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Five Common Misconceptions When Purchasing Life Insurance

November 16, 2018

If the thought of purchasing life insurance overwhelms you, this article will provide you with tips to give you clarity on some of the fundamentals of life insurance planning. Since confusion can lead to missing key information, we will discuss how to avoid five common life insurance misconceptions.

#1      Group insurance is all I need

First, group life insurance from your employer is unfortunately almost never enough coverage to protect your family in the event of your death. In addition, group coverage will only last as long as you are employed, and job security is rarely certain. While most group coverages offer an option to convert group life insurance to personal insurance when you leave your place of employment, it’s rarely an ideal time to be adding new expenses to the family budget, and at older ages, purchasing new personal life insurance can be costly. A professional insurance advisor can show you how group and personal insurance can work together to ensure that your family’s standard of living and plans for the future are fully protected in all circumstances. For more information on what to expect when putting together a comprehensive insurance plan, watch this Smart Talk video.

#2      I have plenty of coverage

Next, not purchasing enough life insurance is an all-too common problem that many people face. Most people underestimate how much money is needed to provide their family with financial security in the event of their death. Although there are commonly used rules of thumb when it comes to determining how much coverage your family needs, such as multiplying your income by ten, these are often inaccurate. Take a look at our previous article, Life Insurance for Financial Protection, for a basic explanation of how much coverage your family may need.

#3     Term insurance is the least expensive coverage

Term insurance is popular among young people as the premiums are relatively low because as the name suggests, it protects you from the financial impact of death for a set period. This type of insurance is preferred for parents who would like to support their children financially for 5, 10, or 20 years in case they pass away while the children are still dependent. That being said, although term insurance comes with many benefits such as low premiums, these premiums escalate exponentially once the chosen term is over. Although term insurance still has its place in many people’s lives, if you are looking for long-term coverage, purchasing only term is not economically efficient. For more information on the best type of insurance for you, watch this Smart Talk video.

#4     I Have A Policy, I’m Done

Life insurance is arguably the most important purchase decision you will ever make. Once you buy it, it is crucial to review your policy and contract every three years to ensure that it still aligns with your current lifestyle and your needs. For example, if your beneficiary was a spouse that has died or that you’ve separated from, you must change your designated beneficiary, as you want your death benefit to go to the appropriate person. Additionally, your needs may change overtime which requires you to verify whether or not the policy you purchased still fits with your current and anticipated future needs. For this reason, we recommend having an adaptable life insurance policy that can adjust to you and your ever-changing lifestyle. Check out our EquiBuild page article to gain a better understanding of adaptable life insurance options.

#5    I Have Plenty of Time to Buy Life Insurance

Since there exists a strong relationship between your age, health, lifestyle and your insurance premium rates, waiting too long to purchase life insurance can be an expensive mistake. The younger and healthier you are, the lower your premiums will be for both term and permanent insurance. In this Smart Talk video, you’ll see some of the insurance needs you’re likely to have throughout your lifetime, highlighting the importance of building an affordable and flexible insurance plan early on that will last through all of your life’s adventures.

Interested in learning more?

Please contact me and set up an appointment to find the best solution to your Insurance Need.

Stress Less About Your Future with Life Insurance

October 2, 2018

What is life insurance?

Life insurance helps protect your loved ones financially if you pass away while your policy is in force. You can tailor your life insurance policy to help sustain your dependents’ current lifestyle, housing and education to name a few typical expenses, using a “death benefit” (a lump sum of money). How does this work? When you purchase life insurance from an insurance company, you designate one or more beneficiaries.

These beneficiaries (often family members) are the people who will receive a tax-free death benefit upon your death. That being said, in order for the death benefit to be payable, you must keep up with your premiums. These premiums will vary depending on how much life insurance you purchase, as well as your health, age and general lifestyle at the time the policy is issued. Some policies allow you to make additional deposits over time to build up a policy cash value, and some also include built-in cash values. You can use these cash values to cover policy costs, which provides flexibility to stop and go with your future out-of-pocket premium payments.

Do you need life insurance?

The short answer is, “it depends”. Life insurance may seem like a morbid topic, but it is just as important as (if not more than) home insurance, car insurance and travel insurance. Your mid 20s are a great time to start thinking about purchasing life insurance as the younger and healthier you are, the less expensive it will be. Life insurance may be right for your family if you:

  • Would like to make sure that your spouse is financially stable if you pass away
  • Have children, or you are pregnant with your first child
  • Want peace of mind knowing that your family will be financially protected if you die
  • Have personal debts that you do not wish to pass on to your beneficiaries
  • Have a mortgage to pay off
  • Own a small business and want to ensure a smooth transition

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to purchase life insurance.

