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April 2014

Use a Sign-In Partner

Use a Sign-In Partner  
 
My Account for Individuals
My Account allows you to track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments and your RRSP limit, set up direct deposit, and so much more.
Choose from one of two ways to access My Account:
 
 
Use a Sign-In Partner
  • Use the same sign-in information you use for other online services (e.g. online banking).
  • None of your information (e.g. financial, banking) will be shared with the CRA.
  • Your Sign-In Partner will not know which government service you are using.
  • You will temporarily leave the CRA website to use your Sign-In Partner.
  • View the full list of Sign-In Partners
    • BMO Financial Group
    • CHOICE REWARDS MasterCard
    • Scotiabank
    • Tangerine
    • TD Bank Group
Help and FAQs
  • Log in with your CRA user ID and password or register if you do not have a CRA user ID and password.
For immediate access to some of your information in My Account use Quick Access.
Representatives (including friends and family members) can access My Account on behalf of someone else using Represent a Client.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Enjoy the benefits of filing on time and online

Enjoy the benefits of filing on time and online
 
 
Enjoy the benefits of filing on time and online
 
 
 
No endorsement of any products or services is expressed or implied.
Did you know?
Filing your income tax and benefit return and paying what you owe on time helps you avoid possible interest and penalty charges, and ensures that your benefits won’t be delayed.
Important facts
  • You have until midnight on or before May 5, 2014, to file your 2013 income tax and benefit return.
  • If you or your spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, you have until midnight on June 16, 2014, to file your return.
  • Any balance owing must be paid on or before May 5, 2014—even if your return is due on June 16, 2014.
What happens if I don’t file on time?
When you file your yearly tax return, you are letting the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) know your current tax situation. Without that information, the CRA can’t be sure that you are still eligible to receive certain benefit payments. If you don’t file on time, your benefit and credit payments (for example, the Canada child tax benefit and the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit) may be interrupted.
Also, if you have a balance owing and you don’t file your return on time, we’ll charge you a late-filing penalty. The penalty is 5% of your 2013 balance owing, plus 1% of your balance owing for each full month that your return is late, to a maximum of 12 months. If we charged a late-filing penalty on your return for 2010, 2011, or 2012, your late-filing penalty for 2013 may be 10% of your 2013 balance owing, plus 2% of your 2013 balance owing for each full month that your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months.
In addition to the late-filing penalty, if you have a balance owing for 2013 you’ll be charged compound daily interest beginning May 6, 2014, on any unpaid amounts owing for 2013. As a result of the five-day service interruption in April, interest and penalties will not be applied to individual taxpayers filing their 2013 tax returns by midnight on or before May 5.
Even if you can’t pay all of your balance owing right away, you should still file your return on time and call us at 1-888-863-8657 to make a payment arrangement. By filing on time, you’ll avoid the late-filing penalty.
CRA online services make filing easier and let you get your refund faster
The CRA’s online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track your refund, and more. Sign up for direct deposit too! Your refund and any benefit or credit payments owed to you will be deposited directly into your account, putting your money in your pocket faster. For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready

Vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer Announced


Vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer Announced


Urgent!!
Vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer Announced
 
(April 29, 2014) — A significant vulnerability in Microsoft's IE (Internet Explorer) was detected this past weekend that could affect your computers and business security.
 
NOTE:
1.     All versions of IE 6 through 11 for Windows are affected.
2.     No patch is available as of today.

This newly discovered exploit could be used against Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer (IE). The browser may inadvertently access an object in memory that was previously deleted. The memory may be corrupted in a way that allows a cyber criminal to use a code to target your computer.

Microsoft plans to release a security update, but it won’t protect you if you use Windows XP. With the dropping of support for XP, we believe that we’ve had the first of many attacks that will be targeting Windows XP.
 
What Should You Do?
1.     Don’t use Microsoft's IE (Internet Explorer) on any computer.
2.     Use an alternative browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox.
3.     When the patch is issued, it won’t apply to XP users-ever!
4.     If you are an XP User, use an alternative browser-forever!
5.     Think seriously about upgrading your XP machines.

 

Facts of life: creative uses for life insurance

Facts of life: creative uses for life insurance


Facts of life: creative uses for life insurance


Written by Wayne Rothe • 
However, there are other innovative uses that can make life insurance a low-cost solution to certain financial problems. Author Paul Grimes writes about some of those in his excellent book, The Facts of Life – How to Build Wealth and Protect Your Assets With Life Insurance.
However, life insurance is often the only feasible solution to financial problems. If you’re in your 30s and earning a six-figure income, there is no more effective way to protect your spouse and kids who rely on your income.
A joint last-to-die (JLTD) insurance policy would cover the capital gains taxes on that cabin. Because this type of insurance pays out only on the second death – when it’s really needed – it’s inexpensive. “With the death of the second spouse,” Grimes writes, “the policy pays out the death benefit to the kids, who use the money to pay the capital gains taxes. And – voila – the cottage stays in the family, and one child is not forced to go into debt or sell his or her share.”
“If both spouses die, then those kids could be in a lot of trouble,” Grimes writes. “That’s a great use for joint last-to-die policies.”
Imagine that you and your spouse take a $200,000 JLTD policy. Let’s say the premiums are $4,000 per year and the second death occurs in 20 years. You’ve paid $80,000, and your estate collects $200,000. The $120,000 gain represents a tax-free return of about 8.8 per cent for your beneficiaries.
Your insurance advisor can do a needs analysis to determine if you should buy this insurance – and the cost.
 
 
 
 

7 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Could Do for You

7 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Could Do for You
 
 
7 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Could Do for You
 
 
 
 
Sure, Siri on the iPhone makes for a fun way to ask out what the weather is like outside, but Apple’s polite personal assistant can also do a heck of a lot more for you.
Here are seven great Siri features that you’ve probably never used.
 
1. Opening apps. If you don’t learn to use Siri for anything else, for the love of Mike, learn this one. 
You can say, “Open Calendar” or “Play Angry Birds” or “Launch Calculator.” 
Result: The corresponding app opens instantly. It’s exactly the same as pressing the Home button, swiping across the screen until you find the app you’re looking for, and then tapping its icon—but without pressing the Home button, swiping across the screen until you find the app you’re looking for, and then tapping its icon. 
2. Change your settings. This one’s new in iOS 7, and it’s excellent. You can make changes to certain basic settings just by speaking your request. You can say, for example, “Turn on Bluetooth,” “Turn off WiFi,” “Turn on Do Not Disturb,” and “Turn on Airplane mode.” (You can’t turn off Airplane mode by voice, because Siri doesn’t work without an Internet connection.)
You can also make screen adjustments: “Make the screen brighter.” “Dim the screen.”
Result: Siri makes the requested adjustment, tells you so, and displays the corresponding switch in case she misunderstood your intention.
 
