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Glossary of
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What Are Interest Rates?
When we talk about interest rates, what rate are we referring to or does it matter? For example, on the Bank of Canada website, I see data on yields for Treasury Bills, Treasury Bonds, Corporate Paper, Banker’s Acceptances, Mortgages, etc. How are these different rates related?


Losing a family member provides an Inheritance
The stress caused by the death of a loved one can be compounded by the financial decisions involved in the ensuing inheritance. The emotions can be at times overwhelming, and cloud a bereaved person's judgment. It is at these times that you need the obvious support of family and friends, but also, a trusted financial advisor, to make sure what your loved one intended for you financially is put to the best use possible.


Be aware of expiring or expired SINs
Certain individuals who are either working in Canada or legally admitted for some other authorized use will require a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN). In the case where these individuals are not Canadian citizens or landed immigrants, the SIN issued to them will begin with a "9". All SINS beginning with a "9" now have an expiry date.


Debt you say?
Financial experts are high on low interest rates and will remain so at least while rates stay low. And, with home equity hitting new highs, consumers are quickly becoming "paper" wealthy rather than "cash" rich. So how do you turn your paper wealth into cash investments?


Still coping with Christmas debt?
Facing up to the bills of 2003 can be a paralyzing experience for some. In her book Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella’s character Rebecca Bloomwood tries to make peace with her overspending-self. It does make for humorous reading but the similarities to real life make it sadly tragic. After 25 years in financial services, I’m afraid I have run into more than my fair share of real life shopaholics.


Dealing with divorce
When divorce happens, finances are one of the biggest considerations. It’s a good idea to educate yourself about your finances now, and stave off any financial surprises down the road.


Regulator warns investors to steer clear of Ponzi-style investment schemes; many con artists use this process to get your money.
How did Ponzi lure so many people into his scheme? Investors were attracted to Ponzi's plan because he guaranteed high returns over a short period of time - profits of 50% every 45 days. Unfortunately these returns were not from the success of a real investment. Instead, the returns were paid from the investors' own money and the contributions of other investors. The essence of the Ponzi scheme is that money is 'borrowed from Peter to pay Paul'.


Focus on the whole, not the parts
Too often, investors focus on extremes. The best-and worst-performing assets in a portfolio stand out, while everything else goes more or less unnoticed. It's only natural: We all want to be holding winners and avoiding losers. As a result, it's easy to lose sight of the portfolio as a whole.


Women and finance: An ever-changing world
Women have special needs when it comes to financial planning. On average, they earn less than men and are more likely to take time out of the workforce to raise children or take care of elderly relatives. But they also live longer, making the need to save even more important. Your financial advisor should recognize these differences and understand that every woman needs to have a financial plan.


Revisit your financial plan when you inherit
If you have received money as a result of an inheritance, you may have mixed feeling about it. On one hand, you have money that you never expected to receive; a windfall. On the other hand, you have lost a loved one. This puts a burden on you to act responsibly with whatever you have inherited.


Financial considerations when remarrying
Money can be an emotional issue and no two people have the same approach to finances. But there are similar questions that both partners should ask each other before they marry.


Death, disability and the family business
An owner of a small family business is often too preoccupied with day-to-day operations to make any formal plans to address how that business would be handled if he/she dies or becomes seriously disabled.


Boomernomics: How baby boomers' savings might boost financial assets
Twenty-five years ago, Canadian baby boomers born in the late 1940s and early 1950s began trading their bell bottoms and love beads for business attire. They got jobs and bought cars. They got married and had children. Then they bought houses and furniture. And they borrowed...and borrowed...and borrowed.


A tale of two booms
Up until recently, few Canadians concerned themselves with population trends. While we all understood the term "baby boom", not too many of us considered the impact that this extraordinarily large number of people would have on the way we will live in the future.


Can you afford to send your children to college?
According to Statistics Canada, the cost of university tuition in Canada increased by 152% between the years 1985 and 1995. If you have a youngster who is contemplating university, tuition, rent, books and food could cost over $ 9,000 per year for 1998-99 (based on Canadian Federation of Students statistics for 1995-96 of $ 8,890 with annual inflation of 3.00%).


The ex-spouse, child support and the Insurance policy
Marriage breakdown and the designation of beneficiaries of insurance policies often produce disastrous results. The recent Ontario case illustrates some of the pitfalls.


Start counting your paycheques
Have you ever thought about the number of paycheques you'll receive before you retire? If you haven't, here's a sobering thought: A 25-year-old who plans to retire at age 65 has 960 paydays left. A 45-year-old has only 480. Assuming that you will receive 24 paycheques a year for the rest of your working life, how many do you have left?


Substitute Decisions Act
Recently there has been a flurry of inaccurate media coverage of the new Substitute Decisions Act. Lawyers and government have received many anxious calls from people who have heard that they must make a Power of Attorney before the legislation becomes effective, otherwise the government will take over their affairs. This is simply not so. Here, I will clarify the points.


Myths and misconceptions in Ontario Family Law
In certain situations, living together is "the same as" being married. For instance, the Canada Pension Plan recognizes common-law spouses, as do many private pension and benefit plans. As well, a common-law spouse can claim support from his or her spouse if their relationship ends, as long as the couple had lived together for three years. The couple must have lived together for 1 year to be considered "spouses" for the purpose of the Income Tax Act.


The cottage - Keeping it in your family
The family cottage holds memories for many families. Parents often wish to leave the family cottage to their children, hoping that it will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. But what happens to the cottage if one of the children separates from his or her spouse? Benefiting an ex-son or daughter-in-law is not usually what the parents have in mind. It is prudent to give the possibility of the separation or divorce of a child some consideration when planning for the disposition of the family cottage.




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Companion Advisor
General Interest
Debt you say?

Losing a family member provides an Inheritance

How can mortgage rates be going up when prime is coming down?

Regulator warns investors to steer clear of Ponzi-style investment schemes

Focus on the whole, not the parts

Women and finance: An ever-changing world

Revisit your financial plan when you inherit

Financial considerations when remarrying

Death, disability and the family business

The ex-spouse, child support and the Insurance policy

Can you afford to send your children to college?

Start counting your paycheques

Substitute Decisions Act

Boomernomics: How baby boomers' savings might boost financial assets

A tale of two booms

Myths and misconceptions in Ontario Family Law

The Cottage: Keeping it in your family



The Money Management Newsletter:
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General Interest