I’m Scared Of My Accountant

How to fire your accountant

This article was written by Jen at Dollar Divas and offered to us to use. Be sure to visit her page!

One of my favourite “ah ha” moments at Dollar Divas came a few years ago during a discussion group. We had been chatting about hiring the right professionals and how to find them. When a woman who had been pretty quiet all evening finally joined the conversation.  

“I dread going to my accountant every year,” she said.  

Saira and I looked at each other and said simply, “Then get a new accountant.”

Slowly the realization sunk in that she could fire her accountant and move her business to a different account. It was like a huge weight was being lifted off her shoulders. This Diva felt loyal to someone she hated simply because she had used him for many years. 

This is not an uncommon issue. 

Many women stick with professionals who are the wrong fit simply because they don’t want to rock the boat—and it needs to stop. 

Here are some tips to help you fire your accountant (or other professional) without feeling the guilt.  

  • Speak up: If your professional is not serving you to your satisfaction, you are not required to continue accepting poor service. Speak up! Most professionals will continue with the status quo unless you voice your concerns. A good professional will change their actions when their clients voice an issue. If you have already taken this step and nothing has changed, then it is probably time to start shopping elsewhere.
  • I like me best: Something I witnessed over and over again is a woman staying in a professional relationship that was not serving her simply because she was afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Many women have told me that ending a professional relationship is like parting ways with a boyfriend. If this is you, something to keep in mind is, “I like me best.” While putting others above yourself is noble, it is not always in your best interests and there are better ways in which to do this. If you have already tried to talk to your professional and nothing has changed then it’s time to find someone new who can serve you better.
  • Have someone else do it: Ending a long-term relationship with a professional can be difficult for some people. The good news is, a lot of times, you don’t actually have to have that super uncomfortable conversation. Once you have found a new person to work with, they can usually have that conversation for you. In the case of a financial advisor, it is as easy as having them request a transfer from your old institution. No ugly confrontation required. If you get a bitter and angry phone call or email, that will confirm that you have made the right choice by changing.

I can’t speak for all women, but a lot of the women I know are wired to be people pleasers.

While this may serve them well in their personal lives, it is not necessarily conducive to healthy professional relationships. 

Personally speaking, this quality has landed me in more than one uncomfortable situation. Where I was not being served well, but I was too afraid to make a change thanks to some bizarre sense of loyalty. Learning that I can make a change has not only been liberating, it has been lucrative. 

At the end of the day, you need to look out for you, and if you’re not happy, then something has to change. 

The 123’s of Getting Your Finances in Order

how to get your finances in order
In light of the current financial crisis, we’ve compiled financial aid resources for Canadians. CLICK BELOW!
covid-19 resources for canadians

Do you feel like you have your finances in order or are you winging it? Talking about finances can be really difficult because the conversations are so emotionally charged. It’s easy to have fears, insecurities, and frustrations tied into our finances. We understand that because we’ve been there too. Rather than getting trapped in that cycle, we’ll walk you through how to get your finances in order.

Step 1: Make a Budget

Have you ever put a puzzle together without having the end picture in sight? Probably not. You know that’d make the task much more difficult than it needs to be. 

The same goes for your budget. Without seeing an accurate picture, it’s hard to understand what you need to do to reach your goal.

How to Start

Grab a piece of paper and write down how much money your household brings in each month at the top of the page. Below that, write the following headings:

  1. household
  2. transportation
  3. food
  4. entertainment
  5. clothing & gifts
  6. others

 

Then, go through your bank and credit card statements for the last month and pair each expense with a heading, and total them up.

Now you know how much you spend each month AND what you spend the most money on.

Add up all of your expenses. And subtract your income from expenses. That’s how much money you have left over each month.

If you’re spending more than you’re making, you need to go over your expenses and your income to see what changes you can make.

To finish off your budget, decide where you want that extra amount of money to go. Maybe debt repayment, a vacation, or one of the following.

Step 2: Make an Emergency Plan

There are SO many angles to look at this from, so we’re going to cover 3 main angles.

Make an Emergency Fund

This is priority numero uno. Your emergency fund should be at least enough to cover 3 months of expenses. And yes, that’s a big number. But this emergency fund is going to keep your budget on track, avoid stress in a financial crisis, get you through a job loss, and a lot of other 💩 that life can throw at you. 

Our suggestion is that you put a manageable amount of money aside each month, into an account that you don’t have access to via bank card, like a TFSA. 

What if something happened and you couldn’t work for a long period of time though?