3. Read full emails to you. In iOS 7, Siri can actually read the full messages to you—not just the header information (to, from, and subject line).
For example, if you say, “Read my latest email” or “Read my new email,” Siri reads aloud your most recent email message. (Siri then offers you the chance to dictate a response.)
Or you can use the new summary-listing commands. When you say, “Read my email,” Siri starts walking backwards through your Inbox, telling you the subject of each, plus who sent it and when.
While this recitation is going on, you can tap the microphone button to interrupt with, “Read that email” or “Read the third email” (for example)—and Siri will read a summary of the email (not the whole body). 
She once again invites you to dictate a reply; if you say no, she picks up from where she left off, reading the rest of the subjects.
Result: Siri reads aloud.
You can also compose a new message by voice; anytime you use the phrase “about,” that becomes the subject line for your new message. “Email Mom about the reunion.” “Email my boyfriend about the dance on Friday.” “New email to Freddie Gershon.” “Mail Mom about Saturday’s flight.” “Email Frank and Cindy Vosshall and Peter Love about the picnic.” “Email my assistant and say, ‘Thanks for arranging the taxi!’ ” “Email Gertie and Eugene about their work on the surprise party, and say I really value your friendship.”
(If you’ve indicated only the subject and addressee, Siri prompts you for the body of the message.)
You can reply to a message Siri has just described, too. “Reply, ‘Dear Robin (comma), I’m so sorry about your dog (period). I’ll be more careful next time (period).” “Call her mobile number.” “Send him a text message saying, ‘I got your note.’ ” 
Result: A miniature Mail message, showing you Siri’s handiwork before you send it.
4. Search and play music. Instead of fumbling around in your Music app, save yourself steps and time by speaking the name of the album, song, or band: “Play some Beatles.” “Play ‘I’m a Barbie Girl.’ ” “Play some jazz.” “Play my jogging playlist.” “Play the party mix.” “Shuffle my ‘Dave’s Faves’ playlist.” “Play.” “Pause.” “Resume.” “Skip.” 
If you’ve set up any iTunes Radio stations, you can call for them by name, too: “Play Dolly Parton Radio.” Or be more generic: Just say “Play iTunes Radio” and be surprised. Or be more specific: Say “Play some country music” (substitute your favorite genre).
Result: Siri plays (or skips, shuffles, or pauses) the music you asked for—without ever leaving whatever app you were using.
5. Find My Friends. You see this category only if you’ve installed Apple’s Find My Friends app. “Where’s Ferd?” “Is my dad home?” “Where are my friends?” “Who’s here?” “Who is nearby?” “Is my mom at work?”
Result: Siri shows you a beautiful little map with the requested person’s location clearly indicated by a blue pushpin. (She does, that is, if you’ve set up Find My Friends, you’ve logged in, and your friends have made their locations available.)
 
6. Search movie facts. Siri is also the virtual equivalent of an insufferable film buff. She knows everything. “Who was the star of Groundhog Day?” “Who directed Chinatown?” “What is Waterworld rated?” “What movie won Best Picture in 1952?”
It’s not just about old movies, either. Siri also knows everything about current showtimes in theaters. “What movies are opening this week?” “What’s playing at the Watton Cineplex?” “Give me the reviews for Titanic 2: The Return.” “What are today’s showtimes for Monsters University?”
Result: Tidy tables of movie theaters or movie showtimes, displayed on a faux movie marquee. (Tap one for details.) Sometimes you get a movie poster filled with facts—and, of course, a link to rent or buy it on iTunes.
7. Post to Twitter or Facebook. iOS is a red-blooded, full-blown Twitter companion. So you can say things like, “Tweet, ‘I just saw three-headed dog catch a Frisbee in midair. Unreal.’ ” “Tweet with my location, ‘My car just broke down somewhere in Detroit. Help?’ ”
 
 
Facebook is fair game, too. You can say, “Post to Facebook, ‘The guy next to me kept his cellphone on for the whole plane ride,’ ” or “Write on my wall, ‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.’ ”
Result: Siri offers you a sheet (miniature dialog box) where you can approve the transcription and then, if it all looks good, send it off to your Twitter or Facebook feed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Protect yourself!

Protect yourself!
 
Protect yourself!
 
 
As Canadians get busy filing their taxes, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reminds everyone to be cautious of fraudulent tax filing.
If you are approached by a tax preparer offering larger refunds than other preparers, don't be fooled! While the vast majority of preparers provide excellent service to tax filers, there are unscrupulous ones who file false and fraudulent tax returns— and in the end, it's you, the client, who pays.
Remember that even if someone else prepares your tax return, you are responsible for all the information on the return.
  • Be informed about who you are dealing with at tax time and what their credentials are.
  • Stay away from tax preparers who offer you false tax claims such as charitable donations, child care expense claims, or even business expenses or losses. Don't get involved. You will be caught.
  • Get a second opinion. Taxpayers should seek independent advice from a reputable tax professional or contact the CRA Individual Income Tax Enquiries line at 1‑800‑959‑8281 for further information if they are thinking about taking part in such a scheme. Ask questions or enquire further before submitting your return.
  • Make sure the tax preparer gives you a copy of your return for your records.
  • Never sign a blank tax form.
  • Generally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Consequences
Failure to follow tax laws will result in serious consequences. The CRA will audit, reassess and can apply a penalty equal to 50% of the additional tax payable if it can show that a taxpayer knowingly, or under circumstances amounting to gross negligence, made a false statement when filing a return.
The CRA will also undertake criminal investigations and will recommend prosecution against the taxpayers promoting, organizing or participating in such tax schemes. Canadians expect no less, so that the tax system is fair for everyone.
If found guilty of criminal tax evasion, taxpayers face fines of up to 200% of the taxes they sought to evade plus potential jail time of up to five years.
Options
If you have not previously reported all of your income or want to correct a past mistake, the CRA offers a second chance to make things right through its Voluntary Disclosures Program. If you make a full disclosure before any compliance action is started, you may only have to pay the taxes owing plus interest, but not the penalties. Visit www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures for more information.
If you think you've been an unknowing victim of fraud or any type of tax or benefit scam, call us at 1‑800‑959-8281, and immediately notify your bank and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by email at info@antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
Anyone who is aware of a tax evasion scheme should contact the CRA's Informant Leads Program with their information. The CRA does not divulge the identity of an informant.
The CRA encourages anyone, no matter where they are in the world, to come forward if they have information about major international tax non-compliance. We strongly recommend that you first call the CRA's Offshore Tax Informant Program (OTIP) at 1-855-345-9042 (North American toll-free number) or 613-960-4265 (collect calls will be accepted), weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, except on public holidays.
The CRA penalizes tax fraudsters
The CRA is coming down hard on unscrupulous tax preparers, promoters, and other third‑party representatives who draw Canadians into dishonest schemes with promises of easy money.
For example, between January 2007 and March 2014, the CRA convicted 35 taxpayers who were part of the tax protester movement, which promotes schemes to avoid taxes. In addition to having to pay the taxes owing, the taxpayers were sentenced to a total of $5.4 million in court fines and 325 months of jail time. Of these 35 taxpayers, four were convicted for “counselling others to evade taxes”. These four tax scheme promoters were sentenced to a total of $1.28 million in court fines and 188 months in jail.
In the same time period, the CRA also convicted 45 tax preparers for tax evasion related to their tax affairs or those of their clients. The courts sentenced these tax preparers to a total of over $4.8 million in fines and 659 months of jail time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex

Isotonix™ Advanced B-ComplexIsotonix™ Advanced B-Complex
What Makes Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex Unique?
 
