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August 2014

Tax cheats beware: zapper use will not be tolerated

Tax cheats beware: zapper use will not be tolerated -
Tax cheats beware: zapper use will not be tolerated
Minister Findlay meets with local businesses to discuss new civil and criminal sanctions for possession or use of electronic suppression of sales software
August 13, 2014 - Saskatoon – Canada Revenue Agency
The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, joined by Minister Lynne Yelich, Member of Parliament for Blackstrap, and Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, today took part in a roundtable discussion with business owners to discuss new sanctions introduced earlier this year to combat the use of electronic suppression of sales (ESS) software and its contribution to the underground economy.
  • Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2013 proposed new administrative monetary penalties and criminal offences under both the Excise Tax Act and Income Tax Act targeting those participating in the use, possession, sale or development of ESS software. Those EAP measures took effect on January 1, 2014.
  • Earlier this year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) began an awareness campaign to ensure that businesses were aware of the new sanctions. The awareness activities will conclude this summer.
  • As of September 1, 2014, the CRA will begin to impose these new civil penalties and criminal sanctions for participating in the use, possession, sale or development of ESS software.
Quick facts
  • ESS software (commonly known as “zapper” software) selectively deletes or modifies sales transactions in point-of-sale systems, electronic cash registers and business accounting systems, leaving no record of the original transaction behind. The software allows businesses to underreport their revenue and avoid paying taxes.
  • Under the new measures, businesses that use, possess, or acquire ESS software will face a fine of $5,000 for the first infraction and $50,000 on any subsequent infraction. Anyone who participates in manufacturing, developing, selling, possessing for sale, offering for sale or otherwise making available ESS software will face a fine of $10,000 for the first infraction, and $100,000 on any subsequent infraction. They may also face criminal charges of up to $1 million in fines, up to a five year jail term, or both.
“Our Government is serious about cracking down on tax cheats—including those who manufacture or use electronic suppression of sales software. We now have the tools to penalize these tax cheats with stronger civil and criminal consequences, including fines and even jail time. Participation in the underground economy hurts all Canadians.”
“The severity of these sanctions speaks to how serious a crime this is. We are committed to rooting out tax cheats and making sure they are punished accordingly. In keeping with our commitment to reducing red tape, we have enacted these measures without creating additional reporting requirements for compliant businesses.”


On June 20, 2014, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development (ESDC), and Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced a comprehensive overhaul of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the creation of new International Mobility Programs (IMPs).
The new IMPs will incorporate those streams in which foreign nationals are not subject to a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and whose primary objective is to advance Canada’s broad economic and cultural national interest, rather than filling particular jobs. The LMIA is a labor market verification process whereby ESDC assesses an offer of employment to ensure that the employment of a foreign worker will not have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market. Employers will be required to provide a variety of information about the position for which they want to hire a foreign worker, including the number of Canadians who applied for the position, the number of Canadians who were interviewed, and detailed explanations for why the Canadian workers considered were not hired.
The goal is to ensure the TFWP is only used as intended, as a last and limited resort to fill acute, temporary labour shortages when qualified Canadians are not available.
If you currently participate in the TFWP, or are intending to, find out more detailed information in the official federal government news release and Background Documents.
On June 1, 2014, amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Regulation) modifying working rights for foreign nationals, under the International Student Program (ISP), came into force.
Effective June 1, 2014, permits for off-campus work will no longer be required, nor will international students be expected to study full-time for a period of six months prior to seeking such employment.
The new rules governing off-campus work require that international students hold a valid study permit similarly to before, but moving forward, these study permits will not be obtained as easily as in the past. Previously, study permits were issued to students attending any type of educational institution, whether or not accredited or regulated. Such permits will now only be issued to students enrolled at a “designated learning” institution.
Consult the Government of Canada’s website for additional details.
Provincial/territorial updates
At the time of this release, all provincial and territorial jurisdictions have tabled their budgets. The CPA has prepared a Budget Report for each jurisdiction, all of which are available at the CPA’s website. This section of the CPA website is updated with new budget information as it becomes available.
The Nova Scotia government recently announced that the new statutory holiday to be celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February every year will be known as Heritage Day.
The first Heritage Day celebration will take place on Monday February 16, 2015.
Nova Scotia now joins the jurisdictions of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, to celebrate a holiday in the month of February.
Access the official News Release for additional information.
The Ontario Government gave Royal Assent to Bill 14, Building Opportunity and Securing Our Future Act (Budget Measures), 2014which puts into effect the provisions presented on July 14, 2014.
Some of the payroll related measures included:
§  Retroactive tax rate changes for individuals whose incomes are in excess of $150,000
§  The introduction of an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) that would come into effect in 2017
§  The introduction of Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPP)
§  The proposal to amend Ontario’s Insurance Act which would require benefits from a long-term disability (LTD) plan to be insured
The Budget also discusses initiatives in other areas that may affect payroll including job training, hiring employees with disabilities and public sector pension plans.
For additional information, consult the CPA’s Ontario Budget Report. The CPA has also prepared a document with the top questions and answers regarding the retroactive tax rate changes.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has published an updated edition of the T4127, Payroll Deductions Formulas for Computer Programs to enable employers to implement the revised rates in their system effective September 1, 2014.
The September 2014 version of the Payroll Deductions Online Calculator (PDOC) that includes the Ontario tax changes is now available.
The CPA has forwarded a Legislative Briefing: Ontario Personal Tax Changes to its members.
On April 29, 2014, Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendments Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2014, passed its third reading with all-party support in the Ontario legislature. The legislation has received Royal Assent and will come into effect on October 29, 2014.
The new legislative measures build on the existing
Family Medical Leave by creating three new job-protected leaves:
§  Family Caregiver Leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
§  Critically Ill Child Care Leave: up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.
§  Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave: up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a child who has died as a result of a crime.
A doctor’s note would be required to qualify for Family Caregiver Leave and Critically Ill Child Care Leave.
Access more information at the websites below:
On July 16, 2014, the Ontario government introduced Bill 18 Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014. The legislation, if passed will impact several areas within the various labor and employment laws.
Some of the proposed changes include:
§  The elimination of the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages by employees through the Ministry of Labour claim process under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
§  Increasing the limitation period to two years for employees to recover unpaid wages through the Ministry of Labour claim process under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. The current limitation period is six months or one year depending on the type of claim.
§  Requiring employers to provide each of their employees with a copy of the most recent poster (including translations) published by the Ministry of Labour that provides information about the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
§  Making temporary help agencies and their clients jointly and severally liable for unpaid regular wages and unpaid overtime pay.
§  Requiring the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to assign workplace injury and accident costs to temporary help agency clients when an employee is injured while performing work for the agency’s client.
§  Expanding employment protections for foreign nationals who are in Ontario under an immigration or foreign temporary employee program. The protections include a prohibition on charging a recruiter fee or taking possession of the foreign national’s property, such as their passport or work permit.
§  Tying future minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index. The new minimum wage will be announced by April 1 of each year and will come into effect on October 1 of that same year.
Access Bill 18 Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 for additional details.
The CPA will continue to monitor the progress of these new legislative measures and advise employers accordingly.
With Ontario’s budget having received Royal Assent on July 24, 2014, certain amendments to the Pension Benefits Act (PBA), known as the Carrigan amendments, have become law.
Changes to Section 48 of the Pension Benefits Act modified within Bill 14, Building Opportunity and Securing Our Future Act (Budget Measures), 2014 clarify that in circumstances where a pension plan member is legally married to a spouse from whom they are separated, is living with a new spouse in a common law conjugal relationship, and dies prior to retirement, the common law spouse will be entitled to the pre-retirement death benefit.
Minimum wage update
The following table includes the minimum wages currently in effect in all jurisdictions as well as any rate changes announced at the time of writing.
JurisdictionRate/hourEffective dateFederal
(Canada Labour Code, Part III)
Aligned with provincial/territorial minimum wage in each jurisdictionDecember 1996Alberta§  General$9.95
September 1, 2013
September 1, 2014
§  Liquor server$9.05
September 1, 2011
September 1, 2014
British Columbia§  General§  Liquor servers$10.25
 May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
October 1, 2013
October 1, 2014
New Brunswick*$10.00April 1, 2012Newfoundland and Labrador$10.00
July 1, 2010
October 1, 2014
Northwest Territories$10.00April 1, 2011Nova Scotia§  Experienced workers§  Inexperienced workers$10.40
 April 1, 2014
April 1, 2014
Nunavut$11.00January 1, 2011Ontario§  General §  Students under 18 working 28 hours/week or less§  Serving alcohol on licensed property  $11.00
 June 1, 2014
June 1, 2014
June 1, 2014
Prince Edward Island$10.20
June 1, 2014
October 1, 2014
Quebec§  General§  Employees receiving tips$10.35
 May 1, 2014
May 1, 2014
December 1, 2012
October 1, 2014
Yukon $10.72April 1, 2014
An inexperienced employee is an employee who has not been employed by their current employer or other employers to do their current job for three calendar months.
Will increase each year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
*There are special minimum wage rates for certain categories of employees in government construction work, and counsellors and program staff at residential summer camps.
The Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) is implementing a one-year Payroll Experience (PE) requirement, effective January 1, 2015, for all Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) candidates. This requirement will enhance the quality of PCP graduates and demonstrate to employers that a PCP certification holder has both the education and experience competencies required to keep organizations compliant.