What’s Next?

Now, what kind of life insurance should you buy? Well, that also depends. There are two basic types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term insurance is very popular among young and healthy people, and you can purchase it for a pre-agreed upon duration of time. This type of insurance is attractive as the premiums are usually relatively low because as the name suggests, term insurance protects you from the financial impact of death for a set period instead of your lifetime. Term insurance is beneficial for young people with children or a mortgage. This is because the term they agreed upon will be as long as it takes for the children to be financially independent, or for the mortgage to be paid off. That being said, if you choose to extend the coverage period of your term insurance beyond the initial term, the premiums will be significantly higher (up to 10 times higher in some cases).   Additionally, term insurance does not allow you to make additional deposits, nor does it include any built-in cash values.

On the other hand, permanent insurance covers you for your whole life. To reflect this, the premiums are higher at the outset but can be less costly over the span of your life. Permanent insurance is a great investment in the long run as your premiums rarely vary and any cash value being built-up grows on a tax-deferred basis. In addition, the cash value can be withdrawn (which may result in a tax liability) or be borrowed against throughout your lifetime. In many policies, all or a portion of any cash value is also payable at death, increasing the tax-free death benefit payable to the beneficiaries.

Layered Plans

If you’re still unsure about which type of insurance would be best for you, you’ll be happy to know that it is very common to purchase a combination. Purchasing both permanent and term life insurance is also called a layered plan. Many people do this as their financial situation and goals may change. Purchasing both is a way to ensure that coverage is tailored to their desired lifestyle over time. Additionally, a young family can require over $1 million in coverage to account for their children’s education, income replacement and other expenses, making permanent insurance nearly unaffordable for many. Layered plans allow you to buy a blend of permanent and temporary coverage within your initial budget. Further, they provide benefits and flexibility that allow you to shift your coverage from temporary to permanent as the policy values grow, as your needs change, and as your budget allows.

Need further help understanding the life insurance options available to you?

Please contact me to set up an appointment to investigate what the best solution is for you.

 

This blog is brought to you by PPI, a leading marketer of insurance solutions through independent advisors. We offer actuarial, tax and specialized expertise in all aspects of life insurance, and specifically in its design and custom application.
This article is for general information purposes only. The information contained in this article must not be taken or relied upon by the reader as legal, accounting, taxation, financial or actuarial advice. For these matters, readers should seek independent professional advice. Please refer to insurance company illustrations, policy contracts and information folders regarding any insurance matters referred to in this article.

Life Insurance for Financial Protection

September 25, 2018

How much Life Insurance do I need?

If you’ve decided that you need life insurance, how do you know how much is enough to protect your family financially in the case of premature death? The amount of life insurance you need can be a difficult question to answer, but this article will help you understand what to expect before speaking with your insurance advisor. The appropriate amount of coverage varies for each circumstance, and the various rules of thumb, such as multiplying your income by 10, are not an effective way of determining how much you really need.

It is crucial to have the correct amount of coverage, as the money your beneficiaries receive from your death benefit will help them pay any tax liabilities and other expenses that may arise upon your death as well as help them sustain their lifestyle after you have passed away. We will walk you through a “needs-based assessment”, which will ultimately help you gain a better understanding of how to protect your family with life insurance.

Needs-Based Assessment

A needs-based assessment considers cash and income needs that your beneficiary or beneficiaries will need to sustain their current lifestyle. Cash needs include funeral fees (last expenses), probate fees, tax liabilities, legal fees, outstanding loans, a mortgage redemption, an emergency fund and an education fund for any minor children. Income needs take into account the family’s current annual income and the percentage of this income that your family will need to maintain their current lifestyle. For example, you can decide that upon your death, with the cash needs met, your spouse will need 50% of your income while any children remain dependent, and 30% thereafter.

Within the above-mentioned cash needs, some may be categorized as permanent or temporary. Temporary cash needs are the costs that most people pay out during a set period such as a mortgage and their children’s education. On the other hand, permanent cash needs are costs including last expenses, probate fees, tax liabilities, legal fees, and an emergency fund that are required at any stage of life. It is worth considering purchasing some amount of permanent insurance that will last your whole life to cover these permanent needs.