 
Isotonix™ Advanced B-complex is a mixture of the eight essential B-vitamins, such as Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Folic Acid (B8), Cyanocobalamin (B12) and Biotin. Most of the B-vitamins play a critical role as cofactors in cellular energy metabolism. B-vitamins are important for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body.
Vitamin deficiency can lead to fatigue and lethargy, which is why B-complex supplements are excellent energy boosters. Vitamin B12 is not synthesized from plants or animals, and the process of absorbing B12 is very complex. Because of this complexity, B12 absorption may be compromised, potentially leading to B12 deficiency. Thus, absorbability is a key factor in choosing B12 supplementation.
 
Isotonix Advanced B-Complexis an isotonic-capable combination of the essential B vitamins with magnesium and potassium, which work synergistically to promote a myriad of health benefits and biological processes in the body. Isotonix B-Complex works to promote healthy red blood cell formation, increase energy, promote cardiovascular health and help maintain healthy levels of serotonin. B vitamins are necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system, bone marrow and muscle function. Vitamin B12 and folic acid facilitate steps required for cell division. Vitamin B5 is involved in the Krebs cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine as well as producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and biotin participate in different aspects of energy production. The large amount of vitamin B12 provided in the Isotonix formula may be capable of forcing small amounts across the membranes of the intestines. This vitamin is carried into the body by forming a complex with Intrinsic Factor, a stomach derived protein. It enters the body bound to proteins, requiring an acidic pH level and proper pancreatic release of proteolytic enzymes. Because many vegetarian diets are lacking in the essential B-vitamins, Isotonix B-Complex meets the need for B-vitamins for vegetarians.
Isotonic, which means “same pressure,” bears the same chemical resemblance of the body’s blood, plasma and tears. All fluids in the body have a certain concentration, referred to as osmotic pressure. The body’s common osmotic pressure, which is isotonic, allows a consistent maintenance of body tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed and used in the body’s metabolism, it must be transported in an isotonic state.
 
 
Isotonix dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do to in obtaining great absorption. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. With Isotonix products, little nutritive value is lost, making the absorption of nutrients highly efficient while delivering maximum results.
 


Isotonix Advanced B-Complex
Isotonix Advanced B-Complex is an isotonic-capable combination of the 8 essential B vitamins in addition to magnesium and potassium, which work synergistically to promote a myriad of health benefits and biological processes in the body. Isotonix Advanced B-Complex works to promote healthy red blood cell formation, increases energy, promotes cardiovascular health and helps maintain healthy levels of serotonin. It also contributes to the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, the maintenance of proper muscle function and helps the body to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates to enhance energy production. Because many vegetarian diets are lacking in the essential B-vitamins, Isotonix Advanced B-Complex meets the need for B-vitamins for vegetarians.
 
 
 
Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What Makes Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex Unique?
Isotonix™ Advanced B-complex is a mixture of the eight essential B-vitamins, such as Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Folic Acid (B8), Cyanocobalamin (B12) and Biotin. Most of the B-vitamins play a critical role as cofactors in cellular energy metabolism. B-vitamins are important for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body.
 
 
 
 
Vitamin deficiency can lead to fatigue and lethargy, which is why B-complex supplements are excellent energy boosters. Vitamin B12 is not synthesized from plants or animals, and the process of absorbing B12 is very complex. Because of this complexity, B12 absorption may be compromised, potentially leading to B12 deficiency. Thus, absorbability is a key factor in choosing B12 supplementation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Isotonix Advanced B-Complexis an isotonic-capable combination of the essential B vitamins with magnesium and potassium, which work synergistically to promote a myriad of health benefits and biological processes in the body. Isotonix B-Complex works to promote healthy red blood cell formation, increase energy, promote cardiovascular health and help maintain healthy levels of serotonin. B vitamins are necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system, bone marrow and muscle function. Vitamin B12 and folic acid facilitate steps required for cell division. Vitamin B5 is involved in the Krebs cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine as well as producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats. Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and biotin participate in different aspects of energy production. The large amount of vitamin B12 provided in the Isotonix formula may be capable of forcing small amounts across the membranes of the intestines. This vitamin is carried into the body by forming a complex with Intrinsic Factor, a stomach derived protein. It enters the body bound to proteins, requiring an acidic pH level and proper pancreatic release of proteolytic enzymes. Because many vegetarian diets are lacking in the essential B-vitamins, Isotonix B-Complex meets the need for B-vitamins for vegetarians.
Isotonic, which means “same pressure,” bears the same chemical resemblance of the body’s blood, plasma and tears. All fluids in the body have a certain concentration, referred to as osmotic pressure. The body’s common osmotic pressure, which is isotonic, allows a consistent maintenance of body tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed and used in the body’s metabolism, it must be transported in an isotonic state.
Isotonix dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do to in obtaining great absorption. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. With Isotonix products, little nutritive value is lost, making the absorption of nutrients highly efficient while delivering maximum results.
 
 
Primary Benefits of Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex:
·         Helps in the production of red blood cells
·         Aids in tissue formation, and helps prevent neural tube defects when taken prior to becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy
·         Contributes to the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, and the maintenance of proper muscle function 
·         Helps the body to metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to enhance energy production and support cardiovascular health
·          
 
·          
 
 
 