Read more
As a payroll professional, keeping up with federal and provincial requirements is key. The following article by HRinfodesk concerns a case in Ontario. The conclusions from this case involve the legal implications of not including termination compensation provisions in employment contracts. This may have implications for employment contracts in other provinces.
Limiting termination compensation
By Adam Gorley, Editor, HRinfodesk, published by First Reference, August 2014

In recent termination cases, Ontario's courts have often inferred missing termination notice or severance pay provisions into employment contracts, usually to employers' benefit. But in Paquette v. Quadraspec Inc., 2014 ONCS 2431 (available in French only), the Superior Court has released a decision that suggests a stricter approach. Justice Paul Kane found that where an employer has drafted an employment contract that doesn't comply with the Employment Standards Act (ESA)—either by omission or error—it is inappropriate to assume that the employer intended otherwise.
Facts of the case and decision
The employee, Alain Paquette, had worked for Quadraspec Inc. or its predecessors since 1983. In 1998, the employer made Paquette director general of the company's Oakville operations, under a new contract that was in effect until 2011, when he was terminated without cause or notice. Quadraspec paid Paquette six months of salary in lieu of notice, plus unpaid bonus amounts, in accordance with the contract. The contract expressly limited claims for other unpaid compensation such as benefits or severance to the notice period. Paquette complained that the termination clause of the employment contract was not valid since it prevented him from making claims for these unpaid amounts, contrary to the ESA.
It is well-established that an employer may not contract out of the minimum standards set in the Act, and by attempting to do so, that employer will nullify any offending contractual clause. On termination notice, the ESA states:
Requirements during notice period (section 60.1)
During a notice period, the employer:
(a) Shall not reduce the employee's wage rate or alter any other term or condition of employment;
(b) Shall in each week pay the employee the wages the employee is entitled to receive, which in no case shall be less than his or her regular wages for a regular work week; and
(c) Shall continue to make whatever benefit plan contributions would be required to be made in order to maintain the employee's benefits under the plan until the end of the notice period.
Pay instead of notice (section 61.1)
An employer may terminate the employment of an employee without notice or with less notice than is required if the employer:
(a) Pays to the employee termination pay in a lump sum equal to the amount the employee would have been entitled to receive under section 60 had notice been given in accordance with that section; and
(b) Continues to make whatever benefit plan contributions would be required to be made in order to maintain the benefits to which the employee would have been entitled had he or she continued to be employed during the period of notice that he or she would otherwise have been entitled to receive.
Quadraspec admitted that the clause excluded benefits to which Paquette was entitled, but argued that it understood it had an obligation to pay these benefits to Paquette regardless of the wording of the contract.
However, Justice Kane found that when drafting the contract, the employer intentionally chose a wording that violated the ESA, despite simple valid alternatives. Quadraspec clearly put substantial effort into the drafting of the detailed 15-page employment contract, and as a result, it didn't make sense for the court to infer terms into the ambiguous termination notice clause.
The court further noted that the offending clause looked like an attempt to avoid or limit the employer's obligation to maintain Paquette's benefits during the notice period, placing the onus (and expense) on the employee to challenge the ambiguous provision in court. Justice Kane stated, “Courts shouldn't be assisting employers with such a purpose.” As a result, the court found the termination clause was null and void.
Justice Kane made another important decision in the case. The ESA states that an employer must pay severance to employees of five years or more if its total payroll is greater than $2.5 million. Quadraspec argued that this clause applies only to payroll in Ontario. Since Quadraspec's main operations are in Quebec, and its Ontario payroll was not above the threshold, this interpretation would have meant the employer didn't have to pay severance to Paquette. The court disagreed. It is clear from the reading of the Employment Standards Act and various other relevant statutes that Ontario's legislature did not intend to limit the severance clause to employers' payroll in Ontario. There is simply no evidence that this was the intention.
The Act states:
Payroll (section 64.2)
An employer shall be considered to have a payroll of $2.5 million or more if:
(a) The total wages earned by all of the employer's employees in the four weeks that ended with the last day of the last pay period completed prior to the severance of an employee's employment, when multiplied by 13, was $2.5 million or more; or
(b) The total wages earned by all of the employer's employees in the last or second-last fiscal year of the employer prior to the severance of an employee's employment was $2.5 million or more.
Since Quadraspec's total payroll was more than $2.5 million, and Paquette had worked for the company for more than five years, the court found the employer did owe the employee severance.
This case serves as another clear reminder that it is crucial to draft compliant employment contracts.
Any questions or comments, please communicate with Yosie Saint-Cyr, Managing Editor, at
This article is published on HRinfodesk---an online publication and database of payroll and employment law news, compliance and case commentaries for every jurisdiction in Canada, published by First Reference.
These articles are made available to give you general information and understanding of the law, not to provide legal advice about specific situations or problems. These articles also offer general comments on legal developments of concern to businesses. There is no lawyer-client relationship between you and the author or publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of this information. These publications should NOT be relied upon as legal advice or opinions. The reader should always obtain legal advice from a qualified lawyer or other qualified professional, which will be responsive to the case or circumstance of the individual.
Please note that the content provided in this article or any content contained in or made available through any third party website linked to from this article and/or HRinfodesk, is provided “as is” without representations or warranties of any kind. All representations and warranties in respect of content or third party content, express or implied, including, without limitation any representations to warranties or conditions regarding accuracy, timeliness, completeness, non-infringement, merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose are hereby disclaimed.

Skintelligence® Skin Perfecting Complex- Benefits

Skintelligence® Skin Perfecting Complex-  Benefits -aliko nutrition store -
Aliko nutrition and health store –
Skintelligence® Skin Perfecting Complex-  BenefitsSignificantly reduces the appearance of visible signs of aging
Repairs skin cells damaged by the U.V.A. rays of the sun
Comments about Skintelligence® Skin Perfecting Complex:
This is a wonderful product it has made my skin feel soft and smooth it firms your skin to eliminate wrinkles. It worked so well my Mom is using it now and she was spending close to $200.00 for a product that did the same thing.

Tax cheats beware: zapper use will not be tolerated

Tax cheats beware: zapper use will not be tolerated
Tax cheats beware: zapper use will not be tolerated
Minister Findlay meets with local businesses to discuss new civil and criminal sanctions for possession or use of electronic suppression of sales software
August 13, 2014 - Saskatoon – Canada Revenue Agency
The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of National Revenue, joined by Minister Lynne Yelich, Member of Parliament for Blackstrap, and Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, today took part in a roundtable discussion with business owners to discuss new sanctions introduced earlier this year to combat the use of electronic suppression of sales (ESS) software and its contribution to the underground economy.
  • Economic Action Plan (EAP) 2013 proposed new administrative monetary penalties and criminal offences under both the Excise Tax Act and Income Tax Act targeting those participating in the use, possession, sale or development of ESS software. Those EAP measures took effect on January 1, 2014.
  • Earlier this year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) began an awareness campaign to ensure that businesses were aware of the new sanctions. The awareness activities will conclude this summer.
  • As of September 1, 2014, the CRA will begin to impose these new civil penalties and criminal sanctions for participating in the use, possession, sale or development of ESS software.
Quick facts
  • ESS software (commonly known as “zapper” software) selectively deletes or modifies sales transactions in point-of-sale systems, electronic cash registers and business accounting systems, leaving no record of the original transaction behind. The software allows businesses to underreport their revenue and avoid paying taxes.
  • Under the new measures, businesses that use, possess, or acquire ESS software will face a fine of $5,000 for the first infraction and $50,000 on any subsequent infraction. Anyone who participates in manufacturing, developing, selling, possessing for sale, offering for sale or otherwise making available ESS software will face a fine of $10,000 for the first infraction, and $100,000 on any subsequent infraction. They may also face criminal charges of up to $1 million in fines, up to a five year jail term, or both.
“Our Government is serious about cracking down on tax cheats—including those who manufacture or use electronic suppression of sales software. We now have the tools to penalize these tax cheats with stronger civil and criminal consequences, including fines and even jail time. Participation in the underground economy hurts all Canadians.”
“The severity of these sanctions speaks to how serious a crime this is. We are committed to rooting out tax cheats and making sure they are punished accordingly. In keeping with our commitment to reducing red tape, we have enacted these measures without creating additional reporting requirements for compliant businesses.”

Rent or own vacation property

Rent or own vacation property
Rent or own vacation property
Written by Jim Yih
Every year, I meet more and more people that have bought vacation property or are thinking about buying vacation property.  The question I get is whether this is a good idea or not.
It’s in the numbers
I’ve always said there are two influences to every decision we make – the logical influence and the emotional influence.  From a logical perspective, the answer often lies in the number so let’s look at an example that is near and dear to my brain.
Previously, we took a family vacation to the Okanagan where we spent a week in Kelowna and a week in Vernon.  We loved both places but we really fell in love with the resort we stayed at in Vernon called the Outback Resort.  In fact we loved it so much we fell in love with the idea of spending longer summer vacations there and if that was the case, we should explore the option to buy a place there.  We called up a realtor and looked at a 2-bedroom option and a 3-bedroom option.  Let’s look at the math.
The math of the BUY
The 2-bedroom unit was selling for $300,000.  If I put $50,000 down, the $250,000 mortgage would cost me $1315 per month (roughly $9300 of that payment would be interest and the rest would go towards principle).
Along with the mortgage payments is the strata fee of $350 per month and the property taxes at $2500 per year.
Total annual cost to purchase the condo is $16,000 per year.  I can take some pretty nice holidays for $16,000 per year not including the $50,000 down payment.
Rent or buy?
Next, let’s look at renting.  If I was to rent this unit for a vacation, it would rent for $339 per night.  That means I could rent that place for 47 nights a year or 7 weeks to reach a total cost of $16,000.
With four young boys, there is no way I am going to be able to spend 7 weeks of every year in Vernon.
In my opinion, the math is pretty clear . . . rent the place for a week or two and I will be out of pocket a lot less than buying.
But what about an investment?
So my wife says to me “Jim, you are the investment guy.  Isn’t investing in property a good idea?”
My response was “Yes but only if the numbers justify a return”.
If I look at the annual cost of $16,000 on a $300,000 property, I need that property to increase by 5.3% per year just to recover my costs.  I don’t know if Vernon vacation real estate will increase by 5.3% per year but I know there are a lot of properties for sale and the prices have come down (not up) in the past few years.  I also know that prices in Vernon are very much dependent on buyers from Alberta and Vancouver.
I know lots of people who bought property in the US and have not experience positive growth.  I’m sure there are others who have made money as well.
Flip a coin on the investment argument.  I say 50% chance it will beat 5.3% growth and 50% it won’t.  What do you think?
What about renting it out on the days we are not there?
Here’s another argument from my lovely wife who really wants this place in Vernon.  Here’s the problem.  Let’s say we want the place for 2 or 3 weeks of every year.  We are going to pick the summer months when the kids are on summer holidays, which is peak rental season.  To recoup our $16,000 annual cost, we will need to rent the place for 60 to 80 nights in the year.  Now this sounds like a part time job to me for a lot less money than my real job makes me.
My five cents
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from buying vacation property but I do think it requires careful thought and analysis of the numbers.  The math on the $400,000 3-bedroom option was not appealing but every property has it’s own set of numbers.  Run the math, think logically and put emotions aside when making this big decision.
This is a simplistic analysis but a real one.  Any thoughts on what I have missed?  Do you have an experience (positive or negative) you want to share with others about buying vacation property?

