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October 2013

Isotonix Champion Blend Plus

Isotonix Champion Blend Plus
What Makes the Isotonix Champion Blend Plus Unique?
Approved by Carmelo Anthony, Isotonix Champion Blend Plus is exactly what your body needs to preserve your muscles with essential nutrients, keep your body’s defenses up with powerful antioxidants, and provide you with a huge boost of energy from great vitamins. Performance, defense, energy – everything you need to be a true champion.

Performance is the key measure of success, which is why Isotonix Champion Blend Plus is formulated to help benefit the performance of active adults with instantized branch chain amino acids. Being isotonic you’re getting a product with superior bioavailability, allowing for faster results.

To defend your body from ongoing wear and tear, Isotonix Champion Blend Plus provides an array of benefits, thanks to the inclusion of the antioxidant Pycnogenol® to help combat many aggressive free radicals before they cause oxidative stress to the body.

Finally, all adults need the energy to stay healthy and remain active. Activated forms of B vitamins – which are more readily processed by the body- have been included in order to promote the maintenance of good health.

And, thanks to the utilization of the most advanced nutrient delivery system available anywhere – Isotonix - you can be sure your body is getting the most rapid absorption, no binders or fillers and maximum results. It all adds up to an unmatched product for the person looking to raise their game to the next level – Isotonix Champion Blend Plus.
Pycnogenol® is registered trademark of Horphag Reaserch, Ltd. Use of this product may be protected by one or more U.S patents and other international patents
Key Ingredients Found in Isotonix Champion Blend Plus:


Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree, which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France in Les Landes de Gascogne. This unspoiled and natural forest environment is the unique source of pine bark. Pycnogenol is one of the most researched ingredients in the natural product marketplace. Published findings have demonstrated Pycnogenol’s wide array of beneficial effects on the body. Pine bark extract is an all-natural combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids. The extract has three basic properties — it is a powerful antioxidant, selectively binds to collagen and elastin, and promotes the normal production of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes the normal dilation of dilate blood vessels. As one of the most potent natural scavenger of free radicals, Pycnogenol combats free radicals before they cause oxidative stress to vital organs. Its antioxidant capabilities help to maintain joint flexibility and promote cardiovascular health.

Instantized Branch Chain Amino Acids (IBCAAs)

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are considered essential, as they cannot be synthesized by the human body and, therefore, must be consumed through diet or supplementation. Unlike other amino acids, BCAA are used primarily by skeletal muscle, making up 30-35 percent of the muscle tissue itself. These amino acids are important for muscle growth and retention and in the regulation of many cellular processes. As aging occurs, the body’s ability to build and retain muscle tissue or size is reduced, which can result in weakness and frailty. Research has shown that supplementation with BCAA promotes muscle retention in older adults. Additionally, it has been shown that supplementation of BCAA during exercise supports muscle protein synthesis and inhibits protein catabolism (breakdown) and muscle fatigue. Studies have also indicated that BCAAs improve mental concentration and reduce and delay mental fatigue. Though the exact mechanism by which BCAA affect mental performance is not known, it is hypothesized that by increasing blood levels of BCAA, the transport of tryptophan (causes relaxation/sleepiness) into the brain is balanced. By using instantized BCAAs within the isotonic system, there is a quicker dissolution and increased bioavailability.

Activated B Vitamins (Methylcobalamin and Pyridoxal 5’ Phosphate)
B vitamins are necessary components for numerous metabolic processes in the body. This formula contains the activated forms of select B vitamins to ensure optimal use by the body. By using these advanced forms, the body has to work less for complete utilization and effectiveness is increased. Methylcobalamin (B12) and pyridoxal 5’ phosphate (B6) have been shown to have healthy effects on cardiovascular and nervous system health. Additionally, B vitamins such as B1, B5, niacin and biotin have been added to support energy levels and promote cardiovascular health.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is primarily known for its antioxidant benefits and strong role in immune health. Vitamin C helps support cardiovascular health and supports the integrity of blood vessels. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy connective tissues including collagen, elastin, fibronectin, proteoglycans, bone matrix and elastin-associated fibrillin. Also, a lack of vitamin C can cause general fatigue. Next, vitamin C helps moderate healthy iron absorption, transport and storage.

Vitamin D3
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in some foods and endogenously produced when sunlight strikes the skin and activates vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D promotes the efficient intestinal absorption of calcium, by supporting the synthesis of calcium-binding proteins to promote normal calcium absorption and retention. Vitamin D also promotes the normal formation of bone and normal bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by factors such as lack of exposure to sunlight, reduced skin synthesis of vitamin D, lower dietary intake, impaired intestinal absorption, and reduced metabolism to active forms of vitamin D by the kidneys, all of which increase with aging. Deficiency has been linked to numerous health concerns and insufficient levels of this vitamin are associated with weak bones and muscle weakness. In addition to promoting strong bones, vitamin D also has other roles in health, including supporting the body’s normal modulation of neuromuscular function and immune function. Vitamin D has been shown to support immune-modulation, and it is thought that supplementation promotes immune health by promoting the body’s normal regulation of T-cell function. In reference to cellular health, vitamin D supports the modulation of many genes that are responsible for encoding proteins that regulate normal cell cycle activity. Vitamin D levels have been strongly correlated to healthy cells.
Primary Benefits of Isotonix Champion Blend Plus:
·         Helps to maintain proper muscle function
·         An antioxidant for the maintenance of good health
·         Helps the body to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins
·         Helps in tissue formation
·         Helps in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums
·         Helps in connective tissue formation
·         Helps normal growth and development
·         Helps in wound healing
·         Helps in the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus
·         Helps to form red blood cells
·         A factor in the maintenance of good health
Frequently Asked Questions About Isotonix Champion Blend Plus:

Should this product be taken on an empty stomach?
Yes. Maximum absorption occurs when taken on an empty stomach.

