Protecting Estate Values When Your Investments Decline

The total net value of your estate represents what you will leave to your family when you die. It may include the following:

  • Your residence;

  • Cottage or other recreational property;

  • Investment real estate;

  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and commodities

  • Life insurance;

  • Any other assets you wish to leave to your heirs.

After paying off any liabilities, taxes arising at death, last expenses etc., what is left over is what your family will use to maintain the lifestyle that you created for them.

Two easy ways to make sure debt and investment losses do not impact the estate you leave for your family

  • Insure your debt

  • Insure against market drops and other investment losses

Consider life insuring your debt and investment declines so that your heirs are not burdened by outstanding liabilities and market fluctuations.

In 2008, many investors experienced a decline of 40% to 50% in their equity portfolios resulting in a significant reduction in the amount of the estate to be left to their beneficiaries.

A greater problem was experienced by those that had used bank loans to leverage their investments.  The value of those investments may have declined by up to 50% but the loan balance didn’t decrease at all.

Even if the investments are not leveraged, there is always a risk to the estate should the equity markets decline.

Be Prepared – The risk of waiting to insure for losses

Of course, you could always top up your life insurance when the market declines right?  Not necessarily.  If you have lost all or part of your insurability due to health that could be a problem.

Consider hedging against possible future decreases in your investments by purchasing life insurance specifically for this reason.

For hedging purposes, any form of life insurance can be used. Term insurance is an inexpensive way to insure for shorter terms such as 10 or 20 years.

Participating Whole Life Insurance should be considered for protecting your investments through diversification and building in stable returns. It is the only type of life insurance that is guaranteed to increase in value and death benefit regardless of equity market conditions.

Other benefits of Participating Whole life include

  • Can be used as an investment in place of bond or GIC-type investments.

  • The cash values of these policies grow on a tax-deferred or tax-free basis.

  • If funds are required for unforeseen expenses or to make additional investments, the policy can be borrowed against either from a lending institution or directly from the insurance company.

Using Participating Whole Life insurance satisfies two objectives – providing a hedge against equity values declining prior to death and adding additional stability and less volatility to the overall portfolio.

Summary of how to manage the risk of estate shrinkage due to adverse equity market conditions:

Hedge the estate value of your investments

Select a percentage of your equity investments that you wish to protect if you die when market values have fallen.  Purchase life insurance for this amount.  For example, if you have $2,000,000 of equity investments and you wish to hedge 40% consider buying $800,000 of life insurance.

Life insure the loan in a leveraged investment strategy

It’s always a good idea to life insure debt. This is particularly the case when insuring leverage loans to protect against investment values falling prior to death while the loan is still outstanding.

Consider Participating Whole Life as a method to optimize your estate

Unlike equity investments, the values of a whole life policy cannot decrease.  As long as the premium is paid the cash value and death benefit will continue to increase.  This provides stability in your investment portfolio and reduces volatility.  The increasing death benefit will optimize the value of your estate for the benefit of your family and heirs.

Combining your investment portfolio with an effective life insurance strategy to maximize the value of your estate is a prudent means to provide for your family.  Great comfort comes with the knowledge that even if your investments decline your family will be adequately provided for in the manner you wished them to have.

Connect with me if you wish to discuss this further.  As always, please feel free to share this with anyone you think will find it of interest.

What the Wealthy Know about Life Insurance

If you have ever thought that life insurance was something you wouldn’t need after you reached a certain level of financial security, you might be interested in knowing why many wealthy individuals still carry large amounts of insurance. Consider the following:

·     A life insurance advisor in California recently placed a $201 million dollar life insurance policy on the life of a tech industry billionaire;

·     Well known music executive David Geffen was life insured for $100 million;

·     Malcolm Forbes, owner of Forbes Magazine, was insured at the time of his death in 1990 for $70 million.

While life insurance is most often looked upon as a vehicle to protect ones family or business, the question that springs to mind is why would individuals with wealth need life insurance? 

The most common factor connecting people of wealth is that they have a substantial amount of deferred income tax that must be paid upon death.   In addition, they often have a strong desire to make a substantial donation to a favourite charity or educational institution.