Learning From the Financial Mistakes of Others

Learning From the Financial Mistakes of Others
Learning From the Financial Mistakes of Others
Written by Sarah Milton
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
A few years ago, I embarked on a business venture with a friend. As part of our due diligence we made it a point to talk with as many people as possible who had found success in the area we were focussing on in the hopes of learning strategies that we could duplicate but we also sought out people who had created a similar product and been highly unsuccessful. Our thought was that, in learning about their mistakes and consequent challenges we might be able to avoid making those same mistakes ourselves. As it turned out, we received some great mentorship from those who had been successful but we learned some of the most valuable lessons from hearing the stories of the less fortunate entrepreneurs. When it comes to finances, the most powerful lessons often come from the financial mistakes we make and we can learn a lot from these negative experiences.
Beware of Taking Risk to Catch Up on Retirement Savings:
The driving force behind Rebecca’s decision to invest in two high risk business opportunities (a real estate development that failed and a mining venture which turned out to be fraudulent) was realizing that she hadn’t saved enough money to maintain her preferred lifestyle in retirement. This is not a rare thing; one of the most common regrets I hear expressed by people in their 50s and 60s is the wish that they had saved more and spent less in their younger years. Realizing that their savings aren’t enough often prompts people to take far too much risk with their money at a time when they should be investing more conservatively. Some, like Rebecca, gamble on speculative ventures that promise huge returns, others leave their money invested in portfolios that are far too exposed to market risk in a bid to net an extra couple of years of good returns.
Investors in their 20s, 30s and 40s can learn great lessons from these investors’ mistakes. The best way to build wealth is to do it steadily, over time. Commit to saving early and saving hard; your 65 year old self will thank you for it!
Don’t Assume that CPP and OAS will be Enough:
CPP and OAS were never intended to be anyone’s sole source of income in retirement but far too many people assume that the contributions they make to CPP over the course of their working life will generate enough income in retirement to support their chosen lifestyle. The reality is though, that unless your retirement lifestyle can be maintained on an average of $1116/month before taxes, CPP and OAS will not be enough. These programs were always intended to supplement our own retirement savings not replace the need to save but all too often, just like Rebecca, people have no idea how much they will actually receive from CPP until they get a letter just before they turn 60 outlining the details. By then, it’s often too late to do anything significant when it comes to boosting their own savings.
Ignorance is only bliss up to a point; it’s worth contacting Service Canada to ask for your Statement of Contributions so that you know exactly where you stand and how much you need to save to supplement what you’ll receive from government programs.
Borrowing to Invest Can Be Risky
At the point where Rebecca was confronted with the fact that the amount she would receive from her company pension combined with CPP and OAS would not be enough to support her pre-retirement lifestyle, the only assets she had were the $20,000 in her RRSP and the equity in her home. This is a precarious situation to be in because her only options for financing those investment opportunities involved cashing out her retirement savings and/or borrowing against the value of her home.
Fear and desperation often go hand in hand with poor decision making and this is especially true when it comes to making decisions related to finances. When an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance that it is. Leveraging can be a great way to boost your net worth but it’s a strategy that should only be used after doing your due diligence, taking advice from qualified professionals and making sure that you fully understand and weigh up the risks involved. Rebecca did none of those things and she paid a heavy price for it.
One of my mentors credits some of his smartest financial decisions to conversations he had in his late teens with co-workers who were approaching retirement. Listening to these men talk about what they wished they had done differently and hearing their stories of friends who had built wealth in a number of ways inspired him to make choices over the past 40 years which have allowed him to build a solid financial foundation for himself and his family. Like him, I believe there is a lot to be learned from cautionary tales of financial misadventure; perhaps more than from tales of great success. What do you think?

Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®

Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®-
Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®
Product Info
Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®
What Makes Prime™ Joint Support Formula by Isotonix® Unique?
As the body ages, many people experience joint discomfort. One option is to take a joint supplement to help promote overall bone and joint health. When looking at a joint supplement, there is one main non-controversial ingredient found in most products on the market, glucosamine.

The research behind glucosamine is consistent and its benefits effective. Prime Joint Support Formula contains glucosamine, naturally produced by the body and a key component of cartilage. An aminomonosaccharide (a combination of the amino acid — glutamine and a sugar — glucose), glucosamine is concentrated in joint cartilage and has been scientifically proven to support healthy joint function and promote the normal production of synovial fluid, which lubricates your joints and regenerates cartilage. 

Prime Joint Support Formula also contains the powerful antioxidant Pycnogenol®, which science has shown to inhibit the body’s overactive inflammatory processes associated with the normal aging process.

The body’s inflammatory response is a natural process. It is an essential component of the body’s defense system and can be triggered from numerous internal and external factors. Pycnogenol has been shown to help support the body’s defense system by inhibiting overactive inflammatory responses associated with the normal aging process.

Furthermore, Prime Joint Support Formula is the only product on the market delivering glucosamine and Pycnogenol in isotonic form.

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 in an isotonic state.

Isotonix dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do to obtain maximum absorption of the nutrients. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and rapidly absorb into the bloodstream. With Isotonix products, little nutritive value is lost, making the absorption of nutrients highly efficient while delivering maximum results.
Isotonix is a Market America trademark registered in the United States.

Primary Benefits of Prime™ Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®:
·         A factor in maintaining healthy cartilage  
·         Helps to maintain healthy cartilage  
·         A factor in maintaining joint health  
·         Helps to maintain joint health 
·         Key Ingredients Found in Prime™ Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®:

Glucosamine (HCl): 1500 mg
Glucosamine is a molecule that is naturally synthesized in the body from glucose and the amino acid glutamine. Glucosamine is an important constituent of glycosaminoglycans in cartilage matrix and synovial fluid. As our bodies age, we are less able to produce glucosamine, resulting in cartilage that is less flexible and weak. Although the mechanism is currently unclear, studies have shown that glucosamine supplementation can support normal, healthy cartilage cell production to help maintain overall joint health.

Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol®): 37.5 mg
Pycnogenol is a water-soluble flavonoid complex with powerful benefits. Pycnogenol, similar to the proanthocyanins found in grape seeds, is extracted from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. Numerous studies have examined the anti-inflammatory properties of Pycnogenol.

The body’s inflammatory response is a natural process. It is an essential component of the body’s defense system, and can be triggered from numerous internal and external factors. Pycnogenol has been shown help maintain the body’s natural defenses by inhibiting over active inflammatory responses associated with the normal aging process. Research has shown that Pycnogenol may inhibit the activation of NF-kappa B and AP-1, both of which are proinflammatory mediators. Pycnogenol supplementation can also promote normal COX-2 and 5-LOX gene expression and support healthy leukotriene biosynthesis. In addition, studies have shown the ability of Pycnogenol to cross-link collagen fibers and strengthen connective tissue proteins.
Frequently Asked Questions about Prime™ Joint Support Formula by Isotonix®:

What is the recommended dosage?
Pour 3 level, white bottle capfuls of powder into a cup. Add 6 fl. oz of (the line on the overcap indicates 2 fl. oz.) of water and stir. Maximum absorption occurs when taken on an empty stomach. This product is isotonic only if the specified amounts of powder and water are used.

What other products should I take with Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix to support my joint health?
Heart Health™ Essential Omega III is a great pair with Prime Joint Support Formula, as omega III fatty acids have been shown to support healthy joint lubrication.

How often should I take Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix? 
This product is most effective when taken daily.

How much Pycnogenol® is in Prime Joint Support Formula by Isotonix?
There are 25 milligrams of Pycnogenol in each daily serving.

Who should not use this product?
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this product. If you are currently taking warfarin (Coumadin) or any other antiplatelet/anticoagulant drugs, anti-hypertensive drugs, any prescription drug or have an ongoing medical condition, you should consult your healthcare provider before using this product. If you have a known allergy to shellfish, do not use this product.

Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E

Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin
Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E
Heart Health Essential Omega III with Vitamin E is a superior product due to a number of factors. The best fish are used to produce a clean and safe product that is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It also contains 3000 mg of fish oil (EPA 900 mg and DHA 600 mg) where most other commercial products contain a third of the total fish oil contained in Heart Health Essential Omega III. Heart Health Essential Omega III comes from small fish where other competitive products use large fish which are more likely to accumulate toxins. Heart Health Essential Omega III provides a high quality, high purity product with significant percentages of the health promoting EPA and DHA.

The fish oil in Heart Health Essential Omega III with Vitamin E comes from sardines and anchovies harvested off the coast of Peru. Not only do anchovies and sardines have a high omega III content, they also have high percentages of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Anchovies and sardines have a short lifecycle making them an ideal source of fish oil because they are less prone to accumulating environmental toxins that can be found in larger, longer-lived fish. Contaminants are generally extremely low in sardines and anchovies even before they go through an intense purification process. Every batch of fish oil is hand selected and tested prior to processing by our manufacturer and must pass more than 200 quality checks during the production process.