I am healthy and athletic. Why should I take Isotonix Champion Blend Plus?
Everyone is vulnerable to the aging process caused by continuous free radical damage. Athletes tend to be exposed to elevated levels of oxidative stress. Free radicals develop as byproducts during metabolism when calories are processed with oxygen. Athletes inhale 10 to 20 times more oxygen during physical activity over rest periods. The increase in activity creates additional free radicals. In fact, these free radicals are known to limit performance, as free radicals appear to take their toll on muscle tissue. Not only does Isotonix Champion Blend Plus help defend your body against free radical damage thanks to Pycnogenol, but the inclusion of instantized branch chain amino acids can help reduce muscle fatigue, allowing for better workouts.

Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit

Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit
Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit
What Makes the Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit Unique? Theres nothing more important than taking care of yourself on a daily basis. With the Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit, you can be sure that youre giving your body the essential vitamins, minerals..
Product Info
Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit
What Makes the Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit Unique?
There’s nothing more important than taking care of yourself on a daily basis. With the Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit, you can be sure that you’re giving your body the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs, thanks to four essential supplements – Isotonix OPC-3®, Isotonix Multivitamin, Isotonix Advanced B-Complex and Isotonix Calcium Plus – to promote long-term health and optimal nutrition.

Plus, by purchasing the Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit instead of buying these products individually, you save nearly 31%!

Caring for your general health starts with Isotonix OPC-3, a powerful antioxidant that provides for the maintenance of good health. Isotonix OPC-3 helps the body function at its peak by combating free radicals throughout your body.

Next, Isotonix Multivitamin contains essential vitamins and minerals to complement your diet. With today’s fast-paced lifestyles, it is important to ensure the body is getting the fuel it needs. Isotonix Multivitamin supplements dietary deficiencies and helps maintain normal metabolic functioning.

To provide the energy you need to function throughout the day, this kit includes Isotonix Advanced B-Complex. B-vitamin deficiency can lead to fatigue and lethargy, which is why B-complex supplements are excellent energy boosters and anti-stress formulas.

Finally, Isotonix Calcium Plus delivers a potent package of calcium and complementary nutrients to keep your bones strong. While calcium supplements in tablet form can be difficult for the body to absorb, the unique Isotonix delivery system and the inclusion of beneficial vitamins and minerals – including vitamin D – make Isotonix Calcium Plus more readily available and easily absorbed by the body.

With this 90 day kit, you will not only receive the nutritional support you need to lay a solid foundation to start every day, but you also save money.

Primary Benefits of Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit:  
·         Great savings! You save nearly 31% - a $70.45 value! 
·         Essential vitamin and mineral supplementation
·         Supports cardiovascular health
·         Reduce tiredness and fatigue by enhancing energy production
·         Helps normal functioning of muscles, strong bones and teeth
·         Helps maintain immunity and antioxidant protection 
·         Frequently Asked Questions about the Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit:
·         Can the Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit products be taken at the same time? 
Yes. The Isotonix Daily Essentials Health Kit products can safely be taken at the same time, provided that one follows the recommended serving size for each product.
·         Why are Isotonix® supplements better than standard supplements?
Isotonix® formulas are more effective than standard supplement formulas because they offer the best way to get the maximum delivery of vitamins and minerals into the bloodstream. Isotonix formulas are also the fastest and most effective way to receive vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The stomach has very little work to do because the pH and tonicity are carefully designed to allow the stomach to quickly release all the nutrients into the small intestine. With the Isotonix formulas, this process takes about five minutes, where a standard vitamin tablet can take up to four hours.

What sets Isotonix® OPC-3 apart from other bioflavonoid products?
Isotonix® OPC-3 offers scientifically-supported oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs, found to be the most powerful antioxidants for human health. This selection of Pycnogenol®*, red wine extract and grape seed extract, is unique to Isotonix OPC-3, as is the Isotonix delivery system, which enables rapid and highly efficient absorption of the OPCs. These potent nutrients, in combination with the highly effective delivery system, makes OPC-3 a powerful free radical scavenging product.      
·         Why do I need to take a multivitamin?
A good quality vitamin and mineral supplement creates a sound micronutrient foundation to accompany a balanced diet. Vitamins and minerals help to support a healthy immune system, promote the conversion of food into energy, support a healthy cardiovascular system, support strong bones, promote mental clarity, maintain normal metabolic functioning, promote healthy growth and repair of tissues, help maintain normal blood pressure, and help maintain water and electrolyte balance in the body.
·         Why should I take calcium?
According to the Surgeon General, taking a calcium supplement daily is key to preventing and treating calcium deficiency, and to helping reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Clinical studies indicate that women and many aging men are likely to become susceptible to osteoporosis. 

Everyone needs calcium. Practically no one ingests enough calcium in their daily diet. Besides being helpful in supporting and maintaining bone integrity, calcium serves a dynamic role as a mineral. It's very important in supporting the activity of many bodily enzymes and maintaining proper fluid balance. Isotonix Calcium Plus also promotes the normal contraction of skeletal and muscle.  
·         Are there any warnings or contraindications for the products in the Isotonix® Daily Essentials Kit?
Isotonix® OPC-3, Isotonix Multivitamin, Isotonix Advanced B-Complex and Isotonix Calcium Plus are vegetarian products, and contain no wheat, gluten, soy, yeast, artificial flavor, starch, salt, preservatives or milk.
·         If you are currently using any prescription drugs, have ongoing medical condition, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult your healthcare provider before using these product.