Application of the Needs-Based Assessment

Now, there are various things to take into account when you’re determining the amount of insurance you may need to cover your family’s immediate and ongoing needs upon your death. In addition to determining these needs, it’s important to consider things such as:

– How much savings do you have put away?
– What insurance do you already have personally?
– Do you have insurance through a work plan?
– What benefits are available from the government?

For instance, Josh and Rachel have two young children. Josh is a stay at home dad and Rachel is a teacher with an income of $75,000 (nearly $60,000 after-tax). They have $50,000 of permanent cash needs including last expenses, outstanding loans, legal fees, and an emergency fund. Josh and Rachel have estimated that the cost of their children’s education will amount to $80,000. Additionally, they have a $500,000 mortgage and they are aiming to pay it over the next twenty years. These necessary costs amount to $630,000. These represent cash needs.

Now, Rachel has decided that she would like to support Josh and their children financially for as long as their children are dependent. She needs to cover 50% of her income to do this. Since the insurance death benefit is not taxed, and because she plans to insure the cash needs, she does not need to replace 100% of her income. Using the needs-based assessment approach, a professional insurance advisor will take into account a surviving spouse’s income needs and the sources discussed above. This will help determine how much insurance would be required to cover any shortfall in the event of the applicant’s death, which in Josh’s case would be $25,000/year. Moreover, taking into account inflation and a reasonable rate of return on the insurance proceeds, the advisor would determine that Rachel requires an additional $500,000 of coverage. With the help of a needs-based assessment and considering which life insurance and assets they already have, we have determined that Rachel will need a policy of approximately $1.13 million. It is important to note that if we had used the well-known rule of thumb of multiplying your income by 10 to determine your coverage, there would be a dramatic shortfall. In turn, in the event of Rachel’s premature death, their needs would not be met and Rachel’s family would struggle to be financially stable.

Now What?

Now that you understand the basics of needs-based assessments, you know that having the right amount of coverage is key in protecting your family financially. Without the right coverage, your family could have trouble paying for necessary costs such as legal fees and last expenses. If you would like to learn more about how much life insurance your family needs, speak with your insurance advisor today.

This article is for general information purposes only. The information contained in this article must not be taken or relied upon by the reader as legal, accounting, taxation, financial or actuarial advice. For these matters, readers should seek independent professional advice. Please refer to insurance company illustrations, policy contracts and information folders regarding any insurance matters referred to in this article.

TFSA vs RRSP vs both. What’s best for me? June 4, 2018

Updated June 5, 2018 By Chris Nicola of WealthBar

I recently read an in-depth analysis by David Chilton (AKA The Wealthy Barber) looking into a specific question: TFSA vs RRSP? I was inspired to do some in-depth analysis on my own.

One end result of doing all that research: I went ahead and created WealthBar’s ultimate TFSA vs RRSP calculator. (Did I mention I’m a software developer?) I wanted to make it easier for people to see how these different kinds of investment options could give you better results. Another result: I now know more than I ever wanted to about how RRSPs and TFSAs work. Here goes.

TFSA vs RRSP. Which one is the right option for you?

The short answer to the TFSA or RRSP question is that it depends. That said, saving for your retirement income using your RRSP will beat saving in a TFSA for the most part and for most people.

“Okay,” you say. “But what’s with the emphasis on for retirement?”

First, let’s review how RRSPs work. While we initially get a tax break on RRSP deposits, we will eventually have to pay income tax on our RRSP withdrawals.

A few other things are considered income during our retirement. That includes money we receive from the government like Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) payments and Old-Age Security (OAS). Add to that, any income we might receive on the side. Rental property. Money from selling curios on Etsy. Any of these things are considered income. So our taxable retirement income looks something like:

RRSP + CPP + OAS + Etsy + other = Taxable Retirement Income

Now on the other hand, when we withdraw amounts from ordinary (non-registered) savings and TFSA savings, these amounts are not considered income. That’s because we did not receive a deduction for the amount we contributed. In addition, in the case of ordinary savings, we also paid any taxes owed on growth (the money our money makes when it’s invested well). The TFSA has an advantage over the ordinary savings account as the growth is tax-free.

Why the RRSP is still better in the end (even if you have to pay tax on it in the end)

When you save money in your RRSP, your tax savings (or tax refund) is calculated at the marginal tax rate. This is the highest tax rate you pay, but when you withdraw you can consider your income tax in retirement as an average rate.

Also, in the period when you are building up your savings, you are likely to have a higher income (in today’s dollars) than when you retire. Typically, your retirement income needs are less than 80 percent of pre-retirement income.