Recent research has shown that that fish oil may be beneficial in supporting cognitive function by helping the body manage stress and enhance mood. It may also promote a healthy complexion. In an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the effects of Omega-3 Fish oil supplementation was shown to be beneficial for healthy cognitive and cardiac functioning. The study shows that supplementing with fish oil daily can rapidly raise the levels of EPA and DHA in cardiac tissue. This is important because both EPA and DHA have been proven to help maintain normal plasma triglycerides. In addition, DHA has been shown to help maintain blood pressure and blood viscosity. This study also showed an inverse relationship between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid. As EPA and DHA increased in atrial (heart tissue) phospholipids, AA decreased.1

Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E provides the three grams of EPA† (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA† (docosahexaenoic acid) that studies reveal is the most effective amount to promote overall cardiovascular health. Fish oils have been clinically demonstrated to provide a host of benefits that successfully promote cardiovascular health. Essential Omega III Fish Oil helps maintain normal cholesterol, triglycerideand blood pressure levels, helps maintain healthy levels of C-reactive protein, helps maintain normal blood flow and helps enhance mood. The fish oil used in Essential Omega III is tested twice, once from the manufacturer and then by an independent testing company for mercury, lead, PCB, and other heavy metals. Both tests confirmed that Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil is free of mercury, lead, PCPs, and other heavy metals. We only use fish oil that meets or exceeds standards set by Canada (CFIA), the European Union (EU) and the United States (CR

An unhealthy diet of processed, high-calorie, high-fat foods, pollution, smoking and sedentary lifestyles all contribute to poor heart health. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetab

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acid. Fish oils have been clinically demonstrated to provide a host of benefits that successfully promote cardiovascular and immune health. Essential Omega III Fish Oil also helps maintain normal cholesterol levels, and contains Vitamin E for general health maintenance. Our fish oil comes from sardines and anchovies harvested off the coast of Peru, and every batch is hand selected and tested, passing 200 quality checks during the production process.
Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which also help support brain function in addition to cardiovascular health. Essential Omega III provides three grams of EPA and DHA, the most effective amount to promote overall cardiovascular health.
*These products are not manufactured or distributed by Market America, Inc., and all associated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Isotonix Calcium Plus

Isotonix Calcium Plus-
Isotonix Calcium Plus
What Makes Isotonix™ Calcium Plus Unique?
Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. For optimal bone health, Isotonix™ Calcium Plus delivers three-quarters of the recommended daily value of calcium and vitamin C in an efficient solution that is readily absorbed by the body. In most cases, calcium tablets are difficult for the body to absorb. One cause may be that the calcium supplement is not blended with Vitamin D and magnesium; these are necessary to aid the body in the absorption and use of calcium.
Even if the calcium supplement tablet is correctly blended, it may be difficult for the body to utilize or break down the calcium. One explanation may be that many calcium brands use calcium from eggshell or oyster shell. These may not be well absorbed by the body. Another reason calcium may not be absorbed from a tablet is because of a binding agent known as DCP, which is a binding agent is used to hold the tablet together. DCP does not break down in the body. Additionally, manufacturers are not required to disclose the use of DCP. In addition to binders, some calcium supplements may have additives such as chlorine, shellac and other potentially hazardous chemicals. Even assuming no binders are used in the calcium tablet, the body must still break down a hard-pressed tablet into a usable form. If the tablet cannot be broken down sufficiently in the stomach, then the calcium will not be absorbed. If you cannot break down the calcium, you can end up with problems such as unabsorbed particles floating around inside the body. This may lead to kidney stones and painful joints, not to mention you are not getting enough calcium, so your bones are being robbed of calcium to support bodily functions.
Isotonix Calcium Plus provides the body with an advanced, cost-effective and generous 750 mg dose of calcium through an optimized blend of calcium, vitamin D3, magnesium, vitamin C and boron. Vitamin D3 acts to stimulate the production of calcium binding and transport proteins that help move calcium across cell membranes and store the mineral inside the cells.
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 isotonic fluids.
Isotonix dietary supplements are delivered in a solution similar in constitution to the body's own naturally produced isotonic fluids. This similarity of pH and osmotic pressure means that the body has less work to do in order to convert the solution into a state ready for maximum absorption — greatly decreasing the amount of time and work necessary to absorb a supplement. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Primary Benefits of Isotonix™ Calcium Plus:
·         Essential for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth
·         May assist in prevention of osteoporosis
·         Assists in relief of minor PMS symptoms
·         Key Ingredients found in Isotonix™ Calcium Plus:
·         Calcium 750 mg (Carbonate, Lactate, Phosphate, Sulfate, Citrate)
·         Calcium is found in the highest concentrations in milk. Other foods rich in calcium include the vegetables collard greens, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, broccoli and bok choy, as well as tofu and sardines with bones included.
·         Calcium is an essential mineral with a wide range of biological roles. Calcium exists in bone primarily in the form of hydroxyapatite (Ca10 (PO4)6 (OH)2). Hydroxyapatite comprises approximately 40 percent of the weight of bone. The skeleton has an obvious structural requisite for calcium. The skeleton also acts as a storehouse for calcium. Apart from being a major constituent of bones and teeth, calcium is crucial for muscle contraction, nerve conduction, the beating of the heart, blood coagulation, glandular secretion, the production of energy and the maintenance of immune function.
·         Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. A sufficient daily calcium intake is necessary for maintaining bone density. When the body does not obtain an adequate amount of calcium each day, it begins to draw it from the bones, causing them to thin. This may lead to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is an age related thinning of the bones, which lead to a higher risk of broken hips, ribs, pelvis and other weakened bones. This is in addition to stooped posture associated with advanced age, which is caused by an accumulation of small fractures in the vertebrae.
The PTH (parathyroid hormone) regulates the amount of calcium in the blood. Some researchers believe that when the human body does not receive enough calcium, levels of PTH increase, whereby causing the body to experience hypertension. High levels of calcium in the body have been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women and lower cholesterol levels. Low levels of calcium have been associated with reduced bone mass and osteoporosis. One preliminary study also suggests that calcium may help reduce the risk of obesity.
Magnesium 200 mg (Oxide, 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 and milk are less rich sources of magnesium. Refined and processed foods are generally quite low in magnesium. The average daily magnesium intake in the U.S. for males nine years and older is estimated to be about 323 milligrams; for females nine years and older, it is estimated to be around 228 milligrams. Some surveys report lower intakes, and some believe that the dietary intake for many may be inadequate.
·         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 the mobilization of calcium, transporting it inside the cell for further utilization thus making it helpful in preventing osteoporosis. It plays a key role in the functioning of muscle and nervous tissue. Magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of all proteins, nucleic acids, nucleotides, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, lipids and carbohydrates. This mineral also inhibits the formation and growth of calcium oxalate stones in the kidney and bladder. Further, magnesium helps indirectly in reversing the effects of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation as involved with the aging process.
·         Magnesium is required for energy release, regulation of the body temperature, proper nerve function, helping the body handle stress, and metabolism regulation. Magnesium works together with calcium to regulate the heart and blood pressure. Importantly, magnesium is also required by your body to build healthy bones and teeth, and is required for proper muscle development. It works together with calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis.
·         Manganese 1 mg (Sulfate)
·         Manganese is a mineral found in large quantities in both plant and animal matter. The most valuable dietary sources of manganese include whole grains, nuts, leafy vegetables and teas. Manganese is concentrated in the bran of grains, which is removed during processing. There are several forms of supplementary manganese, including manganese gluconate, manganese sulfate, manganese ascorbate and manganese amino acid, chelates. 
Only trace amounts of this element can be found in human tissue. Manganese is predominantly stored in the bones, liver, kidney and pancreas. It aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors and sex hormones, and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.