Year-End Planning: Determine Residency Now

Year-End Planning: Determine Residency Now
Year-End Planning: Determine Residency Now
Residents of Canada must file tax returns to report world income in Canadian funds. That means taxpayers will need to gather documentation to report offshore earnings — and new for 2013, more specific information about income earned by offshore assets with a cost of $100,000 or more.
A non-resident, on the other hand, must pay Canadian income tax only on income from sources earned inside Canada. But what is your tax obligation if you or someone in the family has left Canada to study abroad, take a job in a far off land or run a business offshore? If unsure, review tax residency rules with your tax advisor before year end.
All the factors in a particular situation will be considered to determine if a taxpayer is a non-resident for tax purposes. Non-residents, according to CRA, routinely live in another country throughout the year and do not have residential ties in Canada, or they stay in Canada for less than 183 days in the tax year.
The major factor is your residence. Residential ties to Canada include: a home in Canada, a spouse or common-law partner or dependants who remain in Canada, and personal property that is left in Canada, such as a car or furniture. Also considered are social and economic ties in Canada.
Other ties that may be relevant include a Canadian driver's licence, Canadian bank accounts or credit cards, and health insurance with a Canadian province or territory. Residential ties that you maintain or establish in another country may also be relevant.
Discuss the relevant facts with your tax advisor before year end. If you are simply moving to another province before year end, you will be taxed for the whole year based on where you reside on December 31. Moves to a lower taxed jurisdiction, therefore should happen before year end for a better tax result.

Spousal RRSPs and RRIFs, and Attribution Rules Regarding WithdrawalsSpousal RRSPs

Spousal RRSPs and RRIFs, and Attribution Rules Regarding WithdrawalsSpousal RRSPs
Spousal RRSPs and RRIFs, and Attribution Rules Regarding WithdrawalsSpousal RRSPs
Canadian tax laws allow you to put funds into either your own RRSP or a spousal RRSP.  If neither spouse will have a pension from their employment when they retire, then both spouses should try to have the same amount in RRSPs.  If one spouse will have a pension, then the other spouse should probably have a greater amount in RRSPs.  There are many variables to be considered when planning future retirement income, including significant spousal age differences.
In order to equalize RRSPs, the higher income spouse can contribute to a spousal RRSP for their partner.  When funds are contributed to a spousal RRSP, the spouse making the contribution gets the deduction from income when the contribution is made.  When funds are eventually withdrawn, the spouse who is the annuitant of the RRSP (or subsequent RRIF) will be taxed, not the contributing spouse.  However, there are exceptions to this if the funds are withdrawn too soon after a spousal contribution.  See the information below regarding attribution rules.
Fortunately, pension splitting can also help to equalize spousal incomes in retirement.
See our article on RRSP Contribution Limits.
Tax Tip:  Try to ensure both spouses will have approximately the same annual income in retirement.Spousal RRSP and RRIF attribution rulesIncome Tax Act s. 146(8.3)
If the funds are withdrawn within 3 years of a contribution to a spouse's RRSP, all or part of the withdrawn amount will be taxed as income to the spouse who made the contribution.  The Income Tax Act indicates that if an amount taken from the spousal RRSP would normally be taxable income in the hands of the spouse who is the annuitant of the RRSP, the following will be included in the taxable income of the contributing spouse - the lesser of:
a.    the total of all contributions to the spousal RRSP by the contributing spouse in the year, or in one of the two immediately preceding taxation years, and
b.    the amount withdrawn
When a spousal RRSP has been converted to a RRIF, it becomes a spousal RRIF.  There may be attribution of income to the contributing spouse for any RRIF withdrawals that are in excess of the minimum annual withdrawal for the year, depending on the amount of spousal contributions in the year or the two immediately preceding taxation years.
CRA Resources:
Tax Tips:
To avoid having to include your spouse's RRSP withdrawals in your income, ensure that you have not contributed to the spousal plan in the year or in either of the two preceding taxation years.
To avoid having to include your spouse's RRIF withdrawals in your income, ensure that, if you have contributed to the spousal plan in the year or in either of the two preceding taxation years, only the minimum annual withdrawal amount is withdrawn.

Income After Death

Income After Death
Income After Death
What happens with income earned after death? Most payments received by the deceased after death will have to be returned.
For example, GST, CTB, OAS, and CPP Disability or Pension cheques should be returned if they relate to a period after the death of the taxpayer. The following types of income earned or paid after death should be reported by the estate on a T3 return:
·         Salary or wages paid for the period after death.
·         Severance pay received because of death (as a death benefit, the first $10,000 may be non-taxable). If this amount is paid on the employee’s death to recognize service in an office or employment, it can be received by the deceased’s testamentary trust, in which case the trust may exclude up to $10,000 from income; the same is true if the amount is received by a single beneficiary. If it is received by several beneficiaries the $10,000 exempt income amount must be shared proportionately.
·         Future adjustments to severance pay.

