You are going shopping anyway so why not do this?

Bancroft Pregnancy CareI have recently been told of a program here in Bancroft that in my humble opinion is absolutely amazing. You can buy gift cards and support The Bancroft Pregnancy Care Centre … a win win!

How it works is you just purchase a card for the store of your choice (No Frills, Shoppers Drug Mart, or Foodland) from one of their pick up locations (Bancroft Pregnancy Centre, McMicheal Jewelers or Alice’s Pantry). You get the same value that you’ve paid for the card ($100 cash = $100 grocery card). The Pregnancy Centre receives 5% of the card value automatically. This is a huge help to them, since they rely completely on donations to keep their doors open, and it’s no extra money out of your pocket.

But if you think for a minute … it is an amazing budgeting tool as well. OK, I am going to come clean, it was actually Heather Johns that informed me of this program as she utilizes it herself in her work with clients. It is particularly helpful for people on a fixed income and people who like to spend money (which is all of us, right?) . Heck, they will be working great for me soon as I can be an impulse shopper.

With these cards, they make you think twice before tossing that extra bag on chips, or chocolate bar or…. into your cart. We all have a spending plan whether we realize it or not and sometimes can use that extra helping hand in order to to keep things on track.

My challenge to you is try it for one month (as I will be) not only are you supporting a great cause but you are also supporting yourself.

Urban Girl

Global Economics Update – July 2015 from Laird Research

Canada has a two speed economy: a struggling, western focused energy industry and a slower growing consumer products/manufacturing industry in the east. These two are not balanced out – the Bank of Canada was wrongly assuming that manufacturing would pick up the slack with lower energy prices and a favourable exchange rate.

Leave it to the kids, gradually

Ever thought about the potentially negative consequences of leaving a lump sum inheritance to your adult children??  Now, what could possibly be negative about an inheritance??  Well for starters, how about the risk that it could be squandered or at the very least, not used in the manner in which you had envisioned?  And let’s not forget marital breakdowns.  Fortunes have been lost in these battles that can go on for several years.

First of all, why would anyone be concerned about what their children / beneficiaries do with their inheritance??  Let’s face it, many people have trouble managing their finances, or lack thereof.  Just tune in to the show Till Debt Do Us Part!  In this “I want it all and I want it now” society, I’d say people are less financially secure than ever.  Do you really want to see everything you’ve worked for (assuming you don’t spend it all!) squandered on the latest gadgets and designer clothing?

Some people have gone to great lengths to include complicated instructions in their wills and/or establishing trusts, to control their assets after they die.  These methods can be effective but at the same time, are complicated and can also come with ongoing fees, and then need for someone to manage them, ie: a trustee for example.  For these reasons, I believe many people simply choose to avoid this type of planning completely, feeling it’s too complicated.

What it there was a cost effective way to do this that didn’t require a trustee or ongoing tax filing or any type of supervision??

There is a strategy called a “gradual inheritance concept”.  This involves the use of certain types of annuities that are triggered on death.  Instructions are put in place during one’s lifetime and upon death, the annuity(ies) get funded and the beneficiaries will receive an income stream, rather than a lump sum.  The income can be structured however you choose, ie: for life or for a fixed period of time.  This plan can be particularly beneficial for minors and financially dependent beneficiaries.  The best part, it requires no ongoing management (trustee) or tax filing, there are no fees and the income is guaranteed, much like a pension.

Like any estate planning strategy, this is merely one of the many tools available to those who seek advice and ask questions.  Unfortunately, many people simply accept the status-quo as their default estate plan and don’t realize the true potential to do some wonderful things “posthumously”.  Charitable giving can also be incorporated into this plan giving one the ability to continue supporting their favourite charity, eternally.  The sky really is the limit in what you can do.

Author: Grant Miller – Independent Financial Advisor