Manganese is a component of the antioxidant-enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). Antioxidants scavenge damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. These particles occur naturally in the body but can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health conditions. Antioxidants such as MnSOD can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Vitamin B2 2 mg (Riboflavin-5-Phosphate)
·         Liver, dairy products, dark green vegetables and some types of seafood are primary sources of riboflavin. Vitamin B2 serves as a co-enzyme, working with other B-vitamins. It assists healthy red blood cell formation, supports the nervous system, respiration, antibody production and regulating human growth. It is also necessary for healthy skin, nails, hair growth and general good health including regulating 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 helps the breakdown of fats while functioning as a cofactor or helper in activating B-6 and folic acid. Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin, one that cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily.
·         Under some conditions, vitamin B2 can act as an antioxidant. The riboflavin coenzymes are also important for the transformation of vitamin B6 and folic acid into their active forms, and for the conversion of tryptophan into niacin.
·         Vitamin C 58 mg (Ascorbic Acid)
·         The best food sources of vitamin C include all citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines) as well as other fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peppers and cantaloupe. Vitamin C is a rather "fragile" vitamin and can be easily destroyed by cooking or exposure of food to oxygen.
·         Vitamin C promotes a vitamin "sparing" effect, allowing your body to better utilize multiple vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, B12, retinaldehyde and alpha-tocopherol and in this case, the mineral calcium. It is also a cofactor or helper in the metabolism of folic acid, some amino acids and hormones. Being an effective antioxidant, it also works in helping generate more Vitamin E after oxygen radicals have attacked it, improving iron absorption from the small intestine. Vitamin C helps to regenerate active vitamin E in cell membranes. It is a co-factor in the synthesis of collagen and helps strengthen newly forming collagen.
·         Vitamin C has become the world's most popular vitamin. One reason is because of its vital role in fighting infections (strengthening the immune system). Other vital roles vitamin C plays in the body involve the strengthening of the blood vessels and gums. Although this may sound like a lot, the importance of vitamin C does not stop there. Studies have indicated that vitamin C may be of special benefit to people with high blood pressure, smokers, diabetics and elderly men. Vitamin C can also act as a leading protector against cataract formation. As a water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C prevents vitamin E from becoming oxidized, thus preventing the premature aging and degenerative disease processes that inflict so many people. Another important role of vitamin C is its anti-stress capabilities. Vitamin C plays a major role in the ability to handle mental and physical stress.
·         The most convincing evidence suggesting the need for vitamin C supplementation is based on the fact that  humans are incapable of producing vitamin C in their bodies. When studies were conducted on animals to see how much vitamin C they produced in relation to their body weight, it was determined that they produced roughly the equivalent of a human consuming 3,000-7,000 milligrams per day.
·         Vitamin D3 400 IU (Cholecalciferol)      
·         Regular sunlight exposure is the main way that most humans get their vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D include vitamin D-fortified milk (100 IU per cup), cod liver oil, and fatty fish such as salmon and small amounts are found in egg yolks and liver.
·         Vitamin D aids in the treatment of psoriasis, diabetes, and cancer. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and induces the production of several proteins involved in calcium absorption and storage. Vitamin D works with calcium to increase bone strength and harden the bones. It works to increase active transport of calcium out of the osteoblasts into the extra-cellular fluid and in the kidneys, promotes calcium and phosphate re-uptake by renal tubules. Vitamin D also promotes the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphate uptake by the intestinal epithelium. It helps skin cells grow normally, aids the pancreas in producing insulin. Additionally, it is important for diabetics due to the fact that Vitamin D is required by the pancreas to produce insulin.
·         Potassium 225 mg (Bicarbonate, Citrate)
·         Foods rich in potassium include fresh vegetables and fruits such as bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, avocado, raw spinach, raw spinach, cabbage and celery. Potassium is an essential macromineral that helps to keep fluid balance. It also plays a role in a wide variety of biochemical and physiological processes. Among other things, it is important in the transmission of nerve impulses, the contraction of cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscle, the production of energy, the synthesis of nucleic acids, the maintenance of intracellular tonicity and the maintenance of normal blood pressure. In 1928, it was first suggested that high potassium intake could exert an anti-hypertensive effect. Potassium stimulates muscle relaxation and insulin release. It also promotes glycogen and protein synthesis. Potassium is an electrolyte that promotes proper heartbeat. Potassium is important in releasing energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during metabolism.
Potassium also regulates water balance and aids in recovery from exercise. Potassium aids rheumatic or arthritic conditions (causing acids to leave the joints and ease stiffness). Potassium is crucial for the elimination of wastes. Potassium is a natural pain desensitizer. Potassium helps control convulsions, headaches and migraines, promotes faster healing of cuts, bruises and other injuries and generally contributes to a sense of well-being. Potassium is stored in the muscles. 
Frequently Asked Questions about Isotonix™ Calcium Plus: 
Why should I take calcium?Women, children, teens, men, unborn babies and the elderly all need calcium. Practically no one ingests enough calcium in their daily diet, so calcium is one of the nutrients that is highly recommended in terms of supplementation. Besides being helpful in supporting and maintaining bone integrity, calcium serves a dynamic role as a mineral. It is very important in the activity of many bodily enzymes. It is important for athletes in maintaining proper fluid balance as well as aiding in the action of skeletal and muscle contraction. In addition, calcium may be helpful in preventing the incidence of colon cancer. It is a well-known fact that Americans do not typically have the best diets, especially in comparison with the rest of the world. Although the health food fad is catching on in some areas, it may be of utmost importance to make sure that one is getting enough of this crucial mineral.                 How much calcium should I take?The National Academy of Sciences has established guidelines for calcium that are 25 to 50 percent higher than previous recommendations. For ages 20 to 50, calcium consumption is recommended to be at least 1,000 mg daily; for adults over age 51, the recommendation is 1,200 mg daily. The most common supplemental amount for adults is 800 to 1,000 mg per day. Some physicians recommend 1,000 milligrams of supplement calcium daily for postmenopausal women taking estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and 1,500 milligrams daily for postmenopausal women not taking ERT. An intake of 1,200 milligrams daily appears to be adequate for both groups. More specifically, one can examine the table provided in order to determine their very own unique calcium intake requirements: 
Which form of calcium should I take?
One of the largest factors to consider when choosing which calcium is best is the percentage of elemental calcium present. A greater percentage of elemental calcium means that fewer tablets are needed to achieve the desired calcium intake. For instance, in the calcium carbonate and phosphate forms, which are two of the comprising forms found in Isotonix™ Calcium Plus, calcium accounts for 40 percent of the compound. Calcium carbonate may not always show optimal absorption, but it clearly has positive effects. For example, calcium carbonate appears to be absorbed as well as the calcium found in milk. In fact, a few studies indicate that calcium carbonate is absorbed as well as most other forms besides calcium citrate/malate (CCM). When taken alongside a variety of other forms of calcium, carbonate has the size, positioning and the consequent propensity to deliver the highest amount of elemental calcium possible. Calcium citrate contains 21 percent and is a standout form of calcium coming in at 30 to 35 percent, and the citric acid reduces the amount of stomach acids required for absorption. The calcium citrate form provides 24 percent elemental calcium. This addition of calcium citrate to the other forms of calcium is quite crucial in that it helps the absorbability of the Isotonix Calcium Plus by acting as a boost for the larger concentrations of calcium found in the carbonate form., coral calcium has been claimed to be a vastly superior form of calcium even though its calcium content is primarily calcium carbonate. One small, controlled human study reported that coral calcium was better absorbed than ordinary calcium carbonate. There is however, little scientific evidence at this time supporting the assertion that coral calcium is superior to other forms of calcium.

In general, most forms of supplemental calcium are easily and readily assimilated by the body, especially in the isotonic form provided in Isotonix Calcium Plus formula. 
I am not an elderly woman. Why should I supplement with calcium?Calcium plays a huge role in many major regulatory bodily processes with implications that extend far beyond the age factor. Other than elderly women who may be susceptible to bone loss, younger women, pregnant and lactating women, growing children and those with high blood pressure are suitable candidates for calcium supplementation. Younger women need more calcium to build up the strength of their bones around the ages of 20 and up. It is safe to say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Pregnant and lactating women need extra calcium, at least 1200 mg /day to foster the healthy growth of new cells and of breast milk. Growing children need extra calcium, sometime two to four times as much as an adult because of new bone growth and to prevent rickets, bone deformities or growth retardation. Finally, those with high blood pressure have been found to have low levels of calcium intake and further studies have confirmed the positive impact of calcium supplementation on heart health. 
Of course, calcium has been most widely touted as a preventative of osteoporosis. Because many people are uneducated about the far-reaching necessity and benefit of calcium, the drive to add a supplement to one's diet is floundering. Further, it has been found that many younger and middle-aged women who should be ingesting greater amounts of calcium in both diet and supplementation, are the ones who actually ingest the least. The mindset that milk products are fattening has contributed to a lack of quality calcium intake. Many women at this age do not yet feel the physical onset of osteoporosis and do not make supplementation an immediate priority. Women in general who have a vested interest in their health should make moves to begin calcium supplementation.   
Moreover, let us say that you know that you are predisposed to osteoporosis and are even feeling a few of the signs of it including headache and a decrease in height. While calcium supplementation is one of the key ingredients to preventing and even fighting ongoing osteoporosis, there are a few other important factors that must be taken into account. Many other things can also play a role in causing osteoporosis. Some of these are seemingly normal lifestyle factors including smoking, lack of exercise, low levels of magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin K, and B12, a high alcohol intake and altered vitamin D metabolism. To fight and/or prevent osteoporosis requires a focus of your attention on these aforementioned variables as well as steadily supplementing your diet with a quality calcium supplement such as Isotonix Calcium formula. So, in turn, if you know that you are inherently averse to working out or that you like the occasional smoke after work, your need for a good calcium supplement increases tremendously regardless of age. 
How can calcium help me lose weight?Calcium plays a pivotal role within our body's cells, regulating both the storage and breakdown of the common enemy of all who long to be trim and healthy, fat. It is thought that the more calcium there is in a fat cell, the more fat it will burn. Consuming dairy products has been shown to thwart weight gain. Now, it looks as though calcium supplementation can give you an extra edge. "Extra calcium might prevent cellular changes that prompt your body to store fat," says study author Alejandro Gonzalez, PhD. With calcium supplementation, it appears that the body's rate of thermogenesis or fat burning tends to increase. The human body's metabolism makes weight loss difficult. Many people who loyally stick to a reduced-calorie diet don't lose weight as fast as they think they should. That is because their bodies are clinging to fat, sensing starvation. Many dieters assume milk products to be fattening and thus remove a lot of them from their seemingly new and improved diets. Switching to low fat or fat free milk products and or supplementing with calcium are preferable alternatives.