“Life insurance is an efficient way to transfer money to your heirs.” – Malcom Forbes

In Canada, individuals are deemed to have disposed of all their assets at fair market value when they die, which often results in taxable capital gains and other deferred taxes coming due. Paying premiums for insurance that will cover these taxes is almost always less expensive and more efficient than converting assets.

When allocating your investment dollars, it is helpful to understand what investments have the highest exposure to income tax.

Fully Tax Exposed

Investments which are taxed at the highest rate of income tax:

·     Interest bearing instruments such as bonds, savings accounts, guaranteed investment certificates;

·     Rents;

·     Withdrawals or income from registered plans such as RSP’s or RPP’s.

Tax Advantaged

Investments which are taxed at lower rates of income tax:

·     Investments which are taxed as a capital gain;

·     Dividends;

·     Flow through share programs;

·     Prescribed annuity income.

Tax Deferred

Investments on which income tax is deferred until the asset is disposed of or the investor dies:

·     Registered Savings Plans;

·     Individual and Registered Pension Plans

·     Investments producing deferred capital gains.

Registered plans, in addition to having the growth tax deferred also have the added advantage of the contributions being tax deductible.

Tax Free

Certain investment assets are totally free of income tax:

·     Principal residence;

·     Tax Free Savings Accounts;

·     Death benefit of life insurance policies.

Life Insurance as an Investment

While the death benefit of life insurance policies is tax free, it is important to recognize that this also includes the investment gains made on the cash value portion of the policy. With this in mind, many investors have discovered that by allocating a portion of long term investments to a Universal Life or Participating Whole Life policy, the results can be significant when compared to tax exposed or tax advantaged investments.

Life Insurance for Estate Planning

One of the main objectives of estate planning is to maximize the amount we leave to our families or bequeath to our favourite charities. What many wealthy families have learned is that one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to reduce the portion of the estate which is lost to the government to pay taxes at death.

While this helps explain why many individuals of wealth maintain life insurance, it also underscores the advantages of life insurance to anyone who will have taxes or other liquidity needs at death. In addition, using life insurance as part of a charitable giving strategy can provide significant benefits to both the donor and the charity.  

As Malcolm Forbes alluded to, for providing capital to protect your family’s future financial security, paying taxes at death and creating a charitable legacy, nothing is more efficient or effective than life insurance. 

Please feel free to share this article with anyone who may find it of interest.

 

Alberta Budget 2018

The 2018 budget for Alberta focuses on the diversification of its post-recession economy, with the aim of creating more stability and less vulnerability to future fluctuations in oil prices. Here are some of the highlights:

Corporate

Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

Alberta intends to bring in a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit with a maximum funding of $20 million per year, which aims to offer eligible companies with a benefit of 25% of eligible labour costs. This benefit relates to costs incurred after April 1, 2018 and is aiming to better support the interactive digital media sector in the province.

Alberta Investor Tax Credit

The 2018 budget extends the existing Alberta Investor Tax Credit until 2012-22. The existing program offers a 30% tax credit to both individuals and corporations who commit to making equity investments in eligible Alberta businesses, such as those involved in research, development, digital animation and various others.

Diversity & Inclusion Credit

Relating to the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit and Alberta Investor Tax Credit, the budget notes a 5% diversity and inclusion credit enhancement which could be claimed if the company offers employment to an individual from an under-represented group.

Capital Investment Tax Credit

The budget announces that the Capital Investment Tax Credit, a 10% non-refundable tax credit of up to $5 million for a corporation’s eligible capital expenditures on manufacturing, processing and tourism infrastructure, will also be extended until 2021-22.

Personal

Alberta Child Benefit

The 2018 budget details increases to these benefits for families with 1, 2, 3 and 4 plus children, as well as increasing the phase-out threshold for family net income from $41,786 to $42,287.

Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit

Increases have also been announced in the budget to offer more benefits for working families who have income from employment of more than $2,760 per year. The phase-out threshold has been extended from a family net income of $41,786 to $42,287, as well as increases to the benefit amounts for each family size.

Cannabis Tax

The budget covers the agreement made by Alberta to adhere to a structured tax framework with the Canadian government for a period of two years after the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. Specifically, either $1 per gram or 10% of the producer price (whichever is greater) will be collected and the province will receive 75% of this tax room, both to be collected by the federal government. In addition, an additional tax of a maximum of 10% of the retail price may also be collected by the province.