Just because you don’t have an income, doesn’t mean the bills stop. Because saving enough to cover you (and maybe your partner) taking a long period of time off of work isn’t realistic for most people, get disability insurance. It replaces a portion of your income if you’re hurt or sick.

There are also insurance plans that would help financially if you couldn’t work because your child was sick.

Get life insurance

It’s not for you, it’s for your loved ones. It’ll help them pay off debt (including the house), afford the expenses of growing kids, and finance the changes in lifestyle they’ll need to make.

When we talk about how to get your finances in order, we also need to consider protecting them.

Make a will

Without a will, your loved ones may have to wait a long time and pay fees to get their inheritance. In order to avoid conflicts and ensure your family is taken care of, sit down with a lawyer and knock this off your task list.

Step 3: Make a Savings Goal

Now that you know what your financial situation looks like and you’ve made sure you’re covered if it ever took a hit, you need to make a savings goal.

Saving looks different for many people – both how you save and what you save for. It could be saving for a long-term expense like retirement, a property, vacation or large annual bills.

Whatever it is, you’ll need to refer to your budget again.

You know how much you have leftover now, so you can decide how much of that you want to put into saving. 

Make sure that you do the math on how long it’ll take to save what you need. Putting $100 aside for a new car each month might sound like a great idea until you realize it’ll take you a year just to save $1,200.

You’ve probably realized that there’s nothing glamorous about getting your finances in order.

It’s not as fancy to whip out a debit card as it is a Black Card nor is it too fun to spend your free time putting this all together. It takes discipline, a firm grasp on what you’re working towards, and boundaries.

But how good would it feel to not be phased by a surprise bill? Or to know you’d be okay if you lost your job?

These things aren’t glamorous but the freedom and security you can afford by following these steps on how to get your finances in order are much more rewarding.

Be sure to share this with your closest friends who want that same freedom!

Take control of your financial future. 

Surviving Coronavirus in Canada

Coronavirus in Canada

Feeling uneasy or maybe a bit scared by what you’re hearing in the news right now? They’re talking about market free falls, a disease that has people quarantined and likely all of your upcoming events have been canceled. People are panicking and bulk buying, and you’re trying to keep your cool while wondering what you can do to survive the Coronavirus in Canada. Knowledge is power, so let’s talk about what you have control over.

The virus is affecting our World way beyond health. 

It’s hitting our communities, lifestyles, and economy drastically. But don’t fret! There are things you can do about it. Right now, it’s important to take care of our communities and make sure that we’re prepared.

How can we support people?

Community is so important in times like these. Sharing resources is the perfect place to start. Whether you have food or coveted toilet paper, sharing is caring. Our local heroes are helping people who don’t have access to their medications and other necessities right now.
Let’s not forget those suffering in silence from their mental health, too. Those with an anxiety disorder that’s being perpetuated and domestic abuse victims who are quarantined in dangerous situations are part of that group.

Reach out to your friends and family. You may not know what they’re struggling with behind closed doors. That human connection and support are so important right now.

Buy local.

You’ll hear us talk about that a lot at Iron & Pearl. Shopping locally can make a big difference, especially right now. These businesses often don’t have online stores or second locations that they can make an income from. It’s a family behind the scenes who relies on the income that their business brings in. Buying local is critical to curbing this financial crisis.

Stock what’s necessary.

At this point, we’ve been instructed to stay home if at all possible. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of weeks’ worth of food on hand in case of an emergency. Surviving the Coronavirus is no different. It’s important to have what your family needs but it’s not necessary to buy stores out of their stock. When we do that, it takes away resources from those who haven’t been able to leave the house – mothers of young children, the elderly, and those fighting on the front lines. Look out for your neighbours.

Keep an eye on your emergency fund.

Your family has told you for years that you need to have an emergency fund. Do you have one? Many people don’t have much of an emergency fund. Either from not seeing the importance of it or because money was tight before any of this happened.

We’re hoping that you see how imperative an emergency fund can be at this point. Check out our blog post on “how to save money without making more” to read more.

Keep an eye on what you’re spending as well. As much as spending would help our economy, spending unnecessary money right now may hurt you later.

Stop looking at your investment statements.

You know they’re not looking good and so do we. Our advice still stands – don’t sell. Have you ever heard the sage advice buy low, sell high? That’s exactly what we should be remembering right now. Unless a professional who knows your specific case has told you to sell now, just hang tight.

“That’s it, we’re done.”

