Warning Signs – Time to see the big picture…

I just finished reading the front page article of the Surrey Leader about people who are outraged that seniors are being vacated from their long term care beds at the Newton Regency Care Home.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/53731892.html

I understand the political argument by Carold James, and I too believe that it would be great if the government could provide the kind of care that the public would like to see… 

The harsh reality however is that our government cannot afford to operate the services that the public would like to see them provide.

Health care costs are expected to rise significantly in the next 10-15 years, and the situation will not be getting any easier.  As individuals we must start taking our health insurance, retirement planning and financial security into our own hands.  The days of the lifetime retirement pension are quickly fading into the past.  I am not trying to be all doom and gloom, but taking corrective action is easier to do when you have time to do so.  Don’t wait until the ship is about to hit the iceberg before you start trying to steer around it.

The warning signs are everywhere… So take action now.  Talk to your financial planner about what you can do to avoid being stuck in this situation yourself.

  • Start Saving Now – Even a small amount of money set aside each month now will have a large impact on your future
  • Protect your family – There are numerous ways to ensure that your family will be taken care of in the event that something tragic were to happen.
  • Protect yourself – Talk to your planner about Long Term Care and Critical Illness Coverage.  Don’t let a heart attack put financial strain on your family
  • Spend less than you Make – I know people whose sole income earned is by collecting interest on loans that people have taken out.  Stop living on credit.

Your planner can help you with all of the above situations.  If you want any advice on what to do, feel free to contact me. 

We are fortunate to live in the most beautiful place in the world, and are SO lucky to have the resources that we do have, but that doesn’t mean that we should rely on the government to take care of us.  Become accountable for your own future and sucecss.

As always I welcome any comments and feedback.

As a sole proprietor, you are indispensable

When you own and run your own business, you’re responsible for all aspects of the business. What would happen if you became seriously ill or died? Your business would lose its key person and your income source may disappear. There may not be enough income to manage all the business liabilities if you died. Creditors would press for immediate payment, and accounts receivable might become uncollectible.

If you die or become ill, your family would face three alternatives:

  1. They could continue the business, requiring family members to have the ability and experience to run your business, sufficient cash after debts are paid and the ability to retain your customers.
  2. They could liquidate the business. A forced sale attracts bargain-hunters and with “goodwill” gone, the value of the business may be drastically reduced – by as much as 40 to 90 per cent.
  3. They could sell as a going concern. However, finding a qualified buyer may be difficult; the cash for purchase may not be readily available and the agreement on a fair price may be difficult to reach.

Alternatively, you could protect your business and family if you chose business life, disability and critical illness insurance. These products could help you and your family carry out your plans for the business if you were to become critically ill or die – for example, life insurance can provide funds to buy the business under a purchase agreement, and disability insurance can provide income if you become disabled. Critical illness insurance can help you pay off debts, stabilize your credit position, offer cash values or loan options or establish a fund for personal income at retirement, independent of the business.

I can offer you an array of life, disability and critical illness insurance products to suit your needs. Please call me and I can help you develop a solution that best fits your family and business needs.

Heart Disease – How is it different in women?

The following excerpt is from Sherry Torkos’ book Live Well: A Woman’s Guide to Optimum Health, published by John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., Copyright 2007.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to diseases of the blood vessels and heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Canadian women. However, there are many ways to keep your heart healthy and to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Years ago it was thought that heart disease was the same for women and men. Today we know that there are unique factors in women:

  • Symptoms of a heart attack can be different for women. They may include fatigue, nausea, or pain in the shoulder, neck, or stomach, rather than the typical chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Heart disease more often affects women later in life than men. Nonetheless, younger women who have heart disease often do less well than men because it can be unrecognized by both the woman and her doctor.
  • Women often delay going to the doctor, or fail to seek treatment altogether.
  • Women are often treated less aggressively than men, and women’s symptoms may be dismissed as related to anxiety or emotions.
  • Women are more likely than men to die after a first heart attack.
  • Standard testing (angiogram) may not pick up heart disease in women due to differences in the formation of plaque. In women, plaque may form more smoothly against the artery walls, whereas in men it clumps up and is more apparent with testing. In addition, in some women the plaque buildup may be in the small vessels of the coronary arteries, which cannot be seen by the angiogram.
  • Women have been under-represented in the studies used to set the standards for detection and treatment of heart disease.
  • Women are more affected by stress, which is one of the common risk factors for heart disease. Stress causes the arteries to go into spasm and can trigger a heart attack. Women today have increased responsibilities— managing careers and taking care of the family and the home—and often put the needs of others ahead of their needs.