Before retirement, you must set aside some income to save for retirement. After you retire, you don’t. Also, your mortgage may be paid off.
Keeping all that in mind, the RRSP will win. That’s as long as your marginal tax rate when you’re saving is higher than your average tax rate when you withdraw the funds. As I said earlier, the RRSP lets you defer paying tax until retirement.

Maximize RRSP savings to win

Chances are that maximizing your RRSP savings first is still the way to go. (If you’re already doing that, then by all means put any additional savings in your TFSA.) Of course being just a ‘simple’ financial matter, there’s no way it could be that simple. We should also consider other things that impact our income in retirement.

For instance, there’s the old-age security (OAS) clawback which starts to kick-in you when your after-tax income exceeds ~$70k. That works out to about $90k of before-tax retirement income. Furthermore, couples can “income split”. So that’s equivalent to $180k total household retirement income before the clawback kicks in.

$180k of retirement income might be equivalent to over $225k in pre-retirement income. That’s true if we’re operating on the assumption of 80% of pre-retirement income in retirement.

That’s not too shabby. In fact, it’s in the top 5% of Canadians by income. But, let’s consider some other ways only saving using our RRSP might affect us.

Let’s say you’re at retirement age (or near it) and you’ve been diligent about saving for your whole life. You also have this one dream: your very own 24′ sailboat and cruising the world in it. This is a pretty big purchase. If you dip into your RRSP, it’s quite likely to put you waaaay over your normal income and tax rates for that year.

This is the perfect scenario for your TFSA. Saved for your boat using your TFSA? Then you can dip into your TFSA savings without increasing your income at all.

Compare the TFSA and RRSP using the marginal tax rate on the additional money you would have needed to withdraw from your RRSP to pay for the boat.

Now I feel we can answer the original question more accurately. Here it is again:

“When should I use my TFSA instead of my RRSP?”

When you are planning on saving for large purchases (either long or short term).

If your current income (and thus tax rate) is well below your expected future income.

You are planning to really “live it up” and significantly increase your lifestyle in your retirement.

Having some money in your TFSA can help you avoid taxes on large expenses during retirement. It can even help you avoid OAS clawback if you’re income level is high enough. Otherwise, use the RRSP. That is still the best primary account for basic retirement income savings.

Still not sure whether the TFSA or RRSP is right for you? Talk to your financial advisor to get the answers you need about investing for your future.

Reposted with permission from WealthBar.

Cognitive Decline and Vitamins: As Simple as C and E

Posted on May 9, 2018

Underwriting for older lives remains a challenge and cognitive decline is the hardship most often seen among our aging population and client base. Asking the right questions and looking at emerging data continue to be underwriting cornerstones.

Researchers continue to study whether alternative therapies may help stave off the earliest manifestations of dementia that often present as mild cognitive impairment (MCI).1, 2 Over-the-counter vitamin supplements remain a source of interest in this area as there is a relatively poor effect of drugs used in Alzheimer’s Disease in treating MCI.

One group of Quebec-based researchers looked into the potential benefits of vitamins C and E. Observing 5,269 subjects at regular intervals to evaluate for the onset of dementia, the results are noteworthy. Compared to the group not taking the vitamins, the odds of developing all-cause dementia was reduced by 38%. While this is interesting and encouraging, it raises questions such as whether this group of vitamin-takers may already be inclined to salubrious activities, perhaps skewing the findings somewhat. Herbs and supplements, including ginkgo biloba and even transdermal nicotine (the patch) are also being studied as possible treatments for MCI.

To help ensure your clients get the best underwriting results, learn more about mild cognitive impairment so that you can ask the right questions. Take PPI’s MCI education module on Know the Risk and view the rating guide to see how underwriters may asses the risk.

1. Luta Luse Basambombo, MSc, et al, “Use of Vitamin E and C Supplements for the Prevention of Cognitive Decline,” Annals of Pharmacotherapy 51, issue 2 (2016): 118-124. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1060028016673072.
2. Eric M. McDade, DO et al, “Mild Cognitive Impairment: Prognosis and treatment.” UpToDate, https://www.uptodate.com/contents/mild-cognitive-impairment-prognosis-and-treatment.

Binges, Blackouts, and the Risky Drinker

Posted on April 18, 2018

Alcohol use varies greatly among insurance applicants as does the impact on health and mortality. In North America, almost 100,000 deaths annually are attributed to alcohol and the cost is in excess of $250 billion*.

How much is too much is a perennial question and current thinking pegs healthy drinking at less than 14 drinks per week and less than 4 drinks in a single day. For women and adults 65 and older, 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 a day are recommended.