Isotonix OPC-3™

Isotonix OPC-3™
Isotonix OPC-3™
What Makes Isotonix™ OPC-3 Unique?
Isotonix™ OPC-3 is an isotonic-capable food supplement that is made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine, pine bark extracts and citrus extract bioflavonoids. In addition to being powerful antioxidants, the OPCs in Isotonix OPC-3 have been shown to provide a variety of health benefits including, but not limited to, cardiovascular health, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports healthy blood glucose levels and demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to the human body. Studies have shown OPCs to be many times more powerful than vitamin C and vitamin E.  Isotonix OPC-3 contains OPCs from grape seed extract, red wine extract, bilberry extract, Pycnogenol from pine bark and citrus fruit. Our grape seed extract is a superior source of OPC, containing 92 percent of active ingredients with pine bark containing 84 percent of active OPC ingredients. The red wine extract contains flavonoids called leucocyanidins from the skin of red grapes. These are the three best sources of oligomeric proanthocyanidins available. Over 20,000 different flavonoids have been discovered, of which a select few are water-soluble and easily absorbed by the body. Isotonix OPC-3 contains the top three of the most bioavailable and potent forms of OPCs. Pycnogenol in Isotonix OPC-3 is the most clinically researched and potent bioflavonoid.
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's tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed and used in the body's metabolism, it must be transported in isotonic fluids.</SPA
Primary Benefits of Isotonix™ OPC-3*:
·         Antioxidant for the maintenance of good health
* This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Key Ingredients found in Isotonix™ OPC-3*:
Grape Seed Extract: 25 mg
Grape seed extract is typically extracted from the seeds of red grapes (instead of white), which have a high content of compounds known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins. Grape seed extract is extremely rich in polyphenols, a compound high in antioxidants. Grape seed extract has even been found to promote healthy cholesterol levels.
Red Wine Extract: 25 mg
Red wine extract contains rich beneficial active ingredients. This extract is found in grape vines, roots, seeds and stalk, with its highest concentration in the skins. In the late 1990s, scientists took note of a phenomenon among the French. There were very low rates of heart disease in the provinces where residents consistently ate high fat foods and drank red wine. Scientists concluded that the protective properties of red wine have helped the French maintain heart health for years and subsequent scientific studies have further proven the fact that the OPCs found in red wine are greatly beneficial to maintain general well-being.  
Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol®): 25 mg
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 represents a natural combination of genetically programmed constant proportions of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids.
The extract has three basic properties — it's a powerful antioxidant and promotes the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes the normal dilation of blood vessels. As one of the most potent natural scavenger of free radicals, Pycnogenol combats many aggressive free radicals before they cause oxidative stress to vital organs. Its super-antioxidant capabilities promote cardiovascular health.
Bilberry Extract: 25mg
Bilberry extract is derived from the leaves and berry-like fruit of a common European shrub closely related to the blueberry. Extracts of the ripe berry are known to contain flavonoid pigments known as anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants. Scientific studies confirm that bilberry extract supports healthy vision and venous circulation. Bilberry extract helps maintain healthy circulation by strengthening capillaries, arteries and veins.
Citrus Extract (Bioflavonoids): 25 mg
Bioflavonoids are found in certain plants to act as light filters protecting the delicate DNA chains and other important macromolecules by absorbing ultraviolet radiation. They have been found to promote cardiovascular health, help maintain healthy circulation by strengthening capillaries, arteries, and veins and demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity.
Frequently Asked Questions about Isotonix™ OPC-3:
What is OPC-3?
OPC-3 is a dietary supplement that bears some of the most powerful bioflavonoids currently known to research scientists. These bioflavonoids are scientifically termed "oligomeric proanthocyanidins," commonly abbreviated OPC. The purest and best-researched OPCs chosen for OPC-3 are prepared from grape seed, red wine, bilberries, Pycnogenol from pine bark and citrus fruit. This combination of potent OPCs is unique to OPC-3, as is the Isotonix delivery system, which enables rapid and highly efficient absorption of the OPCs. Isotonix OPC-3 has been shown to provide a variety of health benefits including, but not limited to, helping promote cardiovascular health, helping reduce mild menstrual cramping, supporting healthy sperm quality, demonstrating anti-inflammatory activities, helping support visual health and healthy blood glucose levels, and helping maintain joint flexibility.
What is a bioflavonoid?
Bioflavonoids are complex organic plant compounds. Plants and fruits differ in colors based on the specific bioflavonoids they contain. Bioflavonoids have always played an important nutritional role. An increasing number of clinical studies show how versatile bioflavonoids support health. Bioflavonoids found in OPCs play a key role for cardiovascular health and maintaining vascular integrity. Clinical studies have demonstrated support of healthy blood flow and cell vitality. Normal collagen renewal is promoted, which supports firmness of the skin, joint cartilage and connective tissue. And OPCs help the body's immune response.
What sets Isotonix OPC-3 apart from other bioflavonoid products?
OPC-3 offers exclusively OPCs, scientifically proven to be the most potent for human health in the optimal servings. In addition to being powerful antioxidants, the individual OPCs have been shown to provide a myriad of specific health benefits. This science-driven selection of OPCs is unique to OPC-3, as is the Isotonix delivery system, which enables rapid and highly efficient absorption of the OPCs. The potent nutrients in combination with the highly effective delivery system make OPC-3 the most powerful natural free radical scavenger, anti-aging and cardiovascular health protecting product available.   
Is Isotonix OPC-3 safe?
Yes! OPCs are among the most valuable constituents of a healthy human diet. OPCs have been researched and used for over 30 years throughout Europe. Extensive safety studies were conducted and laboratory testing revealed no evidence for human toxicity or allergic reactions. OPC-3 contains pure OPCs in combination with carefully balanced quantities of potassium and little sugar, which set up the isotonic delivery system. OPC-3 is free of harmful chemicals, preservatives and alcohol. OPC-3 should be taken as directed.
How long does it take for me to benefit from Isotonix OPC-3?
OPC-3 not only provides the most potent OPCs available, the unique Isotonix delivery system ensures that the small intestine rapidly absorbs the OPCs, which are available in the blood stream within minutes. This is because the OPCs are delivered in liquid form. The liquid is isotonic, which means it duplicates the environment in our cells and blood stream regarding pH, electrolytes, etc. This enables the OPCs to enter the body easily and with a high level of bioavailability.
Though you might not notice it, within minutes after consumption, Isotonix OPC-3 will begin to support your blood circulation. This is not an assumption, but objectively measured in clinical trials. OPC-3 immediately begins to work to strengthen capillaries, arteries and veins, which helps maintain your circulation. Further, OPC-3 supports healthy blood vessel dilation and platelet activity.
What is the advantage of taking Isotonix OPC-3 regularly?
Many effects of OPC-3 start to work after a single serving. Studies with human volunteers have found that particular health merits of OPCs may take a while to occur. This may be the case in health concerns resulting from everyday wear and tear, where time simply has taken its toll. Taking Isotonix OPC-3 daily enables the body to sustain a consistent antioxidant defense.
Isotonix OPC-3 enhances the vitality of our cells, and the cells, in turn, will continue to fulfill their individual tasks efficiently. Take for example, those cells producing collagen. These cells will continue to produce collagen and skin will maintain its elasticicity, and the health of blood vessels and joint cartilage will be supported. Another example is immune cells, which will maintain healthy duplication in the bone marrow and support healthy synthesis of antibodies. OPC works to maintain and enhance overall cell vitality.
Why should everyone take Isotonix OPC-3?
Free radical damage and oxidative stress are reality. Everyone is subject to it. Free radicals develop as byproducts when cells of the body generate energy from burning calories with oxygen. These molecules behave somewhat like hot sparks, which destroy any other cell matter they come into contact with by ridding the other cells of their excess energy. This damage doesn't cause noticeable harm at first, yet it adds up over the years. This process is largely responsible for the aging process. If you do not have adequate protection from free radicals, you could appear to age faster and experience health problems you could have avoided. Free radicals have been linked directly to premature aging, poor circulation, poor heart health and poor immune health.
OPCs are the most powerful natural free radical neutralizers and you get the best of all OPCs by taking Isotonix OPC-3. This product should be taken for a long healthy life. Regular use every day is vital to keep free radicals in check. Laboratory studies have shown that OPCs are more powerful antioxidants than vitamin C and vitamin E. Isotonix OPC-3 demonstrates anti-inflammatory benefits and helps maintain normal levels of histamine secretion. Isotonix OPC-3 strengthens capillaries and supports healthy circulation by helping to maintain normal blood pressure and blood lipid profiles healthy. Women experience a reduction of mild PMS symptoms.
Can you take Isotonix OPC-3 in soda, juice, coffee, etc., rather than water?
It is possible but not recommended. This product should only be taken as directed. In order to keep the product in an isotonic form and to achieve the maximum delivery speed, it needs to be taken on an empty stomach with two ounces of water per capful. Mixing the products with anything else besides other Isotonix and water slows down the delivery time and may also affect the percentage of uptake.
I'm healthy and athletic, why should I take Isotonix OPC-3?
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. Studies on recreational athletes have shown a 20 percent endurance increase with OPCs, as compared to a control group receiving placebo. Another study has shown that athletes using OPCs suffered significantly less muscle cramping during and after performing. Isotonix OPC-3 helps to maintain healthy blood flow and this supports oxygen supply to muscles.*
Does OPC-3 have visible benefits?
As OPCs support collagen production in the skin, an increase of smoothness and elasticity is the natural result. Such an effect was objectively measured in women aged 40 years and older. Skin smoothness was increased after 3 months as measured by 3-dimensional topography. Likewise, increased skin elasticity was recorded with a special instrument (cutometer). It requires patience until skin cells have renewed significant amounts of collagen to show visible effects. It is essential to continuously take OPC-3 to keep skin cells at their peak vitality.
On a short-term basis many people notice a fresher-looking skin complexion. This is a result of healthy blood micro-circulation, which helps detoxify the skin and improves the nutrient supply. Regular use of OPC-3 helps defy photo-aging of the skin.*
Does OPC-3 have a rejuvenating effect?
The damage caused by free radicals adds up with time. A cause for more worry is the fact that your body's own mechanisms to keep free radicals in check decline with increasing age — when you need them the most. Suddenly, we find ourselves confronted with some typical age-related problems. Some cells of our body are more vulnerable to free radicals than others. OPC-3 has the ability to go in and do a knock-out job, cleaning and scavenging the free radicals that feast on cellular energy, and take it away from vital processes.
A typical example is cells of the nervous system. Their membranes are highly vulnerable to free radicals and OPCs have shown to significantly protect nerves. These studies were controlled with groups receiving inactive dummies.
Some parents wish to have a child but then it turns out that the father-to-be has sub-fertile sperm. Again these cells are rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acids, which are extremely vulnerable to destruction by free radicals. Moreover, sperm require 90 days to develop from progenitor cells into fully functional mature sperm. This leaves 90 days for free radicals to harm sperm membranes while they develop. In clinical studies sub-fertile men were treated with OPCs for 90 days, to secure protection of the developing sperm. The results indicated that the OPCs supported sperm quality.*
What are the proven heart health benefits of OPC?
Scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi, who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of vitamin C, discovered OPCs. Szent-Györgyi found that OPCs work in a similar fashion. They strengthen walls of arteries, veins and capillaries.
In the past 20 years scientists discovered that OPCs bear a lot more benefits for the cardiovascular system. Epidemiological studies have shown that regular intake of powerful OPC antioxidants supports a healthy cardiovascular system. OPCs appear to be particularly helpful in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and healthy arteries.
Pycnogenol in Isotonix OPC-3 plays a key role, as it stimulates an enzyme in the body to promote healthy nitric oxide (NO) levels. NO is a tiny molecule which serves as a key messenger molecule in the blood stream. It promotes relaxation of smooth muscle-surrounding arteries and supports normal artery diameter and blood flow. Healthy NO levels help maintain normal blood pressure. This benefit has been explicitly demonstrated with Pycnogenol in two clinical studies. NO also promotes healthy blood platelet activity thus preserving a normal, fluid environment. OPCs are especially helpful for smokers. OPC-3 packs a powerful punch when it comes to maintaining excellent heart health. 
How can OPC-3 help my eyes?
Loss of eyesight is the disability people fear more than all others. Isotonix OPC-3 contains specific OPCs successfully tested for eye health.
Pilots of the Royal Air force used bilberry OPCs during World War II for support of nighttime vision and adjustment to darkness. Bilberry extract was shown to also help maintain overall eye health in the vast majority of people in a study.
Pycnogenol has demonstrated to support healthy capillaries in the eye. Pycnogenol was demonstrated to support healthy capillaries in the eye. Isotonix OPC-3 helps maintain visual health and supports visual acuity.*
Does OPC-3 have benefits specifically for women?
Some OPCs were shown in clinical trials to help women who suffer from mild pain and cramping during the menstrual period. When women were supplemented with OPCs, starting at least a week before their menstrual period, pain values were found to be significantly lowered.
What exactly is Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is the trademark of Horphag Research (UK) Ltd. for a standardized extract of bark of the French maritime pine tree. Pycnogenol is particularly renowned for its extensive clinical research with more than 120 studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals. The flavonoids in Pycnogenol act as powerful antioxidants and stimulate an enzyme which generates nitric oxide (NO). NO plays a key role in regulating cardiovascular health. NO promotes normal relaxation of arteries, supporting the normal diameter of blood vessels and supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. NO promotes normal platelet activity allowing the blood to maintain a normal, fluid viscosity. Pycnogenol has been awarded various patents for its ability to influence platelet activity.
How do I take OPC-3?
Each capful of Isotonix OPC-3 contains 125 milligrams of bioflavonoids, of which 75 milligrams are oligomeric proanthocyanidins in an isotonic-capable base. That means that the OPC-3 active ingredients will be delivered in the highest concentration to the small intestine, where most absorption of nutrients occurs.
To start using Isotonix OPC-3 for its benefit as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger, take two level capfuls for every 150 pounds of body weight for the first seven days. This is referred to as the saturation serving. Then, switch to a daily serving of one capful, per 150 lbs. of body weight, as a maintenance dose. For example, if you weigh 190 pounds, you would take three servings of Isotonix OPC-3 per day for seven days, and then switch to two servings per day for long-term health maintenance.
Isotonix OPC-3 has a pleasant natural grape flavor, is a vegetarian product and mixes instantly when added to water. This product should be taken on an empty stomach for the fastest, most effective delivery of the active ingredient. OPC-3 is a natural food supplement that should be taken for a lifetime.
What is the history of OPCs?
In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier was leading an expedition up the St. Lawrence River. Trapped by bad weather, Cartier and his crew were forced to survive on a ration of salted meat and biscuits. Cartier's crew began to suffer from severe deficiency of vitamin C and showed symptoms of scurvy. Many crewmembers died before the surviving members encountered a friendly Native American who saved most of their lives. He told them to make a tea from the bark and needles of the pine tree to cure their malady. They complied and, as a result, Cartier and many crewmembers survived.
Some 400 years later, Professor Jacques Masquelier of the University of Bordeaux, France, read a book by Cartier detailing their expedition. He concluded that pine bark not only contained some vitamin C, but obviously was a good source of bioflavonoids, whose effects are similar to those of vitamin C. Further studies and research revealed that the pine bark contained an array of proanthocyanidins complexes. These compounds were also found in a variety of plants, including grape seeds, cranberries, peanut skin, lemon tree bark and citrus rinds. Masquelier termed the active ingredients of the pine bark "pycnogenols", which today are referred to in the scientific community as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs.

