Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Income For Life – What is Guaranteed Income on Retirement?

Are you looking forward to retiring and finally putting all of those exciting retirement plans into action, but are concerned about your ability to maintain your lifestyle without using up all of your savings?  Afraid that all of that money you have saved up will not last? Guaranteed income on retirement will relieve these concerns – but what is it and how can you get it?

What is it? Essentially it is income for life. Guaranteed income on retirement is a regular income payout you start to receive after you retire. This allows you to meet your financial needs after retirement, without worrying about where your monthly income will be coming from.

How can you get it? An annuity is often the most efficient option when looking at setting yourself up with a guaranteed income on requirement. An annuity gives you a guaranteed income for a pre-set period of time or for life. In exchange for a single lump sum investment, you make regular income payments that contain both interest and a return of principal.

There are several different types of annuities to choose from in order to set yourself up for guaranteed income on retirement. Term annuities can provide you with guaranteed, regular income for a pre-set period of time. Once the time period is over, the payments stop.

Prescribed annuities are another option for guaranteed income on retirement. These offer privileged tax treatment if you are investing using non-registered funds. Each payment you make includes the same amount of interest and capital, thus evening out the amount that is subject to tax, and providing you with some tax deferral.

A third option for guaranteed income on retirement is a life annuity. A life annuity pays a regular, guaranteed amount of money of a monthly basis, for the rest of your life. They can be purchased as a single life, based on a single person, or as a joint and survivor.

A life annuity is often the best option for guaranteed income on retirement, or income for life. This is because it deals with 2 major retirement risks: the chance that the stock market may crash before you are set to retire, and that your savings will run out.  Statistics Canada has reported that the average man who has reached age 65 could expect to live an additional 18.1 years and a 65-year-old woman could expect to live an additional 21.3 years. These are significant periods of time, but because your income is set, you can always count on the monthly income that comes for the rest of your life.

Guaranteed income on retirement gives you the peace of mind to enjoy retirement without the financial stress that can accompany it. As with any retirement planning, it is better to start early. Instead of waiting until you are getting ready to retire, take the time now to look into your options, specifically those that will provide you with an income for life.

To discuss your options and find out what best meets your needs for retirement and how to ensure that you have income for life, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group by calling 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Critical Illness Insurance - Is it worth it?

In recent years, medical advances have led to increased life expectancy and the ability to recover from various illnesses, but they have not led to the disappearance of critical illnesses such as heart attack or cancer. 

Critical illness insurance – is it worth it? The chance of getting diagnosed with cancer or having a heart attack is heightened for people over the age of 40. Medical insurance helps reduce costs, but most health insurance plans don’t cover all of the expenses related to treatment. To help deal with this, critical illness insurance provides the funds necessary to pay for whatever you need.

A critical illness can happen to anyone: there are an estimated 70,000 heart attacks in Canada each year, between 40,000 and 50,000 strokes in Canada annually, and an estimated 3,075 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every week. Despite these staggering numbers, there are options. Critical illness insurance – is it worth it? Yes, because it gives you the peace of mind that can be found when you know that you and your family are protected in the case of a critical illness.

Critical illness insurance – is it worth it? First of all, what is critical illness insurance? Critical illness insurance offers you the financial help you need to pay the costs associated with a life-altering illness, such as a heart attack, a stroke, or cancer. If you become sick with an illness covered by your policy and survive the waiting period, you receive a lump sum cash payment – and you decide how to spend the money. Rather than monthly payments, the lump sum payments allow you to make crucial decisions that help with your financial future. 

Critical illness insurance can be incredibly flexible, as there are no constraints set on how you spend the money, which is typically given after only 30 days. You are not required to submit receipts, or even spend the money on medical expenses. It is completely up to you. You can use the lump sum to pay for alternative treatments, specialist visits, or in-home medical care. The ability to choose how to spend the money also makes it incredibly important in the event that your illness prevents you from earning your regular income.

In the case of your death while the policy is in force, a refund of 100% of the premiums that you paid into your critical illness insurance policy is given to your beneficiary.

Critical illness insurance – is it worth it? Well, what is covered? Your critical illness insurance policy can be customized, but the typical illnesses covered by most policies may include: heart attack, loss of limbs, major organ transplants, severe burns, stroke, multiple sclerosis, coma, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, deafness, blindness, loss of speech, kidney failure, heart bypass surgery, or Alzheimer’s disease.

So, critical illness insurance – is it worth it? If you find yourself diagnosed with any of these illnesses, critical illness insurance gives you the ability to focus on your recovery by eliminating the financial stress that often accompanies many of these illnesses. Your critical illness insurance also allows you to pay for those medical costs incurred that may not be covered by the government or by your employment health benefits. Yes, it is definitely worth it!