TFSAs: A Part of Sound Year-End Planning

TFSAs: A Part of Sound Year-End Planning
With year-end tax planning now in our thoughts, one investment option to consider is the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). 
This investment option has been in place since January 1, 2009. This is a registered account for residents of Canada 18 years or older and is a great way to save for short or long-term goals. The benefits should be discussed before year-end to plan savings for 2014.
Any income earned in the TFSA such as investment income and capital gains accumulates tax free. Withdrawals from a TFSA  are not reported as income. Also, income earned or withdrawn from the TFSA does not affect government benefits such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), the Goods and Service Tax (GST) credit or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). That makes it an important savings vehicle for people who count on receiving the full amounts of these sources.
Each year, contributions can be made to the TFSA up to the maximum dollar limit for that calendar year, plus the unused contribution room from the previous year and plus amounts that were withdrawn in the year before. The annual TFSA dollar limit was $5,000 from 2009 to 2012, but for 2013 the annual dollar limit was indexed and increased to compensate for inflation. The TFSA dollar limit for 2013 is $5,500. Total available contribution room for 2013 is $25,500; starting in January 2014 that will rise to $31,000. Every adult in the family should try to maximize this opportunity. 
Note that if you over-contribute to your TFSA, you will be taxed 1% per month as a penalty until the excess amount is withdrawn. As stated above, when you make withdrawals from your TFSA the corresponding contribution room does not become available until the start of the next calendar year. Tax and financial advisors should discuss this trap with their clients.
Investments permitted within a TFSA are the same as those permitted within a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). However, unlike the RRSP, there is no tax deduction for contributions made to a TFSA. Also note there are rules prohibiting a TFSA from making investment in any entity with which the account holder does not deal at arm’s length. 
So the question remains: What comes first, the TFSA or the RRSP? The answer lies in the year-end tax planning astute investors and advisors embark on today to customize wealth management plans for the whole family.

Toothache? Backpain? See Your Doctors as Part of Year-End Planning

Toothache? Backpain? See Your Doctors as Part of Year-End Planning
Toothache? Backpain? See Your Doctors as Part of Year-End Planning
Got a toothache? Need more prescriptions? When you move up your medical appointments to before year-end, you may also increase your tax refund. That makes a visit to your dentist, eye doctor, or medical doctor a tax wise strategy at year-end.
For 2013, the claim for total medical expenses is reduced by 3% of the claimant’s net income (or the dependant’s net income if you are claiming expenses for other dependants) to a maximum of $2,151.
To get the best results on the 2013 tax return, medical expenses can be claimed for any consecutive 12-month period ending in 2013. This 12-month period can be chosen, so include expenses from two calendar years so as to maximize the claim. That means you could claim receipts from November 2012 to October 2013 on this year’s return, for example.
Consider increasing your medical expense claims this year by taking advantage of one or more of the following eligible medical expenses prior to December 31:
·         Eye and ear doctor appointments
·         Therapeutic massages
·         Purchase of glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and their batteries, incontinence products, travel insurance premiums, and alterations to vans used to accommodate a wheelchair
·         Purchase of travel insurance for your holiday trip abroad
·         Private health insurance premiums paid should be gathered and added in. . .check your pay stubs.
Also note that any outstanding balances for pharmacy, dental or other medical bills should be paid by December 31 in order to make an eligible claim this year.
Everyone has medical expenses in the family. . .make them count by keeping receipts and timing expenditures to maximize refunds on the 2013 return.

10 handy ios7 tips and tricks you need to know

10 handy ios7  tips and tricks you need to know
With prior version of iOS for iPhone and iPad, the way to shut down a specific app was to double-click the home button, tap and hold the app in the row of icons along the bottom of the screen, and then tap the little “x” in the corner of the icon.
With iOS 7, though, all that’s changed—and for the better, if you ask me.
Is someone out there not taking the hint that you really, really don’t want to talk to them anymore? Maybe it’s time to block ‘em.
You can block callers directly from the Recent list in the Phone app.
Thanks to Apple’s just-released iOS 7 update, you can finally block phone calls, text messages, or FaceTime calls from a specific contact or phone number—or even an entire group of contacts, if you wish.
Surprised that your iPhone or iPad is burning through your monthly data allowance so quickly? Streaming too many videos or songs via, say, Netflix or Pandora could be the culprit, but maybe there’s another iOS app that’s siphoning off your precious (and expensive) cellular data.
Well, good news: one of the handiest features in Apple’s just-released iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is a detailed list of which apps are using the most 3G or 4G mobile data.
The all-new Safari web browser in Apple’s big iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch boasts a series of nifty tricks up its sleeves, from a “private” browsing mode to an easy-to-access panel of your favorite bookmarks.
Can’t find “private” mode or your open “cloud” tabs? Here’s where to look.
In previous versions of iOS, you used to tap the Edit button in the top-right corner of the screen, select the message you wanted to forward, and then tap the Forward button.
But in the revamped Messages app for iOS 7, there’s no Edit button once you open a message thread. Now what?
Having a tough time making out iOS 7′s slender font? Good news: there’s a new setting that lets you make the type a little more bold.
Worried about the email, text messages, photos, and other personal data sitting on your iPhone or iPad?
Don’t want just anyone messing with Control Center from your device’s lock screen? There’s a setting for that.
If so, you should probably take a little time perusing the security features—some new, some older but still worthwhile—in Apple’s big iOS 7 update, from buttoning up the lock screen to enabling the new “Activation Lock” feature, which prevents thieves from reactivating a stolen iDevice without your iCloud password.
Got an iMessage in your iPhone’s Message app that simply refuses to send? Join the club.
So, what’s the deal? Well, your stuck iMessage (Apple’s free, Internet-friendly alternative to a traditional text message) might be a victim of a spotty cellular data connection, or perhaps Apple’s iMessage server is temporarily on the fritz.
Luckily, there’s a simple remedy for a stuck iMessage: forcing it to send as a text (or SMS) message.
Want to clean out the text messages in the Messages app without deleting the actual conversation? Easily done.
Wondering what happened to the handy “list” view in the all-new iOS 7 Calendar app?
Never fear, it’s still there—you just need to know where to look.
Peter writes: I like the list view for my calendar. Have we lost this with iOS 7?
Hi Peter! So, short answer: no, the old “list” view is sill there in the new iOS 7 Calendar app, provided you know where to look.
Indeed, the Calendar app got one of the biggest iOS 7 makeovers of all the “native” iOS apps, and while buttons for the new day, month, and year views are fairly obvious, the handy “list” view—which corrals all your upcoming events into a simple list—is easy to miss.
Tap the Search button to get the old “list” view in Calendar for iOS 7.
The trick? Just tap the Search icon (the little magnifying glass at the top of the screen).
When you do, the familiar list view will appear—or at least, the new, iOS 7-ized version of the list view.
Go ahead and tap an event to view or edit it, or tap the Search box at the top of the screen to search your events.