Don’t let yourself get to that point with your finances. There’s no doubt that some people will be hit hard financially by this market free fall. But, there have been measures put in place already. If you’ve been quarantined or laid off, look into EI benefits. They’ve made some big changes to ensure you’ll have at least some income right now.  BC Hydro and the big mortgage lenders are offering for those in a tight financial spot to defer their payments for up to 6 months. Keep in mind, you will still have to honor those payments. But, if you’re genuinely struggling to make ends meet, take hold of this opportunity.

Filling out an insurance application?

It’s going to take longer. If you’ve recently traveled, you will have to be in quarantine for 2 weeks before they can consider your application. Companies have stopped issuing travel insurance and medical tests have been suspended until further notice – making it more difficult to get many types of personal insurance. “Business as usual” may not really be. Insurers have people working from home or locked-down offices so that your questions can be answered, but buying yourself a policy will be more tricky.

Put your phone down.

We’d prefer it if you finished reading this article first 😉 but try not to stay right on top of the news. There are scary videos coming out on social media, headlines that’ll turn your stomach, and helpful Government plans that make you feel nervous about how long this will last.

Keeping yourself up to date may seem helpful, but it can also be anxiety-inducing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uneasy about this situation, stay home and put your phone down. At this point, helpful information may actually be harmful to you. Having Coronavirus in Canada is going to be all about preparation and education.

This is a scary time for the World. Building community and leaning on each other might just be the silver lining in all of this.

We won’t be staying quiet in our offices as this goes on! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for consistent updates on the financial support that Canada is offering and other options available to you.

As always, reach out to us through our contact page and we’ll do our best to help.

Canada's March 18 Covid-19 Economic Response Plan

Why Mom-preneurs Need Life Insurance the Most

why mom-preneurs need life insurance the most

As a busy business owner, do you feel like you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Holding client meetings, being a parent taxi in between, meal planning, running the house and being the glue that holds everything together. Who would do all of that if you couldn’t? That’s exactly why mom-preneurs need life insurance the most.

If working from home allows you to chauffeur your kids, run errands, do chores or be a homemaker, your family would be lost if you weren’t there.

Even if you don’t work from home, hired help and put systems in place so that certain things can run smoothly without you there, your family will still be scrambling to do those little things that often get overlooked. Not to mention how much they’d miss you.

Your business may also be an asset.

Having a plan to cover your business expenses until it can be sold would be a tremendous help to your family. Or, maybe your kids are a bit older and one of them would like to run your business. Giving them or your business (if it’s incorporated) a set portion of your life insurance benefit would afford them what they need to transition your company.

For example:

  • Cost of closing your business
  • Covering outstanding debts
  • Capital Gains
  • Ensuring your employees/subcontractors are paid for their work
  • Legal fees
  • Taxes
  • Financial obligations, especially if you personally guaranteed your debts against your home/investments/etc.

Of course, that’s not an exhaustive list – just a starting point. Talk to your Financial Planner/Accountant and Lawyer to determine exactly what you need.

Especially if you’re a sole proprietor, consider your personal taxes as well.

We want to prevent your family from getting any unexpected, large bills. Sitting down with your Insurance Broker or Financial Advisor is the first step in ensuring your personal and business finances are in order if anything does happen.

Mom-preneurs need life insurance the most because they often juggle two important roles – a business and a home.

You have a very important role and play a detrimental part in caring for both your business and your family. Having a life insurance policy and talking about a plan with your partner can ensure that they’ll be taken care of, even if you’re not there.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put plans like this in place, but it’s worth it to know that your family is taken care of.

If you could use weekly reminders about taking a holistic approach to caring for your finances, join our newsletter!

What Is Disability Insurance?

what's disability insurance

There is a type of insurance that’s painfully underrated. I’ve never understood why. It can save your life – or at least your lifestyle. It’s Disability Insurance. What is Disability Insurance? Well, we’re going to cover that in the short video below!

Disability Insurance replaces a portion of your income if you’re too hurt or sick to work.

It gives you the ability to keep paying your bills so you can focus on your recovery. Maybe you’re able to use WorkSafe or Employment Insurance. Just remember, they only pay in certain circumstances and/or for certain periods of time. If you’re self-employed or working a side hustle and not sure what you qualify for, read these 2 blog posts: What If I Get Hurt At My Side Hustle? | Government Benefits for Self-Employed Canadians

EI Insurable Earnings

With a plan like the one we walked through in the video above, Sam was able to fully recover and didn’t have to stress about paying her bills or have increased debt. Having an emergency fund to supplement her Employment Insurance and extending her personal disability insurance waiting period, so that the benefit starts later, made the insurance premium much more affordable.