For more information on how critical illness insurance can benefit you in the future, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group by calling 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Long Term Disability Insurance – Is My Employer’s Coverage Enough?

Most people are aware of the importance of obtaining life insurance to provide for loved ones in the event of a death, but what happens if you become disabled or suffer from an unexpected illness that prevents you from earning an income?  

Long-term disability insurance is an important provision you need to make for your future. It replaces a portion of your income if you become unable to work for a prolonged period of time due to an illness or injury. It is important to consider that long term disability insurance is going to have the greatest impact on your financial situation. If you are off work for 30 or 60 days, chances are you will be able to cope financially. However, if you are unable to work for a longer period of time, the financial impact can be devastating.                      

There are two basic definitions of disability in long term disability insurance contracts: ‘own/regular occupation’ and ‘any occupation.’ The own occupation definition refers to your ability to perform those duties essential to your own/regular occupation.

Under the any occupation definition of disability, you are considered disabled if you are considered medically unable to perform the essential duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified by training, education or experience. Often the ‘own/regular’ contract will cover a term of two to five years, and will convert to an ‘any occupation’ if you are determined to be disabled at the end of this period. It is important to discuss your options with your insurance broker to decide which long term disability insurance plan you feel best suits your needs.

Some employee benefit packages do contain coverage for disability, although this is often not long term disability insurance. These are typically set at a rate that provides a percentage of salary, for example 50% of your base salary until the employee turns 65. But is this enough? It may not be…

There are several benefits to obtaining additional or supplemental long-term disability insurance coverage. Depending on the policy provided by your employer, you may be covered until retirement or until you recover from your disability. However, this coverage usually does not begin from the time you are off – usually it does not start until short term disability payments, such as sick leave, stop. This means that if additional costs are incurred during this period, you are on the hook. Instead, long term disability insurance provides you with the necessary coverage to bridge the gap between the onset of your illness or disability and the beginning of your employer provided disability insurance coverage.

What if you are injured at home, or in a non-work related incident?  Worker's Compensation only covers work related accidents and unemployment insurance only covers 15 weeks. This can be detrimental if your illness or disability lasts longer than the allotted time or occurs off the job. Personal long term disability insurance takes care of these issues and provides coverage regardless of where the disability occurred, and for a much longer period of time.

With long term disability insurance, the monthly income replacement can often be the difference between being able to support and provide for those that matter to you, and not being able to. Don’t just protect your life, make sure you protect your income.

For more information on how to obtain long term disability insurance, please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group by calling 416-849-1653 or visit

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Life Insurance - Do Young People Really Need It?

When you’re young, often the last thing on your mind is life insurance. Life insurance protects your loved ones when you are gone, and when you’re in your twenties and thirties that can be hard to imagine. So why do young Canadians need life insurance? There are many reasons why it makes good sense for a young Canadian to obtain life insurance.

One of the primary reasons that it is a good idea to seek life insurance when you are young and in good health is that this is when life insurance is the most affordable. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your life insurance will be.

Life insurance can be negotiated on a term, hence the term “term life insurance,” for ten or twenty years. This means that during your life insurance term your premium and coverage is guaranteed. Life insurance can also be negotiated for the duration of your life. These policies are called “whole life insurance policies,” which means that your premium and coverage is guaranteed for life. Whole life insurance policies can also be used as an investment and savings vehicle.

It is important when arranging a life insurance policy that you work with a life insurance broker who underwrites the policy at the time you obtain it. This will ensure that the life insurance company has validated the state of your health and that they won’t have any reason not to pay out the benefit to your loved ones should something happen to you.

Life insurance arranged through a life insurance broker will result in a contract for life insurance being provided to you once the insurance policy is bound. This means that your premiums and coverage are locked in. Sometimes things in life change and you may want to reduce, increase or cancel insurance coverage. While you can adjust your contract for insurance, your Life insurance provider cannot. As long as you pay your premiums, your insurance is guaranteed no matter how your health or lifestyle changes.

Even if you are in your twenties you are likely able to anticipate if your future includes children and a family, and once this occurs the financial security of your family will become an important concern. As we age, our health changes. Age alone causes life insurance premiums to increase. Changes to health and lifestyle can also cause life insurance premiums to increase, so it is your best bet to get your life insurance provider to commit to a long term life insurance contract with you when it is most affordable.

When you are young, the type of life insurance coverage that you choose will depend on your future financial goals. Do you plan to have a family? Do you plan to amass investments? Is there anyone who may rely on you financially (parents, siblings, etc…)? If you are unsure where your future will lead, term life insurance products tend to be the most basic and least expensive and would be the minimum insurance that you should look at in the absence of a long term vision for the future.

For more information about life insurance while young please contact Gary Mandel at Independent Financial Concepts Group by calling 416-849-1653 or visit