Personal Finance Choices in Retirement Planning

Personal Finance Choices in Retirement Planning
Personal Finance Choices in Retirement Planning
Written by Guest Post •\
When planning for retirement, one’s personal finances and the choices that are being made today will have a significant impact on the relative level of comfort available upon retirement. Making informed decisions about savings, health insurance and life insurance can have a dramatic impact. The following tips can help you to begin planning for the future in a way that can maximize your chances of a worry-free retirement:
Health Insurance – While health insurance is not always a hallmark of retirement planning, as medical costs continue to spiral higher, determining if there are cheaper insurance options available is prudent. It is important to consider your own situation when making decisions. For example, does your employer’s plan allow you stay enrolled after retirement? Even if this is the case, there may be cheap insurance quotes available, even through the same company.
Life Insurance – The primary purpose of a life policy is to ensure that one’s standard of living, both for oneself and one’s loved ones, does not dramatically change if a fatal accident or illness occurs during earning years. Upon retirement, this concern is drastically reduced, so it is a good time to consider making revisions. This can have an immediate effect on the amount of monthly disposable income available, as less may be required in one’s later years.
Retirement Accounts – Most employers offer some sort of organized retirement plan, with some employers matching a portion of what the employee contributes. In these cases, one of the best ways to build up for retirement is to participate in the plan. Even in cases where the investment opportunities are limited, the forced discipline of putting something away each month gives you an advantage. Furthermore, many plan providers will provide an additional source of advice or support because they have an incentive to keep their customers happy, as well as a fiduciary duty to make prudent choices.
Make Reasonable Adjustments and Predictions – One of the most basic elements of retirement planning, and yet still one of the most difficult, is to make realistic plans about your needs and preferences going into retirement. For example, the decision to buy a new house just as your youngest children are leaving home and your space needs are changing affects retirement plans. While it is perfectly acceptable to prefer a larger (or smaller) home, the impact of the decision should be placed into the context of retirement as well. This becomes increasingly important as you get closer to stopping working, but it is not uncommon for these choices to remain ignored in a retirement plan. By considering daily living needs (including housing, transportation and food), you will be more likely to design a plan that can lead to a worry-free retirement.

Three Phases of Retirement

Three Phases of Retirement
Three Phases of Retirement
Written by Jim Yih
In basic financial planning, we often talk about the different financial stages of life. We start with the accumulation phase and then move into the income phase in retirement.
In the retirement phase, not all retirement will be the same.  Retirement in your 50′s or 60′s is likely to be different that your life in you 70′s and 80′s and definitely different if your reach your 90′s.  Let’s look at the three phases of retirement.
The Go-Go Phase.
The Go-Go phase is the active retirement phase. It is the early retirement phase when we tend to be physically and mentally capable of living a fairly active lifestyle. In fact, the phase may not be that much different than pre-retirement except that there may be more time to do things like travel and hobbies.
For some, the Go-Go phase or the active phase will include work. It may be part time work or consulting in the same field of their pre-retirement career or it may mean self-employment.Whatever the case, active retirement is really living the stereotypical retirement dream. For many retirees in this phase, they are busier than they were prior to retirement.
The Slow-Go Phase.
The next phase of retirement is the Slow-Go phase where the body is telling you to slow down a little. Often this happens between the ages of 70 and 84, life starts falling into patterns and the excitement of retirement becomes more stable. Sometimes this phase is known as the stable retirement phase.
Many of you know retirees in this phase because they have very predictable patterns like banking on Mondays, groceries on Tuesdays, bridge on Fridays, etc. Part of the reason for these patterns is that energy levels are changing and patterns help minimize effort and thought without compromising on the enjoyment of life.  The older you get, the more important it is to find routines and patterns that give you comfort and security.
In this phase travel moves from plane rides around the world to bus rides within the province.
The No-Go Phase.
The last phase of retirement is the No-Go phase or the limited retirement phase. In this phase, time and age play a role in slowing down activities and abilities. Sometimes this is mental, sometimes physical and sometimes it can be financial.
Often this stage requires some level of support from family, governments or agencies. Again, this can be physical, emotional or financial support. Choices become much more limited.
Spending through the phases of retirement
Understanding the three phases of retirement can have a very significant impact on planning in the various lifestyle components of retirement. In terms of spending, you probably need more income in the Go-Go phase of retirement because that is the time in your retirement when you tend to be going more.  The Go-Go phase is when you are travelling more, golfing more, walking more, etc.  Statistics show that spending tends to drop the older you get and the further you get into the Slow-Go phase.
Many people will agree with the thought that spending on health care may increase as you age and especially when you hit the No-Go phase.  One of the biggest financial fears on the minds of Canadians is the cost of health care in retirement and what it might cost to go into a care facility.  While the third phase of retirement can be costly due to increases in healthcare, the question becomes how much does spending drop as a result of decreases in discretionary lifestyle spending.  When you hit No-Go, you are not travelling at all.  You are also not driving, golfing, shopping, etc.  You are still spending money but only on the basic necessities to sustain life – food, shelter, clothing.
Another example is in terms of housing, the typical trend is towards downsizing in the second phase and then into care facilities in the third phase.
The key to retirement planning is to recognize that not all retirement is the same not just with regards to lifestyle but also to spending.  It’s important to know where you are in life today and look ahead into the future to recognize plans for that future especially through the different phases of retirement.
Planning ahead can make a huge difference.