Key Ingredients Found in Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex:
Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Vitamin B12, a bacterial product is naturally found in organ meats, liver, beef, pork, eggs, whole milk, cheese, whole wheat bread and fish. B12 can only be found in animal products, with small amounts derived from the fermented soy products miso and peanuts. It is essential that vegetarians consume a vitamin B12 supplement to maintain optimal health. Vitamin B12, when ingested, is stored in the liver and other tissues for later use. The synthetic form of B12, cyanocobalamin, is not derived from either plants or animals, and is intrinsic in the maintenance of normal functioning body cells, especially those of the nervous system (protecting the sheaths of nerve cells), bone marrow and intestinal tract. These tissues are first to exhibit signs of B12 depletion.  Vitamin B12 itself is responsible for maintaining optimum energy levels, as it plays a vital role in the Krebs energy cycle.
Folate (Folic Acid) 
Folic acid is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, orange juice, beans and peas are the best sources, as well as Brewer’s yeast, which supply additional B vitamins. Folic acid plays a key role by boosting the benefits of B12 supplementation. These two B vitamins join forces and work together in maintaining normal red blood cells. Folic acid assists in the normal utilization of amino acids and proteins, as well as supporting the construction of the material for DNA and RNA synthesis. Scientific studies have found that when working in tandem with folic acid, B12 is capable of promoting normal homocysteine levels. This works toward supporting a healthy cardiovascular and nervous system.
Riboflavin 5-Phosphate (Vitamin B2)
Vitamin B2 is a found in liver, dairy products, dark green vegetables and some types of seafood. Vitamin B2 serves as a co-enzyme, working with other B vitamins. It promotes healthy red blood cell formation, supports the nervous system and normal human growth. It supports collagen growth and helps regulate thyroid activity. Vitamin B2 plays a crucial role in turning food into energy as a part of the electron transport chain, driving cellular energy on the micro-level. Riboflavin can be useful for pregnant or lactating women, as well as athletes due to their higher caloric needs. Vitamin B2 aids in the breakdown of fats, while functioning as a cofactor or helper in activating B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B2 is water-soluble and cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily.
Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6)
Poultry, fish, whole grains and bananas are the main dietary sources of Vitamin B6. B6 is a co-factor required for protein and amino acid metabolism, and helps maintain proper fluid balance. It also assists in the maintenance of healthy red and white blood cells.  B6 is required for hemoglobin synthesis. Vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain and peripheral nerve cells, and it supports nerve conduction. Some athletic supplements include vitamin B6 because it aids in the conversion of glycogen to glucose for energy in muscle tissue. Vitamin B6, when taken with folic acid, has been shown to help maintain normal plasma levels of homocysteine, which promotes optimal cardiovascular health. Vitamin B6 should be administered as a part of a complex of other B-vitamins for best results.
Magnesium (Carbonate) 
Foods rich in magnesium include unpolished grains, nuts and green vegetables. Green, leafy vegetables are potent sources of magnesium because of their chlorophyll content. Meats, starches, milk, refined and processed foods contain low amounts of magnesium.
Magnesium is a component of the mineralized part of bone and is necessary for the metabolism of potassium and calcium in adults. It helps maintain normal levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, adrenaline and insulin. It is also important for transporting calcium inside the cell for utilization. Magnesium plays a key role in the functioning of muscle and nervous tissue, and the synthesis of all proteins, nucleic acids, nucleotides, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, lipids and carbohydrates.
Magnesium is required for energy release, regulation of the body temperature, proper nerve function and regulating metabolism. Importantly, magnesium is also required by the body to build healthy bones, teeth and normal muscle development. It works together with calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones strong. Magnesium, when combined with calcium, helps support the heart muscles in maintaining a regular heartbeat and promoting normal blood pressure. 
Potassium (Bicarbonate)
Potassium is an electrolyte stored in the muscles. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, avocado, raw spinach, cabbage and celery. Potassium is an essential macromineral that helps maintain fluid balance in the body. It also plays a role in a wide variety of biochemical and physiological processes. Among other things, potassium is important in the transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction of cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle, the synthesis of nucleic acids, and the maintenance of intracellular tonicity.
It also promotes glycogen and protein synthesis. Potassium is an electrolyte that promotes normal heartbeat. Potassium is important in releasing energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during metabolism. Potassium helps regulate water balance, aids in recovery from exercise and helps with the elimination of wastes. Sodium and potassium are two of the most important ions in maintaining the homeostatic equilibrium of the body fluids.
Thiamin HCl (Vitamin B1)
Thiamin plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and nerve function. Thiamin is required for a healthy nervous system and assists in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is also used in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid.
D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid (B5) is the transfer agent for choline to acetylcholine, which aids in proper neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Pantothenic acid is also known as the anti-stress vitamin. It also plays very important role in the secretion of hormones.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for many aspects of health, growth and reproduction. It is part of the vitamin B complex. Niacin assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy. Niacin (also known as vitamin B-3) is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, eggs, legumes, and enriched breads and cereals.
Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Biotin can be found in food sources such as egg yolks, peanuts, beef liver, milk (10 mcg/cup), cereals, almonds and Brewer’s yeast. Biotin is used in healthy cell growth, the production of fatty acids, metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a role in the Citric acid cycle, the process in which biochemical energy is generated during aerobic respiration. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic chemical conversions but also helps to transfer carbon dioxide.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions about Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex:
What is Isotonix™ Advanced B-Complex?
Isotonix Advanced B-Complex is a blend of all B-vitamins with potassium and biotin. Because of the isotonic state of this blend, one can be sure that the maximum amounts of nutrients are reaching their target areas with utmost efficiency. An isotonic solution is one that actually matches the body’s own osmolarity and is easily absorbed into one’s system. Other isotonic solutions of the body include tears, plasma and mother’s milk. These all-star B-vitamins join in the proper amounts for maximal utilization and absorption. B12 and the other-B vitamins act as members of a team. When taken all together, B12 acts as a key player in the production of energy, cell maintenance and promotion of normal nervous system functioning. Folic acid is also present, playing an integral role in aiding B12 in the healthy utilization of amino acids and proteins, as well as DNA and RNA synthesis.
What is the source of the vitamin B12 in our Isotonix Advanced B-Complex?
Vitamin B-12 is a bacterial product, not synthesized by plants or animals. We get it by taking supplements or by eating eggs or meats. Vegetarians are recommended to take a B vitamin dietary supplement.
Can a person who lacks Intrinsic Factor and has to take B-12 shots get benefits from taking Isotonix B-Complex?
No. Vitamin B-12 requires intrinsic factor, a B-12 binding protein synthesized in stomach parietal cells for proper absorption.
Why are B-vitamins so important in the aging process?
The ability to absorb B-vitamins naturally decreases with age, and various indicators of cognitive impairment are associated with reduced B-vitamin levels. The elderly in general suffer from a reduction in sense of taste, and thus appetite, and may use many acid-reducing medicines that predispose them to B12 deficiency. According to Robert M. Russell of the U.S. RDA’s Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University, vitamin B12 is probably the single most important nutrient adversely affected by aging. Vitamin B12 is at once an incredibly difficult nutrient to assimilate and digest, as well as one of the most important vitamins for a broad range of bodily functions, including optimal functioning of the nervous system, normal DNA and RNA synthesis, optimal energy production and healthy blood integrity.
I am young and healthy. Why should I take Isotonix Advanced B-Complex?
Health experts estimate that one in five adults is deficient in one of the B-vitamins. Absorption of vitamin B12 is a complex process, which can lead to B12 deficiency. Keep in mind that even in a healthy person’s gastrointestinal tract, there are always other proteins and vitamins competing for absorption alongside vitamin B12, which is so large and complex that it very often must struggle for entrance into the bloodstream. Specifically at risk for deficiency are vegetarians, heavy drinkers, those who take a lot of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, those with digestive disorders, pernicious anemia, recipients of gastric bypass surgery and those with poor diets. A vitamin B-complex is great for athletes, especially endurance athletes who need a natural boost of energy before a workout, due to its beneficial effects promoting the oxygenation of red blood cells.
Is it toxic to take too much vitamin B12?
Studies have found no confirmed reports of toxic side effects from heightened dosages of vitamin B12. However, you should only take Isotonix Advanced B-Complex as directed on the bottle.
Are there any warnings or contraindications for Isotonix Advanced B-Complex?
No. Isotonix Advanced B-Complex is a vegetarian product and contains no wheat, gluten, soy, yeast, artificial flavor, starch, salt, preservatives or milk.
How do I take Isotonix Advanced B-Complex?
Pour one (1) level bottle capful of powder into the overcap. Add water to the line on the overcap (60 ml/2 fl. oz.). Best when taken on an empty stomach. This product is isotonic only if the specified amounts of powder and water are used.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Art and Science of Retirement Planning

The Art and Science of Retirement Planning
 
 
The Art and Science of Retirement Planning
Doug Nelson is author of the newly released Master Your Retirement and shares these wisdoms for retirement income planning. 
 