Taking It to Heart
While heart disease is the greatest health threat that women face, there is much that we can do to prevent it. The majority of the risk factors are under our control, so we can take the necessary steps—eating healthily, exercising regularly, not smoking, and reducing stress—to cut our risk of heart disease and improve our health.

Good health includes good financial health
Along with making healthy lifestyle choices, a financial plan is also important for your future. Part of that financial plan can include being prepared in case of a critical illness This part of your plan can help you recover financially and move past an illness. Critical illness insurance is one way to help you recover without financial pressures and without tapping into savings.

More information about women’s health issues is available in Sherry Torkos’ book Live Well: A Woman’s Guide to Optimum Health, available free of charge from www.toLiveWell.caLink to an external website. On the website you can also learn more about the importance of good financial health and creating a financial recovery plan should you become critically ill.

Sherry Torkos, Bsc Pharm (www.sherrytorkos.comLink to an external website) is a pharmacist, author, and certified fitness instructor. The website www.toLiveWell.caLink to an external website and Sherry Torkos’ Live Well Tips are brought to you by Sun Life Financial.

For further information contact me: Derek Strokon 604 649-1185

A Reflection – Why sell life insurance?

What a busy and interesting week it’s been so far… After being in the business of “protecting families”, giving people money when the need it the most” and my fav “paying the bills for problems you think you’ll never have” for a number of years, there are always those weeks in your business that make you sit back and think about why it is that you work 7am to 11pm on some days, and why it feels so good to do so…

This week I have had the opportunity…

To help 2 couples ensure that their spouses (and in one case child on the way) won’t face a financial burden in the event that something tragic happens to either one of them… Putting protection in place for families means that in the event that a family loses their income due to illness or death, that I will be able to step in and help clients make sure that they won’t lose their home because the one remaining income won’t support the mortgage payments along with all the other bills that don’t stop… I will be able to ensure that the baby who is on the way will have the funds to get an education and have a better life even though one of their parents died prematurely leaving the family to survive off of one income.

To work with a newlywed couple who are focused on getting out of debt in order to save up for their first home so that they can take advantage of the benefits of owning their own home, and to put protection in place so that if something did happen, their situation doesn’t get worse.

To work with a client who I have been trying to insure for 2 years, who loves his 2 children dearly and wants to make sure that they are protected and are well set up… After 2 years we are finally going to be able to get a program in place.

The rest of the week so far…

Will be spent helping other couples get out of their “bank issued” mortgage coverage, which will help them save 30-40% off of what they are currently paying…

Working with a couple who is retiring to make sure that we protect their medical and dental benefits and so that their winters spent in warmer climates won’t bankrupt their retirement in the event that there is a medical emergency.

I would have never thought…

that when I started into this business that I would develop such a passion for helping others with their planning.  I initially never thought of the impact that I can have in the financial security of others.

When I started in this business I never thought of why life insurance is important, why I should have critical illness coverage and Long Term Care coverage, and what the long term impact is of doing  a little planning now to protect yourself in the future…

If you’ve never thought insurance is important…

I would love to sit down with you over a coffee or tea and have a discussion about some of the things that I may be able to do to help you and your loved ones.

My time is free, and my advice costs you nothing other than your time… If there is a solution we can put in place to help you achieve your goals, and protect your investments and future income, I would love to have the opportunity to work with you.

I know this post is a little soft and emotion driven, but I am simply having a week that is reminding me of how important it is to do some planning to protect yourself and those you love.

Fell free to contact me at 604 649-1185.

Have a great rest of the week,

Derek

If you never got in a car accident would your Insurance Company give you all your money back???

Think of how much you pay every month to ICBC (or your respective car insurance company)…  It’s A LOT, but you’d never drive your car without it.

Every month, we grit our teeth and pay our insurance premiums to make sure that in the event we get in an accident, we don’t have to pay out of our pockets for repairs or replacing income because we can’t work.