How is Your Money Personality Impacting Your Finances?

How is Your Money Personality Impacting Your Finances?
How is Your Money Personality Impacting Your Finances?
Written by Sarah Yetkiner
“To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.” – Eric Hoffer
I love to read; I have done ever since I was a child. My Mum is an avid reader and our house was always filled with books. I devour books the way that some of my friends devour movies and when I set my goals each month there are three that remain the same: ‘read one fiction book’, ‘read one non-fiction book’ and ‘listen to an audiobook’. (The fiction is my escape, the non-fiction is my education and the audiobook keeps my brain busy when I’m in the car!)
Over the past 18 months my non-fiction choices have mostly been books about finances, the psychology of money and the habits of successful people. One of the books that has really impacted me is “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker. Over the next two weeks I’m going to share a couple of the concepts from the book that resonated with me and which have helped my clients identify, address and eliminate some of the barriers that were holding them back from financial success and building the foundation for a happy retirement.
Money Personality
In his book, Eker explores the idea that each person has a money personality. His exploration is based on research by Olivia Mellan and he suggests that, when it comes to the way we handle money, people can be divided into four distinct groups. Eker asserts that someone’s money personality can have a dramatic impact on their ability to earn, hold and grow their money and that an awareness of your money personality and how it can impact your finances is the first step in creating positive change. See if you can identify which of the four groups you might belong to:
As the title suggests, Spenders love to spend their money. They like the immediate pleasure that comes from buying things for themselves and they can be generous to others, often picking up the tab for dinner or buying gifts “just because”. Spending money to accumulate “stuff” or to indulge themselves makes Spenders happy but they may also have a hard time prioritizing their spending and putting money aside for savings. Spenders tend to focus on living in the moment rather than looking at the bigger financial picture and they often find themselves in debt because of their spending habits.
Savers love to hold on to their money. They tend to be very organized with their finances, often having a clear, written budget and they always know how much money is in their bank account. Savers watch their spending carefully, often to the point where they have a hard time justifying purchases that seem “frivolous” such as vacations or entertainment. Many Savers worry about their future financial security and they tend to be very conservative with where they choose to put their money, often preferring the safety of a high interest savings account over investments such as mutual funds or stocks.
Chances are that if your money personality is Avoider you stopped reading at the first mention of the word “money”. If you are still reading it’s probably because your Saver friend is making you! Avoiders avoid dealing with money as much as they possibly can. They never know how much is in their bank account and are often late with bill payments; not necessarily because they don’t have the money but because they don’t make paying bills a priority. In many cases, Avoiders consider money to be challenging and complicated and prefer to devote their energy to more interesting things. They tend to be hit with late fees and bank charges simply because they don’t pay attention (Creditors love Avoiders!). You can often identify an Avoider by the pile of unopened bills and statements on their kitchen counter and the way they cross their fingers when they hand over their debit card.
Money Monk
The Money Monk feels that amassing money or giving it undue importance is wrong on a spiritual level. Money Monks tend to give away as much of their money as possible either to good causes or friends/strangers in need. They don’t feel right about having money when others don’t and so they find ways to benefit others without building wealth for themselves. Money Monks will often avoid investing their money because they don’t want to be perceived as “greedy” and the idea of building wealth doesn’t sync with their spiritual, political and human values.
When it comes to creating financial security and building wealth sometimes the most powerful tool can be an understanding of our strengths and our areas of challenge. The psychology of money is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to dealing with finances but factors such as your money personality can have a big impact on your ability to earn, hold and grow money. Awareness is the first step when it comes to implementing change; understanding how an obstacle affects you and then taking action to overcome it will lead to dramatically different results. Which money personality type best describes you? How has it impacted your financial health? How can you use this awareness and understanding to take actions that will help you build a stronger financial future?

Talk Money Management with your kids

Talk Money Management with your kids
Fortunately, it’s never too early or too late to talk money management with your kids. “As sobering as the statistics may be, I’m always encouraged by how quickly kids can sharpen their financial skills when presented with a lesson that engages their interest,” writes local financial expert Janet Bodnar. Bodnar, author of Raising Money Smart Kids and a personal finance editor at, offers parents insights on just how to do this. Some tips from Bodnar and other financial experts include:
Give them the power: There is no better teacher than experience, which is why all parents should give their children an allowance, starting as young as age 3. Parents can choose from dozens of allowance systems to follow (see resources), but the most important factor is to be consistent. With their own money, children can make mistakes while the stakes are lower. Overspending, burning through cash too quickly, buying a low-quality item rather than patiently saving for a higher-quality version, losing money or even having it stolen are all valuable life lessons for our children to experience when the literal and figurative cost isn’t too high. For learning to occur, it is important that we parents bite our tongues and allow our children to make mistakes and then not rush in to rescue them afterwards.
When kids have full power over their own money and are given the room to learn from their mistakes, they typically grow to become more cautious spenders. “When she was shopping for clothes with my money, my daughter only wanted to go to higher-end retailers such as Abercrombie and Nordstrom,” says one Rockville mom. “Once we started giving her a clothing allowance, she started noticing how much farther her money would go if she shopped at Kohl’s or Target instead.”
Keep it real: With so much “virtual” spending via debit and credit cards these days, kids rarely see money change hands and often don’t know how to protect their cash. As convenient as virtual allowance systems or prepaid debit cards are, however, it is important for kids to learn to handle actual cash. In fact, cash can help them slow down their spending; studies show that paying with money is more painful than paying with a credit substitute. “Kids need to feel the pain and learn this discipline before they move on to more sophisticated payment systems,” Bodnar suggests.
Graduate gradually to more responsibility: Just as teenagers aren’t yet given a full driver’s license but start with a provisional license when they pass the test, it is safer to provide graduated training before awarding them with a no-limit credit card. Once your child is handling a cash allowance well, you might choose to add checks and teach him how to reconcile a bank account. Next, he can earn the privilege of an ATM card, preferably one without a debit option (you might have to shop banks for this). When he has demonstrated the ability to keep the ATM card and password safe while still reconciling his account, you can introduce a debit card. Although most kids under 21 no longer qualify for a credit card without an adult co-signer, parents of teen drivers might want them to have a credit card for emergencies. If that’s the case, Bodnar recommends keeping the teen in charge of his portion of the bill under your supervision, which protects both parent’s and teen’s credit rating.
Model savvy spending and saving: Involve your kids in coupon clipping, comparison shopping and sale ad scanning. For kids old enough to use the Internet, this can include shopping for the lowest prices on the items they want. Online shopping provides a great opportunity to talk about return policies, taxes, shipping and handling fees, online security and ways kids can get lured into misspending. Talk with them about your daily decision-making process as you spend money, whether it’s what items you select at the grocery store or where you buy gas.
Introduce goal setting and budgets: “Budget” is not a four-letter word, though many Americans seem to feel it is. Knowing how to live within a budget is an incredibly important life skill. Budgets do not have to be spelled out on a complicated spreadsheet with every penny assigned to a line item. When my daughter was leaving for college, we talked about how much money she had saved for the year and what her costs would be. She subtracted the big-ticket items she would have to pay for, such as sorority dues, spring break trip and a small emergency fund. She divided the remainder by how many weeks she would be at school. This determined her weekly budget. She then could choose whether to blow that money at Starbucks every morning versus making her own coffee and having money for other things.
Whether we train our children formally or informally, recognizing our role in their financial education can be an investment that pays big dividends down the road for both parents and children.