 
There is an art and a science to retirement planning, both of which are extremely important to master your retirement. You can’t just focus on one and expect things to work out well in the end – both components are necessary for success. 
Consider this simple mathematical equation: 5 + 2 X 10 – 1 X 100
What answer did you get? The correct answer is -75. This is the correct answer because mathematical equations are based on mathematical laws. Things need to be done in a particular order, otherwise you end up with completely different results.
With this in mind, what are the really important mathematical laws that need to be applied to every retirement planning situation, and in what order should they be applied? This is the “science” of retirement planning.
Now consider the assembly of a jigsaw puzzle.
A jigsaw puzzle is often a beautiful, colorful image with significant detail when properly put together. Yet, before you begin, this image is chaos, broken into hundreds or thousands of pieces. 
When starting to assemble a puzzle, the first step is to turn all the pieces upright and organize them into meaningful groups. Once you put all of the outside pieces together, you then start to fill in the puzzle one section at a time.
What if we applied the same approach to the “art” of your retirement plan?
What if you laid out all of the pieces of your retirement plan by making a list of all of the many different things you wish to do, the places you wish to see, the people you wish to be close to, and the things you’d like to learn. These are the different pieces of the puzzle. 
What if you then began to prioritize each of these items by placing them into various priority groups? The highest priority group are those things you wish to do first. The second highest priority group may be those things you wish to do in three years. There may also be things on these lists that you want to do annually, such as visiting with the kids and grandkids.  In the same way you are organizing the pieces of the puzzle, you begin to organize the pieces of your retirement years.
This is the “art” of your retirement planning process: assembling a wonderful, detailed and diverse picture of this next phase of your life.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Employees at Risk for Missing Deductions and Tax Planning

Employees at Risk for Missing Deductions and Tax Planning
 
Employees at Risk for Missing Deductions and Tax Planning
 
The average tax refund in Canada is now over $1620 – and that means millions of dollars of overpaid taxes are being taken out of the hands of average people all year long. At particular risk are employees. 
 
 
Be sure all eligible tax provisions have been applied; here are two issues often forgotten: 
Don’t miss employment deductions. If you get a T4 slip and are required to pay out-of-pocket expenses as part of your employment contract, a deduction may be possible on your tax return.
Here’s the catch: you must be required to pay your own expenses under your contract of employment and the employer must certify this on Form T2200 Declaration of Conditions of Employment.
Lots of taxpayers forget to claim back the GST/HST paid on tax deductible amounts using the GST370 Form. Expenses can include accounting and legal fees, motor vehicle expenses, travel costs, parking, supplies used up directly in your work, office rent or certain home office expenses as well as amounts paid to an assistant, which could be a family member.
If you missed this claim, file an adjustment to your prior filed returns and remember to be prepared to show receipts, auto distance logs and Form T2200 if audited.
Minimize tax on severance. If you’ve lost your job, your severance package can help but it can also put you into a high tax bracket because it’s usually paid in a lump sum. One way to reduce your taxes is to maximize your RRSP contribution. Another is to write off your legal fees if you fought a wrongful dismissal. In some disputes, you qualify for lump sum averaging to reduce taxes.
In any case, ask the HR department to annualize the severance to average down taxes payable for the period. Best to see your tax advisor first, to ensure you keep as much as possible, after tax.
It’s Your Money. Your Life. If you have already received your tax refund, check over your tax return to make sure you haven’t missed making a lucrative claim. If you’re still filing, do claim all the deductions and credits you are entitled to. Then minimize withholding taxes by filing form T1213. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Financial Consumer Code to Protect Investors

Financial Consumer Code to Protect Investors
 
 
Financial Consumer Code to Protect Investors
 
 
The Government of Canada will develop a financial consumer code that could better inform and protect Canadian citizens when purchasing financial products and services.
 
 
The Government of Canada will develop a financial consumer code that could better inform and protect Canadian citizens when purchasing financial products and services.
 
 
Comments had been solicited via online consultations from December to February and on April 17, 2014 the Government launched roundtable discussions in Winnipeg and Vancouver on the topic.
The Government will consider this input when developing the comprehensive legislative framework that will result in the new consumer code. 
The following steps, listed on the Department of Finance website, note the existing initiatives available to ensure financial consumer protection:
 
·         Mandating an effective minimum 21-day, interest-free grace period on all new credit card purchases when a customer pays the outstanding balance in full and introducing a fee summary box;
·         Reducing the maximum cheque hold period to four days from seven days for cheques of less than $1,500 and providing consumers with access to the first $100 within 24 hours;
·         Banning unsolicited credit card cheques;
·         Requiring that financial institutions offer products and services on an opt-in basis only, where consumers have sufficient disclosure about the terms and conditions before accepting; and
·         Introducing new requirements for prepaid cards issued by federally regulated financial institutions requiring them to disclose to consumers relevant information at appropriate points in time. These regulations come into force on May 1, 2014.
 

What Makes Ultimate Aloe Juice Unique?

What Makes Ultimate Aloe Juice Unique?
 
 
What Makes Ultimate Aloe Juice Unique?
 
 
 
 

The aloe plant has been used to promote health for thousands of years. Ultimate Aloe Juice is a source of over 200 nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, including 13 of the 17 essential minerals needed for good nutrition.

Because the typical diet consists of many foods hard to digest, maintaining a healthy digestive tract is important to the overall health of the body. This is true because a healthy digestive tract ensures proper absorption of nutrients from the food we eat.

Ultimate Aloe Juice has the IASC (International Aloe Science Council) seal that certifies the aloe content and purity. The aloe vera in Ultimate Aloe Juice is harvested and processed according to sanitary manufacturing practices that use specific time and temperature guidelines. This preserves the natural properties of the aloe vera plant so you receive the maximum benefits of the product. Ultimate Aloe Juice is virtually free of undesirable components such as aloin and other anthraquinones (aloin: one ppm or less) confirmed by an independent university laboratory. It is necessary to avoid components such as aloin and anthraquinones because of their history of harsh side effects.