Retirement income options for a DC Pension Plan?

Retirement income options for a DC Pension Plan?
Retirement income options for a DC Pension Plan?
Written by Jim Yih
Recently I wrote about theoretical retirement income options from a Defined Benefit Pension and a Defined contribution Pension.
This week, I would like to look at this from a more practical perspective via a case study of Paula.
Paula has turned 60 this year and is getting ready for retirement.  Although she has a pension through work, it’s a Defined Contribution pension and her biggest concern is knowing how much income she will get from her pension plan.  Let’s take a look at her retirement income options.
The DC Pension plan is at Sun Life.  It is invested in a few different mutual funds and sitting with about 65% equities and 35% fixed income investments.  The pension has done quite well because of the strong market growth over the past 3 years.   She has made over 12% compound annual returns over the past few years which has helped her to accumulate $450,000 in her pension.  Paula is divorced with 2 adult children who are both financially independent.  She has owns her own home and has no debts.  She has another $110,000 in RRSPs and $38,000 in her TFSA.
Pension to Life Annuity
When Paula retires, she will be faced with a number of different retirement income options.  The first option to explore is the Life Annuity.  With a Life Annuity it’s important to get quotes from a financial advisor or from different insurance companies.
Life Annuity rates will change on a daily basis so it’s important to always shop around for the best deal.  After getting some quotes from a financial advisor licensed to sell Life Annuities, here’s a summary of three quotes:
·         Great West Life = $2201.57 per month
·         Sun Life = $2173.83 per month
·         Manulife = $2015.69 per month
Obviously, the best deal for Paula is GWL who will pay Paula about $26,418 per year in pension income.  This is a lifetime income which means it pays until she dies.  She will never outlive her income.  The income is secure and predictable. However, if Paula passes away early, there is no return of capital to her after 5 years.
Related article:  The math of life annuities
Pension to LIF
A Life Income Fund (LIF) is a little more flexible but as a result also a little more complicated.  With the LIF, you can set the income to whatever you want as long as it is within a minimum and maximum.  While that may sound simple, the complexity comes in that the minimum and maximum changes every year.  Here’s some scenarios to look at:
1.  Minimum income LIF.  The minimum income levels for the LIF are exactly the same as the minimum income levels for the RRIF.  Here’s a look at what the minimum income LIF would look like for $450,000
As you can see, the minimum income starts much lower than the Life annuity ($15,173 vs $26,418 per year) but increases as Paula gets older.  I used a very conservative return assumption of 2% for illustration purposes only.  Remember that the minimum income will change as rates of return change.  This chart was produced with financial calculators from Mackenzie Financial.  You can play with this data and use your own set of assumptions.
2.  Maximum Income LIF.  Unlike a RRIF where there is no maximum income restriction, the LIF has an annual maximum that also changes year by year.
From this illustration, you can see that the initial income is much higher than the Life Annuity ($33,592 vs $26,418) but the income decrease over time. Again, this is based on a very conservative 2% rate of return assumption.  A higher return can dramatically change the income values over time.
The LIF offers much greater flexibility from the perspective that you can set your income amount (subject to minimums and maximums) and you can change your income anytime.   With the LIF, you are responsible for making investment decisions which for some is an advantage but for others a disadvantage.
A Life Annuity will benefit those that live a long time because the income is guaranteed for life.  Those that have shorter life expectancies will benefit with the LIF because there is always an estate value.  What you don’t use in the LIF will be passed on to beneficiaries.  If will be taxed first to the estate but beneficiaries are likely to get something.
3.  Level income LIF.  Most people prefer to have a level consistent income in retirement as opposed to one that increases or decreases over time.  If we set the income at the same level as the Life Annuity ($26,418 per year), we can see the breakeven point based on a 2% return.
As you can see in this illustration, money runs out at age 81.  If you think you will live longer than age 81, then a Life Annuity might make more sense.  If you think you will die before age 81, the LIF will make better sense.
50% Unlocking
To complicate matters a little more, Alberta has pension unlocking rules.  As you can see from the information above, pension rules can make it quite restrictive to access extra money from a pension plan.  Given that many people were unable to use all their pension money in their lifetime, some provinces introduced unlocking rules.  In Alberta, were Paula lives, she is able to unlock 50% of the pension funds and transfer it to a RRSP or RRIF which has no withdrawal restrictions or income maximums.
Issues and considerations
In looking at these numbers, the Life annuity looks not too bad but it does not give Paula any flexibility. Life annuities are great for their predictability and simplicity but most people are not choosing life annuities because of low interest rates and lack of flexibility.  Life annuities are also great if Paula lives for a long time.
Choosing the LIF gives Paula much more flexibility in choosing income.  These projections are using a 2% return so any increase in returns can increase the income.
Paula could always transfer the LIF to an annuity in the future if interest rates increase.  She could not move from an annuity to a LIF because once she purchases the annuity, she is locked in for life.
Choosing a life annuity is not great for estate planning purposes as her children may not get any money from the annuity.  That’s where the LIF has a greater appeal because any money Sally does not use can be given to the children or grandchildren at death (subject to taxation).
After showing Paula all the information, she decided the LIF was the best way to go.  She decided to unlock 50% to a RRIF and move the other 50% to a LIF.  With the LIF, she chose a maximum income ($1400 per month) and then set the RRIF at $1085 per month.

2 More Reasons Women Can’t Afford to Ignore Finances

2 More Reasons Women Can’t Afford to Ignore Finances
2 More Reasons Women Can’t Afford to Ignore Finances
Written by Sarah Milton
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” – Coco Chanel
Writing about women and finances means striking a careful balance between the way things are and the way things are perceived to be. Women have come a long way in the quest for equality but, when it comes to managing money and building wealth, the gap between men and women is much larger than people might imagine. It’s tempting to want to “fix the problem” but the trouble is that when we focus too much on the inequality itself, we lose sight of the fact that it matters less than it exists and more how we react to it. I don’t think it’s possible for our world to ever be completely fair because fairness is always a matter of perspective (any parent can give you plenty of examples of that!) but I do believe that there are things we can do as individuals to level the playing field.
Last week I wrote about three of the five reasons that women need to focus on their finances and this week I’m going to share the final two.
Women Are Often the Caregivers for Aging Parents
Research suggests that women are more likely to take time off work, reduce their working hours or turn down promotions in order to care for aging/ill parents. According to the American Journal of Public Health, “women provide the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbours, and they play many roles while caregiving—hands-on health provider, care manager, friend, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate.” Whether it is through choice or a sense of duty, there’s no doubt that taking on a caregiving role has a dramatic impact on a woman’s earning power, her ability to save and also her physical and emotional health.
The cost of long-term care is one that concerns a lot of people and it’s an expense that is often underestimated. In an ideal situation we would all lead happy, healthy, independent lives until the moment we pass away peacefully in our sleep but the reality is that, for many people, old age brings reduced mobility and an increased dependence on others for assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing and food preparation. When a person’s financial resources won’t stretch to the cost of an assisted living or long-term care facility (or they simply don’t want to move) the responsibility for their care is often assumed by their family, friends and neighbours. More often than not, these caregivers are women.
Related article:  The not so free 55
The fact that women are more likely to find themselves in a caregiving position might not be “fair” but the knowledge that it’s more likely should motivate women to make saving, wealth building and financial stability a priority in order to create a financial buffer against the cost of caring for ageing parents or an unwell spouse. From a personal perspective, both my parents are in their late 70s and, while they’re currently in good health, I’m very aware of the fact that could change. I’m also very aware of the fact that they live 5000 miles away. If I don’t want my sister to have to shoulder the responsibility of caring for our parents should something happen then that means I need to put myself in a situation where I have the financial resources to get on a plane and go home if I’m needed without having to rely on credit or my retirement savings in order to fund the trip. I also want to have the choice of being able to care for my parents should the need arise instead of having to leave that responsibility to someone else because I can’t afford to help.
They Let Others Handle the Money
It’s stereotypical to assume that most women have a challenging relationship with money but there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that, statistically, women are poorer after divorce or the death of a spouse. Divorce increases the risk of poverty for women and studies conducted by BMO show that women can actually experience a decrease of income by over 40% after a divorce. The largest decrease in wealth (and the greatest increase in poverty) is seen in married adults who become divorced between the ages of 67 and 80.  BMO estimates that 52% of debt problems can be attributed to either divorce or separation which is a huge problem when you consider the impact that carrying debt can have on your retirement income and your ability to save.
Older women in particular, tend to defer to the advice of others and are often blissfully unaware of the details of household finances which creates stress and difficulty in the event that they are widowed. Statistically, the vast majority of women will live most of their retirement years without a spouse which makes it critically important that women take control of their finances (and their financial future) from an early age if they don’t want to become part of the statistic that shows 75% of low-income seniors are women.
The simple fact is that we have no control over what life throws at us but we have every control over how we respond to it and how we attempt to protect ourselves from it. Just because women are more likely to work part-time, work for minimum wage and take time off from work in order to care for children or other family members doesn’t mean that they are doomed to a life of financial lack. There are plenty of examples of “low income” people who have built wealth and plenty of examples of “high income” people with nothing to show for it but debt and “stuff”. The statistics don’t shape our reality, only our own actions can do that.
Rather than holding us down, these statistics should inspire and motivate women to learn more, do more and build more in order to improve their personal financial situation. Whether you’re male or female, rich or poor, the principles of wealth building are the same: know where you stand financially, pay yourself first and spend less than you earn. I believe that time, education and discipline are our three biggest allies in building wealth and that educating ourselves (and those around us) about finances, creating a good relationship with money and