Setting Kids Up For Financial Success

Setting Kids Up For Financial Success
Setting Kids Up For Financial Success
Written by Sarah Yetkiner
“Not teaching your kids about money is like not caring whether they eat. If they enter the world without financial knowledge, they will have a much harder go of it.” ~ Donald Trump
In last week’s post I wrote about five financial habits I learned from watching the way my parents handled their money. This week I had several conversations with parents about how best to teach children about money and I realized that the way I was raised has given me some very definite ideas. I believe very strongly that instilling your children with a strong understanding of the value of money and strategies to manage it are key in helping them build a solid financial future as adults. Here are some suggestions; let me know what you think…
Talk About Money
As I mentioned in last week’s post, my parents are excellent money managers but they were raised in a generation that believed in keeping everything related to money extremely private. Consequently I didn’t understand, until far too late, the reasoning behind the way they handled their money and so I chose to do it my own (incredibly unsuccessful) way. We forget that kids see us pay for things all the time with our magic plastic cards but they don’t necessarily see us pay the credit card bills or understand that we had to earn the money that we spent on the debit card. Talking to your kids about money raises an awareness of what things cost and how hard you have to work in order to make the money to pay for them. It also creates an appreciation for what they have and an understanding that others might have more or less. As your kids get older, give them the responsibility of raising all or some of the money to pay for the brand name clothes and electronics they have to have. Not only will they appreciate the items more but the fact that they can’t afford everything will help them understand you can’t always have what you want and encourage them to make thoughtful choices about what they really want to spend their money on.
Just Say No!
As parents, we want our children to have everything we didn’t and to appreciate it as much as we would in their shoes. The reality is that, in giving so much to our kids, we raise their expectations when it comes to lifestyle and make it harder for them, as young adults, to maintain a lifestyle that’s within their means.
David Chilton commented recently that the majority of young adults in their 20s he encounters who are carrying consumer debt are doing so because of excessive spending on lifestyle expenses such as eating out, entertainment and vacations rather than on accumulating stuff. They don’t want to discontinue the habits of a lifetime even though their budget doesn’t allow them to maintain the lifestyle they were used to at home. When I was growing up, eating out was a treat that was reserved for birthdays (along with gift giving!). In today’s society, eating out only once a year might be a little extreme but why not repurpose some of the money you currently spend on indulging your kids and funnel it into a “30 birthday savings/investment account”? It’s amazing how a few dollars here and there can add up over time and it creates a win-win – you are still indulging your children but the money can be used for something more significant at a time when it will really be appreciated.
The Power of Saving
Unfortunately, the abundance of credit and financing options available to us make it all too easy to have exactly what we want when we want it and the idea of saving for something seems outdated. By teaching kids to save for what they want we help them understand the true value of the item they’re buying and encourage them to make good choices about what to spend their savings on. Those $90 jeans can seem awfully expensive if they cost everything you’ve saved in a couple of months and sometimes the time needed to save is all that’s needed to deter you from a purchase that was more of an impulse than a true want.
Personal finance is a topic that isn’t really taught in schools and so we tend to follow the habits we see modeled at home. If your 18 year old is at the bank making a deposit or withdrawal and is offered a credit card or line of credit too often they see that $1000 limit as free cash. Managing a credit card well by paying the balance in full and on time every month can help build good credit but running up a balance can hurt you. Kids have an awkward habit of following what we do more than what we say and if we don’t teach our kids the value of money and how to manage it effectively we leave them extremely vulnerable to falling into the credit trap. By teaching kids to be financially savvy we help build a solid foundation for them to launch into adulthood and create strong habits that will lead them to financial success.

Should you give your kids an allowance?

