Should I Name A Beneficiary?

should I name a beneficiary

Let’s say that you’re filling out a financial form and get to the part where they ask for a Beneficiary name. Why not just leave it to your estate? It can seem like an extra piece of information to give until you understand WHY you need a Beneficiary.

You need a beneficiary to ensure that your money, whether from investments or an insurance policy, goes to the right person or entity.

Unless your lawyer advises otherwise, most people should avoid naming their Estate as the beneficiary (the default).

Funds left to the Estate may be subject to probate or other fees and could get held up. This generally takes over a year to complete. It’s not worth the headache if your loved ones would need the funds sooner than that.

As the owner of the policy or account, you choose who the beneficiary is and can make changes at any time.

Your beneficiary will not have access to your accounts or information. They will simply be given the money once you pass. This is called a Revocable Beneficiary.

The exception to this is to name an Irrevocable Beneficiary. They still cannot make changes to your account or see your information. BUT you cannot make certain changes to your own account, including changing the beneficiary, without their permission. 

Beneficiaries should always be identified by name.

Generics like “my spouse” or “my children” can be ambiguous in the future if, at death, you are in a new relationship or have step-children.

Depending on your personal situation, you may choose to name your partner, parents, or other loved ones as your beneficiary. You can name more than one beneficiary but will need to choose what percentage each party will receive.

As this article is for general information only, be sure to talk to a professional about your specific situation before making any decisions.

And remember, your beneficiary should be updated as required! Checking your policies every two years to ensure your information is up to date is a good habit.

The 123’s of Getting Your Finances in Order

how to get your finances in order

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.

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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

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

CAD $
0

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 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 who 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 💪

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Whether it’s for work or fun, travel insurance often gets brought up when you’re going away. Not sure if you even need to get it? Visit our blog post on that on that first. If you’re sure you need it but are wondering what does travel insurance cover and are confused about the situation, you’re in the right spot! 

Travel Insurance covers you for extra expenses you might have if something bad happens on your trip.  

You’ll have the option to cover everything from cancelling your trip after you’ve paid for non-refundable hotel and airfare, to ending up in the hospital after an accident or catching a serious bug. You can even get coverage if the airline loses your luggage and leaves you with one pair of underwear. 

Now, I make light of it with the one pair of underwear thing, but people’s lives have been ruined over an out of country hospital bill forcing them to declare bankruptcy. 

However, you may already have travel insurance! 

Take a look at your Work Group Benefits plan and see if that offers anything. Your credit card or other member benefits plans that you’re a part of could also be used in this situation. Make sure you take a look at what you’re actually covered for and how much before you leave. 

For example, some credit card companies offer travel insurance, but only if you booked your trip using that credit card. Others will only cover you in certain, extreme situations and all plans have a maximum amount of money they’ll pay 

If you have multiple plans that cover you – for example, coverage through your credit card AND you’ve bought separate travel insurance – the contracts will tell you who the “First Payer is. That’s the Insurance Policy that has to pay you first. You’ll submit your bill/receipt to that company and they’ll pay you based on what the contract says. If they pay the whole thing, your second policy WILL NOT pay you. If the First Payer doesn’t cover your whole bill, THEN you can send the remainder to the next insurance company. You cannot have one bill paid by 2 companies. 

Keep in mind, most plans WILL NOT cover you if you’re intoxicated when you get hurt. 

For Canadians, each province has its own health plan. Just because you’re a Canadian resident does not mean you’ll be as covered in other provinces as you are by your own Province’s health plan. Provincial health care coverage is required for these individual plans, so make sure your account is up to date. Plan accordingly.  

Travel Insurance is there to cover the expenses of getting hurt in another Country or Province. You don’t pay into other Country’s medical systems like you do in Canada through MSP (or equivalent) and taxes, so you have to pay that Country’s full price. And it can be very expensive. 

Ending up in the Hospital or passing away and needing to transport your body home are the most expensive things you’ll want to cover. As I said, you’ll have to pay full price for any hospital and medical attention you require.  

Travel insurance covers a number of things. Here are a few benefits you might want in your plan: 

  • Emergency MedicalEvents or sickness that could land you in the hospital, Doctor’s office, etc. 
  • Trip cancellation and InterruptionGetting your money back if you have to unexpectedly cancel your trip or having to book a hotel if your flight is delayed.
  • Baggage loss, damage, or delayTo keep clothes on your back if your baggage is delayed or to replace items if it gets lost
  • Travel accident including death and dismembermentpassing away in another country is VERY expensive. Your body needs to be processed and specially transported back home. 

Travel Insurance is certainly worth it, but it’s not mandatory. The chances of having to use your insurance is quite low. The risk you’re taking on, however, is MUCH greater than if you were at home and put in the same situation. 

There are 2 MOST IMPORTANT things you need to know about Travel Insurance: 

  1. How to claim: know before you go. Your policy might require you get certain Doctor’s notes or Xray photos that will be hard to get once you’re back home. 
  2. You’ll probably have to pay the cost up front. Most often, you’ll have to pay the Dentist/Doctor/ Pharmacy bill before you leave their office. You’ll submit the receipt to the Travel Insurance company when you’re back home to be reimbursed. Make sure you have some emergency cash! 

 

Looking for a travel insurance? Give us a call!

Happy Travels 💃🕺 

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WITH THIS SIMPLE TOOL, I’ll walk you through creating a budget and other important things to remember when planning a trip.

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How to Know if You’re Talking to the Right Insurance Agent

There’s one simple mistake that a lot of us make when we start looking into an insurance policy – we think each insurance agent sells all kinds of insurance. And us agent aren’t great at clearing this up from the beginning. So, here’s a very basic explanation on how it works!

There are 2 categories of insurance: People (Personal) and Things (General).

General Insurance Agents can cover you for much more than just things, but the concept makes it easy to understand. They sell car insurance, house insurance, liability coverage, prepare for expensive emergencies, etc. They’ll help you cover things you can touch, expensive emergency situations (like hotel expenses after a house fire), and situations where you could be liable. There are levels of Insurance licenses the agent will be in depending on how many programs they choose to take. The more programs they take, the more coverage they can offer you.

Personal Insurance Agents can help you protect your ability to make money. If you’re too hurt or sick to work, or if you pass away, you’re not bringing in an income. Taking care of yourself while you’re disabled or paying for funeral expenses will also COST money. Personal Insurance Agents look at what you already qualify for – from Government Benefits to Employee Benefit Plans –  and find an insurance plan that works for you.

Insurance agents want to help. So if you’re ever confused on whether you’re talking to the right ‘type’ of agent, just ask them!

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