Education Property Tax

A freeze has been set on education property tax collection, but the current rates have increased as follows:

·      From $2.48 to $2.56 per $1,000 or equalized assessment for residential/farmland property.

From $3.64 to £3.76 for non-residential property

Ontario Budget 2018

The 2018 Ontario budget features a number of new measures and billions of dollars of enhanced spending across the spectrum, as announced by the province’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa. Read on for some of the key proposals.

Personal

Eliminate Surtax

A new sliding scale for personal income tax will be introduced, with seven personal income tax rates which will be applied directly to taxable income, in an attempt to eliminate Ontario’s surtax. The province estimates that approximately 680,000 will pay less tax as a result.

Free Tuition

Access to further education will be income linked, with those families with an income of less than $90,000 per year receiving free tuition and families with an income of between $90,000 and $175,00 per year receiving financial aid for tuition costs.

Free Pre-School Child Care

Effective in the Fall of 2020, children aged two-and-a-half until they are eligible for kindergarten can receive free licensed child care. 

New Ontario Drug and Dental Program

For those without workplace benefits or not covered by OHIP+, this program offers up to 4.1 million Ontarians a benefit that pays up to 80% of expense up to a cap of $400 for a single person, up to $600 for a couple and $50 per child in a family with two children, regardless of their income.

Free Prescription Drugs

The budget announces the introduction of free prescription drugs for those aged 65 or older, resulting in an average of $240 per year in savings per senior.

Charitable Donation Tax Credit

The non-refundable Ontario Charitable Donation Tax Credit will be tweaked to increase the top rate, remaining at 5.05% for the first $200 but increasing to 17.5% for anything above $200.

Seniors’ Healthy Home Program

$750 is offered to eligible households with seniors of 75 years of age or older to help them to care for and maintain their residence.

Corporate

R&D Tax Credit

The budget introduces a non-refundable tax credit of 3.5% on eligible costs relating to R&D, or an enhanced rate of 5.5% for eligible expenditures of $1 million plus. Note that this enhanced rate would not be payable to corporations where eligible R&D expenditures in the current tax year are less than 90% of eligible R&D expenditures in the tax year before.

Innovation Tax Credit

The existing Ontario Innovation Tax Credit will see changes to its credit rate in the following way:

·      If a company has a ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenues of 10% or less, they will continue to receive the 8% credit.

·      If their ratio is between 10% and 20%, they will receive an enhanced credit rate of between 8-12%, calculated on a straight line basis.

·      If their ratio is 20% or more, they will receive an enhanced credit rate of 12%.

Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

Eligibility to receive this tax credit will be broadened to include film and television websites.

2018 Federal Budget Highlights for Families

Several key changes relating to personal financial arrangements are covered in the Canadian government’s 2018 federal budget, which could affect the finances of you and your family. Below are some of the most significant changes to be aware of:

Parental Leave

The government is creating a new five-week “use-it-or-lose-it” incentive for new fathers to take parental leave. This would increase the EI parental leave to 40 weeks (maximum) when the second parent agrees to take at least 5 weeks off. Effective June 2019, couples who opt for extended parental leave of 18 months, the second parent can take up to 8 additional weeks, at 33% of their income.

Gender Equality

The government aims to reduce the gender wage gap by 2.7% for public servants and 2.6% in the federal private sector. The aim is to ensure that men and women receive the same pay for equal work. They have also announced increased funding for female entrepreneurs.

Trusts

Effective for 2021 tax filings, the government will require reporting for certain trusts to provide information to provide information on identities of all trustees, beneficiaries, settlors of the trust and each person that has the ability to exert control over the trust.

Registered Disability Savings Plan holders

The budget proposes to extend to 2023 the current temporary measure whereby a family member such as a spouse or parent can hold an RDSP plan on behalf of an adult with reduced capacity.

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

2018 Federal Budget Highlights for Business

The government’s 2018 federal budget focuses on a number of tax tightening measures for business owners. It introduces a new regime for holding passive investments inside a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC). (Previously proposed in July 2017.)

 Here are the highlights:

Small Business Tax Rate Reduction Confirmed

Lower small business tax rate from 10% (from 10.5%), effective January 1, 2018 and to 9% effective January 1, 2019.