Disability Insurance is a very flexible product. You can customize when it starts paying you, for how long, and how much.

You can also choose whether you’re covered for accidents, sicknesses or both.

Accident coverage is a simple concept – it will pay you if you can’t work because of an accident. Sickness coverage, on the other hand, is more robust.

Sickness coverage can replace your income from serious illnesses like cancer or other internal pains like muscle wear-and-tear.

Getting both accident and sickness coverage can cover you from *almost all angles.

What Disability Insurance doesn’t cover is medical expenses and long-term care. Those are 2 separate types of insurance.

The benefits of disability insurance shouldn’t be underestimated.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say Sam is 30 years old and makes $50,000 a year as a bookkeeper. The accident was much worse than a concussion and Sam will never be able to work again.

We’re going to make this fair and compare her after-tax income of $39,586.

Assuming Sam works the same job until she’s 65 years old and never gets a raise:

$39,586  X  35 years  =  $1,385,510

If Sam qualified for the CPP Disability benefit (permanently disabled or likely to die from the condition) and received the average $1001.15 per month benefit:

$1001.15  X  12 months  =  $12,013.80    X  35 years  =  $420,483

Let’s minus her CPP benefit from the income she’s missing out on:

$1,385,510 lost wages    $420,483 CPP Benefit = $965,027.00

That means that in the BEST CASE SCENARIO, Sam would lose $965,027.00 in income. And that’s if she never made more than she does right now.

If Sam doesn’t qualify for CPP disability and again, never gets a raise, she’ll lose out on

0
CAD $

But Sam still needs to pay for her living expenses and might need to pay for medications or disability support now, too.

That’s why we believe that disability insurance is painfully underrated.

Remember, you are in control of your financial future. Plans like this can play a crucial role in securing your family’s lifestyle.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this, but it’s worth it to know your family will be taken care of.

*Each policy is different. There are exclusions in all insurance policies.

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What If I Get Hurt At My Side Hustle in Canada?

what if I get hurt at my side hustle?

Getting a side hustle is an awesome way to make a bit of extra cash. They can offer a lot of flexibility and, for some people, might even turn into a full-time gig. But what if you get hurt at your side hustle? You might not have all the comforts that you get with your 9-5.

There are all kinds of side hustles you can get! From driving for companies like Uber and Skip the Dishes, to using your handy(wo)man skills on a paid gig or becoming a tutor. What we’re talking about here are independent side jobs that you do on top of your j.o.b. – no boss or employee benefits and you don’t get a T-4.

As an employee, you’re automatically enrolled in WorkSafe BC (WCB) and Employment Insurance (E.I.).

If you’re hurt at your job and can’t work because of it, WCB can help and you’ll still have a paycheck. When you work for yourself, those benefits change.

You’ll still have your WCB coverage, but it’s only in effect while you’re at work as an employee. Once you’re on your own time – whether you’re using that time for a side gig or not – you’re not covered by WorkSafe.

For example, maybe you build decks for a living and your neighbor asks you to build a deck for them. But they want you to do it, not the company you work for. In that case, WCB wouldn’t cover you if you got hurt working at your neighbor’s house.

Employment Insurance (E.I.) on the other hand, might still help you.

As long as you’re an employee for a company, E.I. will still be an option whether you’re hurt on or off the job. They can help if you’re hurt, sick, or unemployed. However, they pay 55% of your income (as declared on your paystubs or T4 earnings) up to a maximum of $573/week and only for 15 weeks. If you decide to quit the company you were working for to do this side gig, E.I. goes away. 

For any side job you get that requires driving – deliveries, picking up supplies, meeting clients – you need to make sure your car is insured for business use. If you work with clients or could be liable in any business situation, you also need Liability Insurance.

Those aren’t the kind of insurance we work with at Iron & Pearl Financial, so we’ll leave you with DO NOT skip looking into this.

As a Canadian who pays into Canada Pension Plan (CPP), their disability program may be a last resort.

If you’re hurt at your side hustle, it’s best to not qualify for this. You must be permanently disabled and likely to die from your conditions.

What’s your Plan B if you get hurt and don’t have coverage?

Maybe you could sell something or ask family for help. Remember to consider how long it’ll take to sell your assets.

To make sure that you’re covered at all times, get disability insurance.

