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Do You Fly South for the Winter?

What Snowbirds Need to Know About Residency Rules

After another harsh winter, many Canadians dream of joining the large number of Snowbirds who make their way to the dry warmth of California, Arizona and Florida each winter season. If you are contemplating, or already are, becoming a Snowbird and whiling away the winter months in warmer climes south of the border it is important to understand how the new U.S. Tax laws apply under these circumstances. The last thing you would want is to find that the Internal Revenue Service considers you a US resident making you liable for U.S. income tax or subject to U.S. penalties or both.

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Four Things You Need To Know About Inexpensive Term Insurance

The most basic form of insurance and the simplest to understand is Renewable and Convertible Term Insurance. Coverage is provided for a specified term, the policy renews automatically at the end each term period until the policy expires, most commonly at age 85. This plan has the lowest initial cost at entry, but don’t be mesmerized by the low cost because on renewal you will pay a substantial increase. If, however, you become uninsurable before the end of the term period you will have no other option but to renew or convert it to a permanent plan if you want to keep the coverage.

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How Much Risk Can You Tolerate? Part 3 of 3

Over the past two months we have examined some of the risks that challenge most of us. It is almost impossible to avoid risk entirely. Knowing where the pitfalls lie and planning for them will certainly help. You might, however, want to consider shifting the risk to someone else, like a life insurance company. Life insurance companies are in the risk business and they have products and services that can assist you in dealing with risk. Some of these are as follows:

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How Much Risk Can You Tolerate? Part 2 of 3

Last month we discussed how much risk you could tolerate depending on your life situation. This month we will consider other risks to which each of us are exposed:

Market Risk: We all have experienced the effects of a volatile market and the havoc it can cause both financially and emotionally. Since mid 2008 the market has experienced “saw tooth” rates of return and many have fled the equity markets in an attempt to avoid this volatility and the risk that comes with it. For those that were in the process of retiring and were still in equity funds, many had to put retirement on hold. Read more

Featured Articles


Financial Aftermath of Separation

by Lisa McColl for

Divorce is rarely anything but messy and unpleasant, and sometimes the repercussions can be unexpected. General financial and familial fallout are predictable, but the finer details aren’t. There are many things to consider when guiding your portfolio through this rocky time.

Advisor Complications

In addition to separation from a spouse, divorce can mean separation of you and your advisor, notes Linda Cartier, president of the Academy of Financial Divorce Specialists.

If your advisor worked with both you and your ex-spouse equally, you may need to choose which one of you continues that relationship and who finds a new one. You may even need to both get new financial advisors until the divorce is settled to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Relationship breakdowns can also cause privacy issues.

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If you had a crippling accident or were diagnosed with a critical illness tomorrow, would your family be able to cope?

by Julie Cazzin, for Money Sense

Ten years ago, Janet Freedman was rushing out the door of her home for work. Her arms loaded with tax returns, she missed a step on the stairs on her front porch and fell, hitting her head on the concrete. When her neighbours found her, she was barely conscious, with her head trapped between her own front steps and those of the house next door.

Paralyzed, with a partially severed spinal cord, it took more than six months of hospitalization and two years of intensive physiotherapy for Freedman to resume her life. She was unable to work and had no one to support her. “Thank goodness I had a good private disability insurance plan,” says Freedman, a certified financial planner and author of Hit by an Iceberg: Coping with Disability in Mid-Career. “Those payments allowed me to concentrate on my rehabilitation and to live my life without worrying about where the money was coming from for daily living expenses. That made a big difference to me and my recovery.”

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Brenda’s Story – Critical Illness Insurance