Here you will find a selection of frequently asked questions relating to financial planners and planning. If your question isn’t listed below, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Does professional financial planning really make a difference? Research shows that Canadians with financial plans feel they are saving more, living well, and experiencing higher levels of overall contentment in their lives. The Value of Financial Planning, a three-year longitudinal study which included close to 15,000 Canadians, was commissioned by FPSC® and the Financial Planning Foundation.

The study revealed that, regardless of net worth, Canadians who engage in comprehensive financial planning report significantly higher levels of financial and emotional well-being than those who do no planning or only limited planning. Those with comprehensive plans felt more on track with their financial goals and retirement plans, felt they had improved their ability to save in the past five years, felt more confident that they could deal with financial challenges in life and felt better able to indulge in their discretionary spending goals.

What are the signs of a successful advisor relationship?  Here’s how people who are highly satisfied describe their advisor:

My advisor,

  • Is someone I can trust
  • Makes me feel like a valued customer
  • Has a personal rapport with me
  • Helps me meet my financial and lifestyle goals
  • Has a breadth of knowledge about financial topics and helps me increase my knowledge
  • Makes me feel confident as an investor
  • Makes investing convenient
  • Conducts ongoing reviews and points out new opportunities

If this list does not describe your advisor at all, you should seriously question whether your advisor is right for you. If this list describes your advisor only partially, be sure to discuss possible areas for improvement with your advisor. If this sounds like your advisor, then you have a positive advisor relationship.

What do the letters “CFP” mean? The letters “CFP” stand for Certified Financial PlannerTM. The CFPTM registered certification marks identify individuals who are dedicated to a high level of professionalism in providing financial planning advice. The CFP credentials assure you that the individual using them has agreed to adhere to the highest internationally recognized standards of competence and ethical practice as set out by Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC).

Should I set financial goals?  Yes! Writing down your goals helps to make them happen. It is one of the first steps in creating a comprehensive plan for you to achieve your goals.

One example of a short term goal is as follows:

My Goal My Priority Level (Low-Medium-High) Specific Terms
To save for a vacation Medium I want to take a holiday next March.I want to save $150.00 a month to help pay for it.

Why do I need to plan?  A plan allows you to know where your money is going. It is your roadmap to achieving your goals.

What exactly is life insurance?  Adequate life insurance is a valuable financial tool and an asset that can make all the difference to your loved ones in the event of your death by enabling them to enjoy the lifestyle you planned for them. Simply put, life insurance is the backbone of your financial plan and everything else is built around it. If someone in your life will suffer financially when you pass away, you probably need life insurance. Adequate life insurance enables your family to grieve without the added burden of financial hardship. Life insurance can help:

  • Provide money to pay for burial or other final expenses.
  • Ensure your loved ones are able to sustain their current lifestyle and stay in their home
  • Cover your debts, including your mortgage
  • Provide an income for your family
  • Cover the cost of childcare
  • Provide a nest egg for your family or a favorite charity
  • Cover the cost of postsecondary education for your children

Most life insurance products fall into two categories – term and permanent.

What does “term life insurance” mean?  Term life insurance provides coverage at a comparatively modest initial cost and is useful if you only need coverage for a short term. You pay a fixed premium for a policy that covers you for a specific period of time, usually ten to 15 years, and pays out a set amount if you die within this time period. This product can cover a major debt like a mortgage or provide an income to help take care of your children till they are old enough to leave home or complete their postsecondary education. However, term insurance premiums typically increase over time. Also, term insurance only pays a benefit if you pass away during a specified time; after that, the insurance expires and there’s no guarantee that you will qualify for a new policy. If you do qualify, the premium will probably be higher because of your older age.

What does “permanent life insurance” mean?  Permanent life insurance has no fixed term and is designed to cover you for the rest of your life. Some permanent products have flexible premiums, investment components, cash surrender values or the possibility to borrow against the cash value of the policy. There are two kinds of permanent life insurance – whole life and universal life:

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance can help you build cash value that you can borrow against if you need to. The premium for whole life typically remains the same forever. And whole life insurance is just that: insurance for your whole life as long as the premiums are paid. Another plus to whole life insurance is that it might be a “participating policy”. Participating policies may be eligible for dividends, if the insurer’s expenses are lower or its earnings are higher than it assumed when it set the premiums. These dividends can be taken in cash or applied to reduce your premium or taken in additional insurance or increased cash values. Dividends are not guaranteed

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance provides you with greater flexibility, and the potential for savings. Each universal life policy has two parts: life insurance and an investment account. If you pay premiums that are higher than your cost of insurance and associated fees, then the rest of the money goes into the investment account. You can accumulate money in this account, typically on a tax-deferred basis. Most universal life policies have a number of funds to choose from in the investment account. They may include funds that pay interest and funds that vary in value based on stocks. Earnings on the investment account may or may not be guaranteed, depending on what type of investment you choose.

The amount of life insurance you need depends on your personal situation but you may need as much as seven times your current salary to cover all of your financial obligations including paying current debts, maintaining your family’s lifestyle and preparing for future expenses. Our online life insurance needs calculator can provide a basic estimate of how much life insurance you may need using information about your current and projected expenses and assets. Of course, there is more to choosing life insurance than simple calculations; a qualified life insurance representative can review your situation in more detail and make appropriate recommendations.

Why do I need life insurance?  Simply put, life insurance is basic financial protection for your family. The role of life insurance is to provide a lump sum of money (the “death benefit”) in the event of your death. This money can be used to cover debts, provide income for your family in the unfortunate event of your death, or provide money to pay for burial expenses.

When should I purchase life insurance?  For lower rates, the earlier, the better. Be aware that as you get older the same coverage costs more – regardless of what type of insurance you prefer. The reason? As people age, they tend to have more health problems and are more likely to pass away. This affects the cost of supplying the insurance. So, it’s generally a better value to start early.

What is the difference between segregated funds and mutual funds?  Mutual funds and segregated are very similar products, except mutual funds are offered by investment management firms (or wealth management companies) and segregated (or seg) funds are offered by life insurance companies. Since seg funds are technically an insurance contract they are able to offer some protection of your capital through additional guarantees and benefits. However, seg funds have unique features that make them different from mutual funds:

  1. Lifetime income benefit option – With the lifetime income benefit option, your income won’t decrease regardless of how the segregated funds perform unless excess withdrawals are taken.
  2. Maturity guarantees – Segregated fund policies provide guarantees of either 75% or 100% of the premiums paid (less a proportional amount of redemptions), depending on the product selected.
  3. Death benefit guarantees – Segregated fund policies provide a principal guarantee in the event of death, usually either 75% or 100% of the premiums paid depending on the product selected.
  4. Potential protection from creditors – Laws may protect a segregated fund policy in the event of bankruptcy or other action by creditors.
  5. Speedy estate settlement – Segregated fund policies can help speed up estate settlement with protection for you and your family. If you name a beneficiary, the death benefit isn’t subject to the delays and expenses of the probate process.
  6. Named beneficiary – These designations can be your estate, your children or other individuals, or associations such as charities.

What is an RDSP?  The RDSP is a tax-deferred savings vehicle introduced by the Government of Canada to help parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person with a severe disability. A Canadian resident under the age of 60 who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) is eligible for an RDSP. The DTC is available to individuals who have mental or physical impairments that markedly restrict their ability to perform one or more of the basic activities of living (i.e. speaking, hearing or walking). The impairment must be expected to last a period of one or more years, and a physician must certify the extent of the disability.

How do you quality for an RDSP?  To qualify for an RDSP you must:

  • Be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit
  • Be a resident of Canada
  • Be less than 60 years of age
  • Have a valid SIN