Ultimate Aloe Juice’s quality is analyzed for chemical and physical characteristics and in-vitro assays for monitoring biological activity. Our manufacturer is the only supplier with a full range of biological, chemical and medicinal research and development capabilities.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Primary Benefits of Ultimate Aloe Juice:
·         Contains the IASC (International Aloe Science Council) seal that certifies the aloe content and purity
·         A source of over 200 nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, including 13 of the 17 essential minerals needed for good nutrition
·         A source of soluble and insoluble fiber
·         A natural source of vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients
·         Contains no high fructose corn syrups or artificial sweeteners
·         Contains no thickeners or emulsifiers
·         Virtually free of emodin or aloin
·         Contains natural aloe vera leaf
·         Source of amino acids
·         Contains ActiveAloe™ to enhance aloe vera’s biological activity
·         Harvested and processed to ensure the body receives maximum benefits
·         Great tasting and refreshing flavors!
 
 
·         Key Ingredient Found in Ultimate Aloe Juice:

Aloe vera Leaf (ActiveAloe™)
Chemical analysis shows that aloe vera contains vitamins, minerals, triglycerides, carbohydrates, amino acids, enzymes and water. The vitamins found in aloe include B1, B2, B3 and B12, choline, folic acid, vitamin C and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A), which are all vital to optimal health and the formation of certain key enzymes.

Aloe has been shown to contain many beneficial minerals needed for good nutrition. Minerals found in aloe include calcium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium, sulfur, boron, silicon, phosphorus, and sodium. These minerals are vital in the growth process and essential for the function of all body systems.

Aloe vera also contains necessary triglycerides including fats, oil and waxes. They carry the fat-soluble vitamins and supply the fatty acids essential for growth and general health of the body. Aloe vera contains 20 of the 22 amino acids needed for good nutrition; nine of these are essential and must be supplied from an outside source because the body cannot manufacture its own. Aloe has been shown to contain all of the essential nine amino acids. Aloe vera also contains critical enzymes that trigger the chemical reaction of vitamins, minerals and hormones for normal functioning of the body.
·         Frequently Asked Questions about Ultimate Aloe Juice:

What is ActiveAloe™?
Ultimate Aloe Juice contains the ingredient ActiveAloe™, which is protected by a patented process that actually enhances aloe vera’s biological activity by isolating the polysaccharide fraction from the plant. This is important because the healthful benefits of aloe come from polysaccharides of a certain size. ActiveAloe™ is produced under ultra-sanitary condition; employees go through sanitation every time work area entered and the entire area undergoes wash down each night. It contains a novel proprietary method enabling the dehydration of aloe while maintaining flavor, color and nutrients.

I noticed the IASC Seal on the Ultimate Aloe Juice bottles. What is it and what does it mean for me?
The seal is a certificate from the International Aloe Science Council (IASC). It demonstrates that the quality of aloe in Ultimate Aloe Juice has been validated and certified by an independent group of professionals. Market America has made a strong commitment to sell a standardized, well-defined, thoroughly tested product that meets the rigid standards of the Council.

What is the shelf life of Ultimate Aloe Juice?
If un-refrigerated and unopened, Ultimate Aloe Juice will last approximately one year.  
·         Is Ultimate Aloe Juice safe for diabetics?
Anyone under medical treatment should consult a physician before taking any natural products.
·         Is Ultimate Aloe Juice cold-processed?
No, it is pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process by which the product eliminates bacteria to prevent contamination and spoilage. In fact, several studies show that the active ingredients can be enhanced by heating.

Why is caramel added to the regular (Natural) flavor?
The caramel is added to the product to obtain the dark brownish color.
·         Why does the taste vary?
The taste will vary from lot to lot due to the seasonal time of harvest. The sun and the amount of water the plants receive are directly responsible for the ripeness of the plants. Just as with any vegetable, you will have a different taste depending upon the growing process. Please enjoy the great taste of our Ultimate Aloe Juice!
·        
The label on the bottles includes something called malic acid. Why is that added?
The malic acid was added to further promote freshness and aid in balancing the pH level.

What are the steps in harvesting the natural aloe in Ultimate Aloe Juice?
Aloe is harvested by pulling back on the green leaf and cutting at the white base. Approximately three of the outermost mature leaves are cut from each plant. Leaves are gathered in boxes that are transported immediately to the production facility. Back at the building, production employees feed incoming harvested leaves into the primary washer located just outside the production room. The production room has a stainless steel conveyor system that quickly moves harvested leaves from the primary wash tank outside through a small opening in the wall into the room. The conveyors propel leaves to the mechanical leaf washer, and then to the cutting area. The production room is kept in an ultra-sanitary state, even when not in use. Employees are required to go through a process of sanitation every time they enter the room and the entire area is thoroughly cleaned after each production run.

It is important to use aloe vera that has been processed in a manner to stabilize the aloe and stop the enzymes from continuing to break down the polysaccharides. This normally has to be done in the first four to six hours after severing the leaf from the mother plant. Ultimate Aloe Juice is properly harvested and manufactured to ensure the body receives maximum benefits.

Why is the aloin removed from the aloe?
Fresh whole leaf aloe vera juice contains aloin, a very powerful laxative, which must be eliminated from the juice if it is to be used safely as an ingredient in topical products or as a health drink. Aloin is a compound, which is produced from e-modin and glucose. When whole leaf aloe is pasteurized and the aloin is eliminated, the juice is safe for both topical and internal use.

What is the history of aloe vera use in promoting health?
The idea that aloe vera can promote skin health is as old as the Pyramids. It is believed to have originated in the warm, dry climates of northern Africa. It has been found referenced in ancient hieroglyphics, which indicate it was a product that was traded between the Egyptians and the Sumerians as many as 6,000 years ago. It was first described in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical book written between 1553-50 B.C.E. The aloe has been used as a health agent or cosmetic ingredient for thousands of years in promoting normal wound healing, healthy digestion and healthy skin. Persian and Indian healers have used the soothing powers of aloe vera for centuries. In addition, both Chinese and Japanese civilizations have taken advantage of aloe vera’s beneficial properties. Greeks and Romans also used aloe vera in supporting health as early as the first century. Ancient Greeks obtained it from the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean. In the 10th century C.E., its soothing powers were recommended to the British king Alfred the Great by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Muslims who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca are entitled to hang an aloe plant over their doors as a talisman against evil.

If you look at the history of aloe as a topical application or cosmetic ingredient, there are three types of evidence that have been used to support its value, including testimonials, scientific research and chemical analysis. Reports show that as early as the 1930s the gel was used to successful sooth and promote the normal healing of X-ray and radium burns. Studies were also done on its effectiveness for thermal burns.

Many individuals apply the gel to minor cuts, abrasions and burns. Aloe vera products enjoy growing public interest. Strong examination of aloe vera continues within the medical community. Most of the modern research has focused on aloe vera’s ability to promote skin health and support normal healing. These outcomes are supported by many modern clinical studies conducted by medical professionals.

The juice of the plant continues to gain in popularity as an effective health drink. Hundreds of chemical reports show that aloe vera contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and a large number of healthy compounds.   