It’s the best way to have the peace of mind that you’re covered all the time.

Curious about how disability insurance works and what your options are? Book a free quick call with us. We’ll answer your questions and point you in the right direction. We’re focused on giving you the tools and education to build financial security in your life.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this, but it’s worth it to know your family will be taken care of.

Can I Get Insurance If I Use Marijuana Medicinally?

can i get insurance if i use medical marijuana

Can I get insurance if I use marijuana medicinally? Yes. The biggest concern will be about the condition you’re using it to treat. However, the more you use, the more your insurance may cost.

I thought this was an easy question until a medical marijuana company asked me to look into options for their patients. Legalization made some changes around insurance and medicinal marijuana and the industry is divided.

When you’re filling out an insurance application,  they’ll ask if you use marijuana in any capacity. The first thing the insurance company is trying to figure out is if it’s medical or recreational use.

They’ll be more concerned if it’s for medicinal use because of the underlying factor. But, in specific to the medicinal marijuana that you’re using, you’ll just have to fill out a Drug Questionnaire Form.

They’ll ask how many grams you use, your method of use – smoke, oils, edibles, etc. – and why you chose this method of treatment.

The insurance industry has changed in that regular marijuana users – or in any capacity, really – got smokers rates.

If you’re not familiar, people who get smoker’s rates on their insurance policy generally pay double what everyone else pays. Now, we’ve found a number of companies that may charge you extra for heavy use but won’t call you a smoker. The fact that marijuana users aren’t always getting classified as smokers is a big deal in the industry!

One of the things that haven’t been figured out yet is ‘times’ vs ‘joints’ per week.

When we say ‘times’ per week we’re asking literally, how many times you smoke/spray/etc. When we say ‘joints’ we’re talking about a standard size joint – the size of a cigarette.

It gets confusing because, if you’re not a heavy user or you’re only using a little bit at a time, it’s a hard question to answer.

Because of that, I always tell clients to be upfront with their agents and tell them from the beginning. Then, your agent can look into the companies that know marijuana is a medicine and will accommodate.

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting insurance FOR medicinal marijuana, I don’t have great news.

Medical marijuana can’t be put under the ‘prescription drug’ section of your health plan because it doesn’t have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). I haven’t (yet!) found a health plan that offers coverage specifically for medical marijuana.

I did reach out to MSP to see if they had any plans to help and unfortunately they don’t have any plans to help anytime soon.

I’d encourage you to continue looking into these options. It’s not looking great today but we’re hoping to see more and more changes.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future. It takes time and money to put in plans like this, but it’s worth it to know your family will be taken care of.

What are My Life and Health Insurance Options?

Trying to figure out what your life and health insurance options are? You have so many choices when it comes to insurance, so this question can spark some confusion. But you’re not alone!

It’s not uncommon to sit down with a new client and they tell us they’re not sure what kind of insurance they need. They just know what they want to prevent.

You can get just about anything covered by insurance nowadays. Kylie Minogue even has her tooshie covered for an easy $3M.

Getting your THINGS covered is fairly straight forward but it gets a bit more tricky when we talk about covering your PERSON.

There’s an endless list of situations you’ll want to cover but only 6 types of insurance. 

your insurance options

Life Insurance

Pick your benefit amount (within reason) and this plan will pay a sum of money to your loved ones when you pass away. That includes Mortgage Insurance, Term Life Insurance, Whole Life and Universal Life Insurance.

If you have debt or a growing family, this is a must!

Disability Insurance

It replaces your income if you can’t work while recovering from an accident or illness. Without an income, how would you pay your bills?

48% of Canadians have disability insurance and almost all of those people are covered through employee benefits, not because they bought it themselves. The other 52% only has E.I. to financially help in this situation – and that stops after 15 weeks – that’s a scary statistic!

Critical Illness

Pick your benefit amount and this plan would pay you a sum of money if you survive a critical illness like cancer, heart attack, etc. If you need to make changes around your home because your abilities have changed, this plan is a lifesaver. Use it to replace your income while you take time off work or celebrate the fact that you survived!

Health Insurance

Health Insurance can help or cover the cost of prescription drugs, dentist visits, physiotherapy and more. Getting hurt or sick can be more than losing your income; there are expenses that come with it. This coverage, as with all insurance, must be purchased before you need to use it.

There are a couple of health insurance options if you know you’ll need to use the plan immediately. But, those plans cost more and cover a lot less.