Limiting Access to the Small Business Tax Rate

A key objective of the budget is to decrease the small business limit for CCPCs with a set threshold of income generated from passive investments. This will apply to CCPCs with between $50,000 and $150,000 of investment income. It reduces the small business deduction by $5 for each $1 of investment income which falls over the threshold of $50,000. This new ­regulation will go hand in hand with the current business limit reduction for taxable capital.

Limiting access to refundable taxes

 Another important feature of the budget is to reduce the tax advantages that CCPCs can gain to access refundable taxes on the distribution of dividends. Currently, a corporation can receive a refundable dividend tax on hand (known as a RDTOH) when they pay a particular dividend, whereas the new proposals aim to permit such a refund only where a private corporation pays non-eligible dividends, though exceptions apply regarding RDTOH deriving from eligible portfolio dividends.

The new RDTOH account referred to “eligible RDTOH” will be tracked under Part IV of the Income Tax Act while the current RDTOH account will be redefined as “non-eligible RDTOH” and will be tracked under Part I of the Income Tax Act. This means when a corporation pays non-eligible dividends, it’s required to obtain a refund from its non-eligible RDTOH account before it obtains a refund from its eligible RDTOH account.

Health and welfare trusts

The budget states that it will end the Health and Welfare Trust tax regime and transition it to Employee Life and Health Trusts. The current tax position of Health and Welfare Trusts are linked to the administrative rules as stated by the CRA, but the income Tax Act includes specific rules relating to the Employee Life and Heath Trusts which are similar. The budget will simplify this arrangement to have one set of rules across both arrangements.

BC Budget Highlights 2018

BC Finance Minister Carole James delivered the province’s 2018 budget update on February 20, 2018. The budget anticipates a surplus of $219 million for the current year, $281 million for 2019 and $284 million in 2020.

Corporate and personal tax rates remain unchanged.

The biggest changes are:

  • Elimination of Medical Services Plan (MSP Premiums) effective January 1, 2020
  • Addition of the Employer Health Tax (EHT)
  • Provincial Property Taxes
  • Childcare

The Employer Health Tax and Medical Services Plan premiums:

Effective January 1, 2020, the Medical Services Premium (MSP) will be eliminated. In last year’s budget update, MSP was reduced by 50% effective January 1, 2018. Starting in 2019, the budget introduces the Employer Health Tax (EHT). The EHT is to help fund the elimination of the MSP premiums.

The Employer Health Tax will be calculated as a percentage of payroll:

Provincial Property Transfer Taxes

Effective February 21, 2018, the following will occur:

  • The provincial property transfer taxes (PTT) will increase to 5% (from 3%) on residential property values above $3 million.
  • The PPT applies to foreign purchasers of residential properties in BC will increase to 20% (from 15%) and the tax will extend to include the Fraser Valley, Capital, Nanaimo and Central Okanagan Regional Districts.
  • There is a new speculation tax on residential property in BC. This tax is targeted at foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay income tax in BC. Starting in 2018, it’s a rate of $5/$1,000 of assessed value, in 2019, this will increase to $20/$1,000.

Childcare

There will be a new affordable child care benefit that will reduce child care costs by up to $1,250 per month per child by 2020. The new benefit will apply in September 2018. Families with pre-tax incomes of $45,000 or less will receive the full benefit, (up to the cost of care) while those who make up to $111,000 will receive a reduced amount, scaling based on income. The government will be releasing an online benefit calculator to help parents budget.

The budget will provide up to $350/month directly to licensed child care providers to reduce fees. They will be the following:

  • Up to $350/month for group infant/toddler care
  • Up to $200/month for family infant/toddler care
  • Up to $100/month for group care for children aged 3-5
  • Up to $60/month for family care for children aged 3-5

To learn how these changes will affect you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

RRSP Deadline is March 1, 2018. How much tax can you save?

RRSP Deadline: March 1, 2018

The deadline for contributing to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for the 2017 tax filing year is March 1, 2018. You generally have 60 days within the new calendar year to make RRSP contributions that can be applied to lowering your taxes for the previous year.

If you want to see how much tax you can save, enter your details below!