WHAT IF…  at 65 your insurance company gave you all your money back???  I’d sign up for that plan in an instant and I’m sure you would too…

So Where Am I Going with all of this?

Take  a minute to think of how many people you know who have either had cancer (1 in 3 Canadians will) , had a stroke (1 in 9) or  heart attack (1 in 4).

Now think of  the financial impact that one of these illnesses would have on a family.  What if you couldn’t work for 6 months because you were going through treatment for Cancer? How would you pay your bills? Who could afford to take time off to drive you to Chemo every week? Who would mow your lawn? (You get the idea…)

I have a plan that I can put together for you that will help you pay your bills if you get sick.  This plan pays you a lump sum payment that you put in you bank account so that you have money for income replacement, and any additional treatment you want to have so that you can get better and get back to work.

Ready for the part that seems too good to be true?

You may be sitting there reading this and going… “Well I’m healthy and won’t get sick” (That’s what we all hope for, but we know it’s not realistic).

That being said…  If you beat the odds and never have to claim on your illness policy, THE COMPANY WILL GIVE YOU 100% OF YOUR MONEY BACK…

This is a scenario where you cant lose if you sit down and talk to me (or your current advisor) about, but YOU CAN LOSE HUGE if you don’t.

Nobody wants to get sick, and I hope no one ever does, but I know that some of my clients are going to claim on their insurance.  On the day that that happens, I’m going to know that I had a huge impact on helping them get through the financial strain of their illness.  And for the clients that don’t get sick… they get all their money back!

If you’re still reading…  Give me a call and lets meet to talk about this over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

I’m not writing this today because I need a sale to pay my mortgage, I’m writing this because if you get sick, I want to make sure that you are able to afford to pay yours…

Regards,

Derek   

604 649-1185

When is the last time you took 6 months off of work? If you became critically ill, you may be forced to…

38% of women and 44% of men will develop cancer during their lifetimes (1).
There are approximately 70,000 heart attacks each year (2) and every 10 minutes, a Canadian has a stroke (3).

If you become ill however, you will likely survive… Cancer mortality rates are declining (4), in recent years, the rate of survival among patients hospitalized for a heart attack has increased to 92% (2), and 80% of Canadians hospitalized for stroke each year leave the hospital alive (5).

Saladmaster (Call Doug Isaac at 604 574-5553) cookware, combined with leading a healthy lifestyle are some of the best defenses against the risk of a critical illness, however in the event that illness does strike, let me help make sure you will not jeopardize your retirement savings and ensure you will be able to afford adequate treatment.

If you don’t get sick, Sun Life Financial will return every penny you put into your plan!

I would love to show you how.

Sources: (1) Canadian Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.ca, 2006; (2) Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2001; (3) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Annual Report 2004; (4) Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2006; (5) Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2002.

I’m Self Employed and have no group benefits… What Can I do?

Ahhh… The Dilemma…

Do I stay in my job that I don’t like because it has great medical/dental benefits, or do I venture out, do what I’ve always dreamed of, start my own business and forever pay for my root canals and prescriptions out of my own pocket???

Go do what you have always dreamed of because my friend… you can have it all!  Most self employed individuals forgo the luxury of group benefits because of the advantages of being self-employed.  They pay cash (after tax personal dollars) when they go to their dentist, not knowing that there is a better way…

Enter the PHSP! – The Private Health Services Plan is designed to allow self employed individuals the luxury of paying for their medical bills with corporate dollars, and then using the medical expense as a write off against income.  In comparison to a traditional plan where you would be paying monthly, with a PHSP there is no monthly cost. 

Set up is under $400.00 (one time only), and you simply pay a 10% premium on top of your expenses as an administration fee.  What this means in english is that..

  • You end up paying for your medical bills with corporate (or business dollars).  If you are incorporated, your marginal tax rate is lower, which means it COSTS YOU LESS.
  • You now have medical expenses that you can write off against your income, which helps us fight the tax man.
  • You aren’t paying for a monthly plan, only for when you have expenses. This minimizes your cost if you are using it for yourself, and minimizes abuse by employees who would otherwise max out their benefits (which makes your renewals more expensive).

Call your financial advisor, tax accountant or call me at 604 649-1185 if you would like more information.

To pay as much as everyone else…keep doing what you’re doing.  If you want to take advantage of a CRA supported program, let’s talk.

Enjoy your Friday!

Derek