Travel Insurance

Canadians are pretty lucky to have the health coverage that we do. But, once we’re outside the border, we’re on our own! Make sure you’re covered wherever you go with travel insurance.

From surprise dental surgery to changing your flights last minute, travel insurance is super affordable for how much it can save you.

Business Insurance

Your life and health insurance options can be set up so that your small business gets the benefit. Having your business as the beneficiary will allow it to keep operating, even if you can’t. Make sure your business is covered! 

From covering the financial loss of your right-hand-worker has to take a leave to offering employee benefits, you have a lot of options!

Remember, YOU’RE in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put plans like this in place but it’s worth it to know that your family is taken care of.

Have some follow up questions? Book a Quick Call with us! We’re here to help 💪

Government Benefits for Self-Employed Canadians

government benefits for self employed canadians

When you leave the 9-5 world, you leave behind a lot of securities that come with it. One of those securities for self-employed Canadians is Government Benefits. I’m talking about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), WorkSafe BC (WCB), and Employment Insurance (EI). There are several important things to know about what you qualify for if you’re hurt as a small business owner in Canada and we’re going to cover them today.

Being a tricky subject to understand, we broke this blog post down. You can read the "I'm totally new to this" or scroll down for the "I'm looking for specifics".

The "I'm totally new to this" version

This information is current as of December 2019. All policies and Government programs are subject to change, so please click on the links provided to ensure the information you’re receiving is up to date.

When you leave the 9-5 world, you leave behind a lot of securities that come with it. One of those securities is Government Benefits. I’m talking about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), WorkSafe BC (WCB), and Employment Insurance (EI). There are several important things to know about Government Benefits as a self-employed Canadian and we’re going to cover them today.

Assuming that, at some point in your life you’ve worked for a legitimate company in Canada for a length of time, you probably qualify for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability.

You don’t want to qualify for this benefit. Those who qualify are permanently disabled and likely to die from their condition. Plus, the benefit is pretty well equal to half the rent of a 1 bedroom apartment in Vancouver… it’s not enough to live off of.

If you pass away and qualify for CPP, your family can get up to $2,500 for it. These benefits aren’t designed to be enough to help a family get by. They’re meant to take the edge off, but not to solve the problem. Making a proper plan is up to you.

You’re also responsible for paying your full CCP bill yourself. When you’re an employee, your boss would’ve paid for half the bill and taken it off your paycheque. As a self-employed person, you must pay the full amount yourself, up to a max of $5,497.80 a year. For more information on this, please contact your accountant or visit the CPP info page. 

WorkSafe BC (WCB) isn’t automatic when you’re self-employed.

It’s optional for self-employed people but mandatory once you have an employee.

If you qualify, WorkSafe BC would cover 90% of your wages up to a maximum of $1,151.50 per week that you’re on the claim ($1,122.48/week updated Feb 25, 2020).

For the first 10 weeks you’re getting a benefit, the benefit amount will be based on your average income from the last 3 months. If you’ve just had a slow season, it could be a small benefit.

If you’re still on the claim after the 10 weeks, your benefit will change to 90% of what your income was last year. That’ll be based on your last tax return.

The 3rd Government benefit that automatically goes away when you’re a self-employed Canadian is Employee Insurance (EI).

This one is a little bit tricky because you have the option to pay into it but, once you start, you can’t stop. You must pay into it as long as you’re self-employed, even if you make a change to the nature of your self-employment. If you’ve never received a benefit from E.I., you might be able to cancel but under very specific criteria. For self-employed women who are expecting to take maternity leave more than once, this may be a good option.

The benefit is about 55% of your income with a $573 per week maximum benefit ($547 Updated Feb 25, 2020).  If you’re disabled, they will pay you for a maximum of 15 weeks but then you’re on your own.

These benefits will depend on how you’ve structured your company.

If you’ve set it up so that you’re an employee of your company, you’d have the same access to WCB, EI and other employment benefits that your employees have.

Look at what your benefit would be and talk to a professional to see if that’d be enough for you.

At this point, you might be thinking, “With CPP, I’ll only get a benefit if things are really bad. WCB will only cover me if I’m hurt at work. And E.I. pays half my income and only for a short amount of time. What am I supposed to do?”

The answer is self-financing or get disability insurance.

Self-financing is what it sounds. If you have enough income and don’t plan to become disabled for a long period of time, you can save like a squirrel and use that money if something happens.

Disability Insurance is another great option. It’ll cover you whether you’re at work or not and you can customize it as specific as you’d like. You might be surprised by how affordable it is. For more information on that, book a quick call with us.

