for the life insurance policy to pay for the estate’s tax loss through RRSP or RRIF final estate taxation is usually a small percentage of a significant registered investment portfolio compared to the much larger tax bite. The death benefit may be partially tax-free. 2 A joint last-to-die policy can also be structured to pay back all of the premiums that have been paid into the policy, thereby minimizing the cost to the estate for a strategy designed to save money.

1 RDSP – Canada.ca

2 Note: It is recommended that you get qualified tax advice concerning the taxation of your registered retirement plans if you consider this strategy.

The scope of a good financial strategy

A good financial strategy is multi-faceted. It must anticipate change and reflect your specific financial goals and objectives while considering your level of investment risk tolerance.

A personalized financial strategy can be tweaked to reflect your changing life needs. Whether you’re starting a new family, preparing for retirement, or running a business, we will work with you or your business to build a plan to meet your needs. A customized plan can help you manage risk and bring your goals within possible reach throughout your life. Major purchases such as a home; retirement; and other life events, such as a disability or need for long-term care necessitate flexibility.

Creating your dream financial strategy

First, we will listen to you. We’ll help you create a plan just right for you. You can enjoy peace of mind knowing you have a financial strategy that provides you with the confidence that all your financial resources are working together toward your specific long-term financial goals.

Next, we’ll help you to devise a plan. The program will aim to address investment and retirement planning, minimizing income and estate taxes, assessing your life and disability insurance, will and estate planning needs.

Your plan should be flexible enough to anticipate life’s many fluctuations. Financial circumstances and responsibilities change over time, such as a career or income changes; marriage; the birth and education of your children or grandchildren; major purchases such as a home; retirement; and other life events, such as a disability or need for long-term care.

Remapping your mortgage finances

shutterstock_90555190

Plan your mortgage shopping. It is essential to plan regarding your mortgage. A mortgage specialist can help you review your needs looking at developing your most beneficial financial strategies. Over a year, you may have increased your credit card balances or taken on a car loan and find the increased payments difficult. A mortgage specialist can help you consolidate debt, and it may save you thousands.

Watch for your renewal date. When you get a letter indicating it is time for renewing your mortgage, call us for advice. You will have an opportunity to have us negotiate your best possible rate.

Work the math. We will work the numbers to guide you on getting more from your repayment process to build your home equity faster. Instead of paying your mortgage monthly, pay weekly or bi-weekly. A small change can save you thousands over time.

Are you looking for a bigger home? You may want to renovate or relocate. It is often less expensive to renovate than to relocate. Financing options are available to remodel a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom — whatever dream you may have in mind for your current home.

Consolidate wisely. When considering consolidating, good credit behaviours are essential. An excellent credit rating helps you qualify for the best mortgage rate. Don’t let your credit accounts exceed 30% of the credit available and pay your bills on time.

Significant goal planning prepares you. If you have substantial current needs such as funding education, a large purchase, investments, renovations, or paying down debt, your mortgage might be your most cost-effective financing option.

Source: Canada’s Economic Action Plan

Charitable Giving using Life Insurance

CharityGenerosity is for everyone. All it takes is a willing spirit and the courage to be used for something greater than ourselves.

Permanent life insurance is a cost-effective way to make a much more significant contribution to the charity of your choice than would otherwise have been possible. Gifting a new policy or an existing policy can help the charity of your choice. Determine what charity aligns with your life purpose and will bring you the most satisfaction.

There are two effective methods to achieve this. One is an outright gift of a life insurance policy, making the charity the policy owner. The second is gifting the death benefit proceeds while you retain ownership.

1. Making the charity the owner of a life insurance policy

This strategy also side-steps some potential problems if such a legacy is made via your estate.

  • You purchase a policy on your life, making the charity the owner and beneficiary.
  • Only the charity can change the beneficiary.
  • The charity as the established owner of the policy mitigates any dispute over ownership by other heirs once you die.
  • You make donations to the charity that then pays the premiums.
  • You can receive a tax break for the premiums you’ve paid via the charity.
  • The charity receives all of the death benefit proceeds when you die free of tax.
  • The benefit payout cannot be contested, taxed, or claimed by your creditors.
  • The capital death benefit guarantees payout to the charity, and in some cases, the death benefit may grow over time. The death benefit is paid tax-free to the charity of your choice.

The tax benefits while you are alive When the charity owns the policy, under Canadian tax legislation, you can receive a tax break for the premiums that you’ve paid during your lifetime, insofar as they are made after the charity owns the policy. In addition, you can receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of any cash value of the policy when you donate an existing policy. There are no further tax deductions in your estate (on your last tax return done by your executor after your death).

2. You own the life insurance policy

In this strategy, you own a life insurance policy on your life, while the charity receives the full proceeds of the policy upon your death.

  • You own the policy.
  • You have access to any cash value of the policy, if necessary.
  • The charity is the beneficiary though you can change it.
  • Other claimants, such as a creditor, may challenge the right to the proceeds.
  • Tax benefits to the estate (your final tax return) may apply for some of the policy proceeds after your death. Note: Discuss with your tax advisor.

As the policy owner, you can change beneficiaries and have full access to any accrued cash value over your lifetime. The proceeds from the death benefit are not subject to probate nor estate administration fees, nor will the gift be on the public record.

When a charity is the designated beneficiary of a life insurance policy on your life, the charity receives the proceeds of the death benefit upon your death. Your tax advisor can advise you if the tax-free benefit paid to the charity, as the beneficiary, generates any disposition to your estate (as it would on an owned asset such as a gifted cottage that has accrued value over time).

The tax benefits to your estate after your death The charity will issue a charitable receipt for the entire amount paid to them in the year of your death. The entire capital created at your death, referred to as the death benefit, will account for a charitable donation on your final tax return prepared by your executor.

Note: Your tax advisor can assess any tax due in the estate for cash values accrued according to changing tax law.

Gift-of-insurance-policy

Life insurance can be part of an ongoing charitable gift plan or offer your estate a significant tax break when the death benefit pays out to the charity.

David Toycen sums up the importance of our gifts to charity: If I am generous to someone, that person will likely be generous to someone else. There is an argument to be made that the universe was created to operate this way.

Ask your life insurance or tax advisor to guide you in strategically setting up a charitable life insurance policy to enable the best possible tax savings.

1, 2 The Power of Generosity, Dave Toycen. Pres. World Vision, Canada, (Harper Collins Publishers, 2004)