Are there any preservatives in Ultimate Aloe Juice?
Yes. The aloe vera plant is classified as a vegetable and like all plant products, the juice must be preserved or it will rapidly decompose when the leaves are processed. Potassium sorbate (from Mountain Ash trees) and sodium benzoate (from benzoin gum) are used in minute quantities as preservatives, and ascorbic and citric acid are used to stabilize and balance pH levels. Ultimate Aloe Juice is made from 100 percent aloe vera through a unique whole leaf process, using only certified leaves. This method carefully removes the unnecessary aloin and aloe-emodin while still maintaining high levels of modified aloe polysaccharides, which have been shown to contribute to many health benefits. The International Aloe Science Council has certified the aloe content and purity in this product.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Understanding Investment Tools

Understanding Investment Tools
 
 
Understanding Investment Tools
 
 
 
Written by Jim Yih
The investment industry is plagued with confusion and clutter. One reality of the industry is that there are far too many choices to choose from. Investors can buy a myriad of investments like GICs, mutual funds, stocks, income trusts, property, markets, etc. Furthermore, once you decide to invest in one of these categories, there are thousands of different places to buy from and even more specific investments to select. Those looking for an advisor to help guide them through this confusing maze of investments will have just as difficult a time picking the right advisor.
We all have biases to different investments and the reality is different investors will choose different investments. I hope to outline some different investment options available to investors and talk simply about some of the good and bad points.
Three Basic Types of Investments
When it comes to categorizing investments, I tend to look at three basic categories: Guaranteed investments, non-guaranteed investments, and hybrid products.
1. Guaranteed Investments
One of the most common and recognized guaranteed investment is the GIC or Guaranteed Investment Certificate. Essentially, guaranteed investments provide investments with two types of guarantee – a guarantee of capital and a guaranteed return.
Other investments that fit into this category are high interest bank accounts, Canada Savings Bonds, Strip Bonds, T-Bills and term deposits.
It’s no surprise that the most appealing characteristic of these guaranteed investments is the simple fact that you cannot lose money. Certainty, predictability and familiarity are all reasons why investors buy guaranteed investments.
Typically, there are three common negatives when we talk about guaranteed investments. The first concern is low returns. In fact, today we are in the midst of some of the lowest interest rates ever. The second concern is taxation. Guaranteed investments typically have the least tax efficient form of investment income – interest income. Finally, it has been proven time and time again that guaranteed investments have a very difficult time keeping up with inflation.
2. Non-guaranteed Investments
With low interest rates, investors tend to look for alternatives to boost returns. Unfortunately, the tradeoff for higher returns is that you must accept the fact that there will not be guarantees of performance. Investors choosing non-guaranteed investments will have to deal with the world of uncertainty.
In this category, you will find things like mutual funds, stocks, real estate, gold, income trusts, hedge funds, wrap accounts or discretionary money management. In all these cases, you must accept a higher level of risk in return for some higher potential long-term returns.
Of course, when the markets were roaring upward, it was much easier on the heart to take this higher level of risk. But when things are dropping, the rewards are not present and the risks seem too high. Welcome to the world of the non-guaranteed investments.
3. Hybrid Products
Hybrid products have often been called the investment that gives you the best of both worlds. These investments provide characteristics of both guaranteed investments and non-guaranteed investments. The hybrid product category is a newer one that is rapidly growing in size and popularity.
Similar to a guaranteed product, hybrids will guarantee that your capital will be returned to you over a specified period of time. Different products have different time frames that usually range from 3 to 10 years. However, they are similar to non-guaranteed investments in that the returns of these investments are linked to an underlying non-guaranteed investment.
In this category you will find things like index linked GICs, mutual fund linked GICs, Principal Protected Notes, and segregated funds. While these products seem to have the best of both worlds there are a lot of different varieties in this category. Make sure you shop wisely or get the help of a financial advisor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Guaranteed Investment Certificates – Shop Wisely

Guaranteed Investment Certificates – Shop Wisely
 
 
Guaranteed Investment Certificates – Shop Wisely
 
 
Written by Jim Yih
While most of you are familiar with Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) also known as term deposits, you may also be confused by the number of variations of these once simple investments.
With interest rates increases, GICs have renewed appeal, especially from conservative investors. And why not, there is a crossover point for investors at which they will choose a GIC over non-guaranteed investments.
I often refer to a study by Marketing Solutions in Toronto where Canadians were polled with the question: “at what point would you buy a GIC?” Only 12% of Canadians would buy a GIC at 5%. It is no wonder that so much money has moved to mutual funds. 44% of Canadians would buy a GIC at a 7% rate of return and we are getting closer and closer to that point today. Finally, 78%of Canadians said they would buy a GIC at 9%.
As rates inch higher, there will be more people interested in the world of guaranteed investments. I offer you three very important tips when contemplating which GIC to buy.
1.       SHOP RATES. Every day, financial institutions fight to attract your investment dollars. They offer different rates for varying terms. The difference between the lowest rate and the highest rate is often more than a full percent. Over time, this difference becomes very significant, so be sure to shop rates! Don’t just settle for posted rates from a bank. You can shop rates by calling around, using a deposit broker or visiting some internet sites like .
2.       SHOP PRODUCT. Indexed, step rate, cashable, and convertible are just a few examples of how financial institutions are getting creative about marketing GIC investments. Whatever the type, be sure to shop product. Not all GICs are created equally. Read the fine print. For example, step rate GICs that increase their rates year by year, must disclose the equivalent compound return equivalent. Usually it is in very small print, so pull out those glasses and read the disclaimers!
3.       SHOP COMPANY. Sometimes the company with the best rate is not always the best place to invest your money. Remember Principle Group? They had the best rates at one time. It is important to know whether the financial institution is insured (through CDIC, Compcorp, etc). When you are investing in GICs, you are really lending that institution money hoping that they pay back your capital and interest. Think about whether that institution is going to be around to pay you back in the future. Generally, your investments are insured up to $60,000 per institution.
The lesson here is simple: while GICs may appear to be simple and safe, don’t be lured by marketing, or the belief that all GICs are the same. Be sure to shop rate, product and company.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The World of Guaranteed Investing