The bottom line, self-employed people have a lot of flexibility in what kind of coverage they get if they become disabled, but they’re responsible for setting it up themselves.

Remember, plans like this need to be set up BEFORE you become disabled.

Government benefits are not automatic as a self-employed Canadian, so be sure to do your research and talk to a professional.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of.

The "I'm looking for specifics" version

This information is current as of December 2019. All policies and Government programs are subject to change, so please click on the links provided to ensure the information you’re receiving is up to date.

When you leave the 9-5 world, you leave behind a lot of securities that come with it. One of those securities is Government Benefits. I’m talking about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), WorkSafe BC (WCB), and Employment Insurance (EI). There are several important things to know about Government Benefits as a self-employed Canadian and we’re going to cover them today.

Assuming that, at some point in your life you’ve worked for a legitimate company in Canada for a length of time, you probably qualify for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability.

You don’t want to qualify for this benefit. Those who qualify are permanently disabled and likely to die from their condition. Plus, the benefit is pretty well equal to half the rent of a 1 bedroom apartment in Vancouver… it’s not enough to live off.

If you pass away and qualify for CPP, your family can receive a maximum $2,500 death benefit. Your partner and children might also get survivor benefits and special education grants as well. These benefits aren’t designed to be enough for a family to get by. They’re meant to help, but not to solve the problem. Making a proper plan is up to you.

You’re also responsible for paying your full CPP bill yourself. At tax season, CPP will bill you for what, in an employee position, your boss would’ve taken off each paycheque. If you make more than $3,500, you must pay into CPP. That bill is 10.2% of your NET income. As an employee, your boss paid for half and you paid for the other half. As a self-employed person, you must pay the full 10.2% on your own, up to a max of $5,497.80. For more information on this, please contact your accountant or visit the CPP Information Page. 

WorkSafe BC (WCB) isn’t automatic when you’re self-employed.

It’s optional for self-employed people but mandatory once you have an employee. Depending on how big you anticipate your company growing and the way you’ve structured your own employment – whether you’re an employee of your company, sole-proprietor, etc. – it might make more sense to get disability insurance for yourself.

If you qualify, WBC would cover 90% of your wages up to a GROSS income of $87,417.00 ($84,800 updated Feb 25. 2020). It works out to a maximum of $1,150.50 per week benefit that you could receive while on the claim ($1,122.48/week updated Feb 25, 2020)

For the first 10 weeks, your benefit amount will depend on the average income you made in the last 3 months. If you’ve just had a slow season, it’ll be reflected in your benefit. If you’re still on the claim after the 10 weeks, the amount will change to 90% of your NET annual income. They’ll base that number off of what income you claimed during tax season last year and you must be able to prove it.

The 3rd Government benefit that automatically goes away when you’re a self-employed Canadian is Employee Insurance (EI).

This one is a little bit tricky because you have the option to pay into it but, once you set it up, you can’t stop. You must keep paying your E.I. premium as long as you’re self-employed, regardless of if you make a change to the nature of your self-employment. If you’ve never received a benefit from it while being self-employed, you might be able to cancel but under very specific criteria. For self-employed women who are expecting to take maternity leave more than once, this may be a good option.

The benefit is 55% of your income to a maximum of $54,200 annual income ($51,700 updated Feb 25, 2020). That works out to be $573 per week maximum benefit ($547 updated Feb 25, 2020). With disability or unemployment claims, they’ll pay you for a maximum of 15 weeks. After that, you will stop receiving a benefit.

Again, these benefits will depend on how you’ve structured your company.

If you set it up so that you’re an employee of your company, you’d have the same access to WCB, EI and other employment benefits that your employees have.

Talk to a professional to see what your maximum benefit would be with each of these programs to determine whether it’d be enough for you.

Here’s what you might be thinking at this point, “With CPP, I’ll only get a benefit if things are really bad. WCB will only cover me if I’m hurt at work. And E.I. is a short-term solution. What am I supposed to do?”

The answer is self-financing or getting disability insurance.

Self-financing is what it sounds. If you have enough income and don’t plan to become disabled for a long period of time, you can save like a squirrel and use that money if something happens.

Disability Insurance is another great option. It’ll cover you whether you’re at work or not and you can customize it as specific as you’d like. You might be surprised by how affordable it is. For more information on that, book a quick call with us.

The bottom line, self-employed people have a lot of flexibility in what kind of coverage they can get if they become disabled, but they’re responsible for setting it up themselves.