Consuming 5 drinks or more in a 2-3 hour stretch is considered binge drinking, increasing the risk for traumatic death as well as the long-term risk. Survival is also impacted if there is any history of blackouts related to alcohol use, particularly if there are at least two episodes in the file.

The bottom line – there is an established guideline for what constitutes a healthy use of alcohol. Underwriters start to pay attention when alcohol is consumed in excess of those guidelines and a history of bingeing or blackouts gets an extra, and deserved, amount of underwriting scrutiny.

*Source: Risky drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder. Jeanette M. Tetrault, MD, FACP & Patrick G. O’Connor, MD, MPH, Sept. 2017.

How Insurance Provides Security – and Opportunity – for your Business

Your life, your family and your business deserve protection and if you’re a business owner, insurance can provide that security in a number of ways that may surprise you. It can also provide opportunity to help build assets – and your business – in a tax-effective way for your retirement or estate plan.

The Purchase of Share

If you have one or more shareholders in your business, consider insurance when it comes to your Shareholders’ Agreement. In the event of the death or disability of a shareholder, having insurance on their life means immediate funding will be available to purchase the shares of the deceased shareholder and allow for a smooth transition that allows the business to continue to thrive.

This method is a more cost-effective and convenient way to fund a buy/sell than borrowing money, liquidating assets, creating cash reserves, or using after-tax corporate profits. Without the funding, the deceased’s spouse or child could end up becoming a shareholder – an outcome which may not be desirable for all parties involved.

A note about taxes: the life insurance benefit is received tax free by the corporation on the death of the shareholder and generates a credit to the Capital Dividend Account (CDA). The CDA can in turn be paid tax free to the estate of the shareholder. The CDA is a valuable tool that can be used in post-mortem planning to remove potential double tax on the death of the shareholder.

Collateral for a Business Loan
If you have a need for a loan to grow your business, your life insurance policy can help put you in the right position. Lenders (banks and other financial institutions that lend money to small businesses) often ask a borrower to provide life insurance on the lives of the key shareholders or employees as a condition of lending. This means that your insurance policy will not only protect you, your family members, your corporation, and key persons to the business – it can also help enhance cash flow to your business.

Here are a few other options to think about:

Key Person Insurance
– common with small to medium businesses; this protects your business if you have one or more key people (e.g., you, another shareholder, a hired executive) whose death, disability or critical illness would harm the financial health of the business
Charitable Giving – corporate-owned insurance can be used as a tool to donate to charity: assign the policy ownership to the charity, use the policy to fund an estate gift, or use it to fund corporate gifting
Estate Protection – insurance can be used to pay taxes due upon death thereby protecting the value of your estate which provides a tax-efficient way to enhance or create your estate
Estate Equalization – it is common with family businesses that not all of the children want to, or are suited to, work in the business and the parents want all children to be dealt with fairly; life insurance can provide liquidity to achieve this fairness

Learn more about how insurance can both provide protection, and help you build assets for your retirement or estate plan. Contact your advisor today.

Genes, Testing, and the Angelina Jolie Effect

Posted on March 14, 2018

In May 2017, the Canadian parliament passed the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GNA) – formerly known as Bill S-201 – that precludes, under certain conditions, the insurance industry’s ability to use genetic tests for underwriting. The GNA, an Act to prohibit and prevent discrimination, states that genetic test information can no longer be requested or used in rendering underwriting decisions.

In 2013, actress and activist Angelina Jolie announced that she is a carrier of the inherited BRCA breast and ovarian cancer gene mutation. As a preventative measure, she underwent a prophylactic mastectomy and preventative hysterectomy to reduce the risk of developing these cancers. Following her announcement, a study in The British Medical Journal* revealed a large spike in the number of BRCA testing requests. This highlighted the power of celebrity endorsements as well as the public’s concern of breast cancer being a major health issue.

How the GNA will impact underwriting and product pricing remains to be seen. Genetic testing science keeps evolving and it is now very easy to purchase home test kits for the growing direct-to-consumer (DTC) testing market. PPI and insurers are taking measures to comply with the law. We will monitor the application of the GNA in the marketplace and participate in the review of our cases to ensure equitable, compliant and prompt treatment in light of the changed legislation. We’ll keep an eye on this and report back from time to time.

Note: DTC genetic test kits cannot identify all gene mutations, so testing through specialized medical clinics is recommended for individuals with a family history of certain diseases.

To learn more about the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, please visit the Government of Canada Justice Laws website.

