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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.

Kurylo Insurance Blog – May 30th, 2017

This page will have regular articles and information bits “infomemo’s” that will help raise your  awareness on financial planning and insurance topics.

Thank you,

Rod Kurylo, CFP CLU