The last year of high school is filled with schooling, parties and the pressure of deciding what you want to be when you grow up. For most teens, this is a time overflowing with excitement to start their new identity and future. Unfortunately, some of you have already experienced what real-life can be like and have dealt with the loss of a parent or guardian. You have survived that, or are still surviving, and you’ve made the choice to take the next steps in your future and go to post-secondary school. The challenge of paying for this choice is now your primary concern.
Manulife is proud to announce the Manulife Life Lessons Scholarship Program for Post-secondary Students for those who have lost a parent or guardian and are left with little to no life insurance. The Scholarship Program helps combat the financial burden of paying for post-secondary education during an emotional time and recognizes the perseverance that so many youth show in such adversity. The Manulife Life Lessons Scholarship Program is committed to student success and helps support students financially, making the decision to attend and finish a college, university or trade school program a little easier.
This is a great opportunity for those who have gone through so much already and provides a chance at a new beginning. If you’re wondering if you qualify, click here for some additional information or contact us and we’ll be happy to walk through the process with you.
With all the societal changes in the last few decades, the one that seems to have staying power is the fitness trend. It started with Aerobics in the 80s which was taken over by Billy Banks with Tae Bo. Then came Spinning in the 90s, Zumba in the 2000s and most recently calisthenics’ and CrossFit. Some trends such as yoga and Tai Chi have survived the mania showing their true longevity. Then there are all the dietary trends such as being vegetarian, vegan, Atkin and now Keto.
Regardless of how you chose to manage your health and lifestyle, ensuring you have proper insurance coverage should be one of your choices. With the GMS plan options available, our Individual Health plans can will provide another layer of health insurance. These plans have coverage for emergency services, routine medical, paramedical, and so much more to offset coverage not offered through standard Provincial coverage.
If you’ve made the choice to be self-employed, on contract or work at a company which doesn’t offer coverage, a Personal Health Plan may be the right choice for you to gain some peace of mind. While you might be looking after your eating and physical well-being, life likes to throw us curve balls and we can’t also predict when illnesses or injuries occur. We’d love to discuss what’s important to you and help you choose the right option.
Spring is upon us (though the weather sure doesn’t feel like it) and real estate is just about to boom. That means home sales and purchases will be on the rise.
In the mix will be a number of first-time home buyers. Buying a home for the first time is one of the most exciting and completely terrifying life moments. It’s thrilling to experience looking at homes, horrifying to see the inside of some homes and inspiring to see others. When you find the right home for you, you want to make sure you have everything in place to make it yours – and still do it right.
There have been recent changes to the down payment requirements in Canada and this can make it challenging. This is where the government actually offers some assistance in the form of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Using this plan, you can use up to $35,000 from your RRSP for purchase of your home. If you’re buying with a second first time buyer, they can also withdraw the same amount giving you up to $70,000. That can make for a pretty nice house!
Using the HBP may allow you to avoid paying CMHC fees. Mortgage default insurance is required for any home buyer who has a down payment equal to less than 20% of the purchase price. This is meant to protect the lender but it also opens up the purchasing option for those who don’t have the funds.
The Home Buyers’ Plan is a great program, especially if you understand the parameters. You have 15 years to pay the funds back into your RRSP and this is an important number as any amounts not paid back are considered income and taxable.
Now the question of paying it back should you come into some money. There are a couple of ways of looking at it. Say you’re required to pay back $500/year but you find yourself with $1000. You could put $1000 on your HBP and it will decrease the length of time for complete payback. This will improve your returns as you will start earning on those amounts. The other way to look at it is to take the $500 and put it towards your HBP and take the other $500 and claim it as a RRSP contribution which will benefit your tax return. Both are good options, it depends on your goals.
Sometimes it helps to discuss these options with an independent party to get a better understanding of what this all means. As a Financial Planner, we can help clarify the best way to approach this exhilarating moment in time. Not to mention we can also help with setting up your mortgage based on our years of experience and contacts.
Graduating school, whether it’s high school, College or University should be one of the most exciting times in your life. Post-secondary education is a milestone which should open doors to your new future. You spent years putting in hard work with late night study session, writing papers and finishing assignments and you should be proud.
Now, as you’re walking up to accept your diploma to the applause of your friends and family, instead of celebrating, all you can think about is the task of paying off your student loans. According to the National Student Loan Centre, it takes an average of nine years for Canadian students to pay off their student loans. With the average student debt around $25,000, it is becoming more important to create a plan for repayment.
It can be overwhelming to think about what you owe, to whom and how you’ll repay it while still having a life. We’ve put together some suggestions for your plan:
- Determine Who You Owe
You may not even know what you owe and when it is due. The first step in the process is to determine who you owe money to.
- Read the Fine Print
Some people are aware of the grace period when it comes to student loan repayment however the interest on the federal portion starts on day one of graduation.
- Compare Interest Rates and Rank Loans
Each student loan has a different interest rate and payment schedule. Be sure to compare all the loans and the fine details to determine which loan to start with. Obviously start with the one with the highest interest rate.
- Create a Budget
It’s easier than you think; it’s not as scary as it sounds. Go through all your accounts and look for regular expenses. Go six months back at a minimum to ensure you capture quarterly payments. From there you can map out monthly, quarterly and annual bills to give you a clear indication of what you have left to spend and what you can put towards your debts.
- Pay Yourself First
Once you have secured employment, review your budget again and slide that debt payment up. Most students don’t make adjustments to their repayment plan in relation to their income. For bonuses and tax returns, as tempting as it is to spend it, you are better off making a lump sum repayment.
Long story short, repaying debt takes sacrifice and compromise. In order to retain your sanity and life quality, decide what you can and can’t live with and be reasonable with yourself. Chip away at it and celebrate your successes instead of wallowing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, from your family or reach out to us. We’d love to help.
A recent article by Joel Schlesinger at the Winnipeg Free Press presented the challenges being faced by a generation known to dance to their own tune. According to the study, there may have been too much dancing and not enough planning highlighted by the stat of 1 in six indicating they will be working until they die.
Our own Doug Buss was showcased in the article and shared his experience that this is not a surprise for those involved in the financial discussions with this demographic. “Growing up in an era of affluence bred complacency among some boomers.” says Doug.
It’s a great article that shows foresight can prevent the chance of getting to your golden years without a parachute. Take a read here.