Should you give your kids an allowance?
Should you give your kids an allowance?
Written by Jim Yih
I’ve always felt it is important to teach my kids about money.  My kids are young and to this point I have not put an allowance system in place.  At home, we have implemented reward-based systems where they get acknowledged and rewarded for good behaviors.  We’ve implemented things like a kindness calendar where they get stars every time they do kind acts.  But to this point, the rewards have not been attached to money.
My oldest son is now 7 and I think it’s time to implement an allowance. I think he’s ready.  I think my 5 year old is ready too.  Being a financial professional, I have never been afraid to talk to my kids about money.  In fact, it think it is so important to talk to my kids about money at an early age so they develop the right foundation sooner than later.
They are neat kids because they do understand money and the difference between saving, spending and sharing.  Both Robbie and Connor have shown they have a bit of the saving gene.  That being said, they are also being influenced by friends and TV and are starting to want things that other kids have.  I think it’s time to teach them about a means to earn money to buy things they want.
Suze Orman does not believe in allowances
Coincidentally, I was watching financial guru Suze Orman talk about allowances on TV.  In her opinion, most parents utilize allowances the wrong way.  She says “Most parents give their kids allowance based on age.  For example, at the age 10, the child gets $5 per week; At age 12, they get $7 per week; At age 15 they get $10 per week …”
Suze believes this entitlement based allowance program is the wrong approach because the kids are not learning anything about money.  Most kids who get an allowance think they get it ‘just because’.
Give your kids money based on the work they do
Suze thinks children should not get paid for tasks that are part of the responsibility for living in a home, which might include cleaning a bedroom or making the bed. Parents don’t get paid for making dinner or washing the dishes, and there are responsibilities that everyone must cover to keep a household running smoothly.
When it comes to allowance she thinks we need to stop calling it an allowance.  She prefers to call it ‘work pay’.  If they want money, they need to work for it.  This is how the real life works and better that they get used to it at a young age.
“Work pay” could include other things like washing the car, vacuuming and mowing the lawn.  She recommends attaching a dollar value to a chore.  For example, washing dishes for the week might be $3, mowing the lawn might be $5, etc.  She then says you can let the children pick chores they want to do.  This exercise teaches them many important things — how to talk about money, for one. It also starts to teach them negotiating skills, and it introduces the concept of work for pay.
What should I do?
There are a lot of different theories on allowances for kids, which I will continue to explore in future posts.  I must admit I like the idea of earning money for certain things because this is how it works in real life.

Teaching financial responsibility to kids

Teaching financial responsibility to kids
Teaching financial responsibility to kids
Written by Jim Yih
One of the ways to teach kids about financial responsibility is to model the finances in the home to what it looks like in the real world.  In the real world, very little comes for free.  I also believe that hard work gets rewarded and the harder you are willing to work, the more opportunities that get created.  The hardest thing to teach kids about the real world is the idea of delayed gratification.  In fact, this concept is so hard that even many adults do get the concept.
As a result of these beliefs, I am always thinking about how to instill these thoughts into my kids who constantly want to buy this that and the other thing without really understanding consequences to spending money.
No money tree
I don’t know about you but I do not have a money tree in my backyard growing endless amounts of money.  We are constantly trying to prioritize our spending because we can’t have it all without going into serious debt.  Here are some of my thoughts on teaching my kids financial responsibility.
1.       The secret to financial success is to understand where money comes from.  Whenever I talk to kids about money, I always ask them to tell me all the things you can do with money.  Many kids come up with concepts around SPENDING, SAVING, INVESTING and SHARING. It’s important for kids to understand that you can’t spend, save, invest or share money until you earn it first.  For me, it’s important that we give our kids opportunities to earn money at home.  This is a very valuable real world lesson.
2.       Money that is earned is taxed.  Tax is an economic reality for adults earning income. We can’t spend all the money we make.  Just look at your paychecues.  When you make a dollar, you don’t get to spend a dollar.  You have to pay taxes, benefits and other mandatory deductions.  As a parent, I’ve decided to teach this to my kids by taking half of all the money they make as a tax (25% to savings and 25% to a community pot for the good of our family).  This continues to be a work in progress.  The reality is we have put this money into a separate account and we are not 100% sure what we will do with it.  Maybe it will be used for a family holiday or a new iPAD for the kids.  What I do know is it’s a way to force my kids to save 50% of everything they make and a way to teach them about taxes and how they work.   It’s kind of like running the house like a government.  Mom and dad are the government and the boys are citizens.
3.       Let them control the other 50%.  My kids get to use the other 50% to do what they want as a way to learn on their own.  They get to make mistakes on their own.  It’s important to have them see the outcome of their decisions and their siblings’ decisions.  Responsibility comes from making decisions and being accountable for those decisions.
4.       Be sure to give them lessons along the way.  As someone who teaches adults about money, I think it is crucially important to help my kids make financial decisions along the way.  Kids are curious and it’s important for me to answer their questions when asked.  It’s also important to lead by example and use our own spending as a way to teach the kids.
5.       Keep lines of communication open.  We recently went on a holiday to Sandpoint Idaho for 5 days before school started.  At the end of the trip, I went into the hotel to check out and my third son, Jason, asked why I went to the hotel desk.  I used that opportunity to talk to my kids about how much the holiday cost and whether they thought it was worth the money.  The trip cost about $2000 not including meals and we tried to think about what else we could have done with the $2000 instead of going on the holiday.  In the end, we all agreed that it was money well spent.  I am really happy about the conversation we had because they have a better understanding that holidays are not free and they have some sense of what that holiday was worth.
Responsibility comes when you make people accountable for their actions.
I’m not sure about you, but I think teaching kids about financial responsibility is far from easy.  It’s one of those things you never know what the outcomes will be.  It’s a dynamic process that evolves and changes.
With four boys, I also realize that kids don’t learn the same way.  Sometimes a strategy that works with one does not work with another because they have different motivations and personalities.  That makes teaching kids about money even more difficult.