It’s time to brush up on finance again
November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM), and here at Oaken we’re all prepped. Financial literacy is a key skill that has garnered a lot more attention in recent years. Recognizing that many Canadians have a limited understanding of basic financial concepts, the federal government launched this program in 2012, under the leadership of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). Today it has grown into a nationwide initiative that includes government, business, schools and non-profit organizations.
What’s it all about?
The aim of FLM is to strengthen Canadians’ understanding of personal finance. That involves three main goals of teaching people to:
- Manage money and debt wisely
- Save for the future
- Understand financial rights and responsibilities
For this year, the theme of FLM is “Invest In Your Financial Well-Being”. That’s broken down into weekly sub-topics that receive special focus, from paying off debt and making informed decisions, to starting good habits early. There will also be FLM events going on across the country during November. Click here for a database to help you find out what might be happening in your area.
You can also brush up on your financial literacy right here, in front of your screen, by subscribing to the FCAC’s Financial Literacy Newsletter and following their blog. Both are good ways to keep up on personal finance issues. Also, the FCAC has compiled an extensive database of articles, consumer guides and other information on every personal finance topic under the sun—from fraud, financial planning and credit, to insurance, mortgages and retirement. There are also a variety of search options that provide information specific to particular groups, such as students or seniors. So browse around, get informed, and celebrate Financial Literacy Month with us!
The two main types of life insurance
Last month we took a look at the complexities of life insurance, and the various factors that affect how much you might want to purchase. This month, we’re looking at the different kinds of insurance available to you, which divide into two basic categories: term and permanent.
The most popular form of coverage people choose is term insurance, which protects you for a specified period—for example, 15 years. It’s chiefly designed to provide peace of mind to policyholders during a critical period in life, such as the early stages of parenthood, when the death of an adult might prove financially catastrophic for their spouse and children. This kind of insurance is renewable, even if the holder suffers a decline in health that might have otherwise disqualified him or her as a first-time buyer. However, it’s only available up to a specified age, usually somewhere between 60 and 75.
There are two key advantages to this policy. The first is that it’s much cheaper than permanent insurance, for the obvious reason that it involves less risk of a payout for the insurance provider. The second advantage is that it allows you to tailor your coverage closely to your needs. The financial consequences of dying are not the same for one’s family throughout life, and term insurance lets you buy coverage for just those years when you want it.
As its name suggests, permanent insurance provides coverage for the rest of your life. One type of permanent insurance is called whole life. The premium is fixed, and in some cases you can pay for a prescribed period and then never again. Whole life insurance can also be used as an investment vehicle, since part of the premium is used to cover mortality and part to build up investment capital that pays out dividends.
A variant on this is called universal life insurance. It also pays a lump sum at death and contains an investment component. But in this case it’s the policy holder, not the insurance company, who decides where that component will be invested. This gives you greater flexibility in structuring your policy, but requires you to research what investment instruments will be best suited to your needs. Finally, remember to consult with your financial advisor before buying any kind of life insurance, since they will be able to guide you through all the ins and outs, especially the relevant tax implications.
Legal cannabis is here
On October 17, cannabis became legalized in Canada. This development has not been without controversy, as cannabis had been illegal since 1923. Objections to its use has centred on the health effects occasioned by marijuana consumption, as well as its alleged potential to serve as a “gateway drug” to other more harmful narcotics. However, multiple court cases over the years challenged the blanket ban on marijuana, and in 2001 the Supreme Court eased restrictions on its use for medical purposes. Subsequent cases permitted patients to grow small quantities of marijuana for their own use, instead of having to rely on approved suppliers.
While full legalization has come about as a result of changing societal attitudes, the chief driver has always been the supposed medical advantages of the drug. This is a fascinating field. There’s considerable anecdotal evidence for the relief of pain provided by cannabis for a range of ailments, but the hard scientific proof is much harder to come by.
To read more about this interesting topic that has now entered a new era in Canada, check out the full blog post here.
A chance to come see us, and to win!
Just a reminder that we’ll be at the Toronto ZoomerShow on October 27 & 28, as well as the National Women’s Show on November 9-11. The ZoomerShow is being held at the Enercare Centre, and we’re pleased to be able to offer our customers free tickets for it—just click here to get yours. The National Women’s Show is taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and tickets for that event are still available via their website. And don’t forget that we’ll be holding separate draws for attendees of either event, the prize for each being a $250 Amazon gift card, so there’s another reason to drop by and say hello!
But if you’re not able to make it to either show and enter this contest, you can always take part in any of our quarterly in-store draws, for a chance to win a $500 GIC! Just drop by either our Toronto store or Calgary store, and enter your details on one of our iPads. The winner for our third quarterly draw (July through September) was Saradha Ravichandran, who is now the proud owner of a brand new $500 Oaken GIC. Congratulations, Saradha!
It’s going to get cold soon, so warm up with our cozy reading list for October, best served with a hot beverage and a treat or two…
- The Vancouver Sun presents a case for boosting financial literacy in Canada.
- Jonathan Chevreau on what Canadians think they need to retire, and whether they’ve got a plan to get there.
- Even though they’ve been flying high this year, if you’re thinking of investing in marijuana stocks, you’ll want to read this Financial Post article first.