Are You a Financially Intelligent Parent?

Are You a Financially Intelligent Parent?
Are You a Financially Intelligent Parent?
Written by Jim Yih
Teaching kids about money is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as a father of 4 young boys.  A while back I got to reading a book,
 It was published in 2005 but the book is still very relevant to current times.
The book includes an interesting questionnaire to figure out if you a financially intelligent parent.  Here’s the questions:
1.       Do you have unresolved issues around money? Are you a spend thrift, a miser, a chaotic manager of money?
2.       Do you have goals and a plan to educate your children about financial matters?
3.       Do you ever consider the values that you are communicating through your money behaviours?
4.       Are you uncomfortable talking about financial subjects with your children?
5.       Do you have difficulty saying no when your children ask for money?
6.       Do you use money as a bribe to get your children to do what you tell them?
7.       If you feel like you’ve been neglecting your kids, do you try to make it up to them by buying them things?
8.       Do you frequently fight with your spouse about financial subjects in front of your children?
9.       Do you harbour extreme money beliefs; such as money is the root of all evil, or money is what makes people happy?
10.   Are you neurotically fearful of going to the poorhouse even though you make a good living and there is no basis for this fear?
11.   Do you ever talk to your children about the importance of giving money to those less fortunate than your family, or make them involved in charitable activity?
12.   Do you give your kids a constant allowance?
13.   Do you understand the emotional meaning of money in your life?
14.   Do you frequently make disparaging remarks about people who are poor or are less successful than you are?
15.   If your child raises a money issue, do you usually make the effort to take advantage of this teachable moment?
According to this questionnaire, I am happy to know that I am considered a financially intelligent parent.  How did you do?  Here are the answers:
1.       No
2.       Yes
3.       Yes
4.       No
5.       No
6.       No
7.       No
8.       No
9.       No
10.   No
11.   Yes
12.   Yes
13.   Yes
14.   No
15.   Yes
According to the Gallo’s, “Few parents receive perfect scores on this questionnaire. If you’ve never given much thought to these issues, the odds are that you had a number of “wrong” answers. Financially intelligent parenting isn’t an inherent skill. Our own parents’ money issues combined with social attitudes have shaped our money beliefs and behaviours, and they have not always shaped them in to ways that benefit our children.”
If you think about it, being a financially intelligent parent is not always easy.  It’s take conscious awareness, ongoing effort and some degree of consistent behaviour.
Based on the research in their book, the Gallo’s summarize financially intelligent parents as people who:
·         Are optimistic about their ability to change money behaviours;
·         Value the difference between financial savvy and financial intelligence;
·         Think long and hard about the meaning of money in their lives;
·         Consider the financial education of their children a primary parent responsibility;
·         Recognize their unconscious money deeds have as much impact on their children as their conscious money words;
·         Feel that no and enough are words that children need to hear as part of their money education;
·         Want their children to work more for a sense of satisfaction than for money;

Money, Marriage & Divorce

Money, Marriage & Divorce
Money, Marriage & Divorce
Written by Sarah Milton
“Some people think that it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go.” – Unknown
Summer is invariably the most popular season for weddings. When you’re caught up in the excitement that surrounds starting a life with the person you love, there’s a good chance that the only time finances comes up in conversation is when it comes to discussing the cost of the event itself or the honeymoon that follows. Sadly though, an increasing number of marriages end in divorce and the financial ramifications of a relationship ending can be just as painful and long-lasting as the emotional pain.
I know from personal experience how soul-destroying it can be to get sucked into the “he says, she says” bickering that goes along with trying to determine a solution that both people can agree is fair. Life isn’t measured in dollars and cents and it can be a hard rule to measure a marriage by. As with many things in life though, when it comes to divorce, hindsight is 20/20 so here are some financial life lessons I learned both from my own experience of divorce and also from the experiences of others:
Take a Snapshot
As much as I still believe in true love and marriages that last, it’s also a sad reality in Canada today that divorce has become a fact of marriage. When a marriage ends, assets are divided equally between spouses and this often means that one spouse will end up making an “equalization payment” to the other. The basic calculation for this is for each person to take their net worth (not including any equity in the marital home) at separation and subtract their net worth on marriage and then the higher net worth spouse pays the lower net worth spouse 50% of the difference to “equalize” the gain during the marriage.
The trouble with this “simple” process is, if you’ve been married for a while, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what your net worth was on your wedding day. Taking a snapshot of your financial health on an annual basis is a great habit to develop and, if you don’t already do this, then getting married is a great reason to start that habit. Hopefully, for those of you just embarking on the marriage journey, this number will only ever serve to remind you how far you’ve come since your early days of marriage but just in case things don’t work out the way you anticipated it can be a good antidote for a hazy memory.
Keep a Balance
Marriage is a partnership but it is rarely equal, especially when it comes to finances. Chances are one partner earns more than the other or one partner is better at managing money than the other. Perhaps one partner will contribute more at certain times so that the other partner can stay home with the children, go back to school or start a business? Perhaps one partner will contribute a larger share to purchasing or renovating a home?
It almost feels wrong to keep track of these things because when you’re in a relationship the whole point is that you approach your life together as a team. When that team is divided though, each person’s perception of what was contributed, what was agreed and what is “fair” compensation can vary dramatically. It’s worth keeping track of any times where one partner is contributing more financially than the other, especially when the other spouse is contributing to the marriage in a non-financial manner (caring for children or retraining for a new career etc.).
Keep Track of Everything
Tracking your spending is a key habit when it comes to building wealth and it’s a habit that can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to divorce. As much as you don’t want your divorce to get mired in the minute details of an excel spreadsheet, keeping track of expenses makes it really easy to document what is spent on accumulating assets and “stuff” and makes it a lot easier to agree on how things should be divided fairly. Divorce is grounded in dollars and cents and often the people who don’t feel the need to keep track of just how much they’re contributing because they’re simply investing in their family are those who stand to lose the most if things fall apart.
At the end of the day, logic is hardest to find when your brain is in emotional turmoil. Most of the people I’ve talked to, didn’t expect on their wedding day, that their marriage would end in divorce. Dividing assets, homes and determining custody and living arrangements can be a challenging and emotionally devastating process and the devastation is often amplified by financial issues and disagreements over money.
Good communication and good money management are key to a strong marriage and I believe they are also k

Financial Advisors need continued education

Financial Advisors need continued education
Financial Advisors need continued education
Written by Scott Wallace
As I write this I am wrapping up a three day industry conference on insurance and investment planning. I make an attempt every year to attend at least one industry conference on top of the on line and classroom courses I can take in the financial planning profession every year. I enjoy learning; I always have so this has always been part of my day to day. There are people out there who do not want to crack another book or take another exam. While attending this conference I thought about why it is important to continue to learn and educate ourselves within our professional lives.
Continued learning
A person needs to continue to grow in their chosen field. Nothing stays the same. Not if you are a Heavy Duty Mechanic, a Nurse or a Doctor or an Advisor. Every field changes with the times. It is important to continue your education in your field so that you are informed on the changes that are happening, the new techniques available and trends that may positively or negatively affect your profession. Gone are the times where you started your job and there were no more books to read or courses to take. I have a client, 60 years of age, who has been a mechanic for 42 years. He said the reason he became a mechanic at 18 was that he was tired of school and just wanted to work on cars. He says now he takes more courses and takes part in more education than when he was in school! By the way, he loves it.
Maintain your professional license
I can’t speak for all professions but in my chosen field we need to accumulate enough CE credits (Continuous Education) to retain our licenses and designations. Every province has their own guidelines or rules to make sure we as Advisors report each year that we have earned enough to retain our licenses and designations for another year. By attending conferences, taking courses, both on line and in a classroom setting, we earn these credits to show our governing bodies that we have done what is required of us to continue to practice. It shows our industry that we are serious about what we do and that we are professional. It is mandatory. It wasn’t that way 20 years ago when I started. Once you received your licences off you went. You did not need to show you were taking courses or keeping up with changes. I think my generation looks at learning as part of our life. It wasn’t long though when they brought in the CE requirements which were a good thing. It made everyone accountable to continuous learning.
Responsibility to our clients
Continuing Education credits and designations show our clients, and the public at large, that we are staying on top of the changes, informed on the trends and remain knowledgeable on the planning and taxation tools available to us and to our clients. Our clients need to know that we are doing all we can to keep their best interests at heart and one way of doing that is showing that we are always learning, always searching out professional development.
We must continue to grow, learn and become better at our chosen fields. Not only does the education make us more proficient at what we do but it also helps our clients. Let’s face it; our clients are more educated on what we do than ever before so we better be as well.