The World of Guaranteed Investing
 
The World of Guaranteed Investing
 
Written by Jim Yih
If you pick investments based on a popularity contest, chances are you would be on the hunt for something with a guarantee. In times where equity markets disappoint investors, investors will often search for guaranteed investments.
I am a believer that psychology plays a huge role in investing, and while I fundamentally believe that investors should not give up on the markets and mutual funds when times are tough. Here’s some key ideas on the world of guaranteed investing.
What does guaranteed investing mean?
Typically when the word guarantee is used, investors are referring to the guarantee of capital and that they will not lose capital under any circumstances. If they invest $100,000, then they will continue to have $100,000 at a minimum no matter what happens to the markets, economies, or interest rates.
Let me share with you some of the most popular strategies to guarantee your investment capital.
High Interest Bank Accounts.
Those who are familiar with my articles and philosophies will know that I am a huge proponent of high interest bank accounts. Currently, Manulife Bank is paying 1.55% from dollar one with no fees and full liquidity. Tangerine (formerly ING bank) is paying a close 1.3%. President’s Choice rounds out the three most popular choices with an account paying 1.35%. In all cases, the interest rate is a floating rate but the capital cannot be lost.
Note:  Rates are subject to change at any time
Conventional GIC.
Most investors will be familiar with the conventional GIC. You pick a term 1 to 5 years and you will be guaranteed a specific interest rate for that term. Today rates are well under 4%. The most important tip I can give investors looking to invest in GICs is to shop for the best rates. In many cases, shopping for rates can add over 1% everytime. Don’t settle for posted bank rates because they are usually the lowest rates on the market. One of my favourite sites to look for the best GIC rates is Fiscal Agents.com
Personally, I think GIC investors should really use deposit brokers to do the shopping. Deposit brokers work like mortgage brokers but instead of shopping for the best mortgage rates, they shop for the best GIC rates.  Investors will get the best rates without paying any extra fees. The deposit broker business is the fastest growing channel.  To learn more about deposit brokers visit Registered Deposit Brokers Association
Index linked GIC.
The index linked GIC is an interesting product in that the capital is guaranteed. However, the return on the capital is dependent on the performance of an underlying index. Typically, you must choose between a 3 and 5-year term. The index is usually one of the major indexes like the TSX or the S&P500. When it comes to index linked GICs, it is important to read the fine print on how your return is actually calculated. The linked GIC appeals to investors who want to preserve the capital but are willing to risk the growth a little. At worst case you will get your capital back with no growth. There are many unique linked products on the market linking to the performance of some of the most popular mutual funds.
Step Rate GICs.
Step rate GICs are becoming increasingly popular. Often the advertisements for these products lure you in with a high interest rate in the last year. An example of a step rate GIC is a GIC that pays 2% in the first year, 2.5% in the second year, etc. If you calculate the average annualized yield, you will find that you probably could have found a better conventional GIC over the 5-year term. Step rate GICs are not bad, you just have to understand the true return behind the marketing.
Related article: Rate riser rip offs
Segregated Funds.
Segregated funds are interesting because the guarantee of capital only occurs in certain circumstances. Most often, you are guaranteed your capital if you die or if you invest for a full ten-year period. Many investors have found that when they buy segregated funds their statements will show the day to day fluctuations just like any other mutual funds or non-guaranteed investment. You must be careful about getting too secure with segregated funds. While the guarantees do exist, you must also read the fine print and understand when the guarantees apply and how they are calculated.
You also need to understand that the guarantees are not free and often they do not come cheap. Higher fees are standard when it comes to segregated funds. You must simply rationalize whether you perceive benefits in having mutual fund type investments with guarantees of capital.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5 Ways to keep your passwords ( mostly )safe from hackers.

5 Ways to keep your passwords ( mostly )safe from hackers.
 
 
 
5 Ways to keep your passwords ( mostly )safe from hackers.
 
 
 
If the scary Internet security bug Heartbleed has taught us anything, it’s that none of our passwords are ever truly safe.

Discovered only a few weeks ago, Heartbleed is the code name for a gaping hole in a commonly used security protocol that’s supposed to protect passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data submitted through a web page.

So, what can you do to keep bad guys from stealing your password with help from the next Heartbleed? (And yes, there will eventually be another bug or virus that takes Heartbleed’s place in the headlines.)

Well, like wearing a seat belt in a car, there are plenty of measures you can take to greatly reduce—but not eliminate—the odds of your Internet accounts getting hijacked by hackers.
 
 
1. Get a password manager
Sure, it’s hard to give up your old password habits and start fresh with new ones, and it’s even harder to entrust your precious passwords to an unfamiliar program.
Believe me, I know. I dragged my heels for years before finally breaking down and buying my own password manager, and I had all kinds of excuses for doing so: hackers might break into the program and steal my passwords, I didn’t have time to figure out how to use it, my passwords were probably safe anyway…etcetera, etcetera.
Well, it’s true that no password manager can possibly keep all your passwords completely safe, and yes, there’s usually a learning curve. And no one hates change more than me.
Painful though it was, though, I finally did make the plunge with a password manager, and I’m glad I did. No more scraps of paper with passwords scribbled on them, no more forgotten passwords, and no more “weak” passwords like “Patterson123.”
Indeed, once you pick a password manager of your own, you’ll find the following steps a whole lot easier. Take, for example…
2. Use lengthy, “strong” passwords
A password like “Patterson123″ or the old, not-so-reliable “password” is easy to remember, but guessing them is a piece of cake for even the most casual hackers.
Indeed, enterprising password thieves have collected gigantic databases of stolen passwords, culling through them to figure out the most popular combinations of words, letters and numbers.
Bottom line: If there’s an identifiable word or name in your favorite password, it’s “weak.” Period. Your birthday backwards won’t cut it, either, nor will the name the street you grew up on
Instead, make sure your passwords are “strong”—meaning they contain (ideally) a meaningless garble of letters, numbers and symbols.
In its guide to creating strong passwords, Microsoft recommends at least eight characters, no words or real names, plenty of symbols, a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, plus a sprinkling of numbers for good measure.
Nope, strong passwords aren’t easy to remember, but they’re tough (although not impossible) to crack.
Besides, your password manager can remember—and even create—those lengthy, indecipherable passwords for you.
3. Never use the same password twice
It is, of course, much easier to remember one password for all your accounts than it is to commit dozens of passwords to memory—and yes, for years, I was one of those one-password-for-everythng people.
As you can imagine, though, using the same password for all your Internet accounts makes life incredibly easy for any hacker who manages to steal your one big password.
That’s why you need to use different passwords for each of your online accounts.
I know, I know—even more to remember, right? Again, here’s where a password manager (which, typically, will store all your passwords in a searchable database) can come to the rescue.
4. Change your passwords regularly
Like bread in a cupboard or the clothes in your wardrobe, passwords get stale over time.
No, you don’t have to change your passwords as often as the Kardashians shed wardrobes, but you should consider changing your passwords at least every six months or so—all the better to keep hackers guessing.
The best password managers can help by flagging passwords that are ripe for changing, as well as storing your old passwords in case you ever need them again.
5. Use “two-step” authentication whenever possible
So, you’ve diligently exchanged your weak passwords for strong ones, you’ve created different passwords for each of your accounts, and you’re changing your passwords every few months or so.
Does that mean your passwords are completely safe from hackers? Sadly, no.
That’s why you should consider an extra level of security for your most precious online accounts, particularly when it comes to your primary email account—you know, the one where all those “Reset your password” messages go.
Some of the biggest online services around—think Facebook, Google, Apple, and the like—have implemented something called “two-step” authentication: a method of securing a password with a secondary numeric code.
Switch on two-step authentication on Google, for example, and Google will regularly (but not always) prompt you for a six-digit code after you’ve entered your password.
This code changes every 60 seconds, and it’s sent to your phone via text message or a special “authenticator” app.
Sound like a pain? Well, it is, and I still find myself groaning whenever I need to fetch another six-number authentication number on my iPhone.
But what’s a pain for me is even worse for a hacker, who now has an extra hoop to jump through even once s/he’s managed to snare one of my strong passwords.