*Source: British Medical Journal, 2016; 355: i6357, Anupam b. Jena et al. http://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6357

Is Joint Insurance Coverage Right for You and Your Spouse?

You and your spouse may share a bank account, a home, or a business. How about an insurance policy? There are good reasons to consider joint insurance coverage – commonly known as ‘joint last-to-die’, a single contract based on the lives of two or more individuals. This type of coverage makes sense when the individuals insured share a common liability that will only arise upon the death of the second person, usually a spouse. Compare this to single life coverage which is based on the life of one individual and provides funds on death to cover an immediate need – an appropriate form of insurance coverage for many.

It is common tax planning to “roll” assets to the surviving spouse on death. This defers the tax liability on any inherent capital gains until the death of the surviving spouse. Purchasing joint last-to-die insurance matches the receipt of the tax free insurance proceeds to the payment of the tax liability.

Aging generations traditionally invest in fixed-income products and as a result need to balance a low rate of return with higher tax rates and possibly the sale of assets. These events increase today’s tax burden and ultimately erode the estate you intend to leave. Putting a joint insurance product in place may work better in this situation, if the survivor doesn’t immediately need the cash.

Does joint insurance coverage cost more?

The good news is that joint coverage is less expensive than purchasing single life coverage on either lives. Because the Joint Life Expectancy for two individuals is longer than for a single person, the cost of insurance for a joint policy is lower than either single life cost. And like single life coverage, that cost is fully guaranteed!

Your advisor can introduce you to a variety of strategies that utilize joint coverage in order to address the intergenerational transfer of wealth, charitable giving opportunities and other legacy planning objectives. After all, your mutual goal is to ensure that the surviving spouse is well looked after.

Contact my office to build a financial plan that works best for you.

Should You Consider Using a Robo-Advisor?

 

What is a robo-advisor? Robo-advisors give advisors and their clients the tools to manage investment portfolios online. The investments included in their portfolios can vary, but their general purpose is to provide efficient, low-cost portfolio management.

Does that mean my current advisor is obsolete?
Not at all. Your current advisor already knows your situation and has insights that can help you meet your goals. A robo-advisor is just another tool on their belt. They may offer a selection of investment products including ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) or other funds. They can balance investment across these funds to ensure the right mix of risk, return and volatility based on answers you provide about your individual circumstances and goals. The actual portfolios are managed and rebalanced by people, not computer algorithms. Together with your financial advisor they’re able to provide you with great service and competitive fees.

What is an ETF?
An ETF – or Exchange Traded Fund – is a tradable fund that can track an index, bonds, commodities, or even a basket of assets. Rather then being invested directly into the stocks contained within a fund or market index, an ETF allows an investor to buy a share of the entire fund. The virtue of this is it allows an investor to easily buy and sell a stake in a fund. Beyond this, ETFs typically have much lower fees than investing directly in a mutual fund. Where a mutual fund might charge 2% or more annually, a similar ETF might only be 0.50% or less. By utilizing ETFs a robo-advisor can diversify your portfolio and continually rebalance the investments to ensure that it maintains your desired mix of attributes.

So, why should I use a robo-advisor?
Robo-advisors can free up your financial advisor to spend time on the things that matter most to you. By outsourcing investment selection and rebalancing, it allows them to focus on your holistic financial planning and your retirement and investment goals. Robo-advisors also tend to have lower minimum investments and allow the investor to access asset classes and pools typically reserved for those investing $250k and above. Combine this with lower fees and it makes it practical and effective for people looking to invest $1,000 in their TFSA or even $1M and above. On top of the savings, some robo-advisors also offer apps and online tools so you can see in real-time your financial position, how your portfolio is invested, and quickly and easily move money in and out of your account – even from your phone or tablet.

Which robo-advisor is best for me?
Not all robo-advisors are created equal. Firms can offer a wide variety of different services and pricing, so finding the right one for you is important. Some robo-advisors such as WealthBar, provide access to a wider range of portfolios such as private wealth pools that are exclusively available through your financial advisor. These private wealth pools can allow you to include hard asset real estate, mortgages, and private equity to help diversify your portfolio. Your best bet is to talk to your financial advisor about your investment options and whether a robo-advisor may be right for you.

This article is for general information purposes only and is based on Canadian practices and law. The information contained in this article must not be taken or relied upon by the reader as legal, accounting, taxation, financial or actuarial advice. For these matters, readers should seek independent professional advice. Please refer to insurance company illustrations, policy contracts and information folders regarding any insurance matters referred to in this article.