Remember, plans like this need to be set up BEFORE you become disabled.

Government benefits are not automatic as a self-employed Canadian, so be sure to do your research and talk to a professional.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of.

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What is Critical Illness Insurance?

what is criticall illness

It always surprises me how few people know about Critical Illness Insurance. Especially with half of Canadians expected to develop cancer and heart disease claiming 33,600 lives each year in this country. Do you think getting a cheque for $50,000 would help if you were diagnoses with one of these, or other serious illnesses? On that note, we’re going to talk about what critical illness is.

Critical Illness Insurance is a type of insurance policy that will pay you a lump sum of money if you survive a heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other diseases.

It’s meant to help cover the time you’ll have to take off of work, making changes in your home to adapt to your new lifestyle, or even going on vacation to celebrate the fact that you survived!

Many companies offer Critical Illness, but not all plans are created equally. For example, one company might cover 5 types of diseases where another company may cover 50 different diseases. As per usual, you’ll get what you pay for.

One of the most important things you need to know about these plans are the definitions of each condition.

That’s how the insurance company determines when they’ll pay you. For example, where one company may pay a benefit after you’ve survived a stroke, another company may require the stroke to have been life threatening to pay a benefit  And, again, it’ll be different by company.

There’s somewhat of a standard definition for each disease, but you don’t want to overlook it. This is something that your insurance agent will help you with, so make sure you ask the question.

It is, however, standard that you must survive 30 days after the diagnosis (or event in the case of heart attack, etc.) in order to qualify for the benefit. Typically, after a cancer diagnosis you must survive 90 days before qualifying. 

Can you get critical illness if you’ve had cancer or a heart attack before?

Generally speaking, if you’ve had a critical illness before, as long as you’ve made a full recover, you’ll be able to get this coverage. Just not for the illness you’ve already had. Some companies will even take the risk of covering you for that illness anyways, after a set amount of time of you being healthy (and some proof).

It’s generally a simple kind of insurance, but it gets more complicated if you have a medical condition when you apply.

We’ll use diabetes as an example. Greg had diabetes when he applied for critical illness coverage. Years down the road, Greg suffered a heart attack. Because diabetes can cause heart disease, Greg may need to go for extra tests to see whether the diabetes CAUSED the heart attack. If it did, Greg might be denied because his existing medical condition caused it. If the diabetes didn’t cause it, Greg gets his benefit to use how he’d like.

Please don’t let that detour you from looking into this coverage. You always want to be honest with your insurance agent, ask questions, and communicate with them if you do have to make a claim. But you should be aware of how the coverage works.

Can kids get covered?

They sure can! And it’s crazy how cheap it is.

You can get family coverage before you have kids and those kids could be covered for diseases or disorders they could be born with. It’s an awful thing to think of, but we’re all aware of the reality. Keep the coverage on them and they can be covered into their adult life for quite cheap.

Who is coverage like this good for?

It’s perfect for self-employed people who can’t afford getting personal disability coverage but want to have something if they were critically ill.

For families, like mine, who have had a family member suffer from a disease and worry that it’s genetic, this coverage can bring a lot of peace of mind.

It’s also good for stay-at-home parents, homemakers, and caretakers who may not qualify for disability insurance because they don’t make an income.

And it’s for people who have, in some way, experienced the devastating effects of a critical illness and the lack of financial support available to those who are suffering. Once you’ve seen that happen, you know how important it is to have a plan in place.

Do I have to pay tax on the money?

Nope! It’s treated the same way that a life insurance benefit is. It’s not taxable so you get to use all the money.

How much critical insurance should I have?

That’ll depend on a lot. When you sit down with your insurance agent, they’ll do a Needs Analysis. It goes over how much money you make, how much you spend, and what kinds of benefits you’ll already be able to get if something happened to you. From there, they can help you pick an amount that would be right for you. It’ll also depend on your budget – the higher the benefit, the more expensive.

I always suggest getting a little bit more than you think – having been in this situation myself – because there are a lot of surprise expenses. If you were sick, your partner probably wouldn’t be working – so that’s 2 lost incomes. Making changes to your home if your physical ability changes can also be very expensive. Again, the Needs Analysis form will help.

How do I buy Critical Illness Insurance?

Life Insurance agents sell this kind of coverage. That includes us! We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you find the right plan.

Remember, you’re in control of your financial future.

It takes time and effort to put in plans like this but it’s worth it to know that your family will be taken care of.